Soap star reveals struggle of playing role of sex abuser

Gary Mavers in the dock in Emmerdale
Gary Mavers in the dock in Emmerdale

EMMERDALE actor Gary Mavers says playing a sex abuser on TV has been his most difficult role.

Mavers was this year at the centre of a shocking plot in the TV soap when his character, Gordon Livesy, was accused of repeatedly raping his son Aaron (Danny Miller) as a child.

Now set to perform in Rehearsal for Murder at Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Liverpool-born Mavers tells the Sunday World: “It was very challenging and obviously so far removed from me.”

The Emmerdale team received rave reviews over the manner in which they portrayed the harrowing story of sexual abuse.

Mavers made everyone absolutely despise Gordon with his deep and researched portrayal of a malicious abuser who was clever enough to manipulate and come across as a normal man.

Although he admits it was daunting, Mavers says he had no qualms about taking on the role.

“I think a lot of actors shy away from that kind of part because they’re afraid of the stigma attached to it, but as far as I’m concerned that’s what you go to drama school for,” Gary tells me.

“You want to be challenged and you want to do something that’s really going to stretch you. Then you want to do an important subject like that in the right way – in a way that shows it for what it is.

“It’s a subject that needs to be told properly and handled in the right way because there are a lot of people who go through that kind of abuse.”

Although Gary expected to get some flak from the public, he said the reaction was positive. 

“I thought I would get stick on the street, but everyone has been really nice, coming up and saying ‘you played a great part’.

“Nobody confused me with the character, but then I was in Peak Practice for six years and I never once had somebody think I was a real doctor.”

Mavers is one of the stars of Rehearsal for Murder, which plays Dublin’s Bord Gáis Theatre from September 5-10. 

“People love a good murder mystery,” he adds.