So, Chris, have you been planning this hiatus for long?
“No, not really. Things just snowball on, you don’t get a rest because there’s no end to this show and when you have got big storyline after big storyline you get very tired and you’re not really on top of your work. So much so I just needed a break to refresh myself and then come back and I’ll be fine.”
Do you have anything special planned while you’re off?
“There’ll be a bit of family time and just time to have a normal life really.”
Why does Peter decide to give Simon the choice of who he lives with?
“He thinks it’s what Simon wants. But then it becomes more complicated than that. I don’t think Peter has ever thought that Simon will say he wants to live with Leanne, if he does it will be a big shock to him. But I think he genuinely wants Simon to be happy, and if that is where he is happy then Peter is going to have to be fine with it, as long as he can still see him.”
As a father yourself, has this storyline been particularly difficult?
“The whole storyline has been quite upsetting to play out. I’ve not been through that in my own life and I couldn’t imagine it. I know for a lot of people watching it, it probably will be a very painful experience. There are some upsetting scenes, I don’t normally get upset but this was quite different. It is a very sad storyline.”
How does this storyline compare to the other storylines you’ve had over the years?
“It’s one of the hardest ones. With it being a family break-up, it has been one of the most human stories and one of the most difficult ones.”
Is this the start of a downward spiral for Peter?
“Yeah. He’s going to go right off the rails again! But then he picks himself back up again and tries to do the right thing and, ultimately, you’ll see what happens!”
How do you think Simon will turn out in the future – a Weatherfield teenage tearaway, perhaps!?
“On this show, yeah definitely! He could follow in his dad’s footsteps, and they’ll have to do all the same storylines again a few years down the line, or maybe he could buck the trend and end up going to university.”
Many readers liked Peter and Leanne as a couple. Would you like them to get back together one day?
“Yeah, I think so. Peter can’t carry on chasing women and robbing banks forever. It’s hard work and I’m getting too old for it! Leanne gave him stability in his life and maybe that’s what he needs.”
Does Peter’s complicated family life make you appreciate your own family set-up more, and the fact that your life is more simple than his?
“I don’t think anybody’s family life is simple but mine is certainly a lot simpler than his [Chris has three children with actor Caroline Harding]. I wouldn’t want Peter’s life for a million pounds!”