Coronation Street: Alan Halsall commits his future to the show - "I'd like to emulate Bill Tarmey"

The actor, who plays Tyrone Dobbs, opens up about his feelings for his late co-star: "He knew how much I loved him and vice versa"

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Coronation Street: Alan Halsall commits his future to the show - "I'd like to emulate Bill Tarmey"
Written By
David Brown

Corrie star Alan Halsall has been talking about his close relationship with the late Bill Tarmey. 

“He steered me along the path of my career,” said the actor who plays Tyrone Dobbs. “I’m so lucky to have had Bill. He took me under his wing and if it hadn’t have been for him, I don’t think I’d be stood here right now.” 

Speaking at a preview screening of Tyrone’s wedding to Kirsty Soames (to be shown on Monday 21 January at 7.30pm/8.30pm), Halsall explained how he owed his current prominence in the ITV soap to Tarmey’s sound advice: 

“When I started on Corrie, I’d just left school. I’m a Salford kid born and bred and I’d grown up watching Coronation Street. So there I was with this dream job and I’m going out drinking and getting recognised and Bill sat me down and told me about all the options of how my life could go. And then he said, ‘but you’ve got no choice – you’re going down this road!’ 

“He instilled into me that no one job is more important than another and said, ‘be nice to everyone on your way up because you can be damn sure you’ll meet them on the way down’. And that’s advice that I live by. One of his biggest mottos was ‘If I’m not early, I’m late’. And God, if I ever thought I’d be late for work, I’d be petrified. It’s all about respect for the crew and the cast that I work with. It was from Bill that I found out how to treat people in this industry.” 

Tarmey, who for over three decades played workshy Jack Duckworth, passed away in November 2012 at his holiday home in Tenerife. Two months on and Halsall admitted to still being greatly affected by his friend’s death: 

“Bill was very much like a father figure to me both on and off screen. He’d often ring me up of a night and, even after he’d retired, we’d meet up every other Thursday in the pub to have a beer. He was a huge part of my life. He knew what I thought of him and I knew what he thought of me. It’s not something we ever hid. He knew how much I loved him and vice versa.” 

Halsall is currently in contention for a National Television Award for Best Serial Drama Performance following an intense 12 months for Tyrone that has found him at the centre at a domestic abuse plotline. But when asked whether he would dedicate the award to Tarmey should he win, the actor confessed to having mixed emotions: 

“I’d like to, but I honestly think that if I went up there and tried to speak about Bill, it would feel too raw.” 

But when it comes to his future on the show, Halsall has no doubts – and again his commitment comes down to that long association with Bill Tarmey: 

“I’m starting my 15th year, which just feels crazy to me. Bill desperately wanted to get to 30 years and, in the end I think he did 31. And recently, I’ve started to realise that I’d quite like to do 31 years and emulate Bill Tarmey. I don’t think I’ve any chance of catching Bill Roache – I don’t think they’d have me that long, to be honest. But if I could get to those years of service that Bill Tarmey did, then I’d be thrilled.”

Alan Halsall is nominated in the Best Serial Drama Performance category at this year’s National Television Awards. To vote for him, please head to www.nationaltvawards.com

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