Emmerdale’s Caleb star William Ash’s life off screen including famous family member
3rd February 2023

Since arriving on our screens in December 2022 as Caleb Milligan, Emmerdale star William Ash has delighted audiences as the long lost Dingle sibling in the wake of mum Faith’s tragic death.

When suave businessman Caleb first arrived in the village, viewers were suspicious about what had brought him to the Yorkshire village, with several fans questioning why Cain had kept his identity a secret for so long.

However, while Caleb’s life remains a mystery – William’s is far more easy to track, as the star has been an active member of the acting scene for over thirty years now.

Here we take a closer look at everything we know about the star’s life away from the Dales.

Early Years

Will was born in Chadderton near Oldham, to an engineer father and a police civilian mother, where he spent much of his early life before being bitten by the acting bug.

Alongside his parents, Will also revealed he has one sister, who these days works as a teacher of psychology and sociology.

Despite showing a clear interest in drama at school thanks to the support and encouragement of his teacher Colin Snell, acting wasn’t always Will’s dream job – as he previously revealed he had actually wanted to be a footballer in his youth!

“My dad played a lot of football and played semi professionally and that is what I wanted to do, be a footballer, until I was 16/17,” he told Inkpellet back in 2012.

Sadly the dream wasn’t meant to be, as he admitted: “I think I was deluded that I could make it as a footballer when I look at it! I broke my leg playing football when I was 15 and couldn’t play for a year so the acting took over.”

It was also during his school years that Will first met and made friends with his future co-star Jeff Hordley, with the pair having known each other for several years prior to his Emmerdale debut.

First roles

Having decided to pursue a serious career in acting, one of Will’s very first roles was actually in Coronation Street, when he cameo’d for one episode as a character named Spike at the age of just 10 years old back in 1987.

From there he continued to star in numerous productions, typically for single episode runs, including in 90’s favourites such as Heartbeat, and even enjoyed a role as a series regular in Children’s Ward, from 1989 – 1991.

Continuing on his road to success, numerous more roles followed, including serious regular roles in Beck, Where the Heart Is, and even Clocking Off.

Career success

By the 00’s, Will had established himself as a formidable actor, with his name frequently popping up in a number of iconic shows, including BBC favourite Doctor Who.

One of his best roles however, has to be his three year stint as Christopher Mead in Waterloo Road, where he played the deputy head teacher at the troubled school – a role which did previously get him into hot water with his sister, a fellow teacher, who liked to tell the star where he was going wrong!

During his Inkpellet interview, Will recalled: “I phoned my sister one day while she was at school and she answered the phone. I said, ‘you’re not in a class, are you? And she replied, “No Will, I wouldn’t answer the phone in class – this is not Waterloo Road!””

After making the decision to leave the educational drama, Will went on to star in Great Night Out and Being Eileen, before even picking up roles in British-French crime drama The Tunnel, Wanderlust, and even Silent Witness.

In 2022 however, he returned to his soap roots, this time swapping the cobbles for a stint in the Yorkshire dales, as he joined the Emmerdale cast as Caleb Milligan, the long lost brother of Cain and Chastity Dingle.

Personal Life

Very little is known about Will’s personal life as he prefers to keep it under wraps and focus on his acting roles only, however he is believed to have two children and still resides in Manchester.

Famous cousin

One thing that is known for sure however, is that acting genes clearly run in the family, as William also has a famous soap star cousin in rival soap Coronation Street.

Will is the older cousin of Peter Ash, who fans will best recognise as Paul Foreman, the twin brother of Gemma Winter.

Peter first joined the soap back in 2018, and prior to that was best known for starring as Darius Fry in Footballer’s Wives between 2003 and 2006.


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