Simon, what was the reaction when Coronation Street producer, Stuart Blackburn, told you he was giving Steve depression?
“My first thought was ‘Hmm, have you chosen the right guy for the job?’ because of the comedy element and the silliness that Steve brings to the show. But, soon after, I realised what he had done was a very good move in that if it could happen to Steve, it could happen to anybody.”
What’s Steve’s reaction?
“It’s a big label to put on someone and I think Steve’s very frightened by it. What’s great about this story is that it shows how it impacts on those around the person who’s suffering.”
“Michelle can’t understand why Steve has changed so much – because he’s a shadow of his former self. He doesn’t want to be around her. Every time they get a minute together, he disappears.”
Kim, how do you see Michelle’s reaction to Steve depression?
“Shell does, eventually, come round. And, in a bid to reconnect with Steve, she books them a trip to the Lake District. But he shows no interest in going and, when he ignores her plea to tell her what’s wrong, she snaps and packs her bags.
“She’s like ‘Is it me? Is it me?’ He doesn’t say, ‘No’ so she just thinks ‘He doesn’t love me any more’. She’s absolutely heartbroken. She’s lost the man she loves and has no idea what she’s done wrong.”
They remain apart over Christmas, but will reunite early next year. Was that a relief?
Kym: “We don’t like not working together, do we?”
Simon: “No, we don’t. But this storyline obviously has to go through a certain journey. As of yet, we don’t know precisely when we’ll get back together, but we know that we do get back together – and then hopefully we can be a bit silly again!”
How is it playing the more serious scenes?
Simon: “At first, it was like ‘Wow! We’ve had so many years of silliness and enjoying ourselves, we’ve got to actually work now!'”
Kym: “But after the first day or so, it was ‘Great, I’m really getting into this.’ It’s nice to be back in the chair, so to speak. It’s good to flex the old acting muscles.”
And Simon, presumably, the hope is that this story will help viewers also struggling with depression…
“We, as actors, are in people’s front rooms five times a week. Some people actually think they know you, and they do relate to what they’re watching. So, to be able to do a serious subject which, in the long run, can hopefully in some way help people, can only be a good thing.”
For more information on depression and support for those suffering from depression visit www.mind.org.uk