Ex-Emmerdale and Coronation Street star Bill Ward on the differences between the two ITV soaps

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Former Emmerdale and Coronation Street star Bill Ward has opened up on the differences between the two ITV soaps.

Bill, 54, played James Barton in Emmerdale and villain Charlie Stubbs in Corrie. He actually even had a brief spell in EastEnders – well soapland is a small place afterall.

Bill, who has also appeared in Ricky Gervais’ Netflix show After Life, chatted to the Express about his soap career.

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He said: “I’ve done all three of the big ones – 418 episodes of Coronation Street, 341 episodes of Emmerdale and two episodes of EastEnders.

“They’re dynamic, fast-moving shows, and a lot of fun to do.”

In both Emmerdale and Corrie, Bill’s characters met grizzly ends. In the latter, Charlie was a Weatherfield builder who psychologically abused Tracy and Shelley.

Tracy murdered Charlie in 2007 while in Emmerdale his character James died after falling off a bridge.

Bill said he found his part in Coronation Street to be particularly challenging.

Bill explained: “On Coronation Street, the Charlie Stubbs domestic abuse storylines with both Shelley Unwin (played by Sally Lindsay) and Tracy Barlow (played by Kate Ford) will always stay with me – the writing was so accurate and powerful.

“And Sally and Kate were so great to work with – such brilliant performers.

“Difficult, demanding and hugely rewarding work to do.”

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Bill said he greatly enjoyed working with his Emmerdale family. He said: “I loved the dynamics of the Barton family on Emmerdale, and working with Gillian, Mike, Anthony and Joe – terrific actors one and all.

When asked if he was still in contact with his former soap colleagues, Bill explained: “Most of the cast on soaps are jobbing actors, going from job to job, so you tend to meet up with them quite a lot on other jobs after you or they have left the shows.

“That’s particularly true of the crew too who, especially with soaps, you tend to spend as much time with as the cast – I’m continually bumping into directors, assistant directors, writers, camera operators, makeup artists, costumiers, and so on, who I’ve worked with on previous shows.”

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Bill, who played James Barton in Emmerdale between 2013 and 2017, had to look for ‘normal’ work during the height of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic – as acting opportunites reduced. He ended up working as a Tesco delivery driver.

He’s recently returned to the stage in the touring production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

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