Currently appearing as Captain Hook in the Hazlitt Theatre’s pantomime production of children’s classic Peter Pan, Ricky Groves took time out from treading the boards to speak to Visit Maidstone and discuss his time in the region.
Hi Ricky, welcome to Maidstone. Would you like to tell the Visit Maidstone readers a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I'm Ricky Groves, best known for playing Gary Hobbs in EastEnders for nine years. I'm 47 and am currently playing Captain Hook at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone.
How are you finding Maidstone?
The good thing about performing is you get to travel the country and, with panto, you stay a month or two in one place, so I'm still discovering the area. I always try to go to the local museums and shops, and am planning a trip to Leeds Castle.
How is it playing Captain Hook?
I'm normally the comic turn – playing roles such as Buttons in Cinderella – and have only played the baddie once before, Abanazar in Aladdin. It's a bit strange being booed… but I suppose it comes with the job!
What about when you’re not on the stage? What do you like to do when not performing?
I have a girlfriend who has quite a lot of horses and a farm down in Dorset, so that keeps us busy. I also love fishing and always take a fishing rod with me wherever I go. I find it very relaxing.
What would you say was your proudest moment?
Probably EastEnders, although Strictly Come Dancing is up there – I went on tour with the stage show and danced at all the big arenas like Wembley and the O2.
And any regrets?
I would have loved to play the piano. It's not too late but I'm just being lazy I suppose!
What's your favourite film?
I like all films, but my favourite has to be The Long Good Friday. Bob Hoskins plays a London gangster whose life slowly crumbles around him over the bank holiday weekend. It’s possibly his finest performance. Rest in peace, Mr Hoskins.
What’s your favourite food?
I enjoy dining out – normally Indian – but also enjoy cooking at home. I've just finished filming Celebrity Come Dine With Me Couples Christmas Special. It was lots of fun and will be shown over the festive period.
Do you have any New Year resolutions?
I want to do the Three Peaks Challenge and also see a bit more of Scotland. It's right on our doorstep and it's beautiful.
Finally, do you have any tips for Christmas?
Don't eat too much and try not to waste food. The shops are pretty much open the next day, so you won't starve! Plus, of course, to have a great time.
Peace on Earth