Coronation Street‘s Tony Hirst reveals to Soaplife how losing Lesley has made Paul determined not to lose Eileen, too…

On the day of Lesley’s funeral there’s just one person Paul wants and needs at his side: Eileen. “At first he had a knee-jerk reaction to losing Lesley and he latched on to blaming Eileen,” says Tony. “But if he’s learnt anything from this nightmare it’s that he’s not going to lose the only other good thing in his life.” Now he just has to convince Eileen!

Shouldn’t he be grieving for Lesley instead of thinking about Eileen?
“When we shot the funeral I realised he’d already grieved for her. The Lesley that Paul had been married to for years had left a long time ago and I think he’d been mourning her passing while she was still here. Now there’s a massive sense of sadness she’s gone, but also a kind of relief there and he’s uncomfortable with that.”

Won’t asking Eileen to go to the funeral with him upset Lesley’s family?
“He doesn’t give a monkey’s about her family. They weren’t there for Lesley when she needed them. As soon as the dementia was diagnosed they did one. Eileen had as much to do with Lesley as anyone and he thinks she has a right to be there.”

Eileen agrees, but how does Paul feel at the funeral when Lesley’s sister accuses him of abandoning Lesley for Eileen?
“He’s got a thick skin, but Eileen’s the one who answers back, saying to the sister, ‘Where were you?’ That’s one of the things Paul loves about Eileen, she’s direct and won’t take any nonsense. And it’s rubbing off on him. He doesn’t want to pussyfoot round his feelings for her any more.”

Does he really love Eileen?
“Yes. And with Lesley he’s realised love can be taken away very quickly and very brutally so he thinks, ‘Sod it. This is what I want.'”

Can they get over any guilt they feel and be happy together?
“It will be interesting to see because they both share a common guilt and they’re both aware they’re being looked at and judged every time they step out on the street. That hurts them because they love each other and they haven’t done anything wrong.”