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Emmerdale legend Alan has a go at show's writers

Emmerdale veteran Richard Thorp has criticised his own soap -- saying the show introduces new characters too quickly for viewers to care about them.

Thorp has played Alan Turner since 1982 and has seen his alter-ego evolve from a boozing bully into a pillar of the community.

In an interview, Thorp (78) said: "Being part of the old guard, I think they bring in too many new characters too quickly. Within three weeks, they're sleeping with their mother and you're supposed to care. When I joined, I was still the new chap at Home Farm after three years."

The actor took a leave of absence last year for health reasons, but is now back in the soap.

He added: "I ought to have regrets about staying, but I'm the laziest human being alive so I don't. The advice I've given to young actors has been not to stay too long. I told one actor he was too good to stay, and happily he left and has gone on to forge a good career. There was no point in me moving on because I wasn't good enough!

"I would hate to leave, but I wish they'd find more for me to do. Recently I went to a cast meeting and a lot of people there had no idea who I was. Perhaps they thought I'd stumbled in off the street.

"I suggested Turner get a love interest but the writers said they'd have to dig her up. I'm too old for bonking and too posh to be a Dingle."

hnews@herald.ie