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

Saturday 4 September 2021

Tony Maudsley interview: George's funeral parlour has the "Barbara Knox seal of approval"

How do you feel George has settled into Weatherfield?

It has taken a while, he has been eased into the show very gradually over the past 12 months. He was flagged as a new love interest for Eileen but if he had got with her too quickly people wouldn't have liked it, it would have jarred as the viewers are so protective over Eileen. Sue has been on the show 21 years and but with all the problems Eileen has had with men I think the viewers are on George’s side. He makes her smile, he is a sensitive softy. They want Eileen to be happy and in George she might finally have found that, if she would only let her guard down!

You have always said that Corrie is your dream job. Has it lived up to what you imagined it would be?

Yes it has been brilliant but it has been a strange old year and I think I still have the full experience to come as I have not been able to socialise with anyone aside from the fabulous camping trip that Sue Cleaver organised. It was about us all making an effort to get to know each other out of work. It was such a good idea to be able to mix with people that I am working with every day, it makes you feel closer and more comfortable.

Playing an undertaker gives you the chance to work with lots of different people, you must enjoy that?

Yes it is also helpful for longevity too, the more your character mixes with different characters the more opportunities that are for him to stick around. George has a really great unusual relationship with Mary, which I enjoy. She is headstrong and sensitive but they have become friends in their own right. He is also close to Todd which links him to Eileen and then of course we had the storyline where he discovered he was related to Gail. He has fingers in lots of pies which opens opportunities up for him. He also has that connection to a past character in Archie Shuttleworth. I very much take Archie on board when I  play George. He is in my bones, as you know I love the show so I watched Archie and I have that as a reference.

Did you ever imagine you would have your own set on the cobbles. Do you like it?

I didn't know that was going to happen, at first he just operated from somewhere in Weatherfield. Then I found out that they were building this set and it was going to be an expensive set. Other people were commenting on the fact that I was going to have my own set with my name on it! I got very excited and got in touch with design and asked to see what it was going to look like.  They sent me some pictures of the set being built, I was really keen as I was hoping that it wasn't going to be all modern. I wanted it to be befitting of Coronation Street and Weatherfield. I wanted it to be old fashioned and traditional. I was thrilled when I saw it as I could immediately imagine Ena Sharples, Mini and Martha visiting somewhere like that. They have done it so well. Barbara Knox even gave it her seal of approval.

George has been one of the few people to see a different side to Todd, why do you think that is?

There is obviously something in George’s past that we don’t know much about yet. He has hinted at something that has given him an empathy with Todd that is unexplained but really intriguing. The whole street has washed their hands of Todd and George hasn’t. He could get a much more easy going assistant than Todd but he is sticking with him, he is giving him chance after chance. He sees something in Todd that nobody else is seeing, whether he recognises something of himself from yesteryear in there who knows. Maybe someone in the past has given George a second chance and for some reason he is doing the same for Todd. He certainly isn’t doing it to ingratiate himself with Eileen because that could have seriously backfired. The easiest thing for George to do would be to side with Eileen and agree with her about Todd but he has done the opposite and made Eileen wake up to the fact that Todd is her son and he is very unhappy. He has put himself on the line to do that.

Although George is an undertaker you still have some great comedy scenes. What was it like filming the scene with Phelan’s ashes?

I didn’t know that was coming up or what it was about. I just saw that there was this story which had Phelan’s ashes in George’s funeral parlour and I was intrigued. Straight away it is a situation that would put him right in the middle of Eileen’s bad books, another storm in Eileen’s very big teacup. In hiding the situation from her he creates more problems which has great comedic value! The moment when the ashes flew everywhere was brilliant, it was one of those shots that landed perfectly and as the urn landed on the floor the ashes flew up and covered Gareth creating this brilliant Stan Laurel moment where Todd was just blowing Phelan’s ashes up his nose!

What did you think when you heard that Phelan had been hiding in George’s funeral home all this time?

I just thought it was brilliant because as he got to know Eileen and got closer to her the right time to tell her was just slipping away. How do you brooch that under a sticky bun and a cup of tea in Roys? He doesn't know what to do but he is doing everything to try and protect her, it is a deep old wound that he doesn't want to open but he hadn't counted on Todd finding them when he was doing some spring cleaning.

It has been a rocky road for Eileen and George, what is it about Eileen that George likes?

He clearly admires her strength, she is such a strong woman and not an easy woman to woo. She presents challenges for him every step of the way. He has tried so long now to woo Eileen, sometimes he thinks he is making headway and then something like this gets in the way and he is back to square one. He is starting to feel like he is wasting his time and he is starting to think that he is never going to be with the woman he truly loves and he is thinking about admitting defeat and throwing in the towel now this has happened with the ashes. He is not sure he can take much more rejection. He is a sensitive guy and all his efforts to make her happy end in disaster for him.  

Do you think it is ironic then that this week it looks as though Phelan might be the one thing that gets them together?

Yes, it is very clever that they are being brought closer by the man who destroyed her life. And what she wants him to do with the ashes is hilarious, he lets her take control of the situation. George listening to her wishes and letting her take that control is what finally gives them the nudge they need.

Do you think it will be plain sailing for them from now on?

Oh I hope not! We have established that those two can bicker over anything , George does keep going back for more but he is not totally soft, he doesn't let Eileen get away with too much and walk all over him. He is one of the few people who will tell Eileen how it is and doesn't shy away from honesty and Eileen does like that. So it will be fiery but fun. I can see so much potential for them, Sue is brilliant at comedy and I love comedy, I’d love to think they could be a classic Corrie couple. 

Could you see them working together in the funeral parlour?

It would be great to see them working together with Todd in tow as well. It would be like a family business, maybe even with Mary doing the occasional shift. The Funeral Directors that help us with filming funerals and advise on storylines have asked Sue, Gareth and I to go and have a look around their business and do some research with them which we are going to take them up on.

Glenda Young
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Humpty Dumpty said...

I actually like this set-up. Eileen and George go very well together and some Corrie characters work best with a friend/partner/boss to spar with. However, I absolutely hated the ashes in the urn scene in the funeral parlour. Not because it was distasteful but because it had 'let the actors have a good time' written all over it. Just the same as Maria trashing the van with a crowbar. Comes out of nowhere and doesn't really make sense. Spilling the ashes was an attempt at slapstick and that kind of humour doesn't work in Corrie.

Anonymous said...

After the fiasco they caused at Ted's,Gail's father's funeral and now the contrived storyline with Phelan's ashes and the forced humor of Todd spilling them,I don't like the sounds of the funeral parlor becoming a 'family business'for George,Eileen and Todd.
They were very disrespectful to Gail [with the who's going to be thedriver contest between Steve and Tim which led to Eileen driving and knocking down a wreath]who was grieving the loss of her father and turning the funeral into a farce.
Unfortunately with Norris' upcoming funeral,I shudder to think how these three will ruin that too.


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