Corrie’s Todd and Billy adopt COVER stars
Daniel Brocklebank and Bruno Langley – better known as Corrie couple Billy and Todd – on making soap history as they become parents to schoolgirl summer
It’s a case of two men and a little lady in Coronation Street this week, when Billy and Todd become the legal guardians of Summer Spellman – the daughter of the vicar’s late ex-boyfriend, Drew. It’s a big commitment for the pair and a defining moment in Corrie history – the characters are the first samesex couple on the show to raise a child together.
Stars Daniel Brocklebank and Bruno Langley share their thoughts on the journey ahead, and reveal how talented youngster Matilda Freeman, who plays Summer, is keeping them on their toes…
How do Billy and Todd feel about looking after Summer? Daniel: I don’t think Billy is under any delusions that they’re adopting a grieving 12-year-old and, with his training, he’ll have had experience with things like that. I think he likes the idea of being a dad and having a family. Bruno: Todd can see that Summer has a spark. She’s quick and smart, and probably reminds him of himself a little. And when her homophobic nan, Geraldine, turned up and said: ‘You’re not going to raise this girl’, he wasn’t going to let her get one up on him!
Given that Summer is an adolescent, can you foresee plenty of drama ahead? Daniel: I can imagine Billy desperately trying to read the back of a Tampax box and working out how he’s going to have that conversation with her! But I suppose it’s like that for any parent – it’s all trial and error. Bruno: There’s a scene where Tracy says to Todd: ‘You’ve got no idea of what’s going to happen!’ But
I reckon there’s a lot of scope for comedy in that. Billy and Todd are the first samesex couple in Corrie to raise a child. How do you feel about that? Daniel: I’m thrilled, and to have this extra layer brought into Billy and Todd’s relationship is great. I would’ve loved to have been a dad, so if this is the closest I ever get to it, then that’s brilliant.
Bruno: It’s another bit of Corrie history. The show has been moving with the times since the very beginning, and it’s just reflecting what’s happening in real life.
Daniel, do you have any nieces, nephews or godchildren? And if so, how has that helped you with the role?
I have a niece who was born in March, a nephew who’s four, and three goddaughters. I get to fill them up with sugar and then give them back to their parents! I suppose it’s all about patience, love and understanding – and these are Christian values that Billy would be dishing out on a daily basis, along with the Coco Pops.
Bruno, as a father in real life to 10-year-old Freddie, what would your advice be to Todd? Probably to enjoy the small moments, as they grow up so fast.
How do you think the other residents will react to Billy and Todd being parents?
Daniel: Of course, there will be some ruffled feathers
– surely that’s the point, and I’m sure there’ll be many a whimsical quip coming out of Norris’s mouth! Bruno: I don’t think there are going to be any characters complaining. I can’t imagine a scene where someone’s disgusted with the fact that they’re raising a kid together.
Do you think the pressures of having a child might cause cracks in Billy and Todd’s relationship? Daniel: It will change the dynamic of their relationship, but could bring them closer together. I hope they’ll be able to cope with everything that’s thrown at them. Bruno: It really depends on what the writers want to explore. I know they have got plans to elaborate on
Billy’s back story.
Todd has a rather chequered past – Bruno, do you think that now he is a father, his dark days are over? The conundrum is that, in order to adopt Summer, Todd has rented a flat, but if he doesn’t have a good job, he can’t pay for it, and so he’s gone into business with Adam Barlow. I would imagine that there are going to be times when his morals will be called into
Do you think they will have different ideas on parenting? Daniel: I think they’re going to come at things from different angles. Todd is much more playful and mischievous than Billy, who tends to do things by the book; whereas Todd tends to fly by the seat of his pants a bit more.
Bruno: Yeah, I think Todd will be too lenient – just like me in real life!
What is it like to work with Matilda Freeman, who plays Summer? Daniel: I did screen tests with five different actresses and I knew immediately that she was the one. With a lot of child actors, you have to drive the scene yourself, but with Matilda you can throw stuff at her and she runs with it. She has settled in remarkably quickly. I had 20 years experience in the industry before I joined Corrie and I was completely petrified on my first day, but she was as cool as a cucumber. Bruno: When I first started working professionally at the age of 17, I was absolutely terrible, and nervous all the time. But Matilda just walked on set and did it. She said to the director during one scene: ‘Do you want me to cry on this take?’ And I looked at Dan and I was like: ‘Wow, she is good! This girl is really going to show us up!’
Now that Billy and Todd are parents, would you like them to seal the deal and get married? Daniel: I’d love them to get married, because I’m a hopeless romantic! I also think it would be an interesting issue to highlight with the Church of England, because, if a gay vicar got married, he’d get fired.
Bruno: That would be another bit of history for the show, so I assume that’s probably on the cards at some point in the future. Getting married abroad would be a good idea. How about the South of France?
Cruel summer: Granny Geraldine tries to halt Billy and Todd’s plans
Family ties: Bruno with his son, Freddie