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We Are Chester meets: actor & writer Ian Puleston-Davies

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Ian Puleston-Davies Photo: Angela Ferguson

It’s not every day that you get to meet an actor and writer who is recognised across the land and indeed across a number of other lands, including Canada and New Zealand.

We Are Chester chat to Chester-based actor Ian Puleston-Davies about his current and future projects and what he thinks of the place he calls home.

Ian, who was born and brought up in North Wales, is well known for playing a dazzling range of on screen roles, the latest of which saw him play a multiple murder suspect in ITV crime drama Marcella.

King Thistle

Other roles have ranged from builder Owen Armstrong in Coronation Street and Lagrathorn in ITV costume drama Beowulf to the slightly surreal role of the voice of King Thistle in children’s show Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.

He’ll be on our screens again later this year with detective drama Maigret and he’ll also be jetting off to Canada to film a major TV series. It certainly seems like his feet haven’t touched the ground since he left the cobbles of Corrie in 2014, feeling a little anxious about the future.

Philomena writer

Ian loves to keep busy and to get his teeth into a creative project, whether that be acting on stage or screen or writing. In fact, when I walk into the chilled out coffee shop where we have arranged to meet, Ian is in full on brainstorming mode for a future comedy film he will be co writing with Oscar-nominated Philomena writer Jeff Pope.

As we chat about the project, Ian occasionally jots down thoughts to help him with the creative process. Ian is also hoping to take on the lead role in the resulting film. Our lips are sealed, other than to say that it sounds like it’s going to be a rip-roaring watch.

Dirty, Filthy Love

Fuelled by cappuccino and flat whites, we talk about Ian’s passion for writing. He has always loved writing as well as performing and co wrote award-winning film Dirty, Filthy Love with Jeff Pope. Dirty, Filthy Love is a love story starring Michael Sheen as a man living with obsessive compulsive disorder. The subject is close to Ian’s heart, having experienced at first hand the effects of obsessive compulsive disorder for many years. It is something he openly talks about to raise awareness.

Ian says: “I’ve never stopped writing. One of the reasons I joined Corrie was to be able to concentrate on writing and not worry about my next pay check, but I was getting very restless at Corrie and it is difficult to keep a long-running character fresh.

“With that obviously comes the insecurity.  It was a step into the unknown when I left. Now I am back to being a jobbing actor. I am very fortunate to have a supportive partner in Sue.

Ageing Welsh stripper

“Jeff Pope and I got back in touch and now we are collaborating on a film script about an ageing Welsh stripper with a view to me playing the stripper. It’s set in The Valleys.”

Chatting to Ian provides a little glimpse into another world that seems rather glamorous. It’s hard not to be in awe when he casually pops out to take a call from his agent about another potential TV role.

As well as his current writing and acting projects, Ian is also planning to put on a play based on a father and son relationship, joining forces once again with his Corrie “son” Gary Windass, played by Mikey North. He hopes to be able to stage it at a local theatre.

A good baddie

Conversation turns to Ian’s latest role alongside Anna Friel in ITV crime drama Marcella. In his own words, Ian likes playing a ‘good baddie’.

He says: “It was great fun and it has proved to be really well received. There was a great script and I wanted to be involved from the offset. I knew of his (writer Hans Rosenfeldt) reputation through The Bridge and I was excited about reading the script. It was a real page turner – anyone and everyone was a suspect.

“The part was very complex and had lots of layers. I always love playing a baddie – not an obvious axe murdering baddie but somebody who has layers. He was a very complex character. Hans sat down with me for half an hour to talk about the character – that very rarely happens. He is very hands on.”

Chester through new eyes

Ian also talks happily about his home city of Chester, which he is enjoying seeing through new eyes as his son and daughter grow up here.

“The first thing that hits you is its historical beauty. I grew up not far from here and as a child, to me, Chester was shops, pubs, bars and clubs and I never really appreciated it. You kind of take it for granted as a little boy. It took a distance of 30 years for me to appreciate what’s on my doorstep.

“I lived in London for years and where I met my partner Sue, who is a Londoner. Bringing her back here to Chester helped me to truly appreciate what is here. It’s fantastic – what a beautiful city.

Hiraeth

“There’s a wonderful Welsh word, hiraeth, and that kicked in when I was in London – that sense of belonging and wanting my children to be surrounded by uncles and aunts and nains and taids (the Welsh name for grandmas and granddads).

“I love the rows. I love to go boating on the river and then for a Cheshire ice cream. There’s personal history for me here in Chester. I took my children down a cobbled street that I had gone down as a child.

“I remember the creaky old floorboards in Browns of Chester and it’s great to watch my children discovering the same things for themselves. I also remember hopping on and off the rows and then it was magical seeing my daughter do the very same thing for the first time. It was like being in a Tardis and being taken right back to when I did these things as a child.”

Huge in Canada

Ian informs me that Corrie is also huge in Canada and New Zealand and he and Corrie co star Gary Windass used to go over to these countries to do talk shows and were recognised in most places they went to.

I ask what it is like to be recognised in the street.

“It was weird at the beginning. I had people occasionally saying ‘oh, I’m sure that guy’s an actor’ but nothing prepares you for what happens when you join a soap. You get recognised by half the people in the street. It took me a while to get used to it but it’s part of the deal. It’s funny that sometimes I would be out with my mum and dad and someone would stop me for a photo. My mum would then ask if I knew that person.”

As well as his current writing and acting projects, Ian is also planning to put on a play based on a father and son relationship, joining forces once again with his Corrie “son” Gary Windass, played by Mikey North. He hopes to be able to stage it at a local theatre.

 

Next major project

And Ian’s next major project sees him jet off to Canada for an exciting project with a very well known actor. He will also be on our screens again later this year playing a detective alongside Rowan Atkinson in two part drama Maigret, filmed in Budapest in Hungary.

For a man who was anxious about leaving behind the security of a long-term role in a soap,  things certainly seem to be coming together well for Ian Puleston-Davies. He is much in demand as an actor and writer and he is a genuinely lovely guy who does a lot to support various events in Chester. We are honoured indeed to count him amongst our residents.

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Ian Puleston-Davies enjoys some down time with family pet Daisy in between acting and writing roles      Photo: Angela Ferguson

About Angela Ferguson (76 Articles)
I'm a writer, journalist and blogger, as well as the founder and editor of culture webzine wearechester.co.uk. I'm also a university lecturer in journalism and media communications and a presenter at Flipside Radio.

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