Alison King: 8 reasons Carla Connor owned the cobbles

The fabulous Alison King tells us her favourite Carla storylines from the past ten years on the Street.

Mrs Connor may be gone, but she'll never be forgotten!

GOODBYE CARLA: Watch Alison King's best bits

1. Carla and Liam

There was this big crossover from Carla being with Paul her whole life and always being close to Liam and having that banter, to the realisation after Paul had gone that she loved Liam and he thought the same way. When they first kissed in the factory there was such an outburst of emotion that she slapped him.

Losing Paul (Liam’s brother) made their bond so much closer and it was such a big thing to build on for months that it made Liam and Carla’s romance so much more exciting and true.

So when it came to the wedding dress scene and Liam said ‘don’t do it’ (don’t marry Tony) and they finally got together it was such an explosive moment that everyone had been waiting for.

It was a really great storyline to play because of the build up to it and that realisation that she was in love with Liam.

– Alison King

2. Underworld Siege

It’s always good to film the big stunt stuff, it’s always what people remember, however it’s often the least pleasurable to film! When you can look back after the mental block though, you can appreciate how memorable it was, it’s just so intoxicating at the time.

People remember the big stories whereas perhaps as an actor you remember the little scenes and the intricacies. What I loved about filming the siege scenes was the team I was working with. James Fleet who played Tony’s old prison mate Robbie who held Carla and Hayley hostage was sensational to work with.

It was also the first time Julie Hesmondhalgh and I worked together for weeks on end which was fantastic. We had a great director in David Kester too, the scenes were intense and challenging to film with the smoke and fire.

3. Carla's rape

This was such a big story and really made an impact on people's lives. We heard afterwards that Carla coming forward about her rape changed statistics dramatically for the rape crisis centre.

Some branches of the charity experienced an 800% increase in calls after the storyline had aired. Also the letters that I received from people and the support I got meant a lot.

The scenes were challenging to play but very rewarding afterwards because of the outcome. There were people who contacted me about their real-life experiences that I’m still in contact with now.

4. Carla and Peter

I loved the affair with Peter because working with Chris Gascoyne was so great, working with Chris is always an honour because he’s a genius who gets right in with the character and gives you everything he’s got.

So much material came from the affair that the stories ran for years and years which is what happens when stories are well told. The affair, alcoholism, Carla’s relationship with her brother, Tina’s death, Carla’s miscarriage. It covered so much ground and the stories changed so much during Carla and Peter’s relationship.

5. Frank's Trial

This was another important story to play because it showed that often in a rape trial the victims don’t win. It raised awareness as to how hard it is to get a rape conviction in a domestic situation.

Again the storyline encouraged people to come forward; women in relationships, those raped within marriages and children who had been groomed.

6. Carla and Hayley

For me personally this was one of the best storylines I worked on, even though it wasn’t about Carla.

Obviously working so closely with Julie Hesmondhalgh was amazing, watching her portrayal of a cancer sufferer and the end of such a beautiful relationship that she and David Neilson had created over many years.

For me that story covered all the links that Carla and Hayley had slowly created during their eight years together on the show. It brought to the conclusion their love for each other and I’m glad such a strong subject matter was tackled.

7. Rob killed Tina

This was so powerful to play. Throughout my time at Corrie the most beautiful consistent thing has been Carla’s relationships with her family, her bond with Michelle and all that her brother Rob meant to her.

It’s a cut throat love, they would die for each other. So when Carla had to do the right thing and report Rob to the police for Tina’s murder it showed an immense side to her, that whatever the stakes she will always do the right thing.

She loved her brother, but the disintegration of her family over the years meant the relationship couldn’t be saved, it was too little too late and a massive loss for Carla. The Connors are so strong whether they like it or not, and I’m glad the Connors will continue in Weatherfield with Johnny, Aidan and Kate.

