Next week is 'Murder Week' on Corrie and the producers have even kept us journalists hanging in there until the last minute on this one! However, yesterday, I attended the screening of Liam's death episodes. Alison King and Gray O'Brien just steal the show.
The week was billed by Corrie producer Kim Crowther as a "pivotal week" with the climax to the storylines "taking viewers well into 2009", with the big question on everyone's lips: Will Tony Gordon get away with murder?
The episodes also include one horny Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) and a couple of touching back-to-back scenes involving a dialogue about a cigarette. I'll say no more for now because it'll spoil it all.
I also had an in-depth chat to Kim Crowther about her role at Corrie, more of which will come later on today/tomorrow. For now, I'll leave you with a few tidbits: Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) has a love interest around Christmas; he also has his Christmas dinner cooked by Wiki Dankowska (Wanda Opalinska), who I'm told may get a storyline of her own; and some already-departed characters may make a return next year. Check back soon for more from Kim.
In other news, I'm now the proud owner of a Tony Gordon mask, but check back next week for your chance to win one of SIX exclusive masks signed by the man himself. Finally, all credit must go to Ali and Dave at Corrie for designing the 24-style promo shot (above right). Superb job.
For now, meanwhile, I caught up with Gray O'Brien last week - or 'The Villainous Gray' as he likes to be called - during a break in filming to chat about his storyline, filming three endings and how he thinks his character has developed. If you haven't read the original interview, click here. If you have, read on for some bonus material including how he'd like to have his Blofeld-esque cat back on the scene!
Where did the Blofeld-esque cat go?
"I was really disappointed that they took it off me! I'm actually not very good with cats, so it was quite a big thing for me to be holding it. It purred louder than anything I'd ever heard - it was like a lion! I had to throw the cat to the ground and we got quite a few complaints about me throwing it in an unsympathetic way, never mind the fact that I tried to kill Jed Stone."
You must be sad to see Rob James-Collier leaving…
"We became really good pals over the last couple of months because we were working so hard together. We were here there and everywhere, with various different location shoots. Rob had his own reasons for wanting to move on to try different things and I wish him all the very best. He's a lovely guy and I think he's a great actor. He'll be really missed by everyone at Corrie and by the audience. It's a brave thing to do."
Does Tony truly love Carla even though he kills Liam to be with her or has her infidelity shattered his dedication to her?
"Absolutely. He's besotted by her. There's no question there. It's one thing that's a constant in his life - Carla. Even if his love isn't 100% reciprocated, it doesn't matter. He'd rather have a half-hearted love from her than none at all."
What's been your personal Corrie highlight so far?
"I don't know if this is a highlight, or just a fear. I think I'd been here six months and I walked into the Kabin to do my first scene with Barbara Knox, who plays Rita. I just froze. Not that I'm frightened of her or anything [laughs], she's an icon to me. That's the first time in many years that it's ever happened."
I read in a recent article that producers have big plans for Tony Gordon…
"They've got some great ideas that we've talked about. It's really exciting to be part of this massive show and to be such an integral part of it. I really don't know what the plans are, though. I'm certainly looking forward to it. I'll be here for a bit longer. Obviously there's going to be an ending for Tony at some point, though."
Every baddie has a half life in soap…
"Exactly. That time will come. I kind of know when that will come because there's a contract there and a date on it! It'll be interesting to see what plays out in the next year or so." Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad