Actor tells of battle with bloodthirsty creatures after fall

Actor Paul Nicholls
Actor Paul Nicholls

Actor Paul Nicholls has told of having to fend off bloodthirsty creatures while trapped at the bottom of a waterfall in Thailand for three days.

The star of Ackley Bridge - which was filmed in Halifax - fell about 20ft in Koh Samui earlier this year, ripping off his kneecap and ending up in a pool of water fighting for his life.

Mr Nicholls said he went over the edge of the waterfall after being set upon by a pack of about 15 wild dogs, and he thought that if he made it to the water, they would not be able to get to him.

He said: “I hit the water, and I remember thinking ‘Thank God the water’s deep enough’ because I didn’t know ... and then my leg hit.’

“And when I came up, I saw where my kneecap should be there was just a hole.

“And I was holding onto it and screaming and screaming, and then I let go and a bit of blood squirted into the water and – this is the worst bit – that’s when these things came out of the water and swimming.

“I thought ‘Those are leeches, those are very big leeches’, and as soon as the blood hit the water, these crabs came out, and I managed to get rid of them quite quickly, but the leeches just seemed to start coming out of holes in the wall, they were coming out of the mud, they were just coming out of everywhere.”

Former EastEnders star Nicholls said he was “batting away” the leeches while screaming for help, before taking a risk and dropping to another pool of water about 15ft below where he had originally landed.

The actor, who rose to fame in soap opera EastEnders, said: “I know I wasn’t hallucinating, this was real.

“I spent all day trying to keep my leg from getting more blood in the water, anything that came near me I was just batting away, and screaming for help.”

The 38-year-old has been starring in Ackley Bridge which tells the story of fictional Yorkshire mill town, which is home to largely divided white and Asian populations.

Like the communities, the school systems have also become segregated and the drama sees two formerly isolated comprehensives merged into a brand new academy and all the trials and tribulations among teachers, parents, pupils and support staff which that creates.

The former St Catherine’s High School, Holmfield, was transformed into Ackley Bridge College for the series, which was also used for Henry Winkler’s (The Fonz) children’s television series Hank Zipzer.

The six-part series was created by Ayub Khan Din (East is East), Kevin Erlis and Malcolm Campbell (Shameless).

It was announced last month the drama would be returning for a second series.