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Ian Embleton was born on 21st November 1964 in Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, the son of a coal miner. He grew up in Boldon, near Newcastle and Sunderland. At the age of eight he was advised by the family doctor to take up dancing to strengthen the bones in his feet. He learned all forms of dancing and whilst at school won the Northumberland Tap Dancing Championship.
At the age of sixteen he moved to London and trained at Arts Educational Drama School on a three year musical drama course. His stage work included a pantomime season with Anita Harris in Dorset followed by three years as Baby John in West Side Story. The production originated in Leicester Haymarket's Theatre and then toured the country before moving into the West End at Her Majesty's Theatre. He also performed with the cast of West Side Story in the Royal Variety Performance. This was followed by a spell in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Ian made his television debut dancing in a Persil New System Automatic commercial before taking the role of Georgie Gill in BBC Television's An Ungentlemanly Act. Ian then played the lead role of Jimmy Ellis in Carlton Television's musical drama Head Over Heels. In 1993 he joined Coronation Street as Des Barnes' brother Colin and remained with the show for a year, playing most of his scenes with Beverley Callard. Ian then appeared in Dr Finlay and a British Beef commercial before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. He played Curio in Twelfth Night, Seward in Macbeth, Matevis in Edward III, Slater in Curse of the Stowing Class and Treat in Orphans, which he also directed.
In 1995 Ian joined EastEnders as Gary, Michelle Fowler's council boss and lover. He also played Sean in the BBC comedy Game On. In 1997 Ian played a porter in the film Preaching To The Perverted.
He has also formed a company with Tony Armatrading, providing computer graphics for corporate and TV, including Linda La Plante's Killer Net.