Is the net closing in on Corrie killer Rob Donovan? In next week’s episodes, viewers will see Rob desperately trying to handle his unease after Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) pleads not guilty to the crime of murdering Tina McIntyre.
With Ken Barlow (William Roache) determined to see his son freed, will the case eventually lead to Rob’s door? And will Rob be forced to kill again to cover his tracks? Actor Marc Baylis reveals what lies ahead for the Street’s increasingly angst-ridden murderer…
So, how is Rob coping with his killer secret?
He’s not coping very well on the inside, but on the outside he’s trying his best to act as normal as possible. He’s a bit of a mess and the pressure of holding it together in front of everyone isn’t helping.
When Ken comes back, how does this affect Rob? Because Ken is going to pull out all the stops to get Peter released…
That’s a big turning point. That’s when Rob really starts to think that he might not get away with this after all. He’s not in a good place at all, especially because Ken is so adamant that Peter is innocent. Rob starts to play a few games to try and prevent Peter’s case being a success and puts some obstacles in Ken’s way.
Do Tracy and Carla pick up on Rob’s change in behaviour when Ken is back?
No, he hides it very well from everyone and is still managing to hold it together on the outside. He’s in complete inner turmoil though, for that very reason – he hasn’t got an outlet, he hasn’t got anybody to lean on or to support him or someone who he can talk to about the situation he’s in. It’s all bubbling up inside of him and he has no support unit – not that he deserves one.
What’s Rob’s reaction when Ken announces he’s going to get Peter a new lawyer?
Peter’s first lawyer tells him to enter into a plea bargain, which is music to Rob’s ears as it means Peter would have to plead guilty. But as soon as Ken says he’s hiring a new lawyer Rob tries to brainwash him by playing mind games. He tells Ken that if this new lawyer is available to work it probably means he’s no good and therefore won’t do a good job for Peter and will be a complete waste of time! Rob’s putting a real negative spin on all of Ken’s ideas, but because Ken is so single-minded about helping Peter out it puts Rob up against a brick wall and he doesn’t quite know how to get around it without showing his cards.
How does Rob feel when Peter announces he’s going to plead guilty because nobody believes in him?
He thinks it’s the end of the game and that he’s gotten away with it. It’s an interesting time because while this news pleases Rob, the guilt is really bubbling up inside him. Rob hates Peter for what he’s done to Carla and they’ve never liked each other, but Rob also knows that what he’s doing to Peter is wrong and seeing him sent down for Rob’s crime is eating away at him. He is remorseful, but he’s a trapped man and he doesn’t know how to get out of it. He almost has to convince himself that Peter is guilty and has entered a stage of total denial.
Peter then changes his mind and decides to plead not guilty. How does Rob react?
It’s the worst thing he could possibly hear. He thought everything was going to plan but suddenly that turns full circle and all of the work he’s done to get Peter sent down has been undone by Ken. Rob’s going to have to start from scratch.
Do you think Rob’s confident that Peter will be found guilty, though?
He’s constantly changing his mind about that, which is another reason why Rob’s so mentally unstable at this point. Everything keeps changing and Rob’s all over the place. He doesn’t know where he stands or how to react. He’s going round in a circle of mental hell.
Would he consider confiding in Tracy or Carla?
I don’t think Rob wants to put that burden on them. He loves them both far too much to let them in on his secret. He’s so fearful of losing everything and going back to prison that he can’t put his life in someone else’s hands in that way.
Rob’s trying to protect Carla as much as him – is that adding to his pressure?
Peter’s been charged so he’s not too concerned about Carla now. He’s trying to encourage Carla to get on with her life and move on, and he’s really trying to put a real distance between her and Peter. Every time he thinks he’s resolved something it turns on him again, so while he’s coping at the minute, it might not last.
Is there a rift occurring between Rob and Tracy, what with her being ‘Team Peter’?
I don’t think it’s necessarily creating problems for them but that’s because Rob’s having to pretend that he wants Peter to be found not guilty as well, but then at the same time he wants him to be convicted! It’s a huge dichotomy.
What about SImon – does Rob feel any guilt towards him?
He feels guilt, yes, absolutely, but then he also uses Simon as a bit of a pawn in the game by coaxing him away to the zoo when he’s meant to be visiting his dad. Simon’s visit would have helped Peter stay strong and helped him to see he had something to fight for, but Rob was determined to take that away from him. He does obviously feel guilty and knows that the ramifications for Simon would be devastating, but then Rob also knows he can use Simon to his advantage at this moment in time. It’s about Rob needing to stay a free man.
Do you think Rob would go so far as to kill again if he needed to?
I don’t know. I’d like to think that it was a one-off through desperate measures, but once you’ve done something like that, who knows if that switch can flick again? I don’t actually think he was mentally aware of what was going on when he killed Tina and it all happened so quickly. He certainly doesn’t want to be in that dark place again, but if that dark place came to him, who knows what could happen?
Can you foresee any scenario in which Rob would turn himself in?
The only way Rob would hand himself in is if Carla was about to be convicted for the murder. At the moment, that’s not looking likely, so under the current circumstances, I think the answer is no. That could all change though.
What reaction have you had from the public since you were revealed to be Tina’s killer?
Really positive, actually. Everybody has been very kind about the storyline and have said that they’re enjoying watching it all unfold. There’s been a lot of pity for Rob, actually. What he did to Tina came out of the blue and I don’t think people thought Rob was a bad guy before then. It’s been a shock for people as they’d started to warm to Rob before it happened.