Cover Story: I Put on My Uniform and Ask What's the B****** Up to Now? I Love It; Todd Carty Is Lapping Up Life as Bill Bad Boy Gabriel
Byline: By STEVE HENDRY
When Todd Carty joined The Bill someone should have handed him a spade and told him to start digging.
For after decades of playing some of British telly's most popular characters in Grange Hill, Tucker's Luck and EastEnders he has well and truly killed his Mr Nice Guy image stone dead.
As twisted PC Gabriel Kent in The Bill, Todd, 40, has revealed a dark side which has buried his past lives as loveable rogue Tucker Jenkins and the dependable market trader Mark Fowler.
Gabriel's evil plot to romance Sun Hill favourite June Ackland then tell her she's his long-lost mum has shocked even the most loyal Bill fans. And that's saying something considering the number of psycho killers in uniform featured in the show.
While Gabriel may be no angel, Todd brims with glee when he talks about him. Nice is dead. Long live nasty.
He said: 'He's an evil son of a bitch but absolutely love him. come to work, put on my uniform, turn the page of the script and think right, what's the b****** up to next?
'I'm loving every minute of it. I lick my lips every time I turn a page of a new script.'
The truth about Gabriel's relationship with June played by Trudie Goodwin is in the process of coming out. It turns out she's not really Gabriel's mother but his adopted brother's mum.
But that didn't stopped months of shock, horror headlines about a plot which many believed had pushed the boundaries of taste and gone too far.
Todd is not one of them. He said: 'I expected the reaction. It's not a grandma-bakes-a-cake storyline, is it? But know there is a journey to it.
'At the end of the day I'm an actor playing a part. To me, it doesn't matter if it's controversial or not.
'Gabriel Kent knows June is not his real mother so he is just doing it out of spite. He holds all the cards and is the only one who knows everything.
'He is horrible to June because his real parents were killed in an accident because of an argument they had with her son, his adopted brother.
'So he blames June for bringing her son into his life and ruining it.
'People assume they know this and that but Gabriel is the only one who knows all the history between him and June so he is twisting the knife and being really, really nasty.
'It was only when she revealed that her real son was the result of a rape that we saw some heart in Gabriel coming out. That's why he tells her he is not her real son.
'Do sound like I'm trying to justify it? Oh my God. There is no excuse... but that's the reason why he is like he is.'
Todd takes the infamy of Gabriel Kent in his stride. He has been acting since he was four, starting off in adverts for Woolies, before finding fame in 1978 as a 13-year-old when he starred as Grange Hill's lad-about-the-playground Tucker Jenkins.
He was the hero of every schoolboy who ever picked up a catapult and was also a spotty sex symbol for teenage girls everywhere.
A measure of Tucker's popularity is that Grange Hill's creator, Phil Redmond, created a spin-off series, Tucker's Luck, due to public demand.
Todd said: 'I remember reading the scripts from Grange Hill and there was this character called Tucker Jenkins who thought he was bionic.
'He could throw water bombs at teachers and get away with bloody murder which I would have been leathered for in real life.
'Then he discovered girls and a leather jacket and a motorbike and Tucker's Luck was off. It was a wonderful part and he was great fun to play.'
Despite achieving fame at such a young age, Todd escaped from that time unscathed.
He was lucky. He avoided the bright lights and kept out of the headlines. He was allowed to get on with a normal life and looks on today's young stars with something approaching middle-aged bemusement. …