Coronation Street‘s Samia Ghadie (Maria Connor) and Jennie McAlpine (Fiz Stape) tell TV Times magazine about being love rivals…

Tell us about your friendship, off-screen…
Jennie: “Samia and I have been friends since I came into Corrie, 13 years ago. Very early on, Fiz and Maria lived together in the salon flat with Toyah Battersby, played by Georgia Taylor, who we’re both still very good friends with. When you meet a friend on Corrie, it’s very special because you spend a lot of time together – more than what you spend with your own family. Samia’s very kind and loyal; she’d do anything for you.”
Samia: “I’ve pretty much known Jen all my adult life and we’ve always got on really well. She’s a brilliant listener and she always has really good advice. She’s a great sounding board if you’ve got anything on your mind, and would never breathe a word to anyone. She’s like a wise old owl! It’s very strange that we’re going to be love rivals now!”

Maria continues to send Tyrone texts from ‘Kirsty’ this week. Does Fiz have any idea that Maria’s responsible?
Jennie: “She has no idea, she thinks it’s Kirsty from the start because that’s what Maria wants them to think, and she and Tyrone have no reason to think that anyone would be pretending to be her.”

Does Maria not feel guilty to see what a state Fiz and Tyrone are in?
Samia: “She keeps questioning herself but because Tyrone is leaning on her for advice and a shoulder to cry on, she likes it, so she keeps doing it. It’s addictive.”

What are the girls’ feelings towards one another right now?
Jennie: “It’s jealousy on Fiz’s part, definitely. It creeps up on her. She sees Maria and Tyrone together and thinks nothing of it, but then she sees them again and things get mentioned and, before she knows it, it’s in Fiz’s head that something is going on. She thinks Maria’s got her sights set on Tyrone.”
Samia: “Maria sees Fiz almost as an enemy. Things get so twisted in her mind. She’s really quite vulnerable and thinks that if she’d just stayed with Tyrone, none of the stuff with Marcus would’ve happened. She’s not thinking any further than ‘I need to get with Tyrone again’ and doesn’t care who else is affected.”

Samia, do you believe Maria and Tyrone would actually make a good couple?
“I think Maria’s seeing their relationship through rose-tinted glasses – they are completely different from how they were when they got engaged at the top of Blackpool Tower! She was always a lot more aspirational than him, but I think she’s been through that much, all she’s craving is a family and a dad for Liam.”

How will Fiz feel when the truth comes out, Jennie?
“You can’t comprehend someone doing that, certainly not a friend. She’s going to be so shocked. And the trouble is, Fiz can’t believe that Tyrone didn’t suspect anything because Maria is so unhinged; she’s like, ‘You were round there, having a brew with her – did she just seem really normal? Because she’s not!’ Her friendship with Maria is never going to be the same again because she can’t trust her.”

Maria is normally so likeable – Samia, how do you feel about becoming a villain?
“It’s great for me because I’m being challenged and it’s nice to play her completely differently from how I normally play her. But I am a bit nervous as to how the public will see me. I’m definitely expecting to get shouted at when I’m out – I might leave the country for a few weeks!”

If not Tyrone out of all Maria’s other exes, who do you think would work as a boyfriend right now?
“Nick’s single and he’s gone a bit mad as well, so maybe that could be a good one! They’ve been engaged before. That was in the Adam Rickitt days – I’ve not been with Nick since he’s been played by Ben Price.”

So is Maria the next Eileen Grimshaw?
“I don’t think she’d aspire to be like Eileen Grimshaw, but she’s probably heading that way! Someone compared me to Gail the other day – they said I was like the younger generation Gail because she never has much luck with men, either. I’ll have to wear polo necks and marry a few murderers!”