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

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Jane Danson interview: Oliver's deadly diagnosis

Is there any talk of what Oliver could be suffering from?

Epilepsy is mentioned at first, I think with the seizures that’s the most comparable thing.

How do they feel the first time mitochondrial disease is mentioned?

They have no idea what it is but they do that thing they’re told not to do but we all do and they google it. That gives them the absolute worst case scenario, the black and white of the disease and the bare bones of what will happen to Oliver and at that point it’s just devastating. Leanne has been in a bit of denial but this is the worst possible news.

Does Leanne feel alone?

Oliver is Leanne’s only blood connection on the street, so there’s a massive sense of loneliness for Leanne too. She pushes everyone away and tries to deal with it all herself   

How much pressure does this put on Leanne’s relationship with Nick?

Nick and Leanne have been through so much over the years and they do love each other but they have this thing whereby if something goes wrong they don’t necessarily become closer they push each other away and she certainly pushes him away. He’s worried about her because she’s in this really dark place. So many relationships become fractured because of all these options that become available to them.

Does it bring Leanne and Steve closer together as parents or does they find themselves pitted against each other with their views?

A bit of both really, they’re the ones who have been in all the meetings and faced the news together. There are moments of real support and being there for each other but there are also moments of rubbing each other up the wrong way. 

What research have you and team done into this storyline?

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. 

Have you found it hard to film?

I’ve been amazed by the little boys who play Oliver, the twins Jermiah and Emmanuel are only 3 and they’ve been unbelievable. They’ve done everything they’ve been asked, they’ve had medical equipment stuck to them, they’ve had to lay down in a hospital bed and be still and that’s really tough for a 3 year old. We’ve also got a body double George who’s older but quite small and he’s been an absolute star as well. Because they’ve been so brilliant and the scripts have been so heartbreaking, it’s not been hard to find the emotion. So has it been hard to film emotionally, yes, the subject matter is harrowing so that’s tough, as a mum you can put yourself in that situation. But has it been hard to get there, no, because the scripts are so truthful and our little boys have done what they needed to do so well that it’s made my job a lot easier.

Glenda Young
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