A LOCKSMITH had the shock of his life when he unsuspectingly opened a theatre door and walked on stage in front of thousands of people.

Craig Hayward, from Poole, was the ‘unexpected star’ on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show on Saturday. The 31-year-old was set up by his Keytek colleagues, who had to keep the secret of his upcoming guest appearance on the comedian’s new television series for several weeks.

On the day of the show’s recording, Craig was asked to go to London to sign an account for the company. While there, he was tasked with unpicking a lock at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. Little did he know, after opening the door, he would be meeting McIntyre and featuring as a guest on the variety show.

Craig said he was “petrified” when he opened the door to see an audience of 2,500 people.

“Everyone started screaming and shouting. I shut the door again, but I was told I had to go on. I walked out and Michael McIntyre was stood there.

“We spoke for a couple of minutes so I could calm down. He was a really nice guy in real life and made it really fun.”

On stage was a crate with a padlock which Craig was then asked to pick. In yet another surprise, he opened up the crate to discover his wife inside. His friends, family and colleagues were also sat in the audience.

Later in the show, he was invited to take part in an escapology act with magician Jamie Allan to end the show.

Wareham-based identical twin illusionists Gary and Paul Hardy-Brown created the set for the trick and spent an hour and a half rehearsing it with Craig.

“They put me in a box on the stage, and there were two massive saw blades. The trick was I had to escape before the saws cut into the box and appear somewhere else in the theatre,” he explained.

“They made it really easy - everything was planned perfectly, so I couldn’t really get it wrong.”

Keytek’s marketing director, Kim Sanders, was responsible for putting Craig up for the show. He said: “When we were contacted by the producers and asked if any of our staff would be up for being shocked and stitched up on telly, it took me five seconds to decide on Craig.

“I knew he’d fall for it,” he added.

When asked if he could ever trust his colleagues again after the experience, Craig said: “Not in the same way, but I’m glad I took part in the show.

“It’s nice to be a part of something like that - not many people get the opportunity to be petrified on stage in front of 2,500 people.”