8. Narla

Of all Carla’s relationships this has been the most amazing, the truest, the most emotional, the most magical pairing because of a long growing relationship between two separate people on the Street who came together when they least expected to.

That’s what worked for the audience and that’s what worked for us as actors. Ben is also such a great friend, it’s been incredible to work so closely together.

Jack P Shepherd

Callum's body is about to be discovered, but what does this mean for the Platts? Jack P Shepherd hints at the drama to come...

So all the chickens are coming home to roost for the Platts are they?

Yeah they are! It’s going to be a big summer with the discovery of Callum’s body. It then becomes all about who’s going to get the blame, who’s going to start flinging the blame and what it means for the Platts and other characters in the future. The body could have stayed hidden for years but there’s more drama with this I think when it comes out. It’s the beginning of the next chapter.

Was David sure they could keep the body a secret or was there a sense of inevitability?

No, he thought that’s it, they’ve got away with it scot-free. In a lot of the scenes on screen now David’s very upbeat, quite comical, to the point you think he seems to have completely forgotten about it. There are a few dips now and again when Sarah’s freaking out and he goes ‘shut up, we’ll be fine, no one knows, don’t let the cat out of the bag’, everything’s all right, we got away with it. So no he thought that’s it, we can draw a line underneath it. But obviously it’s not!

When Callum’s body is discovered does he still think it’ll be fine?

There are elements of that. There are also some scenes where he’s the one who’s petrified but he has to keep that to himself, because he has to be the strong one when Kylie and Sarah are falling apart. They’re the ones who are losing their minds so he has to be the strong one, but on his own you can see the pressure is getting to David and that there’s a chance he’s going to prison for murder.

Do you like the mature side to David?

Worryingly, crime seems to suit him. Yeah he does always seem to respond well to pressure does David, and in circumstances where it looks like his life is on the line, he always seems to get away with it unscathed. But murder? That’s a bit of a different kettle of fish so he is worried about it, very much so, but again he can’t let the others see that because if he thinks they’re going down for it, then they might as well all start blabbing because that’s exactly what they will do.

Who is he keenest to protect? Kylie, the kids, Sarah?

I think it’s Kylie and the kids. He would let anyone else go down for it. It’d be painful if Sarah went down for it but he wouldn’t be bothered as long as Kylie and the kids were all right I think.

Does that fuel his actions after the body is discovered?

I think Kylie’s a lot more compassionate towards Sarah than David is. Kylie’s more of the moral one, saying no we all have to get away with it or none of us gets away with it.

Would he take the wrap for Kylie?

Yeah, I think he probably would.

What if he and Kylie both go down for it?

No, that’s not an option for David, I don’t think he’d go for that. It’d have to be either one or the other. I think if he’s put in the position where Kylie says she’s going to confess then he’ll say ‘no, I did it’.

David attempts to blame Jason for Callum’s murder, how does that come about?

There’s a scene where David’s being questioned by the police and he’s getting all the blame – the body’s been discovered in his house, how does he get away with saying it isn’t him? So he goes ‘you know there are other people who had a grudge against Callum that it could have been. The police are like ‘well, who that had access to your house?’ and he goes ‘ah, the builders – Jason, obviously it’s Jason, yeah Jason’s done it!’ So that’s how that comes about.

Does he feel bad about blaming Jason?

No, not at all. He’s like yes finally! Something good has happened from this, I can now pass it off on him.

Is David confident this will work?

Well there’s a chance that it might so he thinks yeah say it. Also Jason’s thick so David thinks hopefully he’ll stick his foot in it and incriminate himself somehow.

How do Kylie and Sarah react to David’s plan?

They feel slightly more guilty but David tries to convince them to roll with this because it’s a way to get out of it.

Could David persuade them that blaming Jason is the best case scenario?

I imagine David will say what are you on about, this is an absolute gift. We need to take this and let him get sent down the river.

So David plants the seed in the police’s heads?

Yeah, he points out that Jason didn’t like Callum and he had access to the Platts house, so then they have to go and question Jason and he’s arrested.

