Coronation street actor Ben Price talks to Metro about London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (Pic: Rex)
What’s the campaign about?
If you write your first memories of Disney on their Facebook page and they get a million memories, they’ll donate £1million to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Why don’t they just give Great Ormond Street the money without making people go through the Facebook palaver?
Maybe it’s a way of raising awareness for Great Ormond Street. They still need donations.
You’ve signed a new Coronation Street contract — presumably you’re enjoying it?
I love it. I get to act with people who have been in the show for 50 years and they always want to try new things in scenes. Betty Driver is 92 and she sits in the Rovers going through her lines, saying: ‘Why don’t you do that and I’ll do this,’ which is amazing. The people make Corrie.
Is this the busiest schedule you’ve had in your career?
You sometimes shoot 30 pages a day, you shoot all year round and produce 250 episodes a year. It’s a full-on workload but rewarding. If you’re busy it means you’re getting stories written for you, which is a great buzz and you know people will see the fruits of what you’re doing fairly quickly.
What do you think of Michelle Collins’s Manchester accent?
No one on the show talks about it, it’s only the newspapers. It was always going to be tough for her coming from EastEnders but she’s very good. It’s like any character. When I came into the show there were people saying: ‘He’s not Adam Rickitt,’ but after 200 episodes, people have got used to me. It would be great if people let her settle in and got off her back.
Art critic Brian Sewell has said there are too many gay characters in the series. What do you make of that?
It’s 2011. I don’t understand where that’s coming from. It’s about stories, relationships and problems. The sexuality question is pretty redundant. They’re love stories, regardless of which gender the characters involved are.
Did you get used to taking your clothes off in Footballers’ Wives?
No. There’s nothing normal about walking through a Thai hotel reception naked with 400 people watching you.
Why did you want to act?
I just did it. I don’t remember ever making a choice to do it. My first role was as a dwarf in Snow White when I was six. I enjoyed it and you gravitate to what you think you can do. I acted more at school and then went to drama school. No one said I couldn’t do it, so off I went.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Chopping people’s heads off with a plastic axe in the London Dungeon. I did that for nine hours a day in the pitch black with a skeleton screaming next to me. There was a booth where you got your tickets and a skeleton would jump out; that was the only bit of joy in my day, watching people almost cry with fear when they got their ticket.
What’s the most unexpected place you’ve been recognised?
I’ve been recognised in toilets across the world; in LA and New York. People have said: ‘Hello Conrad,’ when I’ve been in the toilet or asked for my autograph when I’ve been having a pee. That’s always strange.
What’s the most unusual day’s work you’ve done?
Doing the Coronation Street live episode. It was a huge production — 500 crew, 45 cameras, 45 minutes of live television with a tram in the middle covered in rubble with smoke coming out of it. Hearing the theme tune made me realise it was actually going out as I did it and I didn’t want to make a mistake. The show’s been going for 50 years — I didn’t want to ruin it after being in it for a few months.