I Pray the Viewers Don't Think I'm like Sick,twisted Charlie. I'm Dreading the Hate Mail & '' Dirty Looks; EXCLUSIVE: CORRIE'S Mr EVIL TALKS TO SUNDAY MIRROR I Was Stunned at the Scale of Domestic Violence in the UK Men Who Hit Women Can Be Very Sinister & Calculating

Sunday Mirror (London, England), January 16, 2005 | Go to article overview

I Pray the Viewers Don't Think I'm like Sick,twisted Charlie. I'm Dreading the Hate Mail & '' Dirty Looks; EXCLUSIVE: CORRIE'S Mr EVIL TALKS TO SUNDAY MIRROR I Was Stunned at the Scale of Domestic Violence in the UK Men Who Hit Women Can Be Very Sinister & Calculating


Byline: DANIELLE LAWLER TV Reporter

HATRED gleaming in his eyes, Corrie builder Charlie Stubbs flies into a terrifying rage with girlfriend Shelley.

He takes back his Christmas gift of diamond earrings by yanking them forcefully from her ears, ignoring Shelley's screams of pain.

For actor Bill Ward, who plays the violent builder, this is one of the most harrowing scenes of his career.

He is praying that Corrie fans don't get him confused with his nasty on-screen character.

But he is bracing himself for hate mail and dirty stares when the scenes are shown next week.

Bill, 38, says: "If people think Charlie is a Mr Nasty I've done my job and made him believable. And Shelley is such a well-loved character there is bound to be some comeback.

"But as long as people hate the character and not me, then that's fine. I won't be looking forward to any hate mail that might come my way."

Bill's shocking scenes had to be rehearsed again and again as he tried desperately not to actually injure actress Sally Lindsay, who plays Shelley.

"I was trying to be so careful not to really hurt Sally that it took us quite a few goes to get it right," he says. "I had to do it really slowly to make sure she wasn't in agony for real.

"Fighting with a woman isn't something I feel comfortable about. Sally and I are really good mates in real life."

For tackling such a sensitive issue, Bill was determined to make his sinister character as realistic as possible.

Days after receiving the script he contacted the domestic violence charity Women's Aid to ask their advice on what would drive Charlie to behave in such a cruel and twisted way.

Bill read lots of literature and spent time talking to victims - and was shocked at what he discovered.

"I was astonished how much domestic violence there is out there. One in four women are likely to be victims - I had no idea how prevalent a problem this is," he says.

"And it's not just the scale of the problem, it's the breadth in terms of the way it crosses every border all colours, classes, ages.

"What was a real eye-opener was the terrifying extent that a man can manipulate and control women they are with.

"It isn't usually just someone flying off the handle as a one-off. Perpetrators can actually be extremely sinister and much more calculating than that.

"I wouldn't necessarily know if I bumped into people like that because in public their faces are all sweetness and light. They can be happy, loving together, thoughtful, funny, witty. Only behind closed doors can you see the brutality."

Of his own character, he says: "Charlie is very much of that ilk - a manipulating, calculating man. In his way it's to prove his masculinity - it's about how he likes to have his own way and how he thinks women like Shelley are there to serve him.

"Before I researched victims of domestic abuse I suppose I had the same mentality as most people and thought 'why doesn't the woman just leave?'.

"But, of course, I now realise it's not as simple as that. There are often some extremely good reasons why women stay. They can be financially dependent on their partners, they might love them and hope they change.

"Or they could just be terrified what he might do if they try to leave. I have tremendous respect for survivors."

Bill was so moved by the courage and experiences of the women he agreed to become an ambassador for Women's Aid. …

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