Steve Halliwell: I was penniless
'Emmerdale' actor Steve Halliwell was forced to beg on the streets as a teenager before landing the role of Zak Dingle on the popular ITV soap opera
'Emmerdale' actor Steve Halliwell was forced to beg on the streets as a teenager.
The 68-year-old actor has revealed that before he became known as Zak Dingle on the ITV soap opera, he was sleeping rough in London and reduced to stealing food from cafes.
In an extract from his autobiography 'If the Cap Fits: My Rocky Road to Emmerdale' Steve explained how aged 18 he left his job in a factory to pursue a new life in London.
According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, he wrote: "I would walk the streets looking for money or food, but I found London to be fiercely hostile to the penniless."
After befriending some homeless beatniks, Steve decided to take a chance on a trip to Kent with his friend Posh Peter, only to find that there was no work awaiting them.
He wrote: "We were both starving hungry and without money - the life of beats may have been feeding my soul but it certainly wasn't feeding my belly."
It was only after hitch-hiking his way back to London that Steve realised something was wrong.
He shared: "I caught sight of myself in a shop window and was shocked at how thin I was, with long hair down my back and a thick beard covering much of my face. I looked like some sort of lunatic apostle."
The veteran actor - who has played the head of the Dingle family for 20 years - was later arrested for squatting in a government building.
Looking back, he wrote: "We were homeless and none of us had any money, so it seems it was a crime to seek safe shelter."