Coronation Street actor Todd Boyce is stepping back into Stephen Reid’s shoes 26 years after he first played the part on the cobbles.
Todd played Audrey’s illegitimate son Stephen from 1996 to 1997, before later reprising the role in 2007.
And after admitting he was “living in fear” that they might replace him and find another actor to play Stephen, it’s no surprise to hear that Todd is thrilled to be back.
“I had a wonderful time last time so I was excited to come back,” says the 60 year old.
During his time in Weatherfield, businessman Stephen enjoyed his fair share of drama, from turning down the advances of Alma Haliwell (played by Amanda Barrie) to firing his niece Sarah Platt (played Tina O’Brien) from his buisness after she and Bethany ( then played by Emily Walton) moved to Italy with him.
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Audrey (played by Sue Nicholls) was forced to give her son up for adoption by her father after she gave birth to him when she just only 16 years old. Malcolm Reid (played by Shane Rimmer) then adopted Stephen and emigrated to Canada.
Since leaving Weatherfield again in 2007 Stephen has been busy running his business in Italy, but he is lured back to the cobbles after Sarah gets in touch with him to say they are worried about Audrey and her behaviour.
His mum has been drinking a little bit too much and she won’t listen to Gail (played by Helen Worth), who is Stephen’s half-sister, so the family ask him to step in and help.
Things then take a turn for the worse when Stephen arrives on the street from Milan and finds his mum barely conscious. As an ambulance arrives and Audrey is taken off to hopsital, Stephen tells the family he is furious with them all for failing to notice his mum was missing all night.
Here, Todd opens up about what lies ahead for him and the rest of the Platt family…
Can you tell us about how your return to Corrie came about?
I watched the show all the time I have ever since I was a kid in Australia, it was always on. Then I did it in 1996 and I’ve never stopped watching.
I think I was living in fear that they might replace me and get someone else to play Stephen if I was not available and they needed him to come back. Then in December, my agent said he got a call with an availability check for me to return and was I interested?
I said I definitely was and then in January I had a Zoom call with Iain Macleod who told me about his plans for the character and I knew it was something I wanted to do, no doubt about it at all, I had a wonderful time last time so I was excited to come back.
Stephen is often talked about by Sarah, or Nick or Audrey and I get friends saying to me, “You were mentioned again last night” so it felt right to be stepping into his shoes again.
Have you watched any of your old episodes to reacquaint yourself with the character?
Yes, someone told me that the old episodes with Todd and Alma were on at the moment so I tuned in immediately and I just loved it.
I watched myself through splayed fingers as I thought I might not have been that good, as I remembered that I felt nervous at the time but then I realised I look ok and it was because I was 26 years younger!
I had to then start thinking who I am now and how I have changed and who Stephen is now. We have all changed a lot, but then I got onto set and it fell into place, the accent came back, it is a little different to mine but it all just came back to me immediately.
What has Stephen been up to since we last saw him?
The beauty of his connections is that we have heard him mentioned and the viewers know he is a successful businessman, he has had companies in Canada and Milan and I have been told that he has been married in the meantime, so it will be interesting to see if she is still around.
So what was it like coming back and did it feel the same?
Obviously, it’s a different building. But once you are back working with the people that you know well it all feels very familiar. It is like meeting up with an old friend that you haven’t seen for a while and the years in between kind of disappear.
What is it like being back working with everyone?
It is absolutely wonderful. Everyone is older but the biggest change is Tina and Jack [P Shepherd, who plays David Platt]they were out and about partying, going down to London with all the other young ones back then and now they have children and are grown ups!
And doing scenes with Helen and Sue is making me feel very calm, it was a bit scary at first being back but once I started working with them all I felt calm.
I also met this Nick for the first time with Ben playing him. He’s wonderful, I am very lucky to be back working with such great people.
So tell us a little bit then about what initially brings him back…
Sarah gets in touch with him because they are worried about Audrey and her behaviour. She has been drinking a bit and won’t listen to Gail and they think Stephen might be able to help.
What is his relationship like with Audrey?
It is it close even though they live geographically far apart I think. They seem to just click instantly when they see each other. There’s nothing remotely awkward about it.
I think it’s very loving even though he wasn’t with her during his childhood. He’s quite angry with the rest of the family which is tricky as he hasn’t been there. He does say that he feels bad as he hasn’t been around so much.
There is a lovely scene we did sitting on a bench and I think that tenderness between them does come across. Sue reminds me so much of my own mother and she is such a brilliant actress but she doesn’t think she is.
We get on so well so it makes doing those scenes easy. It is interesting watching that dynamic between Stephen and the rest of the family.
What made you so interested in coming back?
I was interested to see Stephen at this age now and how he has changed and how he would be with the family. And what is interesting is that actually very little changes inside us.
And then it’s also intriguing because of the dynamic with the rest of the family because he very quickly becomes Audrey’s voice and he very quickly steps into that sort of man of the house role and he’s doing everyone a favor because he can. And he’s got the money.
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So after he has arrived we see he’s got a little bit of an eye for the ladies. Is he after romance?
First off quite quickly, there’s a bit of a sort of an attraction between him and Elaine. Historically he was a bit of a toyboy and I love the repetition of that, he seems to be attracted to ladies who are a little bit older than him, not as much older as in the past but he definitely isn’t after the younger women on the street.
What do you think’s behind that? Is he genuine?
I think he’s looking for some security. I know someone who lost his mum at a young age and he’s always dated older women. There’s something of a replacement possibly although he’s not lost his mum, Stephen has not had her around, so he has always been looking for something in the women he has dated.
What is it that makes him decide to stick around?
He is worried about his mum and once he is back he just realises, he’s got a lot of people here that he has been taking advantage of for so long so he thinks the time has come for him to do his bit.
I am excited to see people’s reaction and what they think of Stephen and whether they’re suspicious of what he’s up to. He has an eye for the ladies so that should be fun and there will be friction between him and the wider family, watch this space.
Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV.
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