Coronation Street’s David Neilson reveals to Soaplife how Roy comes out swinging with a cricket bat when someone breaks into the cafe – not realising it’s Gary Windass!

Roy Cropper’s supposed to be going to Carla’s on Boxing Night, but instead he’s home alone because he’s worried about the gang of teens hanging around outside the cafe. So when he hears something downstairs, he thinks one of them has broken in. Arming himself with his cricket bat, Roy creeps downstairs. “He sees a figure wearing a hoodie and a red mist descends – someone’s in his space and he doesn’t think twice about hitting the intruder over the head,” David  tells Soaplife. Then he realises he’s beating Gary…

Why didn’t Roy call the police instead of lashing out?

“It’s a split-second thing and calling the police doesn’t enter his head. He’s in the middle of the situation and it’s an instinctive reaction to lash out.”

How does Roy realise it’s Gary (Mikey North) he’s attacking?

“They spill out onto the street. Sinead [Katie McGlynn] sees what’s happening and she yells at Roy to stop. The sound of her voice breaks through the red mist and he stops. The person on the ground rolls over and Roy sees it’s Gary.”

What happens next?

“The police are called and Roy’s in total shock as he realises what’s done. It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde moment. He’s dazed as he tries to make sense of what he’s done.”

Is Roy ashamed?

“He is acutely embarrassed, shocked and, yes, ashamed. He has let himself down and feels he’s let Hayley down, too. He was just minding his own business and suddenly there he is in a police cell. He’s very frightened, too. He realises he’s capable of killing someone and he never thought he would be.”

How does he cope with being questioned by the police?

“He tries to remember what happened and get some clarity. Some people would make excuses to make things easier for themselves, but not Roy. He wants to be locked up for what he’s done to Gary.”

How badly hurt is Gary?

“He’s in hospital with his injuries but he’s not seriously hurt. Gary’s very generous towards Roy, considering. He doesn’t wish to press charges. Anna [Debbie Rush] does, though. Roy tells Anna exactly what happened and that he hit Gary repeatedly, even though Gary posed no threat to him. Once Anna hears this, Roy and Anna’s friendship disintegrates.”

It’s a very bleak start to 2015 for Roy!

“True, but the anger he’s been carrying around since Hayley died is lessened now he’s had this outpouring of emotion. He has grieved for 12 months and we may now start to see him come out of that.”

Coronation Street, ITV. Click here for dates and times.