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Soaps Interview

Bruno Langley (Todd Grimshaw, Corrie)

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Bruno Langley

© Rex Features

Coronation Street welcomes back one of its most popular characters on Easter Sunday as Todd Grimshaw returns to Weatherfield for a brief visit. Having found love with a rich man named Jools in his new home of London, Todd decides that it's finally time to introduce mum Eileen and brother Jason to his partner. Eileen is thrilled to see her son back, but as with most things on the cobbles, his return doesn't go entirely to plan… Bruno Langley, who plays Todd, recently chatted to Digital Spy about his comeback for Corrie's Easter special.

How did the return to Corrie come about?
"Well, my agent contacted me and told me that the Coronation Street producers were looking to bring Todd back. I was on tour at the time - I was with Calendar Girls for three months, but they wanted to know whether I would do it. It turned out that I could fit in one episode while I was doing the theatre show in Leeds, so I ended up going backwards and forwards from Leeds to Manchester to film this episode."

Was returning to the role of Todd something that you had to think quite hard about?
"No, not really - not these days. I used to be quite precious about what I would do and what people would think, but not now. The only thing I thought was that Todd is quite a popular character so I wondered how people would feel about him just coming back for one episode and whether they'd prefer him to come back for a little bit longer. But in the script, the way the episode ends is quite open-ended. I don't know whether Todd is coming back again or not, but it's very open-ended."

Is it true that they'd asked you back on previous occasions but it wasn't always possible because you were busy?
"Yes, well that's it - sometimes they'd ask me and I couldn't do it because I was tied up with other things, and sometimes I'd finish a job and tell them that I was available but they couldn't do it. It was a bit like a game of phone tag!"

For this Easter episode, did they tell you about the storyline straight away or did you learn more about it as time went on?
"Well, initially they said that it would be filming in London for this little stint, which could have been quite interesting - showing Todd in a different environment. But I think they changed the plans for the episode, so Sean goes to London and Todd comes back to Weatherfield to introduce Eileen and Jason to his new boyfriend Jools. I was back filming on set for about five days to do the episode."

When Todd returns to Weatherfield, is it the first time that Eileen has seen him for a while?
"I'm not entirely sure, but I think she will have been down to London a few times. Obviously if it was real life, the character would probably come back every month or so, but it's not real life! But you have to assume that Eileen will have seen Todd on various occasions in the past three years."

Coronation Street: Todd Grimshaw
Is Todd's relationship with Jools quite a serious one, or is it still in its early stages?
"I think it must be quite a serious one, as he's bringing Jools back to meet his mum and his brother and he's never really done that with anyone before. I'm sure he's had other conquests during his time away, but this one's serious!"

What kind of personality does Jools have?
"Jools is a lovely guy, because he takes Eileen and Jason for what they are and he loves them for who they are. He's quite a rich guy and he has a great job, and really he's everything that someone who was brought up in Weatherfield is not - he's very middle class. But then again, Ken's quite middle class, isn't he?"

Has Todd changed much since we last saw him?
"Well, it's quite weird, because when I come back, I've changed as a person as well, so I try to put some of that into the character too. I think it's quite realistic as people do change all the time. However, he is essentially the same guy - he's just grown up."

We've heard that Todd is slightly nervous about showing Jools where he used to live…
"Yeah, I think he is. Obviously it's fictional, but I would assume that in the past year, he's been mixing with a different crowd of people. He's been going to posh parties and meeting rich and famous people, but then he comes back home and has to show where he comes from!"

Todd and Jason often had quite a turbulent relationship as brothers, so how are things between them this time around?
"Well, I don't want to give too much away, but as always, Todd and Jason are two completely different characters and that can sometimes cause problems. But as they're brothers, they'll always work it out - that's family."

Is there any chance he'll bump into his old enemy Gail during his stay?
"Yes, I'm sure he will! The whole episode was really nice to do - I have some good scenes in the street, in the Grimshaws' and in The Rovers, so I got to see a lot of the people who I used to work with as everyone's always milling about the studios. It was really good to see everyone."

Was it easy or hard to fit back into the character after so long away?
"The hard thing was that I've been doing a lot of theatre, so when you're on the stage you have to do a lot of acting, whereas in front of a camera you have to react. It's quite different and on screen, you have to try not to be too 'actorish'. But that's fine - I learned at Granada and that's where I did my training, so it does come naturally and it wasn't too hard to go back to it. After my first scene, I think it was all alright."

Todd is back with boyfriend Jools
Todd's sexuality was a big deal for the street back in 2003, so is it nice when you get the opportunity to come back and show how he's happy and settled?
"Yeah, it's good - when I left, I'm not sure I was the scriptwriters' or the producers' best friend because we didn't get to show Todd's happy ending. He'd done all the hard stuff in coming out but then he left. So it is nice to see him come back happy."

Todd's story had a massive impact at the time, so do you still get approached by fans who want to chat about it?
"Sometimes nobody will stop me for months, but the other day I was walking down the street and a young guy came along who was probably about my age or maybe slightly younger. He was just so pleased to see me and explained how Todd's storyline had helped him come out to his family. I was really touched, so I gave him a hug and told him how much I appreciated that. It's very positive as an actor when people come up and say things like that - so positive."

How did the tour with Calendar Girls go?
"It was really good - there's lots of fun characters on it. There were a few northerners in the cast - me, Lisa Riley and Jennifer Ellison, so we were the northern drinkers and we seemed to drink everyone else under the table! We were definitely flying the flag all round the country!"

What are you working on at the moment?
"I've been doing some auditioning, and I've also got a band - we're called Bruno Langley and the Wonderland Band. We do '50s music, rock and roll, jazz and swing and we perform at various functions and corporate events and things like that. It's all good fun!"

Coronation Street's Easter special airs on Easter Sunday at 7.30pm on ITV1.

> Read more about Coronation Street's Easter episode
> Read our full Coronation Street spoilers Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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