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Friday 2 July 2021

Dan Brocklebank interview: Is Billy's world about to come crashing down?

Billy Mayhew's love life has been far from easy going in recent years, but it looks like he's finally settled down with Todd Grimshaw. We chatted to Dan Brocklebank to find out how Billy reacts when Todd pops the question, and how Billy will cope after learning the truth about Todd. 

"The relationship from Billy's perspective is going well, because obviously he has no idea how devious Todd had been," said Dan. "I really do think Todd is absolutely the love of Billy's life. I think the two characters work really well together, they're absolute opposites, so I think they balance each other out."

Todd recently suggested he moved back into the flat, but Billy wanted to put the brakes on until they found out what was troubling Summer. After her diabetes diagnosis, Billy had a change of heart and agreed that Todd should move in. "He's always got to put Summer first, and because of Todd leaving all those years ago, and then just showing back up, I think he's reluctant to bring any more disruption into Summer's existence, so he wants to tread carefully. But also, for himself. He's got to protect his heart as well because he is soft. He does throw himself in, so I think he's got to make sure he's protecting [his heart], as well as Summer.

"I think sometimes in life when something quite dramatic happens, it does make you re-evaluate the situation. Obviously, they've lived together before, they took on Summer together, so if you've got your partner telling you: 'I'm here to stay, I'm not going to mess you around like I did the first time,' then you've got to believe that. Otherwise, what's the point of being in a relationship if you don't trust the person you're with?"

With things going swimmingly for the couple, Todd is keen to solidify their relationship. Wanting to prove to Billy that he's going nowhere, Todd gets down on one knee and asks Billy to marry him. However, Billy is hesitant to give an answer straight away. "It's very unexpected," Dan told us. "I don't think he really knows what to say, he's just a bit lost for words.

"I'm not sure that it's because he doesn't want to marry him. I think probably it's more the religious aspect of it, of not being able to have that ceremony, that union, in a religious setting. It does come out of the blue, and he says: 'We've only been back together for five minutes.' Todd's only just come back into their lives, so then to solidify that with marriage, it's a big step, and I don't think Billy takes that sort of commitment lightly."

When Billy hesitates in giving Todd an answer, Todd panics and disappears, afraid he's misjudged the situation. In this pause, Paul approaches Billy and tells him marrying Todd would be a huge mistake. However, Billy puts this down to jealously, and soon Billy and Todd announce their engagement. 

"Poor Paul all the way through this," said Dan. "Billy has just assumed he's jealous. Todd's done such a good job hiding all this from Billy. Billy can't see it. I've had to play dumb for the last few months, really, just not noticing things that are going on."

During this storyline, Coronation Street will also be able to highlight how people in the LGBTQ+ community still can't get married in a church. "We've covered this lots of times [since] Billy's been in the show, but religion and homosexuality do not really go hand-in-hand. It has been lovely to be able to highlight that people of the LGBT community can be of faith, as well.

"It's interesting. [Billy would] have to get married in a registry office, but I'm imagining that he would then probably get one of his little churchy friends to do a non-official blessing in a church, even though it's not recognised necessarily by the church."

Now that Billy and Todd are engaged, the stakes are higher than ever, and it's only a matter of time until the truth about Todd's schemes all come tumbling out. "Obviously, within soapland, you've got to build it up to knock it down. I'm looking forward to all of that unravelling and airing. It's been fun to shoot. I love Gareth [Pierce, who plays Todd], we get on like a house on fire. We were talking about this the other day. [Todd]'s come back into the show, we got back together, have a whole relationship, got engaged, all at a bloody two metre distance! We're now so good at eye sex, it's unreal. There's things I didn't even know I could do with these, but now I've got skills. I'm looking forward to the audience's reaction of when it all does come out."

Once everything is out in the open, Billy is going to be inevitably heartbroken, but could he ever forgive Todd? Dan said: "[Billy] always tries to do the right thing, and never really quite manages it. He always messes it up somewhere, but because of his job, it's all about forgiveness.

"From a professional point of view, he would have to forgive Todd, but it's easier said than done when you've had your heart broken. But, I think for Summer's sake, Billy would probably be more, at least on the surface, try to find a middle ground, at least to try and keep that co-parenting stable for Summer, because Todd is a good dad, despite all of his misgivings."

Who Billy should be with has been dividing social media for months, but Dan recognises that there are people out there who are rooting for Billy and Todd to make it work. "Todd and Billy's relationship has always felt very real. It was always very hot, passionate, and fun, and I think those sorts of elements bring those two characters together brilliantly. I never really felt that Billy and Paul were that well suited; it felt like quite a parental relationship. 

"Billy always seemed to be trying to fix Paul, whereas Todd and Billy fix each other. There definitely are people out there that are still rooting for Todd. There's also people just saying, don't bother with either of them, just lay off all the boys of Weatherfield, please, for five minutes."

In the midst of being an archdeacon and fighting off men left, right and centre, Billy's priority is always Summer. "I think it's a part of his life he adores, and I think he adores her. The older she's getting, there's a maturity now with her performance. A lot of the time it almost feels like she knows more about life than Billy does. She parents him quite a bit, which I love.

"When my whole family had to have their heads replaced, I was nervous because it's difficult to recreate those established connections that you've got with the previous actors, but again, absolutely landed on our bloody feet with Harriet [Bibby]. She's a legend, and because she's 23, it means I can swear on set and not have to worry about it."

Billy's engagement celebrations are short-lived as he is cruelly dragged from cloud nine with the truth about Todd. Will Billy be able to forgive him, and what does the future look like for Billy and Todd? 

Sophie Williams

I'm on Twitter @sophie_writer1

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


Fluttershy said...

Hold on, Harriet is 23? Wasn't there a load of fuss about the first actress cast as the new Bethany Platt being too old to play a teenager?

C in Canada said...

'We're now so good at eye sex it's unreal'
HAHAHAHAHA!!! That made me laugh!

Tashacat said...

Fluttershy. The first actress hired to play Bethany was already cast when it was discovered she had lied about her age. That was why there was the fuss. The producers obviously originally thought she looked young enough to play Bethany, but she was fired because of the deceit,

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight,Billy can forgive Todd's deception and stay with him despite his scheming with Will which led to Sumer being hit by a car [and almost killed]but he couldn't 'forgive 'Paul who was the victim of Todd' scheme and now believes that Paul is jealous?!
Billy needs to get over himself and dump Todd before Summer gets caught in the crossfire again.


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