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The People (London, England)
3/2/1997

I am as hard as hell about real romance; CONFESSION OF TV'S JANE EYRE HEART-THROB WHO WRINGS TEARS FROM THE VIEWERS...

By Louise Oswald
When passionate Mr Rochester finally snares his bride in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, there won't be a dry eye among TV viewers.
Actor Ciaran Hinds wrings every last romantic drop out of the touching scene. The handsome Belfast-born star of Jane Eyre, which hits Ulster screens next Sunday, has made a career from playing the gallant, vulnerable hero in period dramas like Ivanhoe and Persuasion.

But off screen there's no room for the gooey, sentimental parts that are earning him a reputation as a heart-throb. Ciaran admits that when it comes to love and romance he's "as cynical as hell". He says: "I just seem to have one of those faces. Plus being 6ft 2in and dark, I get the costume roles. "But to be honest, nothing annoys me more than a happy ending.
`I'm not keen on getting married' "I can't stand it when I read stories or watch movies where people get married and live happily ever after. "That's rubbish. That's not real life. I hate the commercialism of love. "Valentine's Day is just a money-making exercise. You don't need some department store to tell you whether you love someone or not.
"Cliched romantic things like huge red balloons and tons of roses are so uninspiring. "It's like someone hasn't really cared enough to think of something original. "And I hate that. My idea of romance is a long, soft walk really".

And after 10 years with his actress lover Helene Patarot, the mother of his five-year-old daughter Aoife, he has no plans to get married. "My mum and dad had a very happy marriage. I suppose I've got a good example to go on but I'm not keen on wedding vows myself. "I've got friends who said I Do and then it all goes horribly wrong, they split up and divorce. "I don't see the point of getting married." "Helene is very disparaging about my romantic lead work." "She says, `Oh yeah. You can be pretend and be all heart-throb like on screen. But why don't you bring all that home with you to South London?'."

Fame is another thorn in his side. Born and raised in Belfast, the fiercely- private star spent 20 years performing in regional theatres in Ireland and Scotland before landing three huge TV roles.
Ciaran, now 43, says: "I appeared in Catherine Cookson's The Man Who Cried, in the BBC wartime drama Seaforth and as Brian Keenan in ITV's Hostages. Those parts snowballed and suddenly I had a real taste of fame." "I can't say I liked people doing double-takes on me in the street and complete strangers insisting I know them or they know me."

Ciaran experienced the sour side of celebrity just after he filmed his most harrowing role, that of twisted paedophile Edward Parker Jones in Prime Suspect 3.
He said: "I took my daughter Aoife to a swimming pool. The sun was out, it was lovely. "Suddenly I could feel some malicious looks. This guy, who I didn't know from Adam, was giving me daggers. "Aoife was splashing about in the pool and I was laughing and playing with her, trying to ignore the increasing hostility from this man. Finally he came over to me and said, `I don't think you should be doing that. You know, hanging around with a little girl at a public swimming pool'. He went off, shaking his head." "I was shocked. As an actor you sometimes forget that people watching the show only know you as your character."

His portrayal of Mr Rochester is compelling, especially the on-screen chemistry with strong, principled Jane Eyre, played by Band Of Gold star Samantha Morton. They had only known each other for three days before filming but Ciaran said: "There was immediately a great understanding between us and we were able to make the scenes of anguish and passion as natural as possible. "Rochester is a selfish, arrogant, haughty and driven man. And somehow that appeals."