On Monday I headed down to Sheffield station, confident that I would be in plenty of time to get to The Lowry Theatre in Media City, for a special screening to which Emma and I had been invited. It soon became evident that my confidence was misplaced after not one, but two trains were cancelled. Panic growing, I was willing train number three to go as fast as it could. Straight onto a tram and to Media City and The Lowry to find Emma right at the front of the screening room with a seat saved for me. Thank you Emma!
The screenings were edge of your seat stuff. So much to look forward to with plots brilliantly crafted along with twists and turns making what might have been considered irrelevancies, being anything but.
After the screening we were allocated tables in readiness to interview the cast involved in the upcoming explosive episodes. The table arrangements made for more intimate, less formal interviews. The cast seemed more relaxed too with this new arrangement and it was all the better for it.
Robert Preston, played by Tristan Gemmill, is the chef at the bistro, and was once a carpet fitter. He plays an integral part in the whole Tracy, Carla, Nick story line, chiefly because in a moment of euphoric madness at the casino, Carla and Robert slept together, to Carla's almost immediate regret. This mistake, which Tracy found out about, set in motion a chain of fear of disclosure, bribery, a hasty sale of Nick's Bistro, a wedding, the possible purchase of a restaurant in Devon, followed by a move down there by Carla and Nick to begin their new life.
Robert, you will remember, met up again with Tracy, his ex-wife, at his former mother-in-law's funeral. When Deirdre died, Robert was married to Joni, but claimed to Tracy that he was in love with her and always had been. Their relationship rekindled, it seemed that Robert was indeed in love with Tracy and so he comes to live with Tracy, Ken and Amy.
As Nick and Carla's wedding draws ever nearer, Carla is only too aware that at any moment her nemesis could wreck her life. The bistro is decked out tastefully ready for the ceremony, and the guests are gathered, when Tracy bursts in to reveal that it was Carla who stumped up the money to give to Tracy to give to Robert, for Robert to go ahead with his ambition to buy the bistro. Carla, keen to proceed with the ceremony sees all too clearly that her attempt to buy Tracy's silence has failed.
Robert is outraged that Tracy could pull a stunt such as this and for him, it is a step too far. This spiteful, malicious attempt to destroy the dream Carla and Nick were beginning to believe would come to fruition, is too much for Robert. Despite Tracy's desperate attempts to hang on to him, Robert packs his bag, apologises to Ken and heads off. Notably, Ken makes no attempt to persuade him to stay. Tristan confirmed that for now, at least, Robert and Tracy are over. Robert has discovered just how conniving and sinister Tracy can be. It is so intriguing though, that he said 'for now' - but for now, that is as much as I know.
Robert, Tristan said, will throw himself into his work at the bistro and try to make it as successful a business venture as he possibly can.
Tristan said that he is delighted to be on the cobbles and was full of praise for everyone involved. He finds it fascinating to now know the inside track of a show he has only ever known from the outside as a viewer. He stated that he thought that Coronation Street is 'The Rolls Royce of the genre.' and I for one will not be arguing with that assessment. Tristan has no plans to leave and is very much enjoying his time on the cobbles. I asked him if he might enlighten us as to the possibilities of a romance with Leanne. After all, the rumour mill has been churning out this possibility for some time. In return, I was granted a wry smile...
Ruth Owen, twitter @Ruth1722
The Little Book of Carla Connor
A Decade in the Life of a Soap Queen
An unofficial Coronation Street companion book
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