Now I’m paying the price’ Emmerdale star explains how sexuality affected acting career

Emmerdale: David gets emotional at Val's funeral in 2015

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Emmerdale’s Paul Lambert (played by Mathew Bose) originally arrived in the village in 2004 and was the son of Rodney Blackstock (played by Patrick Mower) and Val Lambert (Charlie Hardwick). Throughout the ITV soap, Paul was the centre of some important storylines and he even made TV history after getting married to Jonny Foster (Richard Grieve) in the programme’s first gay wedding. In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the actor admitted he believes he was “gay on television when it wasn’t cool”.

Mathew originally left the soap after Paul tried to reconcile his relationship with Jonny.

He made a brief return in 2010 when his stepsister Nicola (Nicola Wheeler) got married to Jimmy King (Nick Miles).

The actor reprised his role once again in March 2015 after his mum Val passed away.

However, shortly after he made the decision to leave again and moved to Portugal.

Discussing his sexuality and what it was like to play Paul, Mathew began: “I was gay on television when it wasn’t really cool, you know?

“And so I was doing drag on Emmerdale when it wasn’t really cool and I was doing gay-kissing… Daniel Brocklebank and I did a gay kiss and it was a bit too passionate, [we got] hundreds and hundreds of complaints.

“And then I did the first primetime marriage. So, I’m now in a way of paying the price perhaps from being part of that.

“It’s quite interesting how I think gay history or LGBTQ plus history is very important, we all know that, and we’re built on the back of all these amazing people that did all this stuff before us.”

Mathew, who also starred in Channel 4’s It’s A Sin as Dr Sullivan, went on to speak about acting and how casting roles have changed.

He also explained before he landed his role in Emmerdale, he decided to change his name.

“It’s slightly controversial to say, but when I first started in acting, I was considered too brown perhaps and too gay perhaps,” he continued. “The first one you could do something about because I can change my name.

“So Matthew is my English name, so I started using Matthew, so now I’m starting to use my Indian name again which is Rajat which is on my social media now.”

He went on to add: “Business is saying, ‘Come on everyone come forward and reclaim your ethnic backgrounds,’ which is great and I absolutely approve of that.

“But I’m sort of caught in the middle of it really because Matthew was successful before and now Raj or Rajat is sort of being pushed forward and I am doing some [acting] bits and pieces, but really, in many ways, I’m not brown or gay enough now, just to come full circle.

“The irony is and this is a slightly controversial thing to say that in the beginning, I changed my name to Matthew because I was playing all these brown people skulking around in the background.

“And now I’m sort of doing the same thing, [but] it’s now ticking a box, whereas before it didn’t.”

After taking a step back from Emmerdale and his acting career, Mathew said he spent a lot of time looking after his partner’s children and after joining a new agency he can “do exactly as I please”.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the actor also spent a lot of time in his allotment growing various vegetables.

Speaking about his acting break, Mathew said: “This is the question…have I taken a step back from it or has it taken a step back from me? You never know as an actor in many ways.

“I think the way a lot of people are viewed now is changing because we have a lot of demarcation.

“You know, it’s like, [you get asked] ‘What’s your sexuality, what’s your ethnic background?’ And I’ve always sort of skated over all of those things because nobody knows where I am from or how old I am, that used to be good and now I think it’s less good and people don’t know where to fit me.

“For a while, my partner had children so I was sort of half looking after them and just deciding what I wanted to do and that was pretty much post-Emmerdale and all of that.”

Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7.30pm on ITV.

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