Ex-Corrie star is now a big cheese as he prepares for food festival
This week, we look at the Big Beer and Cheese Expo, taking place in Londonderry's Guildhall Square this weekend
A TV soap actor-turned-cheesemaker will be one of the star attractions at a major beer and cheese festival in Londonderry this weekend.
Sean Wilson, who played nurse Martin Platt in Coronation Street, will be showing off his range of award-winning cheeses at the Big Beer and Cheese Expo in Guildhall Square.
The actor left the hit ITV soap in 2005 and turned to cheesemaking in Lancashire.
He runs the Saddleworth Cheese Company, where his specialities include Muldoon's Picnic, a crumbly cheese, How's Yer Father, a creamy version, and Saddleworth Blue. Sean has also made a food series for Channel 5, The Great Northern Cookbook.
On his website, Sean said: "The product lives and breathes when you've taken the time to buy it locally and chit-chat with the makers. There is an inherent integrity with locally sourced produce and I really want to be part of this movement."
The beer and cheese expo, organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, is one of the highlights of the NI Year of Food and Drink programme.
April has been designated "brewing and distilling month", in a bid to promote the growing craft beer and spirits sector.
Mayor of Derry Elisha McCallion said the expo followed the success of the recent Legenderry Food Festival. "I'm really pleased to see businesses in the north west benefiting from another opportunity to showcase local produce, and some of the innovative work which is transforming the food industry here.
"We have some extremely talented individuals who are dedicated to the development of the craft food and drink industry.
"This event will open them up to new audiences and give people the chance to sample some of the finest locally crafted products." Derry beer producers, Walled City Brewery and Northbound Brewery, are taking part, along with Tamnagh Foods, which has won a number of awards including third place in the World Cheese Awards for its Dart Mountain cheese.
The council's tourism officer Mary Blake said: "This event builds upon the success of events like Culture Tech in celebrating the best of beer and cheese from across the north west and beyond, featuring quality cheese producers and craft brewers. The craft brewing industry is definitely on the rise and we already boast some great local success stories.
"The daytime programme will include a large market hall, where there will be opportunities to try and buy, while on the evenings of April 15 and 16, the venue transforms into a cabaret-style event with live music, hot food with cheesy-themed menus and the best of local beer on tap. I think the quality will speak for itself."
To find out more about the event go to www.derrystrabane.com/food