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Monday, 1 February 2021

Dan Brocklebank interview: Billy and Paul split as Summer's life is put in danger?

Billy Mayhew has been wary of Todd Grimshaw since his return, and with very good reason. However, it looks as though Todd's warped attempts to split Billy from Paul Foreman might succeed in upcoming episodes. After Summer Spellman catches teen Will trashing the flat on Todd's instruction, she panics and runs into the path of an oncoming car. With Summer's life in danger, actor Dan Brocklebank told us how Billy feels about Paul after Summer's accident, and if their relationship is in serious trouble. 

On Friday's episode, Todd has yet again manipulated the situation so that Billy has no choice but to take in the piano that Ajay was giving away. Dan said: "I think maybe on some level Billy is kind of aware that Todd is trying to stir things a little bit and when Todd arrives and Billy's stood at the piano, Billy almost plays down how annoyed he is because he knows that's what Todd wanted out of the situation." 

A major strain currently on Billy and Paul's relationship is Paul's upcoming court case. While they are relieved to find out that he has been given a suspended sentence, could the couple have survived an alternative outcome? "I've said this before about Billy and Paul. There is always a parental element to Billy and Paul's relationship, and again it's Billy being the stoic, sort of, 'Okay, it's alright, whatever the outcome we'll deal with it'," Dan said. 

After the good news at court, Billy and Paul's good spirits soon turn to devastation. Dan said: "They come round the corner in a sort of celebratory mode to find Summer in the middle of the road, and I think with any parent really, your primary objective is to make sure there's an ambulance on its way and that she's being looked after." 

Trying to take in the scene, Billy spots a teenager across the street, but is oblivious to the fact that it's Will, until Paul confesses what he knows. Speaking about Billy's reaction to Paul's revelation, Dan said: "He's angry and disappointed, the worst combination of all reactions. Billy blames Paul entirely because it's Paul, as far as Billy's concerned, that has brought this Will not only into their lives, but now into their home and has endangered the life of Billy's daughter who is his number one. She has to be put first above and beyond anyone else and I do think this is the final straw, I think Billy's had enough."

Billy and Paul's relationship is seemingly in tatters after Summer's accident, and viewers will know that the real culprit behind Will trashing the flat is Todd. However, it becomes apparent that Todd has an attack of conscience after surveying the damage he has caused. "I think Todd feels a huge amount of guilt, actually, for what has happened. He realises that he's gone too far because Summer is ultimately his daughter as well and therefore, he's endangered the life of her," said Dan. "I think he starts to see the ramifications of his actions. This isn't a celebration for Todd."

While it's clear that Todd is desperate to win the vicar back, Billy's feelings for his ex remain unclear. "As time's gone on, Billy's suspicions have lessened a little," said Dan. "I think he's very much trying to lay his past feelings to rest, to allow Summer and Todd to continue to have a decent sort of parental/child relationship."

"It's a difficult one," Dan added. "I don't think Billy's ever really dealt with those feelings because he didn't know where [Todd] had gone or why he'd gone, and therefore it's difficult to lay those feelings to rest, even though he's in a relationship with Paul, so I think he's struggled with that. I think Billy at this point is relatively confident that he's got those emotions under control."

Billy has some tough decisions to make, and Dan says he would advise Billy to think carefully about any future relationship with Todd. He said: "I'd be wary about going back to a relationship that was so explosively ending and so damaging at the other end. Having said that, when you look at their relationship on balance, actually their relationship was pretty brilliant when they were together. You can't eradicate all the good times but therefore you also must focus on the bad ones just to make sure you're not looking back on it with rose-tinted glasses."

After months of scheming, Todd finally manages to drive a wedge between Billy and Paul, but surprisingly, Todd now takes a back seat. "Because of the guilt Todd feels, I think he kind of backs off a little bit," said Dan. "Todd and Billy's relationship was always so genuine, and I think this manipulative side of Todd, which we've seen a lot of times before, we never saw it where Billy was concerned. I think Todd will need time to let that guilt settle a little bit before he makes a move on Billy." 

As Todd tries to deal with his conscience, we could see his softer, more genuine side reappear. Could this be what wins Billy round? "[This] is what Billy fell in love with in the first place. I think Billy very much saw beyond the Machiavellian kind of villain and saw [Todd] for what he really is, but we just haven't seen much of that Todd since he's been back. We saw it in the first few episodes when they first met, but it would be nice to have genuine Todd back."

Billy's had a varied love-life during his time on the cobbles, but would Billy be prepared to walk down the aisle in the future? "It would be lovely as a gay man myself to be part of the first gay wedding on Corrie that actually happens, that would be amazing," said Dan. "From Billy's perspective, I think he would be torn by the fact that we still can't have a religious ceremony and I think that would be important to him."

The church would certainly be an obstacle for Billy if he did wish to get married, and Billy has already made attempts to leave the church in the past. Dan said: "Once he quit the church for Sean, and then he did quit the church for Todd as well, and he's gone back both times, and now that he's Archdeacon, I think it would be even harder for him to walk out. It would have to be a pretty special man I think to make him get married at a registry office." 

A big part of Dan's personal life are his two dogs, Colin and Jean. During our chat, Dan told us about working with the Dog's Trust, who are urging people to think long-term before adopting a dog during lockdown. Dan said: "It is a big responsibility and as I was dealing with the Dog's Trust just before Christmas, there was a massive influx of dogs that were given back to the Dog's Trust around Christmas time that had been adopted during the first lockdown, then of course once they get out of the cute puppy stage and they're in their adolescence and they start chewing stuff and they've got energy, people don't realise what they're getting into.

"People are going to get dogs during lockdown, they're great company and I wouldn't have been without them during this time... they've got to think beyond lockdown, and they might have to go back to work."

With Billy vowing to put Summer first, will he give Paul his marching orders, and will his eye be caught by Todd once more?

Sophie Williams

I'm on Twitter @soph_writer

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

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