We spoke to Sterling Gallacher about Paula's relationship with Sophie and how it will affect her friendship with Sally.
How did the Corrie role come about?
I really liked the idea that it was a realistic storyline about a relationship. I found the age difference a fascinating angle because it sounds more like a real relationship rather than an idea of what a lesbian relationship might look like from an outside context.
What’s it like working with Sally Dynevor, Brooke Vincent and Connie Hyde?
They could not have been more welcoming or tried to make my life any easier. They’ve been fab and we’ve had a really good laugh. I’ve felt very easy very quickly in their company which makes getting on with the work so much easier.
What can you tell us about Paula?
She’s a very straightforward woman – she’s what I would describe as a grown up woman, she’s very clear, she knows her own mind. She’s not emotionally driven but she’s emotionally well connected. She has a great logic and doesn’t get caught in unrealistic nonsense. The reason she’s so good at her job is because she’s clear, thoughtful and smart.
How does Paula feel as Sally first plots match-making Isla and Sophie?
The initial suggestion comes because Isla wants to go away travelling and Paula thinks this looks like a possible idea to keep her local. But the reality of it is that Paula realises dating has to be a choice rather than a matchmake – just because the girls are lesbians, doesn’t mean they’re going to fancy each other. So she realises it’s a bit daft, actually.
Is her own attraction to Sophie an instant thing?
Paula is aware of Sophie immediately; she is fascinated by her and she catches her eye. But then Sophie has a couple of wise words about travelling and it allows her to release Isla to go out in the world and have an adventure. Paula finds Sophie’s maturity and common sense very attractive.
What does Sophie make of Paula’s declaration that she’s interested?
From Paula’s point of view, she’s aware that Sophie’s aware and there’s a nice little flirtation where they’re both toying with the idea of being involved with each other. Sophie makes the decision that this is going to happen and then Paula has to think about whether or not she’s willing to risk her working relationship because it’s not a sensible move to get involved with someone’s daughter when you’re representing them in such a way.
Are either of them concerned about Sally’s potential reaction?
Paula thinks that she can handle most things. She pretty much talks her way around things and isn’t scared of consequences but that’s an emotional response in Sally which would have to be dealt with. But nothing bad has happened – it’s just a poorly timed relationship.
Is a major falling out with Sally on the cards? Would you like that?
If and when Sally finds out about the relationship they’re might be a bit of a frisson there but I’d imagine Paula would be able to work it so that they remained friends because I’d love it if Sally and Paula would hang out a bit more!
Could Paula and Sophie live happily ever after?
That’s the fascinating thing – I would very much enjoy seeing how that could work because the age gap obviously is at least twenty years, and I think if they could both embrace each other’s choices and age. There’s lots of avenues for them to overcome if they properly love each other.