RICKY Norwood has played Sheriff previously but the EastEnders soap actor is doing the funny business in Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood at York Barbican.

"Last year Jamie [Those Magic Beans pantomime producer Jamie Alexander Wilson] asked me to do the comic role in Sleeping Beauty, playing Chester the Jester, and now I'm playing Silly Billy Scarlett," says Ricky, who made his name as Fatboy in EastEnders.

"The thing about pantomime is that it's all about the family, the young audience, having a good time, and playing the comic allows me to interact with the kids and ensure they have that good time. It's tough, it's sweaty, you're always running around, with five costume changes, but once you get into it, it's great fun. And the thing with kids is that they're unpredictable, so you never know what they'll come out with, making you laugh or even sad sometimes!"

Ricky believes the return of a Christmas panto to York Barbican for the first time since 2012 is good for the city with a cast featuring A1 singer Ben Adams as Robin Hood, Boyzone's Shane Lynch as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Michael Starke as the dame, Nurse Nellie. "This show is going to work for York and for the Barbican, and with a great cast, it's going to be a great show, with everyone bringing something to the show that York's going to lap up," he says.

Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood runs at York Barbican from today to December 31. Box office: 0844 854 2757, at yorkbarbican.co.uk or in person from the Barbican box office.