On Wednesday night, fans of Coronation Street watched as Callum attacked Sarah at No 8 before Kylie dealt him a blow to the head with a wrench, killing him instantly. Kylie and David then hid Callum’s body in the garage manhole. Following is exit from ITV soap, actor Sean Ward talks about going LIVE and life after Callum...
How close to the edge was Callum on the week leading up to the events of the live episode?
"In the run up to the live ep, Callum had caused so many problems for so many people and had a lot of people after him. Deep down I think he knew that everything could collapse around him. He was under immense pressure from Denton for the money he owed so, in turn, Callum was passing that pressure down onto the Platts. Cracks were definitely starting to show and he was trying to keep his head above the water. The Platts were the only people he thought he could intimidate quickly enough into getting him the money he needed."
What happened during the live was a huge shock. Did Callum ever think the Platts would manage to outdo him and that Callum would get his comeuppance?
"No, that was the furthest thing from his mind. Callum always thought he would have the upper hand, but during his last few weeks he really showed his true colours and his actions proved how much of a coward he really was. He seemed to have this obsession with manipulating women, which was just him being cowardly. But no, he never, ever imagined they might win the fight because of the amount of fear he'd put in them all over the past year. Callum always thought he would have them in the palm of his hand - how wrong he was!"
Let’s talk now about the day you found out about how this storyline was going to pan out. How did you react when you heard Callum was going to be killed?
"When I got called up to a meeting with Stuart Blackburn, the producer, I thought I was in trouble! Stuart looked at me and said: ‘I’m going to tell you straight away – I’m going to kill him!’ I was excited. Just before the meeting I had started to think they were going to try and turn Callum good, and I really didn’t want that because he’s not got it in him to be good! I knew that, realistically, if he continued being as bad as he was at the time, then eventually he would have to go. I was realistic about it. That excites me as an actor, and it’s important to stay true to the character."
How did you feel about it in the run-up to the live and now?
"It's bitter sweet. I'm going to be gutted to leave Corrie, but at the same time it's completely right for the character and as an actor that's the goal. That's what makes me happy."
And how were you feeling as you were finally gearing up to go LIVE?
“I told myself that it wasn't going to be live and that it wasn't happening. Then I told myself that once we started the actual live, I would tell myself that it was just another rehearsal. I completely compartmentalised the whole thing."
How did you prepare for the live to relax?
“Music, definitely. There are a couple of songs I listened to to relax me and calm my nerves."
Do you think viewers will be shocked by this twist?!
"I hope it was a big shock, I really do. You want viewers to have a reaction to it, so I hope they were shocked and that it was unexpected. Some people might be gutted to see the end of him but some might be glad to see the back of him and both are positive reactions to the character - it means he’s made a mark. It’s exciting for everyone involved - so we have all been excited and nervous about how everyone will react on the night."
Were you worried about doing the choreographed fight scenes during a live episode?
"Definitely, but we had a fight arranger to help us called Kate Waters who was phenomenal. We wanted it to look messy and quite animalistic. Even though it had to be choreographed, it was choreographed mess and we wanted to keep that element. Even though I knew I might have only had two steps to do a certain move for example, I wanted it to look like a proper scrap - animalistic and a fight for life, which is what it was."
Well, it was certainly animalistic…
"I know! We did Coronation Street's first ever bite. It was a slap originally, but we changed it to a bite. It was more realistic - it was Sarah’s sheer desperation to get away from Callum, it was feral and desperate. Sarah just wanted to get away from him and biting him was something she did in that moment of sheer panic."
How did you feel about filming those scenes with Tina O’Brien, who play Sarah?
"It was amazing to do as an actor, but as a human it was quite scary. I’ve been brought up by two women - my mum and my sister - so to then have to act this out, practically beating another woman up, goes against my nature. But it's exactly what Callum would do and it was so important to make it look realistic."
And then you had to play dead?! How was that?
“So much fun! At the point where Callum is killed, his adrenaline and therefore my adrenaline was so high - he's at his angriest point. So to then go from that to playing dead in the click of a finger was somewhat difficult! It was the biggest challenge. But then it goes to ad break, which gives me a couple of minutes to calm down - so I told everyone in that time not to talk to me or move me - I needed to stay quiet!"
How hard was it to keep this storyline secret?
“For me it was quite easy - I didn’t tell anyone apart from my immediate family, even though I had known a while that I would be leaving, I decided not to audition for other parts whilst still here as I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to risk anybody knowing that I was leaving in case this led to people guessing Callum’s fate! It also means I can now go into auditions as me, as a blank canvas, without Callum still knocking around!”
How did it feel being so central to the show for the entire year you were on it?
"I never ever expected it. It’s been the craziest year of my life and also the best year of my life... I’ve learnt the most I’ve ever learnt and I’ve had to grow up a lot. I’ve waited a long time for this so, in a way, I was ready for it, but in the same breath nothing can prepare you for being on Coronation Street and for playing the bad boy. To then be part of the live episode and go out in this way feels like I’m a part of making history, which is amazing and such an honour."
Sum up your Corrie experience in a few words…
“Utterly life changing. Educational, inspirational...and menacing!”
What’s the dream post-Corrie?
“I would just love to continue acting and to continue to grow as a person as well as an actor. I’ve grown so much over this past year at Corrie, and long may that continue. If I can carry on acting then I’ll be a very happy man.”
Any final words?
“Thank you so much to Coronation Street for the opportunity they’ve given me to play Callum for this past year, and also thank you to ITV for allowing me to be part of their 60th Birthday. ITV gave me my very first TV job years ago, Ireland at War, so it's been amazing to work for them again on such a massive show."
The aftermath of Coronation Street Live can be seen on Friday September 25 at 7.30pm on ITV.
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