Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Blog interview with Simon Gregson and Kym Marsh (small spoiler)

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2014.)

There is a small spoiler in the article below but not really something you wouldn't have guessed anyway.

It was terrific to be in the company of Simon Gregson and Kym Marsh, also known as Steve and Michelle and to have them do a joint interview. They seem very close, teasing each other and joking together and admit that they are lucky that they get on so well.

What also becomes clear very early on is that their parts in Coronation Street are very important indeed to them. Simon Gregson has been in the show since he was just 15 yeas old, and has just celebrated his 40th birthday – a quarter of a century in all. Kym Marsh is now already in her 10th year and so both have earned their stripes and then some.  

So far on our screens we have seen Steve struggling. He doesn’t smile much, his relationship with Michelle is far less than satisfactory and he won’t talk much at all. In short, he appears plain miserable.

On the surface, Steve has everything to live for. He has The Rovers Return, Streetcars, a longstanding relationship with Michelle and gets on well with his mum, Liz. His mum and Steve clearly love each other, and Amy of course.

Depression is the issue that the storyline will explore. As many of us know, depression can affect anyone and at any time and is certainly no respecter of wealth, power, past or present experience and situation.

Simon Gregson is very keen indeed that this storyline is done well. He wants it to reflect clearly and accurately the reality of the effects of depression, not only on the person who is suffering from the debilitating illness but also the effects it has on those to whom the sufferer is close.

Close to Steve is Michelle and things haven’t been great between them for sometime already. Sadly, it is going to get even worse. By Christmas, Steve and Michelle will no longer be together. As viewers might guess, Liz does her best to put matters right, but she just does not understand what is wrong with Steve and nor does Michelle, and that is the problem. As ever, Coronation Street deals bravely with issues and certainly catches the zeitgeist here in the courageous way that depression, especially in men, is dealt with. It is a serious subject and because of that the writers are consulting with Mind and taking advice from that organisation.

Simon Gregson did say that on the day he was told about the forthcoming story about his depression, it was also the day on which the news of Robin Williams’ suicide hit the headlines.

Neither Simon nor Kym know how long exactly the depression storyline will continue, but they do know that Steve will hit rock bottom. Then, gradually, his love for Michelle takes him on a journey...

Before that though, Michelle is completely devastated when she realises that Steve is no longer interested in her and won't put up a fight when she suggests they end their relationship. This leads to Michelle allowing someone else to come into her life.

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