Leon Ockenden reveals more about new character Will on Coronation Street. The show can be seen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings on itv.
Will has been growing close to Michelle. Tell us a bit more about him.
Will and Michelle went out together when they were in high school. It’s hinted that Will used to be a bit of a scally but he’s on the straight and narrow now. He’s training to be an architect and he’s supposed to be getting married.
How did Will feel when he saw Michelle again after so long?
She’s the first person he was ever in love with and you never forget that person, they always have a spot in your heart. And because he wasn’t expecting to see her at all, he definitely gets a rush of blood when he walks into the pub and discovers she’s the wedding planner.
Is there more attraction from his side than hers initially?
Will gets definite feelings for Michelle and he makes that clear to her. There’s this element of fate which throws them back together into each other’s lives. Michelle doesn’t feel it immediately as she is so preoccupied with Steve being away.
He’s getting married but is he happy with fiancee Saskia?
I think Saskia is more of a mother figure for him and he’s getting married because that’s what you do at a certain age. From Will’s perspective getting married is a very rational decision.
How do his feelings for Michelle grow?
Seeing Michelle again and spending time with her planning the wedding while Saskia is away he definitely feels something and he hopes that she feels the same. His teenage feelings for her resurface and quickly become quite deep, especially as Michelle is trying to fight her emotions.
Why does Michelle open up to Will?
They have that bond from their childhood and she can really talk to Will about the situation with Steve being away in a way that I guess Michelle can’t with Liz or anyone like that. He understands that Michelle has gone through a lot. Often, when people are suffering from mental illnesses, it’s those close to them who get really affected because they don’t have the same support network. Michelle feels like she’s been abandoned and I think Will’s got a lot of empathy for her and provides a kindly ear.
Would he leave Saskia for Michelle?
He’s wrestling with the strength of his emotions, definitely. Saskia seems to be away a lot on business and it’s definitely entered his mind.
Michelle ends up coming to Will’s house when Saskia is away. What happens there?
It’s her birthday, Michelle thinks Steve isn’t coming back for it and Will invites her round for dinner. It doesn’t go quite to plan for Will though.
Does he think about Steve at all?
No, Steve’s away, he’s never met him and to him it looks as if Steve has kind of abandoned Michelle.
You’ve been brought in as the person who could potentially split up Steve and Michelle. Are you prepared for the vitriol you may get from angry fans?
Sure, it’ll be fun! Seriously, I know Steve’s a most loved character in the show so I can understand viewers being protective of him.
How did Simon Gregson greet you when you first met seeing as you’re trying to pinch his ‘wife’?
Kym (Marsh) joked that he was fuming at me but he was great! He’s a lovely man, wonderful actor.
How long is Will in the show?
I don’t know how the story resolves itself, I only know what I’ve shot so far but it’s a bit of a slow burner.
How are you finding being on Coronation Street?
Everyone’s really nice and friendly. When friends heard I’d got the part we had more messages than we did when our child was born! It just shows how big the show is.
You used to be a chef. Do you still cook? What’s your signature dish?
Before I became an actor I worked as a chef patissier in Amsterdam and at the Hilton on Park Lane in London. I’m the king of risottos but also my speciality is that I can go into an empty cupboard and create something nice out of nothing.