Corrie actor Rupert Hill is King of the Castle
He gave up Baldwin's knicker empire in Corrie, now actor Rupert Hill is starring in a hit show, has just become a new dad and rules at the Castle pub in the Northern Quarter
Actor Rupert Hill has found that there is life after Coronation Street .Since quitting the cobbles of Weatherfield he has not only been busy as an actor and musician but has even discovered a hidden talent for business.As hunky Jamie Baldwin, grandson of knicker boss Mike in Corrie, he had his fair share of controversial storylines. Falling in love with his step-mum and running away with barmaid Violet Wilson and the baby she’d had with gay barman Sean being just two of them.And complicated as that sounds, real life wasn’t any less a tangled web for 31-year-old Rupert. In spite of remaining tight-lipped about their relationship, he and co-star Jenny Platt, who played Violet were in fact a couple, even though she had been married for a matter of months. Lesser situations have had the tabloids in frenzy, so the fact the pairmanaged to handle the situation with dignity was quite a feat.It’s three years since quitting the soap and here they are. Proud parents of a new baby, Matilda, who was two weeks overdue and absolutely nothing to do with barman Sean though the actor who plays him Antony Cotton is a good friend. They are also owners of the Castle Hotel in the Northern Quarter and the reason why Rupert is giving this interview is that he’s now co-starring with Sarah Jayne Dunn in the hit production of Norah Ephron’s wisecracking When Harry Met Sally, which comes to the Opera House from May 10.Happily, he doesn’t regret his time in Corrie. ‘I loved it. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am now and people like you wouldn’t be interested in interviewing me. I had a great time and was where I met my girlfriend,’ he says cheerfully.‘Meeting her on Coronation Street - it was the same as anyone else. A lot of people tend to meet their partners at their work and it has always been this way with me. I’ve never been the sort of person who goes out on the pull or chatting someone up, work is a good place to get to know someone.’It’s clear he’s nothing like the flirtatious commitment-phobic Harry, a role first made famous in the movie by Billy Crystal. ‘Harry is fundamentally as far from myself as possible,’ admits Rupert.‘He’s such a different character but the thing I like mostly about the role is making people laugh. I did a play called Deceptions with Michelle Collins, which started out as a psychological thriller but as it turned out the audience were laughing more and more and I really enjoyed the comedy stuff rather than the suspense.‘Although I have seen when Harry Met Sally in the past I haven’t watched it recently. I really didn’t want to end up doing an impersonation of Billy Crystal.He started as a stand-up and there’s this tendency today to give comedy roles to comedians, rather than actors but actors are good at comedy too!’
Music too is another love and several years ago he nearly got a record deal but it didn’t happen. Now he’s in another band and has ‘gigged all over Manchester’ they were called Yellow Dog but are rebranding in July he says.
‘Living in London and being in a band was impossible but when I got to Manchester I just immediately got involved with this city of musicians.’
‘They’re everywhere. I’d be sitting in my room listening to a track by Elbow one minute and the next I’m in the Temple of Convenience and there’s Guy Garvey (Elbow’s lead singer) sitting there. It’s a really great city for musicians. Much better than London.’So smitten is he with music that the plan is to create a recording studio above the Castle. The pub has been a big hit and has meant that he and Jenny have been able to weather the uncertainties of their recession-hit profession.‘There are many TV programmes which are not being green lit,’ he explains. ‘Also you don’t want to get to a point where you have nothing, especially if you have a child, so it seemed like quite a sensible investment and in fact I have found that I am pretty good at it. I actually have a head for business. Me and my partner are even looking at otherpubs and other business ventures as well.’He says that he and 30-year-old Jenny had wanted the kind of place they liked to go to in the evening and they are much more likely to be seen in cool indie venues like the Big Hands on studenty Oxford Road rather than in Panacea. They are, he admits, ‘absolutely happy’ thought they have no plans as yet to tie the knot. ‘I’m sure it will happen at some point,’ he adds.‘But one step at a time. It’s not a pressing concern.’When Harry Met Sally runs from May 10-15 at the Manchester Opera House. Tel : 0844 847 2277