Former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly stars in ITV's new horror series HIM - here she lifts the lid on the spooky show with a difference...
Katherine Kelly plays the mother of a teenager with superpowers in ITV's new drama HIM. We caught up with the former Coronation Street and Mr Selfridge star to talk about the show…
Tell us about your character, Hannah… "She has a bruised humanity about her. She's the mother of the central character, a 17-year-old boy known only as HIM. She fell madly in love with her first husband Ed and had HIM young. Ed had an affair when their son was about 12 and they got divorced, so it's safe to say her life hasn't turned out the way she imagined it at all."
When we rejoin the series, Hannah has remarried, how are things? "When you see her in this, it's worse than ever. She's in love with her new husband Victor, but his ex-wife has passed away so his 17-year-old daughter Faith has come to live with them. She has a six month-old baby to deal with as well, so there's a lot on her plate. She's happy enough. But she definitely has a sadness and something that's unfulfilled about her."
How does she get on with her son, HIM? "She thinks he's a stroppy teenager, who's gone very inward. They used to be very close, he stayed with her after the divorce and they had a lot of years together before Victor was on the scene. But he's become isolated of late and she thinks that with all the changes going on, he's got caught between two families. He's certainly not popular with his two step-parents so feels like he doesn't fit in anywhere."
What did you make of that family dynamic? "I liked the script because there are no baddies. Everyone's trying to do their best, but he's caught in the middle. The superpowers, that underlies all that stuff."
Tell us about his superpowers… "When he's angry or upset he can move things with his mind. He's always been able to do it, but Hannah just thinks he's throwing things about or knocking things over. She never suspects he has powers, because why would you if you don't see what's happened. I like the domestic side of it and that it's like a backdrop, it's more of a family drama than a supernatural one."
He's not the only person in his family who's experienced powers like this though is he? "HIM's grandfather, Ed’s father, had a similar gift. It was all put down to mental illness and he was sectioned a few times as he would have been back then. He killed himself in the end. Ed never believed him, so Hannah never did either. HIM’s grandmother knew it was true though and HIM goes to her when he needs someone to talk to. She knows he needs to control it, because it ended up killing her husband!"
What did you think when you heard your son's character didn't have a name? "I had to give him a name because in my own head she'd have given him a name! One of my pet hates with scripts is that people say each other's names too much. You rarely use people's names in real life. How many times do you say your flatmate or your husband's names? While in scripts we always use them, so I often take the names out and don't bother saying them."
Surely his mum uses his name? "That's just it, she doesn’t, which is more normal than people think. I’ve picked a name for him in my head but I'm not telling!"
Newcomer Ffion Whitehead plays HIM - how is he doing on his first job? "He’s doing brilliantly, leading us all and taking it in his stride. I wouldn't have had the confidence really to do what he's done with it at that age. Taking on a lead role at 17, I needed to go to drama school and train and do some theatre. Ffion comes from a family of artists and musicians, so he's definitely on it."
Things change when Victor’s 17-year-old daughter, Faith, comes to live with them… "Hannah's seen the attraction between the two of them, but she has a six-month-old baby keeping her awake at night, so she has other things to think about. They're the same age, brother and sister – but not really because they're not related and they've never met before. It's not really a surprise, it's just an inevitability, which she has to try and nip in the bud if she can."
What are you up to next? "I'm having a break! I haven't stopped since I came back from maternity leave and everything came out at once earlier this year, which is what always happens! I'll be really happy to give people a rest from me!"
HIM starts on Wednesday October 19 at 9pm on ITV.
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