Coronation Street To Tackle Bullying At School Storyline
Coronation Street is set to tackle the issue of bullying at school in a new storyline which will unfold this autumn.
Manchester actor Luca Toolan joins the cast as Weatherfield High’s Year 11 bad boy Mason.
We are first introduced to Mason as one of the students who is making fun of Ruby Dobbs which leads to Hope confronting Mason, Dylan and Liam (Monday 11th September).
It doesn’t stop there though as things are set to get worse when Mason quickly takes Dylan Wilson, played by Liam McCheyne, under his wing and targets Liam Connor as their new victim.
Will Dylan realise how dangerous Mason’s influence is before it’s too late?
In the coming months, Mason’s torment of Liam will escalate, setting not only the pupils but the parents against each other with Sean, Maria and Gary pointing the finger of blame at each other's sons.
Please find below a Q&A with Luca Toolan and Liam McCheyne.
Luca Toolan, aged 19, plays Mason:
Firstly, how are you enjoying your time on Coronation Street?
It really is amazing. I feel very lucky because I've had Liam with me and he's been like an older brother to me, even though he's actually younger than me. He's such a nice dude and he's really walked me through everything, showed me where the teas are and the cups and what have you, and he's made it a lot easier. If I was going in on a storyline by myself, I feel like it'd be a lot more daunting, but everybody's so nice. I didn't know what to expect, but everybody's genuinely lovely.
How did you get the part?
My agent sent me through the self-tape - a self-tape for people that don’t know is just recording yourself at home with your phone. When I submitted it, they liked it and then I got asked to go for a recall and screen test, which I did with Liam. The first time being on the set of Coronation Street was crazy for me. I grew up watching this as a kid, so it’s surreal when you’re in something that you’ve watched for a long time.
How did you feel when you got the part?
I was elated! It was such a difficult day because my dog had died in the morning and I'd literally been at the vet crying whilst putting them down. A few hours later we went out for a pub lunch to cheer us up and my agent called me and said “I've got some good news” As soon as she said that I knew it. Corrie has always been on my horizon, I’ve always said I wanted to be in it and then when they finally tell you that you’ve got the part, it was insane.
Who did you tell first when you got the part?
First thing I did was rang my dad. I didn't actually tell anybody about anything, not even the first self-tape, because I'm very superstitious. I also didn't tell him about the screen test so he was surprised. Obviously he knows I'm into acting, but he was like, “what? What do you mean?” Because usually I tell him about all my auditions, and this was the first one I didn't. He was just in complete shock. He knows how much of a big deal it is and understands how lucky I am to be in the position that I am.
I also rang my Grandma as she is a massive Corrie fan, she didn’t believe it and thought I was pulling her leg!
Did you have any other acting experience before Corrie?
I do a little bit but this is my first proper TV job. I did loads of short films just to understand the skills I might need on screen. Since I have joined Coronation Street, I'm already learning so much.
So what did you think when you found out about your character?
Well, obviously I had a little bit of insight into the character from the self-tape but all I really knew was that he is a bad guy. I found out about the extent of the storyline on my first day through Liam and Charlie as they were given a lowdown as to what’s happening. They told me it was going to get dark. It’s exciting to be here but there’s also more pressure and responsibility to do this storyline justice.
What advice would you like to give Mason?
Go to therapy, mate! He's a very angry and disturbed soul. People are like that for reasons. Hopefully in the future, we might be able to explore a little bit more of why he's become the way he's become. But the advice I would give to him is go to therapy and get the help that he needs.
Would you be friends with your character in real life?
No! He’s a lunatic. I would stay away from people like Mason.
How do you find playing a character like Mason?
It's fun, It is. I think because I'm so close with Liam and Charlie, it's a lot easier. if I wasn't really close with them and I didn't spend as much time with them, I’d probably find it more difficult but because we have that bond and trust each other so much, it's a lot easier. My favourite film is The Joker, so I like looking at characters that are damaged. One thing I really want to do with a character is show the vulnerable side. So there's a lot of room and a very high ceiling for the exploration of the character.
How do you switch off from portraying a character like Mason?
I think because when you're doing it, it’s so intense that by the time you finish, you're knackered, so you leave it all on set and don’t really take anything home with you. I love going home and spending time with my family to switch off.
Lastly, what do you love about Coronation Street?
It really just feels like a family, everybody's so nice. Obviously, it's based in Manchester as well which is where I'm from - Corrie is the fabric of Manchester. The food is also amazing.
Everyone's so supportive - It's such a collaborative thing and just a perfect place to work.
Liam McCheyne, aged 16, plays Dylan Wilson:
Firstly, how does it feel being back on Coronation Street?
It was a long wait, but it was worth the wait. It’s been great to be back.
You first appeared in the role of Dylan in 2011 with your twin brother Connor - what age were you and how did you get the part?
We were three years old and it was a total fluke way to get it. My neighbour across the road was on work experience for a local agency and she asked my mum if we would want to go and do an audition for her. She said even if we didn’t get it, it would help her with her work experience. My mum, dad and even nursery teachers all thought we would be too shy to do it. When we got here, and were in the casting, as soon as the cameras were on, we were like totally different children with our confidence and were laughing away.
When did you take over the role on your own?
Antony had always been in touch while I was off so when it was rumoured that Dylan was going to come back, Antony called to let us know. Connor doesn’t act anymore, he is focusing on sports now.
Have you always wanted to be an actor?
Yeah, I was around 13 or 14 when I realised I really wanted to do this forever. When doing previous jobs other than Coronation Street and experiencing working with different people, that's what made me know I definitely wanted to be an actor.
Can you tell me about your other acting experience?
The Bay was one of my first gigs after Corrie which was about a police investigation going on in my family. After that, I had other small things in between and then I was in The Last Tango in Halifax, which we did in 2019. This is where I would say I learned the most of my skills that I have now, excluding Corrie, by working with the likes of Derek Jacobi, Timothy West and Sarah Lancashire.
How would you describe Dylan?
I think my whole description of Dylan is that he just wants to fit in. He wants to make friends no matter what, probably because of his previous encounters in London.
Do you think with Dylan being relatively new to the street after returning to the Cobbles on a more permanent basis, that he will be easily influenced, especially by Mason?
Yes. Like I said, I think because of what happened in London, he wants to fit in with the cool kids and be like them. He doesn't want to be what he was in London - it's a total change to who he previously was. It's almost like a new start for him and he can have a bit of freedom so I think that would make him very easily influenced.
Does Dylan realise how dangerous Mason’s influence could be?
I think Dylan is very naive in what he's going into. I think Sean realises how dangerous Mason’s influence is but Dylan ignores him quite a lot. Mason isn’t a true friend to Dylan, but as I’ve said he’s very easily influenced so I don’t think he realises what he’s getting himself into.
Do you think Dylan just wants to fit in, or do you think he’s also scared of Mason?
I think there's an element of both especially when we start hearing of what Mason has done and we don’t actually know what else he’s capable of doing. Ultimately, we're not going to go against him. So I do think it's a balance of both wanting to fit in and being scared of him.
What advice would you give Dylan?
My advice would be to only listen to the people around you that mean a lot to you - your family and your true friends. I would like to tell Dylan to listen to them because they're only looking out for your best interests.
What do you love about Coronation Street?
The thing I love about Coronation Street is, and it sounds very cliche, but it really is like a family and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
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