ARTS AND FEATURES — 17 September 2013

Glen wtih Darren Boyd in a scene from The Guilty

By David Hennessy

Well known for playing Malachy Fisher in Hollyoaks from 2007 to 2010, Ballymena actor Glen Wallace can currently be seen in ITV’s gripping crime story, The Guilty. Glen joins an impressive cast that includes Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd as two grieving parents while Tamsin Greig plays the detective who will leave no stone unturned in her efforts to find out what happened to little Callum Reid, no matter what effect it has on her own personal life.

The finger of blame has been pointed at many including Callum’s own father, and Glen is as eager to find out how the tale concludes as the rest of us: “This is where I maybe let the game away on my behalf,” the former soap star begins. “I’m only in episode one so when I read episode one, the hook was so good at the end of the episode, I actually didn’t read episode two or three because I wanted to watch it as a viewer. I’m in completely the same boat. We had a screening of it two weeks ago maybe and they showed us episode one and episode two so I still don’t know who’s done it. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out.”

You would imagine this means Glen’s character Sean O’Donnell is in the clear: “It sort of gives the game away because I’m no longer a suspect unless of course they do some really good editing and I am the killer and I wasn’t even in the episode. Do you know what? I’d be very impressed. I know Ed (Bazalgette) is a great director but I would be very impressed if he was to do that.”

The director Glen mentions there Edward Bazalgette called on Glen’s services remembering working with the Antrim actor on a harrowing two episodes of Holby City over two years ago. Glen has been impressed with how his team have told their heart breaking story over two time periods, with Callum disappearing in 2008 and his body being found five years later: “I think they’ve done a really good job on it, stylistically how they’ve made the difference between 2008 and 2013. One of the initial conversations I was having with the costume designer, she was saying there’s no big difference in terms of clothing. If you were going from 1970s to the 2000s, there’s a definite style difference and she was talking about colour schemes and I think how they’ve lit it and they’ve done the colour pallet, I just think it’s a really good project.”

Tamsin Greig as Detective Maggie Brand with the grieving Reid parents played by Katherine Kelly and Daren Boyd

It was not so long ago that Katherine Kelly was known as Becky McDonald from Coronation Street but another towering performance in The Guilty sees her show once again that there is much more in her acting locker. The Irish World asks Glen: Is it difficult to escape that soap shadow? “I don’t know if it’s an excuse that some actors sort of hide behind or whether there is an element of truth in it or not,” the actor begins. “I suppose I can’t really speak on Katherine’s behalf too much but she’s a trained actress, she went to RADA, she had a history before going into the show, as we all do.

“It’s an interesting genre, you’re in people’s living rooms every night. Each episode of Hollyoaks was  shown something like ten times a week. If you do something like The Guilty, it’s on for three consecutive weeks and we shot that in April/ May so you’ve done it and you’ve forgotten about it and you’ve moved on to the next project. I was on Hollyoaks for about four years in total. It’s sort of this continuous machine that keeps going.

“I know Katherine’s talked about Becky McDonald being this smoky, blonde bombshell with hoop ear-rings. I don’t think Katherine’s anything like that in real life. It’s a character she was playing so when you move on to the next project, it’s the same… I think you can leave it behind. I don’t feel that it’s held me back at all.”

For the full interview, see the September 21 Irish World.

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