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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Sam Retford interview: The truth about Curtis is out

The truth is out! Tonight’s Corrie revealed that Curtis Delamere does not have a life-threatening heart condition, but instead has factitious disorder. We chatted to Sam Retford who explains Curtis’s life-altering condition, and what it could mean for his future with Emma.  

This storyline has been brewing ever since Curtis first stepped onto the cobbles, and Sam told us he “knew from day one.” He said: “That was sort of what attracted me to the role so much. 

“When else am I going to get this opportunity to play the long game? We had so many chats with production. It was just an amazing experience to be able to build a character for the last seven months, but always in the back of my mind knowing where it was going. That was huge.”

As we now know, a huge amount of who we think Curtis is has been based on lies, and Sam told us about how this affected his approach to the role. “When I first started the job, I looked at it in quite a clinical point of view. 

“What someone with this condition would typically act like or how their behaviour is influenced by the disorder. You have to develop a huge amount of empathy for things that on face value seem like just black and white; good or bad; you would look at that on paper and think, that’s a bad thing to do. 

“It made me really quite empathetic to Curtis and trying to delve into that and make sure that he was sort of honoured in all of those decisions he was making. [It came from a place of hurt and a place of self-loathing in a way.”

Many people around Curtis are sure to feel hurt and betrayed by his lies, but Sam said he "felt great empathy" for his character. “I would read some of that text and it wouldn’t even be an emotional piece of text, it would literally just be a small white lie that he would tell to Emma, maybe, and it would make me emotional reading it because he won’t need to lie. In his head, he really believed that he needed that to be loved by other people."

Sam went on to explain to us how Curtis has developed this condition. He said: “It comes from a place of neglect and forming ill-authentic relationships with people in his childhood. His pre-conceived notion of what it is to feel loved is built on really unstable foundations.

“It comes from a place of need to manipulate situations so that he gets that feeling. He’s just lonely. There was quite a lot that happened to him when he was younger and he sort of saw a light and found that it was easy to tap into people’s empathy towards him. He’s pretty lost.”

Curtis so far has been a very likeable character, and Sam hopes that viewers will feel sympathy for Curtis. “There’s the storytelling side of it that we want people to be able to watch this and get lost in the drama. 

“But then there’s the other side of it where I kind of want to, even if it’s one person, try and teach someone that little bit of empathy and look a little deeper and think, it’s not necessarily a choice. 

“[Curtis is] not sitting there in the morning going: ‘What lies am I going to tell today?’ It’s not malicious. It exists in this liminal space of unconscious need for care and need for that paternal and maternal lovingness that was absent when he was a child. I really hope people kind of see through the lies a little bit and see how human he is.”

Emma and Curtis's relationship has been solid recently, and Sam told us that Curtis’s feelings for Emma have always been genuine. “She taught him so much about himself but just a bit too late. He would do this before with other people, but he would leave. 

“I think with Emma it was different because he found someone where it was worth it. I think he knew it was going to come up. He didn’t necessarily have the emotional intelligence to bring it up himself, but he knew it would come up and I think he was almost looking forward to that moment as well as fearing it. 

“He was like: ‘This is going to be the only chance I get to be my authentic self,’ and I think [Emma] taught him who that was in him. It’s definitely an authentic adoration.”

Stay tuned to Corrie to find out how Curtis’s revelation plays out, and what this could mean for his future on the cobbles. 

Sophie Williams

Find me on Twitter @sophie_writer1

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


Humpty Dumpty said...

Maybe I missed this bit but I don't recall Emma wanting to update her status on Facebook now she's engaged. I guess Curtis has deleted his social media and Amy, if not Emma, would get suspicious if he makes excuses. Anyway, the truth is going to come out fairly soon now his father is on the scene. The writers could take it any way they like. It might make Emma a stronger character.

Fluttershy said...

Oh dear, I'd really much rather he was a conman. The problem with conditions like this is that the writers forget about them after a while - David's epilepsy, Steve's depression, Tracy's kidney, etc...

C in Canada said...

@Fluttershy - It's not that they forget about their conditions, it's that they become part of everyday life so you don't have to hear them banging on about them every episode. I've heard David mention his epilepsy a few times, Steve's depression was revisited after Oliver's death, and I've heard Tracey mention she's had to take her pills for her kidney condition here and there.

This with Curtis however, is a new issue that I've ever seen the show do - to make up a fictitious condition for attention...not sure if that's been done before?

Anonymous said...

I agree. They mention these things when the need arises. If it was mentioned all the time, then there would be comments on here stating that they wish David would shut up about his epilepsy etc.
I also hope that all these people who made up assumptions that Curtis was a con man realise that it's better to wait and see how the storyline progresses. Thinking to deeply into things isn't necessary with Corrie.

C in Canada said...

I myself have epilepsy, and it's not something that defines me, nor do I have to exclaim to the world every time I need to take my meds.
Like Michael J Fox says, it's something that is "attached to my life — it isn’t the driver".

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've noticed the "he's a con man, look at the signs" brigade are very quiet.
I think this storyline could prove interesting, if handled well. Curtis seems to have been suffering with this for years, from what his dad has said, with him losing family and friends because of it

Sharon boothroyd said...

I'm the person who wrote the 'Curtis - saint or sinner?' piece on here.
To me, it made perfect sense that he was a conman, after Oliver's charity money.
Several people said I was way off the mark and that I was over thinking things.
I'm a Corrie fan, I have been for over 30 years. I love over- thinking plotlines and character's behaviour.
Sorry if some of you don't like that or feel it's unnecessary.
Although he isn't a conman as such, he's still lying and deceiving Emma and everyone else. I was correct in thinking there was something not quite right about his mystery heart condition. Was he ever at medical school? Why did he tell Emma that his dad was dead? Will Emma still want to marry him when she discovers the truth?

Anonymous said...

It's called factitious disorder. Not to be confused with malingerer.

Also doesn't Carla have kidney meds that she must have missed many doses of while she had her psychotic break. Nothing said about that while it was happening. I understand this is drama, but I do get tired of the illness of the week/month/year.


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