Former Emmerdale actor, Marc Silcock (Jackson Walsh), to star in new daytime mini-series, Privates!

by Anna Howell

Former Emmerdale star Marc Silcock, is set to star in a new BBC daytime drama, Privates, but says that he could never have been a soldier in real life as he hates taking orders, the Sun newspaper reports!

Silcock, who is best known for his heroic portrayal of tetraplegic Jackson Walsh in award-winning ITV1 soap, Emmerdale, will play plays Lance Corporal Jimmy Hobbs in BBC1 series Privates, but admits that he skipped much of the training for the part, claiming that he couldn’t be bossed around by a drill sergeant.

The star, who fans of Emmerdale watched end his own life last year with the help of his on-screen partner, Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller) earning them a handful of awards for the controversial, yet deeply moving storyline, has commented that even his war veteran grandfather said he wouldn’t cut it in the army as he wouldn’t even be able to put on his uniform properly.

Speaking to the publication, Silcock explained:

“I could do the Army training but I could never be a soldier.

“I couldn’t tell myself what to do, let alone have someone else scream it at me.

“The last thing I need is some Army sergeant major calling me a stupid boy or telling me to shine my shoes properly 100 times a day.

“A lot of the guys went to Northern Ireland before the shoot and learned how to march and drill, but luckily I didn’t have to go with them.

“I was blessed that the script didn’t require me to do those things a lot.

“Instead, I had a word with my grandfather — who was a major in the Army around that time.

“He told me exactly how to put my uniform on and gave me loads of stick about making sure my boots were shiny and I was wearing my beret straight.

“Then he told me that he’s got an overwhelming sense that he is going to be disappointed when he sees the show — he doesn’t think I’ll have done anything right.”

To prepare for this new series, which is due to premier next Monday at 2.15pm on BBC1, Silcock spent several months living in a real army barracks, but says it was worth the gruelling training in order to portray his character, and the story which focuses on the last men conscripted for National Service in 1960.

Marc said: “The circumstances could have been more enjoyable. We were wrapped up in Fifties clothing, which was itchy and uncomfortable.

“And because we were at an Army base, we couldn’t walk around with hands in our pockets or go anywhere without permission. All of the rules made it quite an effort. But we had to abide by them and make sure we didn’t get in the way of the soldiers there.

“After all, if you’re in the Army the last thing you want is someone coming in doused in make-up, wearing an old uniform and pretending to do your job.”

“It was definitely a different experience. Aside from playing a soldier on an Army camp, drama is so different to soap.

“On Emmerdale I used to get through 50 pages of script a day so to suddenly change to six pages filmed over a 14-hour day was a real shock. Everything has to be perfect. But it is a fantastic drama and has been a real learning curve.

“I need to spend more time doing shows like this to learn as much as possible.

“There is scope for two more series of Privates and I definitely would come back if they were commissioned and the team wanted me again.”

Marc speaking to Unreality TV at last year’s British Soap Awards

Despite this exciting new project Silcock, who has also starred in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks as Eli, treasures his soap background and says he would never rule out a return – though obviously not to Emmerdale – that would just be weird!

He went on: “Emmerdale really was the best job of my life.

“You do so much in such a short period of time that your improvement is really dramatic.

“I held on to the role for as long as possible, but my exit storyline — Jackson’s controversial assisted suicide — was so good it was worth leaving for.

“I honestly couldn’t rule out going back to soap in the future. But it would have to work for me. I wouldn’t do it for the sake of it.”

Watch Marc’s final moments as Jackson Walsh in the clip below:

Privates can be seen on Monday at 2.15pm on BBC1/BBC1 HD, and will continue every day that week as a five-part mini-series.


  1. gary Powell on January 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    11/01/13 15:07
    Just watched ‘Privates’ not bad but attention to detail please. During a clip of the Union Flag, at the Remembrance Service, it was being flown upside down!

  2. Andrea on January 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I really enjoyed this short series and wondered if there will be a 2nd series. Hope so.

  3. Andrea on January 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Meant to say in my previous post. I did pick up however When Alexander Vlahos, Private Keenan and Patrick Baladi, Captain Gulliver said the word Nuclear they both pronounced it like the moron that is George W Bush NEWCULAR. It annoys me so much normally day to day without it being included in a programme supposed to by set in 1960.

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