Former Coronation Street star Katy Carmichael fills us in on what it’s like playing Waterloo Road‘s bigamist Melissa…
What is Melissa’s terrible secret?
“She’s about to go off and marry Eddie, but she hasn’t quite got around to telling him she’s actually already married – twice! She’s a bigamist.”
Why does she do it?
“To defend her character, this particular case of bigamy is a combination of paperwork and bad timing. It’s something she hasn’t been able to close – the first happened when she was quite young, and the second husband only hung around for a month after her son Philip was born. She fully intended to tell Eddie, but he rushed ahead with the engagement and the timing hasn’t been right…”
You don’t think she’s a bad person, then?
“No, she really loves Eddie. She wasn’t scheming. She’s so carefree she makes it up as she goes along. Neil Morrissey used to tease me on set that Melissa is a bitch, but I played it that she really loves Eddie and plans to deal with it later, without realising the severity of the situation. I think adultery is much worse – it’s not like she’s carrying on with another man!”
So why does it come out?
“Her son Philip has been suffering ever since he found out when trying to trace his father. He comes from a broken home where his father abandoned him and he doesn’t want that to happen again with Eddie. He hides her passport to stop her going away and forces her to come clean.”
How does that end?
“Badly! Everyone reacts very violently, especially Eddie and her sister Rachel. It was really great scene to play because Neil and Eva Pope are brilliant – it was like playing tennis with really good players.”
Do you think fans want to see Eddie with Rachel or Melissa?
“The people I’ve spoke to like Melissa, but their loyalty lies with Eddie and Rachel. They have a history and the will-they-won’t-they storyline has kept them hooked from the beginning. Melissa is a spanner in the works!”
Do you have a sister in real life?
“Yes, but we’ve never fought over a man. Eva has four brothers, but we have similar personality types. We feel sisterly towards each other, which made it easy to play from the first day off. Now we’re brilliant friends.”
Is that the last we see of Melissa?
“No! She does return – I won’t say when or why, but it’s a big showdown, a fantastic storyline!”
Weren’t you involved in a bigamy storyline in Coronation Street?
“Yes, I played Lucy Barlow, but this time I’m the bigamist. I said to the producers of Waterloo Road: ‘Is this deliberate? Have I got one of those faces?’ And they said: ‘Katy, you’ve got a face that looks like you’re up to mischief!’ I suppose people who know me from Corrie will associate me with all that – a trouble maker, starts off as girl next door, likes a bit of fun, then by the end I’ve ruined everyone’s life! Lucy is officially dead, but I loved working on Corrie. Every actor should work on a soap because the turnover is so fast, you learn to be spontaneous, and the writing is so good.”
Were you naughty at school?
“No – I was a bit cheeky and maybe a bit irreverent, but I just slipped under the radar.”
There’s been talk of the hit sitcom Spaced returning. Is that likely and will you be playing Twist?
“Spaced was seven years ago and I’m still friends with everybody. Simon Pegg was one of my oldest friends at University – him and David Walliams, who I went out with for five years. You just knew back then the two of them were going to be huge. There was talk of doing some more Spaced when we did a convention at the BFI. Thousands of people turned up, and we all talked about how much fun it would be to work together again. And now there’s an American version being made. Who knows? It would have to be right.”