Updated 27th May 2004

About Billy Hartman who plays Terry Woods
(2 February 1995 - )

Billy Hartman



IMDB entry: Billy Hartman

Terry Woods fan card circa 2002

 

A Huge Big Thank you to Paul Berridge who has made various profiles and photos availabe to this site. They were previously on his Beckindale site (that is no more). This is one of those profiles - although the coloured boxes and additional information from 2001 onwards have been added.


Leading The Woolpackers into the Top 10 with the 1996 single 'Hillbilly Rock Hillbilly Roll' as lead singer and bass guitarist fulfilled one of actor Billy Hartman's musical ambitions, although an appearance in a concert hall rather than on Top of the Pops was what he craved as a child.
'I played the trumpet and wanted to be a classical musician,' says Edinburgh-born Billy, who plays Terry Woods in Emmerdale. 'But I wasn't good enough to be a soloist, so I went to drama school instead.'
The actor couldn't get his love of music out of his blood, though, and he went on to perform in stage musicals, playing the young Elvis in the West End hit Elvis and Bill Sikes in Oliver! at Sadler's Wells, as well as appearing in The Hired Man and Which Witch. Billy compered the seventies television revival of the popular fifties rock 'n' roll series Oh Boy!, in which Emmerdale actress Deena Payne also appeared, and Let's Rock. He was known as'GBH' - Grievous Billy Hartman.
His vocal skills came to the fore when he performed the theme song for the television series Dear Heart, which was released as a single, released his version of the Elvis Presley classic Return to Sender and other records with the Random Band. 'I had quite a good period doing rock 'n' roll stuff, but I wanted to go back to serious acting, so I went into rep in Derby, Oldham and Southampton,' he says.
He also acted on television in the 'Screen Two' play Shadow on the Earth, written by his best friend, David Kane. It was about growing up in a mining village, and Billy - the son of a retired miner from Polbeth, in West Lothian - played his own father. Another meaty television role followed as one of the leading characters in writer David Edgar's wartime trilogy Vote for them, filmed in Egypt.
His many other screen appearances include roles in Minder, CATS. Eyes, Boon, Fairly Secret Army, Trainer, Taggart, Civvies, Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, The Bill, Casualty, Heartbeat and 99-1, and he acted Dougal in the film Highlander.
Auditioning for the role of Terry Woods in Emmerdale in 1995 was daunting. 'He's supposed to be an ex-rugby player,' says Billy, 'and there were five really huge blokes also waiting to audition. I thought I'd come for the wrong job, although I had played Rugby Union until I broke my nose during a game while I was in the musical Elvis.'
But Billy landed the part and was teamed with former Coronation Street actress Michelle Holmes as his screen wife Britt. When they joined Emmerdale, it was known that Michelle would be staying for only six months. 'I presumed I would leave, too,' says Billy, 'which is why I took the job. I never wanted to do soap. When I was a young actor, it was the kiss of death. But it's such a different world now. Now, it's the only way to get other parts - every major made series seems to have a soap actor. Britt & Terry
Britt and Terry
But the break-up of Terry and Britt's marriage ensured continued employment on Emmerdale for Billy, although the actor has reservations about the way his character is depicted sometimes. 'Like all the male characters in Emmerdale,' he says, 'Terry is a bit of a prat. The balance of the sexual politics is slightly askew. It balances other programmes on television, but all the soaps have strongly cast female characters and there are very few strong male characters.' In real life, Billy is married to freelance television and film make-up designer Karen Hartley, and commutes between London and Yorkshire by plane.
His career turned full circle when an RCA record executive heard about Farmer Giles and the Chalfonts, the group that Billy had formed with Emmerdale actors Alun Lewis and Steve Halliwell, performing a mixture of country rock and rock 'n' roll. 'It all started when we got together to play at the Emmerdale end~of-year party in 1995,' recalls Billy. 'We then started playing in local pubs and clubs together. Then Simon Lowell from RCA Records approached us and married the music to linedancing and the single "Hillbilly Rock Hillbilly Roll" did incredibly well.'
The Woolpackers

Taken from the emmerdale companion by Anthony Hayward

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