Soap baddie turns good cop

Former Coronation Street bad guy turns police inspector in Double Death at the Grand Theatre
Former Coronation Street bad guy turns police inspector in Double Death at the Grand Theatre
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It may be 11 years since legendary Coronation Street bad guy Richard Hillman met his soggy fate in Weatherfield Canal - filmed in Fleetwood - but actor Brian Capron looks back on the role with nothing but the fondest of memories.

But while the play title Double Death may bring back memories of the serial killer’s infamous schemings, this time round he’s on the other side of the law, as the police inspector.

Double Death, which runs at the Grand Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, is a new play, set on the cliffs of North Cornwall, where the sibling rivalry between twins Max and Ashley Hennessy is reaching a murderous climax

“I’m not actually murdering anybody, which is probably a bit different to what people expect,” he said.

“It’s a play that’s difficult to categorise. The good thing for the audience is that the twins are played by one actor, one of the twins is in a wheelchair and there’s a lift on stage so as Andrew Paul is going up that he’ll be getting ready to come back on again as the other twin.

“It gives a lot of energy and fun to the story. It’s funny, witty and at the same time very spooky as the rivalry is leading them to want to kill each other.

“It’s a good murder mystery with a thriller element and genuine twists and surprises - in the second half, you keep going ‘wow’.”

Besides the potential for confusion as lead actor Andrew Paul switches characters as the twins, Brian said the wheelchair created its own challenges - which could be recreated at the Grand.

“We had to get used to the chair quickly in rehearsals - and make sure we put the brakes on, especially where theatre’s have a rake,” he said, the rake being the slope of many older stages which gave audiences a better view of the action - and a feature the Grand has retained.

“At one theatre, Kim Tiddy, who plays the nurse, went off stage leaving the wheelchair and it started to creep towards the audience and went into the orchestra pit.

“The stage manager just had to lift it out before we could carry on.

“Andrew’s first line after that was ‘So far, so good’ and the audience fell about laughing so it set us off for the night.

“We will be in Buxton immediately before Blackpool, and that has a rake, so we should be well practised by then.”

Although Capron had a well established career before Coronation Street, he is grateful for the opportunities it has afforded him; becoming a musical theatre leading man in the National Theatre’s production of Guys And Dolls, playing pantomime baddies - and this year, an Ugly Sister opposite EastEnders’ classic baddie Lesley Grantham, aka Dirty Den, as well as helping to draw in new audiences to theatres. “I love the fact that I went in to Corrie, and came out again,” he said, of the character last seen on screens in March 2003.

“It isn’t what you’d call a stratospheric career since, not like someone like Katherine Kelly who’s done incredibly well, but it gave me profile.

“I wouldn’t like to be stuck in a soap although it is a nice thing to do as a jobbing actor - and that’s why they are important.”

And he has fond memories of the Cobbles - which he is sad to see being destroyed, after the iconic show’s set moving to Media City in Salford.

“I’ve been doing some appearances at the Corrie set tours,” he said. “The old set is lovely and I feel it’s a disaster they are getting rid of it.

“I was filming a sitcom in Manchester and did an initial day there, and they’ve asked me back to do odd days - including Halloween.

“The new set is all a bit corporate. Before, it was homely and right in the centre of Manchester city and Granada studios.”

He’s looking forward to returning to the Fylde, with the Richard Hillman plot having reached its climax at Fleetwood Nautical College, where Coronation Street filmed the eventual end to his storyline when he plunged his car into the canal, with the Platt family all on board.

With being in Buxton for the beginning part of the week, Brian’s packing up his motorhome for a week’s travels.

“I’ll hopefully be cycling to and from the theatre, and if I used it on tour I can claim it against tax,” he laughed.

“My wife uses it for festivals, but this is my first adventure in it and gives me a good practice run before we head down to the south of France after the tour.”

* Double Death, Grand Theatre, Church Street, Blackpool, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm (2pm Saturday matinee). Call (01253) 290190 to book.