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Emmerdale’s James Hooton was selling socks on the street before finding fame

He has played Sam on the soap for 25 years

Soap star James Hooton has admitted he was selling socks out of a suitcase before finding fame on Emmerdale.

The actor revealed how he was selling socks and handkerchiefs out of a suitcase with his dad before landing the role.

He was going door to door in Leicester city centre trying to make enough money to afford train fare to London for acting auditions.

And when he landed the role of Sam it was initially just for eight episodes of the soap.

“I didn’t think this would be a career-defining role,” he told the Sunday People.

I didn’t think this would be a career-defining role.

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“I was travelling to London for auditions a lot and I thought, ‘This is great, I’ve got eight episodes on a soap. I’ve got the train fare to London for the next couple of months sorted and I’ve cleared my debts. I saw it as a means to an end.”

Now 25 years later, James has admitted he is glad he has stayed on as it allows him to pay the mortgage and be home at night with his children.

He added: “I have a family and two children to bring up.

Sam Dingle Emmerdale
James has played Sam for 25 years (Credit: ITV)

“My job means stability and paying the mortgage. I’m having a renaissance period with the show and enjoying it more now than ever. I’d like to think I’ll be here for a good few years to come. But 25? Yeah, maybe so. If I stayed another 25 years.”

James previously revealed he had come close to quitting the soap a few years ago.

He told the Mirror: “The character I play went through a very lean period and it got to the stage I started to dislike my job. I didn’t have much to do. I was young and ambitious and I wanted to do more work.”

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He added: “I asked if there was a chance to get involved in more stories.

“It left me in no doubt I was not going to be a character who drove stories in the show. I hated my job for a while. I had a lot of things to work out in my brain.”

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