Rob Mallard Interview: On Set For Coronation Street

Rob Mallard is best known for his role as Daniel in Coronation Street which he began in 2016 and continues to play as a regular, much-loved character on the soap. In 2017, Rob was awarded Best Newcomer at The British Soap Awards, and following a harrowing but poignant cancer storyline at the end of last year that centred around Rob and his on-screen wife, Sinead (Katie McGlynn), Coronation Street has received a BAFTA nomination for Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment of the year.

As well as being a phenomenal actor, one of Rob’s most striking qualities is that he is a genuinely lovely person, and it’s easy to see why he’s found great success in his career so far. The world of TV soaps is unique from other experiences of filming for screen and Rob was kind enough to share his insight after four years working on Britain’s longest running soap.

What does a typical week look like when you’re filming for Coronation Street?

We get the scripts two working weeks before we film them and you can be working across many ‘blocks’ of scripts at once, filming episodes from different weeks. Each block has a director and often the actors will move forward and backwards in the storyline several times a day which means moving between directors and the place in story. We don’t have the luxury of always filming in sequence so you’ve got to understand your storyline in order to make sense of where you are each time you go on set. The benefit of this is that you become skilled at switching between extremes of situation/emotion. It keeps you in a state of creativity which I enjoy.

What are the biggest challenges of working on a soap?

A full 9 hour day on one set can make it hard to keep your focus. If you know you’re going to be there for a while you learn how to conserve energy. The temptation to have a laugh in the morning is outweighed by the prospect of being knackered by 4pm. You’ve got to save it.

How do you approach preparing for a scene and learning your lines with such a quick turnaround?

I don’t over-prepare. I read the scripts a lot, work out where the character has just been, what they want and then do it. Line learning is just a skill, you get better at it the more you have to do it.

Could you share some tips or tricks you’ve picked up for working on screen?

Stay still. Think, don’t blink. Know what the shot is. Stand where the camera can see you.

The shots are the remit of the director but it’s important to know if you’re in close up or a wide so you know how big or small your performance can be. I’d ask either the first assistant director or the camera operator.

How has life changed for you now that you’ve become a staple character in a major soap?

Not going to lie, it’s changed a lot. People react towards you depending on what your character is going through on-screen. For instance, when Daniel pushes Ken down the stairs people would near enough hiss at me in the street. Then when Sinead died I was showered with the sympathy of strangers. It’s funny.

Rob Mallard

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I think I’m another decade or so off calling it my career, I’ve only been working for six years! Without a doubt the cancer storyline on Corrie is the work I’m most proud of due to the ‘Goody Effect’. There was an increase in women getting smear tests as a direct result of the storyline we were telling on Coronation Street. Katie McGlynn, my on-screen wife who died from cervical cancer, received lots of messages from women who had managed to catch cancerous cells early because they saw the show and went to get tested. 

And on a personal note, landing the job on Corrie full stop has been a highlight. I love it.

If you could introduce a new family onto the Street made up of characters from any soap, TV series or film, who would you pick?

Hmmm… okay… All of The Nolans in a two up, two down. I’d watch!

Delivery – A Short Film by Kieran Vyas

A hopeless delivery woman pushes a bewildered resident to the edge.

During lockdown, my partner (actor Katie Burchett) and I put our energy into writing and producing a short film. We ended up creating ‘Delivery’ – a short comedy sketch in which Katie plays both of the two leading roles. We submitted ‘Delivery’ to a variety of film festivals and were delighted to receive a number of laurels including annual winner of the White Deer International Film Festival.

Laurels received so far:

White Deer International Film Festival – Annual Winner
First-Time Filmmaker Sessions – Finalist
London Rocks Film Festival – Official Selection
London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival – Highest Commendation
UK Seasonal Short Film Festival – Honourable mention

Katie Buchett in ‘Delivery’

#PlanetMonologues – The Actors Planet Monologue Competition

The Actors Planet is a support network for actors and creatives that I set up in 2018 with my partner, actor Katie Burchett. In these challenging times, we have teamed up with some of the top casting directors, directors and industry professionals to create #PlanetMonologues – a monologue competition with great prizes and fabulous judges.

To get involved, follow us on twitter @THEACTORSPLANET

FULL DETAILS & RULES: http://theactorsplanet.co.uk/monologue-competition/

PRIZES

Our prize list includes one-to-ones with top casting directors SHAKYRA DOWLING, PETER HUNT, PEARSON CASTING & NICCI TOPPING as well as an extensive consultation with social media expert JAMIE BODY. We’re also running a ‘Self-Represented Prize’ for actors who are not currently represented by an agent. This includes a one-to-one with an agent from COWLEY, KNOX & GUY and three month membership to DRAMANIC.

To top it off, our wonderful judge MEL CHURCHER has offered to give a one-to-one to ALL of our winners. Mel has worked with Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, Gerard Butler & Keira Knightley.

JUDGES


Mel Churcher

Mel Churcher

Having been an actor, Mel’s now an international acting and voice coach. She’s been resident voice coach for the RSC & Regents Park Open Air Theatre, runs international workshops, and has coached on over 60 major films & TV series (imdb.me/melchurcher). Her books are: Acting for Film: Truth 24 Times a Second (Virgin Books) & A Screen Acting Workshop + DVD (Nick Hern Books).


Donnacadh O'Briain

Donnacadh O’Briain

Donnacadh O’Briain is an Olivier Award-winning director whose productions have played at The Royal Shakespeare Company, in the West End, and internationally. In 2017 his production of Rotterdam received an Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre and went on to play at The Arts Theatre (West End) before embarking on a UK tour. His other credits include Always Orange (RSC), PEEP (a unique cross art form pop up theatre show) and the multi-award winning Electrolyte (Wildcard/Edinburgh/UK Tour).


Kate Davies-Speak

Kate Davies-Speak

Kate has been a working actor for 19 years and has worked in theatre throughout Europe. She now focusses mainly on screen work and loves to be involved in and support independent film. She is the founder of Showreel Share Day and is a major driving force behind the online acting community. When not acting, Kate works as a personal trainer and group fitness coach, and occasionally helps out as a casting director.

Mercury Theatre & Josef Weinberger Ltd Monologue Competition

It’s amazing to see so many fantastic opportunities springing up in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. One such opportunity comes from Mercury Theatre & Josef Weinberger Ltd in the form of ‘Mercury Monologues’ – a weekly monologue competition in which the winning pieces are rehearsed and performed by actors in 24 hours. Week 2’s theme was magic and I was absolutely delighted to win it with my monologue ‘To Call a Wolf’.

My monologue was performed by Jonathan Livingstone (Death in Paradise, 2011; Treasure Island, 2015; and The Witches, 2020) and you can watch his performance below.

Kieran Vyas & Jonathan Livingstone

The competition is ongoing. You can find out more info and enter here – https://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/make-it/talent-development/