When the opportunity arises to interview Corrie’s couple-du-jour, as Sally might have it, you’re going to make sure you’re there with bells on, and that is precisely what my fellow blogger Ruth and I did when we travelled to ITV in Manchester to get the low down on the live episode – and much more.
I wish I could say we lounged on Sally’s Manhattan range sofa eating Viennetta while she looked disapprovingly at Tim for cracking open a couple of cans of lager and plonking them in front of us as they frothed at the mouth, but as Sally herself knows only too well, you can’t have everything. What we experienced, in fact, was even better; we got to interview Joe Duttine and Sally Dynevor about the live episode, the action to come for Tim and Sally, and what it’s like to play contemporary Corrie’s most popular couple.
The minute they sat down, it became clear that these are two actors who enjoy one another’s company, and the chemistry between them was a platonic version of that which we see on screen. It came as no surprise when Sally remarked “we work so well together and I feel like we bounce off each other.” I asked them both if they felt the chemistry between them contributes to how well liked they are by the viewers. “Definitely” Sally told me. “I think [it’s] because we get on so well.” Joe agreed,
adding “If you don’t get on with people it’s hard to work with them, but especially playing comedy. If you don’t get on with someone it’s going to be tricky.”
They are naturally fully aware of how popular they are as a couple, and I asked them if they’d had any interesting reactions from fans. “Yeah, I think they like Sally and Tim together” Sally noted, “we get a lot of feedback on Twitter which is nice.” Joe related a funny experience he’d had when, while driving on the motorway, he spotted a car full of lads with baseball caps alongside him giving him some very enthusiastic thumbs up, adding “I thought I had a flat tyre or my lights were off or something”.
So how does it feel to play Sally and Tim, both of whom have clearly changed as characters over the past two years? “I love it” responds an enthusiastic Sally, “I had all the drama a few years ago, now I’m getting all the comedy. It’s so weird how you develop and evolve, I never had that kind of stuff.” Joe was similarly enthusiastic and astute about the development of his character. “When you come into the soap the writers find out what they want to do with you and they can change it, can’t they” he explains, “they clearly did that with Tim. I was only here for three months and it felt like I was going to be the new bad guy and then they put Tim with Sally and his characteristics changed so they started writing for him differently.” Joe sees this character development as influential on his relationship with Anna, “[it] meant that it was difficult for her to dislike him. They came together over Miley” he explains.
So should we be concerned about a potential relationship between the two? “I think Tim and Anna are good friends” Joe notes, “It’s alright to be good friends. I don’t think we need to see people having it off with everybody just to get drama.” Hear hear!
We’re told that while it won’t be plain sailing when he learns about the kiss between Kevin and Sally, he doesn’t see Tim as a man who would turn violent, and explains, “I don’t think Tim is the fighting type. I don’t really want to see Tim become aggressive and I don’t want to see him become a player either. I just think he’s a decent bloke that just likes his creature comforts and the simple life. I think there’s lots of other characters in the show that can be the ones that are promiscuous and commit adultery, but I don’t think Tim’s the type to do that.” Yet again, I find myself nodding in agreement.
It’s great to hear Joe expressing such opinions, and to learn that he has this depth of interest in his character. Sally adds, “I think that’s why Sally’s attracted to him, cos he’s a really genuinely nice guy.”
Sally and Joe like the fact that Sally, Tim and Kevin work well as a trio. “I think that’s really good, ‘cos you’ve not really seen that before, it’s quite nice that people can actually get on” Sally tells us, and Joe agrees, adding “I think it would’ve been a bit obvious to make Tim and Kev enemies, ‘cos they’ve got no history, why should they fall out? They’ve got something in common, they’ve dealt with it, and now they’re friends”.
So what do they think of the kiss which, we’re told, will come out in the live episode? “It was only a moment of madness, it didn’t mean anything” Sally replies, “I think she’s really worried about Tim’s reaction, ‘cos he is quite a sensitive soul. I think there are feelings for Kevin. They were married for 20 odd years, and they were remarried, so they’ve gone through a lot. There is a connection there but he’s more of her friend and it’s a case of overstepping the mark.” We also learn that Anna finds out, and both Sally and Joe agree that she’s the worst person who could have.
With the live episode fast approaching how do they feel about it? Despite already having one under her belt, Sally is naturally nervous. “It’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done because you just don’t want to be the one that messes up Coronation Street. There’s a lot to worry about” she explains. While her biggest fear is corpsing, because when Joe makes her laugh, she can’t stop, his is losing concentration. Joe hasn’t done live TV before, but plenty of theatre and is up for the challenge.
Neither had received the scripts when I spoke with them, and Sally revealed, “I would love to be a fly on the wall when the writers get together for their meetings, because we’re in their hands really.” Joe adds, “There’s a lot of secrecy around this show. They just drip feed you information, that’s the truth.” There were nevertheless still things they knew about but on which their lips were very firmly sealed, and we were provided with no certainty as to whether or not their wedding will go ahead.“It’s so hard when we want to talk about things to you but we can’t” laughs Sally. When it comes to this pair, I happily welcome the element of surprise, as it makes the enjoyment of this brilliant couple all the sweeter.
See also my interview with Michael Le Vell and Brooke Vincent.