Vicar Billy Mayhew is to come to Sarah’s aid next week when she flees baby Harry’s Christening. With Sarah feeling increasingly stressed since Harry’s birth, she starts to treat the service more like an exorcism, promising her newborn that they can finally say goodbye to the devil.
But as the godparents gather round the font, Harry screams in Sarah’s arms. Thrusting baby Harry at Nick, Sarah runs from the church. In the end, it takes wise counsel from Billy to assure Sarah that she has a beautiful baby and that she mustn’t dwell on thoughts of his father. But has Sarah really listened to what Billy is saying? Actor Daniel Brocklebank tells us more:
Has Billy been worrying about Sarah since she began confiding in him?
Yes, since everything that happened with Callum she’s been behaving erratically and because his job puts him within the community he notices people’s behaviour. It’s at the forefront of his mind what’s happened recently.
How does she seem to have taken to motherhood from what Billy’s seen?
She’s a mother already of course, although Bethany is older now. I think she’s taken to motherhood this time pretty well all things considered. It’s everything that’s happened before the baby arrived that is affecting her.
How does she behave at Harry’s Christening and what does Billy make of it?
It’s prior to the Christening that Billy starts to notice that Sarah’s not coping particularly well. She wants to get the baby Christened as quickly as possible because she’s afraid that Harry, without being Christened, may inherit some of his father’s traits. At the actual Christening she’s struggling and runs off at one point.
What does he think is causing her to behave in this way?
Billy assumes she’s been raped by Callum and that this baby is the product of that. He puts two and two together and comes up with five. She had told him previously that she’d been in an abusive relationship but she didn’t tell him it was with Callum, although he guessed that’s who it was.
What advice does he give her after she runs away from the ceremony?
He essentially calms her down. Billy’s quick to repeatedly reassure her that the sins of the father are not passed on to the child. He reassures her that Harry is an innocent little baby, an innocent soul. He’s a vicar though, not a therapist. He’s there to be an ear, not necessarily an adviser.
Are you excited to see where this storyline goes?
Yes I am. It’s great coming so soon after the Marta slavery storyline. From an acting perspective it’s interesting because with each script you learn a little bit more about your character and how he deals with things.
Have you enjoyed working with Tina O’Brien?
I’ve loved working with Tina, she’s an absolute delight.
Is it nice having the babies who play Harry on set?
Well, they do say never work with animals or children! Seriously though, the baby I had in the Christening scene was so good. I was putting the water on his head and he didn’t make a peep.
Did you enjoy leading an on-screen Christening?
It was interesting. Again I did a lot of research, as I would for a funeral or a wedding. It’s nice to see Billy doing his job rather than drinking a pint in the Rovers!
How do you find playing a vicar?
I did a lot of research for this job. I spoke to a lot of clergy, especially gay vicars, about the Church of England’s stance on LGBT clergy. I’m contacted quite a bit by gay vicars and it’s good to know that we’re doing something relevant. I’ve been playing Billy for 18 months and I’m only now beginning to understand where he’s coming from and what his past is.
How did you enjoy working with Cath Tyldesley?
I had the best time. We hadn’t worked that much together before but we got on really well. Cath and I came up with the hashtag ‘Beva’ – Billy and Eva! Because we were on location so much it was like being away on a school trip. On the way back from the location on the last day we both felt a bit sad. We had a lovely time doing it and I think the storyline hit all the Corrie notes – it was serious but with a touch of comedy.
Which character would you like Billy to have a storyline with?
Norris Cole – I would love Billy to have a really in-depth storyline with him!
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