Emmerdale’s Caleb actor has surprising real life link to Jeff Hordley and soap star relative

Since arriving on our screens in December 2022 as Caleb Milligan, Emmerdale star William Ash has captured the hearts of viewers around the country as the long lost brother of Cain and Chastity Dingle.

Arriving in the wake of his mum Faith Dingle’s death, viewers were suspicious about what had brought him to the Yorkshire village, with several fans questioning why Cain had kept his identity a secret for so long.

Fast forward three months and fans are still no wiser to what exactly the mysterious newcomer’s motives are – or indeed if he is even who he says he is.

One thing we do know for sure, is that unlike his character, William Ash has a far more transparent life – and has even known his on-screen brother, Cain Dingle actor Jeff Hordley for well over 30 years!

So how exactly did that friendship come about?

According to William it all kicked off when the pair were still at school, as they both found encouragement and inspiration under a drama teacher called Colin Snell.

He told the Daily Star, "We both went to the same school, North Chadderton Comprehensive in Oldham and had a really inspirational drama teacher called Colin Snell who not only inspired us but the likes of Nicola Stephenson and then went on to another school with Jonas Armstrong and Jenna Coleman.”

Although Jeff was a few years older than Will, the pair starred in a play together, sparking their enduring friendship that exists even now, several decades later.

Will then added: "For me when I was that age, coming in and seeing all these lads in a play taking acting really seriously, I've never seen that before and it was one of the reasons I ended up going professional. It was quite inspiring.”

With such talented friends it’s no wonder William went into acting, but it appears the talent may also run in his blood, as he also has a very famous soap star cousin too!

Will’s cousin is none other than Coronation Street star Peter Ash, who fans will best recognise as Paul Foreman, the twin brother of Gemma Winter.

In recent months Paul has been involved in a number of intense storylines in the rival soap, including a love triangle between vicar Billy Mayhew and undertaker Todd Grimshaw, and most recently he was the victim of a road traffic accident, when he was hit by Carla Connor with an Underworld van.

Peter first joined the soap back in 2018, and prior to that was best known for starring as Darius Fry in Footballer’s Wives between 2003 and 2006.


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