Daily Star



HE might be Emmerdale’s newest villain – but Mark Womack already knows all about soap life.

The Liverpudli­an actor has been married to former Eastenders star Samantha Womack since 2009 – and says she is his harshest critic.

“The tip she gave me was, ‘Learn your lines, get on with it,’” says Mark, who has recently joined Emmerdale as corrupt cop DI Mark Malone.

“Sam never needs me to run lines with her. She’s one of those who will read four pages, look at it for two minutes and have learned it.

“She has been helping me run my lines – but she criticises me! She says, ‘You’re not going to do it like that are you? You can do it better than that.’

“But she’s told me it’s a really good part, and I agree.”

And being Sam’s husband has also given him another insight into the fame that comes with being in a longrunnin­g drama.

Sam played Ronnie Mitchell, who arrived in Albert Square with screen sister Roxy (played by Rita Simons) in 2007, eventually leaving on New Year’s Day 2017. Her big storylines included a baby-swapping plot and eventually marrying boyfriend Jack Branning, only to die on her wedding day. “I haven’t been recognised for being in Emmerdale yet, but I’m used to it with Sam,” says Mark.

“She was doing huge storylines and simple things just like going to Tesco became impossible.

“It wasn’t that people aren’t very nice, you can’t get anywhere. She was stopped at every aisle for a photo.

“But she was in Eastenders across 10 years. It is hardly going to be the same.

“I’m really easygoing so it should be fine – and I’m curious as well.”

This is the first time Mark has acted in a continuing drama. And while Emmerdale filming has been suspended amid the coronaviru­s outbreak, going down to three nights a week from next week, fans will still be seeing plenty of him.

“It’s really different,” he

■ says.

“It took me a week to find my feet. But I love it. I’m really enjoying it.”

DI Malone has caused a stir since he arrived in the village earlier this month to investigat­e the recent shooting of Nate Robinson (Jurell Carter).

But the gun used to shoot Nate actually belonged to Malone, and it turns out former drug kingpin Will

(Dean Andrews) has kept it for years, which the detective is not happy about.

Intent on making Will pay for this, viewers will see Malone start to push his old associate back into a life of crime – and filming these scenes has meant a catch-up with his old friend and former colleague Dean.

“This is my third time working with him,” says Mark. “We worked together on Buried, which was brilliant. A great drama – I really couldn’t believe they didn’t do a second series. And we did Clocking Off together. It was really nice to see Dean, as seen him for ages.”

Mark describes DI

“very Machiavell­ian”.

“He’s just up to no good from the minute he arrives,” he adds. “Malone is a career policeman, but he really lives on that thin line of being a policeman and being a criminal. He’s a very cool villain to play.

“I’ve played a few villains in the past and I love playing them. “Normally, they are written really well so you can have a lot of fun with them.” Malone also initially managed to get Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) on board with his schemes – but many fans believe the hardman could end up being murdered by the copper.

And Mark teases his storyline could be building up to a big showdown between the pair.

“We are not quite there yet but we will be leading,” he says. “I can’t say

I hadn’t

Malone as any more than that. I think the die-hard Emmerdale fans will see him go up against Cain and might enjoy the fact that he is this sort of charismati­c villain.

“I’d like to think that they will love to hate him. That would be good, wouldn’t it?”

In real life, though, Mark and Jeff’s relationsh­ip is a lot more amicable.

“Jeff has been great, he’s taken me under his wing a little bit,” he says. “It’s even silly things, such as when I arrived he knocked on the door and said, ‘Anything you need, here’s my phone number.’ He was really nice.”

Mark says Emmerdale ranks highly on his career so far and adds he’s mainly “happy to be working”.

“I see myself as a working actor,” he says. “There’s always periods where you’re out of work and you always have those insecuriti­es, ‘Oh my god, am I ever going to work again?’

“I actually took 2017 and 2018 off. It felt really good to take that break.

“Coming back and getting Emmerdale has been a nice intro back. I’m lucky. I’ll be in it for a while.”

● Emmerdale goes out on ITV at 7pm. tonight

 ??  ?? TENSION: Billy (Jay Kontzle), Malone (Mark Womack) and Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley). Right, Mark interviewe­d on Lorraine and EASTENDERS: Roxy (Rita Simons) above, Ronnie (Samantha Womack). Inset Ronnie with Peggy (Barbara Windsor)
TENSION: Billy (Jay Kontzle), Malone (Mark Womack) and Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley). Right, Mark interviewe­d on Lorraine and EASTENDERS: Roxy (Rita Simons) above, Ronnie (Samantha Womack). Inset Ronnie with Peggy (Barbara Windsor)

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