Stephen Beckett is a busy man. The former soap star has spent his bank holiday going to children's parties with his three-year-old daughter Nancy, attending a friend's wedding in Kent, and preparing to move house with his actress wife Anna Brecon.

On top of that, the 41-year-old actor is about to embark on a UK tour of Richard Harris' whodunnit thriller The Business Of Murder, which comes to the Theatre Royal Windsor next week.

"It's hard to discuss the plot without giving away the ending," Stephen explains in-between packing boxes and rehearsals. "There is a lot of lying, subterfuge and red herrings and people pretending to be people they are not. It's got more twists and turns than a maze."

The clever murder mystery sees Dee, a talented TV writer, and her lover Detective Inspector Hallet, played by Stephen, both lured to Stone's flat under false pretences, where he reveals the trio's sinister connection.

Such is the suspense, there are a "number of fantastic sections where the audience are so silent you could hear a pin drop."

Having starred in The Bill for five years, Stephen is no stranger to playing characters in the police force, although he insists there is little common ground between the two, saying: "PC Jarvis was a uniformed police constable, while Hallet is a CID officer, who wears flashy suits and is both physically and psychologically violent."

The RADA-trained actor is also known for playing Dr Matt Ramsden in Coronation Street from 2000 to 2002, a role he returned to in 2006, with the bombshell that he was the real father of Ashley and Maxine's baby.

"People were really protective of Ashley, and very anti the child-stealing doctor.

"I don't know about returning to Corrie again, but as long as Ashley is in the show there is a potential kidnap plot."

More recently he has appeared in Robin Hood, Doctors and Casualty, made his stage comeback in another thriller The Ghost Train, and, on a personal note, welcomed his second child with Anna, a son named Wilfred, who is now 16-months old.

"We have got a deal that whoever gets the best job gets to work, while the other one has to stay home and look after the kids," Stephen tells me.

So, with both parents as jobbing actors - they met while starring in The Blue Room and married in 2002 - have the genes been passed down?

"My daughter has started dressing up as Snow White which is rather worrying," Stephen jokes. "We keep giving her medical kits and slipping accountancy exams into her breakfast to gently push her in another direction."

l The Business Of Murder comes to the Theatre Royal Windsor from Monday, June 2, to Saturday, June 7, 8pm. Matinees Thursday 2.45pm, and Saturday 4.45pm. Tickets: 01753 853888