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'Coronation Street' Mikey North interview: Gary's shock meltdown and more

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Gary Windass from Coronation Street

© ITV

Coronation Street's troubled ex-soldier Gary Windass has more dark scenes ahead in next week's episodes as his behaviour spirals out of control once again. After Izzy is targeted by yobs in a mugging incident, Gary becomes deeply paranoid over her safety and soon resorts to desperate measures by holding her prisoner in their flat, claiming it's too dangerous for her to leave. It's clear that Gary's Afghanistan nightmare has come back to haunt him again, but can Izzy get through to him and will their relationship survive? Digital Spy recently caught up with Mikey North, who plays Gary, to find out.

What's going through Gary's mind when he holds Izzy prisoner?
"I think what we're seeing is Gary's post-traumatic stress coming back to the fore. As you'll probably have seen over the past few weeks, Gary's attempts to control Izzy have been getting worse and worse. Then when she gets mugged, it really pushes him to the limit and sends him over the edge."

Is Gary aware of what he's doing or is he losing grip on reality?
"He's definitely losing his grip on reality. Because of the post-traumatic stress, in his mind he's back in Afghanistan at times - he doesn't know where he is, what he's doing or the consequences of what he's doing. Gary thinks that he's doing all of it for Izzy's good - so he can look after her and make sure that nothing bad happens to her."

Izzy confronts Gary about her missing wheelchair
Is Gary's guilt over Quinny's death in Afghanistan also influencing his behaviour towards Izzy?
"Absolutely. I think the main reason for it is that Gary feels so bad about what happened to Quinny, and he doesn't want the same thing to happen to Izzy. That's affecting the way he treats her - Gary just wants to protect her from everything. And in actual fact, he's not doing anything that's aggressive or fundamentally wrong towards Izzy to start off with - he's just trying to protect her, keep her out of harm's way and keep her away from everybody else."

How does Izzy react to the situation?
"At first, I think she can sense that something's not quite right, but she doesn't want to overreact in case it makes the situation worse. She tries to get Gary to calm down and just goes along with it, but then things spiral too far out of control. The situation all gets very strange at the flat."

Does Gary have a long-term plan? How long does he think he can keep Izzy trapped for?
"He has no idea - he's just taking every minute as it comes, really. He thinks that if he can keep her in the flat with nobody seeing her, then nothing bad will happen. Gary just doesn't have any sense of the consequences. But then obviously people start getting suspicious and they knock on the door, and Gary turns them away. The situation continues until Izzy's dad Owen turns up and tries to rescue her."

Gary refuses to let Izzy leave the flat
Obviously Izzy is a victim in all this, but are you hoping that the viewers will also have sympathy for Gary?
"Yeah, I think the whole idea of this is that Gary's doing something that's wrong, but you do still feel sympathy for him because of what he's been through. The viewers will know that he's been in Afghanistan, he's come back and he's got issues. It should raise the awareness of the issue again, and people will hopefully feel sympathy for Gary."

When you're filming dark scenes like these ones, are you and Cherylee Houston, who plays Izzy, still able to have a laugh between takes?
"You try to, but with the later scenes, it was really heavy. We honestly had such a heavy week of filming and I've never known anything like it. When we're filming, we all try to be as professional as possible, really get our heads together and knuckle down. I hope that pays off in the end."

Owen gives Gary money for his van
How does Owen react when he finds out what's gone on? He's never been Gary's biggest fan…
"I think what we'll see is that Owen realises Gary really needs help, and so he tries to help him out. I think, for the first time, there is that sense that they're going to become a bit more friendly with each other. Owen wants to help Gary, and hopefully this will be the icebreaker for the pair of them."

The situation leads to Gary accepting that he needs some professional help, doesn't it?
"Yeah, there's a big breakdown scene where it all kicks off and Owen comes to help - and that snaps Gary back to reality a bit. He accepts that he needs to go and get some psychiatric help."

Corrie has been really responsible with its commitment to exploring Gary's army storyline and the aftermath, as it's been running for over a year now. Have you enjoyed the experience?
"Yes, this has been such a great chance for me in lots of ways. I think Corrie have been very brave to take this storyline on, and they've seen it through so well. I've had some brilliant feedback from people in the army over the past year, so I'm just really grateful that we've been able to raise the awareness. I hope we've done it as realistically as possible and made a few people think."

> For Mikey's thoughts on Gary and Izzy's future and what lies ahead for Owen and the Windasses, read the second part of this interview in Soap Scoop. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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