Coronation Street star confirms twists as Rowan’s ‘chequered’ past is revealed

The latest in a long line of classic Coronation Street villains is sinister Rowan Cunliffe (Emrhys Cooper), who has entwined Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) into his super-suspicious Institute – and we’re afraid to say he’s only going to get a lot worse…

Over the last few months, viewers of the ITV soap have watched in horror as Rowan successfully wooed the cobbles legend, praying on her naivety and vulnerability.

He even went as far to create an artificial intelligence version of her late son Oliver, who died three years ago from mitochondrial disease.

With actor Emrhys being such a polar opposite, it’s hard to understand how he manages to channel the twisted cult leader’s inner-psych and become the devious character that we all love to hate.

 

Leanne and Rowan in the Chariot Square Hotel in Coronation Street
Rowan chats with Toyah in the bistro in Coronation Street
During a recent chat with Metro.co.uk, he told us that he’s drawn on his own experience of seeing his parents lured into a similar institution: ‘It happened about 22 years ago when I’d left home and when they first started they were giddy with how much they loved it and the first year was bliss’ he explained.

‘My mum and dad couldn’t speak more highly [of it], and then gradually it got worse. When they got out, they were a little embarrassed by the situation and I never really found out what happened.’

Luckily, the storyline has allowed him to form a closer bond with his dad, who he consulted when landing the role.

Dee-Dee and Joel are having a meal together in Coronation Street
Amy’s been working extra shifts at the bistro – and will soon be recruited by Leanne (Picture: ITV)
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‘I asked them a lot of questions and it’s brought me and my father closer together. I’ve got some ideas and he’s given me some insight to his personal experience that I’ve used so it’s actually been quite a healing experience’ he said.

‘It’s nice to hopefully spread awareness with this storyline and warn people how easy it can actually happen.’

This week we see him target youngster Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney), who has already shown interest in Leanne’s promotion to level 5 – which means she can recruit new members.

Toyah confronts Rowan at the funeral in Coronation StreetDee-Dee and Joel are having a meal together in Coronation Street

Sherrie Hewson responds to claims she’s ‘soap’s oldest serial killer’
When Amy bemoans about being snowed under whilst studying at university; caring for unwell grandad Ken (William Roache), working in the bistro and also managing her mum Tracy’s (Kate Ford) flower shop in her absence – Leanne thinks she knows just the ticket.

Sitting her down to watch one of the Institute’s seminars to reduce her stress levels, Toyah (Georgia Taylor) quickly becomes horrified, and even more so later when she spots Amy at a session for new recruits.

Having already launched a social media campaign against Rowan online, and having his cronies stalk her every move, she becomes fearful of another resident falling into his trap.

Leanne is pleased when Rowan calls over in Coronation Street
‘There’s already been a lot of heated arguments between them and he’s used to people being suspicious of The Institute’ Emrhys explained.

‘We are going to learn more about his chequered past. I think he’s such a master-manipulator that he can spin it and still work it in his favour, turning his past into what helped him grow into who he is now.’

Consider us intrigued…

Adding that there is still ‘a bit more of a journey’ ahead for Leanne, he also told us that Rowan truly believes in what the cult stands for – something which us viewers know little about.

‘I think it’s an interesting duality. He does really believe in it, but at the same time he is taking advantage and he’s aware of that – he’s justifying his actions.’

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