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

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Charlie De Melo interview: Can Imran cope with the truth about Kelly?

What did you think when you heard that Toyah and Imran would be taking charge of Kelly?

I was really excited about it because I have seen little snippets of Millie's work throughout her time at Corrie, predominantly with Mikey North, and I was just incredibly impressed. I just thought that she's incredibly capable, she's got a really level head and seems like a really nice member of a company, so to get a chance to work with her I was really excited. It was really interesting seeing how she would shake things up, for Imran and Toyah as a couple. Toyah and Imran fostered a baby at Christmas but it’s a different thing when you've got a fully formed person as Kelly is practically an adult and then has her own baggage that she is bringing to it without us imposing on her. So Toyah and Imran are going through some mental gymnastics and bending themselves out of shape a little bit to try and make things work. I personally thought it was really interesting when Toyah first meets Kelly properly because both Toyah and Imran have a feeling that there's something about this girl. 

They know that Kelly's had a tough upbringing, but do you think they're truly prepared for just how tricky she could be?

I don't know if they're fully prepared for the extent of it. They go into it with the best of intentions. Fostering isn't just a case of taking in people that have had an easy up-bringings; the social contract of the whole thing is that you're there to try and be a carer, and be emotional support for someone that's had a really tough time. They go into it with that in mind but the extent of the personal baggage that Kelly has and how that moves on into the company that she keeps and the ways in which she tries to find support on her own, that is a step beyond what they were expecting. That's something that's going to cause difficulty. 

What is their relationship like with Kelly, prior to the attack? 

On the surface things seem to be going just fine. Kelly's grateful to have a home life that is consistent with two present and caring parental figures. They’re able to at least be present enough to try and hear out any concerns that she might have, it's just she doesn't necessarily voice those concerns. Imran and Toyah are not necessarily astute enough as parental figures yet to be able to read into what's not being said. Certainly, in the days and weeks leading up to Kelly being involved in this attack, as far as they understand it, there's a fairly idyllic home life.  

When Kelly does then become arrested for the attack, what goes through Toyah and Imran's minds when Kelly is suddenly hauled into the police station?

Initially, they’re kind of a united front, and they want to unquestioningly be there to support her and do whatever they can. But as details of the attack become more apparent, as more and more evidence gets dug up, and more and more testimony is heard, the seriousness of it starts to cause a kind of fracture between Imran and Toyah. Imran stands by the fact that they've made a promise to this girl that they would be there, they would care, they would support, regardless. Toyah's stance on it is a bit more self-protecting like, “We may have signed up for those things, but we didn't sign up for this. To be supportive of a child is one thing, but to be supportive of a violent person goes beyond the call of duty that we've signed up to.” Imran's a little bit more unblinking. And despite his own reservations, it's a case of well, this is what he agreed to do, this is what he has to do. He's a bit more rigid, and Toyah’s a little bit more reticent about the whole thing, and that causes a little bit of a fracture between them. 

That's really interesting that you say that, because if anything, viewers might have thought it would be the other way around?

That's what I thought! So it was more interesting for the pair of us to be given different hats to wear. We both assumed, one, that this was going to be the case, this is the way the story was going to go and we both had our assumptions about where our characters would fall, on which side of the line, so the fact that it was almost reversed in a way, we were able to challenge ourselves a little bit. We didn't just have a roadmap of how we were going to go about it written down already in our heads, we had to be a bit more introspective, and we had to think about things a little more, in order to justify the fact that we did go the other way with it. 

Imran goes to the police station with Kelly. Does he go into that interview with his solicitor cap on? Or is he thinking more as a parent?

That was quite an interesting day. Over the course of maybe a week's worth of filming, I was in and out of there quite a lot just because of the way that stuff gets filmed, as we had to spread it out a bit. And there were certain scenes and certain days where I felt like a dad giving advice, and other days it felt like a lawyer kind of berating a client. During those initial meetings, it was almost like Player's Choice in a way that I would go in, and then if we were to run it more than once, I could maybe try it in a more official capacity, and if we want to run it again, try it in a slightly more parental capacity, and then we'll see how that stuff gets cut together. I think there's sort of a legitimate argument to be made, is he there as one or the other, or both at the same time? I think that's an interesting way to go about it.

How do Toyah and Imran feel about Kelly’s mum Laura barging in?

Not good! She comes in and drops a pipe bomb amongst what's already a fairly delicate situation, and just as they're starting to get something out of Kelly. Kelly's in this really vulnerable position, and she's closed herself off a little bit, and Toyah and Imran are trying to chip away at her gently, to get her to open up and to communicate with us and the police about what actually went on with Nina and Seb and just as they're starting to make some headway with that, Laura shows up and undoes a lot of the good work that they've been able to do up until that point. Laura comes in; she's brash, she's loud and opinionated and she's able to shout down whatever kind of measured amounts of sense Imran's trying to make to her about the legality of her position as a mother and about what's best for Kelly in terms of relationship with the police. She comes in with an inbuilt suspicion of the police and is loudly proclaiming to Kelly that she owes the police nothing. Laura is a big personality, and it's hard to step out of that shadow.

Will Imran and Toyah remain right at the heart of this plot?

I certainly hope so, because the groundwork that Corrie has laid for it is really interesting. The stuff that I'm reading, and the stuff that I'm seeing from the people who are involved and what they are doing now, they all have such an amazing range and are so talented, so I'm hoping that I'm involved in that. But the twists and turns can take us any which way with it, so whether I’m involved and in what capacity, I don't really know at this stage. But I certainly hope so because the stuff that they've set up in these early stages is really interesting to me.

Are you hoping that Toyah and Imran still have a future with Kelly down the line?

Well, the thing is, with Kelly, she's 15, so there's still potentially a few years where legally she could be under their care. And Millie is so unbelievably talented and cool that if that's how it stays for the time being, I'm happy with that, as I honestly think that Corrie have got themselves a little bit of gold dust with her. And again, if that means I'm tangentially involved with that development, that's cool with me!

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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