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

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Frank Bardsley is George's School Bully? Corrie Blog Interviews Simon O'Brien

In November of 1982, newly launched Channel Four debuted Brookside to the soap opera genre. Even though it was 22 years old by then, Coronation Street execs would have been hard pressed not to have taken a glance at this Liverpool based drama. Brookside quickly found its feet by portraying a dark yet pragmatic look at life in Thatcher's 1980s grim and fiscally starved North West. Although it was axed in 2003, the soap was a trailblazer in bringing cutting-edge societal issues to the genre, undoubtedly influencing Corrie and their peers. 

Simon O'Brien (L) with his Brookside TV family

Even in 2022, edgy and societal impressions of working-class life remain on our TV screens' directed via our favourite fictional characters: alcoholism, marital violence, murder, disease, child death, disability awareness, and much more - Brookside did it all first! I admit to being a massive fan of Brookside in the 1990s and have watched tons of classic episodes on DVD. A standout was the unexpected stabbing and murder of teen character Damon Grant played by Simon O'Brien, who has just joined Coronation Street as Sean's new love interest; Frank Bardsley. It's an ouroboros moment for this soap fan, and it was a surreal treat to join an ITV Coronation Street press day last week, to chat with Simon and to learn all about the latest new character, Frank Bardsley; 

Hello Simon! Welcome to Weatherfield! It's been 40 years since you starred in Brookside. How does it feel being back on a soap? 

It's a different world being back on a soap. Brookside filmed in real houses, all on one camera, and effectively broke the mould. It made TV look at issues outside of those four walls. 40 years later, and coming into the ITV Studios - what a machine! It's extraordinary how it works, with the purpose-built sets, and a learning curve to get back into it.

Was Coronation Street a programme that you always wanted to be in?

Everyone’s got to have a pint in the Rovers I think, at some point in their acting career. That is the moment, it's a landmark and an icon. To walk in through those Rovers Return doors is brilliant. The cast or director will say ‘well you've had your rovers moment now!’ 

What was it like when you first walked into the Rovers? 

As an actor, even in the TV profession, Coronation Street is an amazing institute. To sit in a booth in the rovers or to stand at the bar is quite surreal. It's that moment where real life and fiction blend into one. You are playing a character but you still get those butterflies!

What can you tell us about your character, Frank Bardsley? He isn't Sean's usual type?    

Sean and Frank hit it off as they have a shared sense of humour. It works as the basis for any good relationship but, Frank isn't his usual type. He has no dress sense and is a few years older than Sean. They have a certain rapport. Sean is smitten and does all the chasing. It's a seemingly blossoming romance, but Frank has a bit of history. 

This next week we learn that Frank may not be all he seems to be. Can you tell us what happens when he's introduced to George Shuttleworth?   


Frank and Sean's romance blossoms. George walks into the rovers one day, immediately recognising Frank, and in turn, he recognises George as an old school friend. Frank is pleased to see George, but George has to hide the fact that the very sight of Frank makes him feel anxious. George has always been meek and mild-mannered, meaning he was the butt of jokes and bullied at school. It seems that Frank was the ringleader in that.       

It's often the case that the school bully rarely remembers behaving that way in the past? 

Yes, that's exactly the case of what happens here. George confides in Eileen and he has these suspicions that Frank is not what he appears. George had some very bitter experiences and remembers him being a nasty piece of work. But no one takes that on board and Frank himself is aghast and doesn't see himself as the person that George remembers. He is utterly unaware, it's certainly the case with Frank. 

Is Frank going to have his work cut out in trying to convince people that he isn't this monster that George remembers? 

As it turns out, it's George that has to do the convincing! Frank is very polite, very witty, and treats Sean well. George tries to tell people to be careful and to be wary of him, but, he gets the wrong end of the stick, and that makes people think that George is making things up. It then transpires that what George accuses Frank of isn’t true at all, therefore, all the onus and pressure is on George to prove that Frank is a bully, and Frank just brushes the whole thing off. 

Sean’s son Dylan is also going to be around. Do you think that Frank is up for coping with a child, alongside his new fella? 

