(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)
In early November, I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and interviewing Daniel Brocklebank at Media City. Daniel was charming and more than willing to talk about his role as Billy Mayhew in Coronation Street.
Why as a gay man, did you accept the role of a vicar?
It’s true to say that some aspects of the church are not fully accepting of gay people, but I can’t resist a challenge, so here I am. I’m a real gay man, playing a gay man who is a vicar.
Does Geraldine reappear or does she give up trying to take Summer away from Todd and Billy?
Oh yes, she reappears all right! She is very determined to bring Summer up herself, despite her son Drew’s wishes. Todd though, takes Summer away. Geraldine is just dreadful isn’t she? The woman who plays her though, Lynne Verrall, is absolutely lovely. Nothing at all like the character she plays. Drew adopted Summer and Geraldine did her level best, initially, to claim Summer, so yes, she will be back!
What's it like playing a vicar?
Interestingly, at the start of my time in Corrie, which I’ve been in now for three and a half years, our brilliant producer, Kate Oates, asked me, ‘Why are you a vicar?’ A very good question, which led me to explore motivations people have who want to spend their working lives and much of their own time, devoted to God and the people of the parish. And I’m a vicar with tattoos!
How have you enjoyed having a storyline which has been knitted together with the Barlows and specifically Susan Barlow’s tragic death?
Its been great working with Chris (Gascoyne, Peter Barlow). We got on like a house on fire and had such a laugh. We were out in the darkest depths of Derbyshire and Peter had parked the car near to a cliff edge. Even though you know its all acting it does give you the chills a little. Mainly though, it was fun and having been bundled into a car boot, I found it quite surprisingly comfortable. It was a pleasant change being out of the studio – rather like going on a school trip for a couple of days!
You play quite a physical role here – how did you like that?
It made a great change for me. Usually my roles have been dialogue led, so I fully appreciated the opportunity to act in a physical way. I did though end up black and bloody blue!
So what happens to you when Peter kidnaps you?
It’s really dramatic, though I wouldn’t say it is dark. In the car, Billy is forced to drink loads of vodka. Billy believes that he will die. I had a stunt double ready and waiting but in the end, I was very proud to have been able to carry out all my own stunts. When the car is reversed to the edge of the cliff, Billy starts praying. I was actually attached to wires so that there was no way that I could fall over the edge of the cliff.
Does Billy start to lose his faith?
No, that’s not an issue for him. What he cannot do is forgive himself for Susan’s death, even though Christianity is all about forgiveness. The fact that Susan had a small child, she was a mother, made it all the harder to forgive himself.
How will you spend Christmas?
I’ll be going to my other half’s family for Christmas Day. It’s my birthday three days before Christmas, which is miserable and I’m sick of getting so-called joint presents for Christmas and birthday!
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter