Coronation Street star Ian Bartholomew was compelled to help victims of domestic abuse after playing evil Geoff Metcalfe...
Coronation Street star Ian Bartholomew, better known as the cobbles’ vile Geoff Metcalfe, has released a charity single about domestic abuse.
Speaking about the song, Ian opened up about why it was so important to him to help raise awareness for such an important cause.
“As Coronavirus hit and we went into lockdown the instances of domestic abuse went through the roof.
“People were dying and I was so upset and angry. I wanted to do something.
“It came to me one day in May to write a song, and the lyrics followed very quickly,” explains Ian who is an ambassador for Women’s Aid.
“I tried to put myself in the place of someone who is in a abusive relationship, Ian continues.
“The confusion, the uncertainty the lack of self-esteem but also knowing that in their heart they’re right [to leave] and they’re doing the right thing.”
Ian’s wife, Loveday Ingram, directed the accompanying music video which tells the story of a woman escaping a violent home with her child.
The video also features the faces of real-life survivors of abuse, including TV presenter Katie Piper.
As is highlighted in the video, in the UK 1.6 million women and children experience domestic abuse every year.
The police receive over 100 calls an hour relating to incidents of abuse and, on average, one woman is killed every four days by a current or ex partner.
During the first two weeks of lockdown these figures more than doubled.
Ian adds: “We tell a story in the video, we tell a story on TV, but in reality it’s not a story, it’s happening to real people in real life. It’s very important to remember that.”
“I want all those people out there who are in stable relationships to understand there can be a dark side to married life and relationships.
“I want them to do their best in some way to bring to an end of what is an appalling crime. Coercive control and domestic abuse has got to stop.”
For the past two years, Ian has played Geoff Metcalfe in Coronation Street.
His battered wife Yasmeen (Shelley King) is currently in jail for stabbing her abuser who she feared was trying to kill her.
“Geoff started off as a bumptious jack-the-lad but the producers told me he would turn darker. Little did I know it was going to be a full 360-degree turn,” Ian says.
“It was difficult to get my head into it for a while, I have to say.
“Geoff is completely unlikeable. I don’t like anything about him. He’s a very unpleasant human being.
“From an acting point of view it’s fascinating but it’s hard going to work every day playing someone horrible.
“When the storyline got really ‘chewy’ in lockdown it was hard watching it and knowing it was happening for real outside.
“Shelley and I had a lot of contact with Women’s Aid and we met a lot of survivors of domestic abuse.
“The charity was heavily involved in the writing of the storyline and they’ve done a fantastic job.
“They’ve kept us true to reality which has been why it’s been so hard-hitting. It’s real,” continues the actor.
Ian says he feels lucky to be able to return home after day playing Geoff but is painfully aware that many people don’t have that same security.
“My son, who’s 12, doesn’t want to watch Dad being horrible to Shelley. Coming home brings you back to reality.
“I can go home to my wife and children. I am very lucky but I am always aware that the people who live it for real don’t have the luxury go getting away from it.”
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, go to www.womensaid.org.uk for support and information, including Live Chat, the Survivors’ Forum, The Survivor’s Handbook and the Domestic Abuse Directory.
Live Chat is open from 10 am-4 pm on weekdays and 10am-12pm on weekends for confidential expert support from specialised support workers.
The song, This Time It’s Forever, has been produced by James F Reynolds. The video was made by Three Wise Monkeys with sponsorship from Steve Morgan Foundation.