Coronation Street actress says 'we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to do during such strange times'
Coronation Street star Jane Danson has opened up about Leanne Battersby’s desperate battle to save her son Oliver.
The 41-year-old star says she’s “proud” of the storyline, which has seen Leanne battle along with Oliver’s dad Steve to save the three-year-old, who was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease earlier this year.
“From a creative point of view, I’ll probably never get a story as strong and as powerful as this again. It has been such a gift of a story to explore, and an honour to be trusted with something so delicate. In terms of logistics [because of the coronavirus pandemic], it has been quite difficult, working in a way in which we can’t have physical contact, and can’t have children on set as much as we’d like. So that has been hard, but we have got used to it.
“Being in a hospital for 12 hours a day, talking about a dying child, is pretty heavy, but we’ve balanced it with lighter moments. We’ve all tackled this knowing that it’s a real story that happens to real families, so we owe it to them to tell it as truthfully as we can.
“Obviously, we’ve had the twisty soap elements mixed in, but in terms of a story about Oliver’s illness, we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to do during such strange times.”
Coronation Street sees Leanne “bereft” as Steve can’t back her anymore…
In an interview with TV Times, which is out today, Jane talks about the dramatic developments in Coronation Street next week as the court case ends with the judge ruling that Oliver’s life support should be turned off.
“There are a whole host of things going on. She has given evidence, and thinks the way she has worded a few things might’ve contributed to the decision. Also, through her eyes, everyone has tried to go against her. But she still has fight in her. Everyone close to her is resigning themselves to believing they’re at the end of the road, but Leanne isn’t there yet.”
Leanne decides to appeal the decision, but Steve says he can’t back her. And Jane reveals his decision devastates Leanne.
“She’s absolutely bereft – she breaks down and is practically on her hands and knees, begging him to change his mind. It’s a really long scene where he tries to explain himself, and all his reasons are valid. She goes into defence mode, and says, ‘You wouldn’t understand – I carried him and you didn’t.’ But while Steve may not have physically bore a child, he is Oliver’s dad and has the same feelings for him, only now he thinks they’re at the point of no return.”
And Jane says that being involved in such a tragic storyline has left her in tears.
“It’s always difficult to explore death, particularly with a child, and we’ve handled it as sensitively as we can. There’s a lot of suggestion, and scenes in which Leanne and Steve are preparing to say goodbye. It is so sad, and I had to put the scripts down several times because I couldn’t see for crying.”
For more information on mitochondrial disease go to thelilyfoundation.org.uk
Coronation Street continues on ITV.