I flew from Ireland on behalf of the Coronation Street Blog to meet Kym Marsh at ITV in Manchester to hear all about what lies in store for her character, and particularly the arrival of first love Will whose arrival will surprise Michelle when she is booked to be his wedding planner.
So, who is Will?
“He’s not Ryan’s dad,” Kym notes, observing that she had her son when she was 15 and adds, “He was her first ever kiss, first ever anything. They’re old school friends, haven’t seen each other since they left school and she just so happens to be planning a wedding for a lady who is a high flying business woman who comes in to tell Michelle that she’s leaving to go on business and that she should deal with her fiancé for all enquiries for planning the wedding.” Enter Will.
Can we expect sparks to fly when they meet?
“No, not at all.” Kym confirms. “At this point he’s just a friend who she’s not seen for a long time. It’s no secret that she’s come back from Spain having seen Steve, not getting perhaps the reception that she was hoping for” she continues, “and we’ll go on to find out that she’s so upset about the fact he just seems perfectly fine without her and doesn’t seem to want to come home. She is starting to get a bit angry with him now – she was there for him throughout his depression and obviously she was prepared to be there and help him and now that he is feeling so much better he is not around for her. She is feeling lonely unloved and unappreciated.”
Kym very much welcomes the addition to the cast of Leon Ockenden who plays the part of Will. “He’s an absolute joy to work with, he’s a lovely guy. He’s fitted in really well into the cast. When you see him in the corridor he doesn’t look like he’s a visiting artist, he looks like part of the furniture which is always a good indication of how someone’s going to be.”
While she cannot be sure of where the storyline will take them, Kym admits to being worried at the possibility of Michelle and Steve being split up, and says she wouldn’t want for it to be permanent, if it has to happen at all. She does respect the job of the writers however and accepts that it is the role of the actor to portray whatever storylines come their way as best they can. Kym finds it very flattering when people tell both she and Simon that they consider them to be a classic Corrie couple, and this is one of the reasons she hopes they stay together.
It is interesting to consider the fact that Michelle has never been unfaithful in her near ten years on the Street; a rather remarkable feat in the world of soap. This, Kym explains, is what makes it so hard for her to give in to any desires she might develop for Will. “If anything, it comes from [him] and she’s constantly trying to put a wedge between them” she reveals, adding “she does really try everything to stop anything from happening.”
It isn’t long before Liz confronts the pair, and Kym explains that at this point, her suspicions really are genuinely unfounded, though she appreciates how the combination of unhappy Michelle and attractive Will may look from the outside. “It is probably the worst row I have had to do playing Michelle” Kym recalls, “we were both shaking afterwards.”
Another person she will miss dearly from her time there is Alison King who will soon say farewell to the cobbles. Speaking about her departure, Kym says “I am going to be an absolute mess, I will be incredibly sad to lose her. Obviously we’re friends so we’ll see each other outside of the show anyway, but it’s going to be very very odd because our characters are very close, we’re very close, we share a dressing room together, so there’s going to be a huge Ali shaped hole in my life.”
Next month marks Kym’s tenth year on Corrie and she can’t believe how quickly time has gone. “My acting style has changed a lot” she notes, “I’ve learned so much from being on this show about everything.” Originally signed up for four episodes, she remembers getting the call to come back on the show while cooking dinner and abandoning it to go out celebrating.
“This has been a massive journey for me being here the last ten years” she observes, “it’s been an incredible journey and I’ve learned a lot about my trade, I’ve learned a lot about myself and going forward that’s only a good thing”.
While Kym acknowledges she may have had more to prove in making the transition from singer to actor, she has more than proven herself capable over the last decade, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Michelle as she embarks on this new storyline.
You can also read my interview with Leon Ockenden.
This interview was conducted at Coronation Street, ITV, Manchester on behalf of the Coronation Street Blog.