Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Coronation Street Blog interview: Ryan Clayton, Jack P Shepherd & Julia Goulding

It’s not only Phelan who’s causing a stir on the cobbles this week, as Josh is still causing turmoil for David. With his rape ordeal continuing, David has been confiding in Shona recently after opening up about everything he’s going through, and this week sees the troubled Platt tell Gail and Audrey about what has happened to him. We sat down with Jack P Shepherd, Julia Goulding, and Ryan Clayton to find out more…

“Wow”, Ryan (Josh) replied after being asked what it is like playing the most loathsome character on TV. “I thought it was a toss-up between me and Connor (Phelan) but apparently I have taken that crown! There has been a fair few reactions but none of its malicious. We’ve come a long way from the days of Johnny Briggs being hit by handbags! People are used to it much more now and can differentiate between the person and the character.”

As with a number of Coronation Street storylines at the moment, there has been a heavy debate about whether topics like this belong in the soap or not. “I had a lot of feedback when the fans first got told about the storyline”, said Jack (David). “People weren’t happy. They were saying ‘it’s ridiculous’, ‘it shouldn’t be on TV.’ ‘It’s a family show. We don’t tune in for this.’ And I think the way that Corrie handled it where, you didn’t see anything – you just saw a bedroom door shut. It was just left to your imagination.”

When asked whether it’s good that Corrie are addressing something so serious, Ryan said “Absolutely. I mean, you see the viewing figures and you see how many people there are. Hollyoaks has explored this in the past but you are looking at a different demographic there. So Corrie can be insightful to an older generation and perhaps even a younger generation coming through.” He continued, “I think it’s important that soaps represent real life. And you can see the statistics of how many people are affected by male rape or, you know, any form of rape and it’s important to tell such stories and represent people like that so that they can open up.”

Since the beginning of this storyline, viewers have seen David deteriorate, pushing his loved ones away and isolating himself. He is almost always perceived as the trouble maker round the corner, however this storyline has allowed the viewers to see a different side to him. When asked about this, Jack said “That’s the good thing about Corrie, that you can explore different sides. You are not always the baddie. You can be a nice guy, you can be a loving guy, you can be funny. And that’s why I enjoy it. And this particular storyline has been very internalised. Usually you see David’s reaction and you know what he is going to do. He’s going to go mental, or whatever, or lash out, but through all this he has just been quiet. It’s been like a change of character.”

During the interview, I brought up the fact that at the beginning of this hard-hitting storyline, Josh believed he hadn’t done anything wrong; I was interested to find out whether this was still the case. “I think somewhere deep inside him knows what he has done isn’t okay but getting him to admit that – as is the case with a lot of rapists – getting him to admit that to himself is difficult. Because as soon as he admits that then you can either go, ‘Okay. I need to apologise and I need to prove myself as being a good human being,’ or it just means that they are a psychopath; that they are going to continue to deny it. So I think his approach is that he is going to keep denying and telling himself that it was okay and that he is not a bad human being.”

The scene where David finally opened up to Shona was so heart-wrenching for so many reasons. When asked if the scenes were emotionally charged to film, Jack said “Yeah”, before looking embarrassed. However, Julia was quick to shower her co-star in praise. “I thought you were brilliant. I really did. I am so proud of you,” she told Jack. “Because we obviously have a laugh on set, and stuff, and we mess around between takes but this was obviously such a different feel, such a different tone. Jack had such a hard place to get to, and we had an amazing crew and it was actually a lovely, still morning and the sun was beaming through.”

Ryan, Jack and Julia have all been fantastic during this storyline, no question. The only thing left to do is to keep on tuning in to this exciting week on the cobbles.

Sophie Williams

Read all my general natterings on Twitter @sophie_jw26

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