Do you see yourself as a showman at heart?
I do. I think anyone lucky enough to lead a large entertainment brand should. But it's not about me up on stage; it's about adding sparkle and sheer entertainment to everything we do.
How would you feel about being described as the Billy Butlin of our age?
Flattered! If I came even close to being the innovator and entertainer he was, I'd be thrilled. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to fit into his shoes, though.
Did you always know you wanted to work in entertainment?
I knew I wanted to work in an exciting environment where I'd be able to inspire people. Once I'd realised being a professional footballer was off the cards, I worked in sport and radio. I started at Butlins as a Redcoat, fell in love with Butlins and progressed up the management.
What's been the peak of your career so far?
Now. I'm really proud of what we've achieved in the past few years. Our customers are saying that they like us more than they ever have, and they're here for the entertainment more than ever before. We have a great team and have really turned the entertainment around, working with major players and booking world-class acts. It's a dream come true. The entertainment reflects the modern Butlins: it's a high-quality British break.
What's it like backstage during a show?
Frenetic. Incredibly fast paced. There can be up to 26 people on stage and 40 people behind the scenes. There are also a lot of nerves - these are professional performers, and everyone wants to put on a great show.
What goes into planning a new show?
From page to stage it can take 8-12 months to bring a big show to life. There's the story, auditions, the music, set design, costumes, lighting....
How do you select a new act?
It varies - there are 3,000 visiting acts. We look for acts that are engaging in absolutely every way. It's not enough that they sound great; they must also be interesting to watch. We look for entertainment that our guests can't see anywhere else.
Where do you get inspiration?
Travelling - Kenya, Dubai and America are recent locations. And from children's TV to what more mature guests watch, you have to make a point of consuming a wide range of entertainment. My twin boys, Tom and Jack, 14, are also great: teens are the hardest age group to entertain, after all!
What goes into making sure that guests have a great break?
Lots of thought, hard work, research and tough decisions. Butlins invests more than anyone else in its entertainment, by a country mile. Guests can see that.
What feedback do you get?
Nearly all of it is positive. Entertainment is so subjective but the vast majority of our guests are overwhelmingly positive.
How have entertainment tastes changed over the years?
I don't think they have. Values are the same: people want to spend time together laughing and talking. We want guests to take home memories that they'll talk about not just days and weeks, but years later.