FORMER Brookside star John McArdle has followed in the footsteps of the pioneers who created the Co-operative movement by appearing in a new film which will be shown on TV on Sunday.

John, who lives in the Ribble Valley, worked alongside former Born and Bred star John Henshaw in the film The Rochdale Pioneers which will be screened on Film 4 on Sunday.

They were the only two established actors on the production which, fittingly, was produced by the Co-operative British Youth Film Academy.

“I have worked on some projects before with inexperienced crews and it can have its moments,” said John. “But this was a very professional operation from start to finish.”

In the film John plays Dr Dunlop, the man who gave the Rochdale Pioneers their first premises in the town.

“He was actually a Conservative MP but he was the man who gave these fledgling enterpreneurs their chance.”

From one store in Rochdale, the Co-op movement has blossomed to become a recognised economic model with over 1.4million co-peratives now running across the world.

“Those pioneers were remarkable men,” said John.

Having become one of Britain’s most recognisable TV actors, working on Gallowglass and Prime Suspect as well as playing Billy Corkhill on Channel 4’s long-running soap, John was delighted to encourage young talent.

“I remember when I was in Prime Suspect and Helen Mirren stood up at the first read through and said to all the younger actors, ‘if you don’t understand or are unsure about anything’ then ask for help. I think that’s a very professional attitude which I’ve always tried to follow.

“I’m a member of Bafta so I am very involved in all aspects of film production and If I can help young people come into the industry and gain valueble experience I am only too happy to do it.”

The Rochdale Pioneers, Film Four, Sunday, 5.45pm