Cast Interview

Michael’s Demise

Join Les Dennis and Connor McIntyre behind the scenes during Michael's chilling exit.

I’ve got a ‘Phelan’ he is going to get me.

– Les Dennis

As we say goodbye to Michael after two and a half years on the cobbles what effect will his shocking death be on an already devastated Platt family.

And with the walls closing in, will Phelan get away with it all?

Extras

Debbie Rush: Stunt Woman!

Debbie Rush talks about how she agreed to be set on fire for the dramatic stunt which saw Anna Windass suffer horrific burns after being caught up in a huge fireball on the cobbles.

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Debbie has revealed that when she was told her character was going to be left with life changing injuries she knew there was one very special person who could help her with the research for the role - her real life husband Andrew.

For Andrew Rush had himself suffered terrible burns when a childhood prank went wrong and he was engulfed in flames.

Having chatted with Producer Kate Oates about doing her own stunts for the episode, Debbie knew that she had to check that Andrew was ok with what was planned.

She said: ”When Kate asked me how I felt about actually being set on fire I told Andrew straight away as he got set on fire and got badly burned when he was 10 years old. He went very quiet, but he didn’t say that he didn’t want me to do it as he knew I was relishing the challenge and he has always been very supportive of my career.

“I know it must have been hard for him after what had happened to him. He was with his brother and his friend and they were messing about trying to be fire eaters after watching a variety show on TV.

“Some of the paraffin was on Andrew and he was set on fire, it burnt through his clothes and burnt his chest. It must have been an awful thing for a 10-year-old boy to suffer.

“If anyone can help me research how Anna would be feeling then I knew Andrew was the man for the job.”

WATCH: GO BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE EXPLOSION

Debbie didn’t think twice when Kate Oates asked her whether she wanted to do her own stunt or use a stunt double.

She said: “When Kate arrived we had lots of discussions about what was coming up for Anna and after a few weeks she asked me to pop up and said there was something she wanted to run by me. She said ‘how do you feel about being set on fire?’ and straight away I said ‘yes, it’s not often you get to be James Bond in Corrie so I will do it.’

“She made it clear from the start that she was asking me how I would feel about actually being set on fire, that if I was ok with it there wouldn’t be a stunt double playing that part it would be me. She said if I wasn't comfortable at any point the stunt double could be used.

“I spoke to our director Tony Prescott and I knew that it was completely safe and I thought ‘they trust me, I trust them, so let's do it’. I always had the get out clause if I wanted it but I just put my trust completely in them and in Glenn the stunt coordinator. It wasn't until a few days before the stunt was due to be filmed that a few people started saying I must be mad, but I am so glad I decided to do it myself.

“I was told that my skin would be coated with a cooling gel and then after that you put your first set of fireproof clothes on which are like the cotton skins that racing drivers wear and then that gets cooled, I thought the gel stopped you going on fire but it is just to keep you cool, it is the clothes that stop you burning. I had two layers of skins, Glenn gave me his fire suit as he knew that was safe as he had used it dozens of times. Then I had Anna’s clothes on that we had to buy a few sizes bigger, I looked like the michelin man! On top of each layer was the cooling gel.

Debbie with the stunt team

“Everyone kept saying it would be like opening the oven door and would be boiling. When we came to do it my heart was pounding in my chest and I didn't speak I just focussed on the fact that I was about to be set on fire and thinking I must be crazy. I just zoned everyone out, I had put my trust in everyone and I knew I would be safe so I just got in the zone. I had had a couple of nights where I didn't sleep thinking about it.

“On the day itself it was like running on autopilot, I got painted up and layered up. The stunt lady was always there just in case but I knew I wanted to be the one to do it.

“What I shouldn't have done is watch them do a run through with the dummy, that was dressed as Anna, being set on fire, it was like a huge furness going up and that was the one moment I thought ‘I can’t do this’.

