Jonny Grimshaw
February 3, 2013
This time, we have a good looking guy as our guest.  I am happy to introduce you to Jonny Grimshaw.
Jonny's Photo Gallery
Hi Jonny,  thank you very much for speaking with us today.  Firstly, the question I always ask.  How long have you been treading the cobbles of Coronation Street?

I've been a regular extra on Corrie for 6 years now, and still love it.  When I get a call, I say it's like an injection of endorphins into my brain.  I have been doing this type of work - background artist as we're also known ;-) for almost 15 years altogether, and I can't find fault with it at all.  It's interesting, exciting and great fun and I consider myself very lucky to work doing something I enjoy.

I have to say, you have a perfect surname for Corrie, they could bring you to the forefront as Eileen's brother and not even have to change your name!

Yes it is indeed an ideal name for Corrie, and people do actually ask if I'm related to Eileen and Jason - yes really! Considering it's such a northern name I am surprised how little it featured in the show before Eileen's clan moved in.

Ah, well actually, it was featured before.  Did you know that Elsie Tanner's maiden name was Grimshaw?  Don't ask me how I know that, it's just one of thousands of useless pieces of Corrie trivia I carry around in my head.

I think I did know that Elsie's maiden name was that. I remember there was a character called Christine Hargreaves in the early years too, which coincidentally is my mums maiden name.

Then you were obviously destined to be part of Corrie from a very early age!  Do you like doing a variety of jobs?

Yes, I've done many jobs on many productions, far too numerous to mention, and you get to meet new people on each job, alongside those you've known for years.  All the other extras are lovely and I've met many like-minded people and made some good friends over the years.

Are you a Northern lad by birth?

Yes, I was born in Ormskirk, West Lancashire, and have lived in Manchester since 1999, except for one year working in London 2004-5.

Aha!  Then we have a connection, one of my older sisters was also born in Ormskirk, but long before you were even a twinkle in your father's eye, I have no doubt!
Did you grow up wanting to be an actor?

I gravitated towards Art & Design during my education, and even though I'm a very creative person, it just didn't feel quite right.  I clearly wanted to be on a film or TV set or in front of a camera, in whatever guise - whether as an actor or extra.

So how did you go about achieving that?

Since leaving university in 1998, I enrolled on a drama course in Liverpool, and from here went on to be a tour guide at Granada Studios, and also started to work regularly as an extra.

A tour guide at Granada Studios?  I certainly wasn't expecting that!  How did you like that?

Working as a tour guide was brilliant fun. I remember feeling settled in that job within two days of starting. It was such a fun time, and I still see former colleagues in other areas either in front or behind the camera 13 years later. In fact I met a former tour guide at the CorrieFest at the Lass O Gowrie a couple of weeks ago as she was starring in the Coronation Street 1977 - and it was a joy to see her! We were both saying what a good time that was and how fantastic it would be if something like that were to start again when the set moves to Salford Quays.

Oh yes, I think there are quite a few Corrie fans out there who would agree with you on that one.  I am always getting asked if it is possible to tour the set, especially by those visiting the UK from other countries.

So when the tours stopped, did you go from there into doing regular extra work?

They stopped them in 2000, and I've also done a lot of work as a freelance modelmaker for a company in Cheshire called Mackinnon & Saunders. They've done amazing work on many varied projects over the years - a lot of pre school TV shows such as Bob the Builder and Postman Pat as well as many feature films including Fantastic Mr Fox and more recently Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, which has just been nominated for an Oscar.

I looked them up, and for the benefit of those overseas, who may not be familiar with those shows, they are a puppet-making company, take a look here:  MacKinnon & Saunders I think it's great that you are also getting to use your creative talents as well.  That too looks like a fun company to work for.  I certainly recognise a few of their creations, and have added a couple of photos of them below.

Now, if I may get a little personal Jonny, do you have someone special in your life?

No, I am still on the lookout for Mr. Right.

Oh, now you've done it!  You will be inundated with calls now! LOL!!

How about the future?  Do you have ambitions that you haven't achieved yet?

There are plenty of things I'd still like to aim for, far too many to go into here. I'd quite like to do extra work on feature films and that's certainly something I'll look into this year. My flatmate and I have chatted for a long time about writing a sitcom or film, and we'd like to get working on that soon. Through a friend on the Corrie crew I was able to fulfil another long term ambition of starring (in a *tiny* part) in a music video last year, which was great fun.

Thank you for pointing us in the direction of this video, I have added a link to it below.  If you watch it people, look out for the 'Grimshaw Death Stare' at 00.40

Another Background Artist told me that you don't receive a script for an episode you are going to appear in.  Do you have any idea of what you will be doing prior to arriving on set?  How does it work?

