Created 30th March 2003
Updated 1st July 2003


Charachter: Steve Butler

Played by: William Snape

IMDB entry for William Snape

Appeared from: 17 January 2003 - 22 May 2003

Steve is the son of Wilf Butler a struggling farmer.

William Snape was born 17 April 1985 at Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, UK

The Mirror How Emmerdale's William Rebuilt His Dreams Of Fame


Mar 19 2003


By Claire Donnelly

AS the child star of hit film The Full Monty, William Snape seemed set for a long and glittering showbiz career.

At 12, he caused a sensation in the Oscar-nominated movie and was bombarded by directors believing he was the next big thing.
Between auditions, William spent his time being mobbed by fans and enjoying the celebrity circuit.

But the bubble burst for the Sheffield-born schoolboy as he struggled to get his next big break.

William - known to friends and family as Wim - was involved in a horrific accident. His family feared he would die and doctors were amazed he did not lose his leg.
Now 17, he is hoping to make his mark again after joining ITV soap Emmerdale as farmer Stephen Butler.

Speaking of his ordeal for the first time, he reveals the truth about his accident and tells how his faltering career left him depressed and disheartened.
He says: "It was weird going through years of people saying that I'd been in a great British film and that surely I'd be doing this and that.

" I thought I was going to be doing big things. I was getting sent scripts and going for auditions but just not getting them.

" It did leave me feeling down. Then the accident made things worse. I had to learn to walk again and spent seven months getting better. Doctors told me if it had happened 10 years ago, I would have lost my leg.

" It's not 100 per cent now but it doesn't stop me doing anything. I still play football with my friends.

" Emmerdale is a great opportunity and I'm determined to make the best of it. It's just what I wanted and I feel very lucky."

Lady Luck has certainly been a fickle mistress to William.
Plucked from obscurity to play Nathan, Robert Carlyle's son in the 1997 film The Full Monty, the Sheffield-born youngster found himself catapulted in to the spotlight.

" It all happened very quickly," he says. "One minute I was at school, the next I was in Hollywood.

" The casting director had come into school, looking for someone to be in the film.
" She said it was going to be a low-budget film that might not even make it to the cinema.

" I wasn't liking school much and it sounded like good fun.

" I went through seven auditions and the last one was nerve-racking because Robert Carlyle was there.

" But we got on and felt really comfortable with each other." Amazed he got the part -

" when my mum and dad told me, I ran round screaming" - he loved every minute of filming.

" I decided then that I wanted to be an actor," he says. "I just knew this was the life for me."

Although William's mum Jenny, 49, who lives with his brother and her boyfriend near the young actor, warned him not to be disappointed if the film wasn't a success, when it was released in America, the team realised they had a huge hit on their hands.
William flew to LA for the premiere and was inundated with offers. "There was an after-show party and every actor had their own table and at each there was a queue of about 15 agents, casting directors and managers wanting to sign us up. It was mad."

Back in England, William who lives with dad Duncan, 50, and a stepbrother and sister, found himself thrown into the showbiz world. "I enjoyed it all," he says. "I went to the BAFTAs and met everyone - Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Dame Judi Dench. It was overwhelming.

" At the comedy awards, I remember standing at the urinals with Ewan McGregor and Chris Evans. It was like another world."

The film made William a rich boy, too. Producer Uberto Pasolini gave the cast and crew a share of the profits, estimated at £100,000 each.

BUT away from the hype and applause, things weren't so much fun. Some of his friends at Dobcroft Junior School resented William's success and when he moved up to Silverdale School, things got worse.

" At first, I tried not to tell people too much about the filming but it was hard explaining where I'd been for six weeks.

" It's strange because you soon know who your friends are - a lot of the people I auditioned with were my friends from school... and they're not now. No one said anything to my face but people would keep their distance.

" For the Year Six ball - at the end of primary school - I hired a limo for all my friends, thinking it would be a laugh.

" I wasn't trying to be flash, I just thought it would be fun. But my mum told me that some girls were saying: `Look at him, coming to a little party in a car like that, he's such a show-off.'

