‘It’s good to be back’
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)