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'The ceremony is very moving... an amazing day' Tony Audenshaw and Lesley Dunlop talk about their emotional storyline as they arrange a pagan 'wedding' in the aftermath of Brenda's brain tumour operation; The big INTERVIEW.

Byline: Sara Wallis & Neil Batey


After months of heartache and emotion following Brenda's diagnosis of a brain tumour, there is finally some joy for her and Bob as they get 'married'. But it's not straightforward, as Brenda tries to arrange a surprise ceremony on the same day that Bob plans to propose. Here, actors Lesley Dunlop and Tony Audenshaw tell us more about their heartwarming storyline...

Why do Bob and Brenda decide to get married?

Lesley: It's not a joint decision. Brenda wants to surprise him, but you can't just turn up and get married. So Gennie comes up with the idea of this pagan handfasting ceremony. I'd never heard of it. It's very interesting, an alternative wedding ceremony. Meanwhile, Bob is planning a proposal that will knock her socks off.

Tony: I'd never heard of handfasting either, but I think it ties in nicely with Brenda going through this experience with the tumour and becoming more spiritual.

Is there a comedy element?

L: Yes, it is funny, but it is also quite moving. Thank God though for a bit of light relief. There's been enough trauma and emotion.

T: I think it might be the first time in soaps that two characters have tried to arrange two big events on one day!

"How romantic is the proposal?

T: Bob plans a brass band on the hillside. Of course, Brenda knows nothing about it. She loves brass bands and the whole thing has a real Yorkshire theme, which is lovely. It was an amazing day with a beautiful view draining, have are of the Dales. Then he organises a helicopter for them.

What was it like filming the wedding scenes?

T: This was really special because I'd never been in a helicopter before. I was a little bit reluctant because it didn't half whip around at high speeds.

L: The pressure was on to get everything done. But it was very exciting. I'd love a proposal like that!

Bob is a serial groom who has been married many times. Is Brenda really the woman for him?

T: I think Bob has changed and he's a lot more comfortable now. Since Viv died he has been there for the twins. I think he is really loved up with Brenda.

L: His past doesn't really bother her. They don't know what's going to happen to her health, so she's not dwelling on the past.

He did sleep with her daughter (Gennie), but she's ignoring that! They should be on Jeremy Kyle.

What do they love about each other?

L: His enthusiasm. And that he has stuck by her through thick and thin.

T: She's attractive, honest and a really good person. Even after having her hair shaved off, she looks amazing.

Lesley, how did you feel about shaving off your hair?

L: I did have to think about it. My main concern was that I'd shave it, then they would kill Brenda off and I'd have to go and try and get work with no hair. It's hard enough for a woman of my age as it is! And I was anxious not to terrify my grandchildren, Jude, two, and Mae, five. But they think it's hilarious. T: I think the story demanded it, but it was very brave. It wouldn't be so bad for a bloke to do it.

How challenging have you found the storyline?

T: Very! You've got to do it justice because so many people are going through this in real life. But I go out for a run when I get home and that sorts me out.

L: It is extremely draining, plus I've got a couple of friends who are struggling with treatment for cancer. That makes things very emotional.

This is a subject close to your heart Lesley?

L: Yes, my mother died from leukaemia 15 years ago. And like Brenda, she also refused treatment. At work, you try not to draw on too much personal experience, but it was very hard to separate things.

What reaction have you had from fans about the storyline?

T: I've had a few messages from people who are going through cancer in real life. No one has said anything negative.

L: I've also had some lovely letters from people. It makes people feel they are not alone.

You've done 10 London Marathons, Tony. Are you still in the Guinness Book Of Records as the World's Fastest Man Wearing A Baby Outfit?

T: No, I'm not! Someone swiped my record. But the costumes I wear are certainly getting more and more stupid.

Lesley, you like to run too, but you had a hip replacement. How are you feeling?

L: It's not brilliant and it still gives me gyp. I think I went back to work too soon after the op a year ago, plus I've got arthritis. I wanted to do the Great North Run this year, but I can't.

Tony, aren't you playing at the Great North Run with your band White Van Man?

T: Yes, I'm looking forward to that. We do cover versions and I'm the singer. I stand at the front and pull poses!

You went on Celebrity Mastermind and your specialist subject was Birds Of Britain. Are you a keen twitcher?

T: Yes, I go out running a lot with my binoculars. So I do twitching combined with running, but it's not ideal because I always have to stop to focus with my binoculars... and they get steamed up too!

but "It's been draining, plus I have friends who are struggling with cancer" LESLEY DUNLOP Lesley,


PROUD DAD: Bob, late wife Viv and their twins

CELEBRATION: Brenda and Bob holding hands
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2013
Previous Article:Catch up TV.
Next Article:A show of hands A show of hands; With Bob and Brenda both determined to surprise each other, they become 'husband and wife' in an emotional ceremony.

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