Parry Glasspool has become a bit of a heart-throb in hit TV soap Hollyoaks. David Johns talks to the young actor who while receiving rave reviews never forgets his Midlands roots
They’re a talented lot in the Glasspool family. Mum and dad are both teachers in Birmingham, youngest son Lloyd is a promising tennis player on a scholarship in Texas and is already in the world’s top 500 professionals – while older brother Parry is known by millions of TV soap fans as ‘the Hollyoaks hunk’. If you’re not a follower five nights a week of the goings-on in Channel 4’s fictional suburb of Chester then take it from me, you don’t know what you’re missing – particularly the impressive rise of Parry since he joined the series in 2014. His performances as gay student Harry Thompson have won him rave reviews, including a Best Newcomer nomination at the recent National Television Awards. It’s all proved to be a bit of a whirlwind time for the 23-year-old from Hollywood who not so long ago was a student at Stratford-upon-Avon College before graduating with a BA in drama from university.
OUT OF THE BLUE
“The Best Newcomer nomination came totally out of the blue and it was just amazing to be part of such a huge event,” says Parry. “The past 18 months or so have been unbelievable in so many ways. It’s all happened really fast for me.” Parry’s teachers at Stratford and, before that, at Woodrush High School in Wythall are understandable proud of their protégé. His fledgling interest in acting started with appearances in a couple of school plays. “I remember one was Bugsy Malone,” he says. From the age of 12 he also attended acting workshops at the Playbox Theatre in Solihull. “I enjoyed learning everything I could about acting and the stage, but I never did any of the plays there,” he explains. While most of Parry’s classmates went on to the school’s sixth form, he opted instead to go to Stratford College. “It’s known for being more of a performing arts college,” he says. “It’s where I really got into drama and I guess you could say where I really came out of my shell. It was a bit like being at the Fame Academy…” From Stratford, Parry went on to study drama at the University of West London in Kingston – and it’s here that he got his big break. While most graduates can only imagine what it must be like to get their dream job, it all quickly became a reality for Parry. Halfway into his third year at Kingston, Parry was ‘discovered’ by an agent and that led to him clinching a part in 2013 in the sixth and final series of the Hollyoaks spin-off called Hollyoaks Later. “I was so lucky to be in that,” he admits, “because the people who run Hollyoaks got to know me and could see what I could do – and I got to work with incredible people like Danny Dyer [known to millions these days as EastEnders’ landlord Mick Carter].
FOOD ON THE PLATE
“Then a bit later I was asked to audition for Hollyoaks itself and landed the part of Harry which was just brilliant. It’s great on Hollyoaks, the cast and crew are just like one big family.” Because of his ‘day’ job, Parry currently lives in the Sefton Park area of Liverpool, a 10-minute commute to the Hollyoaks studios. “Sometimes you can be filming five scenes a day which is pretty full-on, but I wouldn’t change it. I love what I’m doing. “I could happily stay here as long as I can, or until they decide to kill me off, or something. Eventually I’d like to do some theatre too. That’s a bit like going back to basics if you know what I mean. But I’d always want to do more TV than theatre because it pays a lot more and keeps food on the plate!” Parry also says he’s hoping ‘something big’ will happen for his character in Hollyoaks. Harry is known for stripping off his shirt at any opportunity, which according to Parry is “great with me“. But he adds: “What I’d really like is to be able to get my teeth stuck into a huge storyline. That’d be so special…”