Daytime Legend Peter Reckell Talks ‘Days of Our Lives’ Move to Peacock, the Loves of Bo Brady’s Life and How This Return to Salem Will Be Different (EXCLUSIVE)

Peter Reckell
Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Picture it: Salem. 1983. A tall, dark and handsome bad boy rides into town on a motorcycle and upends the lives of all its residents. He also cements a permanent place in the hearts of viewers for decades to come.

With a brief stint on As The World Turns under his belt, Peter Reckell forged his path to daytime royalty as the bad news little brother of fan favorite, Roman Brady on Days Of Our Lives. But it wouldn’t take him long to carve out a lane of his own. Over the next 40 years, Beauregard Aurelius Brady would become a beloved and integral part of the NBC sudster whether his character was on screen or not. From the shock of Bo’s true paternity to one — if not the — greatest daytime love stories of all time, Peter humbly credits the writing for his character’s longevity and popularity. But we know that the writing would mean little if the portrayer was anything less than iconic.

TV Source Magazine was honored to sit down with Peter Reckell to discuss Bo’s return to Salem, who he is eager for his character to reconnect with and if Bope fans can expect immediate gratification or just a tad bit more torture.

In previous interviews, you mentioned that the vibe onset at Beyond Salem felt alive again in a way that it wasn’t during the end of your previous runs. Now that you’ve returned to the main show, how would you describe the onset vibe now compared to when the show aired on network tv? 

We have a little bit more freedom now that it’s on Peacock. So that helps. It’s more freedom in terms of storylines, as well as more freedom in regards to both language and content. So that kind of opens things up for you as an actor. When I first started on Days, especially with the character I’m playing being so “out there” with his emotions, my language sometimes needed to be curbed. But nowadays it’s nice to have that freedom as an actor to express those emotions.

The show went through, as all of us, some pretty incredible things with the pandemic. The results of which remain with us. For the show, production became much more streamlined. So as an actor, you really have to be prepared when you go in. You don’t get a lot of rehearsal. 

For me, it’s been different than everyone else’s experience because I’m coming back and I’ve got this atmosphere of friends both in the cast and crew. For example, the other day I finished a scene and I went back to pick up a prop behind a set. I heard one of the cameramen say to the other cameraman, who was new, “Hey, it’s so great to have Pete back. He really knows how to help us out.” I was like, “Oh my God, I couldn’t get a better compliment from somebody on the crew than that.” 

So yeah, it’s been great to be back on the show.

Based on all of the press surrounding the move from NBC to Peacock, a big factor in the decision appeared to be how well the Beyond Salem franchise performed. You’re no stranger to the growing online soap genre. How did it feel knowing that you were a part of moving the soap genre into the future on a new platform? 

That’s kind of hard to talk about without sounding a little bit egotistical, but it feels good. They asked me if I wanted to be part of the Emmys, and I was like, you know what? That’s a whole political thing. I’ve already gotten my accolades, but just being there and seeing the show being picked up through its 60th year, and people in the crew saying, “Hey, it’s good to have you back. you’re helping out the show.” 

That’s enough for me. I don’t need to get an Emmy or anything. Just the day to day emotions from the cast and crew is better than anything else.

Some fans were initially apprehensive about the move to Peacock, but it seems like the actors have really enjoyed it. Have you felt any big differences in production from NBC to Peacock?

When I was doing the stuff in heaven, they had me swear a couple of times and I was like, “I don’t think I can do that.” It was difficult for me. However, I think I did a couple of times on this go around, but mostly because of where my character is at the time. Bo’s been through an awful lot and done some crazy things. But this go around is unlike anything that he’s been through before.

I think the audience is going to be glad to see him, but also shouting, “what the heck is the matter with you” while throwing things at the TV. So it’s going to be quite a ride.

As Bope fans, we have to admit that we have been through quite a bit over the decades and we never really got our happily ever after that so many super couples have received. What would you like to say to the Bo and Hope fans that never gave up and where can we expect their story to go? 

Photo: JPI

For Bo and Hope, their best love stories are always ones where the circumstances keep them apart and they are struggling to get back together. That’s what we have coming up here as these circumstances will keep them apart but obviously you know their love is going to carry them through. 

