Coronation Street‘s Tony Hirst reveals to Soaplife how poor Paul is hiding something from Eileen – and it’s not just his wife!

How does he feel about Eileen?
“He likes her a great deal; I think he likes her verve and her sense of humour. She seems very upright, compassionate, solid, and he has several soft spots for her. He’s not out on the prowl, it’s just coincidental that he meets this woman and gets on with her very well; they share many similar things and he’s very at ease with her. Besides being attracted to her of course!”

But Marcus spots Paul in a supermarket with a woman who turns out to be his wife. Does he know he’s been seen?
“He has no idea he’s been rumbled which is why he keeps his next date with Eileen. But it’s not all that it seems. When he’s with Eileen it’s very much a sanctuary for him, it’s a place of comfort and a place of excitement where he wants to be.”

Then Eileen asks him to stay the night…
“Yes, and he feels a mixture of joy, relief, concern, guilt-fuelled concern… But he obviously does it for a reason and it’s something that he needs at that point in time.”

But Sean and Marcus tell Eileen about the other woman and she confronts him at the fire station the next day…
“He wants to be honest with her, but it’s very difficult for him. And so he’s trying to balance protecting himself and protecting her feelings as well. But he’s a bloke – so he’s not very good at it!”

So Eileen goes to his house to tell his wife…
“Yes. It’s a shock to Paul – and a threat to him. He’s not a serial player who’s just in it for himself. He has got a moral code and he’s wrestling with that. He wants to be honest with Eileen – and yet he can’t be.”

But he clearly still wants the friendship to continue…
“Yes. It’s not just a whimsical thing – it’s not just that he wants to get Eileen into bed. Although that would be very nice! He’s obviously got a real need, he’s doing it for a reason.”

And why can’t he tell Eileen what it is?
“He doesn’t know her well enough and he doesn’t feel that he’s able to explain the situation as he would want to. He has tried to speak to her, but it has just not been possible. He wants to explain, but he can’t.”

Would you like to see Paul and Eileen make a go of things?
“I think they may have messed up, but I think they’re two decent, compassionate human beings who probably could do with a break.”

Will viewers be so understanding?
“In terms of the handbag swingers, the journey is a very interesting one and there may be trouble ahead.”