Sir Ian McKellen was banned from having a role in Emmerdale, here's why

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Sir Ian McKellen is among the most respectable British actors with a career spanning decades, but it turns out he was once banned from joining Emmerdale for this reason.

Sir Ian McKellen, a highly esteemed British actor, has graced the stage and screen with his remarkable talent for decades. Known for his powerful performances in both classical theater and popular films, McKellen has become a revered figure in the world of acting. From his iconic portrayal of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings to his captivating stage roles in Shakespearean plays, McKellen's contributions to the arts are immeasurable.

Sir Ian McKellen was banned from having a role in Emmerdale, here's why David M. Benett

In a recent revelation, Sir Ian McKellen shared an intriguing story about his aspirations to appear in every soap opera, playing the same character. However, an unexpected obstacle emerged when he attempted to secure a role in Emmerdale.

Happy memories in soap opera

In 2005, Sir Ian McKellen had a memorable stint on the popular British soap opera Coronation Street. He portrayed the character of Lionel Hipkiss, a charismatic con artist who posed as an author named Mel Hutchwright.

Lionel's storyline revolved around his attempts to deceive the street's book club into funding the publication of his non-existent novel. However, his plans were ultimately foiled by Ken Barlow, played by William Roache, who exposed Lionel's true identity.

Reflecting on his time on Coronation Street, McKellen said he has ‘happy’ memories of his time on the soap. Motivated by his positive experience on Coronation Street, Sir Ian McKellen hatched a plan to expand his soap opera repertoire. He envisioned portraying his Coronation Street character, Lionel Hipkiss, in other popular soaps, starting with Emmerdale.

Sir Ian McKellen was banned from having a role in Emmerdale, here's why Mike Marshall

McKellen approached Emmerdale with his idea, and the soap initially expressed enthusiasm for his involvement. While appearing on This Morning, Sir Ian, 84, said:

'I had the idea that I might go into other soaps as the same character. I got onto Emmerdale and they said: 'Yes, we’re up for it'. I was just going to call up Eastenders, and say: 'Can I just be a character sitting in the Queen Vic?'

Failed attempt for Emmerdale role

Despite Emmerdale's initial interest, Sir Ian McKellen's plan to appear in the soap opera faced an unexpected obstacle. Tony Warren, the late creator of Coronation Street, intervened and disapproved of McKellen's idea.

According to McKellen, Warren firmly stated that soap operas should not recognize each other, effectively blocking him from playing his Coronation Street character in Emmerdale or any other soap opera.

'Tony Warren who invented Coronation Street said 'Absolutely not, the soaps do not recognise each other and you may not be that character anywhere else'.’
Sir Ian McKellen was banned from having a role in Emmerdale, here's why SOPA Images

Inside Sir Ian McKellen's low-key life

Apart from his soap opera ambitions, Sir Ian McKellen's personal life is of interest to many.

According to The Express, he resides in Limehouse, located in East London, and is reported to live on the same road as The Grapes, a pub he co-owns with his former partner, film director Sean Mathias, and businessman Evgeny Lebedev. The trio are all directors of a company called Pies Pub Ltd. The Grapes, a Grade-II listed pub on Narrow Street, has a rich history dating back to the 16th century.

Read more:

Emmerdale star Lisa Riley will never marry her fiancé because of this heartbreaking reason

Sir Ian McKellen: Why has he never married?

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