LOOKING at his portfolio, Doug Child appears to have a penchant for playing an array of characters that are either mad, bad or both.

The former call centre worker returns to his home in Dorset next week with the cult show The Circus of Horrors as Belzebum - Lord of the Underworld.

“I’ve had some strange roles in my time,” he agrees. “My first role was a kinky butler and some years ago I played Herr Flick in Allo Allo at the Regent Centre in Christchurch.”

But it was this role with a local amateur dramatic group that proved to be his big break.

“I knew the girlfriend of the boss of The Circus of Horrors and they came to see me at the Regent and here I am!”

It’s certainly a far cry from the early days of working at a call centre in Bournemouth. Before that Doug, a former Portchester School pupil, played the Mad Hatter at Alice in Wonderland at Hurn before it became Adventureland.

“I started working there when I was 18 and stayed until I was about 24 or so, but I prefer playing baddies,” he chuckles. “They’re much more fun - not that you get many nice characters in The Circus of Horrors.”

In fact, the show may have been responsible for one of 2016’s biggest horror crazes of which led to Circus of Horrors creator Dr Haze axing Doug’s role as a ‘killer clown’ character for his latest production Voodoo. He told Doug to come up with a new character or face the sack from the show

Luckily Doug did come up with a new character for Voodoo which rolls into Poole Lighthouse next Friday, January 12 with an amalgamation of bizarre, brave and beautiful acts. For more details, see lighthousepoole.co.uk