Les Dennis talks about the impact Phelan's presence is having on Michael's life and what the future holds for the character he plays. Coronation Street can be seen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings on ITV.
Do Michael and Eileen have any idea what a creep Phelan is?
Eileen no, but Michael has an instinct about Phelan. He’s watching him all the time. He thinks he’s making a play for Eileen so he’s watching for that too. But Jason and Eileen can’t understand what he’s on about. Michael’s been in prison, he has an instinct for wrong ‘uns. He puts two and two together and he thinks that Phelan is bad through and through.
Why is Jason prepared to keep Phelan working for him?
Jason needs someone like his dad Tony in his life and he takes to Phelan totally but Michael is looking out for him.
What’s Michael’s biggest problem with Phelan?
He thinks he’s playing Eileen and Jason. He doesn’t trust him and he knows he’s going to make a play for Eileen.
Is he scared of him?
Michael does have some fear but he has a hard edge too that we don’t often see. There were times when he was ready to face up to Callum in the past so Michael can be fearless and when he sees injustice he will forget his fear.
What happens when Michael confronts him over the stolen tools?
Andy tells him he’s heard Phelan on the phone discussing some chisels and seemingly he’s going to sell them but Michael’s not going to have Jason made a fool of so that’s when he goes over to confront Phelan. He’s shouting to Phelan who is, ironically, singing along to the song Feelings on the radio and ignores him. Michael collapses with chest pains and falls down the stairs but does Phelan do anything to help? Not until Jason arrives and an ambulance is called.
How does he feel when he comes round in hospital to see Phelan there?
He’s not too happy, and mentions the chisels again but Phelan is crafty and has an answer ready.
What’s it like for Michael when Eileen fails to see Phelan’s true colours?
Phelan is so devious and plausible that it’s not surprising Eileen can’t see it but lying there in his hospital bed he feels helpless to do anything, he feels emasculated.
Why can’t he make her see sense?
It’s not just Eileen, nobody will believe him, not Jason and even Andy, who told him about the chisels starts to doubt it and thinks maybe he heard the wrong thing.
Why does he shake hands with Phelan?
He does so because he knows if he doesn’t he’s on a sticky wicket with Eileen.
Is Gail a better confidante for him?
He goes to her in times of need and, weirdly, Gail loves him so much she’s giving him relationship advice. Maybe she’s playing the long game.
How does Phelan react to Michael’s new threat?
There’s a lovely scene where Phelan needles him again on the street. Michael warns him to stay away from Eileen and Jason and Phelan laughs off the threat. Michael wavers, he’s not sure he can take on this man after all.
Tell us what happens when he tries to spy on Phelan?
Michael hears from Andy that Phelan is giving Eileen a lift in the van and Michael heads off on his crutches to find out what’s going on. He’s on a mission. He gets into the back of the van, complete with crutches... and Eileen finds him there.
Eileen’s furious - where does Michael go from here?
She’s very cross, she tells Michael it’s over and once again Phelan seems to be the saint here and Michael is the idiot.
Can he cope without Eileen? Does he love her?
There was a point a little while ago when he said to Lloyd: ‘Do you ever think you’re with the wrong woman but for the right reasons?’. He can cope without her but at the moment he doesn’t want to.
Would he ever go back to Gail?
I think Michael found himself in this situation where there’s such a web of lies Gail’s told him about Gavin and Andy that he can’t forgive her. He does still love her however so who knows?
How would he feel to know Phelan makes a move on Eileen?
He’d be absolutely gutted. He kind of knows it’s coming though.
What advice would you give him were he your friend?
I would say for him to fight for what he wants but the problem is Michael doesn’t know whether he wants Gail or Eileen.
Who do you think he should be with - Gail or Eileen?
From Les’s point of view it’s great fun working with them both. But for Michael, he needs someone who is a little more settled and nurturing than Eileen. Eileen doesn’t nurture him but they have that kind of dynamic where they shout at each other and it’s exciting. With Gail he’s totally looked after and with his condition that’s maybe what he needs.
Can Michael ever get one up on Phelan?
I don’t know. Not at the moment it seems. I’m going off to do a play soon and we’ve joked that maybe Michael could come back trained as a Ninja!
What’s the best thing about being at Corrie for you?
I just absolutely love being in the show. I’ve watched it since I was a kid, I saw the first episode. I still pinch myself when I drive through that gate and I still count my blessings. When you’re a fan of something and then you get to be in it, it’s not work.