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Alison King (Carla Connor, Corrie)

By
Carla Connor from Coronation Street

© ITV

Carla Connor's worst fears are about to become reality during next week's dramatic Coronation Street screenings as her husband Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) escapes from prison and is hellbent on revenge. In what have become the soap's most expensive ever episodes, Tony stages an escape with the help of his newly-released cellmate Robbie. Carla, however, falls prey to Robbie's businessman façade and finds herself bound and gagged in a desolate Underworld with Hayley Cropper by her side - and Tony looming over them. Here, DS favourite Alison King chats about the gripping bank of 9pm eps, including Tony's return, the bruise-inducing stunts and who survives - if anyone...

Apparently your schedule's been manic recently!
"I'm knackered! I could do with a couple of weeks off! I'm just delirious and giddy!"

What did you think of Tony's return story when you first heard about it?
"I thought, 'That's dragging it out a bit!' (Laughs). No, I thought when he went to prison [that it wouldn't be the end]. If anyone can escape from prison, it's Tony Gordon. You just know when he manages to get out that he's got an even bigger screw lose that he had before. It makes great television and I'm really pleased to be part of it. It's nice to wrap it all up, too."

What was it like to have Gray back on set again?
"It was fantastic. We enjoy working with each other and we have a set way of working together - reading the scripts three times, rehearsing and doing everything in advance. There was a lot of pressure filming these scenes and he was just brilliant. We had to get it done in the time we had and because of that, we had to lean on each other quite a lot."

Were you injured filming this stunt? Last time you ended up covered in bruises during the fight with Jimmy Dockerson…
"Oh I've got loads of bruises! I'm covered in them - my arms, my legs, my ankles - knackered and battered. During the first stage of filming, I had some kind of reaction to the make-up or the fake soot - or maybe both combined! - and my eye popped out like I had a sty which started blistering, so I thought, 'Oh, brilliant'. Because we did it all back to front, we had to make my face look [like it was puffed up] for the final scenes which shot, which are the first ones to be shown, if that make sense! Over the course of the weekend, I had one big black eye and it looked like Adam [Huckett, my boyfriend] had beaten me up! It was hilarious! Now I have a bad cold, so it's not nice!"

What's Tony back for?
"We don't know to start with. We've no idea who or what he's back for but Carla's just petrified that he's out. The last time she saw him, he sent Jimmy after her to try and kill her!"

How does Carla first learn of Tony's escape?
"She's had a really, really stressful few weeks in the factory and it starts to build and build. Carla slowly becomes unhinged and with Nick Tilsley not being any help whatsoever, she starts to lose it. The final straw comes when two policemen wander in to inform her that Tony's escaped from prison. She is scared, but true to form, she just gets on with things, so she ends up going to The Rovers and back to the flat with Trevor."

How does Carla end up becoming a hostage?
"She's lost a lot of money recently and then a 'businessman' wanders in saying that he can help sell all her unsold stock from the Rickson order on the markets. That person isn't all he makes out to be and she ends up being held captive by him in the factory - and she learns that he's Tony's accomplice, Robbie [played by James Fleet]. And he has a gun…"

Are you surprised that she fell for Robbie's story? Usually Carla's quite an attentive woman…
"Business always comes first with Carla!"

Did you have many action scenes across the two weeks?
"I was gaffa-taped for a little while and tied up for most of it. My wrist was sore at the end! It was a different experience anyway, acting for two weeks with your hands tied behind your back on a chair. Kim Marsh was like, 'You loved it!'"

Do you think Carla still has any feelings for Tony?
"No, not at all. She has feelings of hate and disgust for him. She can't stand his guts. The love she once had for him has turned into complete revulsion. He not only killed the love of her life, he's tried to have her killed, too. On top of that, he's continuously lied to her and got with Maria. So yeah, she has no feelings for him whatsoever!"

Who else ends up trapped inside with Carla?
"Hayley and Maria are trapped inside with Robbie and Tony. Some get out - and some don't…"

At any point, does Carla think that Tony would kill her?
"Absolutely. She tries to use everything she knows about Tony against him - tries to play him, manipulate him and push his buttons, but when that doesn't work she realises that Tony's not all there. Carla just cracks and breaks down. She resigns herself to the fact that it's the end - she's fighting for her life."

Any clues as to who dies?
"You'll have to tune in! Put it this way, two people come out in body bags…"

Coronation Street's Siege Week airs all next week from Monday, May 31 at 7pm and 9pm, then nightly at 9pm on ITV1.

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