Nathan Graham speaks out after Coronation Street exit as James Bailey
Nathan Graham has spoken about departing ITV’s Coronation Street with his final episode airing tonight.
The actor’s character James Bailey left the cobbles of Weatherfield behind in Monday night’s episode.
Speaking about deciding to leave, Nathan said: “I am the sort of person who lives in the moment and goes with what feels right. When it came to my decision to leave I mean it was very difficult, it was a tough thing to decide, obviously for various reasons.
“Going from a place of security to not know what is next is scary and a risk. But then also it was just the right decision and it felt right. I had a good chat with Iain MacLeod and he understood my decision. I have had some great storylines and I did wonder where the character could go next so I felt it was time to go and do something different for me.
“At this moment in time I only have myself to think of and that is the time to step out of your comfort zone. Once you are settled down with responsibilities and a family to think of it isn’t as easy to make that leap.”
He said of filming his final scenes: “It was strange as my actual final scene of James leaving was filmed a few weeks before I finished filming so I had James’ departure which was emotional and then a couple of weeks later my own final moments so it was a bit of a double whammy really. It felt like I got to say goodbye twice.”
Nathan continued: “It was emotional and I did fill up. I am so close to my on screen family so I know I will see them all again but that was my last time being part of the on screen Bailey family. There were a lot of similarities between James’ departure and my own, he is sad to be going but is excited about his future and so am I.
“James’ family are upset he is leaving but can see this is an exciting new chapter for him so they are pleased for him and that was the same with Trevor, Lorna, Ryan, Vinta and Channique so it felt very real.”
Nathan also shared his pride at being part of the soap’s first black family, saying: “It was such a special thing, it had taken a long time for the casting process to make sure they got the chemistry right and find a family unit, almost a year I think. So I can remember the first day we were all there to work together and then we did a publicity event to introduce the family and it all felt so surreal. We all just got on so well from day one. It felt like such an exciting time and there was such a buzz in the building.
“We are proud to have been the first black family on the street, the reaction was amazing. For me I also had the story about James coming out. It was such an honour to be given the opportunity to tell a story like that. For both stories I was excited, we all were but there was also a certain amount of pressure that we all felt to get it right. We all felt very grateful but we just wanted to deliver.”
Finally, Nathan revealed the one keepsake he had to take with him when he left.
He explained: “They told me I could take some stuff from his wardrobe so I have got a few pairs of trainers and of course I couldn’t leave without his Weatherfield County shirt as a keepsake with his name and number on the back but I don’t think I will be walking around wearing it.”
Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8PM on ITV.
You can catch up with episodes on ITV Hub here.
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