Inside Emmerdale's Colleen King star's life away from soap – with a famous son and a career U-turn | The Sun

COLLEEN King was a fan favourite during her time on Emmerdale but her off-screen death sent shockwaves through villagers' spines this week.

It was confirmed that she had died with her son Tom, who is back in Emmerdale, saying he believed it was a heart attack.

Played by Melanie Ash, the character was the former wife of soap baddie Carl King and was last seen on-screen in 2010.

But away from life in the village, actress Melanie has lived a rather interesting life from a career change-up to bringing up an A-list actor of her own.

As well as her time playing much-loved Colleen, Melanie has branched out into other roles and has appeared in some of Britain's most acclaimed serials.

She has enjoyed stints in Casualty, Doctors and Ackley Bridge to name but a few.

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Melanie even enjoyed a stint in ITV rival Coronation Street in 2014 when she played the role of Sue Hodgkins.

Sue played a pivotal role in the downfall of the relationship between Leanne Battersby and Kal Nazir.

Melanie also put her best foot forward for a dazzling role in The Bay back in 2012.

As well as continuting to act, Melanie has shown her passion for education and inspiring the next generation.

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In 2005, at the height of her Emmerdale stardom, she set up a theatre school of her own, aptly titled Meladrama.

Based in Bolton, the school has welcomed countless young kids to help hone their skills and perfect their craft.

It has seen future stars of all of the North's great soaps through their doors before helping to secure them big name roles.

As well as running the acclaimed school in the Greater Manchester town, Melanie enjoys performing as a violinist and a saxophonist around the the local area.

Speaking about her drive to champion local and emerging talent in the North West, Melanie said: "I'm really passionate about giving kids like me opportunities. It's such a hard industry anyway – but even tougher for kids from the north, which is wrong as the areas we have classes – Preston, Chorley, Warrington, and now Bolton, are absolutely screaming with raw talent."

Even her own offspring are following her lead with her son, 15 year old Leo Ashton, having almost as many credits under his belt as his mother.

He played Prince Aemond Targaryen in Game of Thrones and recently enjoyed a stint in the BBC's Red Rose.

Just like his famous mum, parts in Doctors and The Bad have also come along for Leo.

He recently spoke of his dream to play James Bond after attending a recording session as the same film studios as the iconic franchise.

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Leo said on Instagram: "Was a dream to get to @WBSleavesdon [Warner Bros studios in Leavesdon] filming last year.

"Always wanted to play James Bond since I was like three, Yea mum let me watch James Bond as a toddler .. So blame her if I’m a pyscho in @houseofthedragonhbo.”

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