Tony (Gray O’Brien) and Maria (Samia Smith) talk about the drama surrounding the birth of baby Liam in Coronation Street

How does it all happen?
Gray: “They’re having a walk on the beach, Tony’s distracted by the dog, then he hears Maria scream. It is obvious she’s gone into labour, he does a 100-metre dash to where she is, and tries to calm her down and convince her everything is OK. There’s no mobile signal, the beach is totally deserted and that’s when he starts to panic. He manages to carry her over the sand dunes and finds a beach hut for a bit of privacy. He gets a faint reception on his phone and calls for an ambulance. But they can’t get there in time and the operator has to talk him through it. He ends up with one hand glued to the phone and the other glued to more medical things!”

Samia, how was it giving birth on screen when you are pregnant in real life?
“I’ve watched so many DVDs in preparation for my character’s births I feel like I’ve already been through it. Maria has been pregnant now for the best part of two years [Maria gave birth to a still-born baby in April 2008] and just when I’m getting rid of the prosthetic bump I’m getting one for real. My stomach’s been starting to push the fake bump out even further in these last few weeks!”

What is Tony’s reaction to the birth?
Gray: “He’s completely overcome. There’s a lovely moment when he passes the baby up on to her. It’s just the three of them together and Tony wishes the baby was his and they were together as a family. It was quite emotional to film. You’re shooting with this prosthetic baby and then they whip it away and produce the real one. He was such a tiny, gorgeous baby – it was a lovely moment.”

What about when Maria decides to call it Liam?
Gray: “Tony’s really choked. But it’s what she wants and there’s nothing he can say. Every day the name is mentioned he’s riddled with guilt. He’s totally remorseful about his involvement in Liam’s death, he wishes it had never happened.”

Is this be the start of a beautiful relationship for the killer and his victim’s wife?!
Samia: “It’s an inevitable development. Every week they’re growing closer and they can’t deny their feelings for much longer.”
Gray: “Tony wants a proper family unit and to live happily ever after. He’s successful in everything he does, but not love. This is his chance to have a ready-made family. It’s going to be difficult, but he’s trying to put the past behind him and move on with his life.”