Reece Dinsdale: Emmerdale actor’s career highlights as character Paul Ashford is brutally killed off

Dinsdale has starred in Home to Roost and Corrie - but will now focus on his career as a director

ITV’s Emmerdale has killed off abusive dad, Paul Ashdale, played by Reece Dinsdale.

The actor had been directing on the soap and has confirmed he will be returning behind the camera now that his character Paul is dead.

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On 1 April, Ashdale was struck by Jimmy King’s van, before being crushed by a beam and trapped in a barn explosion - there was no chance of survival.

Here, we look back at Dinsdale’s career highlights as Paul Ashdale, what other roles he has starred in and what he said about returning to his directing role.

Who is Reece Dinsdale?

Dinsdale is a 61-year-old actor and director, from Normanton in West Yorkshire.

He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1980, before initially working in theatre.

Dinsdale will resume his role as director, having met an explosive end in Emmerdale (Picture: ITV)

Dinsdale has starred in a number of films, short series and soaps across his four-decade-long career.

He is married to Northern Irish actress, Zara Turner, and the couple have two children

Most notably, he has won an International Critics award for his role in police thriller, ID (1994) and led the cast of many musicals - including a performance on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre.

In 2014, he was awarded a Yorkshire Award for Services to Arts and Entertainment and has since become the first actor to be named Associate Artist at The West Yorkshire Playhouse.

In 2017, Dinsdale was made a patron of the Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax.

What happened to him on Emmerdale?

Dinsdale joined the cast of Emmerdale in early 2020, as Paul Ashdale. He was the father of Vinny and former partner of Mandy Dingle.

Vinny originally didn’t know he was Paul’s son, welcoming him into his life as his mother’s new and very loving partner - unaware they had been a couple in the past.

However, things turned sinister as Vinny became aware that Paul was his dad and was suffering with a gambling addiction.

It was also revealed that Mandy was not Vinny’s mother, but had stepped in to raise him when Paul left her with their young son years previous.

Paul went on to mentally abuse and batter his son, in the absence of unsuspecting Mandy.

In recent weeks, Vinny’s girlfriend Liv Flaherty discovered the truth and was determined to expose him but on Thursday night’s (1 April) episode Paul attacked her before throwing her through a table.

This week, Emmerdale producers teased an explosive storyline as Paul prepared to wed Mandy.

The show confirmed that Paul, Liv or Jimmy King - who has been in the show for 17 years, would die.

On Thursday’s episode,, there was no April fooling when Paul met a gruesome end.

Jimmy King crashed his van through the barn wall after Liv was attacked.

The crash sent Paul and Liv into the air, before Paul was crushed by a falling beam.

Liv attempted to save him, but evacuated the barn as she waited for the emergency services to arrive.

Before help arrived, the barn exploded and she was knocked unconscious - the three were then rushed to hospital.

Viewers then watched as Paul flatlined, leaving a heartbroken Mandy in her wedding dress and sobbing for him not to leave her.

What else has Dinsdale starred in?

In 1981, Dinsdale made his on screen debut in Granada production, Knife Edge. This was followed by his role as Albert in Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime series for ITV in 1982.

Dinsdale was then cast as Matthew Willows in sitcom, Home to Roost, where he played the unruly teenage son of his co-star, John Thaw. The series ran for five seasons, from 1985 to 1990.

He went on to co-star in comedy Haggard in the early 90s, before winning the International Critics Award for best actor at the Geneva Film Festival for his leading role in British feature film, ID (1994).

Based on the true story, the film told the story of the demise of a police officer who goes undercover to root out a firm of football hooligans.

He then took on several other roles in short series and theatre, before returning to primetime TV in 2008 as Joe McIntyre, the father of Tina McIntyre in ITV’s Coronation Street.

Dinsdale quit the show in 2010, with his co-star Michelle Keegan telling Digital Spy: “I'm really upset, I don't want him to [leave.] He thinks it's his time to go and it'll be very sad when he does.

“I love working with him, he's such a great character. I love him to bits, so it's going to be very, very sad."

He then took on guest roles in BBC’s Waterloo Road, Taggart and Moving On, as well as returning to leading performances in theatre - including as Walter Harrison in James Graham's play This House on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre.

In February 2020, it was confirmed that he would join the cast of Emmerdale as Paul Ashdale.

What will he do now?

Dinsdale has confirmed he will return to directing Emmerdale.

Speaking after his character met a grisly demise, he said: “I was actually directing on Emmerdale when I was asked, right out of the blue, if I would like to play Paul.

"I’m delighted to announce, therefore, that I shall begin directing once again on the show in a couple of weeks time," he revealed.

"I’m the cat that got the cream!" he added.

Asked about how he felt about his character’s death and his return to directing, he said: "I'm thrilled if I’m honest.

“It has been hugely difficult doing scores of interviews with press, tv and radio for the past month whilst trying not to let the cat out of the bag.”

And, on working with co-stars Lisa Riley (Mandy) and Bradley Johnson (Vinny) he said: "They made me so very welcome from the off, and that never changed.

"We worked hard and laughed a lot. I will still be working with them, just in a different capacity. Boy, am I going to crack that whip."