Michelle Keegan and Craig Gazey, Coronation Street’s Tina and Graeme, talk about their unlikely summer romance…
What was your reaction when you discovered Tina and Graeme were going to be an item?
Michelle: “At first, I thought it was unlikely because Tina and Graeme haven’t really got on, and she was happy with Jason at the time. But now, I do think it’s a good idea and a really good partnership.”
Craig: “To be honest, Graeme being so loveless was beginning to get to me; I thought people were trying to tell me something! At first, when I was told, I was like ‘Really?’ because I thought it was going to be Rosie. But what I found really nice is that the one he doesn’t try it on with is the one who likes him for his genuine qualities. Also, Michelle’s a good actress, so I was looking forward to working with her. I’ve got a mate who said: ‘I can’t believe you get to kiss the fittest girl on the street!'”
Were you nervous about filming the first kiss?
Michelle: “Well I’ve done screen kisses before, but it never ever gets easier. It’s the first kiss that’s the worst, just getting it out of the way; it’s like ripping off a Band Aid.”
Craig: “I was a little nervous. The one thing that perturbed me was that it was the first scene of the day so the actual kiss was done at 7.30am. I kept winding Michelle up and saying that if she annoyed me, I’d eat as much garlic as I could. Actually, we went to a do the night before and she was eating tonnes of houmous and saying, ‘Craig, you’ve got to eat some of this!'”
Michelle: “I did, I forgot we were doing the kiss in the morning!”
What do Graeme and Tina see in one another?
Michelle: “Tina sees a best friend. She needs someone who can care for her after losing her dad. Jason couldn’t be that person and then Graeme enters and he’s what she’s been looking for. She puts on a bit of a front, but really, she is just a young girl and she needs guidance sometimes. He’s what every girl wants, really; they want a bit of protection and looking after.”
Craig: “Graeme has described Tina as the girl of his dreams, but he never thought it would happen. What initially he falls in love with is the fact that she’s the first person who really depends on him. In other circumstances, I don’t think Tina would allow Graeme to be himself and for her to fall for him.”
Will we see a different side to Tina and Graeme with this relationship?
Michelle: “Well, it’s good that Tina’s not crying any more. The sad stuff with her grieving for Joe, it’s great when you get a storyline like that, but I was so tired. I had a week off and I got cold sores and was really run down. I think your body actually thinks it’s grieving. If you’re smiling, your body thinks it’s happy, so with this storyline I have noticed a difference in how I look and feel.”
Craig: “You start to see a vulnerable side to Graeme. He actually says that he lost his virginity to his best mate’s mum and he’s never had a girlfriend since year five in school, so needless to say he’s a little bit out of his depth here!”
Craig, how will this affect Graeme’s friendship with David, given that David still loves Tina?
“For the foreseeable future, there’s going to be a lot more turmoil; they won’t be friends for a very good time. Jack P Shepherd, who plays David, said to himself on set the other day, ‘David, get over it, it’s been two years now!'”
The media have called Tina and Michelle the new Raquel and Curly? Do you see the similarities?
Michelle: “Yes, I remember them as a couple. And Raquel wore the trousers in their relationship, as Tina does.”
Craig: “It was me who gave them that, actually. It was written that we were going to be the new Stan and Hilda. I don’t know an awful lot about them, so they said, ‘Who do you think that they’re comparable to’, and my era was Curly and Raquel. What I remember about that relationship is that it wouldn’t really happen, but then again it didn’t make you not want it to happen.”
Would you like Tina and Graeme to get married and have a family?
Michelle: “I’d love a Corrie wedding, but church weddings – oh my God, they take ages to film. I suppose if I was wearing a nice dress, I wouldn’t care, though. At the moment, I don’t want a baby in real life, but it would be great to have one on screen, so I can have my fix and then go home to my dog.”
Craig: “A wedding would be all right, wouldn’t it? But kids? It’s only been a few weeks!”
Michelle, have you ever made the first move in a relationship, as Tina does with Graeme?
“Yes, a few times I have…”
And are the qualities that Tina finds attractive in Graeme the same qualities that you look for in a partner?
“Definitely, a girl needs looking after. I like guys who aren’t selfish. When someone’s really good looking, but they have a bad personality, it makes them ugly.”
And Craig, have you ever been swept off your feet?
“I’m a little bit more grounded than him, I’m a little bit more pessimistic about relationships.”
But if someone could, who would be the ideal candidate?
“Well, my friend said the other day that Cheryl Cole was on the radio and she said that she didn’t have a favourite soap, but she does love watching Graeme on Corrie. I was like ‘All right, Cheryl…”