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Samia Smith (Maria Connor, Corrie)

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Samia Smith (Maria Connor, Corrie)
Coronation Street's Maria Connor - played by 27-year-old Samia Smith - has had quite a year. Shortly after the discovery that she was pregnant with Liam's (Rob-James Collier) child in October, Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) murdered her husband in cold blood upon the discovery of his adultery with his wife Carla (Alison King). Maria learned the truth about Liam and Carla's affair on the day of Tony and Carla's wedding in December and quite rightly presumed that Tony was behind Liam's death. After months of scratching, punching, car incidents and daubing his walls (and car) with paint, an obsessive Maria finally backed off. Since that moment by Liam's grave, Tony and Maria have become closer than ever, and in a fortnight's time, they seal their relationship with a kiss. What are Samia's thoughts about one of Corrie's most bizarre and creepy relationships of recent years? We gave her a call to find out.

What's your take on the whole Maria/Tony setup?
"It's freaked me out to be honest! It is a bit creepy, we can't deny that, considering everything that's happened between them! I think the writers have done a brilliant job in making it a slow burner and making it as realistic as possible to allow them to fall for each other. They have actually got quite a bit in common. They've both had their hearts broken by two people who they were very close to and considered the loves of their lives. Ultimately, they've forgotten everything that went on earlier this year with the accusations of murder and everything - that's all been brushed under the carpet…"

Did you find it difficult to understand how she's forgotten about the accusations so quickly?
"Not really because Maria thought she realised that she was wrong about Tony when Jed Stone turned up alive. She thought she'd made a fool of herself and that it was the grief talking. At that point, she believed that she shouldn't have put Tony through what she had done. She completely back-tracked and apologised, which Tony gratefully accepted. Then they had that moment at the cemetery when Tony broke down crying. From there, they made friends and he started helping out around the house, moving in and then helping with baby Liam. It's just progressed slowly and it was inevitable what was going to happen."

He's even gone as far as making friends with Ozzy the dog…
"I know! He's actually quite a softy really, isn't he?"

You've had some great scenes with Barry and Helen over recent weeks…
"Yeah, they've been great scenes to do and it's nice to have the Liam angle to the story. Frank Grimes has always played Liam's dad but Dearbhla Molloy was recast because Sorcha wasn't available. It's brought another dimension to the story and the material's been quite heavy with them, so it's been fun to do. It's been a challenge."

What happens when Maria patches things up with the Connors?
"She decides to go over to Ireland to stay with them for a while and see the relatives with baby Liam. Tony's suddenly really busy to help, as is Fiz, and Maria realise that Barry and Helen are offering a helping hand, so she goes to see them for a break and chill out."

Maria drops a bombshell on Tony when she returns…
"Yeah… Maria comes back and she's really missed Tony - and she's pleased that he's really missed her, too. Maria shocks him when she says that she thinks she's moving over to Ireland because she's seen a house that's a bargain. Really, she's saying it in the hope that Tony will beg her to stay. When he doesn't, she starts to think that he doesn't feel the same way about her. While she's been away, Maria's realised how she feels about him and when it comes to the crunch to tell him what she's thinking, she bottles it and asks him to be godfather instead. They have a bit of a tiff and he ends up saying that he doesn't want her to go and that's when they end up kissing."

What was it like filming the kiss scene?
"It was strange because normally whenever I get near Gray, I have to slap him or scratch him or something. So to kiss him was a bit strange. But no, it was fine. I think he even thought 'is she going to hit me?' The next day, they're completely full on with each other. Without realising it, they have been in a relationship for weeks. He ends up moving back in within a week."

Have you filmed any romp scenes yet?
"No, no bed scenes! Thank God, though, because I'm really pregnant so my belly wouldn't look good in bed! Viewers would probably think that Maria's just let herself go a bit."

Michelle's not too happy when she walks in on them, is she?
"She hits the roof! Obviously it's really weird for her because Carla was married to one brother and Maria was married to the other brother and they've both died. Now Maria's seeing Carla's husband! Michelle starts saying that Maria's betraying Liam's memory and there's a big row. The next day, she apologises, though, after managing to get her head around it all."

Where do Tony and Maria go from here?
"There's a lot more to come. There are so many twists and turns and I've just found out about some of them! They're full on with each other from hereon in. They're madly in love with each other, so when it does come crashing down, it's really going to hurt…"

Have you been getting in a lot of baby practice with baby Liam?
"Yeah, he's so gorgeous, little Logan! We use him quite a lot and there's baby Imogen who we use, too. They're so cute. They're beautiful. It's weird because I have to act like Liam's my baby and act comfortable with him, but it's hard because it's not your child and you've got their mum watching just off set! I'm getting lots of practice in, though and lots of my friends have babies or are having babies."

Have they started strategically placing objects in front of you yet?
"I've just had three weeks off actually and I'm using my handbag a lot, put it that way. It needs to be a bit bigger, though - I might have to go out and buy a new one. The clothes aren't working as well as I thought they would!"

When do you go on maternity leave?
"I think it's the end of September, beginning of October. So on screen, it'll be mid-November when I disappear. Then I'm back next spring."

> Click here to read more from Samia Smith in Soap Scoop
> Soap Insight: Tony and Maria's relationship Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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