Former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones is in town for his latest role in Blackfriars’ panto and Standard reporter Laura Hammond catches up with him between performances for a chat about how he’s finding life in Boston:
THE cobbles of Coronation Street have come to Lincolnshire this Christmas, as former star Bruce Jones is in town.
Les Battersby actor Bruce is treading the boards at Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre as he stars as Captain Hook in Peter Pan.
Since arriving in the town at the beginning of December, the 58-year-old Mancunian has been settling in well, and said he is enjoying his time in Boston.
“I like it here. It’s so historic, It’s great. The people I’ve met in Boston are so friendly,” he said. “Everyone shakes my hand and says ‘hello’. It’s brilliant. Everyone has been great.
“I’d love to come back. I’ve made some good friends here. I’d like to bring my wife.
“I’ve had a walk around the Stump and that big windmill and had a walk by the river. There’s a lot of stuff you can do. It’s a lovely town.
“I want to thank the people of Boston for being so nice and kind. It’s not like other towns where you go and you’re ignored.”
This marks the first visit to Boston for the actor - who lives in north Wales.
He said he hadn’t realised just how far away it was until he came over for the pantomime.
The distance means he will not be able to travel home to spend Christmas with his family – something he said would be very difficult.
However, the star has been invited to spend December 25 at the Britannia Pub, on Church Street, with some of his new-found friends.
Since he arrived in Boston, Bruce has kept himself busy getting out and about in the town.
Along with doing a couple of shows a day at Blackfriars, he has also been involved in a lot of promotion work and a number of charity events.
He was the guest of honour at the Freiston Christmas Tree Festival and opened the Yuletide Fayre at St James’ Church, as well as appearing at Mad and Proud – an event to raise awareness of mental illness. He even took part in a Battle of the DJs competition at the Britannia, in a bid to raise funds for Blackfriars, and on Christmas morning he will be going along to visit elderly people living in a local retirement home.
Bruce said: “I never stop my charity work. If someone asks me to do it I will do it. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ and giving something back.”
Bruce is best known for his part as neighbour from hell Les Battersby on Coronation Street – a part he played for 10 years until he left in 2006. He said he is still in touch with some cast members and that he would still go back to work on the programme if he was asked.
Since leaving the soap, he has been working on films and writing his autobiography, among other things – including starring in pantomimes. Peter Pan is the fourth one he has been involved in, and he said he was enjoying being part in the show.
He added: “It’s going great. It’s been hard, as we only had eight days rehearsal, but the cast are fantastic. It’s the best cast I’ve ever worked with – they help me all the way through. I’m a TV and film actor and it’s very different. To come back to the stage is like being born again.”
Bruce has been suffering with a bad throat since he started on the pantomime, and had almost lost his voice on several occasions – so it has been a quick pint and an early night for him on most evenings.
As much as he is enjoying Boston, he said his only plan once the pantomime is over is to go home for a rest.
The panto plays at Blackfriars until January 3.