HE’S known as Corrie baddie Geoff Metcalfe – who tormented his girlfriend with a devastating campaign of coercive control.
But in his latest project, Ian Bartholomew is taking on a very different role.
The star of stage and screen is the driving force behind a powerful video urging “all men” to speak out against violence against women.
A line-up of 14 male actors — including Line Of Duty’s Mark Bonnar and The Crown’s Jason Watkins — call on men to “challenge themselves and others to do better”.
Ian, 67, revealed it was his time playing creepy Geoff that sparked his “real anger” about the abuse of women.
He said: “I played that horrible man for three years and I started to learn about male behaviour behind closed doors, coercive behaviour, abuse.
“This film is now horribly appropriate — and now has got to be the time for change.
“All the women who have died at the hands of men this year. It’s shocking. I’m angry women can’t walk the streets without fear of attack.”
The moving All Men film features 14 well-known British actors, including Downton Abbey star Jim Carter, EastEnders’ actor Don Gilet and Blackadder’s Tim McInnerny.
Tim argues that men need to “stop making excuses”, while Shetland star Bonnar calls on men to “stand up against the normalisation of harassment”.
They say: “All men, be part of the solution not the problem. Women and girls should be safe in and out of the home. Look at yourself, take responsibility.”
The video is released today, just days after twisted killer cop Wayne Couzens was handed a whole-life tariff for the rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in a fake Covid arrest this year.
HOW TO HELP: You can donate here: womensaid.org.uk/donate
It also follows the murders of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, who were killed by Danyal Hussein, 19, in a park while celebrating Bibaa’s birthday.
And most recently, the film comes after the death of Sabina Nessa, 28, who went missing as she walked to a pub near her home in South East London last month.
Created by Ian and his director wife Loveday Ingram for Women’s Aid, the two-minute clip is a rebuttal to the controversial “not all men” movement.
Ian said that while “not all men abuse, rape or murder women”, they do “need to take responsibility for changing the behaviours of those who do”.
He said: “People were using the ‘not all men’ phrase and hashtag on social media saying, ‘Well, I don’t do it’.
“What do you want — a medal? If you’re a man then you should take responsibility for getting rid of this casual sexism and abusive behaviour that we have all been guilty of.”
Ian believes the onus is on men to tackle the “deep-rooted problems” women face. And he slams as “nonsense” the recent police advice for women to flag down a bus if concerned about an arresting officer.
He said: “Rape, harassment, abuse and murder of women is not going to stop unless men stop doing it. It’s not something that women should have to think about. It is up to men to change this.”
Ian had a key role in one of Coronation Street’s most dramatic storylines as his character Geoff bullied his partner Yasmeen Nazir. As his behaviour escalated, the brute served Yasmeen’s pet chicken for dinner, and locked her in a box.
If you’re a man then you should take responsibility for getting rid of this casual sexism and abusive behaviour that we have all been guilty of.
To prepare for the role, Ian met domestic abuse survivors.
He said: “I was shocked by the violence meted out by these men. Going on set every day and having to be that person was very upsetting.”
But the role led to a close working relationship with Women’s Aid, who advised writers on the plot lines.
Ian said: “Through Women’s Aid, I learned how to create this character, but I was also learning – as Ian – of behaviours I’d been susceptible to.
“I’ve never done any of those terrible things. But one can remember times when one was dismissive of women and treated them rather shabbily.”
Women’s Aid chief executive Farah Nazeer said: “Women are experiencing extreme collective fear, so it is hopeful to see this group of men help bring about the change we are calling for.
“Men must reflect on outdated misogynistic views. They must take ownership of ending violence against women and do better. Vitally, men must raise boys to respect women as equals for future generations.”
8 ways that men can make a difference
- We can confront sexist behaviour and sexist comments we witness among friends or colleagues rather than laughing it off as banter.
- We can take responsibility for our male friends who are abusive or controlling in their relationships. We have a tendency to turn away saying it is none of our business. It is our business and we should have the courage to confront it.
- We can educate younger men who look up to us about domestic abuse, healthy relationships and healthy attitudes towards women.
- We can learn what does and does not constitute abuse, so we are better able to recognise it in ourselves and others.
- We can question whether our relationships with women are controlling, coercive, abusive and/or violent. If they are, we can take steps to address this.
- We can report people we know to the police for abusive or controlling behaviour in acknowledgement of the fact that often the women don’t feel able to do it themselves.
- If we know women who are being abused we can discreetly help them gather evidence of the abuse in case it may be of use later in a court of law.
- We can donate money. Life-saving domestic abuse services are severely underfunded and there is a lack of space in UK domestic abuse refuges. womensaid.org.uk/donate
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