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Saturday 22 January 2022

Sally Ann Matthews interview: Jenny invites Leo to move in at the Rovers

How is Jenny coping in the wake of Johnny’s death, was Christmas tough for her?

Jenny truly loved Johnny, even though she knew they couldn’t be together, she lost her soulmate. So over Christmas, with the pub to run on her own, she felt lonely and nostalgic and she really struggled. But she’s trying to put a brave face on things, she’s realised that life goes on.

Do you think Leo is what she needs to help her move on?

Well just at the time she’s decided to move on, that life doesn’t revolve around men and she doesn’t need a man in her life, then in walks Leo. She’s really conflicted, she hasn’t really given herself time to grieve Johnny’s death but also the breakup of her marriage. So even though she’s thrilled to see Leo, she’s really got him at arm's length. Everyone keeps persuading her to see him so when he invites her to watch the rugby match she reluctantly agrees. But then she discovers she really enjoys rugby and she really enjoys watching Leo playing rugby! She’s trying to be realistic, it feels a bit too good to be true, so she’s just trying to enjoy it while it lasts. I think her feelings for Leo are genuine and real and she believes that his are at the moment but she also realises he could change his mind at any time so she’s just trying to enjoy it. 

Carla isn’t happy, is she aware of people passing comment on her and Leo?

Everyone is probably thinking that Jenny’s a bit of a cougar here but no one’s really saying anything so she can kind of ignore it. But when Carla comes into the pub and tells Jenny that she still hasn’t sent the money she promised to Kate and suggests it’s because she’s been a bit distracted by this young guy and whatever he’s after, then Jenny takes umbrage and Carla and Jenny have a stand up row. Even though Jenny's really defiant, I think there’s a bit of her that’s worried that Carla’s right, this is ridiculous, I’m twice his age, I should end this.   

Does this affect their relationship and why she’s not fully throwing herself into it? How much does the age gap worry her?

It’s two fold, it’s other people sticking their oar in but also at the back of her mind there’s this reality check that she’s 21 years older than him and they’re at very different points in their lives, yes he’s saying this now but he might change his mind tomorrow. So at the back of her mind she doesn’t want to invest too much in case she gets hurt. But equally it feels great, she’s listening to other people and not really trusting her own judgement because of this fundamental difference between them, the age gap. 

What makes her decide to ask Leo to move in?

Leo asks her to go and watch him play rugby again but with Carla’s words ringing in her ears, and Jenny listening to her head and not her heart, she decides that she’s not going to go and when the match is over she’s going to tell him it’s all off. Daisy thinks she’s daft, she can see how happy Leo makes Jenny. Then they get a phone call from a team mate of Leo’s to say he’s had an accident and been knocked unconscious. As soon as Jenny hears this her heart’s in her mouth and she dashes off to the hospital. She knows what she feels is real but there’s people thinking how much do you know about this man, is he conning you, so she’s torn. Then as soon as Carla’s put a nail in the coffin she comes along and takes it out and says I can see how happy he makes you, it just hurts to see you moving on because it should be you and my dad behind that bar. So it’s Carla’s blessing in the end that allows Jenny to follow her heart not her head.
Do you think they could work together or do you think it’s too soon after Johnny, does the age gap complicate things too much?

I think it could work between them, Johnny died in October but really their marriage ended this time last year with all the lies, deception and Johnny going to prison so really it’s not that quick. When Johnny died she loved him but they weren’t in a relationship. She’s trusting Leo and trusting his word, that he does want to be with her and she’s more important than children. If she allows herself to believe what he’s saying then I see no reason why it can’t work, other than that she lives in Coronation Street.  

Are you enjoying working together?

Yes I think it’s really different and a story that hasn’t been done so much before which is nice, it’s always the other way around, Johnny was about 15 years older than Jenny and no one batted an eyelid. I think it’s very real, she didn’t go out trying to recapture her youth, Jenny has usually gone for an older man and now she’s turning that all on its head.

How do you like the current dynamic in the Rovers with Daisy and Leo?

I absolutely love it, I adore both Charlie and Joe. We have a little What’s App chat and it’s great working with them both. Joe I love to wind up because I was his first screen kiss, he’s had a baptism of fire working with me. The three of us just get on so well. At the minute Covid means we can’t show the pub busy or do the usual things like a talent competition, a quiz so to have two people to work with who I get on with really well, who are both great actors and great company, who have backroom stories and front of house, I can’t complain.

What are your hopes for Jenny for 2022?

That she sees her pub full again and that life steadies out a bit for her, that she can relax and have some fun and be drama and trouble free. 

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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BC Joan said...

It’s high time we have more story lines like this. I get so tired of situations where the man is 20+ years older and people congratulate him, but if the woman is older she’s a cougar and is ridiculed. What’s the difference? You love whom you love!

Anonymous said...

I quite like Leo and it's obvious he is making Jenny happy.

Erin Dolan said...

Well according to my calculations, Johnny is actually 18 years older than Jenny.


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