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Wednesday 11 January 2017

Michelle, Steve and the miscarriage storyline

These are the new pictures just released by ITV Coronation Street showing the emotional scenes between Steve and Michelle as they head home from hospital after the trauma of Michelle's late miscarriage.

Coronation Street are working with Sands - the stillbirth and neonatal death charity - on this storyline.  The Sands website is here.

Kym Marsh said: “I thought long and hard before agreeing to take on the challenge of this storyline. It is obviously a cause very close to my heart having lost my beautiful Archie at 21 weeks and 5 days. I discussed it with my family and friends, all of who were very supportive.

“In the end I felt it was an important story to tell in order to raise awareness of something which affects thousands of women every year.

“I have had to go to some very dark places in my mind whilst filming these heart-breaking scenes but my family, friends and colleagues have been incredible. Losing a child is something that never leaves you so to revisit those feelings as Michelle has been challenging.

“Coronation Street ensured that I had a counsellor on set at all times to go to after filming the scenes but for me the best tonic after a hugely emotional day was to go home to my kids and be reminded of how lucky I am to have them.

“I am very proud of what we have done with this storyline and I hope it helps raise awareness and helps people to talk about their own experiences.”

Coronation Street producer Kate Oates said: “The subject of miscarriage will always be sensitive; but telling this story with Simon and Kym at the centre would always have an extra poignancy. Through careful writing and research, we hope we are able to encourage discussion, understanding and compassion for those viewers affected by the loss of a baby. The cast were in safe hands with our amazing and empathetic director Tony Prescott, and it has been humbling to see all the actors involved being so selfless and generous in their performances.”

Erica Stewart, Bereavement Support and Awareness Specialist at Sands, said: “We’re pleased to have been approached by the researchers and writers at Coronation Street for advice and help to ensure that this heart-breaking storyline, that will see character Michelle have a late miscarriage at 23 weeks, is portrayed truthfully and sensitively.

“Miscarriage, which is the death of a baby in the first 23 weeks of pregnancy, is not rare. Sadly, it affects 200,000 couples each year in the UK, with most pregnancies ending in the first 12 weeks.

“The death of a baby later than this, but before 24 weeks when the baby’s death becomes a stillbirth, raises many issues. Bereaved mothers of babies who die later in pregnancy but before 24 weeks don’t have the same rights to maternity leave or pay as mothers of stillborn babies, and the baby’s death is not formally registered.

“At Sands, we know how distressing this can be when there is no legal document to say that the baby ever existed. We support anyone affected by the death of a baby, from when they find out their baby has died through to the weeks, months and years ahead.

“We applaud our fellow baby loss charities, such as the Miscarriage Association and Tommy’s, who are involved in campaigning to raise awareness of miscarriage and funding research into its causes.

“For a TV drama like Coronation Street to cover this devastating experience is a brilliant way of raising awareness of the issues surrounding a baby’s death at any gestation.

“The death of a baby is rarely talked about. Many people shy away from the issue, others have a misconception that this is a thing of the past.

“We hope that with a TV drama as popular as Coronation Street covering this heart breaking experience, it will help to lift the taboo, and raise awareness of all the issues that surround the death of a baby.”

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Derelict Cucumberpatch said...

That was the saddest episode I have ever seen, I was in tears. Very well done Kym Marsh & Simon Gregson, powerful stuff!

Anonymous said...

As tragic as the storyline is,judging from the preview pictures,It seems my worst fears have come true and I am not looking forward to Michelle again raging at Steve who's also grieving and suffers from depression and may possibly suffer a relapse.

sweetmeat58 said...

Great sharing the Michelle story for educating the public our family has been fans since 1958, whew! Many storylines have been a bit ridiculous the Phelan thing has gone too far turning Anna sweet Anna into a nut, fail, she never got justice, why? Then rehashing it. The street needs more new men. Sarah daughter trying to sleep with her botyfriend, really? Peter going for Leanne again after what he did to her, no way any woman would take him back. Many strong characters are being made to look pathetic after years of being strong women, why? Oh and Roy standing up a woman he would never do that is he leaving the show because you've ruined years of integrity he had in a quiet, sweet way. To hold onto love of a ghost, Haley is gone now Roy is just pathetic alone what good can come from an ending like that? Get Mary out of Deb's house for the love of God. She's in love with him but not his type having her hover over, pick at every woman Dev is in a relationship with is embarassing. The kids do not need a live in nanny anymore they are old enough to be on auto pilot or cared for by his significant other. Mary is redundant, possessive over a man and family not her own and it's silly just having her lurking sticking her nose into every aspect of Dev's life. Move her out! Making strong Eileen a complete idiot tricked by Phelan has gone too far, end it, no one could be that clueless for that long give her proof all Anna has said is true? He's a rapist allowed to go unpunished too real for many women and allowing him to mock her, attack her, please show some real compassion and end his reign of terror by conviction. Maybe Vic finds God and returns outing Phelan's dirt returns what's left of the money? When is Todd going to get his for knowing all and never having consequences? The priest losing his job, helping Phelan rip off his own family friends, and he gets away without a scratch. Really? Phelan blackmailing another person come on? It's tired, boring Send him down for killing Michael please. He didn't deserve that. Sally's daughter gay never set right but get her a real girlfriend so she can stop being a busybody if she is gay. Gay rights celebration day? Grow her evolution or get her a boyfriend. It's boring me to tears. Let Leannes's son discover Peter spent all his inheritance and drank up the rest. Stop making her a victim. That's about it from a lifetime Corrie fan house put some new strong issues in play Fades new classmate tries to trick or blackmail her into online prostitution, bringing Anna and Kevin back together saving her? Best of luck spice things up and do not forget the purists who have been watching decades you are letting down with these wishy washy storylines. Don't ruin characters loved by all. Thank you kindly for listening . L.M. Cook

Tvor said...

I have a lot of respect for Kym Marsh for doing this story after what she's been through and I read today that Simon Gregson's wife had quite a few miscarraiges so he's certainly experienced Steve's side of the storyline, too.

Cobblestone said...

The performances were terrific, but it was uncomfortable viewing. It began to feel unpleasantly voyeristic.

Anonymous said...


Doodvid said...

I agree the performances were great -but I think the script let Kym & Steve down. There should've been quieter moments when they were holding their son rather than what seemed like forced dialogue (in my opinion). Imagine how more effective that final scene would've been watching two characters sharing an intimate silent moment with the baby, the pain in their faces, grief unspoken, with Michelle finally breaking the moment by uttering "He's my son".

Perhaps I'm cold-hearted, but that last scene felt flat and I was left thinking "was that it?". Sometimes less dialogue can say so much more.

PoidaPete said...

This was very hard to watch, i did need tissues. Well done to Kym and Simon, I cannot imagine how hard these scenes would have been to film. Sadly this is a real part of life and it was done very carefully and respectfully.

abbyk said...

I've never been a fan of Steve or Michelle but this was incredible. Of course it was forced to fit in one 22 minute episode but the impact was there. Cutting to Liz and Leanne grieving for them was what finally got me. Keep the murders and explosions and busses hanging off cliffs, human drama shared by family and friends, this is why I watch.

Tvor said...

Liz especially knows what they're going through as she gave birth to baby Katy who then died. I wonder if there will be any message from Maria who's also been through that.

Anonymous said...

Michelle was brave enough to forego make-uр for these scenes, this made it even more real

Beth said...

I found it incredibly traumatic viewing for early evening. For me it's not family entertainment. Steve Gregson and Kym Marsh were exceptional especially considering their personal experiences, so no slight on their performance at all. It was just too hard to watch.

Anonymous said...

A bit like the raрe of sheila Grant in Brookie, also shocking to watch

Anonymous said...

Executions used to be public until, according to one theory (Foucault, Discipline and Punish), society got sensitized to the awkwardness of making murder into spectacle, so eventually, for discretion's sake, state-sanctioned violence went off-stage and was no longer visible to the masses. The result of that development, at least in the United States, is that capital punishment now happens in a sanitized way, whereas, if more people saw it, they might rally to decry it.

It strikes me as an interesting and important debate - on issues ranging from neonatal death to assisted suicide - whether these are things we actually want to have represented on TV, before or after a certain hour, etc. Some viewers think it's laudable to represent them, others that there should be limits on how and when they should be represented, and others that believe it's never right to make a spectacle of suffering in service of a social or political agenda. Then again, fictionalizations of these events are already a compromise. Wouldn't we rather see them treated in a sensitive manner on a serial drama than graphically represented on the nightly news? If we're not willing to see them represented in any forum, then how do we respond to them as part of our reality?

Anonymous said...

The reality anon 17:38 is that a miscarriage of a yet to be born child is between the parents of that child. No good can come of blasting the info on a family oriented program for all the world to see. Do we really want all children brought up to believe that "oops, sorry, your baby sister and baby brother died before you could even see them - oh well, maybe next time". Is that what you deem portrayed in a sensitive manner so that we can respond to the reality??

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Steve still has another baby on the way Leeanne's. If Michelle ever finds out the truth that will definitely be the end of the marriage.

Anonymous said...

Um, yeah, maybe anon 18:01, it's a private experience between the parents of that child. But did the parents choose that to be the case? My mother miscarried a child before I was born, but I didn't find out about it until after her death, when I came into possession of her medical records. When I asked surviving family members about it, they had no idea it ever happened. It was a more repressive time, when very few people thought it was appropriate to share private business or seek mental health counseling. My mother was troubled by mental health problems which affected me. I can't say definitively that her miscarriage played a part in these problems, but I think that her repressive environment did.

Around the house, as I was cleaning up her things, I found weird groupings of figurines which seemed to represent "families," - a daddy, mommy, child, and ghost. Sometimes they were dolls, other times animals, but always organized by size, with the final member being a different, more translucent colour than the others. This kind of obsessive behaviour suggests to me that she was using the means available to her to express grief that her society - back in the 1950s - didn't let her express any other way.

Thank you Emma for putting together such an eloquent account of your interview with Kate Oates, the actors, and Sands. I found the detail about how bureaucracies deny grieving mothers a birth certificate to be particularly poignant.

abbyk said...

Sarah and Todd as well, esp since Sarah works for Michelle.


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