Coronation Street fans have recently tuned in to watch the climax of Sinead’s cancer storyline which has played out over the past year after Sinead Osbourne (Katie McGlynn) was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Sinead discovered she had the illness whilst she was pregnant and decided to suspend her treatment to give birth to her son Bertie, however; the cancer later returned and had spread to her lymph nodes and liver.
We spoke exclusively to Rob Mallard who plays Sinead’s on-screen husband Daniel Osbourne about the importance of character portrayal and getting storylines correct on screen.
You’ve had some hard-hitting storylines, for example Sinead’s cancer storyline and a drug overdose storyline, how important is it to get this correct on screen?
Ultimately you can only do your best to get across the feelings and sense of any situation, however, you do feel the pressure more when portraying something that a sizeable minority of people are experiencing for real. I’m only pretending so I try my best to be as authentic to the situation as possible, then trust that feeling.
How do you gain an understanding of what it is really like for someone who is going through what you have to portray?
I talk to people who have direct experience with the subject matter. The internet is a brilliant resource, but it is no substitute for experience.
How do you ensure that you get it correct on screen, what kind of work goes into it?
Again, by meeting with people who know what they are talking about. I like to do a lot of background research so that I have the confidence in what I am doing. A solid foundation will allow you to be less risk-averse and hopefully more engaged in who you are portraying.
Who do you work alongside to make sure that the portrayal of the character comes off correctly?
I am a patron of the charity ‘Mummy’s Star’ alongside Katie McGlynn. The founder Pete Wallroth has been incredibly candid about the experience he and his now sadly deceased wife went through. He has allowed us into the nitty and less flattering side of a relationship dealing with a cancer diagnosis and this inside knowledge has enabled us to be very clear in our storytelling.
If you have been affected by #Sinead and #Daniel's story in @itvcorrie and need support with #cancer and #pregnancy. Please get in touch, we're here to help and support you, your partner and wider family. https://t.co/3sfLp4ALwj #mummysstar #cancer #support Image courtesy of ITV. pic.twitter.com/nwrFBciHfh
— Mummy's Star (@MummysStar) November 6, 2019
What are the hardest things about making sure the character is a true reflection of a real person?
It is important to show character development, show that they have flaws and that they are on a learning curve. People live day to day fighting with various personal demons that they either beat back or get beaten by and as a result, are slightly changed at the end of each day. That’s hard, but worthwhile.
Have you ever had any reaction off the viewers for the storylines you have done? If so what?
I wasn’t very popular when I tried to kill Ken Barlow and some people on the street liked to let me know that. I have had a very pleasant experience with viewers regarding storylines. It continues to surprise me how much of an impact shows like Coronation Street have on people. It’s a strange thing to be in peoples living rooms six times a week, you can’t help be familiar to people and that can be a nice thing or sometimes awkward if they can’t separate you, the actor, from the character they know. Odd job but nice work if you can get it.
Coronation Street airs Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s on ITV.