To have fans who — you know, fans just doesn’t seem the right word, they’re almost like friends who’ve been there, and it’s because of them that this couple has survived.

I mean, it’s crazy. I first left the show over ten years ago [in 2012]. I came back because Bo’s absence was really felt strongly by the audience. They didn’t have a chance to really say goodbye. So I came back for that stint, where Bo passed away [in 2015], so that the audience had a chance to say goodbye to Bo. At the time we thought that that was going to be it. There was so much uncertainty with the future of Daytime. We are one of four shows left, and who knew what was going to happen to Days of Our Lives? But despite all the odds it is still going, and now we’ve gotten picked up and we’re going to make it to the 60th anniversary, which is astounding.

So when I left the show, I didn’t know that I would have an opportunity like this to come back. 

The reaction from the audience to Bo and Hope coming back is just breathtaking to me. We’ve had amazing storylines and I’m pretty excited to be back and to see what else they can come up with for Bo and Hope.

It’s been over fifteen years since you last appeared in a scene with Brandon Beemer’s Shawn-Douglas and you have never shared a scene with Victoria Konefal’s Ciara. What was it like getting to work with your on-screen kids?

I have been so lucky to work with some amazing actors. I actually had an idea about presenting a storyline for Ciara and Bo because the audience reaction to that relationship is quite large. She’s just an incredible little actress and I would love to work with her. To be able to bring in this older audience that I have and combine it with the younger audience that she has I think would be wonderful.

In the past, Bo’s had very multifaceted relationships from Mrs. H, his mother, Pops, his brother and his sisters. So it’d be awesome to be able to work with my family, specifically my kids again.

On May 3rd, 1983 the character of Bo Brady debuted on DAYS and immediately became a fan favorite. What about the character do you think has resonated so much with fans? 

You know, if I could answer that question, I’d probably be a very rich producer. Most of it had to do with the writing. The writing was multifaceted and had storylines that were rather long. You’d have arcs that were six to eight months long. One of the biggest being the storyline revolving around the prisms and our trip to New Orleans. 

Honestly, Kristian and I just gave everything we had. We worked really hard. We both had a similar work ethic. To this day when we get together, we’re like, okay, how can we make this work? And what can we do? It’s that respect for each other. So when we look into each other’s eyes on screen you can see that. I think that’s what really pulls people in. When we have that close up just on our eyes, there’s no faking the audience out. It’s got to be there, and hopefully that’s what the audience will see in this go around, too. 

As previously mentioned, your character quickly became a fan favorite and really took off in 1984 when Roman Brady “died”. The then final scenes that you shared with Wayne Northrop are still highly regarded for your performances. Was the dynamic between you and Wayne similar to that of Bo and Roman?

Oh, absolutely. And it wasn’t just Wayne, you know, it was James [Reynolds] and Deidre [Hall]. I was thrown in with these icons of Daytime. I had done my two years on As the World Turns, so I knew a little bit about Daytime television. But to be thrown in the mix with these powerhouses was a learning lesson. They helped me along quite a bit. I learned an awful lot from them, and Frances Reid. The Bo and Mrs. H. relationship was one of the more important relationships in Bo’s life. I was extremely fortunate to work with those people and I learned an awful lot with them. 

Bo has had many great loves in his life. What was your reaction when you learned that Bo’s ex Megan Hathaway would be behind his return? 

It’s perfect, you know, especially with the ultimate Daytime villains no longer there. It just makes sense, especially the fact that Bo and Megan had a relationship pre-Days of Our Lives. So it’s just perfect for the writers coming up with that. It’s a perfect segway.

Recently, we sadly lost John Aniston who played Victor Kiriakis, Bo Brady’s biological father. What was your favorite memory of working with him?

Yeah, that hit me hard. I didn’t even realize how much he meant to me. Having my father pass just recently, and when I found out John passed it hit me pretty hard.

I think the best compliment you can get as an actor is when you hear “I didn’t catch you acting” and that’s what it was with him. You could never catch him. He just was.  Looking into his eyes when I was on set, I never saw anything but my father, or at the beginning this asshole who mistreated my sister, he just was. Every day I’d go in and work with him in his dressing room and he’d have a couple of jokes, always a couple of jokes and honestly some advice quite often, whether it was something about the show or mostly about life, ranging from the stock market to my personal life. He was always there. He was very wise and able to help me out during difficult circumstances. So going into rehearsal with him wasn’t always just about rehearsal. It was just a couple of jokes to lift my spirits or some advice to help me out through some circumstances.

