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A Christmas Carol: BBC Eggheads quizmaster stars as grumpy Scrooge in Brookside musical

PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 December 2018

CJ de Mooi stars as the grumpy Scrooge in Brookside Theatre's A Christmas Carol.

CJ de Mooi stars as the grumpy Scrooge in Brookside Theatre's A Christmas Carol.

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The Offie nominated actor CJ de Mooi will be playing one of Christmas' most renowned grumpy characters, Scrooge in Brookside Theatre's Christmas musical.

CJ de Mooi, who will be starring in Brookside Theatre's A Christmas Carol as Scrooge, used to be a quiz expert on the BBC's popular show Eggheads.CJ de Mooi, who will be starring in Brookside Theatre's A Christmas Carol as Scrooge, used to be a quiz expert on the BBC's popular show Eggheads.

CJ de Mooi, one of the former quiz experts in BBC’s popular show Eggheads, will be playing the lead role in Brookside theatre’s A Christmas Carol.

He told the Recorder: “It’s actually one of my dream roles. I had a list of about five or six roles that I always wanted to play and Scrooge was one of them.

“It’s an iconic role and one of those characters that everybody knows.

“You have certain plays and stories that are so centered around one character and A Christmas Carol is one of them. When you think about the play, it’s mostly Scrooge by himself.”

After living in the Netherlands for a year, the actor earned the nickname de Mooi, meaning the beautiful in Dutch.

He was nominated for The Off West End Theatre Award (The Offies) for his role in Banana Crabtree Simon at the Drayton Arms.

Speaking about playing such a well-known character, he added: “It’s quite scary and it’s definitely going to be a huge challenge.”

A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean and lonely man who prefers money to people.

However, this Christmas Eve will be like none that he’s experienced before as he is visited by the ghosts of Marley, his ex-partner and those of Christmases Past, Present and Future.

Scrooge is about to embark on an incredible journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

“I don’t believe Dickens wrote the character to be an evil miser,” said CJ.

“You see a couple of plays where he’s portrayed as a really nasty character. But [Dickens] definitely wrote it as a tongue-in-cheek story where he makes fun of himself.

“It’s one of the things that bugs me about Shakespeare. People think he was just a great academic writer, but he really wrote for the masses - for the common people and Dickens did too.”

The Romford theatre’s version of A Christmas Carol hopes to bring the atmosphere of Victorian Christmas traditions to the stage with a cavalcade of colourful characters, a ghostly quartet, hilarious script and fabulous songs.

“There are quite a few musical versions of the story out there, but for me this one is the most enjoyable,” said CJ.

“It’s a very light-hearted show that will be great for the community to see.

“I was laughing out loud while reading the script for the first time. It’s going to be a good laugh.”

Speaking about why he thinks A Christmas Carol is so popular, CJ said, “There are perhaps two or three of Dicken’s stories which have really entered popular culture more than the others, and I think that A Christmas Carol is definitely one of those.

“It’s the classic tale of redemption because the character is so grotesque and goes from one extreme to another.

“The majority of [Dickens’] stories were ghost stories or Christmas stories. This is his main story that brought most of those elements together.”

CJ was one of the five original members of BBC’s quiz show Eggheads in 2003, however he explained that his main career goal has always been to act.

“From the age of five I always wanted to be an actor. This has always been my passion,” he said.

“Acting isn’t a job that people choose, it chooses them. When I’m on stage it’s all I need to keep me going.

“I would rather be a penniless actor than a highly paid TV presenter.”

The former BBC Eggheads quizmaster is no stranger to the Romford theatre as he performed at Brookside when it first opened.

He features in the plays, Pirates of Penzance and Deathtrap.

A Christmas Carol plays at the Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road from Wednesday, December 12 to Saturday, December 22.

For tickets call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk.

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