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Rovers Return nail-biter for Tristan's Corrie debut

Published 15/07/2015

Tristan Gemmill will play Tracy Barlow's ex, Robert Preston
Tristan Gemmill will play Tracy Barlow's ex, Robert Preston

Former Casualty star Tristan Gemmill wasn't nervous about joining Coronation Street - until everyone psyched him out during his first scene.

Gemmill, who plays Robert Preston, the first husband of Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford), revealed he was initially confident about joining the cast of the ITV soap, saying: "I had prepared myself pretty well."

However, when he filmed his first scene, which took place in the Rovers Return, the cast and crew put him on edge: "A succession of people kept coming up to me and whispering, 'Are you nervous? This is iconic, this is iconic.'

"I wasn't at the beginning, but by about 10 o'clock in the morning I was gnawing my nails off."

Robert crashes into ex-wife Tracy's life as she grieves for her mother, Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride), and provides a shoulder for her to cry on.

The two married in 1996, but split when Robert discovered that Tracy was sleeping with his best friend. Not seen since 2003 when he was a carpenter played by Julian Kay, Robert has now returned to the cobbles to work as a chef at Nick's Bistro.

Gemmill, who played Dr Adam Trueman on Casualty, admitted that Robert was "in love with Tracy" all these years later, despite her troubled history.

"He knows that she has a tendency to get involved in tricky situations. He's one of those people that is attracted to danger, to broken people because he thinks he can fix them.

"There's an element of a little bit of thrill about someone who's a bit unpredictable."

Robert is a nice guy with "a bit of an edge", explained Gemmill, warning that he's "not squeaky clean".

And Tracy will soon find out her ex's big secret: he's married to another woman.

The Kent-born actor teased: "She stumbles across the fact that he's married before he's really able to tell her about it. It's not like he's led her on, it's just circumstances are against him a bit.

"Then it all comes out, not the way he would want it to."

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