Thursday, 5 April 2012

Al Nedjari reveals all about being Samir on Coronation Street

Hands up if you can remember Deirdre Barlow's toyboy on Coronation Street?  He was called Samir, a Moroccan waiter who Deirdre met on holiday. They got married and looked like living happily ever after until Samir was killed off. He's also the one who saved Tracy Barlow's life after her dabble with drugs storyline - and his kidney lives on inside her! 

Actor Al Nedjari has given an interview to Yahoo! about his time on Coronation Street – and how much he hated it!

Al says he saw himself as a worthy, idealistic actor who wanted to do really important theatre. He left drama school on Friday and by Sunday evening was on the set of Coronation Street.

From the interview at Yahoo!

You weren’t happy at all?
Ha. I had really mixed feelings. I  mean, I knew I was going to get paid to do a job which was why I was going to be an actor but I didn’t really want to be on television and I certainly didn’t want to be on a soap. In the end though, I thought ‘you know, you might never get a first job’ . That happens to a lot of actors. So I thought ‘I’m going to have to say yes to this, aren’t I?’

But do you regret it?

I don’t really, no. I learnt everything there is to know about television acting.  I became skilled at it and it was quite fascinating. And it was interesting being part of the culture. But I did struggle being recognised in the street. I hated that.  I like to sit in cafes and look at people, so that was really hard. But from a professional point of view, I did make a name for myself.

Watching it again, I don’t think they’d do it now.
I don’t think they would either. They’d had criticism for not including ethnic minorities in the show and their response was to get me in. Someone a bit ethnic.

Were you relieved to be killed off?
I was then. But just recently, I was thinking looking back I would probably stay in the show for longer. Although the character was known, he was there and gone in a flash. I was worried that I’d have to play more Moroccans, but in actual fact, that’s probably a fear that was unfounded.

How did you get on with the rest of the cast?
I got on brilliantly with the immediate people around me. Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow) and I got on very well and she was lovely and Bill Roache (Ken Barlow) was lovely and at the time it was Dawn Acton playing Tracy and we got on well. But otherwise it was a bit like an airport lounge, the green room there.

By and large people had been there for years and I have to say it was a bit impersonal. A lot of the older actors were slightly contained. They weren’t very nice. I understood it by the end of my time there, though. It takes a lot out of you and if you do it for a number of years it must feel like a hellish routine. It sounds like a sob story but there’s an element of people not giving it any more than they had to. Mind you, it’s not like I was in a particularly good place.

You swan in with your big ideas…
Yeah, I thought I was the big actor and wanted to go off and do something important rather than this frivolous TV stuff. So it’s not like I made friends for life there. I certainly didn’t get on with the young people in the cast, who were well paid and all that. I found that side of it rather facile and objected to it.

Anne Kirkbride is massive on Twitter, you know.
It’s a funny world, isn’t it? She’s a national institution, isn’t she? She’s great. You don’t ever read an article with her talking, do you? She just leaves you with this idea of a TV personality that she wants you to.

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Anonymous said...

"I learnt everything there is to know about television acting. I became skilled at it ..."

Er, when?

Scott Willison said...

"Tear-tre! Tear-tre! But I love you Tear-tre!"

Anonymous said...

Dreary looks horrific in these photos - why, why, why has she been such a man magnet?! Lord have mercy.

Anonymous said...

I think his pronunciation was more like Diddery than Tear-tre, wasn't it?

That's what she became known as in our household anyway!

Anonymous said...

What a huge ego.

Unknown said...

Reading 'twixt the lines, maybe the majority of the established cast were a bit distant and impersonal,'cos the new boy gave off a this-is-beneath-me vibe.

Also, Nedjari wanted to do' really important theatre'. Define important. It's theatre ffs, entertainment. Frivolous by its very nature, no less so than a TV soap.


Unknown said...

I should add, I've chimed in at this late stage 'cos I'm watching Classic Corrie, and Samir [Deirdre's currently pronouncing it Shamir] is set to make his debut.

Tilly 45 said...

Haha.. I'm addicted to watching the classic corrie too, remember it so well the first time round, but im confused too I always thought it was Samir too, not shamir ! ..

Unknown said...

I always thought it was Samir too, rather than Shamir. Just watching the Classic Corrie reruns, much preferred it then, there was more laughter xxx

Unknown said...

Loving classic corrie

Unknown said...

They changed it to Samirs I think they found outShamir meant something not so nice

Unknown said...

Classic corrie brill love it

Unknown said...

There was definitely more comedy in the early years. We are watching the reruns. Mavis and Rita were hilarious. Anyone know why Shamir changed to Samir?

Frostycat said...

We asked that but then we heard of an Arab girl called Shamir, so now we wonder if it was really a girls name �� - anybody know?

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