BOY George is set to star in this year’s SEC Hydro panto Peter Pan as Hook – and the news will raise eyebrows as high as the 1980s singer’s own carefully constructed hair pelmets.  But first, why did the flamboyant pop star, who has never appeared in panto before – and indeed has turned down offers in the past – change his mind about entering into the Christmas fantasy spirit?  

“With me, whenever I do something it’s very instinctual and, in the moment, so it wasn’t something I thought about long and hard,” he says, smiling. “But I’d seen that Martin Kemp [formerly of Spandau Ballet] had done it on the TV and I thought it would be fun. It’s very British. I think it’s going to be a hoot. I’m looking forward it.”

The Hydro’s Peter Pan is a massive extravaganza, featuring a cast of 50 which includes a dozen cirque performers, dazzling aerial stunts and a giant battle whereby the audience throw cannonballs at Hook’s ship – and a large troupe of Irish and Highland dancers. Indeed, it’s rather a panto/cirque-type hybrid, featuring gymnastics and lots of derring-do. 

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George first appears on stage with heavy eyeliner, wearing his standard Diddyman hat, on a life size galleon that sails around the stage in front of an amazing water-wall fountain – while singing Karma Chameleon. “Although the show has traditional pantomime elements, it is so much more, being a mix of cirque and spectacular events,” he says. “And I get a chance to fight a giant animatronic crocodile. What’s not to like?”

We’ll come to that. The next question is – can Boy George pull it off? He has acted, but only ever appeared as himself. (Production images reveal that George’s Hook has a look that’s essentially Boy George – with a sparkly hook at the end of his arm.)  So, can he play Hook, the treacherous, villainous monster who does his evil best to murder Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys?

“I’m really looking forward to showing off my evil side,” he says, grinning. Well, the pop star is certainly not evil, but he did have a moment back in 2009 when sentenced to 15 months for falsely imprisoning a young man by handcuffing him to a wall. That occasion was said to be a result of drug confusion on Boy George’s part.

But will the Do You Really Want to Hurt Me singer be able to access the correct level of villainy required now that the only Coke he imbues is the dark fizzy liquid? “I don’t do anything in a half-hearted manner, whether it’s making a cup of coffee or playing Captain Hook,” he maintains. “All those things are going to make the show fun, but I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t prepared to do everything I can to make it great.”

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Yet, will that mean the 62-year-old will finally get round to reading the JM Barrie novel – or watching any of the numerous movie adaptations? “It’s one of those things that’s always been there,” he says. “I’ve never read the Bible, but I know that.”

Regardless, the pop star will know enough of what’s required of Hook. He’s bad. Badder than a junk yard dog. Badder than a politician who’s deliberately dumped their WhatsApps for fear of being found out.  What will be interesting to discover is what Scots audiences will make of their panto world being invaded by an incomer. Will they consider it a return to the days when celebrities rather than actors were cast in lead roles in panto, a tradition that was dropped in Scotland after audiences revealed failing interest in imported acts such as Christopher Biggins, Cannon and Ball, and someone from Gladiators?

The producers will be hoping that the musician formerly known as George O’Dowd will bring with him his own celebrity. A larger-than-life figure, he has managed to remain in the public eye thanks to appearances in the likes of the I’m A Celebrity jungle, and as a judge on TV talent show The Voice. And of course he’s an incredibly powerful pop performer.   

But will children care less? Will they have heard Karma Chameleon? More importantly, panto in Scotland has been created and developed on warm comedy content supported with lots of local reference gags, silly fun delivered in familiar accents. This hybrid is a whole new concept. 

Will a panto-like show, which features high-flying comedy stuntman Jordan Conway as Peter Pan, sing without Scottish accents? Indeed, what about the song sheet at the end?  Can Boy George hook our panto fans? 

Peter Pan, the SEC Hydro, Glasgow, December 29-30, and Aberdeen’s P&J Live Arena, December 27-28

BOOK NOW The Dolls – Back Wi’ A Bang.

The bangers are in fact Gayle Telfer Stevens and Louise McCarthy who are back on stage as cleaners Agnes and Sadie with a brand-new style of variety show. Watch out for explosions of laughter. The King’s Theatre, Glasgow, November 7-11.