" It was difficult starting a new school because they all knew me but I didn't know them. You'd hear people saying, `The Full Monty kid is at our school'. Every time I walked down the corridor they'd sing tunes from the film."

Soon, the attention from fans became too much to bear, too.

" I couldn't go into town," he sighs. "There were loads of people recognising me. One day, this group of girls started pulling hairs out of my head. One was saying: `I'll keep it for ever!'"

Still trying out for parts - "it became a routine: audition for something, then get the rejection" - William began to wonder if he'd ever make it.

Then at 14, the accident happened and everything changed.

Leaving school one afternoon, he was hit by a car as he crossed the road. His leg was so badly broken, William needed two operations and 18 steel pins to get him back on his feet.

Fidgeting nervously, he says: "One minute I was walking out, the next thing I knew I was flying through the air. I remember seeing red and landing on my head. I was in a lot of pain. I spoke to people later who saw it happen - they said I'd flown so high up, it looked like something out of a film.

" I came round but when I tried to stand, my leg was broken. It couldn't support my weight and I collapsed.

" There were also cuts all up my arm but just a tiny bump on my head - it's a miracle I didn't have head injuries.

" They took me to hospital and put me under anaesthetic so they could manipulate my leg and put it in a cast.

" But overnight it really swelled and the pain was unbearable. They took the cast off and rushed me into the operating theatre, where they put in four steel pins.

" They realised that wasn't really working so I had to have another operation where they put in 18 pins.

" I've got scars all over my legs and the pain was excruciating. I was on every kind of drug - they gave me morphine on demand.

" After three weeks, I couldn't even sit or stand up. When I did, I vomited - it was a combination of the tablets and being laid-up for so long.

" Then for seven months I had to clean out the holes where the pins were, to make sure there were no germs there that could cause infection.

" It was a nightmare, really. It's not the type of thing you ever think could happen to you. It was awful for my parents. My dad and brother were in Surrey at the time and one of my sister's friends called them and said: `Will's been in an accident, he might not have much longer. Come back.' They made it there in about an hour.

" After things stabilised, I had to learn to walk again and needed physiotherapy every day... But I got there in the end."

STILL keen to pursue his acting career, William enrolled on a drama course in Chesterfield, Derbys, before starting a full-time course in October last year.
But just two months later, he got the big break he'd been waiting for.
Trying out for the part of Emmerdale's Stephen Butler, he approached the audition in Leeds with some scepticism. But by the time he got back to Sheffield, they'd offered him the job.

His first scenes were aired in January and William has since become a regular on the show. He now gets stacks of fan mail, though he's currently single, and says he couldn't be happier - especially because few people recognise him on the street any more.

Dressed in faded jeans and a white Lacoste T-shirt, William looks like any other Yorkshire lad - the only sign of his TV star status is the expensive- looking Burberry bag he slings over his shoulder as he gets ready to leave.
Smiling broadly, he seems to have finally found the success he deserves.

" Everyone has been so kind to me," he explains. "The cast are great and have made me really welcome - they are some of my best friends now.

" I'm just pleased that I've been given this chance.

" Acting is a tough business - I've learnt that the hard way - but I feel like things are working out for me."

Did The Butler Do It?

Monday | 19.05.03

Andy and Steve

Emmerdale youngster Stephen Butler is finding it hard to cope.

The confused lad is sick of all the taunts over his sexuality, especially as his closest friend Andy has now joined in.

And things go from bad to worse tonight as Donna Windsor, who had a disastrous date with him, discovers that he might be gay.

Instead of keeping the information to herself, Donna decides to confront the object of her affections.

William Snape, who plays Stephen, explains, "News gets back to Donna and she's livid. She lays into Stephen about wasting her time when he was gay all along.

"Stephen knows Andy was behind this latest lie, and so he feels very betrayed."

And William reveals that Stephen is not going to put up with the nastiness much longer.

"I won't say how he solves the problem," he says, "but it is drastic and it certainly shuts everyone up."


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