As Corrie super baddie Pat Phelan breathes his last, Connor McIntyre discusses final scenes, future plans and why it’s so good to play bad.
In tonight’s (Friday 1st June) episode Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) was about to walk down the aisle at the Bistro when Phelan burst into the eatery carrying an unconscious and bleeding Nicola Rubenstein (Nicola Thorp) who he’d just shot.
Ali Neeson (James Burrows) and Rana Nazir (Bhavna Limbachia) battled to save Nicola but with the pressure mounting for Phelan, he dragged Michelle into the kitchen, taking her hostage.
But in a dramatic twist of fate, Phelan found himself face to face with his long-time nemesis Anna Windass (Debbie Rush), who instinctively stabbed him in the chest. Caught in the crossfire, Michelle fell to the floor, shot and bleeding.
With his liberty and his life fading before his eyes, Phelan knew the game was up and in a final bid for control, he pulled the knife from his chest. Anna triumphantly stood over him and told him she had finally won.
The last time viewers saw Phelan was as he was zipped into a body bag.
It’s a fitting end to a formidable villain who viewers have loved to hate and hated to love in equal measure and Connor believes there was only one way for Phelan to go…
Did you think it was best for Phelan to die?
Yes. The viewers deserve that pay off because love him or hate him, we’ve taken them on a fine year odyssey and we’ve frustrated them, entertained them and delighted them in equal measure so it had to reach a conclusion. And I also feel it had to be conclusive because it had to square the circle in terms of the Anna story; she had to be involved to put those scales in balance. The next baddie, whoever that may be or whatever form that may take, needs to get on with their business instead of it being about whether Phelan is still around.
For you as an actor, was it nice to draw that line underneath Phelan?
The viewers and the story deserve the pay-off. And it’s also important to remember that whilst he does have a bit of a Phelan fan club he is a very dark piece of work so it’s been some journey but it has to be conclusive.
He keeps the control to the very end, were you pleased when you read how that final scene pans out?
Yes I was because that’s real spite. We see earlier that he has made his mind up that the game is up so he gives Anna a little snigger before his eyes go and really nobody has won. The snigger is not about anything other than him winning, going out on his terms to the very end.
Did he think that by doing that that she would then pay for killing him?
He knows because he has done it, that you don’t kill somebody and not pay for it. In his narcissism and his love for control, he knows that he has traumatised them all.
What was it like to film?
Great, it was filmed over two full weeks. Pat Phelan is at his most formidable when he is quiet but the physical stuff is part of him too, that’s the explosion with him that imminates from. Whitehaven was interesting because I am terrified of heights but I had worked with the crew before and had trust in them but I was hanging on the edge going, “I’m glad there’s a rescue boat down there.”
Going back to those final moments and the dark scenes like the scenes in the cellar where you become him, how do you unwind after those moments?
I’m just about to find out. Because it has been pretty consistent work, I haven’t been able to unplug him. You can’t go away too far but I am a great believer that it is in the writing; you know a Pat Phelan and that’s one of the attractions to the character.
Will you miss Pat Phelan?
I am never going to escape him, am I? And I am very happy about all of that. But miss playing him? Sure, he is a treat isn’t he and he offers up so many possibilities. But working in my studio, The Alamo, will help with that, I am sure. And I am signed up for the Manchester panto so me and Les Dennis will be playing the ugly sisters in Cinderella – what a beautiful counterpoint and the perfect antidote.
Coronation Street airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30 and 8.30pm on ITV, STV and UTV