Gritty sagas by Corrie blog editor Glenda Young, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Corrie's Oliver to be killed off?

Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) will receive devastating news  when their three year old son Oliver (Emmanuel and Jeremiah Cheetham) is diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

Oliver became unwell last month while in the care of dad Steve McDonald, who had briefly left his son with teen Summer (Matilda Freeman).

Doctors initially put this down to a febrile convulsion, but when Oliver suffers another seizure this week, he is rushed to hospital for tests, where doctors start to fear his condition could be more serious.

As they await a diagnosis, Leanne and Steve try to stay strong for Oliver but a further seizure and a diagnosis of a *Mitochondrial disorder leaves them devastated.

In the months to come Leanne and Steve will be forced to come to terms with the heartbreaking diagnosis which will leave Oliver with a life limiting illness for which there is currently no cure.

Coronation Street’s research team worked closely with The Lily Foundation, a charity that supports families and funds research into mitochondrial disease, to ensure the storyline closely reflects the experiences of families with children with mitochondrial disorders.

Professor Robert McFarland from the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research in Newcastle was also consulted to ensure script accuracy.

Jane Danson said “We’ve worked closely with Liz Curtis at The Lily Foundation. It was harrowing hearing the story of what happened to her daughter Lily but also really amazing to hear how people come through this, how they support each other and learn to live again. It’s almost too much to comprehend but I came away from the meeting bowled over by her bravery and how amazing she is as a human being. She shared with me how she felt emotionally, how she got through her days, how people rallied around her. I’ve also read a lot of literature about how families cope around their children’s diagnosis with life limiting illnesses, looking at the human elements to their stories amidst all the medical speak and hoping I can get it right. It is quite overwhelming, I’ve been so lucky to have so many stories with Leanne over the last 20 odd years but this one feels different, this one could really break her and it feels like it’s the one where I’ve got the most responsibility to get it right.” 

Liz Curtis, CEO and co-founder of The Lily Foundation said: “All of us at The Lily Foundation are excited to be working with Coronation Street on a storyline about a child with a mitochondrial disorder, and grateful to the show for highlighting an issue that affects hundreds of families in the UK.

For everyone who has worked hard for years to raise awareness about mitochondrial diseases, in particular for families living with a diagnosis and those who have lost a child, having their story told on one of the nation's most popular soap operas is truly momentous news.

There is currently no cure for mitochondrial diseases, so those diagnosed face an uncertain future. We have been impressed with how sensitively the show's researchers and script writers have handled this, listening to those who have been affected by the disease and the doctors who support them. We see this as a very positive step in our ongoing fight to raise awareness about mitochondrial diseases, support affected families and fund research to find a cure.”

Professor Robert McFarland said: “At a time when the health of our nation has never been more in focus and when conveying simple health messages have proved so challenging, it is a testament to the acting, writing and directing skills of the Coronation Street team that they have taken on the challenge of such an emotionally, medically and ethically complex issue as mitochondrial disease. The attention that this focus brings on rare, inherited and life-limiting conditions is not only welcome, but vital, if we are to succeed in supporting individuals and their families and to find effective treatments. The mitochondrial team at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University have been delighted to help with the development of this storyline.”

Of his decision to tackle this difficult storyline producer Iain MacLeod said: “This is a story about a family coming to terms with the most difficult news anyone can face and the ways in which this strengthens and shatters relationships in unpredictable ways. Above all, we wanted to do justice to the stories of the many thousands of families who have to deal with diagnoses similar to Oliver’s, be it a mitochondrial disorder or another life-limiting condition. It is something that, as a society, we find difficult to talk about but which is all too common. The taboo around these illnesses can mean awareness is low, which means funding for research is low. Aside from telling a brilliant, moving and emotionally complex story, we really hope to draw attention to this subject to change this situation for the better.”

*Mitochondrial disease, or 'mito', is the term given to a group of medical disorders caused by mutations in mitochondria, the tiny organelles that are present in nearly every cell in our bodies and which generate about 90% of the energy we need to live. Cells cannot function properly without healthy mitochondria, so when they fail the consequences can be serious and wide-ranging.

Mitochondrial diseases affect people in multiple ways, depending on which cells are affected. This can make the condition hard to diagnose, as symptoms often resemble those of other serious illnesses. For example, a person with mitochondrial disease may suffer from seizures, fatigue, vision and hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, respiratory problems or poor growth. Any of the body's organs and systems can be affected including the brain, heart, lungs, gut, liver and skin.

If you are affected or are living with someone who has a mitochondrial disease, for information about the disease and the support available please visit

Glenda Young
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Anonymous said...

just what we need, a nice depressing story about a child potentially dying.

I know it was written long before the virus and lockdown but the timing is not good.

I hope the make it a bit more positive as we need that after all this

Sharon at A Quick Read said...

I agree. I can't see how this is going to cheer viewers up, really.
The Corrie team ought to bear in mind that it's difficult to feel concern about a child who, like Sarah's Harry and Izzy's Jake, has hardly appeared on screen.
These 3 children are only brought out for very brief appearances. I suspect the quads will be tucked away in the exactly the same manner- brought out when they start school.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with dark storylines but I think the show needs to balance them out with heartwarming moments too. We never see families going on days out, friends hanging out, couples being in love. If we don't get these happy moments inbetween then it's hard to invest or care about these characters. Leanne and Oliver have barely featured this year so this story won't carry as much weight because we've not seen them as a happy family unit. Corrie forgets you need to see the calm before the storm.
Still it's good to see Leanne getting some long overdue screentime.

Anonymous said...

I do wish the producers would realise Coronation Street is just a drama and not a public information service about every illness there is.

Anonymous said...

I also wish that the writers would stop with every storyline being a social or medical issue and go back to day to dramas of the residents.
I an disappointed that Tracy isn't in the hospital to support her husband as Steve has to deal with the possibility of losing another son.
I do hope that if he does die[heaven forbid] that Oliver isn't forgotten by his family as Billy Grimshaw and Jake Webster[who was born and died on the same day that Bethany was born] seem to be.

Bobby Dazzler said...

Far too much drama...knew it when they included a hospital and cop shop on the new set...way of the world eh?

Let's face it, Corrie has lost it's magic, and the only thing that I've been interested in at all is the Geoff/Yaz story. I was hoping to see Yasmeen emerge a strong vibrant woman, but they'll play her as a weak,sad woman.

Let's see more of the Sally and Tim dynamic, funny, cute, and lovable...less of the angst and pain for a bit. No more Gary/Kelly for a bit either, now it's getting to be just weird. Would like more scenes in the pub again though, the Rover's is a spot where people can let their hair down, and Carla and Peter as landlords...Genius!

I wish Corrie would stop trying to educate us, and just entertain us.
After lockdown lightens up, they may be hard pressed to attract the fans back again..especially the loyalists!

Anonymous said...

Would anyone notice?


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