How does Gail cope with the discovery of the body? Who does she think killed Callum?

She thinks David’s done it because obviously it looks like he has. So she sort of falls out with him and says he’s ruining the family. But David insists he hasn’t done it, then he says look I’m trying to hold it together for Max and Lily, I’ve got to figure out what the hell to tell Max, who’s just witnessed his dad being pulled out of a drain, I’m having a tough time here.

Is Gail a suspect?

I think the Platts are all suspects. Initially we all get arrested because we’re all in the house.

Extras

The end of the feud?

Tracy is finally getting her wish and Carla is leaving Weatherfield, but can she resist sticking the boot in one final time?

Kate Ford talks about all things Tracy and Carla!

How does Tracy feel when she hears Carla might not be moving away after all?

She panics because she can’t stand the thought of seeing her every day because of what happened with Robert. She wants her to move so that Tracy herself can move on.

Robert’s already warned Tracy to leave Carla alone – would she really risk her relationship with Robert just to get revenge on Carla?

She really doesn’t want to risk losing him but something happens that puts their relationship in jeopardy.

Is she confident Robert would give her another chance if she messed up again?

No, she knows that he wouldn’t. But something drastic happens that means she acts impulsively.

Does she really love Robert, or would she still always put herself first at the end of the day?

She always puts herself first but as far as her loving someone goes she does feel really happy with him and she does care for him. When they were married he was a bit of a drip but during their time apart he did actually do quite well for himself. He used to be a carpenter but then became a successful chef. Now she views him in a different light because she is an opportunist. She fancies him more now because of who he is. She felt he was holding her back before with his mundane lifestyle. Now she's older that’s more appealing.

Could Robert (or anyone) ever really tame her?

I think she does want more stability in her life now and Robert is providing that for her. Now she has her own business with the florist’s she feels as if she’s going places so she’s happy with Robert.

Do you prefer Tracy being with a good guy or a bad boy?

Tracy makes her own trouble anyway so even when she’s with a good guy she’s always up to something. I don’t think it makes much difference, the battles are just different.

Would breaking up Carla and Nick truly make her happy?

Her intention isn’t really to split them up, she just wants to get rid of Carla.

Carla and Tracy have had a lot of run-ins over the years, but what do you think is the main reason Tracy hates her so much?

She sees Carla as the real bitch on the street, she’s convinced she’s nasty, but it’s Tracy who has the bad reputation with the other residents. She wants her exposed. And Carla’s not much better than Tracy really - she cheated on her fiance - she just hides it better. Tracy’s jealous of her and she’s very angry that she grassed Rob up.

What’s been your favourite Tracy-Carla scene/storyline?

It was fun when we filmed on top of the cliff (after the minibus crash) because Ali King convinced me to do my own stunt and I’m terrified of heights. I had this harness on under my costume attached to this massive vehicle but it was still really scary. Afterwards I loved the adrenalin. I felt like I’d really achieved something.

Bus Crash \- Behind the Scenes

Will you miss working with Alison King?

Yes, definitely. We are very good friends.

Would you like Tracy to have a new nemesis and if so, is there anybody currently on the cobbles in mind?

I think it would be nice for her not to go straight into battle with someone else, maybe explore other things for a while.

Are you enjoying Tracy and Amy’s relationship?

I do enjoy doing those scenes. It’s nice seeing Amy becoming a little more like Tracy and also turning into a teenager. I’ve heard from so many people how that can be in real life!

Corrie Weddings

As Nick and Carla's wedding approaches, take a look back at some if the weird, wild and wonderful weddings of Weatherfield.

The first Street wedding was that of Jack and Annie Walker’s daughter Joan to Gordon Davies on 8th March 1961.

The most recent - before this week - was Sally Webster and Tim Metcalfe’s nuptials on 5th October 2015.

