It’s fair to say David Platt has had a pretty busy 12 months, so we weren’t surprised to see ‘Coronation Street’ mainstay Jack P Shepherd on the shortlist for this year’s British Soap Awards’ Best Actor prize.
When the ceremony takes place next month, the actor is going head to head with stars from rival shows ‘Emmerdale’ and ‘Hollyoaks’, and ahead of the big day, HuffPost UK caught up with Jack to find out how he rates his chances.
During our chat, the actor - who has been in ‘Corrie’ for an impressive 17 years - also discussed the ongoing Bethany Platt grooming storyline, and surprised us with his somewhat unexpected reality television ambitions.
Here’s what he had to say…
There’s stiff competition in the Best Actor category this year but could you win it? And is it about time you did?
It is about time… but I don’t think it’s going to be my year because there’s a one Mr [Danny] Miller in my category. I’ll just sit there and clap through gritted teeth.
You do strike us as someone who is quite competitive and open about wanting to win...
That’s what it’s about! If you’re nominated you don’t go, ‘ah, we’ve all been great’. No, it’s, ‘I’ve been better’. I don’t think I will [win] though, that’s the honest thing.
The [revenge plot] storyline was too long ago and I think you have to be right at the forefront of people’s memories to win anything.
With that in mind, what could help you get the edge over Danny in the next 12 months?
It can’t happen now, it has to happen a week before the Soap Awards, that’s when you get the votes. It’s the same with the Oscars really, all the big films come out just when they’re about to be on.
One big reason for your nomination is the October drama, do you prefer playing David when he’s being an evil villain?
No… I don’t know. I like all sides to him but I don’t like to do one side for too long because you get bored then. That’s why I’m lucky, he does have lots of sides to him.
He can be funny too, but then you can’t just always be funny, you don’t get the storylines then. So then you have to be serious and that’s what gets you the storylines, but then the evil thing, I find that a bit tedious really.
Every director tries to get you to pull the ‘Evil David Look’ because they want it in their block [of episodes], and it becomes frustrating because you say, ‘well I know you want it in your episodes and it will look great, but I’ve done it in loads of episodes before yours, and I’ve got another 15 where it’s the same look so I’m trying to mix it up and do something else.’ So that’s why I tend not to like being evil for too long.
Have you ever asked the soap’s bosses and writers for things to change?
No. I’ve always thought it’s their job to come up with the stories and it’s my job to interpret it and play them however best I can, and make them as real as possible, so that I believe them and the audience believe them - and that’s my job as an actor really. I don’t tell them what to do with my character.
At the moment, ‘Corrie’ has the Bethany Platt grooming storyline. Is David going to be involved in the fallout when that kicks off?
Yes. I think the way he’s involved is obvious. He finds out that something has been going on with Bethany... and he acts in a way that David sometimes does.
That storyline has been nominated for an award of its own but some critics have said that it’s made for uncomfortable viewing. Do you think it’s important that soaps tackle storylines like this, even though they’re difficult to watch?
Well yes, that’s the idea of the storyline. If a girl is getting groomed by a man, it’s not going to be ‘Mary Poppins’, is it?
The whole thing is going to be uncomfortable to watch, and sometimes those things are important because if you put it on national television and someone says, ‘oh mum, that kind of thing has happened to me’, then great.
You’ve struck up conversation and you might save someone. So yeah, I think it’s important.
Lucy Fallon, who plays Bethany, and Kym Marsh (Michelle Connor) are nominated for Best Actress - will one of them take that award home?
I don’t know. I think they’ve got a very good chance, they’ve both been very good. Lucy’s very current as well, her storyline is on screen at the minute so she might get it. But then Kym deserves it as well, obviously because her storyline, with Michelle losing the baby, was heartbreaking.
If either of them can beat Lacey [Turner] then great, but it’s tough competition.
And what about the big one: the Best Soap accolade?
‘Emmerdale’ has been good… I’d probably say ‘Emmerdale’, I think they might do it.
Why not ‘Corrie’?
I don’t know, I don’t go off my heart, I go off my mind and what I think will actually happen. And that’s what I foresee happening.
Another recent storyline we enjoyed saw Maria Connor and David pretending to be together and many fans have since called for them to actually hook up. Samia Longchambon was recently on ‘This Morning’ and said she wants it happen but it would be “weird” kissing you….
[laughs] WHY is it “weird” kissing me?! Is it because she’s madly in love with me, is that why?!
The official line was that it was “weird” because you’ve known each other for so long…
No way! It’s because she’s in love with me and she doesn’t want her true emotions to come out in the take, that’s what it is. [laughs]
I have heard a lot of that, though, the Maria and David thing. But then me and Sam, our characters, have really bad track records. Because everyone Maria has got with has died… And everyone I’ve got with, has died. So if we both get together it will be a ‘Romeo And Juliet’ moment and we’ll both die.
You’ve been in ‘Corrie’ for a long time, have you ever been tempted by something a little different - maybe reality television?
Yes. Let me have a think… I think I would like to go on ‘Ex On The Beach’. I’ve got numerous ex-girlfriends and I think it would be a good opportunity to see them again and see if anything happens.
We thought you might say something like ‘I’m A Celebrity’?
No, I’ve always said this, I think I’d be alright at the Bushtucker Trials but I wouldn’t actually. Any animals, I’d be fine - put me in a coffin with rats or snakes or whatever it is, spiders. But it’s the eating, I couldn’t eat a pig’s dick, or anything like that.
I don’t know why you would put that in your mouth. When they say, ‘oh it’s for the team, please do this trial!’, I’d say, ‘no, sorry. That’s not happening’. I would rather go back to camp with no stars than with that in my mouth.
Also I’d say something insincere or make a job to someone and when I came out, I’d have lost my job. I wouldn’t have a job to go back to, I’d have made a joke about somebody in the jungle or something.
Fans love that you’re outspoken, but has that ever got you in trouble?
Yeah! That’s the whole point about not going on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, where I’d have to be myself! I can just carry on [with ‘Corrie’], playing someone who isn’t really me and then no-one knows what I’m thinking. [laughs]
‘Ex On The Beach’ would ruin that though?
This is true, so it could jump up to bite me in the bum, but I think it’s something I’m willing to risk.
Jack is nominated for the Best Actor accolade at the 2017 British Soap Awards. The ceremony takes place on Saturday 4 June and you can vote for him here.