Sheffield restaurant owner’s gangster role

Sheffield restaurant owner Vito Ciaraolo appearing in BBC gangster drama .
Sheffield restaurant owner Vito Ciaraolo appearing in BBC gangster drama .
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Move over Al Pacino – and tell Marlon Brando the news.

Sheffield has its own small screen Godfather – Walkley-based restaurant owner Vito Ciaraolo.

The 50-year-old is putting down his pasta to make his TV debut on Thursday in a brand new gangster epic Peaky Blinders, set in post-World War One Birmingham.

Billed as the UK answer to US hit Boardwalk Empire, the six part BBC2 drama starring Cillian Murphy looks set to be seen by millions.

Vito landed the part after hearing from a friend that a casting agency was looking for someone to play a sinister Italian gangster in the series.

The agent took one look at Vito and filming began in Liverpool and Birmingham.

The hard-hitting drama is a story of the violent rivalry between two criminal gangs, one Irish, the other Italian.

Vito, whose restaurant is on South Road, Walkley, said he expected to be in the opening and closing episodes.

“It was hard work and long days. The scenes I appear in probably took more than 20 hours to film,” he said.

“But the worst part was that I had to smoke a cigar in one scene. We kept reshooting it again and again and I got through four cigars – and I can’t stand them,” he said.

The exact details of his role are being kept a closely-guarded secret until the series hits the screens – but viewers can expect bullets to fly in true gangster style.

“I haven’t seen the finished series and I shall have to record it on Thursday because I will be busy in the restaurant.

“It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this and I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

So will Vito be swapping a hot stove for Hollywood?

“Definitely not. I enjoy what I do and while this was an interesting experience, I can’t see it leading to anything,” he said.

Instead Vito is planning a special event for regulars at his restaurant to mark the final episode in six weeks’ time.

“Some of my customers have heard about it and I’ve been getting a few remarks,” he said.

But Vito will have the last laugh.

He plans to turn the tables by showing the finale on a big screen at the restaurant and inviting guests to enter into the spirit of the show by dressing in gangster outfits.