Nick Tilsley will find himself in grave danger on a trip to the seaside in next week’s Coronation Street when he gets stuck in treacherous quicksand following a bust-up with Leanne. When it’s revealed that Nick could have cleared Peter’s name weeks ago in the wake of the attack on Ken, Leanne ends their relationship and the Bistro owner storms off. But pretty soon, he’s got himself in even deeper trouble…
With Ben Price set to leave Corrie at the climax to this dramatic storyline, viewers will no doubt be on tenterhooks as they wait to find out whether Nick will come to a tragic end. Here’s actor Ben Price on what to expect from his character’s final week on the Street:
So, Ben, can you tell us a little about your decision to leave? The decision to go is based on wanting to spend more time with my family. I live a couple of hundred miles away from Manchester and I was away most weeks and have been for many years now, so it was time. Of course, I agonised over it as I’ve had the best time of my career here. I’ve had the best storylines and worked with the best family, so it was tough to decide to leave all that behind.
As it got closer, did you wonder if it was the right decision? No, not at all, because I was making it for the sake of my children. I need to go and see them more. I’m sure people can see that is not really a decision, that is a life choice. I feel like I’ve done everything with Nick that I could do, I’ve explored every part of him and done a 1000 episodes in seven years. That’s a lot of big stories.
Can you tell us your highlights of those seven years? My highlight was my first Christmas at the Platts with Helen [Worth], Sue [Nicholls] and Jack [P Shepherd] and I realised I was part of that family. I came in with Michelle Keegan, which was a great start! I soon recognised the importance of family on the street and if you come in as part of the Barlows or the Websters or the Platts you have a unit to work with already.
My other highlights are getting to work with Jane Danson, opening the Joinery which became the Bistro, then the live episode. It was massive, the tram coming into the Bistro Nick being trapped under the rubble with Ashley and Peter. They were the real highs for me and also sleeping with Kylie and then it coming out with David and it all unfolded from there. I have been very lucky to have that working relationship with Jane and also Chris Gascoyne because once that happened there were endless story opportunities.
How did you feel about your departure storyline when you were told that it involved being stuck in quicksand? I was a bit surprised and wanted to know how it tied into everything that has been happening to Nick. But it does tie in brilliantly. Psychologically, Nick is losing his perspective over the whole situation with Steve and Oli. It all boils down to him wanting his own child and now he finds himself having to deal with two fathers to two sons that he is helping to bring up. He isn’t happy with that situation and can’t deal with it.
Tell us a bit about the day out at the seaside… It’s a very weird situation. Nick suggests it because he’s still trying to make it work – he’s hoping that Steve or Peter will mess up on that day, that people will see Peter for what he is and that he’ll expose the two men in some way. But he only ends up exposing his own personality flaws and issues. So he ends up storming off after a very nasty conversation with Steve and Peter.
Is he planning to try and kill himself? No, not at all. He’s smart enough to know that he’s bashed his head against the wall a long time and he knows he’s never going to be happy with Leanne because there’s too much else going on. So he takes himself away from the situation, but hasn’t bargained for the tide or the quicksand. He isn’t planning to do a Reggie Perrin – he’s just stormed off onto a very dangerous part of the beach without realising.
What was it like to film? It was very good because it was tough and cold and I was in that place – I wasn’t in a tank in a studio. We had the coastguard there and they were amazing. I felt perfectly safe, but I was actually in the water and I knew I didn’t have very long to do the scenes, so we had to get it right.
What you’re looking for in any given situation is that the audience believe that you are really in that place. You want them to think, ‘that looks awful’ and actually it was quite awful because you put yourself in the position of someone who is really stuck ,which is quite frightening. Although on the day there was a bank of about 100 people with camera phones, who all gave me a round of applause!
It was a different exit storyline – what really pains him deep down is that Steve and Peter aren’t as nasty as Nick can be. They try to come to his rescue – would he do the same if the boot was on the other foot? When it really comes to it, when you really push him he has the propensity to be more cutting and more hurtful and that is to his detriment. Steve and Peter are nice blokes and Nick is a bit more calculating.
Will you miss Nick? I think if I hadn’t done as much as I have then I would miss him. But in truth I feel like I have really examined that character and I have done everything I can. I’ve gone from very high to very low and all in between and actually I feel like I have come to the natural end. It’s been amazing. But I will miss the breakfasts at the Platts all of them sitting round that table and doing those fantastic family scenes.
Are you taking anything with you? I’d like Nick’s Crombie coat if they will let me – that is the only thing I want to take.
What are you looking forward to the most? Initially – getting in my car and driving down the motorway to see my children and knowing that I’m not coming back the other way two days later. My son said, “is that it, Dad? Will you have finished work for good?” I explained that I will be working again, I hope! I haven’t retired and I have lots of things I still want to do.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.