Tuesday, 22 August 2017

In praise of Connor McIntyre as Phenomonal Phelan

Connor McIntyre inhabits Pat Phelan so convincingly that he is one of the best actors to tread the cobbles. On set, he is mesmerising, particularly in his ability to convince people of what he is doing, when in truth, it’s all lies. Eileen, not the most gullible of characters, seems to believe all he says and she quite clearly cares for him, even, possibly, loves him. But how does he feel about her? He must have some feeling for her, as he goes through the motions of being married. Is she a port in a storm or does Phelan have genuine feelings for her? 
As for Phelan and Todd, they seem to have arrived at a truce, a temporary one, maybe, but a truce nevertheless. Perhaps that is the only way the two of them can deal with each other - takes one to know one. (In fairness, Todd has shown a softer side of late and Summer is bringing out the best in him).
Focus on Phelan has been quite intense of late – particularly finding Nicola to be his daughter. Is it for her sake that he felt compelled to visit the priest, when he confessed that he had done a bad thing and indeed was still involved in doing that bad thing? The very fact that he sought the help of the priest, is a clear indication that Phelan does have a conscience, though in his previous incarnation as the horrendous man who forced Anna Windass to sleep with him, he appeared more as a pantomime villain, a caricature, than a fully rounded character.

Friday’s ending was a stroke of genius by the writers and even better for the fact that there had been no spoilers. That’s the way to do it. I’ve only just seen Friday’s second episode in full. What a tour de force that was! Phelan eating his eclairs in front of Andy and musing as to what he would have for his final meal and concluding that he would choose eclairs. He showed some self-awareness too as he recognised that there would be a queue of people more than happy to administer the lethal injection for him.

‘Just a flying visit,’ he declares, as an opener and the thrill of it is that we cannot see to whom he is addressing this remark. ‘But on the bright side, chocolate eclairs are on special offer.’

He says he is at a crossroads in his life and sings a few bars of Fagin’s song in Oliver, which goes, ‘I am reviewing, the situation.’

He continues and it’s almost like a soliloquy, as he thinks aloud. ‘I might go left; change my ways, make the people who care about me proud. If I go right, well, we all know where that leads – problems, problems, problems.’ We hear the clanking of chains, a shout for help, Oliver’s face revealed in the half light – brilliant.

To lock someone up, alone in a cellar, with no hope of release, with the threat of death hanging over them, is of an order of real cruelty - Phelan’s true character exposed. In last night’s episode, we see Phelan blaming Andy for this current situation. ‘Every day, I’m trying to be a better man,’ says Phelan. And, ‘Just when I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.’ This is of course all very psychologically convincing. It is as if Phelan blames Andy for the situation he finds himself in, of holding someone prisoner in a dirty, dank cellar. And then, ‘How come you’re the one chained up, but I feel trapped.’
All this from a man who was supposed to be in the soap for just three short scenes.

Ruth @ruth1722




Please read our advice for leaving comments on the Coronation Street Blog
All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

8 comments:

Humpty Dumpty said...

Connor McIntyre has done a terrific job with a very mixed bag of scripts. Phelan, the character (and not the excellent actor), was a 2-dimensional villain right up until the storyline about Nicola. Am I the only viewer who found smirky Phelan a total bore much like Tracy was with her gurning and grinning? Enter his daughter and only now does he become interesting. Phelan cannot be redeemed and we are watching the beginning of his exit story. I want to understand why he does bad things (and so will Eileen): poor childhood, psychopathic tendencies, violent father. We caught a glimpse of this when he was talking to Todd, and then again to Nicola. These insights have come very late in Phelan's life on the Street. We should have had some of them way back in his relationship with Anna. We also heard last night that Michael haunts him, something Todd unwittingly stumbled upon. Where does that supernatural fear come from? He might have had a strict religious upbringing. I don't recall Nicola asking about her grandmother. The action has speeded up with Andy's reappearance which suggests Phelan's exit isn't far off. If so, there will be a lot of loose ends to tie up in a short space of time.

maggie muggins said...

I'd have to agree Humpty, that Connor is doing a good job with the mixed bag that he's been given since he first arrived. It feels like an awful lot is being squeezed into a short time now, making it very unpleasant to watch as Phelan goes from munching on food in front of his prisoner, to brushing himself off and appearing in Eileen's sitting room all smiles for his new daughter. True psychopath behaviour on paper, but too literal & unsubtle to truly work.

I don't know if his being caught is going to be worth sitting through this garish back and forth at speed. It's like watching the current White House resident give a scripted speech at night while on mild tranquillisers, then rave at one of his rallies to the crowd the next afternoon.

Ruth Owen said...

Yes, Humpty, revelations about Phelan's childhood, and in fact anything that happened to him before he arrived with the glamorous Val, would be most welcome.

Ans Maggie, it does feel rushed, which is a shame. Excellent comparison to the Donald.

Aussie Pete said...

You know an actor is doing his job when you hate him so much! Connor makes me cringe every time he's on screen. He really does a great job in the role.

Flo said...

I think what makes it even more interesting is how he comes across on Twitter as just a genuinely nice guy. It just tells me that he is a very, very good actor.

boris the spider said...

Good actor or not, I cannot wait for Phelan to go. Absolutely detest him. And it would be wonderful if he took Eileen and Seb with him.

Anonymous said...

Just been catching up with Monday's episodes (see, corrie's got so bad I don't even bother to watch "live" any more). Phelan (or rather the actor) was too over the top for my taste. Very bad acting.

Newfy Pearl said...

I remember when Charlie Stubbs was the resident bad boy. Even pulling Sunita from a burning building did not get him brownie points. We never did find out why he objectified women as he did. I would have liked to understand this character more. So good on Kate to show the other side of Phelan...I hope she continues to make him interesting.
Another character I missed when he left was Tony Gordon. Carla ruined him when she lusted after Liam. He seemed to get what he wanted....a little family ...someone to love....awwww...then it ended.

You might also like...