There was some confusion among Coronation Street fans last week when an unexpected arrival came to Audrey Roberts’ rescue. The iconic character found herself in trouble when her drinking from her got a bit out of hand-despite her family’s attempts at an intervention.
Audrey’s drinking appeared to take a dark turn early last week and by the end of the week the former hairdresser was left alone in the barbers, Trim Up North, when she sacked grandson David Platt as well as Kelly Neelan and Maria Windass as she decided to drunkenly get back into her old trade.
A visit from daughter Gail to try and get her to see that her family want to help her and that she needs to knock her drinking on the head, Audrey erupted and told her that she was going to live back at home. But as Gail left, Audrey drunkenly knocked into a display motorbike in the barbers and ended up trapped underneath it with her cries for help unheard.
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That was until the next day when Brian Packham and Eileen Metcalfe heard the quiet pleas and who just so happened to be arriving via taxi on the cobbles? Audrey’s are Stephen Reid. He was soon seen breaking down the door, worried for his mum about him, who he finds lying barely conscious on the floor of the barbers.
He was soon reunited with his family and appeared annoyed that they had left Audrey to get into such a state. He ended up going ahead of Gail and accompanying his mum de ella in the ambulance to the hospital, and later, when Audrey woke up from surgery, the character was n’t happy to see her daughter de ella by her bedside and ordered her to leave , leaving Stephen with his mum from her.
The storyline marks the return of Todd Boyce to the role of Stephen, 15 years after he was last seen on the famous street and 26 years after making his debut in the role. But Corrie fans were soon hitting social media over confusion with his accent on him. @mynameisbrooke tweeted: “What is this Stephen’s accent. Feel like I’m watching Baywatch ffs #corrie.”
@runninoncaffine commented: “How has Stephen got an American accent #Corrie @itvcorrie.” @Clawmaw said: “What accent is Stephen meant to have? It’s not good! #Corrie.”
Well, Todd, an American actor, now 60, debuted in Corrie as Audrey’s illegitimate son with Geoff Masters in 1996 as the character bid to get his biological mother better and meet his long-lost sister, Gail. He soon left, however, with nephew Nick Tilsley in tow. But he was soon back the following year to marry Leanne Battersby.
As for where the accent came from, while Stephen is Audrey’s biological son, she had to give him up for adoption after he was born. He then emigrated to Canada with his adopted parents Malcom and Joyce Reid. Todd, who was born in Columbus, Ohio, last appeared on the soap in 2007 when the character had relocated to Italy and returned to Weatherfield to visit Audrey and Gail for Christmas. He offered his other nephew David Platt a job within his business, which David accepted. However, because of David’s relationship with Gail, Stephen offered his niece Sarah the job instead and returned to Milan with Sarah and her daughter de ella Bethany.
Todd has, so far, appeared in 47 episodes of the series ranging between 1996 and 2007. Speaking about how his return came about, the actor said: “I watched the show all the time I have ever since I was a kid in Australia it was always on.Then I did it in 1996 and I’ve never stopped watching.I think I was living in fear that they might replace me and get someone else to play Stephen if I was not available and they needed him to come back.
“Then in December, my agent said he got a call with an availability check for me to return and was I interested? I said I definitely was and then in January I had a zoom call with Iain Macleod [Corrie’s producer] who told me about his plans for the character and I knew it was something I wanted to do, no doubt about it at all, I had a wonderful time last time so I was excited to come back. Stephen is often talked about by Sarah, or Nick or Audrey and I get friends saying to me ‘you were mentioned again last night’ so it felt right to be stepping into his shoes from him again.
Since leaving the ITV soap, Todd appeared in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks as Herb Carter back in 2012. The character was the husband of Connie Carter and father of Doug Carter. Doug revealed to his parents that he was gay and in a relationship with Ste Hay. Unable to deal with the revelation, Herb and Connie returned to America. However, the pair returned in December 2012 as Herb had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Herb offered Doug £20,000 for him to move to the United States with Ste and Ste’s children, Leah Barnes and Lucas Hay, but the pair declined. He wasn’t seen in the village again as he was too ill to attend Doug’s funeral after he was killed in a bomb explosion in October 2013.
But Todd’s acting credits don’t just stretch to soaps as he has also appeared in several movies. He played Jude in Murder on the Orient Express and Chief of Police in Kick-Ass 2. He also played opposite Kylie Minogue in The Delinquents back in 1989 and last year he played Alfred DuPont in The King’s Man, the third installment in the Kingsman film series and a prequel to the first two films.
As for TV, he appeared in E4 comedy drama Beaver Falls as Bobby Jefferson, Head of Camp and in January 2012 he made a guest appearance in Sherlock. But in 2016, Todd appeared in the Netflix series The Crown., playing a USAF General.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.