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Tuesday 25 November 2014

Coronation Street Blog interview with Antony Cotton

Sean Tully has been unlucky in love to say the least, but there will soon be a new man on the scene. The new man is a man of the cloth, a man of God - in short he’s a vicar.

I was privileged to meet Antony Cotton at Media City as he talked about his new storyline. Sean hasn’t had a meaty story for some time, but it really is his turn now.

Asked why Sean is unlucky in love, Antony gave quite an amazing answer. Sean came into Coronation Street, just as Raquel, played by Sarah Lancashire, left. It is Antony’s theory that the writers carried on writing for Raquel, who they seemed to think had metamorphosised into Sean. Never having written for an openly gay man, they basically wrote Sean as Raquel. So, it stands to reason that Sean is always unlucky in love because Raquel was.

Antony knew that he had to hit the ground running when he first appeared on screen. He said that at first, he would have been happy with three months, but then decided that he had to get himself, as an actor, noticed so that he could extend his time on the cobbles. So, 13 years later – well, something went right.

Antony pointed out that Sean has not really had a story for a year now, other than being at The Rovers, the factory and at the Grimshaw’s. As long as he’s there present in the show, he’s happy though. Antony enjoys very much living with the Grimshaw’s and working with Sue Cleaver, Eileen, Bruno Langley, Todd and Ryan Thomas, Jason. He says that the writers have the ‘family voice’ exactly right as they do with the Platts.

  ‘I am the older brother they never wanted,’ laughed Antony but actually he is like their older brother and they have simply forgotten that they are not related. In the Grimshaw household Sean was originally a lodger but is now most definitely part of the family. He is Eileen’s rock and someone she could not manage without.

Sean is more than that too. Sean, uniquely, amongst the cast has no enemies in Weatherfield. He is its moral voice and compass. If Sean says it’s wrong, then it’s wrong. 

Who then is the new man in Sean’s life?  Well, Underworld has planned an outing, but gradually everyone drops out except for Sean and Sinead. Sinead is a strange dancer, apparently, but she does manage to get Billy, who is leading his congregation the next day, and Sean, talking. The actor who plays Billy is in the show initially for 6 months. It could be more, but Antony doesn’t know what the writers have in store for Sean and Billy. What Antony does know is that Billy is a very hardworking vicar because his work is a vocation rather than just a job. Billy is also a modernizer, which may well cause conflict with the more traditional members of the congregation.

Interestingly, Antony says that he never watches himself playing Sean. He fast forwards to avoid himself, though he does enjoy watching the rest of the cast.

Asked if there were any downsides to playing Sean, Antony spoke of the vile abuse he receives on social media. He wasn’t specific about the insults but did say that they consisted of the vilest, nastiest insults that anyone could possibly throw at someone. It is then most admirable, under such provocation, that Antony has never once retaliated – in fact he makes a point of never ‘slagging anyone else off.’

On the plus side, and because he is in the show, Antony has several achievements to his name. He is an ambassador for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He has met the queen, he has been twice to Number 10, under 2 governments, and his mum, Edna, is very pleased by this.

Antony has also done considerable work for LGBT support. Sean has never apologized on the cobbles for who he is and nor has Antony, the character reflecting the person and the person reflecting the character.

Antony’s mum, as mentioned, is called Edna and that is what Antony has called her all his life. His mum would have loved him to call her mum, but it wasn’t to be.

There is a gentle, but solid self confidence in Antony Cotton, which seems to have been with him for some time. As a five-year old, just starting school, he said to the teacher, ‘I have come here to learn how to read and write, no to colour in.’

Asked if he would like to stay in the show until he’s as old as Norris and Rita, there was a definite yes. He envisages himself and Fiz as the future Norris and Rita. Though of course, Sean would be a much more likeable person. 

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Tvor said...

Thanks for this! I have always liked Sean as a character and it has been a shame they haven't given him a storyline so i'm looking forward to this.

Ruth owen said...

Thanks Tvor. Yes, me too!

Anonymous said...

That vicar is yummy looking.

Anonymous said...

Sean's always been one of my favorites. I never did realize that he didn't have any enemies, which is rare. He's funny, and entertaining to watch.
I hope the writers aren't going to break his heart...again.
C in Canada.

Dolly Tubb said...

Glad to see that Sean is going to get a decent story line. He is sadly underused and one of my fave characters. Sadly he suffers occasionally, like many Corrie actors, from The Pen Of Doom, which many of the Corrie writers use to make characters so lack lustre. I'm looking forward to this story and I hope at last that Sean will be lucky in love. It's a great storyline too, with a gay vicar, a very current theme, all sorts of twists and turns can be unearthed in this storyline!

David Parsnips said...

Ug, a terrible character that had his sell by yonks ago. Cannot act and is just an annoyance.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Raquel left and Sean came in straight away, I am pretty sure that there were like few years in between?

Zagg said...

I think Sean is far from a terrible character and certainly not just an annoyance! I've always liked his character but I think he has been underused and certainly deserves a good story line. I hope this time they make him lucky in love rather than another broken relationship on the street, which seems to be the only thing they know how to write these days.

Anonymous said...

Corriepedia, people! According to our thorough, volunteer friends there Raquel left in 1996 and had only a two episode return visit in 2000. Sean didn't arrive until July 2003, so while it's a colourful theory, Antony, that's a long time between the exit and subsequent entrance. As to whether Sean and Raquel's personalities were the same, I'll throw that open for discussion1

Rebecca said...

I like Sean. Glad to see he finally gets a story. I hope it's a happy one for a change!

Beth said...

I did like Sean back in the day when he was new to the street. I feel he's gone stale and not grown as a character and for a grown man comes across as terribly childish and as his character has aged he hasn't.

I'll be interested to see how Corrie portrays this story with the vicar. Hopefully not just to bash Christians. Corrie is quite good at that. Through Roy. The stereotypical old lady Emily and the not very nice story of Sophie's Vicar. Sophie's forgotten faith for the sake of a story.

For once it would be good to see Christians portrayed positively and in a contemporary light.

Anonymous said...

I have no reason to have a negative opinion of Antony Cotton, having never met him, and can't understand why those who have also never met him attack him on social media - although there are a lot of jerks out there.

As far as Sean goes, I feel like he is always punching above his weight when it comes to romance but let's hope a relationship with a Vicar will give Sean a chance to show us some depth and other facets.

Anonymous said...

I too like Sean. I also understand that Antony Cotton doesn't enjoy watching himself. I am a performer and I hate watching myself.

Shan said...

I follow Antony on Twitter and he does receive a lot of abuse and he handles it respectfully and honourably. I'm very impressed by him. He definitely doesn't retaliate but I am amazed at the way he does engage some people in the hopes of getting them to understand the gravity of their words. He is a good role model.


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