Eastenders star 'hooked' on Portsmouth

Former soap star Shaun Williamson, best known as Barry from Eastenders, has declared himself hooked on Portsmouth after being taken aback by the people and attractions.

Speaking at an event on HMS Warrior to celebrate the city’s tourism offering the veteran panto performer, with 20 different shows under his belt, said Portsmouth’s Kings Theatre, where he is currently playing Captain Hook in Peter Pan, is the happiest he’s been on stage and he already has plans to return to the city.

Shaun said: “I mean it, this is my 20th panto and I think it’s my happiest, it’s been absolutely brilliant. The theatre is so lovely it really is a family. The audiences have been excellent we’ve been so lucky. I am staying in Southsea so have been seeing a lot of the area and think it’s absolutely beautiful, I’ve had a few meals at some excellent bars and restaurants – it’s ticking every box really. I’m well aware of Portsmouth’s impressive history and every time I drive past the Spinnaker Tower I admire what the views must be from up there and am hoping to squeeze in a visit before panto season is up.

“I’ll be returning again in the summer for Victorious festival doing ‘Barrioke’ which I’m really looking forward to. Captain Hook is most definitely hooked on Portsmouth and he’d love to come back, but would probably have to be a different character!”

Shaun and fellow panto stars joined representatives from a range of Portsmouth attractions to launch the city’s official visitor guide for 2024.

To mark the occasion Portsmouth residents are being offered discounts on some top attractions including 30% off entry to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for anyone living in a PO or SO postcode, the year-round resident discount to Spinnaker Tower and 40% off tickets to D-Day Story with a voucher available from museums, tourist information centres or Portsmouth City Council’s Flagship magazine.

The new visitor guides will be in circulation from the new year, marketing Portsmouth to domestic visitors for short breaks and day trips as well as special versions to target European and American markets and encouraging cruise visitors to spend more time in the city.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of the council, with responsibility for culture, said: “I’m not surprised Portsmouth has made such an impression on Shaun, there is so much going on in the city particularly at this time of year, whether you’re doing your Christmas shopping, going to one of the fabulous pantos, or visiting a famous attraction, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information on Portsmouth’s attractions and great ideas on how to spend your time this season go to www.visitportsmouth.co.u