A beleaguered Fiz Stape is to be left reeling next week when doctors tell her that daughter Hope has cancer.
Both Fiz and Tyrone have been worried about Hope’s health ever since she was taken ill on a recent camping trip, but the diagnosis will still come as a shock for the couple, who had assumed that the little girl’s sickness was due to anaemia.
Says actress Jennie McAlpine of the emotional upcoming episodes: “Never for one minute did Fiz think that it might be something as serious as it is, that’s just not on her radar at all. She’s just noticed that Hope hasn’t seemed herself recently and has seemed unwell.
“The first suggestion of the lump is a complete shock to her – that never once crossed her mind.”
Medics will be seen explaining that Hope needs a biopsy to ascertain the stage of the cancer. Worried sick about Hope, Fiz then lashes out at Tyrone, whose calm demeanour seems at odds with how she herself is feeling.
“Fiz actually tells Tyrone that Hope isn’t his daughter – and she then starts to question him about how he would feel if it were Ruby that was unwell,” continues McAlpine. “But Tyrone tells her that he would feel exactly the same as he does now – devastated. Tyrone gets really upset by what Fiz has said – he’s really hurt that Fiz could say or think that.”
While the hospital is performing further tests, Fiz decides that only her nearest and dearest need know about the cancer. But Tyrone ends up inadvertently breaking the bad news to the rest of the residents of Coronation Street, all of which means that Fiz may no longer get to keep the news a secret.
“Yes, Fiz starts off telling her closest family members – Chesney, Kirk, Beth and Roy, of course. But the day she tells them is also the day that Tyrone blurts it out in the middle of the street, so quite a few people hear. So then they assume that everybody knows as news travels fast in Weatherfield.”
Viewers should also brace themselves for heartbreaking scenes as Fiz and Tyrone tentatively explain to Hope that she’s got a lump in her tummy that needs to be treated.
“Roy tells Fiz that when Hayley was ill, she found that knowing what was going on and what was going to happen was actually a great comfort to her. So this makes Fiz think that they should be honest with Hope so they sit her down and tell her that she’s not very well and that they’ve found something in her tummy and that they need to go to the doctors for some medicine.
“They develop words that Hope can understand that they find from hospital leaflets. In some of the scenes, Hope has a teddy bear – Mr Ted – which Fiz really wants Hope to have with her at all times. And we have a nurse advising us on set and she said we’d give Mr Ted a plaster and a bracelet with ‘Weatherfield General Hospital’ on it.”
McAlpine’s words follow those made by show producer Stuart Blackburn who revealed earlier this month that Tyrone and Fiz are to take centre stage over Christmas thanks to Hope’s medical diagnosis.
“The sadness is the fear that it could be Hope’s last Christmas. But what she is going to have is the best Christmas Day ever,” said the soap’s boss.
Back in July, it was reported that – in order to portray Hope’s story as sensitively and accurately as possible – Coronation Street had consulted the charity Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance, as well as medics and parents of children who have been diagnosed with the cancer.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.