Emmerdale star Dominic Brunt has revealed how acting helped him overcome chronic shyness and a stutter.
The actor has played Paddy Kirk in the ITV soap since 1997, but started out as a painfully shy welder before getting into acting.
He told The Sun: “I was in a tiny cubicle which was completely solitary, welding chairs thousands of times, weeks on end. I thought I was going mad.
Dominic Brunt as Paddy Kirk in Emmerdale (ITV)
“I always had a little bit of a stutter and was a bit insular. I would have to force words out. The isolation of work and not coming across lots of people very often made it worse.”
Eventually, Dominic decided to leave the welding job and followed some of his friends to performing arts college, although his parents thought it was a bad idea.
He said: “It made me a lot more confident about myself and the stutter gradually went away. It was a flowering for me. Meeting new people drew me out of myself.”
Dominic has played Paddy since 1997 (ITV)
Dominic went on to win a place at prestigious drama school the Old Vic in Bristol, but admitted he had to battle against assumptions of how actors should be.
He said: “In the morning I was a cleaner, in the evenings a waiter, and at weekends I would weld. There were people on £25,000 a year given to them by relatives with double-barrelled names but I was happy, I didn’t feel bitter about it.
“It was only me and another lad who were Northerners. The fella who ran it wanted us to get rid of our accents and we’d have to say things like ‘blood’ in a proper English way.
“After a while, I just thought, ‘I’m Northern, I’m not doing that’.”