THERE has been a lot written about Darren Day over the years, not all of it good, which he would be the first to admit.
But the West End star, often dubbed a “love rat” in certain sections of the press, says he has put his bad boy days behind him...off stage anyway.
On stage, Darren is set to perform in Kettering as Hook in The Lighthouse Theatre’s pantomime, Peter Pan, alongside his wife, actress Stephanie Dooley, mother to his children, Madison, aged five, and Dalton aged 11 months.
But playing the villain is something Darren has become quite fond of.
“I first got into villains after being in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. I was down to play Aladdin but I was a bit of a villain in the press at the time and so they said ‘how about being the villain on stage?’
“It’s great being able to play the baddie. You get to have so much more fun and get great lines. I spent years playing Prince Charming, but once you have played a baddie you don’t want to go back to playing the romantic lead. You can wind the crowd up into a frenzy and you get a lot more of the comedy.
“I think my little girl is a little bit disappointed that Mummy and Daddy are baddies though. There’s a bit in the panto where I said I was going to rip Tinkerbell’s wings off and I did get into trouble from my little girl for that one.”
He has also taken well to playing the villain on TV screens as well, playing a criminal in The Bill and, more recently, in True Crime on ITV1.
“I like doing TV and theatre and singing. I have always tried to avoid getting pigeon-holed,” said Darren “I love to entertain.”
It was a love of entertaining that first put Darren in the limelight. Starting off as a professional snooker player at 17, he was set to play against Alex Higgins, but he didn’t turn up. To fill the void, Darren stood up and started to do what he does best.
“I was always a bit of a prankster and I always did impressions,” said Darren. “So when he didn’t show up I got up and did impressions and sang songs to entertain everyone. Then after that I ended up auditioning for Opportunity Knocks. Then I had my break-through role, when I played Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“I have always wanted to go out and sing and act, making an audience happy. That’s what I love to do.”
But there have been times when his professional career has been over-shadowed by his private life.
“I didn’t want to be a celebrity, I just wanted to perform, but there was a time when there was more of a focus on my private life than me as a performer.
“But things are very different now. I am very different now. My wife and I have been together for seven years and married for five years. I’m a devoted dad. I’m not the guy they were writing stories about back then. I look back at those stories and it is like reading about someone else. I really love family life, our kids are our life. I wouldn’t have it any other way now.”
Peter Pan is at The Lighthouse from Saturday, December 8 to Sunday, December 30. For tickets visit the website www. lighthousetheatre.co.uk