Stephen just seems to have sort settled into this weird life now as a murderer and things are ticking along. How, how is he coping with what he’s done?
He’s still so in trouble with money. I don’t think he’s really had a great deal of time to just to just process it. And I always remember that the wheels were coming off in Milan two years before we ever even got to meet him again so he was under a huge amount of stress before all of this. The death of Leo just a necessary means to keep his head above water, so I don’t think he’s really internalised it. And he’s had to sort of just keep on going and not dwell on what he has done, but there is no way he can keep that up, the pressure is really showing.
He has of course managed to get Teddy out of town and he keeps popping up in the Rovers keeping an eye on what Jenny is up to.
I love the episodes where he just kept popping up in the pub, trying to convince Jenny and Teddy to let it go. It did get quite comedic with Daisy making jokes about it. But for him there’s still that fear because there are those two people who are looking for Leo. That just keeps the whole fear of being caught alive and he’s always telling lies, his life is a whole series of lies now, imagine the pressure of trying to remember all those lies.
Do you think he is interested in Jenny or at least would be if things had not happened the way they did?
Yes, definitely. She is his type of woman, Gabrielle, his ex wife, is very strong. That is the sort of woman that he gravitates towards. Something happened when he found himself in that clinch with Jenny and yes he is definitely interested in her and if he was with her there is the added bonus and if he was around her he could distract her from looking for Leo.
So in this week, things have probably got to rock bottom, how does he end up working as a burger delivery guy?
He is with a headhunting agency and they have an opening he is interested in but it’s so humiliating, he has to do this whole online interview for this chap from an advertising agency and the guy is so switched on. Stepeehntinks he has got what it takes but he strikes out, he realises his image is too old for this company and he doesn’t have a social media presence which makes him seem out of touch. The headhunting agency calls him and instead of a job as a consultant with an ad agency they offer him a job as a delivery guy.
And he’s just got to do something. So he says yes.
For someone like Stephen, how does that feel to suddenly feel like he’s no longer relevant in the world that he’s worked in?
I mean, just absolutely crushing his heart is in his throat. He’s embarrassed and is determined that he must never ever be found out to be doing this. He just plans to get as many shifts as possible and get some cash to get him through, as he literally has nothing right now. He is desperate.
He is so desperate that he plans to put tablets into his mum’s drink, why is that?
He is still having to pay for the cruise for Sam and Audrey and he needs to stop it somehow so he thinks if he can sow the seed of it not being a good idea for Sam to go on a cruise being looked after by his elderly grandma maybe that is the way around it. So he thinks if he can make it look like she is still having a problem with drink that could solve it. He is in the pub and Nick is there, Stephen gets his mum a double gin and he plans to spike it too. This is the new norm for him, anything to protect himself. But has he really got what it takes to go through with it.
We talked about Jenny and how she is the sort of woman he would normally go for but then obviously, Elaine, someone that could really help him in other ways. And she’s not necessarily the sort of woman that he would normally go for. Does he have any conscience about using her for her money?
He does feel guilty and yet he is also desperate about having had everything and lost everything and that is the stranger emotion, the one that drives him. He wants to be the person he used to be and there is something about his persona that he needs to appear to be successful and it’s important to be seen to be successful, and she can help him with that. Because he’s so driven towards his goals I don’t think he allows himself to really process guilt or regrets.
Just why is he staying in the Weatherfield?
It is because he literally cannot afford to go anywhere else. He can’t go back to Milan. He is forced to stay here because at least he has a roof over his head and no one here knows what went on in Milan. There are more options for him here with his mum and Elaine so that is really his only option.
This week he loses his car thanks to Gabrielle, which is another blow. And then Elaine almost finds out about his new job. What happens?
Yes, losing the car is a real blow for him. Then things go from bad to worse when he is on his first delivery and a gang of kids crowd around his scooter and steal the food delivery box. Elaine comes round the corner tio find him on the floor but it just looks like a normal scooter because there is no food box which is a blessing in disguise. He is such a good liar he just spins this tale about having had a scooter in Milan and it is more eco friendly than having a car
Should we worry about Elaine and Audrey as Stephen gets more desperate?
I think they are probably safe, certainly whilst they are of use to him. The people who should worry is anyone who tries to humiliate him or starts to ask too many questions and discover the truth about him.
Do you think he’s capable of killing again?
I do think he is. He’s just driven. He’s a kind of type A personality and he’s just desperate and desperate people do desperate things, now he has done it once it won’t even feel as bad for him the next time, the end justifies the means.
Are you still enjoying playing this very different Stephen, is it almost like coming back and playing a different new character?
Yes in some ways it is, since he had so much innocence when he was in his 30s and just to play him at 62 with all these problems that have shaped him into the older man that he is is really interesting.
What sort of reaction do you get out and about?
It is actually really sweet and good natured. I got into a big lift in IKEA that was pretty full and I turned around facing the door and the lift started moving, and this chap at the back just said “you won’t get away with it you know”. I just turned round and winked at him, I am sure the other people in the lift didn’t have a clue what was going on. On another occasion I was coming out of Sainsbury’s with a very ful trolley and this guy walked past and said “who’s paying for all that, it better not be Audrey’s money’.
Coronation Street NORMALLY airs hour-long episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm on ITV. Due to World Cup coverage this is subject to late changes.