“Then I watched them do it on Donna the stunt lady and that was fine and I relaxed again. They told me I was only going to be on fire for 8 seconds, when I came out to do it the paramedic put an oxygen mask on me for the fumes from the accelerant and that was the point I realised it was real. I was determined to make sure I didn’t forget to act, so I just focussed on what I had to do until they stopped filming. He lit me with a long torch and up I went and then as I was laying on the floor acting my socks off I started thinking I could have been set in fire for longer I would have been all right. I had that much gel on I was freezing I didn't feel a thing, the adrenalin rush was amazing.”

Actors Ben Price and Mike Le Vell were trained to put out the fire as Nick and Kevin are the ones that came to Anna’s rescue, they too had to wear fire proof clothes and practiced putting out the flames on the trained stunt double.

And Debbie asked hubby Andrew to come along and watch the stunt so he wasn’t waiting at home thinking about it. She explained: “I wanted him to see how safe it was and how well looked after I was. I felt, if he could see that, it was better than sitting at home worrying about it and he agreed. We were playing it for real but I wanted him to realise it wasn’t real and the lengths they had gone to to make sure I was safe.

“Andrew came in with Poppy my daughter and watched it up in the gallery and he was really excited watching the explosion and he saw how it was all controlled. But then filming over ran and they had to delay me being set on fire to the following day and Andrew wasn't available to come but actually it was probably for the best, he was relaxed about it knowing it was so safe and I rang him straight afterward to say ‘you’ve still got a wife’ as I knew part of him would be a bit worried.”

Debbie explained that in the coming weeks Anna and Kevin’s relationship is going to be tested to the limit as a consequence of the accident.

She said: “Anna’s ultimate love was Owen but something always went wrong for them. Kevin has come along and he is loving and kind and gentle and he just wants to look after her and be there for her and it has taken her a long time to accept it. Finally she has done and they were due to move into together, finally everything was coming good and then this awful tragedy happened.

“Anna is put in an induced coma and when she comes round the first thing she is thinking is that she doesn't want Kevin there out of pity, she wants him to love her not pity her and she doesn't want him to feel he has to look after her - this is not what he signed up for.

“For Anna, certainly at the beginning, it is nothing to do with how it looks, it is so horrific, she has got full thickness burns on her legs she has to learn to walk again and learn to accept it herself, in her head she will be thinking where does this lead, how will she be, will she ever be anywhere like she was before, not physically but emotionally and mentally and physically in capacity not in the way she looks. That will come down the line, she is not a vain woman but it is a big thing to deal with. From being a woman who is a little bit like Wonder Woman and helps everybody out she is suddenly feeling incapable and very vulnerable.

“For the first six to eight weeks it is all about feeling that she is no longer the doer, the person looking after everyone, the person people turn to.

She isn’t aware that it is David’s fault and it remains to be seen how she will react when she finds that out - especially with Sarah and Gary getting closer.

– Debbie Rush

“I am enjoying this challenge very much and I have been very mindful of making it as true to real life as possible and letting the viewers see the different layers with Anna still trying to put a brave face on it.”

And Debbie revealed that Andrew is helping her research Anna’s recovery: “He has been able to tell me how it felt. Everyone’s experience is different but it is important to me because of what happened to Andrew and to other people that we do this story justice. Anna’s recovery and how she copes with it is important. Andrew was a child, Anna is a grown woman so it is different, on top of how she looks she can no longer be the woman she was and has to deal with all of that so it is important we get it right.”

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JACK P SHEPHERD: David's Crash
MIKEY NORTH: Gary to the rescue
STORYBOARDS: See how we planned the stunts

Behind The Scenes: David's Car Crash

Join the cast and crew on the cobbles to see how we filmed the epic car crash and explosion!

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JACK P SHEPHERD: David's Crash
MIKEY NORTH: Gary to the rescue
STORYBOARDS: See how we planned the stunts

Gary To The Rescue

Gary's heroics saved Lily from certain death, but at what cost?

We spoke to our very own action hero, Mikey North about filming the stunts!

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Running, jumping, explosions and crashes are all in a day's work for Mikey North, but no one mentioned the litres of water the Costume Department would be pouring over him to make it look like spilt petrol!

