Emmerdale star Michael Wildman, who has played love rat Al Chapman since 2019, has appeared in many Hollywood blockbusters and has a rarely seen wife who is also an actress and singer
Michael Wildman’s mum was more excited when he joined Emmerdale than when he was cast in Harry Potter.
The British actor has a very recognisable face due to appearing in a number of Hollywood blockbusters over the years.
But one of his most prominent role has been as village love rat Al Chapman, who has been ruining marriages and having affairs since he first arrived in August 2019.
Thankfully, Michael has admitted he is “pretty sure” he doesn’t share any traits with his sleazy character and the public are able to tell the difference between fiction and real life.
When asked if he gets approached in the street by angry viewers, he said: “Luckily no, people who know me or live where I live, everyone is really supportive of what I am doing on the show and they know who I am.”
Before heading to the Dales, Michael appeared in a whole host of popular TV shows and movies, including alongside Samuel L. Jackson in Ricky Gervais sitcom Extras.
Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here .
The Hollywood movie star has had roles in The Bourne Ultimatum, London has Fallen, Ready Player One and the Fast & Furious spin-off movie Hobbs & Shaw.
He also rocked up as heavily CGI-ed centaur Magorian in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Wee just haven’t been able to get him off our TV screens as he has also been in Miranda, Family Affairs, Peep Show, Casualty, Primeval, Being Human, Holby City, Plebs and Death in Paradise
Most recently, he appeared in the BBC crime series Rellik, playing DI Martin Brook and as DI Michael McCoy in last year’s series of ITV drama Liar.
Away from the cameras, Michael has a five-year-old son with his Welsh wife Ceri Ann Gregory, who is also in the showbiz world as a singer and actress.
Due to filming Emmerdale in Yorkshire, the actor has had to go off for long stretches for the first time in his career, leaving his young son struggling with anxiety.
“My son had a little bit of anxiety issues when I first started the job,” he said on Loose Women in 2020.
“When they come into consciousness, around four or five, [before] I could leave and do two weeks away…shoot stuff and come back and “daddy’s back!” Now he’s asking, “how many sleeps?” and it’s hard.”
“The first month on the job he was crying when I left and I hadn’t experienced that before.”
It’s something the whole family experience as Ceri, who married Michael in 2018, also goes away for work.
“My wife, she’s also in the game, she’s a singer and an actress, when she has to go away she experiences the same thing. So I had to get used to that on this particular job,” he added.
Despite being in acting for 25 years, Michael has admitted his current role on Emmerdale has been the most demanding.
“You go in and you work 12-13-hour shifts and it is relentless,” Michael told the Loose Ladies. “I always say to people on this job, every script I’ve had over the last two decades I get every week and a half.
“It’s like having a new job every week which is great because I never know what’s coming. It’s one of the hardest jobs you’ll do in the game.”
One person who is absolutely thrilled he is on the ITV soap is his mother, who was more excited about his Emmerdale role than anything else he has starred in.
Explaining how his mother doesn’t push him for Emmerdale spoilers despite being a superfan, Michael said: “She is very good.
“She doesn’t ask me at all. She wants to watch it and see how it plays out herself.”
Earlier this year, Al was exposed as a love rat when it was rumbled that he was cheating on fiancé Priya Sharma with a mystery woman who turned out to be a returning Debbie Dingle.
Emmerdale viewers were rightfully stunned, which will have pleased show bosses who went to great lengths to keep it a secret.
Even Michael was kept in the dark until a week before filming the scenes with Debbie Dingle actress Charley Webb.
“I didn’t know until literally maybe a week before. Charley and I had never met before we did the scenes. They keep everything very close to their chest,” he explained on Loose Women in January this year.
Due to Covid restrictions on set, he was unable to get to know Charley before they filmed scenes together but had to make out they were in the middle of a steamy affair on-screen.
He added: “So it’s quite difficult for both myself and Charley just not meeting at all. Then having to get into that storyline and try to mirror that relationship that Al has had with Priya. So you know, it wasn’t easy.”
Michael jokingly said that he only extended his contract on the show so that he could kiss Priya actress Fiona Wade.
But with social distancing on set they were not able to have scenes where they were even allowed to touch.
“The thing is, I always believed with intimate scenes, and Fiona and I were cut short with our intimate scenes pretty early due to Covid,” explained the actor.
He jokingly added: “I signed up to the next year because I thought I could snog her for a year!”
*Emmerdale airs tonight on ITV at 7.00pm
Do you have a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.