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Wil Johnson opens up about being black in Emmerdale

IN ROLE: Wil Johnson as Dom Andrews on the Emmerdale set

ACTOR WIL Johnson says he’s happy Emmerdale is reflecting a more realistic and diverse side of the UK countryside.

Johnson joined the long-running ITV1 soap at the start of the year playing smooth-talking biker Dom Andrews, a single father to daughter Gemma, played by actress Tendai Rinomhota.

It’s a landmark move for the Yorkshire-based drama, which has never really been known for boasting a multicultural cast.

The first and only black family to previously appear regularly in the soap - the Daggerts - left the drama back in 2002, with only Danny Daggert staying until 2006.

“It’s a bit of a landmark, I feel like I have accomplished and achieved something,” he told The Sun.

Johnson, who shot to fame in hit series Baby Father, also said he was happy to play a part in bringing Emmerdale “up to the times”.

“People migrate and move around and live in different places, so it is a really positive move,” he said.

Based in London, Johnson feels like he’s often “living out of a suitcase” as he has to make the frequent trip to Leeds, where the programme is filmed. But he’s thrilled that the show has introduced a black family.

He recently told The Voice: “They wanted a black actor for this role – it was specific. My character also has a 14-year-old daughter, so they were very specific about wanting two black actors for these roles.

“There was no agenda to it, other than wanting to represent the fact that black people do live up north. It was about reflecting life as it is and I think that’s a very positive thing on their part. There’s an Asian family in the show so why not have a black family too?”

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