Richard Hawley discusses Johnny's state of mind ahead of Aidan's funeral.
How would you describe Johnny and Jenny’s relationship at the moment?
This is the story of men’s difficulty in expressing feelings and in this case, Johnny is finding difficulty with grieving and of course he is deeply traumatised. He’s acting out the silence that Aidan lived in.
Does Johnny realise that he is pushing Jenny away?
Johnny is blinded to everything, he is keeping other people out, not deliberately but he can’t stop it. This is the danger of the difficulty of grieving. It’s an instinctive response to protect his own pain and vulnerability and it’s a classic case of you lash out at the ones closest to you.
What happens when Johnny tells Jenny she is not welcome at the Chapel of Rest?
The trigger for banning Jenny is because she spills a coffee on Aidan’s suit which is almost like desecrating his son. He sees innocent mistakes as desecration because all of his feelings are elevated, you just can’t reach him.
What are Johnny’s first thoughts when Imran and Alya tell him that Aidan has left her the factory?
Honestly for a moment, he can’t take it on board. This whole time is an absolute explosion of grief and feelings, cracking off in every direction. But he welcomes the fight as a distraction and a distraction from the fights he is picking around him. And he has been picking fights.
What makes Johnny decide to turn to Liz for support?
Liz is an old friend and she has always been someone who he can talk with. She has good wisdom but that is confused now, without him knowing it, because she has actually developed strong feelings for him.
What makes them share a kiss?
He is able to express himself with her. Somehow all the currents come together and they find a sense of warmth, intimacy and a gentle nurturing in a way that he and his heart needs.
Is the funeral a turning point for Johnny?
Within that day, he suddenly realises just how wrong he had interpreted their whole relationship, signs that had been missed from when Aidan was a kid that he hasn’t seen it. With a shove and a push at certain moments it could all have been so different and now he can see the truth he spends the day wishing it would be different. That’s an enormous revelation to him and I hope to the audience as well.
What were the funeral scenes like to film?
They are were amazing to film because what I do love about this storyline is it is a human domestic drama, it’s not relying on big stunts, it’s real people’s lives and that’s what soap can do incredibly well. There is some amazing writing in those scenes and again, like all the way through this story, there are strong statements about those signs we have missed.
Did you ever think this storyline would have the impact that it has?
No, we knew it would have a strong, positive impact but the scale of it has been off the scale; people sharing stories, people saying that they have talked to someone because of this storyline. The scale of that has slightly shocked me; it has been incredibly moving and it needs to be because the storyline will all move on at some point but we want this moment to have a lasting effect.
Why is Coronation Street tackling male suicide with this storyline?
It’s precious and it’s trying to honour people, it’s trying to prevent something happening and to start the conversation and I think it has achieved those things. That is what Coronation Street is founded on; there is a strong element of activism and always has been.
If you've been affected by Aidan's story, please visit itv.com/advice where help and support is available.