Coronation Street‘s Eileen – actress Sue Cleaver – tells TV Times magazine all about playing her lovelorn character, and if Paul is really ‘the one’…

What was your reaction when you discovered Eileen was going to meet a new man, Paul?
“I thought ‘Oh God, here we go! This is going to be a nightmare again; it’ll all go horribly wrong and he’ll be a nasty piece of work.’ But also, I’m thrilled to be working with Tony Hirst, who plays Paul, and the storyline is fantastic; it hasn’t been done before.”

How would you describe Eileen’s perfect man? And how does Paul compare?
“Well, she’s been so lousy at picking them, she doesn’t know! I think someone who’d look after her; somebody who’d put her interests first, because she looks after everybody else all the time. And obviously, Paul is not the perfect man by any means.”

Is part of the attraction that he’s a fireman?
“I suppose there is that thing about men in uniforms, although personally, I’ve never been a go-er for that big yellow hat. He rescued her. She was in a bad way and upset, and they made a connection. He’s just a really nice guy.”

Eileen’s devastated when she discovers that Paul is married. Does this force her to re-evaluate her expectations of relationships?
“Well, she gets rid of him when she finds out he’s lied to her. He comes back and explains the situation, but she says, ‘No, I can’t be the third cog in your wheel: I deserve more than that’, and she tells him to go.”

If Eileen did a u-turn and decided to go for it, do you think she’d get some flak from her friends for dating a married man?
“When they know the circumstances of what’s happened, so no, I don’t think so; I think they’ll be concerned for her. I can’t say exactly what the situation is with Paul, but it is a really interesting dilemma.”

Long term, could Paul be ‘the one’?
“You need to ask the writers that; I’ve got no idea! Potentially, he could be. He ticks all the boxes, and he’s lovely and kind. There’s just one thing standing in their way, and it’s a very big thing.”

Are there still things that you’d like to do, as an actress?
“Yes there are lots of things. My first love is theatre, I went back and did some theatre last year and I’m sure I’ll be doing some more because that is my first love.”

Finally, what would your advice be to Eileen, as she embarks on a new relationship?
“Enjoy it! Life’s too short!”