Sean swaps the Street for the stage and is ready to play out a new role

Sean Gallagher. Pic: Mark Douet.
Sean Gallagher. Pic: Mark Douet.
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He was on on our TV screens last week in Silent Witness but actor Sean Gallagher, who is appearing in Sheffield next week, says he is best remembered for Coronation Street.

Sean appeared in Coronation Street in 2006, playing the part of Paul Connor, one of two brothers buying a share in the Underworld underwear factory. He only stayed on the show for five months, being killed off in early 2007, but says people still recognise him.

He played the role of DI John Brooke in the long-running forensics show Silent Witness, mixed up in a fascinating case involving a dead pregnant woman found in a suitcase whose baby was taken from her just after she was killed.

Sean said: “My mum and dad were showing me the paper at the weekend and the piece about Silent Witness said, ‘Sean Gallagher, former Coronation Street actor’. It was one of those guest star roles that is with you forever.”

He said of working on the Street: “I found it hard. It’s sort of like the whole process is different because the story is ongoing. You can’t nail a character down, they can throw anything at you.

“They do work hard and they work on three different units. The scenes are filmed all out of sequence and you 
can be playing the final scene on one set, before you’ve filmed the beginning on another one.

“You have to have your wits about you and make quick decisions about what you’re doing.”

In the end, Sean decided he preferred the variety of working as a jobbing actor, even though it’s “precarious and scary”, to having a steady income as a soap actor and asked for his character to be written out.

Sean is in Sheffield rehearsing Afterplay, the first of a season of plays by Irish writer Brian Friel at Sheffield Theatres.

He and Heartbeat star Niamh Cusack (see, we journalists can’t help labelling actors) play two characters created by the Russian writer Anton Chekhov. Friel’s play imagines them meeting in a cafe in Moscow in the 1920s.

Andrey appears in Chekhov’s play The Three Sisters and Niamh’s character Sonya features in Uncle Vanya.

Sean said: “The meeting takes place 20 years after the events of The Three Sisters. In the interim period he has been the town drunk for 10 years. His son is in jail and he is now based 
in Moscow in order to visit him.

“He’s a bit of a liar, calling his lies ‘little trivial falsehoods’ or ‘little fictions’.

“In order to impress Sonya he’s told her he’s playing in the orchestra pit for performances of Puccini opera but he’s actually busking.”

Sean said that his character “sees the world as absurd, rather than taking it too seriously and allowing it to depress him. That’s his survival technique”.

He added: “He’s not a sad character. I think he’s very hopeful.”

The actor is a big fan of the work of Brian Friel. He said: “He recognises that we’ve all got things in our lives that worry and stress us out.

“What he does is allow everyone to think it’s not unusual and you’re not alone.”

Afterplay is at the Crucible Studio from next Thursday, February 6, to March 1.

Box office: at the Crucible, call 0114 2496000 or go to www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk