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Tuesday 28 November 2017

Coronation Street Blog Interview with Faye Brookes & Bhavna Limbachia

I travelled to Weatherfield recently to interview the actors together who play Kate and Rana in Coronation Street.

It’s clear that Bhavna Limbachia, who plays Rana, and Faye Brooks, who plays Kate, are enjoying acting out this story line together. Both girls were so enthusiastic about the drama and the conflict that their storyline produces.

Apart from the storyline and the acting, both were extra keen to support the LGBT community, with Bhavna emphasising just how difficult life can be for a Muslim who discovers that his/her sexuality doesn’t exactly coincide with Islam’s teaching. Bhavna wishes to highlight this dilemma which, tragically, can pull families apart, resulting in a permanent estrangement. Even worse, it can end in suicide. 

Whatever one’s views on religion and sexuality, it would be hard to deny that these young actors are doing their best for the LGBT community, using their platform, on an iconic television programme, to bring about awareness and eventually, hopefully – tolerance. As we know only too well, Coronation Street has often dealt with controversial issues, so this is just one more.

Bhavna undertook much research, in order to make the same-sex affair of Kate and Rana seem genuine, and was particularly keen to explore the cultural aspects of her character, finding herself in love with a woman. In secret, Bhavna spoke to several teenage Pakistani girls and found that a large percentage of then were self-harming – clear evidence of the turmoil experienced by many who are confused by their sexuality and the teachings of their religion – not to mention how their families would react.  This is the first time for Rana, but with Kate, she’s been there before and significantly, has always been accepted and loved by her family, for who she is.

Back on the cobbles, Rana is pushing her feelings for Kate as far away as she can, in a desperate attempt to stay with Zeedan, who, Bhavna confirmed, Rana really does love. As we witnessed, Rana explained to the Iman that she loved 2 people and sought his advice. It is noteworthy that Rana did not mention that one of the people she loves is female.  
The wedding to Zeedan has gone ahead but it hasn’t produced what Rana hoped it would – a total devotion to her loyal, loving husband, who has suffered enough in his young life as he has lost both his parents. Rana feels she can’t add to that sorrow, but she loves Kate. In one scene, the street food van breaks down, and at this point in the storyline, Rana and Kate aren’t speaking, but the van problem breaks the ice. They head off to a nearby pub and it is here that Rana breaks down and tells Kate all about her past, about which Kate had no clue. And nor did we.

At one point, Luke sees the two girls looking very close and it is hard for him to keep the secret, as he is the boyfriend of Alya, Zeedan’s sister. Later, Luke, finding it really difficult to keep a secret, approaches Zeedan, but is stopped in his tracks when Rana announces that she’s pregnant. Kate, is as heartbroken , as Zeedan is delighted. Kate feels she will never get her happy ending. Kate is now in turmoil and there are lots of tears but Bhavna and Faye hinted that it’s not over yet…

For Rana, it’s not much easier. She’s always been a bit of a rebel, never enjoyed a good relationship with her family and fears that her family will disown her now, if they discover Rana loves a woman. Whatever she does, she will break someone’s heart. This version of Rana is a far cry from the voracious man-eater who appeared on the cobbles in the beginning. Bhavna confirmed that this side of her was a mere cover for her difficult home life.

Who can Kate turn to? Well, her options are limited in that her friends are closely linked to both herself and to Rana. And then, just in time, Carla Connor appears. Kate confides in Carla and Carla listens completely without judgement.
By Ruth Owen, twitter: @ruth1722

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