Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt has worked alongside his wife three times on Emmerdale and has another career as a zombie horror movie director
Despite having been on Emmerdale for nearly a quarter of a century, Dominic Brunt still fears being axed.
The 51-year-old actor joined the cast as vet Paddy Kirk back in 1999 but still gets nervous about being written out of the ITV soap every December.
“Every Christmas when the contract is up, I still think that’s probably it,” said Dominic, who trained as a welder making metal panels for buses in his home town of Accrington before going to drama school.
“I think that keeps me going, the thought that at any point you could be out. You can’t just wing it, turn up with no ideas.
“So I try hard – but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have a job this good for so long.”
Before appearing in Emmerdale, Dominic had roles in The Bill, 2point4 Children and Inspector Morse – but he also has another surprising career.
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The actor is a massive of horror films and has got behind the camera to produce and direct them with wife Joanne Mitchell.
Dominic is such a huge fan that he runs the Leeds Zombie Film Festival with close friend and fellow Emmerdale star Mark Charnock, who plays Paddy’s best pal Marlon Dingle.
Speaking about working with his wife, the actor said: “It started as a chance for us to do something together – we’re both film nuts so it seemed like the right thing to do.
“We love working together and the first film we did has been sold on to Japan, New Zealand, America and Canada; it was meant to be this silly thing and it’s really taken off.”
The Emmerdale favourite directed and starred alongside wife Joanne in 2012 horror flick Before Dawn, and also directed Bait in 2014 and Attack of the Adult Babies three years later.
It’s not the only time that the couple have acted in the same thing, as Joanne has had four roles in Emmerdale since 2003.
Her first was as DS Karen Banborough in two episodes, then midwife Yeo in 2006 and Susan Davies in 2009. She also took over the role of Liv’s mum Sandra Flaherty in 2016.
Joanne has also appeared in Casualty, Heartbeat, Doctors, Waterloo Road and twice in Coronation Street.
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Speaking about her very different projects with her husband, Joanne said: “Oh my goodness, they couldn’t be more polarised.
“However, each genre is a great platform for stories and characters, just that soaps are much quicker and very slick. With indie horror films though you can take more risks!”
The couple are parents to two kids including son Danny, who had major heart surgery at just eight-months-old.
This added extra poignancy for Dominic during Chas and Paddy’s devastating baby loss storyline back in 2018 and multiple moments reminded him of his family’s experience.
“He had to go through major heart surgery at eight months, but he’s fine now,” Dominic said on This Morning that year.
“It’s the most horrific thing to have to go through as a parent but he’s football mad now – he’s completely fine – he has to check up once a year for the rest of his life.
“The people [at Leeds Infirmary for his child] carry you through as parents because you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re given this information and you have to go through it.”
Dominic’s character is one of Emmerdale’s most gentle characters and is much-loved by viewers at home, while the actor has stated that he has had “enough shady jobs to know this is one of the best in the world”.
Over the years, Paddy has been at the centre of some dramatic storylines, including dealing with the loss of his daughter, discovering his biological father and being married four times – three of whom were Dingles.
“I have been called an honorary Dingle before and it would be lovely actually to be one,” he said.
“I think that years ago in Emmerdale if you got married you either wed a Dingle or a Tate – but it’s a broader thing now because there are more families in the village.”
One thing that Dominic certainly did not expect when he signed up for Emmerdale was to be bombarded with “sex letters” from pensioners.
“These days you’re more likely to get comments on Twitter but I get a lot of rude letters, too,” he explained in 2016.
“They’re probably similar to the kind Alan Titchmarsh gets – Paddy is very safe and kind so they think, ‘I know, I’ll project my sexual fantasies on to him’.
“I’d get sex letters from 60-year-olds, saying ‘I’ve had rumblings I’ve not had for 30 years’ and telling me what they want to do to me. It’s hilarious.”
Dominic is so passionate about the show and his role that he is determined to keep his vet’s wellies planted in the village for as long as possible.
Although he does still get nervous that bosses will decided to kill Paddy off at any given moment.
“I love it,” he says. “I’m a really big fan of the show and I’m very lucky. I’ve probably dodged a couple of bullets and I never ever take it for granted.
“When difficulties emerge on set I still get nervous. It’s a challenge. I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of six million people watching but I’m literally shaking and feeling a bit sick
“I still have that imposter syndrome, fearing I’ll get that tap on the shoulder and be told, ‘Dominic, we’ve found out you’re a welder – what are you doing here?’ I still feel like that.”
*Emmerdale airs tonight on ITV at 7pm
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