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

Sunday 9 May 2021

David Neilson Interview: "Roy's Capable of Anything!"

After an emotional few days on Coronation Street, Roy Cropper is left wondering how to pick up the pieces and get his niece through the most difficult time of her life. Nina has survived the attack but Seb is dead. It’s been one of Coronation Streets most hard-hitting and important storylines, based on the real-life murder of Sophie Lancaster. Following a series of interviews with cast members and crew involved in the tragic telling of this hate crime story, the Blog got to speak to actor David Neilson about where Roy and Nina go now, and whether revenge could be on the cards for Corrie's quiet cafe owner.

Nina struggles after Seb's death

What has it meant to Roy to have a family member to care for?

A lot of people have been through that flat! He realises during this event, he took Nina in through duty, it’s his moral code. He doesn’t always want to do what he does. Over this period, and certainly brought into sharp focus by the attack, he feels a tremendous sense of loss. There is more to it than duty. He’s dreading what could occur. He moves on in a way to a real relationship, a father really. She is family. That’s it.

What is it about Mollie’s portrayal of Nina that you’ve enjoyed so much?

She’s just come out of drama school and into a huge show, and then isolated by Covid, then given this huge story. I was thinking I wonder how she’s going to be, this is major. Working opposite her, she’s just phenomenal. I did say to her, take care of yourself here, because this is really horrible.

She’s also very nuanced and gives a lot, I don’t have to do a lot, just look at her. And I sometimes think, I’d better pull my finger out here because she’s very good.

Have Roy and Nina become so close because he’s open minded and doesn’t mind difference?

I don’t think that he sees difference. I don’t think he makes those judgements. He knows what’s honourable and what’s not. But I don’t think he sees the world in that way. I think it’s human beings, that’s what he sees.

He experienced prejudice and intolerance with Hayley.

Oh yes the whole Hayley thing was a massive education. She turned his world upside down. He couldn’t cope at first with her being a transsexual, but it was love - this thing called love - and he realised he’d got to be with this person. So when it comes to the way Nina dresses, that comes as nothing compared to what he’s been through, with life on the Street. 

The other woman in Roy's life

Did losing Hayley equip Roy for the grief they experience after Seb dies?

When life gets real, in times of loss, we just deal with it. We have those resources. Sam Beckett (paraphrasing the Irish novelist who David is a big fan of) wrote “I can’t carry on, what shall I do? Carry on”. That’s what you do. Roy knows his responsibility is now to this person. It’s massively inconvenient for him, having someone like that, but that is life. Life goes on. We learn, we mend and we renew. 

How does Roy react to Nina stripping back her identity?

He feels terrible that she starts to become more like him - beige. The thing is with Roy, he avoids the crowd. Then Nina starts to want to be invisible. That’s damaging to her individuality and her personality. 

The thing is, she (Mollie Gallagher) does it brilliantly. There are subtle differences in the character. I don’t know how she does it.

Would Roy ever want revenge?

As Roy is a rational person with that moral code, he’d believe the system would take care of it. But when when this is about me, and mine, I think he’s capable of anything. I think he could be quite dangerous. I remember him attacking Gary Mallet with a cricket bat! But it’s not the way to deal with it, for society. That’s a kind of handle for me, for the character. 

Is he worried by Abi when she turns on Nina?

Yes. He understands the grief. He tries to work out the mending and being a Dad. It’s a new world he doesn’t understand. He knows her heart is in the right place, perhaps not her brain. But yes he’s concerned. 

Did you ever think in 1995 that you’d still be here in 2021?

It’s changed over the years. He was this strange guy stalking Deirdre. A real oddball. Nowadays he’s become the font of all wisdom. He’s turned into Rita! He’s survived and adapted. Time has flown, I’ve worked with some really good people. I’m 72 so a lot of it’s luck! Playing Roy is a very comfortable pair of slippers. I feel doubly fortunate right now with everything going on (the pandemic) and desperate for theatres to start working again. 

Is this one of your most difficult storylines?

It’s not an enjoyable storyline I have to say. We’re just at the beginning of it. It would be a disaster if Mollie wasn’t as good as she is. When Hayley was leaving, when Julie (Hesmondhalgh) was leaving, I knew it would be major. It can be a bit gruelling. These things are things you don’t want to contemplate, but you have to. You find out how people relate to these storylines in the street. There’s a public responsibility to it. It’s a huge privilege but it can be a terrible responsibility. 

Sophie Lancaster's mum helped writers with the difficult storyline

Finally, how do people react to you when they see you in the supermarket?

It’s been twenty-five years now and I have got used to it. I remember Bill Roache saying he doesn’t notice it. I notice when I’m not getting recognised - when I get the same bad service as everyone else! 


We all laughed at that last comment, as David ends with the words “Now how do I get out” as he struggles to leave the Zoom meeting. 


You can read more about Sophie Lancaster and the foundation set up in her name HERE. If you see a hate crime taking place, report it. 


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


KC said...

I was very sad and upset that they killed off Seb, HOWEVER this allows more substance to the Nina and Roy dynamic. I loved this interview, you see the respect he has for Mollie just as Roy has respect for his niece. What I find exciting is that this is new territory for Roy - acting more like a father and being there for her. Thank God these 2 work exceptionally well together! I personally think this relationship is better than his with Carla because deep down Roy and Nina are very similar in terms of mannerisms, moral code etc.

I can't wait to see how this relationship unfolds. Nina going beige will be heartbreaking. Roy will see himself basically.

Exciting times I think for both characters.

dhvinyl said...

Excellent interview with a superb actor. I’m guessing he doesn’t realise how good he is.

Unknown said...

72, is that a misprint?

Anonymous said...

After being constantly harassed by hoodlums,Roy did attack Gary Windass who was trying to rob the cafe so definitely he would want revenge on the thugs who attacked Nina and killed Seb.
Since Asha is standing by Cory,I also think that would strain Roy's friendship with Dev as well as he would want to protect his daughter who is now an accessory to murder after the fact.


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