Coronation Street is telling its very own Cinderella story at the moment thanks to the burgeoning romance between backstreet heroine Gemma and Newton & Ridley heir Henry. The man himself turns up at the Rovers tonight with flowers for Gemma, but what will she make of his advances? Here, actor George Banks, who plays Henry, reveals all about this very Corrie love story:
So, Henry is very different to Gemma – what is it that he likes about her?
He likes the fact that she’s quite uncompromising and challenging and doesn’t really put up with any nonsense from him. Because he’s been so privileged and has always had things given to him, the idea of having to actually work hard for something is new. He finds her fascinating too because he’s never really known anyone like her.
What happens when he turns up to the Rovers with flowers?
It’s quite a grand gesture and he’s perhaps gone a touch overboard with the flowers! He’s doing everything he can to win her over and gain her affection. On the day of shooting the scene I was with Barbara Knox,who plays Rita, so that was a very surreal experience, being sat with an icon of the soap and chatting to her about the character. I know that Henry’s father and grandfather were on the show, so it’s been interesting to delve into that part of Coronation Street and also put my own take on it.
Tell us what happens when Henry then takes Gemma to the Bistro…
It’s their first proper date and it’s interesting to get to see that. What Henry enjoys about Gemma is the fact that, because he’s had to learn what to talk about and be quite guarded thanks to his upbringing, he finally has someone who he can have an honest and open conversation with.
What do you think Henry’s family would make of Gemma?
I don’t think they’d approve in any way! I wonder if Henry might enjoy that. We all know that soap couples don’t always live happily ever after, but it’s a wonderful dynamic. You know they’re from different worlds and you know it’s going to cause problems, but actually, when you’re seeing these dates, you see two people who want to invest in this connection that they feel. So that’s going to be a really good thing for them to explore – if they get the chance to.
How did you feel when you were told you had a part in Coronation Street?
I couldn’t believe it! I found out I had an audition on the Monday and then I came up on the Wednesday. I hadn’t heard by the weekend, so I thought I hadn’t got it, but my agent called me very early in the morning telling me I got the part. I told my wife not to tell anyone else – I really wanted to keep it a secret and try and watch the episode with my family, but I thought better of it and let the cat out of the bag.
Have you done any TV before?
I left drama school in 2009 and I’ve done lots of theatre and plays that I’ve really loved and enjoyed. But doing TV was the scary new thing that I hadn’t done properly before. My first scene was with Malcolm Hebden [Norris] in the Kabin and he was very funny – he knew I was nervous but he was wonderful. Everyone here is so lovely to work with and I just settled right in.
What do you think the reaction will be to Henry?
The audience is quite protective of Gemma, so they’ll want him to be a good match for her because she’s been very unlucky in love and in life. I think they will be watching very closely to see if he’s a suitable match for her. It’s quite nerve-wracking because people love Gemma.
Do you think that Henry could take the place of Peter Andre in Gemma’s heart?
He could be her mysterious boy! Unfortunately, I don’t have the 1990s washboard abs of Peter Andre. But only time will tell – maybe he’ll launch into some pop songs to seal the deal!
What’s the best thing about working with Dolly?
She’s so funny and she’s really lovely. Everybody loves working with her and I couldn’t have asked for somebody better to make me feel comfortable. She’s really helped me settle in.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on Coronation Street below