(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)
1) May 2008. Sleeping with Liam while he's married to Maria.
There was this big crossover from Carla being with Paul her whole life and always being close to Liam and having that banter, to the realisation after Paul had gone that she loved Liam and he thought the same way. When they first kissed in the factory there was such an outburst of emotion that she slapped him. Losing Paul (Liam’s brother) made their bond so much closer and it was such a big thing to build on for months that it made Liam and Carla’s romance so much more exciting and true. So when it came to the wedding dress scene and Liam said ‘don’t do it’ (don’t marry Tony) and they finally got together it was such an explosive moment that everyone had been waiting for. It was a really great storyline to play because of the build up to it and that realisation that she was in love with Liam.
2) June 2010. Tony escapes from prison, holds Carla and Hayley hostage in the factory, then torches the building - Carla escapes, Tony dies.
It’s always good to film the big stunt stuff, it’s always what people remember, however it’s often the least pleasurable to film! When you can look back after the mental block though, you can appreciate how memorable it was, it’s just so intoxicating at the time. People remember the big stories whereas perhaps as an actor you remember the little scenes and the intricacies. What I loved about filming the siege scenes was the team I was working with. James Fleet who played Tony’s old prison mate Robbie who held Carla and Hayley hostage was sensational to work with. It was also the first time Julie Hesmondhalgh and I worked together for weeks on end which was fantastic. We had a great director in David Kester too, the scenes were intense and challenging to film with the smoke and fire.
3) September 2011. Still not over Peter, Carla dumps Frank on the eve of their wedding so he rapes her.
This was such a big story and really made an impact on people's lives. We heard afterwards that Carla coming forward about her rape changed statistics dramatically for the rape crisis centre. Some branches of the charity experienced an 800% increase in calls after the storyline had aired. Also the letters that I received from people and the support I got meant a lot. The scenes were challenging to play but very rewarding afterwards because of the outcome. There were people who contacted me about their real-life experiences that I’m still in contact with now.
4) December 2011. Carla embarks on an affair with Peter behind Leanne's back, leading to Carla’s drinking.
I loved the affair with Peter because working with Chris Gascoyne was so great, working with Chris is always an honour because he’s a genius who gets right in with the character and gives you everything he’s got. So much material came from the affair that the stories ran for years and years which is what happens when stories are well told. The affair, alcoholism, Carla’s relationship with her brother, Tina’s death, Carla’s miscarriage. It covered so much ground and the stories changed so much during Carla and Peter’s relationship.
5) January 2012. At Frank's trial, her affair with Peter is exposed and Frank is acquitted.
This was another important story to play because it showed that often in a rape trial the victims don’t win. It raised awareness as to how hard it is to get a rape conviction in a domestic situation. Again the storyline encouraged people to come forward; women in relationships, those raped within marriages and children who had been groomed.
6) January 2014. Carla’s final weeks with Hayley as she battled cancer.
For me personally this was one of the best storylines I worked on, even though it wasn’t about Carla. Obviously working so closely with Julie Hesmondhalgh was amazing, watching her portrayal of a cancer sufferer and the end of such a beautiful relationship that she and David Neilson had created over many years. For me that story covered all the links that Carla and Hayley had slowly created during their eight years together on the show. It brought to the conclusion their love for each other and I’m glad such a strong subject matter was tackled.
7) June 2014. Carla miscarries Peter's baby and discovers the truth about Tina’s murder.
This was so powerful to play. Throughout my time at Corrie the most beautiful consistent thing has been Carla’s relationships with her family, her bond with Michelle and all that her brother Rob meant to her. It’s a cut throat love, they would die for each other. So when Carla had to do the right thing and report Rob to the police for Tina’s murder it showed an immense side to her, that whatever the stakes she will always do the right thing. She loved her brother, but the disintegration of her family over the years meant the relationship couldn’t be saved, it was too little too late and a massive loss for Carla. The Connors are so strong whether they like it or not, and I’m glad the Connors will continue in Weatherfield with the new family (Johnny, Aidan & Kate).
8) Nick and Carla’s relationship.
Of all Carla’s relationships this has been the most amazing, the truest, the most emotional, the most magical pairing because of a long growing relationship between two separate people on the street who came together when they least expected to. That’s what worked for the audience and that’s what worked for us as actors. Ben is also such a great friend, it’s been incredible to work so closely together.
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