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Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth, Corrie)

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Actor Chris Fountain

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Chris Fountain makes his debut in Coronation Street next week, appearing in the role of Tommy Duckworth. Viewers last saw Tommy as a child character back in 2000, but Jack and Vera's grandson is now all grown up and ready to make his mark in Weatherfield as his charming and confident nature causes a stir on the cobbles. Tommy flirts with Sophie and Sian within minutes of his arrival on the street, but he soon has another local lady in his sights… Here, Chris chats to Digital Spy about joining Corrie and what's to come from Tommy.

When did you first hear about the role of Tommy?
"I think it was around September last year, when I had a call from my agent saying that she'd spoken to Coronation Street's producer Phil Collinson and that he was interested in seeing me about a part. I didn't hear anything else for a couple of months after that and I was also up for a few other parts. My agent later spoke to Phil again and he was asking what I was up to, so she told him about the roles that I was up for and how I was quite close to getting them. Phil told her that he definitely wanted to see me over this part and that he'd get me up to the set straight away."

What happened next?
"I got a train up to Manchester and did a screen test. Then a couple of weeks later, they rang me up and told me that I'd got the part, which was great."

Did you always know that you were auditioning for a member of the Duckworth family, or was that only revealed to you later?
"Yeah, I always knew he was a Duckworth and I was also familiar with the character because I used to watch Coronation Street as a youngster, so I remembered how Jack and Vera would always be talking about 'our Tommy' and how he was the golden boy! So I always knew and the fact that he's a Duckworth is part of the reason why it's such an attractive role to play."

How was the character of Tommy first described to you?
"They described him as a cheeky chappy with a bit of swagger about him and also an eye for the ladies - and that for me was a selling point, really! I didn't get a full character breakdown until a couple of days before I started, so I learned later that he'd been busy travelling around the world and he's a bit of a free spirit. He's one of those loveable characters who can say something that's out of order but people still like him, just because he's Tommy. He's got a kind of charisma that borders on arrogance but doesn't quite cross over to that - he's quite a charming guy."

Tommy feels at home sat at Tyone's house
Tommy arrives on the street looking for Jack, doesn't he?
"Yeah, Tommy's been travelling around the world and he thinks that now is the time to go to see his granddad for a bit, maybe stay around in Weatherfield and see if there's any work in the area. But sadly, he's told by Tyrone that Jack is dead."

Do you think Tommy seems quite similar to Jack in some ways?
"Yeah, completely. When Jack first started he was all over the ladies on the street and, like Tommy, he was one of those characters who could say something that was really out of order, but people would say, 'Oh, it's just Jack'! Like Tommy, Jack was a bit of a loveable rogue."

As Tommy does have an eye for the ladies, could he become a love rat on the street, or is he more of a cheeky ladies' man?
"I'd say he's more of a cheeky ladies' man, to be honest. He doesn't seem like the kind of character who's going to go around making people upset or hurting people on purpose - he's just a bit of a heartbreaker, really! He's got all of the chat-up lines, he's got great banter and he's really confident when it comes to speaking to women. We'll see him get quite a lot of attention on the street."

Tyrone looks on as Tommy puts his arm around Tina
Is it true that we'll see Tommy taking a shine to Tina McIntyre?
"Well, he takes a bit of a shine to everybody on the street! He chats up Sian, he chats up Sophie but then he definitely does take a bit of a shine to Tina when he meets her in the pub. Tina then spends an evening with Tyrone and Tommy at the Duckworths' house, watching a film."

How does Graeme feel about Tommy's interest in Tina?
"I don't think he's very happy! He sees Tina leaving Tommy's house after she's stayed over at the Duckworths' on that night. Nothing's happened and they've just watched a DVD together, but Graeme takes that the wrong way…"

As Tommy is staying with Tyrone, will that be a permanent arrangement and do they become close friends?
"I'm not sure if it's permanent just yet, but at the minute it's a place for him to stay while he's around on the street. But obviously Tyrone is the closest thing to family that Tommy has got on the street, so they bond straight away and Tommy becomes quite protective over Tyrone."

As the Duckworths are such an iconic part of Corrie's history, have you felt the pressure of continuing their legacy?
"Yeah, completely. Duckworth is one of the most celebrated and recognisable names in soap, so there is a pressure with coming in to play a member of the family. Especially as I'm coming straight in on my own to continue the name - it's not as if I'm coming in with a brother or family member, I'm literally coming in to take the whole name of the Duckworths myself. So I do feel quite a bit of pressure. I really hope that he'll be a liked character, because obviously the Duckworths were absolutely fantastic on the street - Jack and Vera were absolute legends, and Tommy's father Terry Duckworth is one of the all-time bad boys of soap. Coming in to take that name is a massive, massive deal and I'm trying to make sure that I do it justice."

> Click here to read the second part of our interview with Chris Fountain in Soap Scoop

Chris Fountain's first Coronation Street episode airs on Monday, March 28 at 7.30pm on ITV1. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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