Corrie and Casualty star, Rupert Hill will play the passionate gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, in a new stage production of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Ahead of his appearance at Malvern Theatres, where the adaptation of the DH Lawrence classic will enjoy a run from February 25 to February 29, he spoke about the role and the controversial novel which has become, he says, “a new favourite”.

Hill said: “I knew very little about the book to be honest. I’m ashamed to say that I think I’d kind of dismissed it as a ‘50 Shades’ of the 1920’s! But I read the script and I thought it was stunning. Very theatrical and immersive and this really excited me. So much so that prior to my audition I decided to prioritise reading the book, over learning my lines! A risky strategy but it paid off. The book is without a doubt a new favourite of mine. It’s without question a masterpiece, way ahead of its time and devastatingly relevant. To describe it as an erotic novel would be a woeful misunderstanding. It’s a philosophical book about truly being alive and in love. I’m so enthralled that I’m going to be involved in a new retelling.”

Hill concedes that the novel is “very explicit”, but he added: “It amuses me that the very people who sought to have the book banned were also the target of it’s ridicule. The bourgeois and arrogant position of dictating what people can or can’t say in their creative pursuits. So stuffy and boring and meanwhile they completely failed to see what a beautiful and progressive love letter to nature Lawrence had written. Life imitated art here quite profoundly.

“The story asks of us to transcend the tedious trappings of class and social status and seek a higher state of mutual wellbeing through openness and human contact and love. It’s a meditative, cathartic journey. I hope we can create something intense, challenging, raw and ultimately life affirming for our audiences.”

Phoebe Marshall will play the equally passionate Lady Chatterley.

Tickets: 01684 892277