Paul brings a touch of magic to Civic Centre panto

One of the country's most popular entertainers arrived in Aylesbury last week to publicise this year's production of Peter Pan at Aylesbury Civic Centre.

Paul Daniels will be playing the part of Captain Hook, and starring alongside him will be his real life wife, Debbie McGee, who will be playing Mrs Darling and Minnie the Mermaid.

This will be the first time that Peter Pan has ever been staged at The Civic Centre and the duo are looking forward to the festive fun.

"Panto is great fun," said Paul. "In fact, parents, don't bring the children – it's much more fun on your own without the kids thinking their parents have gone nuts when they boo and hiss and sing funny songs," he laughed.

"Theatre is a great place, it's like going into a spaceship, you can go anywhere you like in your imagination."

Speaking on playing baddie Captain Hook, Paul said: "It's the first time I've played him, I've been all the characters in other pantomimes but it's my first time as Hook." Glancing over at his hook hand he adds: "It is an impediment with one of these because somebody asked me earlier 'am I going to be doing sleight of hand'."

With Captain Hook comes plenty of sword action. " I used to teach fencing in the army but I'll only be using the sword for a staged fight scene at the end - don't worry kids, Peter Pan will be safe."

And no Paul Daniels appearance would be complete without some of his genius magic tricks.

"There will be a couple of magic tricks built in," he adds. "I write pantos and do visual effects for various shows, but I don't like it when the play slows to fit a trick in, it's got to have a good reason to be in there. At the moment I'm looking at the script and it's very good, I haven't had to rewrite any of it, and I've spotted two places where you can fit a magic trick in with a logical reason for it to be there."

Paul will be joined by an equally enthusiastic Debbie. She says of the panto: "I love doing panto, it's always such good fun, I normally get exhausted from giggling. The script is quite funny and really suits my personality so I know I'm really going to have lots of laughs. We feel quite privileged to be doing the last pantomime at the Civic, it's very special. As long as I know my lines I'm fine and I just look at going on stage as if I'm going to a party and then I get excited. It just feels like I'm having a good time rather than working."

The duo are without doubt one of the most entertaining husband and wife double acts in the UK and are looking forward to spending Christmas in Aylesbury.