Gritty sagas by Corrie blog editor Glenda Young, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Getting to know Gareth Pierce - Interview

Not so long ago I had the pleasure of sitting in a Zoom call where Gareth Pierce talked all about Todd's big return- you can read that here. As well as discussing all things Corrie, Gareth also told us all about his professional career, and how he landed the coveted role of Todd. 

Starting with his time in theatre, Gareth said, "I've always had a varied career. I did a season at The Globe doing some Shakespeare. But telly wise, I suppose I've played a lot of Welsh characters, really. 

"I was in Ruth Jones' series Stella as Lenny Mack, so quite a sort of nasty piece of work to be honest. Before that, I was in a lot of Welsh language stuff and playing much nicer, more naive characters." 

Gareth also had a part in Ordinary Lies playing Karl, and up to now he has a regular gig on The Archers. All of this has led up to Gareth landing the role of Todd Grimshaw on Coronation Street, who returned last week. 

Gareth was at home during lockdown, but he had already set the ball rolling for auditioning for Todd. He said, "I self-taped before lockdown, and then obviously all of that happened and I kind of thought, 'Oh, I probably won't be hearing from that one for a while'. 

"I was at home like a lot of people, homeschooling my four-year-old daughter which was an adventure. I suppose it was early July then that everything came back onto the radar and Corrie got in touch, said I was still in the mix, then I was very suddenly heading up the M4, M5, M6 for screentests."

Like many people around the country, Corrie was a big deal for Gareth growing up. "It was a massive show for us as a family growing up in North Wales. It's strange, it felt quite nostalgic, quite comforting, a bit like coming home in a weird way to get the gig and to start working here. I can already tell what a lovely place it's going to be to work." 

It really is a small world when you bump into an old friend. This happened to Gareth after one of his screentests when he saw Ian Bartholomew, who plays Geoff Metcalfe. "He's a good mate of mine, actually", Gareth told us. "I bumped into Ian at my final screentest for the show which was a really beautiful moment because you know, the stakes are high when you know you're down to the last few actors for a role so to see a familiar face in the corridor was really lovely."

Every first day at a new job can be stressful, but Gareth said that his co-stars Dan Brocklebank and Sue Cleaver made him feel very welcome. "Dan and Sue in particular have been brilliant", he said. "That relationship started early, actually. It was a real masterstroke on the part of Corrie to ask for that second screentest because that was more of a chemistry test, really, for us as actors because you can be the best actors in the world but sometimes it just doesn't quite click. It is a bit like Lego pieces and it's not even really in your control. 

"It did just immediately click with both of them at that screentest. It just felt very much like we were just shooting those scenes and that it wasn't me trying to get a role. From then on they've just been beautifully welcoming every step of the way. They told me they were rooting for me to get the role after that screentest and we've become fast friends really quickly and that's helped cement those onscreen relationships as well."

Sophie Williams

Read some more of my general natterings on Twitter @soph_journo.

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