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Monday, 12 October 2020

Dan Brocklebank interview - Where does Billy's heart lie?

Billy Mayhew is about to be put in a difficult position this week when he finally comes face to face with ex-boyfriend Todd Grimshaw. I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Dan Brocklebank who plays the troubled vicar, to find out how Billy feels about Todd coming back into his life, plus an exciting job proposition for Billy.

Billy and Sean have been looking for Todd for a little while now, and this has started to take a toll on his relationship with Paul. "It's an odd thing, isn't it, to put a current partner through something like that where you'd be searching for an ex," said Dan. "I mean, Billy's always conflicted about something, let's be honest.

"I think it was a bit rotten of him to spend Paul's 30th birthday looking for [Todd]. I do think Billy's conflicted and I do think Billy genuinely thinks he's doing this for Eileen's sake. But I mean, he's got questions of his own that need answering so I'm sure he's got his own reasons for it." 

While Eileen is over the road trying to deal with Mick the gangster, an unsuspecting Mary hears noises coming from upstairs and believes there to be a ghost in the attic and calls on Billy to perform an exorcism. However, neither of them are prepared for Todd to appear. 

Dan said, "It's an absolute gem of a scene. When I read it, I literally squeaked because I mean, Patti is just fabulous as Mary. It's brilliant because it goes from high comedy into absolute drama. It's Corrie perfectly. There are very few shows where you get to play comedy and drama in the same show, let alone the same scene.

"But of course, to have Todd walking down the stairs... he's just being smacked in the face, that sort of thing, I think, of disbelief at first, and then the realisation and then of course, an absolute mixture of emotion.

"I don't think he really knew what to think in that moment and then subsequently the scenes that follow were beautifully written and brilliantly directed by George. We'd sat down and talked at length before we shot them to pinpoint all the nuances." 

After being back on the street for five minutes, Todd takes great delight in winding Paul up and when Billy implores him to stop, Todd reveals he still has feelings for the vicar. "The audacity!" says Dan. 

"The audacity that he can waltz back in and pick up from where he left off! That's just Todd all over, isn't it? The cheek, the sort of swagger, the waltz, the confidence that he can literally just walk back into Billy's life after shitting on him from a great height." 

The biggest question for Todd then is, does Billy reciprocate any of his feelings? 

"There was never any closure on that relationship so therefore Billy was never able to get over it fully because it was left with such a gaping hole in Billy's existence. He was never capable of actually dotting the I's and crossing the T's and drawing a line under it completely. 

"Of course he still has feelings for Todd. He's the love of his life, you don't just get over the love of your life like that." 

When talking about the differences between Billy's relationship with Paul to his with Todd, Dan said, "Paul is the exact opposite of Todd. Todd is smart, witty, well-dressed; Paul is not witty, he's not well-dressed, I don't think he's that smart. He's gone with the polar opposite of what Todd was because of the amount of hurt I think Billy felt when Todd up and left. 

"I think he's replaced Todd with the exact opposite, for that reason. Todd and Billy's relationship was very playful, it was very fun, it was very passionate. His relationship with Paul is seemingly none of those things. It feels quite parental, actually. He's always trying to fix Paul so it doesn't really feel like a very healthy relationship to me." 

On top of everything that Billy is having to deal with, he is also offered a job promotion to archdeacon, but even that isn't plain-sailing. "Initially, he's very excited by it because it's like the Bishop's right-hand man," Dan told us. 

"It's a lot of extra responsibility which I think, being so tied up with Paul and everything else, I think he's worried he may not have enough time between Paul and Summer and this rather consuming job if he gets it. He flits between absolutely wanting to go for the job, and then not, and then he does and then he doesn't. It's actually Paul that convinces him to go to the job interview in the end. 

"He's got a lot going on with Todd and Paul and Summer and the job. I think it becomes a bit too much for him and he decides he's not going to go for the job, but then Paul convinces him to go." 

Billy's going to have one hell of a headache over the coming weeks but how will he deal with his conflicting feelings for Todd and will he get the big promotion? 

Sophie Williams

Read some more of my general natterings on Twitter @soph_journo

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

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