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TV Quickfire: Actor Mark Womack on playing crooked copper DI Malone on Emmerdale

There's a new face stirring up trouble in Emmerdale: dodgy DI Malone, played by Mark Womack. We quizzed him to find out more about why viewers will love to hate the villainous character

Mark Womack as crooked cop DI Malone in Emmerdale
Georgia Humphreys

CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY MALONE CAME TO THE VILLAGE?

HIS gun turned up in the village – it's here because Will has kept it as a protection against his past.

Initially, Malone is here just to get the gun. When he gets here, he sees opportunities to expand his criminal network and empire. So he decides to stay.

His past is that he's a career policeman, but he really lives on that thin line of being a policeman and being a criminal. And he's not just a small criminal – it's huge what he's doing.

HOW DOES HE MANIPULATE CAIN, WILL AND BILLY?

He is very Machiavellian: he just sees it right away. With a little bit of effort on his part, he's got them all doing what he wants very, very quickly. He's a really interesting character. He's a very cool villain to play.

HOW DO YOU WANT VIEWERS TO FEEL ABOUT HIM?

I think that they might enjoy the fact that he is this sort of charismatic villain. I'd like to think that they will love to hate him.

WHAT'S IT BEEN LIKE WORKING WITH JEFF HORDLEY (CAIN DINGLE)?

It's a really nice place to work – more than I ever expected. And Jeff has been great, he took me under his wing a little bit. When I arrived, he knocked on the door and said, 'Anything you need, here's my phone number'. He was really nice.

HOW WAS YOUR FIRST TIME BEING PART OF A CONTINUING DRAMA?

It's really different. At first it was a bit like, 'Woah, what's going on?' because there's so many units, storylines and so many scripts. So, it took me a week to find my feet. But it's great. I'm really enjoying it.

YOUR WIFE PLAYED RONNIE MITCHELL IN EASTENDERS. HAS SHE GIVEN YOU ANY TIPS FOR BEING A SOAP STAR?

She said to me, 'Learn your lines, get on with it'. She's been really busy with Sport Relief, but she ran some of my first scenes, and she said, 'This is a really good part'.

She has been helping me. She criticises me, she says, 'You're not going to do it like that, are you? You can do it better than that.'

WOULD YOU DARE SAY THAT BACK TO HER?

No, because she's really good. She never needs me to run lines with her. When we've worked together, she'll read four pages and look at it for two minutes and go, 'All right'. I'll go, 'You can't have learned it yet?' and she's like, 'I've learned it!'

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR HOW MUCH YOU WILL GET APPROACHED BY EMMERDALE FANS?

I'm used to it with Sam and I've seen how it impacts. Look, she was in EastEnders for 10 years. It's hardly going to be the same.

I'm really easy-going so it should be fine. With Sam, she was doing huge storylines and just simple things like going to Tesco, it becomes impossible. Not that people are not very nice – you can't get anywhere. She was literally stopped at every aisle, for a photo.

YOUR ACTING CV IS IMPRESSIVE.

There are always periods where you're out of work and you always have those insecurities: 'Am I ever going to work again?' But, actually, I took 2017 and 2018 off. Sam was really busy doing EastEnders and loads of theatre and my daughter, she was probably 11 or 12 then.

It was really good to take that break. I'm lucky: I'm happy to be working to be honest.

:: Emmerdale airs on ITV on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from tonight

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