Line of Duty star Vicky’s detective work uncovers Paul Weller’s Welsh roots
She’s renowned as Detective Inspector Kate Fleming in the police drama that has captured everyone’s imaginations, Line of Duty.
While the nation hangs on the outcome of the final episode and the question of just who is ‘H’, actress Vicky McClure, has finally 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.
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!”
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 releases his new album ‘Fat Pop’ on May 14. Find out more here.
Paul Weller and Vicky McClure were special guests on the Jonathan Ross show last night. You can watch it back here.