See how we shot the stunts and get a hint at what else is coming up for Gary and Anna...

Extras

INTERVIEW: Jack P Shepherd on caging David
VIDEO MESSAGE: Watch David say goodbye
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David's Crash

Jack P Shepherd talks us through filming THAT car crash and hints at what's to come for David Platt.

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Hell bent on revenge, David escaped his family's clutches and raced away hoping to get to the court room in time to catch Clayton.

But things took a horrible turn, as the carnage he wrought came crashing down on those around him.

Find out what it was like to film the death-defying stunts and find out where David is headed next...

Extras

STORYBOARDS: See how we planned the stunts
MORE JACK: David Caged
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David Trapped

Is there a cage built that can hold David Platt? We spoke to Jack P Shepherd about being locked away in the Bistro's cellar.

Gail's plan to keep David safe from himself is teetering on a knife-edge, as her desperate son will do anything to exact his revenge on Clayton.

Full of righteous indignation are their no lengths David will go to to escape?

Extras

VIDEO MESSAGE: Watch David say goodbye
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BEHIND THE SCENES: Building the cellar

Testing Steve

With the possibility that Steve has a condition that he could pass on to his children, you would think that he would go and get tested...

We spoke to Simon Gregson about why things with Steve are never quite that simple!

How is Steve dealing with the two dad thing in general? Is he trying to put Leanne and baby out of his mind and focus on Michelle?

Yes it’s typical Steve, he’s burying his head in the sand and hoping it will all go away. He had this one night stand with Leanne when he thought it was all over with Michelle then when Leanne came back and said she was pregnant he couldn’t believe it, unlucky!

He’s just hoping it will never come out and praying his life can be normal for once.

When did he get the call from Jim about Myotonic Dystrophy? How might it impact on him and his offspring? Is Amy not affected?

He gets a call from Jim who tells him he’s found out he has this condition so Steve needs to get tested. If Steve has it then the chances are Amy will do too and his baby but as usual Steve reacts oddly and doesn’t want to know.

I think he’s just hiding from it, he needs to know if he has this condition but he chooses not to. He doesn’t want to have the test, I think he’s frightened of what they might tell him.

Why does he only tell Michelle about it at the scan?

They’re so overwhelmed that they’re having a baby and when it comes to the day of the scan and Steve sees the pictures of the baby and how formed it is already that he gets really emotional. That’s when it hits home that this little baby he’s just seen could have this disease and he opens up to Michelle then.

Does he want to keep it secret from Leanne and Nick?

Yeah, I think he’s biding his time until he tells Leanne, he wants to get his own head around it first and then when he has he’ll go and tell Leanne and Nick, but unfortunately that gets done for him and he gets in a right mess again.

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What happens when he’s summoned to Leanne and Nick’s flat? What do they want from him? What’s his reaction?

They want him to take the test but I think a) the fact that they know without him having decided to tell them and b) the fact he’s been summoned there so they can tell him what to do causes Steve to just lose it. He’s been under so much pressure, with Leanne been pregnant with his child then finding out about this disease, that he’s just a guy that’s going to snap at any moment and he does snap.

Does Michelle put pressure on him to have test? Is he burying his head in the sand?

Michelle does but she’s not putting too much pressure on Steve. She’s making all the right noises and what she is saying is making sense. Michelle’s playing the softly, softly game, she knows that if she goes in all guns blazing he’s going to shut down and not go for the test.

What’s Leanne’s plan to make sure he has the test?

Leanne’s plan is to ensure Tracy finds out because she knows she’ll go in all guns blazing and try and force Steve to have the test because she’ll want to know about Amy’s chances. It just heaps even more pressure on Steve.

Will Leanne threaten to tell Michelle about her baby? Will his marriage be over if that happens?

Yes without any doubt. Maybe if he hadn’t run off with Becky behind Michelle’s back then he might have had that one strike to getaway with it but the fact that he’s done it to her before, and the humiliation that would come with everyone knowing it’s Leanne, then I don’t think there’d be any coming back.

It wasn’t an affair, they were on a break, he should have been honest from the outset, but this is Steve and now he’s in way too deep.

