Emmerdale’s James Hooton reveals he sold socks on the street before soap as he opens up on money struggles

13 January 2020, 11:28 | Updated: 13 January 2020, 11:31

Emmerdale star James Hooton was selling socks on the streets
Emmerdale star James Hooton was selling socks on the streets. Picture: PA Images/ITV

Soap star James Hooton opened up about his money struggles before he became an actor.

While he’s made a name for himself as Sam Dingle, Emmerdale actor James Hooton has revealed he used to sell socks out of a suitcase with his dad.

Speaking to The Mirror, the 46-year-old explained how he went door to door in Leicester city centre trying to make enough money for his train fare to London.

With barely enough money to get to the capital city for acting auditions, James said when he first landed the role on the ITV soap, it was only for eight episodes.

“I didn’t think this would be a career-defining role,” he said.

James has played Sam Dingle for 25 years
James has played Sam Dingle for 25 years. Picture: ITV

“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.

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“I saw it as a means to an end. I was invited back after those eight episodes and here we are, 25 years later.”

James joined the soap all the way back 1995 along with screen parents Zak (Steve Halliwell) and Nellie (Sandra Gough), and siblings Tina (Jacqueline Pirie) and Butch.

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And after a quarter of a century playing Sam, the dad-of-two - who he shares with fiancée Nancy Lucas - admitted he gets worried about losing his job and not being able to provide for his family.

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

He added: “I would love to see the Dingle clan still going in 25 years. They will have taken over the village by then, there are so many of them. They’ll be running amok.”

This comes after James previously revealed he almost quit the soap a few years back.

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."