Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Gareth Pierce interview: Has Todd gone too far this time?

How have you settled in on the cobbles?
I feel very settled and happy and I think that is testament to what a lovely place to work it is and how welcoming and generous everybody has been. It will be nice to be able to go for drinks after work with people soon. I have managed to get to know people without being able to interact socially so it will be good to be able to socialise with my colleagues
How do you feel Todd has settled back into life in Weatherfield?
He very much hit the ground running, he reconnected with the key people in his life very quickly and he has also very actively put into place his plan to win Billy back even if it is having to be quite sneaky using underhand methods of doing that. For me I feel as though there is now an opportunity to show a little bit more what his motivation is for some of his actions. Whereas we have seen more of his manipulations and his scheming since he has been back, we need possibly now to see a bit more of why he is doing that, it is in a twisted kind of way coming from a place of love . We will hopefully start to see the mask slipping a little bit now because the viewers need that to some extent to realise he is human and is hurt in his own way and that he is vulnerable too.
What sort of public reaction have you received?
It is interesting that it already feels like viewers are split in terms of whether they are rooting for Todd and Billy to be back together or whether they would have liked Billy and Paul’s relationship to continue. Which is actually something of an achievement when you think that actually we have probably seen the worst side of Todd for quite a while now in terms of some of the scheming and how much he was willing to push things with the helpline and enlisting Will. I feel as though that bodes well for having them be interested in the next phase and how things may potentially pan out between Todd and Billy. What has also been heartening for me is how quickly the conversion has moved on from comparisons between old Todd and new Todd. Now it is all about Todd, not about the fact I am playing him. There has been a lot of reaction to whether he has gone too far and people hating Todd. For me that is good, that means they are on the journey with me and watching the character and that they will go on the full journey into some of the more sympathetic aspects of his character as well as the villainous ones. I get a sense that the jury might still be out on Todd’s behaviour but the audience by and large have accepted Todd’s return. That is really pleasing because at the time when I joined I was excited about taking on an established character that has lived in relationships with the characters around him, but there is always pressure on any recast to make it work.
We have seen other sides to Todd since his return too, how important is it for you for the public to see a softer, kinder side of Todd?
I definitely feel that as the actor playing a character you have to be able to justify their actions to themselves even when playing a true villain. That person can still find justification for what they are doing. I can find a lot to like in Todd, there has been little hints at that, the guilt when Paul and Billy split up. With Summer’s accident Todd surprised himself with how far he had gone, not just the viewers. 
How does he feel about Paul?
Despite all that scheming he has actually found a genuine fondness for Paul, he just happens to be the obstacle between him and the prize, the prize being Billy.  I feel like even there there are some grey areas, it is not just a case of ‘I don’t like Paul I need him out of the picture’, he has actually become mates with him, that is why he is a particularly good manipulator because he is sometimes genuine friends with these people, but he just can't cut off that bit of him that sees it as an opportunity. You will see that when he starts working for George in the future. You do get those refreshing moments like recently with Sean when he tried to advise him about Double Glammy being a rip off. He was also really rooting for the relationship between Dylaln and Sean to work. There is often a self interested side motive but he does genuinely look out for the people he is close to in his life. Todd is also starting to show a fair bit of self awareness and he is the first to admit the old him would do things a certain way and laugh at someone’s misfortune, but with Sean there was no hidden agenda in trying to help him out. 
Tell us about him arranging the date for Paul this week, is he trying to be kind or is it self interest?
To some extent it does come from the guilt he feels and the sense of liking Paul and wanting him to be ok even if Paul is no longer with Billy. But he wants a clean break before anything starts up again between himself and Billy. He is testing the water in terms of are they fully over each other and he is testing that from both sides really. What he is doing in trying to set Paul up with a date is just giving him that nudge over the line and that will give Paul some finality because he might meet someone new. That then might give Billy some finality because he would see that Paul has moved on. At the very root of it is still a sense of self interest. Get them both definitely apart so then he can look at rekindling things with Billy, but equally the end result of that will still mean that both men have moved on and they are in a happier place, as ever it is complex with Todd.
Does he really feel as though he has no choice but to leave or is he trying to call Billy’s bluff?
In terms of the job that he gets offered initially his instinct is no it’s the wrong time and he’s not interested. He’s enjoying being back at home, he has got a job and he has his pet project in trying to prise Billy away from Paul and rekindle that. There is a genuine job offer which he turns down but when he sees that the thought of him possibly leaving worries Eileen he sees an opportunity to use it as leverage. He has no intention of taking the job but he sees it as an opportunity to speed things along with Billy and he is hoping it will be the needle required to make Billy realise he doesn't want him to leave and that he wants him back. But things don’t quite go as he hoped. 
With everything that Todd has done to try and win Billy back, is he not afraid that his deception will be exposed if they get back together and he would have so much more to lose?
Definitely, that is tied in with the fact that he knows he has gone a bit too far and has shocked himself a little bit with the consequences of his actions. The audience have seen some of that and his realisation of how hurt Paul was. So he does have the worry that it all could come back to haunt him. It is in the back of his mind now that as much as it might get him where he wants to be there is a creeping sense of doom hanging over him that he hopes he won’t be found out.
Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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