Thursday, 30 June 2016

Billy Mayhew - 'I'm a gay vicar with a junkie brother'

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Oh, but Billy! Yes you are gay, yes you are a vicar, yes you have a junkie brother, but you are so much more than that. You are a man with a serious vocation, which you execute with dedication and duty. You are also fun, not afraid to throw a punch when necessary, and able to break up a fight. To all those who ask for it in your parish, you give your time, and it is also worth mentioning that you are very easy on the eye.

As Emma pointed out in her blog, you took centre stage on Sunday and you were magnetic. Every nuance of feeling registered right there on your face and your troubles became our troubles. So hats off to the wondrous Daniel Brocklebank for a superb performance.

Checking the date of Billy's arrival on the cobbles, it was December 2014. I had thought that it was much earlier than that as he feels as if he is a well-established character.

But Billy has his troubles, perhaps chief amongst them is his relationship with Sean, which now seems to be in the past. Judging from Monday's episodes, it seems as if Sean will not give up without a fight, though he is despondent. He calls his love life 'a countdown to disappointment and heartbreak.' Sean has seen Billy and Todd in an embrace. When he asks Billy. 'Is there anything going on between you and Todd?' Billy does not answer.

There is also Billy's brother, who is a drug addict. Billy has been giving him money, but berates himself for 'taking the easy way out' as he sees it. 'I knew the money I was giving him would go straight to his arm.' This is a complex situation for Billy and he feels ashamed to have a junkie brother but then he feels ashamed of feeling ashamed. He tells Todd, 'I am meant to be the one with all the answers.' Todd tells him, 'That's your boss's job. You're just another bloke trying to do his best.'

Another difficulty is his knowledge of Sarah's 'confession' regarding Callum. As he says, 'I'm supposed to respect people's confidentiality.' In addition, he speaks of his duty to his parishioners, 'People want to believe, they need confidence, certainties, to respect my judgement.' He then calls himself an 'abject failure.' A life viewed from the inside is very different from a life viewed from the outside. Never has this been more true than in Billy's case.

Then there is Marion, a mother drowning in grief, who turns up at Billy's church. Sobbing, she tells Billy about Callum and asks him to conduct Callum's funeral. On agreeing and as Marion departs, Billy clasps his mouth with his hand and raises his eyes to the skies, no doubt seeking a sign from God as to how he should proceed.

With Todd, later, Billy lies to him, telling Todd that he in fact did not tell Sean all about Sarah and her confession to Todd, but that he was telling Sean about Bethany and how she had been bullied. Todd seems to believe that.

  What Sean doesn't know and nor does Todd, yet, is what also came as a surprise to many of us, and that is that Billy has fallen for Todd. Who saw that coming?

Todd is enraged and orders Billy not to reveal his feelings for him to Sean. Todd then orders Billy out of the house.

Once again, a thousand praises to the brilliant Daniel Brocklebank!

Ruth  - twitter @Ruth1722

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