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Soaps Interview

Kim Crowther (Producer, Corrie)

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Kim Crowther (Producer, Corrie)
It's been a relatively quiet few months in Coronation Street and as Ken's affair with Martha comes to an end and Eileen begins to come to terms with the fact that Julie's her sister, Tara continues to plot her revenge on Dev, while David continues to plot his revenge on Gary. As part of DS's Producer Season 2009, we recently chatted to Coronation Street's leading lady Kim Crowther about the show's recent spate of storyline leaks, Tony's downfall, Carla's return and the ITV soap's 50th anniversary.

You've had a few storyline leaks of late - it must be quite frustrating for you?
"It's very frustrating when you're working so hard on a storyline that you think will have a great impact, but could potentially be a damp squib if everyone knows about it. I hope that we play stories in such a way that they'll have a great impact even if you know what the outcome might be. Lucky, though, we've just come away from story conference and some of those stories have changed. It's always the way, though. We'll have an idea and when writers go away and work on it, they come back to the table and they go in a slightly different direction. It's very frustrating nevertheless.

"I've been speaking to the conference table about things that have been leaked and how we can prevent that in the future. It's just fruitless and frustrating for the viewers. We have been taking measures and we take [these leaks] very seriously. We just won't stand for it."

Maria and Tony's relationship... What went through your mind when you decided to throw them together?!
"A couple of the writers actually came up with this one and I thought it was genius - it's Richard III. I think I hinted at it last time we spoke that there would be a surprising new direction for Tony and I definitely think it is. The last 12 months will make sense when you see where we take the story. It'll be very exciting and interesting to watch this relationship develop knowing what we know."

Will Tony definitely be involved in Maria's birth?
"Well, it'd be a shame if he wasn't, wouldn't it? He'll be pretty involved in that, yeah..."

Tony can do no wrong in the eyes of the Street's residents! Surely he has to get his comeuppance?
"He will. Tony's done a great job on a charm offensive on the Street, covering his tracks well in the process. But, of course, he's not superhuman - he's not a machine. He's not someone who's just gone on a rampage as a serial killer. He killed someone in a crime of passion. But when faced with having to kill someone with his bare hands like with Jed at Christmas, he couldn't actually do it. Those failings, which make him different as a villain, will come back and haunt him. They'll be his undoing."

Are you excited for Alison King's return as Carla? What can we expect from Carla when she's back?
"I can't tell you that! Obviously she's very important on the Street and is connection to so many people. All I'll say is that she will have a big impact when she returns and she'll answer some questions that couldn't be answered in the way she left. She's back in early autumn. Her return's been pushed back a bit, so the exact plans for that haven't been mapped out in full detail yet."

Are we really going to see Molly and Kevin embroiled in an affair?
"I've really loved the Websters in the last year - they're a fantastic family and we wanted to give them a big story. Tyrone and Molly are newlyweds and Tyrone works with Kevin, so what could be more awful? Some viewers who have been watching for years will probably remember that ever since Kevin and Sally got married again, it's been a bit of a one-sided love. Even though he went off and had that affair all those years ago, Kevin's been devoted to Sally and he was delighted when she agreed to remarry him. We've seen Sally go through numerous affairs with Ian Davenport, for example, and more recently her flirting and developing a crush on John Stape.

"I think Sally's probably settled for Kevin. They do have a strong family and expect to grow old together, but what happens when Kevin finds out that someone's more interested in him? And what could be worse than the woman being his best mate and business partner's wife? It takes us into some interesting territory. It's a biggie, which has some other surprising twists and turns. It just gets bigger and bigger."

Joe's on a slippery slope, too, isn't he?
"Yeah, he's going to have a bit of a problem. Gail never finds a man with no problems, does she? In true Gail Platt fashion, we soon start to see through all the layers of Joe and discover that he's flawed with all sorts of problems. Him starting to take pills for his bad back becomes an issue for him and has quite disastrous consequences. The big questions further down the line are whether Gail stand by her man and whether there's enough love between them to get them through the problems that he brings to the relationship. And what will David think?"

Luke seems to have usurped the alpha male position on the Street and I hear there's a lot more to come from him...
"Definitely. He has a bit of a holiday romance with Michelle before she goes off on tour, but that doesn't quite go to plan. It shows us another side to him. He's not a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy and he quite likes Michelle, so it's quite surprising for an alpha male. They get under each other's skin a little. Further down the line, Rosie bats her eyelashes at him and we take that in a different direction - that employee/employer relationship that she's always wanted and tried to have with Liam and then Tony. It might just bear fruit this time…

Does Luke have a secret?
"Well, he did arrive in quite a mysterious way, with Carla placing him in the factory, didn't he? Like I say, the questions that were set up when Carla left will most definitely be answered when she returns."

Becky and Steve are heading for wedding number two - the real one. Will it all go to plan?
"All I can tell you is that it's going to be bigger than the first one! We see some problems heading to wedding number two because Becky's ex Slug turns up. He surprises us when he returns because he doesn't come back quite the way we remember him. That'll complicate Becky and Steve's relationship."

Were you happy with wedding number one?
"It's been interesting hearing people's thoughts on the first wedding. What I thought was brilliant about it was that Becky herself messed up the first wedding. Only a well-drawn character and a brave show could do that. Every other show - and on this show in the past and, I'm sure, in the future - sees a bombshell dropped to scupper a wedding. Someone dies, someone arrives with a baby, someone arrives with a secret… What I thought was brave and original about this wedding was that everything was fine. Everything was going to plan. But Becky herself was such a flawed character that she couldn't allow herself to have the happiest day of her life. Keep watching, though, there's another wedding on the way!"

Eileen was criminally underused for months, but she's not starting to come to the fore... Does she have some more interesting material lined up?
"Eileen will be happy for a while – never forever, though! Jesse comes back into her life and we're hopeful that this will be a decent guy for her. He has his own baggage, though. He'll certainly be adding some colour to the already-colourful Grimshaws'. There will be some complications along the way, though, for Jesse and Eileen."

Last time we spoke, you were hoping to bring back some of the Mortons. How's that going?
"Well, Teresa's back. At the moment, that's all we have plans for. As much as I liked other cast members, we couldn't resist bringing Teresa back. That's the only character we have plans for at the moment."

Corrie's 50th anniversary is on the horizon - have you already started thinking about what you'll be doing?
"Our anniversary isn't until next December, so we haven't got the exact mechanics of it mapped out, but we've been having lots and lots of meetings about what ways we'll be celebrating the 50th and what storylines should be at the foreground."

Do you envisage going back to the show's roots and delving into the history book?
"I think there should be a sense of that, but at the same time, I'm not really interested in gimmicks. I'm interested in good storytelling with characters we love at the centre of them."

Maybe a few returns in the pipeline?
"Maybe a couple. There are a couple who we're talking about, but it's too early to say at the moment."

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