The show producer, Iain MacLeod, discusses a hectic holiday season for the Winter-Brown/Foreman households in the following Coronation Street winter preview, as Paul prepares for his final Christmas.
Next week, Paul Ash’s battle with motor neurone disease takes a tragic turn when he learns that his symptoms are progressing and that he only has six to twelve months to live.
Iain MacLeod notes that since it has been confirmed that this will be Paul’s last Christmas—his first and only as Billy’s (Daniel Brocklebank) husband—there’s a good chance that his mother Bernie (Jane Hazlegrove) won’t be present.
We’re taking great care to illustrate this medical progression as much as possible, because that’s the obvious challenge with a story like Paul’s. We can depict the day-to-day progression of illnesses like that because we are a soap opera and not a drama where you have 90 minutes to tell a story about a two-year decline.
But you always need a story to have on top of that, and we’re always very keen to keep that family busy.
The medical narrative never ends, but like everyone else, they also have to deal with other tragedies. This Christmas, Bernie’s historical complicity in Shelly’s slightly dubious online scamming is what leads to the catastrophe.
Her situation has put her in so much legal hot water that it’s highly likely she won’t be around for what will likely be Paul’s final Christmas.
There’s some classic Winter-Brown plotting and deception, and Bernie remains true to himself throughout. However, there’s also the poignant realization that this is Paul’s last Christmas and that the family may not get to spend this final holiday season together.
They don’t discuss it much because, to be honest, you might not either because it’s too painful to think about.
Their past is also explored in a really interesting way; it’s clear that the twins’ family was dispersed throughout their early years, making things difficult for Bernie, Gemma (Dolly-Rose Campbell), and Paul.
They were obviously poor, and Paul had an abusive stepfather in the past. There are therefore many incredibly moving things.
Our goal has been to create a realistic, yet bittersweet, last Christmas for Paul that fits his funny and poignant needs, all with his amazing family at its core.
Joseph’s issues at the moment, which are on-screen as we speak, culminate in him falling behind slightly at school, which leads to Joseph’s fairy godmother turning up in the shape of his grandmother Linda (Jacqueline Leonard).
She, as is her wont, rides in and decides that she’s going to try and fix all this by throwing money at the situation, which puts Chesney and Gemma in this impossible quandary.
They feel like by accepting financial help from Linda, they’re kind of ceding control of Joseph’s life a bit. They feel instinctively that this is our son and we should make all these decisions about him, and it doesn’t feel right that Linda’s wading in with that cheque and saving the day.
But on the other side of it, they have to prioritise what’s right for Joseph, who is actually having a hard time at the moment and probably could do with the support.
While there are many enjoyable moments, our goal is to convey a realistic tale of family dynamics. Naturally, it’s intriguing because Gemma is not Joseph’s biological mother. This raises questions about Chesney’s stance: does he support Linda, Joseph, and biology, or does he support Gemma and their tumultuous and broken relationship?
I’m hoping that after reading it, you’ll recognize a lot of this realistic family drama from things that have happened in your own family. It has a wonderfully cozy feeling.
It will be a lengthy story for us, and Linda will be here for a little while longer. I’ll give you a hint: we are drawing inspiration from the incredibly original story that Ken Barlow performed.
When we first met the Barlow family, there was a foundational dynamic that made Ken one thing and family something else quite subtle. For what follows, this serves as our inspiration, which dates back to 1960. And Linda’s presence acts as a catalyst for it all.
Is it over for Carla and Peter?
Coronation Street Spoilers – Is it over for Carla and Peter?
In the first part of our Coronation Street winter preview, show producer Iain MacLeod gives us the lowdown on Carla and Peter, a tough choice for Daisy, and the return of some familiar faces…