On 4th August 1962, Ken Barlow, now the show’s longest-running original character, married for the first time, having sold his scooter to fund the wedding. Valerie Tatlock became bride number one when she walked up the aisle at St Mary’s. Ken married a further three times, to Janet Reid in 1972 and Deirdre Langton in 1981 and again in 2005.

Gail Rodwell and Steve McDonald are the most-married characters, each having walked down the aisle six times.

Six couples have married each other twice: Brian and Gail Tilsley (left), Jim and Liz McDonald, Kevin and Sally Webster, Steve and Karen McDonald, Ken and Deirdre Barlow, and Nick and Leanne Tilsley.

The most enduring marriage on the Street was that of Jack and Vera Duckworth, who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary weeks before Vera’s death in January 2008.

The shortest marriage was that of Steve McDonald and Tracy Barlow, whose union fell apart during their wedding reception in 2012.

Carla Connor has been married three times before, to Paul Connor, Tony Gordon and Peter Barlow...

...While Nick Tilsley has had two previous weddings, both to Leanne (nee Battersby), in 1998 and 2013.

There have been 110 weddings in Coronation Street’s 55-year history - although some have barely lasted past the vows!

Hopefully Nick and Carla will have more luck!
Join the conversation with #CorrieSecrets

Extras

CORRIE 360: Discover the secrets in Carla's flat
BRITISH SOAP AWARDS: Show your support!

Carla's Wedding

With the big day just around the corner for Carla and Nick, we spoke to Alison King to get the inside scoop on what's to come!

In the run up to the wedding Nick wants to call it all off, what’s Carla reaction to this?

We see that the symptoms of Nick’s brain injury are starting to return, he’s fearful about what it means for the future, which makes Carla also fearful, wondering what he knows about her one night stand with Robert. They’re coming from two different places.

What Carla should have done is come clean at the start but because Tracy’s been manipulating the situation it’s all got out of control. Carla starts to think that Nick must know something but of course he doesn’t, it’s all about his injury and how he doesn’t want to hurt Carla, which makes what she’s done look even worse at the end of the day. So in the run up it’s unclear as to whether the wedding will even go ahead.

Why doesn’t Carla recoil when Nick tells her about the extent of his brain injury and what it could mean for them?

She’s so stressed at the minute she doesn’t really think it through. She’d love him whatever but at this moment it’s just adding to the pressure cooker that is Carla Connor pressing self destruct as always.

She’s finally found someone who’s good with her, who gets her, but of course she’s jeopardised all that because of her fling with Robert.

Why did she sleep with Robert?

It was quite out of character. She’d just found out that Johnny was her dad, she’d been drinking and Carla is so messed up because of her family anyway that she just couldn’t handle it.

How is Carla feeling on her wedding day?

As the day approaches she’s hit by the enormity of it and the shame over what she’s done. A few throwaway comments from the girls as she’s getting ready really resonate with her and the pressure of her guilt starts to get to her. She just wants to get through the day, marry Nick and move away from the Street where she can start afresh.

Does she contemplate revealing all to Nick?

She should have told him months ago but as time has gone on, and with Tracy’s interference, the lie has intensified making it harder and harder to tell Nick. She’d love to be able to come clean but she’s so scared of losing him.

On the day of the wedding is Carla worried that Tracy could blow the whole thing?

She’s sick with worry about what Tracy might do but she’s determined to get through the day. When Carla hears that Tracy hasn’t been seen for a while she starts to fear there’s something going on. And when she finds out that Tracy’s interfered with the wedding flowers she’s even more scared, convinced Tracy is going to do everything she can to wreck the wedding.

She starts to feel more and more anxious, everything seems to be conspiring against her: Tracy’s trick with cancelling the florist, Tracy going AWOL, then Johnny’s acting weird when she goes to see him and the pressure of managing her guilt is really getting to her. It’s all becoming too much for Carla but she’s trying so hard to keep a lid on it, she’s desperate to stop her big day from unravelling.

Why does Roy give her away?

