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Oh lordy, Olivier; Caroline Corcoran meets the Brookie bad guy who is looking to the future.

Byline: Caroline Corcoran

AS the school bully and local criminal, Tim ``Tinhead'' O'Leary was on course to take his place in the long line of classic Brookside villains.

But after marrying neighbour Emily Shadwick, and settling down with his teen wife on the Close, Tim vowed to leave his bad boy ways behind.

With Emily in a coma, however, and no-one to keep him on the straight and narrow, Tim is returning to his old ways, vowing to track down his wife's attackers, and looking more dangerous than ever. And Phil Olivier, who plays Tim, couldn't be happier.

``Tim's only excuse to not go down the bad road was Emily,'' he says. ``But now Emily's in a coma and he wants revenge and he's starting to go back down the life of crime. But now more mature crime.

``What he's doing now is more Barry Grant's role. And it's been amazing to play. The stuff coming up at Christmas is unreal.''

Although Tim and Emily were turned in to a pairing worthy of Bonnie and Clyde when they first got together - with Tim aiding Emily in her hate campaign against Susannah Morrissey - Phil, 22, feels the character had become too soft.

He admits: ``When Jenny (Ellison) was there, because they were so in love and they'd just got married, the ideal was to let them be happily married and have a child.''

But although Phil Redmond wanted the character of Tim to settle down, the younger Phil was very much against playing a less dangerous role.

``I was told a few years ago that I was going to develop in to the new Barry Grant.

``And when we got settled, the character started getting softer and softer. I wasn't really too happy, but you just play the cards you're dealt.''

This pragmatism is typical of Phil who, like all the Brookie cast members, is facing one of the biggest worries of his career, as the Channel Four soap has just been axed from its primetime evening slots.

But he refuses to take any notice of the mass of speculation on the subject. ``I listen to my own heart and then my own head,'' he says seri-ously. ``And at the moment I've just got to think of my job and what I'm doing.''

Despite this, Philis baffled by the events of recent months. ``I can't believe it,'' he says, of the decision to demote the soap that he grew up with, living as he did in view of the Brookside set. ``At the moment what we're churning out of Brookside, with the recent storyline with the siege, I just can't believe it

``Whatever the channel decides, at the end of the contract, I know another channel will snap it up straight away.

``So I've got nothing to worry about and no-one else has, to be honest. And anyone who wants to carry on watching Brookside, it just means it's going to another channel; that's it.''

Outside of the Close, Phil says he's ``having a great time''. And so he should be. Living with his girlfriend of five years, Louise, and best friend Leon Lopez (Brookie's Jerome) in a city centre flat, Phil has a life most 22-year-olds would envy.

While Phil's life is looking great, however, that of his on-screen counterpart is in turmoil.

His wife, Emily, is looking likely to meet an untimely death, as her reallife equivalent, Jennifer Ellison, gets set to launch a music career. Tim's best mate Jerome is also set to leave the Close.

But after seven years, the actor is used to changes.

``Leon leaving was more of a shocker to be honest,'' he admits. ``Because he's my best friend, you know. But that was easy because we live together. I also had Mickey Starke (Sinbad), my close friend, leave. And Ste Cole (Leo), but I see him all the time - he's one of my good friends.''

However Phil doesn't look like he's going anywhere at the moment. ``Some of the emotional stuff that I've done that's on screen at the moment is some of the best stuff I have ever done,'' he says.

``I've signed for another year and I'm glad, because the storylines which I'm getting are just getting better and better and better.''


STAYING: Phil Olivier has signed on with Brookside again. Left: With Jennifer Ellison in the soap
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 14, 2002
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