Coronation Street cop Neil Clifton fears his web of abuse is going to cost him his freedom next week and it’s all down to Craig Tinker.
Bethany Platt, who was manipulated into having sex with Neil, recently admitted the police officer’s involvement in the sex ring to her close friend Craig Tinker.
And next week Craig is going to convince her to report Neil to the police while also taking steps to get the evidence investigators need to punish his colleague.
Neil angrily bundles Craig into his car asserting that they need a little chat after finding out what he’s done.
Secretly activating the record function on his phone, Craig goads Neil into revealing his involvement in the crime and later officers arrive at the Platt house to reveal they have enough evidence to press charges.
Here Ben Cartwright, who plays Neil, says it’s right that Neil face justice for what he’s done and reveals his initial concern about playing such a sinister role.
How did you feel when you got the part?
Being married with a young family, my initial concern was over my personal welfare but I am incredibly grateful that I did take the role because the response has been really positive from people that have recognised me playing a character and appreciating how amazing the storyline has been, how brilliantly it has been handled, how convincing it has been and what an important story it is to bring to everyone’s attention. So from initially having my own personal reservations it has actually been the polar opposite. It serves the survivors of this situation a disservice if you don’t do it properly so I felt duty-bound to do it and to the best of my ability.
Why is it important for soaps to tackle subjects like this one?
It’s to bring it to people’s attention and it’s also to change people’s perception of who the perpetrators are. The casting of Chris Harper as Nathan has been really good – a handsome chap that comes across as extremely charismatic but he also has an element about him that puts your feelers up that something is not quite right. It’s important to show that it’s not just internet weirdos who hide behind a computer with their greasy hair and long fingernails and it’s important to show that the character of Bethany is not a fool, she’s not a gullible young girl but this has happened to her when she is an intelligent, free spirted teeneager. Actually these people are very manipulative and very clever and with anything in terms of abuse, it brings it into people’s’ consciousness.
When Neil bundles Craig into the car, how scared is he that Craig will blow the whole thing?
It’s becoming increasingly more evident to Neil that Craig is not going to let it go. For the character of Neil, because he is in a position of authority and he is always on the front foot and always in control, it is unnerving that there is a feeling he gets from Craig of persistence and that his world could come tumbling around so definitely he has gone into panic mode at that point.
Do you think up until this point that Neil thought he would never get caught?
Neil compartmentalised things. He thinks, “This is my job, this is what I do, I am very good at it,” and that he has a dark hobby on the side that is no one’s business. Somehow along the line, he has justified this to himself. Craig has talked about how great his mentor Neil is and that he loves working with him and that is important to show. He probably is a very good policeman and the whole point of this storyline is that the characters are layered and believable.
How does Neil feel when he is called to see the Chief Inspector after Craig has told them everything?
That scene in particular, from a human point of view filming it, was horrible to walk into a room and see six or seven people giving you daggers and shaking their heads and looking at you in disgust. It’s clear at that moment, for Neil it’s game over.
How important do you think it is for Coronation Street to show justice being served?
I don’t think they have any other option really to show that these guys get their comeuppance. There is a duty of care in the decision making. Coronation Street have taken their time about it, this has been rumbling since Christmas time and that is important because it shows the reality of slowly getting under someone’s skin, manipulating them and taking them away from friends and family.
What has it been like working at Coronation street?
It’s been great; there’s a really lovely, friendly atmosphere. Everyone across the board, from the legends that have been there for years to the crew, made a beeline to come and introduce themselves to me and make sure I was settled. So welcoming.
What has it been like working with Chris Harper and Lucy Fallon?
Brilliant, couldn’t have asked for anything more. I hit it off with Chris almost instantly as we’ve got mutual friends. Lucy is such a natural and wears her heart on her sleeve in the way she acts which is instantly believable. They have both been amazing. On set, in between takes, I made sure Lucy and I got to know each other, that we had a laugh and a joke to make sure she was comfortable. We didn’t over-do certain scenes and I felt it was just as much my responsibility to make sure Lucy was cool with things as to make a believable performance.