There are few father-daughter onscreen relationships that are, to my mind, as authentic as the one between Kevin and Sophie Webster. I have enjoyed watching their bond over the years, and when my fellow blogger Ruth and I travelled to ITV in Manchester to interview the pair, I was interested to see if this same chemistry existed between the two actors, Brooke Vincent and Michael Le Vell.
As we talked about the live episode, how they feel about the show, their characters, and future storylines, there proved to be a lovely bond that was at once cheeky and respectful, and made interviewing them rather entertaining.
Both agreed that it was time for Sophie to grow up a bit and that, after a number of relationship traumas, she needs time to herself rather than having a new love interest. “People forget how long it takes to get over things like that” says Brooke as she recalls Sophie’s experiences with Sian, Jenna and Maddie.
Brooke saw it as a “massive honour” to be trusted with the lesbian storyline at the age of 16, and her progression into a young women now seems timely. “I’m two years older than my character so I’m constantly like, ‘right, when can she wear make-up? When can she wear red lipstick?’” Brooke tells us. “It’s going to be nice for me to grow up finally and wear stuff that I’d wear maybe when I was 21”. It will also help that she’s to leave her job at Dev’s behind, as we’re told she’ll play a big part in the expansion of the garage where she’ll be working alongside her Dad helping him to run the business.
With regard to the live episode, Michael doesn’t feel having done one before eases the pressure, and really puts the viewership into perspective when he notes “We’ve all done live theatre before, but to fill a theatre with how many people are going to watch that one episode, you’d probably have to fill a West End theatre for the next 20 years 7 nights a week.” He revealed that they have a two week rehearsal time leading up to the episode which takes place on 23 September, and they never normally have this. He continues, “this is so different as well because I think a lot more people have a lot more lines to say because there’s no big stunt in it and it is all character driven storylines, and so people will have a lot more words and will definitely be on their guard.”
Recalling the Eastender’s live episode in which an actor’s name was said instead of the character being addressed, both vehemently agree about how easy it is to do this, and reveal that it happens all the time on set. Michael tells us “That’s what the public want in some perverse kind of way, they want to see these mistakes. And because the tram crash did go so smoothly last time, everyone thought it was recorded.”
Brooke adds, “It’s so easy for people to sit at home and judge, ‘cos I do it, when you’re watching, say, I’m a Celeb’. If something like that does happen, we’re not going to get sacked, are we?” she laughs, “I’ll just say ‘sorry Mum’ and carry on”.
While they’re worried Sally and Joe’s capacity for corpsing could be their downfall, Michael loves that they brought him into the Tim and Sally storylines, as they all have such a laugh. Brooke talked about how strange it was to have a new man join their family. “It was like real life” she tells us, “I was like, I’ll sit up straight and I won’t be lounging, and it was like my Mum got a new boyfriend in a way. And then we just really quickly gelled together”. Both agree that it would have been so easy to have the men at odds, but that it works so much better that they don’t hate each other.
I asked Michael what he thought of the decision to have Sally and Kevin kiss. Joking that “she’s not made of wood” he tells us “I love the partnership with Sally and Tim, they’re fantastic to watch and they make me laugh a lot. I don’t want to see them split up as a viewer.”
Michael talked about his pride in being part of Corrie, how much he loves it, and how moving to Media City UK has been great for bringing everyone involved closer together. His advice for any budding Corrie actors is to know your lines which proves humorous to Brooke who recalls him messing up during the Jenny Bradley balcony scene despite drumming it into her that she must remember hers. He can’t wait for the return of Sally Ann Matthews, and neither can I. Describing her as fantastic to work with, he adds, “She’s a such a wonderful person to be around, and a wonderful actress…and she did know her lines, every day.”
This cheeky parting shot summed up what was an enjoyable interview, and the relationship that exists between Brooke and Michael.
See also my interview with Joe Duttine and Sally Dynevor.