Actor Leon Ockenden is making his Coronation Street debut next week, but this isn’t the first time his name has been linked to the ITV soap.
Prior to landing the role of Michelle Connor’s first love Will, the former Mr Selfridge star had auditioned on three previous occasions:
“I screen tested for Robert Preston. Before that, I came in for Nick Tilsley and that was a lot of fun because I got to do some scenes with Jack P Shepherd, who’s an amazing actor. And I also auditioned to be Trevor the bin man. So they’ve given me Will out of sympathy, really. Just because I kept turning up,” he jokes.
Above: the parts that got away – Robert Preston, Nick Tilsley and Trevor Dean
Below: Leon Ockenden as newcomer Will
Michelle looks set to have her head turned by Will when he asks her to help plan his upcoming nuptials. With her husband Steve currently in Spain recovering from severe depression, Michelle will end up getting close to her old flame back in Weatherfield. But Ockenden isn’t worried about being seen as the man who could potentially split up one of Corrie’s best-loved pairings.
“That’d be fun,” he insists. “Steve’s the most loved character, isn’t he? But, from what we’ve filmed, I think you really understand that Michelle is going through a lot. When people are suffering from mental illnesses or serous diseases, its often the people around them that get affected too because they don’t have the same support network. So Michelle feels like she’s been abandoned. Will has a lot of empathy for Michelle and provides a kindly ear.”
And could friendship turn into something more intense as Will and Michelle spend more time together? “She’s the first person he was ever in love with. And you never really forget that person, do you? They’ve always got a place in your heart. And because he wasn’t expecting to see her, he definitely gets a rush of blood. He’s wrestling with the strength of his emotions, definitely.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.
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