THERE’S been a long running debate at the MEN about soap spoilers.
Should we follow the route of the red tops and soap magazines in revealing future storylines in Coronation Street?
It’s easy enough to do and is treated by many as real life news. But some readers don’t like it. They say it spoils their enjoyment of the show.
So we tend not to reveal the outcome of Weatherfield storylines, although there are exceptions.
I was back at Coronation Street recently to talk to actress Julia Haworth (left), who plays troubled new mum Claire Peacock.
Claire’s erratic behaviour gets worse in tonight’s double episode, as you can read in my interview with Julia in today’s MEN.
It’s all linked to the fact that Claire is suffering from postnatal depression, which doesn’t actually become clear to husband Ashley, played by Steven Arnold (below right), until a week today.
As part of our editorial policy, what we weren’t able to reveal in the MEN – and read no further if you don’t want to know – is that a screaming Claire is forcibly sectioned by Ashley later this month after he realises she’s a danger to both herself and baby Thomas.
Julia was shocked when she first learned her character was to end up in a mental unit, albeit temporarily. But chatting in the Corrie press office, she told me she had no qualms about taking on the story.
As ever, there wasn’t enough room in the MEN to include all of her comments. Here are a few quotes that were squeezed out:
“I thought it was a brilliant idea, because of the surprise factor. You just wouldn’t imagine Claire being that person. It’s the least obvious character. And it’s a great feeling to be given a storyline and responsibility like that. I saw it as an opportunity to rise to a challenge and prove that I can do it.
“Everyone thought the supermum routine was just Claire being Claire. It’s how you would expect her to react to having a baby. But that was an act.
“From the very start she knew there was something not right. And that just escalated, including the complete fabrication when she says her mum is dying. Claire’s in denial.”
In fact, “terminally ill” mum Yvonne turns up at Ashley’s butcher’s shop a week today fit and tanned after a holiday abroad.
Julia added: “As part of my research I got in touch with The National Childbirth Trust and they were really helpful and sent me some books. I’ve been talking to people who’ve suffered from postnatal depression and there’s a lot of stuff on the internet.
“There’s still a huge taboo about suffering from postnatal depression, like it’s something to be really ashamed of, when it’s a medical condition like any other that needs to be treated.”
In a second MEN sidebar story, not included in the online version above, Claire spoke about how she landed the role of new nanny Claire after auditioning for four other parts in Weatherfield.
“They were quite small characters coming in as someone’s girlfriend for a couple of eps and things like that. But it never worked out. And eventually this one came good.
“There was never a plan to put Claire and Ashley together as a married couple but we just clicked and it seemed a natural thing. Claire and I are both very family minded people, but I wish I had her tolerance. She’s got the patience of a saint, whereas if I want something doing, I want it now.
“You get people writing in, saying, ‘Claire is so kind and so nice. Are you the same?’ It’s all an act!”
For the moment, Julia is happy to stay in Weatherfield. “I love being here. I’m an actress. I go from job to job and I’ve always seen Corrie as just another job amongst, hopefully, hundreds of jobs. So, who knows?”
She also told me about saying a fond farewell to actor John Savident (left), who plays Claire’s father-in-law Fred. The larger than life butcher dies of a heart attack on his wedding day to Bev (Susie Blake).
“I’m really sad,” said Julia. “I joined three-and-a-half years ago and most of my scenes have been with Stevie and John. And to think of him not being there, it makes me feel sad.”
Julia has her own website here.
You can read more spoilers at the excellent Corrie Blog.
More Coronation Street blog stories