TV star’s intimate look at grief

Actor John McArdle. (s)
Actor John McArdle. (s)
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A TV actor has released an autobiography that reveals the troubled youth informing his showbiz career.

The award-winning John McArdle, formerly of Burnley, who played Billy Corkhill in Brookside and stars in Emmerdale as Ronnie Hale, has released his acclaimed book You Never Said Goodbye.

Written as a letter to his father five decades after his fatal heart attack, the book explores McArdle’s misuse of drink and drugs to escape the pain of grief.

It later reveals his globe-trotting days, like his incarceration in a New Zealand prison and his “scary” and “life-changing” work in the Australian bush - further attempts to flee from the memories of his father’s death.

“It’s an adventure story, a love story,” John said. “At times I’ve been selfish: I pursued travel at the sacrifice of my wife and mother. So while the book was cathartic to write, I’m also doing it for my family. It’s helped my younger brothers and sisters, as they didn’t know much about our father. But it could also help anyone who’s lost someone at a young age.”

And it was those early hardships that spurred on a career boasting roles opposite Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen.

“If you want to be an actor, you don’t have to go down the traditional route,” he said. “I was a soldier, a scaffolder, a student and then an actor. You don’t have to come from a privileged background. You have plenty to offer.”

In fact, he sees a real advantage to treading the road less travelled.

“Hardships strengthen you. When I went to drama school at 26, I had so much life experience, I thought I could get through anything.”

“I hope the book will be give people food-for-thought about their own lives - you can get out of these scrapes and go on to better things.”

To order a copy of the book, please visit https://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Said-Goodbye-John-McArdle/dp/1517180805