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When a murder touches your own family; TV DRAMA WILL MAKE ANEIRIN A STAR.

WHEN ANEIRIN Hughes walks down the street, he doesn't have to worry about being pestered by adoring fans.

As yet, his TV career has been limited enough to ensure that no one recognises him.

But that may all be about to change for the actor who trained originally as a classical singer and was a regular performer at Glyndebourne.

On Monday night Aneirin, who lives with his wife and two children near Carmarthen, stars in a gritty BBC2 drama that could send his career in an entirely new direction.

He plays Detective Constable Ted Lyle in Summer in the Suburbs, alongside Tessa Peake Jones, of Only Fools and Horses fame. They are the parents of three teenagers.

When a 14-year-old girl is found murdered in a field, the local community goes into shock.

He and his wife worry about the safety of their children.

But when one of his own children is suspected, an enthralling drama unfolds.

The couple then face the terrifying dilemma of deciding whether to help their child evade the law, or to turn them in.

"I went along to a police station in London to do some research for the role and the police were really helpful," he said.

"My character in the drama is having an affair and one of the detectives showing me round was also having an affair.

"He told me how they always know when a colleague is what they call OTS, Over The Side.

"Once they are discovered having an affair not much is said, but often it puts a stop to career advancement.

"Those officers keep their shaving kit in their office drawer and clothes in their lockers. The man I was with showed me a cupboard in his office. It must have had his whole wardrobe in there."

Being busy is something Aneirin craves. But he decided to head back to his roots in Wales for the quieter moments. He and his theatre and TV director wife, Pip Broughton, quit the south of England.

He said: "We bought a great old farmhouse in a village in west Wales, by the sea and in the middle of an organic farm."

Aneirin is the first to admit that he came into acting relatively late, after taking a music degree at Aberystwyth.

"I was convinced I was going to be a conductor."

He then took a post-graduate course in opera at Glasgow University.

After four years at Glyndebourne where he "did a lot of understudying and chorus roles", he met a theatre director who cast him in As You Like It at the Old Vic. "It was a turning point and I realised I could move into acting," he said.

"I was about 30 and it was late to swap careers. I look at these young actors doing wonderful work and I think I should have done it at their age not at 41, which I am now."

Aneirin, who looks much younger, is frank about his short operatic career.

He said: "When I worked with small companies I would sing the lead. When it was a big company it would be a small role, or the chorus. I got fed up.

"In opera you need a good, well maintained voice. That means no smoky pubs and no drinking because it dehydrates you."

Aneirin has been spending more time at home as Pip has been directing The Bill and other TV shows. He hopes his new role may make his face better known to casting directors.

"Acting is very competitive," he said. "There are a lot of good actors out there. There are also a lot of not very good ones who get work just because people know their names.

"There has been discrimination from some London TV executives against Welsh productions, but the tide is turning. There is so much happening here that they can't ignore it.

"We just need to have a good film made here and then maybe I won't have so far to travel to work."

-Summer In The Suburbs is on BBC2 on Monday night.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Leask, Annie
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 6, 2000
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