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24 September 2014
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Nettles' Sting for Cornwall
David White and John Nettles
BBC Radio Cornwall's David White interviews John Nettles

Cornish-born John Nettles of television's Bergerac fame, says it is great to be home for the panto season, but Cornwall is not what it was.

"It has become a heritage park. A bit sad in some ways, and funny in others"

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When BBC Radio Cornwall's David White went along to Plymouth's Theatre Royal, he found the evil Captain Hook in typically swash-buckling spirit.

The star of Peter Pan (sharing top-billing with Michaela Strachen as the high-flying Pan) said that his childhood memories of Charlestown were of a working port. "Now it is too pretty, with colourful boats and Cornishmen in funny hats.

The whole of Cornwall has become antiseptic. When I was growing up in St. Austell, the county was wonderfully rough and workish. These days it is polite and Disney-fied.

Nevertheless, enough of it remains to make returning a pleasure."

Nettles has played three or four pantomimes in Plymouth, as well RSC productions and other plays. He loves his baddy roles though, with a particular attachment to Hook.

"He's the one villain who is unredeemably bad. There is no softening before the final curtain.
Come and see the scene where he gets his come-uppence, when 2000 "bricks" hail down on him from the audience. The noise is incredible.
Even Laurence Olivier could not hold that audience."

Peter Pan runs until late January at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, during which run John Nettles looks forward to visiting favourite haunts like the Tate Gallery, St. Ives and Truro Cathedral.

Hopefully, Micky Mouse will not be lurking in either of those places!

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