Emrhys Cooper as Rowan in Coronation Street looking a bit dodgy (Credit: ITV)

Coronation Street newcomer Emrhys Cooper reveals his real-life experience of cults as he explains more about Rowan

He's using his own experiences to help him take on the role as sinister Rowan

Emrhys Cooper has arrived in Coronation Street, playing sinister cult leader Rowan Cunliffe. He’s wowing Leanne and making his presence felt already.

He may seem charming now, but it’s not long until Toyah starts to be suspicious about what his real motives are. Will Leanne be drawn into a creepy cult?

Actor Emrhys Cooper has taken on the role of Rowan, and in a strange coincidence, he’s got personal experience of cults after a difficult experience with his parents.

We sat down for a chat with Emrhys to find out all about drawing on his own life for the role, and what made him swap the bright lights of Hollywood for Weatherfield!

Leanne is Rowan’s first target on the Street – but not his last! (Credit: ITV)

Dancing Christmas tree!

Emrhys started his career as a dancer, but he was ambitious! After dancing in the West End and even performing as a dancing Christmas tree in the Corrie panto, he decided to head to Los Angeles.

He appeared in shows including CSI New York, Person of Interest,  Desperate Housewives, Mamma Mia, and Vanity. He’s written and directed two films, including The Shuroo Process which is based on his own experiences and is all about someone who joins a cult!

And now he’s come to Coronation Street.

Coming home

Weatherfield is quite a change from LA but Emrhys says he wanted to come home and this was the perfect excuse.

“I’m loving it,” he says. “I’ve actually been yearning to come back for a few years now, but I didn’t want to come back without a job. The job and the role are a dream come true for me and I’m embracing the change with open arms.”

And as a lifelong fan of Corrie, he says he’s “having the best time”!

He says: “I always looked up to Jane Danson (who plays Leanne) and I’ve been a fan of her work and I love sharing a screen with an icon!”

But the audition proved a bit of a challenge.

“I actually filmed the audition when I was sick as a dog with the flu but I gave it my all. Offered the role on 20 December. It was the best Christmas present ever!”

Emrhys loves working with Jane Danson, who plays Leanne (Credit: ITV)

Art imitating real life

He says he couldn’t believe the coincidences between his real life and the part of Rowan.

“I was immediately struck by how well I knew the character,” he tells us. “Some roles just fit like a glove. I’m really grateful that Coronation Street saw that in me. I have all that knowledge but they didn’t know that. It was a wonderful surprise.”

So what was Emrhys’s real-life experience that made him so keen to take on the role of Rowan?

He says that he grew up in Totnes, Devon, which is a very new-age town with, as Emrhys says, “lots of gurus and holistic doctors”.

“My parents encountered a few Rowan types over the years,” he explains. “I didn’t really understand it growing up but as I got older and witnessed it first-hand, I understood some of the dangers of these type of characters. My mother’s health was severely affected by some very dangerous advice she received, which is still very upsetting to me.”

Is Rowan going to put Leanne in danger? (Credit: ITV)

Leanne in danger?

But is Leanne in danger as she gets more involved? Who is the mysterious Rowan?

“Rowan is charming, not slimy, he’s relatable and down to earth,” Emrhys tells us. “His main role is recruitment. He travels all over to present conferences and seminars identifying the more receptive people and encouraging them into the fold.”

But he adds: “What we’ve seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg. Rowan is very clever and very good at what he does. He can see the people who are susceptible because they’ve been through trauma – he can see that Leanne is packing a lot! He knows the buttons to press. He’s not fazed by Toyah’s reaction to him, and there will be other characters who find themselves in his thrall and may find themselves in the Institute!”

Read more: Who’s leaving Coronation Street in 2024?

YouTube video player

Coronation Street usually airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV.

For all the latest soap spoilers, news and chat come and join us at Soap Daily now! 

Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.

Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer