'I choose Bridgerton over DIY': Actor shows off pub renovation

Jules Knight Norfolk

Actor and singer Jules Knight in the garden of the former pub which he has been working on for the past year. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A former Holby City television star is planning a return to the big time after spending lockdown renovating his Norfolk home.

Jules Knight Norfolk

With his sights set on a Bridgerton role, Jules Knight is returning to acting. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Jules Knight, 39, who gave up acting and singing in the group Blake to pursue a quieter life starting his own oyster firm is now planning to return to the small screen.

And he revealed he would love to star in a period drama - particularly taking over a lead role in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules Knight - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Jules Knight Norfolk

One of the bedrooms with Mr Knight's beloved collection of bird prints. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

After deciding to return to acting and singing, Mr Knight, who played Dr Harry Tressler in the Holby City, is now putting his home up for holiday rental for a few weeks a year.

He's spent around a year transforming an old pub after falling in love with the building in a village near Brisley.

"I love the garden, it was a bit overgrown which took me ages to clear but it has wonderful views over the fields. I often stand at the end of my garden watching the owls hunting at night," he said. 

"I'm also really proud of my shed, I had always dreamed of owning one and I've spent a long time in it. I made a kitchen table and I've painted so many mirrors. I love finding old furniture and doing it up. I recently bought a console table for £30.

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"I made a decision to take a step back, I'd dedicated my life to singing and acting since I was a chorister aged seven. I put my heart and soul in it.

"I don't know why I thought I could turn my back on it, lockdown has made me realise you have to do what you love, helped clarify what you actually want to do with your life - life is too short to be doing something you don't love.

"I'm getting an agent and going back to acting. I'd love to be in a period drama, something like Bridgerton, I'd definitely take that. Or a gritty cop drama like Line of Duty."

Jules Knight Norfolk

Mr Knight in the oldest part of the house with timber frame and exposed beams. He has made part of the room into an honesty bar. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

He bought the Old Bell, which dates in part to 1702 with later additions, where he now lives with his beloved black Labrador, Samphire.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules Knight at home in Norfolk - Credit: Sonya Duncan

While he rents it out for holidays, he plans to stay with his sister, who lives nearby.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules Knight in the kitchen with the table he made. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Mr Knight grew up in the countryside in Sussex but came to Norfolk for holidays and his late father, who passed away in 2009 from a heart attack, lived in Norfolk for 15 years.

After Mr Knight went to St Andrews University with Prince William, he lived in London for 11 years but sold his Georgian flat to move to Norfolk.

"It was ingrained in me since I was young that one day I would like to buy a big house in the countryside. I've done so much of the work myself, even my mum said she was surprised at my DIY skills."

Jules Knight Norfolk

One of the country ornaments adorning Mr Knights' walls painted in Farrow & Ball's downpipe. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Jules Knight Norfolk

The country kitchen. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Inside, the house is a combination of low ceilings, beams and timber frame in the oldest part with later 18th century high ceilings and sash windows. Mr Knight has painted it throughout in Farrow & Ball throughout.

Jules Knight Norfolk

The detached house which Jules Knight has been working on for a year. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Off the country kitchen with his home-made table complete with hair-pin legs is the living room with its own honesty bar.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules Knight, who is swapping DIY for drama, returning to acting after life in Norfolk. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Mr Knight doesn't use the formal front door but the hallway still has the original flagstone floor where you can see the marks made by the publican dragging in the barrels.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Inside Jules Knight's country home. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

There's a main bedroom on the ground floor with four more off a split level landing. Mr Knight loves collecting antiques and has around 30 Victorian prints of fruits, birds and flowers which adorn the walls. 

"I really love it here - but I'm very excited at going back to acting."

Jules Knight

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules Knight in his honesty bar. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

After studying acting at drama school, Mr Knight and three friends formed the band Blake on Facebook in 2007. Just two days later they got a record deal. But he left the band in 2013 to join Holby City.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules and Samphire - Credit: Sonya Duncan

In that television series he played a doctor who got caught up in a love triangle and his role ended with the character suffering horrific facial injuries in a fall.

Jules Knight Norfolk

Jules Knight in the formal drawing room - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Jules Knight Holby City

Jules Knight as the Dr Harry Tressler in Holby City - Credit: BBC/Archant library

He left the show to pursue a solo singing and moved to Norfolk where he worked for a time as a sales manager for Barsham brewery. He also set up the Norfolk Oyster Company, selling Brancaster oysters from a Victorian handcart.