First we are booked to do the day's filming, then we get more details such as call time, what and where we are filming, and what to wear nearer the time, usually the day before. If something big or exciting is taking place in the scene, we'd be told by the 3rd (or sometimes 1st) assistant director and also receive and respond to direction during the filming.

Does this mean you have no clue until you arrive on set what the storyline is exactly about then?  You just react the way the director tells you to react, but you may not be sure why?  Doesn't that sometimes get confusing?  But then, the scenes are not filmed in sequence are they?  So maybe it is the same for everyone?

We may find out in advance if it's something big, like the tram crash. We get a breakdown of the scene before we start filming. it never gets confusing as you kinda know what you'll be doing just from having experience of doing this kind of work. Remember we are 'background' artists so are involved in the scene only to an extent sometimes, like reacting to a fight or argument. Yes the scenes are filmed out of sequence and yes it's the same for everyone, that just goes with this territory.  Last October I was filming Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve on the same day - that was quite odd!

Finally, everybody's favourite question.  Can you remember anything funny, or something that went wrong while on set?

Many things can take place within a scene, although I can't think of anything major that's happened at Corrie. One experience I'm not likely to forget is when I was a contestant in the Mr Gay Weatherfield contest a few years ago! I was stood on the stage set in just my boxer shorts and the drag queen DJ referred to me as having 'a backside like a landslide', to which I had to respond with a dirty look. This is in front of the cast, all the crew and about 90 extras. I remember thinking if I can do that I can do anything!

The part of the scene with me was cut, a fact that I'm probably ultimately grateful for, although initially disappointed ;-)

That's a shame, we would have loved to have seen a photo of it, however, I did manage to find a few stills from that episode showing Jason winning Mr. Gay Weatherfield.  He was drunk enough not to  care that he didn't deserve the title, having girlfriend Tina waiting for him at home.  I also spotted you in the bar, so have added that one below too.

Thought I'd just mention also that I was a double for Steve McDonald last summer, when he was at Amy's sports day and Lloyd turned up after being away for a while. He chased Steve around the playing fields and as the actor playing Steve was ill, I had to stand in for him and do the running whilst the crew set up the equipment during rehearsals.

I loved that episode!  It was hilarious.  It's a shame we didn't get to see you doing that, however, you were still in that scene, because you were spotted!

I've also been a double for Robson Green, even though I am about a foot taller than him, alas not in Corrie though ;-)

Oh my, be still my beating heart!  Now there is someone I would kill to see treading the cobbles, short or not!

This has been great fun, and very interesting Jonny.  Thank you so much for allowing us to get to know you a little more.

Here is Jonny enjoying a drink in the Bistro on the night Gail decided to mortify Nick by celebrating his birthday very publicly.
I see he's ditched the hat.  Here he is congratulating Sean on winning a prize for his Freddy Mercury costume.
Here he is getting into the swing of the Jubilee celebrations.  At least he didn't have to dress up as a singer of some sort.
However, he didn't get off completely scot free!  The hat looks a bit small doesn't it?
In the last photo, I thought it was Jonny's hand on Sean's shoulder, but realise now that he had a beer in it instead!  You can see why he says he loves his job can't you? :-)
Yes guys, Jonny is also in this shot, there are also lots of other people and children - not just Sunita's legs!
There he is in the doorway of The Rovers.  I wonder why Chesney didn't dress up?
He was very front and centre in this scene wasn't he?  I can't remember what Gloria was trying to talk him into.
For some reason Jonny was trying to touch his nose with his bottom lip in this scene! :-)
Sitting behind a very intense conversation between Marcus and Sean.
He looks as if he is hoping David won't pick the Eccles Cake he has his eye on!
Did you ever see three more bored looking fellows in your life?
Oh the drama!  It's obviously about to kick off here!  Then it always is in the Bistro isn't it?  I don't know how they retain their customers, they are always fighting or cleaning in front of them, or they are all getting thrown out because the owner is having a melt down!
Some of the puppets and animation produced by MacKinnon & Saunders
Jonny walking through the Gay Bar, you can see him in the centre, wearing a black shirt.
The above two photos and the two below were snapped in The Rovers on Christmas Eve 2012, the night Sophie made the mistake of giving Jenna a bracelet that she wasn't/was pleased with.
This one is a little blurry, as Jonny was only on screen for a split second, and was walking past Sophie.
This is the music video Jonny mentioned above.
These two are from the Bessie Street sports day.  Sorry they are so blurred, but it's hard to grab people when they are moving that fast! LOL!!  Jonny is arrowed in both.
Why not follow Jonny on Twitter @jonnygforce
Here is Jonny in the centre attending a memorial service in the final episode of the BBC serial drama 'The Village'