Is there a current actor you’d like to work with or a character that you would like Bo to interact with that you may not have yet?

I think with my kids I’d really like to build those relationships because it seems like the audience wants to see that. They want to see us build on those, especially with Victoria. She has sort of taken on, or rather they have given her the mantle of Bo Brady’s spirit. The rebel, and she’s quite a feisty little actress and performer and people have recognized that as a Bo Brady attribute. So it’d be cool to get the two of us together.

We expect a lot of twists and turns as Bo and Hope’s return story unfolds. What can you tease for viewers?

As we see coming out of the cryogenics with Megan, she’s obviously going to have some kind of hold over Bo and when we’re looking at what’s keeping Bo and Hope apart, obviously Megan’s going to do everything she can to make Bo love her and try to rekindle what they had 40 years ago. Megan’s going to be the fly in the ointment, as they say.

Bo is coming with his memory of who he is right? Because sometimes whenever someone comes back from the dead or they’re coming back from, you know, a suspended state of reality, they don’t always have their memory of who they are and who they love. So we’re hoping that Bo comes back and he’s aware of who he is. He’s trying to get back to his family because if he comes back and his memories are wiped out, that’s just going to take a very long time.

His memories aren’t going to be wiped out, that I can guarantee you. But who he cares about and honestly more searching for himself because he doesn’t really know where he’s going and what his priorities are, which is the interesting part about him because his priorities are shifted. So that’s how they elongated the story. If you want to see Bo and Hope together right away…

Not going to happen.

On a personal note, what is something that you would tell others about life in Alaska that they may be surprised to know?

It’s incredibly beautiful. When people first learn that we’ve been in New Zealand, and now we’re in Alaska, I’d say, “Yeah, we just want to live in the places that people want to visit.” People go, “Wow, you lived in New Zealand, that must be beautiful.” We’re like, “Yep, it was” then people will say they want to go on a cruise to Alaska. To which I’m like “Yep, you should, because it’s beautiful here.”

I grew up in Michigan and lived part of my childhood in Marquette, Michigan, which is right on Lake Superior. So the weather there was very similar to here, maybe not quite as long or quite as cold, but very similar. I thought I might have some issues living here. Kelly is absolutely loving it because she’s back home. But I fell right into it. I got my mountain bike all set up. So I’m still riding my bike over the winter. I feel at home here. 

Climate change is really hitting Alaska hard and faster than quite a few places on Earth. I’ve always been an advocate for the environment, and have done so via social media.I recently recorded a video to the Alabama song “Pass It Down” which came out in the early 90s. There were people aware of what was going to happen in regards to climate change a long time ago. There’s a line in that song that says, “Now we all outta feel just a little bit guilty, When we look into the eyes of our kids, ‘Cause, brothers, it’s a fact, if we take and don’t put back, They’ll have to pay for all we did.” 

That’s a huge part of who I am. Because I’ve got a daughter now and knowing what she is going to be faced with when I’m gone is… To see the hurt and pain in her eyes is. That’s hard to face. 

As a veteran in this ever changing industry that is Hollywood, What advice would you give to up and coming actors that you wish you’d known as a young actor?

This is something I’ve said forever. If you’ve got something to fall back on if acting doesn’t work out, just go ahead and do that because this is a very difficult path in your life. So go ahead and take on your second plan. As long as you’ve got that in your back pocket, it’s ok if you don’t make it in this industry. 

Thank you so much for speaking with us today. We are huge fans and are very excited about your return. We can’t wait to see what unfolds!

Peacock is now the new exclusive home of the fan-favorite drama series Days of our Lives. The 61-time Emmy Award-winning daytime drama began streaming daily ONLY on Peacock in September. In addition to new episodes streaming daily, the past season will also be available exclusively to Peacock Premium customers.

Peacock is also home to the Peacock’s Original limited drama series Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem and the holiday film Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas.

Ashley Dionne
Ashley Dionne joined the TV Source Magazine team in December 2014. She served as TV Source's deputy editor from 2016-2019. In 2021, she resumed hosting duties on the TV Source Podcast.

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