Channel 5’s latest murder mystery drama is about to set sail – and Coronation Street fans can expect a mini soap reunion to take place on board.
Shayne Ward, Catherine Tyldesley and Claire Sweeney are swapping the cobbles for the high seas in The Good Ship Murder, a new series from Ridley creator Paul Mayhew Thompson.
The X Factor winner Shayne stars as Jack, an ex-copper-turned-cruise-singer who’s tasked with catching a killer on the luxury liner alongside its First Officer Kate, played by Catherine.
“For me, I’m playing a detective for the first time – and the fact that I get to sing as well, it just felt like it was the right time for this to happen,” Shayne says.
“Jack has spent 20 years in the Great Manchester CID and now he’s left the force to become an in-house cabaret singer. I just thought, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’”
When a wave of murders rocks the cruise Jack is working on, he’s thrust back into detective mode as the cruise sails from Southampton across the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile Claire, who currently stars as Tyrone’s long-lost mother Cassie on Coronation Street, plays Jack’s cabaret boss Beverley – and is well experienced in cruise life.
“I started singing on cruise ships when I was 19 and I love cruising,” Beverley says. “It’s sun, sand, sea, murder mystery and a show tune thrown in. I thought, ‘This sounds like a dream job!’
“Beverley has been working on cruise ships for years – her whole life is defined by her job,” she adds. “Whenever a murder happens or something goes terribly wrong on the ship, all she’s worried about is whether it will affect her showtime. Can the juggler still go on? So there’s an element of comedy there. She’s a feisty woman with a painted-on smile but underneath she’s crumbling.”
The Good Ship Murder marks the first time Shayne has worked with Catherine since they played on-off couple Aidan Connor and Eva Price on Corrie – although Shayne promises their new characters are completely different from their Weatherfield alter egos.
“We had a great three years working together so instantly we have that, but the great thing about playing Jack and Kate is that it felt nothing like Aidan and Eva. They’re so far removed for the pair of us and that was exciting,” he reveals.
“Working across from Cath, I knew we were going to get some great stuff on screen. You get to follow this will-they-won’t-they type thing between them.”
Although Shayne has left his soap days behind him, it was The Bill he turned to for inspiration when playing Jack. “There are so many great shows to draw upon – I grew up watching Murder, She Wrote with my mum and Starsky and Hutch.
“But I drew upon my history of watching The Bill. As long as I come across as true and I genuinely feel like I want to try to solve this case and help people, that’s what I’ll do when I use my years of watching The Bill. That was my research!”
The cast spent six weeks filming on an actual cruise – and made use of the various real-life guests who’d board the ship. “A lot of those passengers became extras in the show,” Shayne laughs. “It was 100 percent real and it shows that you can actually get a job done like this on a fully functional ship.”
Claire, who was yet to join the Corrie cast at the time, took the opportunity to quiz Shayne and Catherine on their soap stories. “I didn’t have any idea in my wildest dreams that I’d be going into Coronation Street when we filmed this last year. I’m a massive Corrie fan so I was grilling Shayne about Corrie.
Despite the murders taking place onboard, Shayne and Claire reckon the show will encourage holidaymakers to go crazy for cruises. “It’s a great escape and it’s not gruesome, it’s very Agatha Christie, classic. People will look at these destinations and say, ‘I want to go on a cruise.’”
Although Shayne warns cruise-goers to check for any pineapples outside rooms, which often hint at fruity activity taking place inside. “I won’t explain anything further but I do recall a lot of crew mentioning that for six weeks, there was a pineapple hanging outside of a door.
“If you were walking through your corridor to get to your room and saw a pineapple, you’d be like, ‘I’m going to leave you to it.’”
The Good Ship Murder airs Friday 13th October at 9pm on Channel 5.
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