THE career of Bolton-based actor Matthew McNulty continues to soar as he stars in a new ITV drama beginning this week.

He can be seen playing Sheridan Smith’s husband, Dave, in Cleaning Up, which begins on Wednesday.

It’s the latest high-profile role for Matthew, who is a familiar face on television thanks to his leading roles in such programmes as See No Evil, Room at the Top, Jamaica Inn, Versailles and The Musketeers.

The six-part drama follows the story of Sam (Smith), an office cleaner who struggles to maintain her life as a devoted mum after becoming addicted to online gambling.

“Dave is Sam’s husband, but the couple are separated,” explained Matthew, 36.

“ He is also the father of their two daughters. The relationship between Dave and Sam is fractured. He is a good guy at heart who has made mistakes, but those mistakes are the result of the breakdown of Sam and Dave’s relationship because of Sam’s gambling addiction. He has had to put up with a lot of negativity and deception from Sam.

“We meet him when his patience has worn thin. A man full of frustrated love. He still loves Sam and is a family man. But he can’t go back because there has been too much deception and hurt. They were young sweethearts so there’s a really strong bond and a love that will never go, but he’s had to put up with so much.”

As cleaning features so heavily in the series’ storyline, it’s only natural to gauge Matthew’s take on it.

“I get overwhelmed by cleaning, to be honest,” he said. “Especially in my house with three kids. It’s a bit chaotic, but I generally have no choice but to do it.”

Matthew said that apart from the odd flutter on a big event, he’s far too sensible to get sucked into the world of gambling himself.

But he can understand how people can become addicted.

“If every day is a struggle, then it’s tempting to take the risk and gamble, but the reality can be very different. It can end up as a massive trap for some people.”

He does, however, admit that there is an element of gambling in his chosen profession.

“At first, I thought, ‘In reality, I’m probably not going to become an actor, but I’ll just keep trying.’

“I took risks and it paid off for me. I used to have an extras agency and a lot of the supporting artistes on our books had been doing it for a long time. They had put their lives on hold and were still trying to get roles.

“Acting is so addictive because it’s what we all love. There’s nothing like being on stage and performing. Or being in front of a camera and people appreciating what you’re doing. But the odds are stacked against you.”

The first episode of Cleaning Up, written by Mark Marlow, can be seen on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday.