It's not very often that I'm enthusiastic about a soap newbie; most of the time I have to let them bed in on screen before they become a potential favourite. But Craig Kelly's character is an exception. From what I've heard and seen, Coronation Street producers have lined up Luke and his back story to match the surname - Strong.
As Craig mentions in my interview with him, his arrival on the Street is a statement in itself - bold and authoritative. Luke's past is of quite an interest, too. When he was released from prison, Paul Connor took him under his wing and taught him the trade, hence why Carla trusts him to run her business while she's away.
But just why does Carla (Alison King) call on Luke? There's some connection there that the storyliners are keeping from us, one which I expect will be kept under wraps until Alison returns from her maternity leave later this year.
Until then, though, here's some additional material from my time with Craig. Don't forget, you can click here to read the rest. And don't forget, his first scenes air on Friday, February 20.
Does Luke have any traits or quirks?
"Not as yet, but that's going to come from me. They started to write for me after the casting, so that's the exciting thing - if I choose to give him some quirks or a tick, the writers will work with that. For me, I'd be keen for my sense of humour to come through and my fun side. I'd love to make him multi-layered. That's the challenge for me. Within my first two weeks, I was given 19 scenes, but by the end of it, I realised that on screen, it'll probably be about seven days of Luke's life. You've got to be patient when you're trying to build a character in soap - it's tiny, tiny steps. I'm in safe hands, though these guys have been doing this for about 305 years, haven't they?"
Does he know all about Tony and his dodgy dealings? He must have the upper hand?
"He does, but in order to create animosity between them both, it's been written in such a way that it's blurry - Tony doesn't know whether Luke knows anything about him or not."
Is he drawn to any of the Weatherfield ladies?
"Of course. I think he quite fancies Michelle from the off and I'm told that there's a possible fling that goes on there. I'm not quite sure how serious, but there'll definitely be something going on. Both Luke and Peter Barlow like Michelle, so there's a bit of rivalry there."
Do you think he had a thing for/with Carla in the past?
"That's interesting. I couldn't tell you, to be honest. He probably did fancy her - after all, she's very attractive! However, he does say in one of the scripts to Tony that nothing ever went on between them. But we don't know - that's the power of soap. So as it stands, he's telling everyone that nothing went on, but we'll just have to wait and see where the story goes."
You worked with Antony Cotton on Queer As Folk, what's it like working with him again?
"I haven't actually done any scenes with him yet, but it's brilliant that he's here."
Some fans are urging producers to cast Charlie Hunnam and Aiden Gillen for a Queer As Folk reunion…
"Are they?! It'd be great if that did happen, but I can't see it happening! I'm not sure where it came from, but there was talk of doing a ten-year Queer As Folk reunion. I really think it's best just leaving it as a beautiful corpse, though. When we did that show, we knew it was going to be really good material - the scripts were fantastic and there was this amazing chemistry between us all. It was just one of those shows that had a bit of magic about it. People still want to talk to me about it and I'm proud of that. That was another reason why I was keen to take this role, too, because it's so different. That and it's nice to play a manly role, because that's what I am, whereas Vince was more of a boy!"
You're well known for your distinctive voice-overs. Will you continue voicing the shows you currently narrate?
"Yeah. All I'll say about that is that I have a few options still available from before I joined Corrie. There are a few things that I'm obliged to do, so you will hear me on a few things, but not anywhere near the amount of pre-Corrie material. Mostly because I'll be too busy!"
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