Well, I think what we can see, where the cracks might start to appear in Frank’s character is that he’s jealous of anyone that has a close bond or a pull on Sean’s time. You're not going to get between a father and son, it's just Frank doesn't see it like that. It becomes a tug-of-war for Sean's affections and Frank's facade starts to drop. I couldn't think of a better character to play, we have that corrie comedy, yet below that, a bit of a seriously flawed man. It's great to play it on both levels when looking at how things will develop! 

Thanks, Simon! 

So what do we think? Frank appears to be a character of charm but with a dark underside. It's not new territory, however, Simon’s Brookside tutelage could lend itself to current Coronation Street? Could things get dark for Sean, and his returning son, Dylan? Simon is also a Liverpudlian, just like Pat Phelan, and just like George Shuttleworth, thinking about it! It will be interesting to see how this develops! 

I am @rybazoxo Cobbles connissieur and Coronation Street superfan. 

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Spoilers for next week's Coronation Street, June 6 - 10, 2022

Here are the major storylines for the week ahead on Coronation Street, all wrapped up nicely in 50 words or less.

Monday 6 June to Friday 10 June, 2022

Jenny's cruel to be kind, George is appalled by Frank, Summer feels the pressure to succeed, Aadi takes the fall for Summer, Maria can't juggle her council duties.

See the full week's preview with pictures at 

Note: If you still see last week's previews when you click through to, please refresh your browser.

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Tuesday May 31 2022

Tuesday May 31st 2022

Abi realises the game is up
Toyah wants to go the police
Imran vows to come clean 
Toyah and Imran lie unconscious in the wreckage following a car crash

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

Harriet Bibby interview: Summer's exam cheating chaos

How anxious does Summer feel going into her final A-Level exams after her first exam didn’t go to plan?

She’s very anxious, the last exam she had to leave because she wasn’t very well, she’s debated whether or not to even do this final exam so she knows how much is riding on this one exam. She already felt a tremendous amount of pressure but now it’s doubled.

She's been getting support from both Aaron who she’s met at her support group and Aadi who’s helping with her revision. How does she feel about both the boys?

With Aadi she’s just glad they’re in a position where they can be friends, they do get on and they are very similar in the fact they both want to do well, they’re quite bright and kind people, so she’s really grateful that he’s still in her life, even if it’s not necessarily a romantic connection. With Aaron she’s a bit more excited by him, obviously they’ve only just met but they have quite a fast connection because he understands a little bit more about what she’s going through with her diabetes and her eating. He’s the only person she feels who really understands what she’s going through. For Summer he’s someone who she can talk to but there’s definitely romantic feelings there too.

Aadi makes Summer some revision cards, does she take them into the exam with the intention to cheat or is it more for security?

I think it’s for security, we don’t actually see her plan to take them in, it’s more of a case of if I freeze I have them there but I don’t think she necessarily plans to look at them. She’s so worried about doing well in this exam. She’s really feeling the pressure to get results after she was taken ill in her first exam and I think they are a security blanket for her, a back up to make her feel safe.

How important is it to Summer to do well in her exams and follow this path to uni that she has mapped out?

I think she hasn’t stopped to think about what she actually wants for some time now, I think she started down this route, people were telling her you could go to Oxford and she’s got swept along with it. Now she’s fallen down this rabbit hole of needing to do well because everyone expects her to do well. So I think it is very important to her but probably more so because of all the outward expectation that’s being put on her rather than what she really wants. I don’t think she’s actually checked in with herself for a long time to think about whether it’s what she really wants or just what everyone else thinks she should do.

Do you think she is starting to question her future now she has her health and her diabetes to deal with as well?

I think after she became poorly in that first exam and couldn’t sit it she started questioning what would happen if she doesn’t get the grades but I don’t think she stopped to consider whether she wants to do it because at minute everything for Summer is just go go go. She hasn’t had a chance to stop and take a breath and think actually is this what I want to do. But when things start falling down around her, I think that’s when she starts realising will I be able to go and am I that sad about it.

