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INTERVIEW: Soap baddie turned panto villain Brian Capron
SOAP’S best ever villain Richard Hillman – also known as ‘the Corrie Killer’ – made a lasting impression when he exited Coronation Street, driving his bound and gagged family into a canal.
Actor Brian Capron who played the psychopathic serial killer is now back in the baddie role playing the dastardly Fleshcreep in Jack and the Beanstalk at Bournemouth Pavilion and relishing the ‘boos’ and ‘hisses’ of panto.
“I love playing the villain as it’s always the best part!” he laughs.
But ‘Killman Hillman’, as the press loved to call him, was so believably evil that Capron has been verbally and physically abused in the street.
And the award-winning actor – who brought in viewing figures of 20 million, helping the soap win its first BAFTA – says the Hillman character could not be more far removed from himself.
In fact, Brian is such a peace-loving individual he loves nothing more than going to music and arts festivals with his wife Jacqueline and son Louis, 15, and pitching up in his motorhome in a field.
What’s more, his perfect destination is the peaceful and tranquil Isle of Wight.
He bought the luxurious six-berth motor home shortly after leaving Coronation Street eight years ago as he sought to escape the attention the Hillman character had attracted.
“My wife could drive it and join me when I was on theatre tours and we discovered all these festivals. We love the Isle of Wight too. I use to love camping but that can be hard work. I love the fresh air so motorhoming is great.
“On one visit to the Island we stayed at Freshwater: the whole area is stunning and quite surprising. You can explore the whole area on your bike. Yarmouth is like a little French town; I absolutely love it. It’s like going back to the 1950s – it’s charming.”
Since leaving Corrie, Brian has successfully juggled lots of work on TV and on stage. He had said on joining the soap he would do two years and no more for fear of being typecast.
“I told them I want it made clear that I am absolutely dead and gone when I left Corrie. If you look at people who go back to soaps like Dirty Den and Bet Lynch it doesn’t usually work.”
Working on the soap was much tougher than he ever imagined.
“I would be working on 14 or 15 episodes at any one time. It’s a very heavy schedule for anyone with a big storyline.
“In the two years I was there I filmed 200 episodes.”
The high profile it brought him came with a price however.
“Being in Coronation Street was very intrusive. I couldn’t go anywhere for two or three years. In fact I developed a stoop because I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone if I was out! I only corrected that when I partnered Karen Hardy for Strictly Come Dancing and she got me to stand up straight!
“Some people who approached me were very nice but I once got attacked by a woman with an umbrella.”
After leaving The Street Brian appeared on TV in Where The Heart Is for three years. He played The Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show on tour as well as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls on tour – and even learned to tap dance to star in Steppin’ Out!
The highlight, however, was appearing in Harper Regan, a new play by Simon Stephen in London at The National Theatre: “THAT was the cherry on the cake for me as a proper actor.”
But if you really thought evil Richard Hillman was no more ...think again!
Brian is thrilled, to be stepping back into the role for the eagerly awaited musical Street of Dreams alongside old Rovers favourite Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear).
Hillman will be among a string of characters past and present featuring in the all-singing, all-dancing show which celebrates 50 years of Corrie.
And of course his is having lots of fun playing a nasty bit of work in Jack and the Beanstalk at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre.
All together now – ‘hiss, boo!’.
n Jack and the Beanstalk runs until January 2. Tickets: from £14.50. Box office: 0844 5763000.