Pat Phelan is heading back Coronation Street and its residents should be on their guard. Tonight’s episode saw the Corrie killer at his hideaway in Wales watching the TV with contempt as Eileen made an impassioned plea for Anna’s release. Opting then to check out of the B&B, Phelan obviously has revenge in mind. So is Eileen now in big danger?
“Everyone should be watching out. Even those you might not expect,” says actor Connor McIntyre. “The less Phelan has to lose, the more dangerous he is. He now feels that everyone has betrayed him – even Eileen. So you have to assume that he’s going to go back and ‘correct’ something. That’s how he sees it with his warped sense of morality.”
As and when Phelan will resurface on the cobbles remains to be seen, but Coronation Street has a habit of keeping fans on their toes where Phelan is concerned. Episodes shown over Easter saw the psychopath apparently plunge to his death during a coastal-set showdown with wife Eileen, only to then resurface a few days later. So was McIntyre pleased that Corrie pulled off the trick of miraculously resurrecting his character?
“It was a fantastic reaction from the viewers. A really strong response. And I was surprised that so much of it was positive. Lots of people were saying, ‘I’m glad he’s not dead because we need a bigger comeuppance for him. He needs to face justice’. All of the analogies that people drew with the Easter weekend were very amusing too.”
There’s certainly no denying that the machinations of Phelan have galvanised Corrie viewers. On the one hand, there are the Phelan devotees who fill Twitter with videos and memes (“I’m staggered by the level of creativity. It’s brilliant,” says McIntyre). But then there are others who have been left cold by the dark tone of the plotline: 541 viewers registering concern with Ofcom about intense scenes of murder.
The broadcasting regulator ultimately decided that Coronation Street was not in breach when it broadcast Phelan’s brutal dispatching of Andy Carver and Vinny Ashford, but what did McIntyre himself make of the controversy?
“I absolutely respect people’s opinions about it being too dark,” he says. “We’ve all got aesthetic tastes. Comments are always justified – if that’s how people feel about it. But my obligation is to serve the scripts as well I can. Personally, I think [producer] Kate Oates has done a brilliant job – I’m a huge fan. The balance is about right – it’s not all sensationalist, Phelan’s story is just one component of the show.”
McIntyre’s own efforts, though, have earned him a place on the British Soap Awards longlist for Best Actor (“I’m absolutely delighted,” he says). But those who’ve been following each twist and turn of the plotline should perhaps be enjoying Phelan’s malevolence while they still can – because it seems as though justice will soon be meted out:
“Soap law decrees that he gets his comeuppance – and the audience deserves that because they’ve been very patient. Good should triumph. And you’re going to love how it all plays out.”
Sounds like our Corrie favourites should be double and triple checking the locks of their doors: something very wicked is coming Weatherfield’s way…
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on Coronation Street below