Actress Beverley Callard has spoken out in praise of the recent Coronation Street plotline that saw Steve McDonald diagnosed with depression.
“It is those like Steve – people pleasers who make you laugh – that tend to suffer with depression,” said Callard, who plays Steve’s mum Liz on the ITV soap. “I loved it. I thought it was really good and Simon Gregson got to show another side to himself with the way he played it.”
The emotional storyline is currently in contention for Best Storyline at this year’s British Soap Awards, while Simon Gregson is also up for Best Actor and Best Dramatic Performance for his portrayal of Steve.
News of Steve’s diagnosis hit the Street back in January, with some family members and friends displaying ignorance of the condition. Callard – who has talked openly in the past of her own clinical depression – said of Liz’s intolerance:
“It wasn’t hard to play and I actually really liked it. Someone said to me on Twitter, ‘Oh, Liz would never react like that because Beverley Callard’s had it herself’. But that’s got nothing to do with it.
“So many people don’t understand depression and Liz would be one of those people who’d say, ‘pull your socks up, grin and bear it and get a grip’. So I loved her negative reaction because it showed real life.”
Callard has previously discussed perceptions of mental health, commenting in 2013 that – during her own battle with clinical depression in 2009 – she herself worried about how her actions were being viewed:
“I think some people see you as unreliable and flaky and that you might not be able to do your job as well as you could. And I was very aware that some people at Granada felt like that about me at the time.
“I didn’t want to be talked about like that because, if I take something on, I usually finish it to the very end and do the best that I can.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.