July 11, 2008

Pobol Pin-Up Could Become Top of the Heart-Throbs ; Rhys Bidder in Bachelor of the Year Shortlist

By Steffan Rhys

AN ACTOR has become the latest Poboly Cwmstar to find fame outside the soap, after being shortlisted for the Bachelor of the Year title.

Rhys Bidder, known to fans of the long-running Welsh-language drama as bad boy Macs, is about to join an exclusive band of the nation's TV heartthrobs after making the Company magazine list.

The soap opera has previously been the springboard to fame for Ioan Gruffudd, who went from a child actor in the show to landing starring roles in Hollywood.

Described as a list of "50ofBritain's sexiest bachelors" the magazine's selections, who are revealed in full tomorrow, also feature Cardiff athlete Tim Abeyie and X Factor singer Andy Williams from Newport.

Mr Bidder will now have to wait for a public vote to decide whether he will join former Blue Peter presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star Gethin Jones as an overall winner of the title.

But simply by being nominated, he has already joined the likes of T4 presenter Steve Jones, who has since been romantically linked with Hollywood stars.

"I didn't believe it when I was told I was in the top 50 bachelors in the UK.

Going to London for the photoshoot was a very surreal experience for me but it was great," said Mr Bidder from Swansea, who said it might be the start of a high-profile career.

"Gethin Jones' career has gone from strength to strength since winning the competition," he said.

"I met him at the Baftas this year and he's a really nice bloke. So following in his footsteps is great."

Rhys' character, Macs, is at the centre of a dramatic storyline on Pobol y Cwm, whose producers hope that his new status with the nation's women will draw more viewers.

"Rhys is a great ambassador for the series," said Bethan Jones, executive producer. "He is a lovely person and just one of the many talented young actors in the Pobol y Cwmcast.

"He is the perfect person to reflect the young, sexy side of the drama series, and I hope admirers will now switch on to see more."

The competition's winner will be chosen by public vote and win pounds 5,000 worth of products to kit out his bachelor pad.

Company magazine editor Victoria White said: "We hear stories from our readers on a daily basis about how difficult it is to find a decent, eligible man in the UK. So we've made the task easier by choosing 50 of Britain's sexiest bachelors and profiling them in the next issue. It's a tough job but someone has to do it!

"We've been delighted by the huge response to the competition and look forward to finding out which bachelors our readers choose as their favourite."

The list, which ranges from actors to a hedge fund manager, also includes Hollyoaks actor Stephen Uppal, Big Brother's Ziggy Lichman, and Paul Weller's son, Nat.

The August issue of Company is out tomorrow

Other Pobol y Cwmstars who have become familiar national - and international - faces

Ioan Gruffudd Easily Pobol y Cwm's biggest ever name, Ioan Gruffudd has gone on to star in films including Fantastic Four and Titanic, as well as the series Hornblower.

He now lives in LA, like fellow actor and buddy Matthew Rhys.

Donna Edwards One of Wales' best-known actresses after roles in Belonging and Gavin and Stacey, as well as in films like Rebecca's Daughters and Very Annie Mary.

Brian Hibbard With his distinctive sideburns, he's arguably one of the nation's most recognisable faces after fronting the band Flying Pickets, starring in films like Twin Town and Rancid Aluminium, as well as appearing in a host of TV cameos over several years.

Tara Bethan The 24-year-old from Llansannan, near Denbigh, briefly captured Saturday night audiences across Britain in I'll Do Anything, when she tried winning the role of Nancy in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Oliver.

Richard Harrington The Merthyr actor has had roles in a wide range of TV programmes including Holby Blue, Bleak House, Casualty, Spooks, Y Pris and Dalziel and Pascoe.

Mark Lewis Jones Another actor to have starred in some of Britain's most-viewed series, including 55 Degrees North, Murphy's Law, The Commander, Torchwood and Waking the Dead, as well as Russell Crowe blockbuster Master and Commander.

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