She calls at Underworld with some cufflinks for Johnny but he can’t get out of the door quick enough which really unsettles Carla, obviously she doesn’t know he has Tracy locked away in the hope she can’t wreck the wedding! So Johnny doesn’t turn up to the Bistro in time and Carla turns to Roy to give her away who’s delighted. She’s emotional, fighting back the tears, as Roy leads her up the aisle. She loves Nick so much but she feels like a fraud.

What’s Carla’s wedding dress like?

Uncomfortable, it’s been squeezing me in for weeks! It’s quite traditional, very sweet, she wants to look beautiful for Nick and she wants the day to be perfect. The Bistro looks really pretty too, the art department have done an amazing job, lots of flowers and silver decorations.

Whatever happens we know Carla leaves the street, is her exit suitably explosive?

Well I’m shattered from filming so I hope it pleases everybody. I don’t think we could have put any more into it, it’s been emotionally draining.

What will you miss the most when you leave the show?

The people, cast and the crew, I can’t even talk about it without crying. I see more of them than I do anybody else so they’re my family and we all look after each other so much, that’s what I’ll miss the most.

Extras

The end of the road for Craig and Caitlin?

Could heartbreak be on the horizon for poor Craig? Colson Smith teases what's to come.

How are things going with Caitlin?

From Craig’s point of view nothing could be better. He’s wholly in love, he’s really enjoying himself, having a great time. This is his first serious relationship - other than with the rat!

He’s always taking Caitlin out and treating her right so Craig thinks he’s the perfect boyfriend, everything is going right, but little does he know...

Has Craig noticed any changes in Caitlin’s behaviour?

He’s starting to see that she’s being a little bit off - she’s always on her phone, she’s a bit agitated but Craig just tries to ignore that and show her lots of attention and affection and make her feel special. The signs are there from her but Craig just can’t take the hint. He makes it more difficult for himself in the end.

What happens over dinner at the bistro?

They go off for their date but Caitlin’s really off with Craig, being very blunt and not really engaging in conversation. He’s getting pushed away and in a way Caitlin’s trying to make it clear but Craig can’t see the signs. He would struggle to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t what she wanted. At the dinner he’s still in love and really trying.

Is Craig worried Caitlin’s going to dump him?

Not until she tells him she’s going to Dundee to go to art school. He is ignoring the obvious signs up to that point.

How does he feel when she tells him she’s moving to Dundee?

He’s a bit stunned at first but Craig being Craig decides he’s going to move out of his mum’s, go to Dundee and find a job there and they’ll get a flat together and live happily ever after.

Does he think their relationship could manage the distance?

Yes, he does. I think Craig would run through a brick wall for Caitlin.

Is he really willing to move to Dundee?

He would do anything to make it work. He’s sweet, innocent, totally unaware about what’s going to happen.

How does her response to his offer make him feel?

Caitlin tells him bluntly that that’s not happening and it might be the end of the road for them and Craig’s heart slowly starts to break from then onwards. He’s never had this kind of relationship before, he’s never felt loved this way. His relationship with his mum is very rough and tough, even though she loves him and would do anything for him. Caitlin’s been like his rock recently and now he’s losing that. It’s really tough for him.

Craig, Beth and Caitlin

Have you enjoyed your first on-screen relationship?

It’s been great. Before Craig had his girlfriend, the public’s view was he’s so sweet and would do anything for anyone. That was on the back of Faye’s pregnancy storyline and that friendship could be seen as his first ‘relationship’. But with Caitlin, you see different sides to Craig, his art and spray painting for example. Characters need turning points and Craig being dumped will make him realise there’s more out there to explore.

Is it fun working with Eve Gordon?

It has been really fun doing the story with Eve. She’s lovely and hopefully this will open many more doors for her.

Is there any relationship advice you’d pass on to Craig if you were his friend?

If I was Craig’s mate I’d probably say man up! And tell him that there’s plenty more fish in the sea.