Actor Charlie Condou has been talking about the public’s reaction to the Coronation Street storyline that has seen his character Marcus Dent becoming involved romantically with Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie):
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive, everyone seems to really like Marcus and Maria, so people seem to be behind them. I think some people are a bit confused by the relationship at times, but not nearly as confused by it as Marcus and Maria are.”
Last year, contentious debate was sparked after nurse Marcus, who had previously been in a gay relationship with Sean Tully (Antony Cotton), fell for best friend Maria. But Condou reveals that he enjoys the fact that the soap has provoked discussion about sexual preferences:
“I think that’s the kind of stuff that Coronation Street does really well and I think it’s really good that it gets people talking and discussing all these things. People’s sexuality is sometimes confusing but I think it’s good that the writers are dealing with it in a really honest and respectful way.”
Next week, viewers will see Marcus trying to convince Maria that his future lies with her after a night out on Canal Street backfires. But has Marcus’s trip down raised doubts?
“At first, Marcus doesn’t notice how uncomfortable how Maria is. She doesn’t cope too well, particularly because the barman seems to be flirting with Marcus. But I don’t think Marcus misses that life so much. I think he realises how much his life has changed, but he’s all right with that. In a lot of ways, Marcus feels like it’s time to grow up. He’s never been one for going out clubbing and actually, in a weird way, it makes him realise how much he does love Maria. He doesn’t want to be out in gay bars getting drunk anymore.”
And does this realisation mean that the next step will be to have a baby with Maria?
“I think he’d love to, but obviously it’s early days for them and I don’t think he’d want to jump into anything. He’s far too sensible for that.”
Off-screen, Condou has been offering his full support to Ghadie as she competes on Dancing on Ice – so has he been impressed by what he’s seen?
“She’s amazing. I went to watch her in week one – I had my Team Samia T-shirt on and sat in the front room cheering her on. She was brilliant. She’d bored me in the run up with hundreds of videos on her phone of her doing different turns or skating backwards. So I saw what she was like when she started this and I can see where she is now and she’s amazing. I hope she goes really far.”
And has what he seen inspired him to give the Dancing on Ice competition a go himself? “I think I would! Samia’s been teasing me about it for ages, saying that she thinks I should do it next year. I was thinking, ‘not a chance’, but when I went to watch it live, I started to think I’d really enjoy this. So you never know – watch this space. I think, out of all those sort of shows, it’s the one I’d want to do the most.”