Tyger Drew-Honey – who became a household name as a childhood actor in classic sitcom Outnumbered – is making his panto debut this month in Poole.
The 26-year-old, who played Jake in the BBC show, is playing Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Lighthouse this Christmas – and he can’t wait.
“It’s just never come my way before and if I’d been offered a role sooner there’s no reason that I wouldn’t have taken it,” he said. “Looking back on the shows I was in, there was always a Christmas special to be filmed that meant I would have been busy when panto was in rehearsal, but this is a fantastic opportunity and I’m really looking forward to being part of it.”
Acting has been Tyger’s job since he was just 10 years old. As well as Outnumbered, he’s fronted several BBC documentaries and appeared in shows including Citizen Khan, Death In Paradise and Midsomer Murders.
“It’s incredible really, I’m 26 now, where did the time go?” he says. “I’d say my childhood was slightly different, but I was lucky to fall into this business quite young – how many people are fortunate enough to fall into something they actually love?”
Tyger made his stage debut three years ago touring in Olivier Award-winning writer Laura Wade’s acclaimed comedy Posh, playing Alistair Ryle. He is keen to get back on stage in front of an audience and hone his skills as a live performer.
“I’ve seen lots of panto and have fond memories of throwing things on stage and shouting at the actors,” he added. “I know this is going to be an intense schedule being on stage and in that high adrenaline state, it’s no small feat. Knackering, but it will be fun.”
And he’s not worried about escaping the shadow of his TV past, far from it.
“I don’t really consider those long-running shows to be shadows,” he says. “My entire education in the screen side of this industry has come from those shows. It was like an extended period at film school in a sense. I’ll be using skills in the panto that I learned from Outnumbered.
“I think the TV work gave me a fantastic childhood and set me up in very good stead, but there is this period that every young actor has to go through where you go from a boy to a man. So, there is a mould to break but I think I’m in the process of breaking it.
“I feel like I’ve discovered something with acting that I can do – I don’t have 16 years’ experience in anything else – so although I think of myself as quite able and would probably be able to do okay at something else, this is what I want to do.
“I love the industry of it, the moments on stage, but it’s also about the things it allows me to do, the people it allows me to meet. I want to aim high. I want to do this thing and have a great life because of it.”
But what would success look like to him in, say, 10 years?
“Ultimately, if I was to be happy in 10 years’ time, both my parents would still be alive, I’d be with my current girlfriend Fluke and have earned enough money over those years to have afforded a good quality of life.
“I’m hoping to be living in Spain in two or three years’ time and if I could be doing enough work to say I was an actor and to have supported myself and my family doing only that, that would be good.”