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

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Jane Danson interview: We owe it to families to tell this story as truthfully as we can

The court case was a huge blow for Leanne in the fight for Oliver. How did Leanne feel when Steve then said he was giving up on the legal battle?
She’s devastated, Steve has been the one constant in backing her all the way. He’s always suppressed his doubts for her so once he changes his mind she really does feel like she’s on her own. She feels abandoned and emotionally battered but she’s not giving up any time soon.

Is there any part of her that thinks he might be right or can she not allow herself to think that?
Everything Steve says she has a counter argument for, she’s clutching at straws. I think maybe deep down she does know what the outcome is going to be but wherever there’s life there’s hope and she’s clinging onto that. It’s easy to say when you’re not the one losing a child that you’d accept it but I think she has to know she’s done everything and she’s just not there yet. There’s a really interesting scene between Toyah and Nick where Toyah says ‘turn the machine off then because that’s what you’re asking Leanne to do’. Nick can’t do it and that cemented how I played it for me, he couldn’t turn it off but that’s what he’s asking her to do. As a mother she can’t do it and that’s the bottom line for me. 

Is it another blow when Imran says he’s no longer willing to represent her?
It just feels like the whole world is now against her, every time she turns around someone is beating her down and telling her no. She really thought that there was hope with the appeal but now everyone is turning their back on her and saying enough. She's not ready for that, she’s not prepared to let go, and she goes a bit crazy with it. I think it consumes her every being, she can’t eat, she can’t sleep, she’s emotionally drained. She locks herself into the solicitors office and we see that she’s hovering over the edge. She can’t understand why no one will help her, it feels like everyone is against her and it’s really sad.

She takes it out on Toyah, does it feel like the whole world is against her?
As well as Steve, Toyah’s been the other constant for Leanne, she always has been throughout their life. Leanne’s the stroppy, feisty one who can be hurtful at times but Toyah is always there for her no matter what. Leanne does apologise, she’s been her punch bag, a referee, but she’s still here and ultimately it’s Toyah who makes her realise that she has done everything she can. I think because it comes from Toyah, in a really sensitive manner then that’s the voice she finally hears. Leanne has exhausted every avenue that’s been available to her and sadly she really has come to the end of the road.

When Oliver arrests in the hospital does this change things for Leanne?
Yes I think there’s a little bit of her that thinks if this is it then I won’t have to make a choice and she can no longer blame herself but then she feels guilty for having that thought. She’s so emotionally exhausted that she maybe can’t see as clearly as everybody around her but when he does have the arrest it’s touch and go. He pulls thought because of Leanne’s request to resuscitate but there’s a huge element of guilt in that too.  

Even having made the decision, how hard is it to say goodbye?
It’s her worst nightmare, all this fight now for nothing, she’s done everything and it hasn’t changed anything. She’s devastated by the loss of what could have been, everyone else’s life is going on, Nick now has a son and Oliver will never even get to Sam’s age. She’s trapped in a vicious circle of guilt, anger, sadness and despair. It’s devastating, for everything Leanne is she has got a heart and it’s going to be completely broken. The journey to say goodbye is absolutely devastating.  

Nick tries to be there for Leanne but how damaged is their relationship at this point? Do you think they can find a way forward?
I think there’s a lot of damage but that’s not to say it can’t be repaired. There’s been no time for her to adjust to this new child that’s around. He’s in a really difficult position too but to Leanne it just feels like a betrayal, it feels like he’s replacing Oliver and it feels like his attention has been with his new family. It’s a really difficult situation, she knows Nick can’t ignore his son, it’s just the worst timing. In terms of layers of a storyline it’s fantastic.  

How hard have you found it to play this part as a mum yourself?
Being in a hospital set for 12 hours a day talking about a dying child is tough but this happens to real families and we owe it to them to tell it as truthfully as we can. The scripts have been amazing and it’s not been hard to feel the sadness but at the same time over the years I’ve learnt to switch off for my family. You have to be able to box it and have family time; meals, homework, dropping the kids off.

What has the response been like on social media?
I’ve had so many messages from families going through something similar, a lady stopped me on the street and we had a chat about her son, she said how Leanne reacted was exactly how she reacted. The anger, the fear, the denial, the despair. She said it really brought it home but strangely really helped seeing someone else go through the same emotions. From the messages I’ve had it seems to be quite cathartic for some people, maybe because their story and their voices are being heard. More people than you realise are or have been through similar situations and if it provokes conversations and helps some people then it can’t be a bad thing. 

How important is it that soaps play out storylines like this?
Soap can be so high profile and so constant that it has the opportunity to provoke thought and bring attention to issues maybe not discussed.

You did a lot of research with The Lily Foundation, how did you find that?
I’d never heard of the condition and when you find out more it’s possibly one of the most awful things for your child to be diagnosed with but the way people cope is phenomenal. I met with Liz Curtis the founder of the Lily Foundation who is an amazing lady, she’s been through this journey herself then selflessly set up a charity to help other families and has raised lots of money to fund research and support. That’s what she chose to do after going through the most devastating thing that life can throw at you and I think that’s incredible.

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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Anonymous said...

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Coronation street was conceived to be a drama about the everyday life of ordinary folk not a public service information programme about every medical condition there is.

Sharon Boothroyd said...

I suppose some of these ordinary folk do suffer from at least 1 medical condition, but I understand your point. Sometimes, it also feels like 'issues street' too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous[12;07]that Coronation should return to it's roots and not have every storyline be an issue storyline.
I still don't quite understand what Oliver's illness was and frankly having Nick's son Sam introduced only undermined Nick's feeligs about Oliver in this storyline and even worse Nick cheating on Leanne with Natasha as every 'issue storyline'involves someone cheating.
I have a bad feeling that once Oliver does die that he'll be forgotten [as many characters who have died usually are ]and so will his illness.

C in Canada said...

@Anonymous - how is Nick cheating on Leanne? By seeing his son?
Odd way to phrase it. He isn't sleeping with Natasha.
Also, no one remembered Oliver when he was alive, so yes I would agree that no one's going to remember him once he's gone. Shame that. Poor lad never had a chance.

popcorn said...

This is so clearly written by ITV and not by Jane Danson. Much as I have hated the story line (yawn), I must say that Jane did a wonderful job as an actress.

Anonymous said...

C in Canada,I was referring to the scene in which Natasha dropped in to see Nick while Leanne and Steve were in court and there was an implication that Nick and Natasha had 'grief sex'hence my statement that he may have cheated on Leanne with her.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous [20:53], Rachel Leskovac was asked if Natasha is coming back to get together with Nick. She answered: “No. I was relieved when I got the call, I wondered if she was coming back to steal someone’s man because you see that quite often in character returns but luckily it’s a story that has a bit more depth than that”

So Nick has not had an affair and he isn’t going to have an affair.

There wasn’t any “grief sex”, there wasn’t any cheating

Quite frankly, it’s very unfair to assume Nick was cheating. It fuels the stereotype that step dads cheat on their partners when their step child is dying or ill.


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