“I have to protect him…I’m not a bad person.”
Jenny Bradley at the centre of the drama in this week’s five special Coronation Street episodes.
As she plans to kidnap Kevin’s (Michael Le Vell) son Jack and set off on the road to Hull.
Complete with wig and a new identity as Melanie Davis.
It’s been clear for some time that Jenny’s mind is disturbed.
Although, so far, only Sophie (Brooke Vincent) has realised something is wrong.
Sally Ann Matthews, who plays Jenny, was at a Coronation Street preview screening in London last Friday.
She later spoke about Jenny’s return to the cobbles and events to come.
Her words embargoed until today (Sunday).
Astute Weatherfield watchers may already have worked out why Jenny is so troubled.
And we had confirmation during the Q&A session.
As Jenny’s storyline moves towards the moment her secret is revealed.
But both Sally Ann and I are a little old fashioned about spoilers.
“I just never like giving secrets away,” she told us.
“I’m old school. I don’t like to say anything.”
So while others have already revealed that secret in advance, you won’t read it here.
Coronation Street is screened on ITV at 9pm Monday to Friday this week (May 25 – 29).
Here’s my edited transcript of what Sally Ann had to say:
Q: How did if feel coming back to the Street with such a dramatic storyline? And have you found any difference? Has it changed since you were first in it?
“There’s huge differences. And you can’t really compare because I started 30 years ago and I left Corrie 22 years ago. So television is a completely different entity than it was back then. Let alone Coronation Street, the size of it, the amount of episodes that go out. But I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve always been ‘Jenny Bradley’ – full name, always – even when I wasn’t in it. With the public, with everything that I’ve done, it’s never left me. Ever. So whether that just made it easier to come back and I felt more relaxed? Certainly when I first started I was less nervous than I’ve ever been on a job for the first day. And I’ve had an absolute ball.”
Q: Typecasting used to be an issue in soaps. And yet now there are bigger casts, it seems to be less of an issue?
“I think it probably will still be an issue. For me, obviously, when I left I was still getting offered 17-year-old rebellious teenagers and I was nearly 30. It was ridiculous. But it’s more the stereotyping with the public, that they assume you are that person.”
Q: Have Jenny’s actions been premeditated?
“No. I’ve not played any of it that it was premeditated. At all. And I don’t believe at any point she has planned any of this. You’ve got to remember that when I was on screen about a month ago, when the child minder was ill and Jenny was very reluctant to look after Jack. And you’ve got to remember that. That she really didn’t want to get involved. And as soon as she did she then tried to break if off with Kevin after that. And Kevin assumed she was breaking it off because Jenny was thinking that Rita was feeling uncomfortable. And it wasn’t. It was just that she having to…her past was starting to come into her head. She didn’t quite know what to do with it and this is the beginning of where we’re going to go….we’re going to see now the consequences of…what is Jenny going to do? She’s still got this deluded idea that she has to run off with Jack in order to keep him safe. So she’s going to be very conflicted.”
Q: Are you enjoying this side of Jenny?
“It’s brilliant. There is a genuine reason why she is behaving in the way that she is behaving. And so it’s only when I watch it that I sit and I go, ‘Oh my God.’”
Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn added:
“I think it’s why the story is working as well, the way Sally Ann’s playing it. She’s a terribly damaged woman…”
Concluded Sally Ann: “So because of that, I think when it all finally comes out, there could be understanding…”
Sally Ann also spoke about the emotion in this week’s episodes:
“There were lots of little bits in it that made you cry. That was what was so brilliant. The whole demise of Liz and Tony, and Tony’s betrayal. That’s heartbreaking when you know what Liz has gone through. And then the little scenes with David and Max were just beautiful. They brought a tear to my eyes.”
Tomorrow’s (Monday) episode sees Steve (Simon Gregson) and Michelle (Kym Marsh) finally tie the knot.
With Steve’s recovery from depression having been helped by a dog named Rover.
Kym explained: “The dog is actually Simon’s own dog. It’s Simon’s dog Cookie. We love her. She’s gorgeous. And she brightens up your day. Her breath smells though.”
Stuart Blackburn added: “With respect, it appears to be some of the best casting I’ve ever done. Twitter’s gone mad for it.”