Tony Hirst explains to Soaplife how fire fighter Paul is struggling to fight fires at work – and at home, with Eileen in Coronation Street!
Paul’s not coping with fellow fire fighter Toni’s death in The Rovers, is he?
“No. He feels massive guilt and responsibility for Toni’s death. His training and his protocol require and instruct him to behave in a certain way, contrary to how he did behave on the night of the fire. He’s struggling with that.”
Do you mean he should have waited for back-up?
“ He responded as a human being going into the fire, but actually he shouldn’t have done it. Many firefighters are pressured by the public into taking action and it’s how a lot of them get hurt. Paul feels guilty, responsible, angry, frustrated – but then again he was in a set of circumstances that he just couldn’t avoid.”
How much support is Paul getting from Eileen and the neighbours?
”Not a lot. They don’t understand it at all because they just see Paul as a firefighter and think that it’s just his job. I think he’s bottling up his feelings because he can’t afford to break down in front of Eileen and make her more anxious. He does tell Eileen he’s scared, but he’s fighting another fire with her and he’s trying to be brave for her.”
Paul does go back to work, though…
”I think he goes back because he thinks it’s what he ought to do. He knows everyone at work knows about what’s happened and that it should have been different. But there’s a great spirit among firefighters and he wants to get back in there because he needs that back in his life. He needs it as much as he needs Eileen’s love and affection.”
Then Eileen tells Paul she can’t handle his job any more. How serious is that?
”I don’t think he’s prepared to compromise on this. He tells her that it’s in his blood, pure and simple.”
Where does that leave them?
“Paul absolutely loves Eileen, he’s asked her to marry him. He wants to make a go of it. He wants good times with her, but I’m not sure whether she can always see that.”