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Line of Duty star Vicky’s detective work uncovers Paul Weller’s Welsh roots

25 May 2024 4 minute read
Left, Vicky McClure as Kate Fleming in the Line of Duty. Right, Paul Weller.

David Owens

She’s renowned as Detective Inspector Kate Fleming in the police drama that has captured everyone’s imaginations, Line of Duty.

While the nation held their breath when the final episode of Line of Duty aired, actress Vicky McClure, at the same time the actress solved a more pressing poser – certainly to Welsh fans of Paul Weller – the question of whether Wales can claim the Modfather as one of their own.

As part of an interview with Paul Weller in The Guardian, a number of star names were asked to pose a question to the iconic British musician, the creative colossus, who has scored a number one album in each of the last five decades.

Alongside questions from the likes of Richard Hawley, Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Rankin, Jo Whiley and Ray Winstone, Vicky – whose partner is Merthyr-born broadcaster and documentary film director, Jonny Owen – quizzed Weller on his Welsh roots.

She asked:  “My partner, Jonny Owen, is obsessed with you, to the point he actually claims that you’re Welsh. Well, have Welsh heritage! He even goes so far as to mention his home town of Merthyr Tydfil. Is this true?”

Luckily, the musician confirmed this to be true, adding he was very proud of the fact, also.

“Yes, all my mum’s family are from Merthyr and Aberdare, so I’m at least a quarter Taff! And very proud of that, too,” he answered.

Aberdare

Rumours of the musician’s hitherto unrevealed Welsh links first surfaced when he headlined at Cardiff Castle in 2015.

Then he confided to Valleys’ dwelling staff of promoter Orchard Entertainment, who staged his sun-bathed show at the city’s historic landmark, that his mum and nan were from Aberdare.

Ironically, one of Weller’s best mates is Stereophonics’ star Kelly Jones who is from Cwmaman, a couple of miles down the road from the Valleys’ town.

Weller told Orchard staff that he used to come to Aberdare for his holidays when he was a youngster and feels an affinity with Wales because of this.

He also joked that his late Welsh nan told him the only reason he was a singer is because he’s part Welsh!

60ft Dolls with Richard Parfitt, centre

It also appears the Weller family’s benevolence towards the Welsh first manifested itself many moons ago.

Richard Parfitt, former frontman of apocalypse riding Welsh hellraisers 60ft Dolls, tells a wonderful story of an heartwarming encounter with Weller’s mum in the mod god’s hometown, Woking in Surrey.

Parfitt, who was a starry-eyed teenage mod, who idolised Weller, had formed his first band The Messengers with long­time school friend Jeff Rose (of Dub War and Skindred fame).

He reveals how his band experienced a ‘pinch me I’m dreaming’ moment supporting The Jam in ’80 and ’81 after the teenage mods travelled to Woking with the express intention of handing their demo tape to Paul Weller.

“We had nobody we knew in the music industry. We had a mate who had a car and we drove down to Woking,” recalls Parfitt.

“We went in a local phone box, looked in the phonebook, found the name Weller – there was only two of them.

“I dialled the number but it was dead and I thought, ‘That must be it, they’ve changed the number to stop fans ringing’. So we went to the address and Weller’s mum answered the door.

“She invited us in, made us a cup of tea and toast. She was amazing. We gave her the demo then a couple of weeks later The Jam’s manager (Paul’s dad) John Weller, who was a former boxer and a big Cockney geezer, phoned us and offered us a few gigs.

“I remember he rang us up and said: ‘Are you the blokes who’ve been bothering my missus’?

“He was fantastic and paid us £50 a gig. What a dream for us at such a young age to support The Jam.”

Paul Weller yesterday released his new album, ’66’, and today he celebrates his 66th birthday.

Penblywdd Hapus Paul!


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
18 days ago

I was aware that Paul Weller had Welsh ancestry. Coincidentally there are other equally famous pop & rock stars with Welsh roots. Suggs of Madness: Singer & frontman Suggs aka Graham McPherson of Madness has a Welsh mother, Edith Gower, whe was born in Haverfordwest. As a child was estranged from his drug addict alcoholic father who died in 1975, and he spent his early years living in Wales before moving to London with his mother. Howerd Jones: The 80s synth icon Howerd Jones although born in Southampton., England both parents hail from Wales. He spent his early years in… Read more »

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