He was only supposed to be in the show for three short scenes, but Coronation Street’s dastardly Pat Phelan is back by popular demand. Connor McIntyre, 55, tells TV Times why his character Phelan is on the warpath once again in Weatherfield…
Why do you think Phelan has gone down so well among Corrie fans?
“It all lies in the writing. There are so many dimensions to Phelan. If he were obviously slippery, then people on the Street would pick up on that in a second. He is a delight to play.
“This man thinks he is a cat in a world of mice. He is back now, broke and with no prospects. He wants to get back on his perch and is thinking about how he can ingratiate himself with the people who will be useful to him. It won’t just be Anna this time – he’ll be spreading the love around…”
You left school in Toxteth, Liverpool with no qualifications, worked as a lifeguard, a boxing coach and a car salesman before you decided to try acting – what led you to make that life-changing decision?
“It was a combination of boredom and inquisitiveness that made me do it. I walked into the Studio Theatre which is on The Barbican in Plymouth where I live. I’d never really been in a theatre before and I asked if I could watch the actors rehearse. I was thrilled by what I saw happening in that dark space and thought, ‘I am going to get involved with this.'”
“I did anything I could to be a part of it. I said , ‘I will make tea, run messages and push trollies just to be in the space where these actors are working.'”
Until Phelan came along you were probably best known as nurse Terry Harker in ITV drama Always & Everyone, which ran from 1999-2002…
“That was my first big break. I got to work with Niamh Cusack, Martin Shaw, Michael Kitchen, David Harewood and a host of other really talented actors. That is where I really started to learn.”
Then in 2003 you suffered a heart attack – how has that affected your approach to life and work since?
“A Myocardial Infarction they call it. I had recently lost my parents, work was very busy and I wasn’t looking after myself. I saw it as my body telling me to slow down and take it easy for a bit.”
But rather than take to the sofa you took up painting and ended up doing a Masters degree in fine art…
“I’ve just finished it. I was knee deep in academic text books when Phelan had initially appeared in Corrie, so I didn’t notice that there had been a fairly strong response to him. The degree was one of the nicest things I ever did for myself and I had just completed it when Coronation Street called me to ask me back as Pat Phelan, so somebody up there still likes me!”