Interview: Evelyn's Entrance

How did the part come about?

I was preparing a one woman show for Edinburgh and I had gone with a new agent after many many years. We had talked about how I would get back into mainstream TV without having to be a presenter. As I was finishing writing the show she called and said how would I feel about going into Coronation Street. For a while I thought I can’t do that I’ve got a partner in London, I’ve got dogs and grandchildren, do I want to leave London? I didn’t know what to do but the light over my late husband Jack’s picture sometimes comes on for no reason and whilst I was sitting there wondering what to do of course on it came! I thought it was a nice way to circle 50 years because I met Jack in 1969 when I came to Manchester to join a theatre group called The Stables and I thought it would be quite a nice way to go back to something that he started his career doing, he started by writing episode 13 of Coronation Street. It is a little bit of a sentimental exercise but also it is quite a ‘me’ part.

What attracted you to the role?

She is not frightened to say what she thinks, Evelyn is certainly outspoken, a bit mean, a bit embittered, I’m not saying that I am that but maybe it’s not much of a stretch and she is funny, so that redeems her unpleasant qualities to some extent. I met with the then producer Kate Oates and I got a bit of the background story and saw a couple of the first scripts. I felt it would be a bit of a challenge, particularly as I would have to go up there and get a lot of episodes filmed in advance because I was already booked for Edinburgh.

What was it like juggling the two things?

It has been a challenge, I don’t think I have ever been as frightened as I was on that first night in Edinburgh because I had literally only had a few days to learn it, and even though I wrote it it was still an hour of me talking. As soon as I finished the two weeks there I was back to learning the next scenes for Evelyn and came back and was shooting the next day.

Has it changed since you were last on the show?

Yes it is very different, when I was last here they were only three episodes a week and now there are six and you can have four or more directors filming their episodes at any one time. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful, there is something very very comforting about coming back up north, my son says I am already speaking with a northern accent.

Is there anyone in particular you would like to work with?

I have this fantasy of doing a scene like Ena, Minnie and Martha in the snug maybe with Rita and Audrey putting the world to right, talking about nothing.

Was it partly the comedy element of the story that interested you?

She is a genuine battleaxe without a man to battle. A battleaxe is something that the British public seem to like. There isn’t much comedy in the actual storyline, by the very nature of what it is, but the lines are dry which brings the humour.

Physically Evelyn is very different to you, she looks a lot older did you have much input into how she looks?

I didn't have much input in the early stages, I have pinned up my hair into something slightly old fashioned, she is stuck very much in the past. Her clothes are the clothes of someone who is always after a bargain. She is not batty and fly away, she is carefully dressed but I try not to think about what she looks like.

Will you watch your episodes?

No not straight away, I will maybe watch things later on long after they have been on but I really don’t enjoy watching myself. I think a lot of actors are the same, it is hard to be objective. I don’t read reviews and I am not on social media I just get on with the job.

How does she end up moving in to Fiz and Tyrone’s after they find her?

We haven’t seen her leave where she was living, we don’t know what she did to get evicted. So I assume that there comes a point where she has so few friends and has upset so many neighbours that she doesn’t mind leaving. You would think she would be grateful whens she gets to the new place but far from it she is just as belligerent as she was in the old place. It is going to take some sort of a showdown, she doesn’t like herself, that is very obvious, she is stuck in a pattern of behaviour. I hope she gets an asbo, I’d love to see her tagged and doing community work with such bad grace. She is heading for a comeuppance.

Evelyn has strong opinions about how Fiz and Tyrone should be bringing up their children. What sort of relationship does she have with them?

Fiz doesn’t stand a chance no one was ever going to be good enough for Tyrone, not that she thinks he is good enough either but she has a grudging liking for this boy and she thinks that the woman he is with is boring. She sets out to drive her away just by being ungracious and critical and generally driving a wedge between them which is a horrible thing to do but there are people like that.

How do you feel about working with a dog?

I have two dogs at home, I love dogs and the one who plays Cerberus is a lovely calm dog. I am very happy that she has a dog and it is the one relationship where you see the softer side of her.

Have you based Evelyn on anyone, what have you drawn on?

There is a little bit of someone I know, she is very challenging, even ‘hello’ comes out as a challenge. A little of bit of that has gone in and most of my aunts and indeed my father who were very dry in their humour.

Do you like Evelyn?

You have to like the person you are playing otherwise you are judging them too much and it shows.

Meet Evelyn for the first time, next week on Coronation Street!

Interview: Hello Paula

We spoke to Sterling Gallacher about Paula's relationship with Sophie and how it will affect her friendship with Sally.

How did the Corrie role come about?

I really liked the idea that it was a realistic storyline about a relationship. I found the age difference a fascinating angle because it sounds more like a real relationship rather than an idea of what a lesbian relationship might look like from an outside context.

What’s it like working with Sally Dynevor, Brooke Vincent and Connie Hyde?

They could not have been more welcoming or tried to make my life any easier. They’ve been fab and we’ve had a really good laugh. I’ve felt very easy very quickly in their company which makes getting on with the work so much easier.

What can you tell us about Paula?

She’s a very straightforward woman – she’s what I would describe as a grown up woman, she’s very clear, she knows her own mind. She’s not emotionally driven but she’s emotionally well connected. She has a great logic and doesn’t get caught in unrealistic nonsense. The reason she’s so good at her job is because she’s clear, thoughtful and smart.

