Coronation Street EXCLUSIVE: Interview with producer Stuart Blackburn

soaps-coronation-street-producer-stuart-blackburnIt’s a big year ahead for Coronation Street and I was lucky enough to get a massive insight into what’s afoot when I was invited to a press screening of upcoming storylines as well as a chance to meet some of the up and coming as well as established Corrie stars.

As well as chatting to the various cast members about what is to come for their alter egos, I was also able to have an extended conversation with the man behind it all, Stuart Blackburn and, judging by what he says, 2015 could well be Corrie’s year. Be warned, there are SPOILERS aplenty.

Await no further, here’s a full transcript of what he had to say:

Tell us about the bus crash…
2014 was an action packed year for Corrie and early 2015 is focused on a spectacular crash. It isn’t just a stunt for stunt’s sake, let’s get that out of the way, it’s a turning point for a lot of characters. Everyone involved in filming these dramatic episodes is very proud of the end results.

21_01_CORO_MINIBUS_FALL_03.JPGThe stunt is breathtaking and real edge of your seat stuff. Hanging upside down ain’t easy – there were lots of bruises! But in the spirit of great storytelling, the crash itself is just the start of the drama and will have far reaching efects for all the people involved in the coming months

Give us an overview of what 2015 will bring…

The crash is a turning point for Steve to admit what is going on with him and it all fits into place. It’s not going to be easy – depression doesn’t work like that. There will be wedding bells but the odds of two weddings going well are unlikely. For Sinead it will be heartbreaking. After her injuries, will Chesney ever forgive Steve? We also have Faye’s pregnancy and Owen’s wife Linda turning up, which is all going to be devastating for the Windasses. Owen has been very disingenuous with the truth about his and Linda’s past.
The Platts are the family which keep on giving: we have the real Gavin turning up around the time of Gail and Michael’s wedding and we have David’s custody battle for Max with Callum, and we did our research and found David has very few rights. Sarah and Beth are coming back too and that will provide some dramatic and some real laugh out loud moments. Then we have Todd’s revenge against Jason and Eileen and Kevin Webster getting close to Jenny Bradley, but he will wish that he never met her. That is a very finite story with a beginning, middle and end. Tony will wish he never got involved with Tracy; he was a fool to think he can control her. And the Tracy and Carla story will also come to a dramatic head. Going into the second half of the year we want Corrie to remain surprising, funny and gripping and then we have the live episode in September.
 What is next for Tracy?
Tony has made a stupid mistake in thinking he can control Tracy Barlow – it’s arrogance. Tracy wants money and Tony’s an easy source but also for power. if she can make someone want her it validates her existence. She’s in a really bad place. That thing she’s got for Carla will never go away – it’s burning in the back of her head.
Does Callum genuinely love Max or is he just using him for revenge?
Callum will really step up to the mark. He starts off using Max against David then steps back and thinks: Wow, I created this! He starts to fall in love and he has more legal rights than David. Both have one criminal conviction; Callum has never been done for being a drug dealer so David can scream all he wants to social services that he deals drugs; all Callum has to say is: “No I don’t!” We won’t be losing Callum’s edge though.
Will Andy’s deception as fake Gavin be discovered?
07_12_coro_michael_gavin_01Gail will stumble upon Gavin’s secret and by this time Michael is completely in love with what he thinks is his son. Gail’s dilemma is do I tell him and risk his heart going or do I play along with this charade and Gail goes for the lie which will really come back to bite her on the bum. She hates Andy or what he’s done, no matter how he explains about how he got into the situation. The real Gavin has a harder edge and has taken partying to a different level to a point where he has treated women really rather badly. Andy found Michael and discovered he was this sweet, innocent guy and fell into this situation. He loves being part of the family unit and his biggest fear now is killing this dad who isn’t his dad. There’s no ill intent anymore with Andy.
Tell us about Michelle and Steve’s wedding
It’s going to be a big community event; a good old fashioned street party and everyone’s going to chip in: Carla in her dungarees, Roy and Dev with food… a real celebration. It will also be the point where we stop talking so much about Steve’s depression. We don’t need to bang on about it- it’s just there. It won’t stop Steve being funny or living a joyful life.
Are there any plans in place for the live episode?
Bear in mind that I’m the guy who told Michelle Keegan that we wouldn’t be killing her off but right now I’m thinking that a big spectacular would be the wrong way to go as it’ll feel like we’re copying the tram crash, so looking to focus on real storytelling. There are still a few weeks until we do the long term planning which will cover that so who knows. If someone comes up with something brilliant that completely goes against that then we’ll run with it!
How are Owen and Katy going to leave the show?
Owen’s story will be heartbreaking. the minute Linda steps back, Anna realises how much he loved her back then which goes against what he’s told her. Izzy has grown up thinking the reason my daddy is crying is because I am disabled and mummy can’t cope but that’s not the truth. Everyone will see Owen in a very different light- his reactions to Faye’s pregnancy will cause a lot of problems. Once Anna realises that Faye is pregnant, she won’t have time to deal with this petulant, selfish man, it will be all Faye Faye Faye. Katy will become involved with Callum but of course that won’t end well and her exit will tie in with what happens between Owen and Linda and Linda leaving again.
Can you tell us more about Faye’s pregnancy storyline?
faye_windass-e1421087641694You’ll remember a while back that Gary lent Faye some money and she went to a party which involved drink and left her upset. That was the night where she made a really stupid, sleazy mistake with a lad called Jackson. Craig becomes Faye’s confidante; he pleads with her to tell Anna but she tells him that if Anna finds out she’ll run away. Faye’s plan is to leave the baby outside of a hospital as she thinks, from her experience that it’s for the best. Faye was adopted and it was the best thing that ever happened to her. It’s not a cruel act. her biggest fear is that Anna will give her up. The baby is due at Easter and going from there, the story will be about how the Windasses will cope with this baby.
How does Sarah Lou’s return come about?
It’s not Sarah Lou we see first. Andy’s had an argument with Steph and he’s feeling all over the place and he sees this upset young woman having a bust up with a taxi driver. he takes her to the pub, buys her a couple of vodkas and then Gail walks in and says: ‘that’s Bethany- and she’s 14!’ Bethany has stolen her mum’s credit card and flown over from Milan and she is refusing to go back. She doesn’t want to be in Milan anymore as Sarah has little time for her as she works so much during the week and spends lots and acts more like a sister than a mother at the weekend. Bethany needs a mother. No one can force her back so Sarah has no choice to to come back to try and persuade her to come home and it’s through that she loses her job and ends up having to stay. We all remember the bickering and arguments between Sarah and David; there will definitely be some of that!

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