‘It’s good to be back’

TV Times - - Interview - Corona­tion Street Mon, Wed, Fri / ITV / 7.30PM, 8.30PM Sally Brock­way

For­mer Emmerdale star Paul Loughran talks about his new Corona­tion Street role as Craig’s jail­bird dad

Soap ack in 2000, ac­tor Paul Loughran quit his role as Emmerdale’s

Butch Dingle. He con­tin­ued to act and then, in 2009, he went to uni­ver­sity and trained to be­come a pri­mary school teacher.

Paul loved work­ing with kids, but he missed the stage and screen so much, he went back to act­ing. This week he ap­pears in an episode of Corona­tion Street as Craig Tin­ker’s dad, Dar­ryl.

Af­ter a 16-year ab­sence, soa­p­land felt like home, and while Dar­ryl

Bmakes only a fleet­ing ap­pear­ance, Belfast-born Paul, 47, hopes there’s more to come for the char­ac­ter.

‘I feel re­freshed and ready to go back to what I love do­ing,’ he says. ‘I chose to leave Emmerdale, as I’d spent my 20s there and I wanted to travel and spread my wings. I don’t re­gret my de­ci­sion, but I did miss the buzz of work­ing on a long-run­ning drama with a team of re­ally cre­ative peo­ple all work­ing to­wards one end.’

Dar­ryl Tin­ker is cur­rently in jail. He doesn’t know his son but an­nounces he wants to see him af­ter re­ceiv­ing a let­ter from Faye Win­dass, who con­tacts him be­hind her friend Craig’s back.

Adds Paul: ‘I don’t think Dar­ryl’s the best-in­ten­tioned hu­man be­ing, but he’s not a black-and-white char­ac­ter. He’s am­bigu­ous. I think he’s gen­uinely pleased to see his son, but his own needs su­per­sede any­thing and he asks Craig to smug­gle drugs into prison for him.’

The prison visit rocks both Craig and his mum, Beth, and the ram­i­fi­ca­tions will be far-reach­ing.

‘‘I was over the moon about my role, as I’ve al­ways loved the show,’ re­veals Paul. ‘One of my first jobs af­ter drama school was to play a po­lice­man in Cor­rie. I did some scenes with Bill Tarmey and Liz I feel re­freshed and ready to go back to what I love do­ing Dawn [Jack and Vera Duck­worth].

‘This time round, I re­ally en­joyed work­ing with Col­son Smith, who plays Craig, and every­body was so wel­com­ing. They’re an ex­cep­tion­ally nice bunch of peo­ple.’

Paul left his job as a pri­mary school teacher in Black­burn to play Devon Sam in ITV drama se­ries Jeri­cho this year and he re­cently ap­peared in a stage play in Bath.

‘I de­cided to stick to what I know best, and that’s act­ing. But I did en­joy teach­ing – there’s some­thing lovely about in­ter­act­ing with chil­dren. When you make a class of seven-year-olds smile or help them un­der­stand some­thing, it’s a nice feel­ing. In the past, I yearned for a pre­dictable job, so I could plan hol­i­days and know ex­actly what I’d be do­ing from day to day, but it was a case of the grass be­ing greener.

‘Even in a class­room with 30 chil­dren, you’re on your own as a teacher. I missed the col­lab­o­ra­tion and ban­ter you get on a TV set.’

Paul has fond mem­o­ries of the six years he spent on Emmerdale as Butch Dingle, who was in­jured in a bus crash and ral­lied in his hos­pi­tal bed long enough to marry Emily Wylie, be­fore dy­ing in front of her.

‘I had the most amazing time as part of the Dingle fam­ily with Steve Hal­li­well [Zak], James Hooton [Sam] and Lisa Riley [Lisa]. It was the most mag­i­cal time of my life.’

Paul now has four chil­dren, aged be­tween five and 15, with his wife Deb­o­rah. ‘It’s quite full on,’ he laughs. ‘I love TV, but you have to fight for the re­mote in our house.’

Paul be­came a teacher, but learned that he missed act­ing

Dar­ryl gets Craig to visit him in prison but he has an ul­te­rior mo­tive

In Emmerdale with Chris Chit­tell (Pol­lard) and Stan Richards (Seth)

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