With Fiz Stape currently dicing with danger in one of the Street’s most-talked about plotlines, we ask actress Jennie McAlpine what the future holds for her character as she tries to outwit the terrifying Kirsty. Will Fiz and Tyrone ever get to find happiness?
So Jennie, what can Fiz expect in 2013? More heartache, to be honest. Quite a lot of heartache, actually! But I would like some happiness at the end of the tunnel. Never proper happiness though – none of the characters are really happy, are they? They’re all striving for something. I suppose no one can ever be truly happy because there aren’t many people in life like that.
But I would like to see some fulfilment for Fiz and Tyrone – and viewers do seem to be on their side. The viewers like good people, even if they do bad things. As long as they’re good at heart, it doesn’t matter.
And of course, they do have that history, don’t they? What with Fiz trying to tempt Tyrone away from Maria all those years ago… Yes, Fiz tried to tempt him with some chips because Maria had put him on a diet. I remember there was a photograph of me swinging a chip in front of Alan Halsall’s face. And she did succeed for a while – although Fiz was a bit of a firebrand and maybe she was a bit too much for him.
She’s very much settled down since then. I think she’s very kind-hearted and when you met her mother you could see why she’d turned out the way she had done. I’m surprised she hadn’t turned out worse.
Is there anyone on the cast that you particularly admire and would like to have more scenes with? Well, Roy’s taken pity on Fiz and given her some work at the café, which means that I’ve recently had a few more scenes with Stephanie Cole. So that’s just fantastic. And I’d love for Fiz to go into the Bistro more often now that Gail is working there. Gail’s always been one of my favourite characters – in fact, I think both her and Audrey are brilliant.
I am a proper Corrie fan and I love watching episodes from before I was born. So, ideally, I’d go back and do a scene with Doris Speed, Pat Phoenix and Jean Alexander. And, you know, I met Jean Alexander and she knew who Fiz was. She still watches and gives it a critique every now and again. She told me that I was doing well, so I was happy with that!
Being a fan, is it still a thrill when you get to spend time with the show’s creator, Tony Warren? Oh yes. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Tony and I’m so chuffed that he’s still around to see things like the 50th anniversary celebrations. We just had a little party for Phil Collinson [the show’s former producer who left earlier this month] and Tony was guest of honour. But he does stay in the background – I wouldn’t if I was him. I’d be saying, “I did this! It’s still mine!” I’ve watched that first live episode so many times and it’s still brilliant. He’s a brilliant writer.
And is there a responsibility that comes with being in Coronation Street, knowing that you have such an impact on the general public? Absolutely, there really is. You can’t ever forget that, but I get cross at anyone who doesn’t treat it as a positive responsibility. I never thought I’d have been on the show for 12 years, but as I long as I love it, I’ll be there. It’s lovely to be able to make, say, Beryl from Wigan’s day.