A JOBBING actor from Chester has enjoyed his first real taste of fame after playing a convicted rapist in Emmerdale.
Rob Parry, 41, who grew up in Lime Grove, Hoole, has been portraying Frank Bernard who set tongues wagging when he turned up in the Yorkshire village.
Hoping to get himself back together after serving a prison term, Frank stayed with his mother Pearl Ladderbanks, played by Meg Johnson, but word soon got out about his past.
This week viewers saw him leave the soap after his efforts to go to the assistance of Donna, whose scooter had come off the road, were misinterpreted and he ended up being assaulted and packing his bags.
Rob, a former pupil of Kingsway High School, who now lives in Cleethorpes, East Yorkshire, said: 'It's always very interesting to play a part like that.'
'He did commit a crime of rape, which is abhorrent, but my opinion is it was a oneoff and he was full of remorse and intended to do everything he could to rejoin society as a decent human being.'
Rob spent five intensive weeks in the role and appeared in 15 episodes which he thoroughly enjoyed. He has worked in theatre and television before but this was his first taste of fame. He says he's never set out to become a celebrity but admits to loving the recognition and signing autographs for strangers.
'I live on the east coast at Cleethorpes and there are very few actors in this neck of the woods. But the local newspapers have covered the story and my picture had been around so people recognise me. More often than not they have been really nice.'
Rob says it might have been a different story if his character had attacked one of the regulars in the show, explaining that fans can be extremely protective of their favourites.
And he said he got on well with the cast of the successful soap.
He said: 'The people on Emmerdale are a really good, down-to-earth bunch. Perhaps it's something to do with them being solid Yorkshire folk.'
However, he was not sure about the introduction his screen mother gave him whenever he met someone new.
'Meg Johnson, who plays my mother, introduced me to everyone as 'Have you met my son, the rapist?''
Rob has previously featured in The Royal and At Home with the Braithwaites. Ironically, he has also had experience on the other side of the law given his most recent work. He played a police officer in Coron -ation Street who arrived to arrest serial killer Richard Hillman only to let him go.
'He got away and slipped through our fingers,' admitted Rob, but blamed his superior for the slip-up.
Rob hopes his substantial role on Em -merdale will lead to more TV work.
'Every job is about getting the next one in a way,' said the actor, who 'had starry eyes' as a youngster and honed his skills performing at Kingsway High School.
Rob met his wife Sarah, a former actress, when they performed together in a Christmas show at Huddersfield. She has since retrained as a social worker. Rob supplements his income as an actor through his job as a development officer for YMCA, where he works at night. He would re-commend any budding performer has another trade to fall back on.
Rob's sister-in-law Sue Parry of Newton said of Rob's success: 'We're thrilled to bits.'