Tyrone Dobbs is a free man having been found not guilty of domestic violence at his trial. In a last-minute twist, an emotional Kirsty Soames (Natalie Gumede) stormed the courtroom, admitted her own guilt and handed baby Ruby over to her father. With Ty now reunited with Fiz (Jennie McAlpine) following the verdict, we speak to actor Alan Halsall about the dramatic storyline as he reveals what lies ahead for his character:
What’s it been like being at the centre of this ‘Free Tyrone’ campaign?
I’ve loved all that. I’ve had pictures sent to me on Twitter with people waving banners. There’ve been trucks driving around with Free Tyrone written in the dirt on the back. It really makes me laugh because I actually started in Coronation Street thanks to the Free Deirdre campaign. She got sent to prison and her cellmate was Tyrone’s mother! So now it’s come full circle. And it’s really nice that the audience has really taken to the story and has been enjoying it so much.
So, tell us how Tyrone is feeling now that he’s been found not guilty?
Obviously this is a huge moment in Tyrone’s life. At one point, he definitely thought he was going to prison. So for it all to turn around so quickly is a shock. Then it starts to dawn on him that this part of his life is over now and he’s actually got things to look forward to. What he’s always wanted is that family life and he has the prospect of that now with Fiz, Ruby and Hope. He’s very emotional about it all.
Next week, we get to see Kirsty one more time. What happens in that scene?
Kirsty requests to see Tyrone while she’s in prison. But she’s obviously the last person that he wants to see. Yet it’s playing on his mind all the time and Fiz sees this and says, “look, I think you need to go and see her”. So Tyrone goes to see Kirsty at the prison and it’s here that he realises that he doesn’t have to be scared of her any more. He can see her for what she is and he’s not going to live in fear. So he walks out of there with his head held high and leaves her sat in a prisoner’s cell. It’s a real moment of change for him.
Are you missing Natalie Gumede now that she’s left the Street?
Yes, it’s become a bit weird coming into work and not seeing that big hair sat there. I love that hair! I had to lean round it for most of my shots. But yes, I miss her already and she’s not been gone very long. For a year, I’d see Natalie first thing in the morning, work with her all day, say goodnight and then see her the next morning. Since she left, I’ve been speaking to her a fair bit on the phone though and I’m really excited for her. She’s so talented and she can go on to do whatever she wants.
Could she come back?
Well that’s the beauty of these soaps – we have a fantastic team of writers and they can do anything with a flick of a pen. So absolutely, they could bring the character back. She was fantastic and to make an impact so quickly on a show like Corrie is amazing.
One of the consequences of Tyrone being in prison was that you missed out on the Rovers fire. Were you disappointed not to be a part of that?
Well, I’ve seen the remains since I got back, but yes, I did miss out on all that. I tell you what though – I’m very happy that I missed out on the stripping in Nick’s Bistro because I wouldn’t have fancied that much, to be honest! I’ve got to take my hat off to those lads. To do that knowing that ten million are going to be watching them – fair play to them.
Bit of a missed opportunity not to have Steve McDonald stripping though, surely? That would have been fun…
I’d have paid to watch that! Simon Gregson trying to dance and take his clothes off at the same time. That would have been hilarious.
Will Tyrone be happy now? There’s always the danger though that a contented character doesn’t necessarily make for good drama…
The main reason I love the job is that we don’t know what’s going to happen until we get the scripts. So I’ll be happy to go with whatever the writers concoct. Right now, I think it might be nice to see Tyrone happy for a short while. But, like you said, that might not last too long in soapland.
Will he and Fiz be moving into No 9 together?
Well, that’s all coming up next. Where do Tyrone and Fiz take this relationship? They know they want to be together and they know they’re in love. But Fiz has got commitments with Hope and Chesney. Tyrone’s got Ruby and his loyalties to the house where he lived with Jack and Vera. So that’s a debate that certainly isn’t over.
And how does it feel getting the recognition at the NTAs and also in the nominations list for the Soap Awards?
I feel it’s down to the story and being part of Coronation Street, really. Don’t get me wrong – I was absolutely elated to win the NTA and it was such a shock because I didn’t expect it. But when you’re stood up there with the award in your hand, you kind of feel like you’re cheating everyone else out of it because it really does take a huge team of people to do a storyline like this. What I’m thrilled about though is that people take the time to vote. The NTAs and Soap Awards are voted for by the viewers, so for people to do that means a lot.
Alan Halsall is currently nominated for Best Actor at this year’s British Soap Awards. To see the nominations in full and vote, please head to www.britishsoapawards.tv