As the Robin Hood heart-throb joins Emmerdale as Tracy's jailbird dad Frank, we take a look at Michael Praed’s life in pictures
Forget Harry Styles or Justin Bieber, back in the ’80s it was Michael Praed who adorned the walls of teenage girls bedrooms up and down the land.
Having shot to fame as Robin of Sherwood on prime-time Saturday night TV, the actor became a national pin-up and went on to star in TV hits Riders and Dynasty and countless West End and Broadway plays.
Next week the 56-year-old, who has two children, son Gabriel and daughter, Frankie, makes his British soap debut in Emmerdale playing jailbird Frank Clayton, the dad of fiery Tracy Shankley.
Here we take a take a gentle meander down memory lane to remember Michael’s best bits!
HANDY WITH A BOW AND ARROW:
ROBIN OF SHERWOOD (1984-1985)
Saturday nights became compulsive viewing when Michael starred as Robin of Loxley in the hugely popular ITV series Robin of Sherwood.
With his flowing locks, smouldering gaze not to mention nifty bow and arrow skills, Michael and his merry men, including a youthful Ray Winstone as Will Scarlet, kept us entertained as they bounded around woodland robbing from the rich, giving to the poor, and getting into scrapes with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Maid Marion wasn’t the only woman to be slightly swoony every time Robin and his finely honed calves made an appearance.
GOOD IN THE SADDLE:
Michael’s horse riding skills from his Robin Hood days came in handy when he was cast as Jake Lovell, the gypsy-born hero in the TV adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s bonkbuster novel Riders.
Set in the fictional county of Rutshire, the actor injected the phwoarrs playing a talented horseman with a hay bale-sized chip on his shoulder. Tight jodhpurs and fistfuls of chunky silver jewellery made an alluring combo as Jake sought revenge on smarmy aristocrat Rupert Campbell-Black (Marcus Gilbert) and show-jumped his way to glory.
Joan Collins wasn’t the only Brit to swan around in shoulder-pads and hang out with Blake Carrington. Michael joined the cast of US TV juggernaut Dynasty in 1985 as the fancily-titled Prince Michael of Moldavia (ooh get him!).
A whopping 60 million viewers tuned in to watch Prince Michael’s nuptials to Amanda Carrington (Catherine Oxenberg) which became the infamous ‘Dynasty wedding massacre’ Armed rebels stormed the castle and ran amok with machine guns, putting a bit of downer on the couple’s Big Day. Despite the bloodshed the Prince survived, but Michael himself decided to say farewell to Dynasty and steamy sessions in the shower the following year.
HE CAN HOLD A TUNE:
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (2010)
He’s not just handy with a bow and arrow and good in the saddle, he can do a good rendition of Edelweiss too! Michael, who separated from his wife Karen Landau in 2009, has been in many musicals, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects Of Love, Copacabana and Carousel and it’s fair to say, can hold a tune.
In 2010 he toured the UK as moody dad of seven, Captain Von Trapp, along with Connie Fisher, who shot to fame when she won the role of Maria in BBC’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria. Altogether now ‘Doh A Deer, A Female Deer…’
HE’S NOT AFRAID OF ALIENS:
WAR OF THE WORLDS (2016)
He’s been in countless West End productions, including Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband and Noel Coward’s Design For Living, alongside leading ladies Rachel Weisz and Kate O Mara, but most recently, Michael’s been treading the boards in theatrical bonanza War Of The Worlds, playing traumatised journalist, George Herbert.
The ambitious, techno-crammed musical also featured Liam Neeson as a hologram and starred David Essex, Jimmy Nail, Daniel ‘Gotta Get Through This’ Bedingfield and ex Sugababe Heidi Range. We’d like to have seen that lot hanging out together post-show!
NOW HE’S BEHIND BARS:
Michael is joining the cast of Emmerdale playing Frank Clayton, the jailbird father of Tracy Shankley, who’s behind bars for assault.
Michael said” “I’m thrilled to be joining Emmerdale and portraying this complex man.”
He sure is complex! Describing Frank’s character, Emmerdale producer Ian McLeod said: “He’s flawed, funny, flirtatious and even fatherly, when it suits him. His tale is a story of a man trying to find redemption in the face of huge temptation, with a massive twist or two thrown in for good measure!”
Frank who first appears on screen on Thursday, August 11 has certainly got a lot going on and his first ‘twist’ unfolds next week. One minute he’s in prison, the next he’s in hospital after copping a vicious beating… and we assure you, that’s just the start of it!
Watch Emmmerdale on ITV, weekdays 7pm