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Saturday 21 May 2016

Coronation Street Blog Interview: Jack P. Shepherd and Paula Lane

It has been an exciting week so far on the Coronation Street Blog. It started on Monday when my fellow blogger Ruth and I travelled to Manchester for an exclusive preview of Corrie’s big week which starts this Sunday, and since then we have been sharing our experiences of the day and bringing you our interviews with key cast members. Next up, are Jack P. Shepherd and Paula Lane who play David and Kylie Platt. 

Now, I’ve long been a fan of David Platt. But over the last year in particular, he has really come into his own. From deadpan references to his chequered family history to gallows humour at the most (in)appropriate moments, he never fails to make me laugh. I also marvel at his ability to cope, and wryly at that, with the worst situations imaginable as he courses coolly through life with an apparent absence of any discernible conscience. My Weatherfield Psycho blog from a number of months back covered all of this, but suffice to say I love what they've done with the character in the capable hands of Jack P. Shepherd. 

If David Platt doesn’t disappoint, neither does interviewing Jack.

We also now know that Paula Lane is leaving the street. I have very much enjoyed Kylie’s time on the cobbles, and she will be sorely missed. I wasn’t sure about the gobby sister of Becky Grainger at first, but she matured into a complex character with a catalogue of great storylines, and compelling performances, including last September’s live episode, and I am sad to see her go.

I’ve been lucky enough to interview Paula a number of times now, and she is always a pleasure to chat with.

So, on to the interviews.

The Corrie powers that be are remaining tight lipped  surrounding the discovery of Callum’s body, and believe me, you’ll be glad of this as you tune in to see for yourself.

But what could Jack and Paula tell me about what happens after he is found? “The police get involved, and all the main suspects are arrested; Gail, David, Kylie and Sarah” Jack tells me. “It’s a case of which stories are the same and which are different.”

Jack explained that, as you might expect, David is the one who tries to hold it together. “Sarah panics and cries a lot” he reveals, “I’m very evasive, [saying] I haven’t a clue, I don’t know how it got there. I try to shift the blame and say there were a lot of people after him.”

Jack grins as, speaking of David, he says “I’ve certainly gotten over [Callum's death]. I don’t think he’s got much of a conscience to be honest”. He notes that David is alright, Kylie is the middle ground, and poor Sarah is at the other end of the spectrum. 

Paula observed that the writers decided to have the girls respond differently since the live episode, otherwise there would’ve been a sameness which wouldn’t have worked as well. It has certainly been a great dynamic.

So how does Gail react? “She’s really shocked” Jack explains, “and I think she points the blame towards me. She thinks I’ve done it.”

Paula told me how she considers Kylie to be lucky in that she can take comfort from David, whereas Sarah doesn’t have that, but Kylie can be there for her. “I’m just trusting David’s advice” she says.

I asked Jack if he was glad to see the story coming to its conclusion. He explained, “When I first found out about the storyline it was the live episode and the producer, Stuart at the time, said ‘in 5 years time we’ll uncover the body’. I was like, wow, that’s a long storyline. I’m quite surprised it’s happened sooner, but I don’t mind it. I’m glad.”

I noted that many viewers thought there’d be nothing in the manhole, and asked if that was ever on the cards. “Not from us” replies Jack, who was amused at having heard the same speculation.

As Paula prepares to leave the soap, she’s asked if she’s excited, and replies “Yes I am.” Pointing at her baby bump, she continues, “I’m a bit preoccupied obviously with other things at the minute, but I’m sad as well, it’s bittersweet.”

I asked Paula if she had any roles in mind for the future, including theatre.

“It’s mixed to be honest” she told me, “there’s been a few theatre checks that have happened since I’ve announced I’m leaving, so I’ll just watch this space. But I’m kind of mindful of the fact that I need a bit of a mental rest as I’ve had six very very busy years. It’s quite exciting to see what’s on the horizon.”

Jack respects Paula’s choice to leave adding, “They are a good couple and work well together, so that’ll be a shame that will end, but it’s her decision.”

So, has David got his eye on anyone else? “No” Jack confirms, “I think there’d have to be another actor introduced, as I don’t think anybody sort of fits the bill on the Street at the minute, for David anyway.” At the suggestion of Gemma, he grins “Definitely not Gemma.”

This was a very enjoyable interview with plenty of laughs. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for both the Platts, and Paula Lane as she departs. As I did on Monday in person, again, I wish her the very best of luck.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

Read all about our week in Weatherfield and find out more about Corrie's big week, including the official trailer and spoilers, here.

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