Emmerdale’s longest-serving cast member starred in sex films before soap fame

Emmerdale icon Chris Chittell has quite a chequered past away from the ITV soap.

Few can remember the serial drama before Eric Pollard joined in 1986 as a wheeler dealer turned bed-and-breakfast king, who's romanced a string of ladies, including favourites Val Pollard (Charlie Hardwick) and Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter).

However, before he got his big break on one of telly's most beloved soaps, Chris tried a different route to get into acting – starring in a series of Swedish porn films. His list of credits include the bluntly titled Let Us Play Sex, Sex in Sweden, and Practise Makes Perfect, which is also known as Girl On Her Knees.

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But his porn secret isn't something the actor is afraid to talk about – in fact, he gave an insight into his colourful acting career back in 1997. Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he revealed: "I did films like Let Us Play Sex and Swedish Sex Games when I was on my uppers, after running up terrible bills and seeing various ventures fail.

"One was an antiques business. Another was a Jewish-Italian restaurant in Hatton Garden, London. "I took them to pay off some heavy-duty people and clear the bills." But Chris' daring venture into soft porn lead the actor fearing he may never work in the UK.

"I always thought I was going to be fired, even after years in Emmerdale," he explained. I thought I would never work in England again because of the content of those films. Thank God I've been on the up ever since."

Chris has found himself sinking his teeth into a number of meaty storylines in the soap. In upcoming scenes, Eric is close to being pushed over the edge and into a downward spiral as he faces his first symptoms of Parkinson's. He revealed to Mandy Dingle (Lisa Riley) that he was terrified as he'd been diagnosed with the disease earlier this year.

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Although he was afraid, Eric was also adamant on keeping his condition a secret from his loved ones. Yet after keeping his partner Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop) in the dark and pushing her away, he eventually had no other choice but to tell her everything. Pollard is unable to face the Parkinson's Support Group meeting this week- will he be able to overcome his reluctance to seek help?

Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV1 and ITVX at 7.30pm

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