Surely the rest of his life will now be like this and he’ll be at the mercy of Leanne and Nick, unless they – or Steve and Michelle – move away?

Yes, Nick’s pretty much got Steve over a barrel, and unless they move away this is it for Steve.

Sarah and Gary

Sarah and Gary kissed but the course of true love never did run smooth - especially for these two!

We asked Tina O’Brien whether this could be the start of a beautiful relationship?

Why does Sarah ask Gary to go for a drink? Is it a date? How does Bethany react to this?

Sarah is grateful for Gary’s help so she invites him out for a drink as friends but when Gary arrives dressed up, looking smart, she is like ohhh hello. So there is a little something there, a spark.

Sarah doesn’t assume for one second that Bethany would be bothered that she is seeing Gary.

What is it about Gary that Sarah has fallen for?

Gary has clearly been in and out of trouble in the past but he has got his head screwed on. He’s a really sweet guy, he seems very kind and Sarah thinks he is quite fit!

Is she ready for a new romance - is the grisly past behind her now?

Sarah is very fragile so no, I don’t think she is ready. It will be interesting to see, if she does take the plunge, how any issues from the past colour a new relationship.

How does she feel when she finds out that Gary knew about Bethany’s diet pills?

Sarah is devastated because she feels that Gary should have told her. Bethany is her daughter - she feels that he has kept something really, really important from her. But Sarah also feels guilty and when she does confront Gary a lot of it is to do with that she feels that Bethany should have been confiding in her, not him. She feels a bit of a failure.

Did she have any idea that Bethany was taking them?

No idea at all, no. Sarah obviously knew that Bethany has been having issues with exercise and she had asked her if she had been making herself sick - something that Bethany denied. So this fresh blow for Sarah comes as a massive shock.

Doe she confront Gary? If so, how does he react?

Sarah goes absolutely mad at him and quite overreacts in a way. She knows she could have thought things through a little bit more but she does not handle the situation very well and it is clear that things are not good for them anymore.

What does she make of Izzy’s suggestion that she should give him a second chance?

At first Sarah is confused about why Izzy is getting involved because obviously Izzy and Gary have a past and they have a child together. Sarah is very wary of her motives but Izzy tries to reassure her that she just wants to see Gary happy.

Can she forgive him?

I think Sarah can forgive Gary but I just don't know at this point whether there is a future for them... The talk with Izzy makes Sarah realise that she has handled the situation badly but it also sparks Sarah to conclude that she needs to focus more on her children. Sarah resolves to put any idea of romance on the shelf because this situation with Bethany has upset her so much that she just wants to be a better mum.

What advice would you give Sarah? Do you reckon she should forgive him?

I would say that she could take more time to listen to her daughter and to work on communicating better with Bethany. But at the same time I would say don't rule something out that could potentially blossom with Gary because he could be a really good guy and Sarah needs a good guy in her life.

Would you like her to have a boyfriend?

At first I was like nooo! I thought Sarah was better on her own because there is always complications. But now I think she does need to feel safe and it would be lovely for her to have someone to confide in. It would be better for her in the long run.

Would she worry about his ex living on the doorstep?

Maybe, because Sarah got the impression that there was more than meets the eye there with Izzy, that there might be some feelings that are still there. But Sarah is pretty ruthless so she probably would still go there anyway!

Would she worry about how close Bethany’s been with Gary?

I think Sarah feels that Bethany should have her head screwed on. If Gary maybe gave Bethany the wrong idea, particularly as she is at an age where she might mistake kindness for more, Sarah is confident that Bethany would realise that there is nothing more to it...

Are you looking forward to a fresh start for Sarah now?

Yes, it is great to see Sarah building herself back up, getting on with life and being involved with her family.

There is still plenty of drama in store for the Platts, can she take it in her stride?

Sarah is in a much stronger place now than she has ever been but whether or not she can handle the drama that is in store is a different matter. Anything could send her back down the wrong path to that dark place in her mind so she really does have to keep herself reigned in and her head screwed on.