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Monday, 5 October 2020

Sue Cleaver Interview- Eileen's stuck between a rock and a hard place

Whilst Eileen Grimshaw has been in Thailand, the search has been frantic for her son, Todd. Upon her return back to the street, she becomes more determined than ever to find out where Todd is but she isn't prepared for the kind of trouble he will involve his mum in. I found out from Sue Cleaver where Todd has been and what this means for Eileen. 

The search for Todd has been going on for quite some time before Billy and Sean tell Eileen. "She's not best pleased with them and can't understand why they've kept it a secret from her, knowing that she's spent the last couple of years absolutely desperate to know where her son is", says Sue. 

Sean then finds an intruder in No.11 but they manage to get away. Surveying the house later on, Eileen discovers a note written by Todd asking her to meet him. "She keeps it very quiet and she goes to meet him where he tells her that he's in terrible trouble, but not the kind of trouble she imagined", said Sue. 

"She then finds herself back in a world where she thought she'd never have to get involved with; gangsters and the underbelly of the world, and here he is, her own son, saying that he's in danger and that a big, bad man is after him." 

During a meeting with Todd, Eileen lets slip that she's due at the morgue to identify a body, and that's when Todd tells her to identify the body as him so that he can disappear again. Sue said, "[Eileen] is absolutely gobsmacked at this. It's the most disgusting, horrific thing she's ever heard of.

"But then, obviously she starts to think, 'this is the only way I've got to keep my son alive', so she's stuck between a rock and a hard place." 

Billy and Sean both want to accompany Eileen to the morgue but she has to insist she goes alone as she thinks of this shocking plan. However, things don't go accordingly. "She realises that there's no way she could go through with it. She couldn't deny another family the chance of knowing what happened to their child, that their child has died and she thinks back to all that time she's been worrying about Todd being missing, so no, she doesn't go through with it." 

Although Todd is furious that Eileen backed out, she confides in Mary about her predicament, of which Mary and George come up with a solution of sorts- plan Todd a fake funeral. "Eileen turns up outside the florists and there is the coffin and the flowers with 'Todd' written along the side. Mary's in a veil and they're saying, "Come on, we're going to the funeral now". It's the most stupid, horrific idea she's ever heard and she tells them. They were very funny scenes to film."

Todd has really pulled a blinder this time and gotten himself wrapped up with a notoriously dangerous gangster which lands himself and Eileen in terrible danger. 

"She finds herself with a gun being pointed at her and it's like her whole life is in this bizarre world again", said Sue. "She's really certain that she can make everything okay and Todd's saying, 'You're not going to make everything okay, keep your nose out of it". But Eileen being Eileen, of course she's not going to keep her nose out. She's well versed in dealing with the underworld, isn't she?"

Despite the hardships Todd brings along with him, Eileen also meets George Shuttleworth, played by Tony Maudsley. Eileen isn't sure about him to start with, but Sue has high hopes for this budding relationship. "I think there could be some fun storylines. The fact that he's an undertaker, I mean, the world's your oyster really, isn't it? Tony and I have worked together before, years and years ago we played husband and wife so it's nice to be back in each other's realms again." 

As well as all of this going on, Sue was involved in the casting of Gareth Pierce, who will play Todd. She said, "The minute [Gareth] got on the set, there was an essence of him that I knew I could relate to and there was the essence of Todd; the bad boy with a very lovable side, and the vulnerable side as well. 

"He just hit the nail on the head and it was just so easy and since we've been working, it's just felt like we've been working together for ages. Our very first scene, we were having problems trying to keep a straight face. He's so good, he's such a subtle actor and just a really good performer and has just slotted in perfectly."

While Eileen may be relieved to see her son alive, how will they escape the grave danger that Todd brings to her door? 

Sophie Williams

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

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