Our chat with Dan Brocklebank
We sat down with Dan Brocklebank to chat all things Billy, Summer and the rollercoaster of the last few months.
Summer’s been through a really tough time recently with her diabetes, battling diabulimia and her A-Levels. As her 18th birthday approaches, do you think Billy knows quite how bad it's got for her?
Yes and no. I mean, I think you know, as a parent, you obviously try to monitor your kid. He’s aware she’s struggled with the diabetes diagnosis, then subsequently the diabulimia and that she cheated in one of her exams. But as is with most teenagers, she probably hasn't disclosed everything to him.
How worried is he for her future now she’s given up her dream of going to Oxford?
I don't think he's that concerned right now, she’s a bright kid. He tells her there are other universities and things that you can do. I think he's definitely a little bit disappointed about getting a job at the factory because he thinks she can do better than being Carla’s dog's body
I don't think he's too worried, he just doesn't want her to fall into a trap of thinking that that's all there is.
Billy’s a very supportive parent, so when we get to Summer’s 18th birthday and he has to hand her this letter from her dad, is he worried about how she's going to react?
No, he doesn’t really think about it too deeply and he feels guilty about that afterwards. I think he's more excited, thinking that it's going to be a really beautiful moment and a lovely gesture. He’s not quite prepared for how upset she becomes because of it. He could maybe have thought that through a bit better, but the thought was there
At the same time Billy gets a call from the diabetic nurse to say that Summer’s eligible for the glucose monitor and Summer realises that Aaron and Billy have spoken about it behind her back. How does she react to this? Is Billy worried about how she's managing her diabetes at this point?
Well, of course, he doesn’t know that she's still mucking about with her levels so he can't quite understand why she doesn't want this monitor, because of course, to him, it just makes sense to have something that can totally alert you to any possible problems. She's had to cancel her holiday because of messing about with her insulin, but because Billy doesn't know any of these details he’s not seeing the picture. So, when Aaron brings it up with him, because Aaron is aware of what she's doing, it highlights how unaware he is of how little she is continuing to take care of herself.
Do you think Billy's finding it hard having a teenage daughter and everything that comes with it?
When you take on a child, you know that at some point they're going to be a teenager and teenagers are notoriously difficult, I was one once myself. I think he's prepared but obviously they’ve had extra stuff to deal with that most people with teenagers don't. It's not just about the partying and the going out, Summer isn’t really that kind of kid, so he's never really had to deal with that, mainly it’s been University worries and the diabetes. However, he is unaware to the extent of which she is not taking care of himself.
How much have you enjoyed working with Harriet on these storylines?
Harriet is adorable and incredibly professional, she’s a joy. She’s a dream to work with and what I’m really enjoying is seeing Summer develop as an adult, because the character was only 11 when she joined the show. It's been lovely to see Harriet being given the opportunity to actually get her teeth into something that is purely and simply her story. It's been really lovely to see Harriet shine, she’s brilliant and she should be very proud of herself.
Going forward, how do you think Billy will deal with her relationship with Aaron and her growing up? Do you think he's ready for all that?
I mean, you've got to be mentally prepared for the fact that obviously she's growing up and there are going to be changes. I’d love to see Billy and her having the chat because I think there could be some real comedy in Billy squirming his way around talking about the birds and the bees. All in all, she’s a pretty good kid, I think he actually just doesn’t know half the stuff she's contending with but that's got to come to a head at some point.
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