LEWIS Bloor is new to York and new to pantomime, but the Essex lad from TOWIE is taking it all in his considerable stride in his Yorkshire debut.

"I feel I should be more nervous, but I'm more excited than nervous as I'm just looking forward to having a good time," says the ever-smiling Lewis at the sunlit launch day for this winter's Grand Opera House pantomime, Jack And The Beanstalk.

"It's a long way to come to Yorkshire not to enjoy yourself, so have fun, I say. I think I'm either going to do the job, really walk it and get the job done or I'll crash and burn and that will be just as entertaining to watch too. But Simon [director Simon Barry] is confident in me, which is great."

Lewis, fresh from the latest series of The Only Way Is Essex, arrived in York on his 26th birthday to begin rehearsals for his role as King Willy the Umpteenth. "Doing panto will be a nice way to see in the New Year, and while December is normally the time for parties, this time it'll be all part of growing up, doing a theatre job and having a good time," he says.

"I'm told the role I'm playing is normally played by a 'more senior gentleman' but I'm also told they've got some 'interesting curves' on it for me! And the more you embrace your fears head on when doing something new, the better you will be; you just have to go for it. You can't go under it, you can't go through it, you just have to do it!"

Lewis has a confident strut to his gait; he has, after all, embraced the worlds of City trading, teenage modelling and reality television with elan. "Modelling was good fun but it wasn't for me. I think it would have been better if I'd been older because the best thing about it should be the travelling and experiencing things, whereas I was just stuck in hotels and got the jobs done," he says.

York Press:

Lewis Bloor, far right, and his fellow Grand Opera House cast members for Jack And The Beanstalk. Picture: David Harrison

"Now I could fly to the places and I would know how to enjoy myself, but at 17 you just don't know what's going on." Nevertheless, he did fashion shoots for Gucci in Shoreditch, Tommy Hilfiger in Zurich and plenty of magazines such as GQ, Dazed & Confused and Androgyny, all in a year.

At 16, on leaving school, he had worked as a post runner for the Bank of New York in Canary Wharf in London. It gave him a taste of the world of traders and brokers on the trading floor, and he was to return there, first as a junior broker from the age of 18 and then as junior manager in charge of training new recruits in the art of sales and presentation.

"Having to do presentations to millionaires in the City at investment meetings, there's pressure on you; you have to perform," says Lewis, who then took up an invitation to join The Only Way Is Essex reality soap opera. "It's a structured reality show, where it's all based on past relationships. Mostly it's your ex-girlfriends and their family members are brought into it."

For those not caught up in all the tittle-tattle that keeps the gossip mags busy, Lewis helpfully gave an insight before the latest series began. "This autumn, my ex-girlfriend Nicole Bass has come into the show. We split up last year when I did the dirty on her and I've missed her ever since. I was working in a nightclub at the time, where there are distractions...

"The reason I've come back for this series is because Nicole is here and I want to make it work with her, by showing her and everyone in Essex that I'm sorry for what I've done and to make things right."

Should you watch ITVBe, you will know how Lewis has fared in wooing Nicole, but at the time of this interview he was full of high hopes. "I can see myself having kids with her. Fingers crossed it all works out," he said.

Lewis is signed up to TOWIE to the end of next year. "There's a Christmas special, three more series and another Christmas special, and fingers crossed, we'll get re-commissioned," he says. "As long as I have genuine reasons to stay in the show, I will; a lot of people stay in shows too long, but I enjoy it because it's my real life."

Lewis Bloor stars in Jack And The Beanstalk, Grand Opera House, York, tonight until January 3. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york