After the exam, when her revision cards have been found and she sees Aadi being spoken to about cheating, because it was his handwriting on the cards, how does Summer feel to hear him being blamed?

She’s absolutely mortified because she links together what has happened. She goes into panic mode and she’s like a deer in headlights, it’s all just happening in front of her. She does really care about Aadi and I don’t think she wants him to take the blame.

It would be a big thing for Summer to come clean, as she’ll risk losing everything she’s worked for, but on the other hand she’s quite a moral person. How torn is she over what to do?

I think her immediate reaction is wanting to go and tell the truth, she’s Billy’s daughter and his advice would always be to tell the truth but it’s Aadi who stops her. He gives her this bog speech, saying I’m going to stay here and run my dad’s businesses, you actually have a chance to get out of here and do more with your life so take it. After that she’s very torn as to whether to tell the truth and see where that leaves her or tell this lie and potentially get to where she wants to be.

You must feel for Summer, did you feel a similar stress going through exams?

Definitely, I did A-levels myself, my mum was a teacher at school and I’d always done quite well so I think I did feel the pressure, despite my parents always saying you get what you get and don’t worry. But you do feel a sense of needing to do well, there’s a lot of pressure on young people these days but actually when you can step back when you’re a bit older and you’ve got your results and are off to uni or looking for a job you think why was I so worried about this, it’s actually not the end of the world. Yes it can allow you to go on and do other things but really the amount you stress about it when you’re in that bubble just isn’t needed. It lies so heavy on your shoulders, it’s only when you step away later that you can see you need to cut yourself a bit of slack. I’m reading the scripts for Summer and I’m just thinking calm down, it will all be ok.

She has the added complication of her health to deal with, her mental health as well as her physical, how interesting have you found it to play this role?

It is really interesting, I think with any chronic illness it does also become a mental health issue as you have to cope with life changing aspects. In a show like Coronation street the conflict often happens between a group of people or two people, whereas with this story it’s all happening in Summer’s head, the conflict is within. So at times it’s been quite difficult, any anger, annoyance is not with someone else it’s at herself and that can be quite hard to play. She feels very alone, like she’s floundering a bit.

What would you like to see for Summer next?

I just hope that she gets a little bit of a break, a bit of happiness and that sigh of relief, whether she does well in her A-levels and it all turns out ok in the end or whether she decides actually I don’t want to do this and makes a different choice that she knows she will be happy with.   

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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Monday 30 May 2022

Coronation Street Episode Review Monday 30th May

Abi, Kevin, Toyah, Imran and Alfie - Coronation Street - ITV

 We start with next week's episode: Imran phoning someone (Abi? Toyah? Mr and Mrs Habeeb, who don't seem that bothered they have a grandchild?) and apologising from the future. I did roll my eyes a bit on Friday when Abi said that she was running away with Alfeh "tomorrow", but for now it's Monday, Monday, and the the Mama and the Papa are cooing over "their" baby.

Toyah and the queen of self-righteousness, Leanne, persuade Abi not to take Alfie today so he can go with the Battersbabes to the hitherto unseen cousin Kirsty's birthday do. Abi flees to Kevin, who - for the purposes of this storyline -  is blinded by love and does something dodgy (don't ask me what) to Toyah's car (hang on, Toyah has a car? I hope it's electric) so that it won't start, and for some reason they can't take the bus/tram/taxi and so Toyah hands Alfie back to Abi.

Imran - Coronation Street - ITV 

Meanwhile, Kelly stalks Ben to the solicitor's office and then confronts Imran with the accusation of his dirty dealings. She tells him that she's disgusted at his subterfuge and Imran does that hurt thing he does with his eyelashes. He then visits Abi and apologises, saying that they will set up a proper visitation schedule but then his legal eye spots first the suitcase and then the fake passports. I know Abi's flat is small but this is the second time she's been caught out by leaving stuff lying about. Just be a bit tidier, hun!

What would be funny is after waiting four hours in security at Manchester airport with a screaming baby, Abi changes her mind and takes him back to the Battersbeebs.

Anyway, that's me done, enjoy the rest of Big Soap Week!

Rachel Stevenson - on twitter

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