Duplicitous Jude

We spoke to Paddy Wallace about how far Jude would go to win Angie back.

What reaction does Jude expect from Angie at the vow renewal?

Jude lives in the moment so even though at first when Mary proposes the idea he isn’t keen, he then convinces himself that this could work. He fully expects Angie to come in, see him in a suit, see everyone there and that it will reignite her old feelings.

What’s going through his mind when he realises his plan has backfired?

As soon as he sees Angie, it’s tough. They go in to the Speed Daal kitchen to have a chat and it’s not good. He is desperate after that, he can see it has gone badly and he doesn’t know what to do.

What would it mean for Jude to win Angie back?

Everything, that’s what he is all about. His whole reason for being is Angie, George and that family unit so everything he does is all about winning her back.

Interview: Angie's Dilemma

Is it the end of the road for the Appletons? We spoke to Victoria Ekanoye about Jude and Angie's relationship and what that means for the future.

Why does Angie feel like she is done with the relationship?

It is the end now, she is exhausted from trying and feeling that no matter what she does she doesn’t feel like she should feel towards her husband. She feels betrayed and also a little bit stupid because she is a smart woman and should have known better.

Interview: Audrey's Dilemma

We spoke to Sue Nicholls about Lewis' return and the unfinished business between him and Audrey. Is Lewis to be trusted?

How has Audrey been feeling since she saw Lewis again when he was exposed as the person helping Rosemary?

It was one of those realisations that happens sometimes, although a good few years have passed and even though she may have been thinking she was well out of it, when the person is suddenly there you realise that the feelings have not gone away. This is the way for Audrey, it is unfinished business for her.

What happens when he gets back in touch this time?

She gets a visiting order and I guess most people would think ‘oh rip it up and don’t give him another thought’ but she does just the opposite, she cancels a lunch with her family and heads off to see him. She is curious and she wants to see face to face what he wants to say and if there is anything still there.

What does he say to her?

Well he does tell her that he has paid Gail the money back, he is trying to prove to her that he has turned over a new leaf and is paying for what he did.

Does she say anything to Gail?

No I don’t think she was planning to tell Gail she had been to see him but even if she had been going to Gail out maneuvers her tells her about the money going back in her account and is very outspoken against Lewis, even though he has done that Audrey knows she can’t tell her.

Can you see why Audrey is believing what he is saying?

Audrey never really lost out money wise and once she had seen in him prison and reignited the flame she does want to believe him.

Do you think Audrey feels like she needs a man or is it just this particular man?

I think it is this particular man, I hope it comes over that way. Once she realises there are feelings still there, and not a silly kind of crush, then it is something she can’t do anything about. It may be the wrong person for her and she has probably had a little talk with herself but she thinks she has to take chance.

Does she feel as though she has always been there for her family and now she wants something for herself?

Yes she thinks that she will always wonder if she doesn’t do this. She is 78 and she might not get another chance at love so she can’t think about their opinion. She also thinks that yes it might go wrong but if it does she is no worse off and actually it might all work out.

She goes to great lengths to keep the secret, what does she do?

She goes as far as concocting the fact that she is going on a cruise when actually she and Lewis are holed up at Grasmere Drive and Claudia is the only one that knows the truth.

What does Claudia think?

They actually have a lovely heart to heart and Claudia tells her to go for it, I think this comes from a genuine feeling on Claudia’s part that she wants her friend to have this chance at happiness.

She must have known that at some point she would have to tell the family was she wanting to wait and see if it worked out?

She knew it wasn’t going to be easy, she knows how Gail feels and she wasn’t brave enough to tell her. She did probably want to see how it was going herself before she told the family but now the genie is out of the bottle.

Is she angry when the stage an intervention in the salon?

I think she was past being angry by that time, she had talked to Gail and then David had also found out when he returned from his holiday. She had already told Gail that she wants her on her side and that she wants her to approve of her choice and that it might be her last chance of happiness which forces her to choose. It is after that when they ‘kidnap’ her. So she is just fed up with them treating her like she is daft and doesn’t know what she is doing.

Is Audrey concerned about what other people might think if her and Lewis?

No she isn’t really someone who is too worried about people gossiping about her she has grown up and lived a fairly eventful life and she can give as good as she gets really. There comes a time in life when you no longer care about other people’s opinions.

Does it upset Audrey that Gail is so judgemental over it all?

Gail always harps on about what Lewis did to her and I have thought about it and really nobody else has ever appreciated that when the kerfuffle happened years ago Gail knew that Audrey was having a relationship with him and they were together and it was actually quite a serious affair. He might have done wrong to Gail but Audrey was wronged by both of them and hurt most so Gail shouldn’t really have the moral high ground on this one. Maybe Audrey should tell her one day, that might come.

Are you pleased that Corrie is showing that romance is not just for the younger generations?

Yes I am, it is important, not everyone wants romance later in life but it happens and it is a lovely thing. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to play this storyline. It is never too late to find love.

Are you enjoying working with Nigel?

Yes he is lovely to work with I find it very easy to do the scenes with him, I want it to look truthful and he helps. Audrey really cares for him and it will be interesting to see how this develops.