Corrie star Ben Price on leaving his screen family to spend more time with his real one – and Nick Tilsley’s life-threatening trip to the seaside...
A day at the seaside for nick, leanne, Peter and Steve was never going to be without drama. inevitably a row breaks out and when nick storms off into a treacherous part of the beach, he finds himself up to his waist in quicksand. Read what star Ben Price has to say
Coronation Street holiday mon-fri / ITV / 9pm
It’s ta-ra to Nick Tilsley this week, but will the Bistro boss leave Corrie in a car or a coffin? The omens aren’t looking good when he’s sucked into some quicksand during a day out at the beach.
Off screen, actor Ben Price has decided to quit his role to spend more time with his fashion stylist wife, Alexandra, and their two children, Paloma, 10 and Max, 7.
We caught up with Ben, 45, to talk about his big decision and that perilous day by the sea…
Can you tell us about your decision to leave?
I live a couple of hundred miles from Manchester. I was away most weeks, and have been for years. I need to see my children more. Of course, I agonised over it, as
I’ve had the best time of my career at Coronation Street, but I feel like I have done everything with Nick that I could do. I’ve done a thousand episodes in eight years. That’s a lot of big stories!
What are your highlights?
The biggest was realising I was part of the Platt family, and having my first Christmas at the Platts with Helen Worth (Gail), Sue Nicholls (Audrey) and Jack Shepherd (David). And I came in with Michelle Keegan (Tina), which was a great start! My other highlights are working with Jane Danson (Leanne), opening The Joinery – which became the Bistro – the live episode, where I was trapped under the rubble, and Nick sleeping with Kylie. I love how it all unfolded when David found out.
What do you think defines Nick?
I realised very early on that the essential part of Nick Tilsley is a suit. As soon as I put it on, everyone on the street knew that Nick was the man who owned the business and wore the suit. That made him different from the other guys, and helped define the character. I used to love it when Peter was smoking a fag in his leather jacket outside the bookies, and Nick would walk down the street in his suit. That felt like Coronation Street for me.
How did you feel when you learnt that your exit storyline would involve being stuck in quicksand? I was a bit surprised, and wanted to know how it tied into everything that has been happening to Nick. It does tie in, brilliantly. Psychologically, Nick is losing his perspective over the situation with Steve and baby Oli. It all boils down to him wanting his own child and having to deal with two fathers to two sons that he is helping to bring up.
What was the quicksand stunt like to film?
It was good, because it was tough and cold, and I was in that place; I wasn’t in a tank in a studio. I felt perfectly safe but I was actually in the water. What you are looking for in any given situation is that the audience believe that you are really in that place, and you don’t have to fudge it too much. You want them to think ‘That looks awful!’ and actually it was, because you put yourself in the position of someone who is really stuck, which is quite frightening. Although, on the day, there was a bank of about 100 people with camera phones, who all gave me a round of applause!
Will you miss playing Nick?
I think if I hadn’t done as much as I had, then I would miss him – but in truth,
I feel like I have really examined
that character and I have done everything I can. I feel like I have come to the natural end and it’s time to say, ‘Thank you, that was amazing’. I’ll miss the breakfasts at the Platts – all of them sitting round that table and doing those fantastic family scenes.
are you taking any souvenirs from set with you?
I’d like Nick’s Crombie coat if they will let me have it – that’s the only thing I want to take.
What are you looking forward to the most after Corrie? Initially, getting in my car and driving down the motorway to see my children and knowing that I am not coming back the other way two days later. My son said to me recently, ‘Is that it dad? Will you have finished work for good?’ I explained that I will be working again, I hope! I have not retired and I have lots of things I still want to do.
On the day, there was a bank of about 100 people with camera phones, who all gave me a round of applause!
Beach boys: Leanne takes the men in her life on a day out Deep water: Nick panics when he gets stuck in the quicksand Too late? The lifeguard tries to save Nick