Watch out, Steve! There’s a new man in Weatherfield with designs on your wife! Yes, Michelle’s first love Will arrives in town next week and actress Kym Marsh is worried that her on-screen marriage could be under threat.
“This is soap and we know that couples hardly ever stay together. I wouldn’t want them to split Michelle and Steve up permanently, but the writers do what they do and we do as we’re told!” says the Corrie star. “We portray the story as well as we can.”
Upcoming episodes will see Michelle struggling with the pressures of work while Steve remains in Spain with his brother Andy. And when Will turns up and employs her services as a wedding planner (yes, Will is set to get married to bride-to-be Saskia), it isn’t long before Michelle is finding a shoulder to cry on.
But will friendship turn to passion as the pair get close? “Well, if you look at Michelle’s past, she’s always been morally correct. If anyone’s notorious for having affairs, it’s Steve. So when I first heard about the story, I did think, ‘that’s not like her. Why would she do that?’
“But when you think about what she’s been through, you can see how it would happen. She’s put up with all sorts of things with Steve and helped him through his depression. And now he’s just gone away to Spain and shows no sign of wanting to come back.
“And Michelle does struggle with the attraction that starts to grow between her and Will. If anything, it kind of comes from him. Michelle is trying to put a wedge between them.”
Michelle (Kym Marsh) with first love Will (Leon Ockenden, above) and husband Steve (Simon Gregson, below)
But having worked with Simon Gregson – who plays Steve – for years, did Marsh relish the opportunity to share scenes with another potential love interest, in this case Mr Selfridge and Waterloo Road star Leon Ockenden?
“New characters always bring a fresh dynamic and Leon has been a joy to work with,” she insists. “But it’s not necessarily better, it’s just different. It’s nice, though, because it mixes things up a little bit.”
However, viewers won’t have to wait long to see the return of Steve to the UK, with actor Simon Gregson having recently resumed filming at Coronation Street’s ITV studios in Manchester.
“Simon was very annoyed by what’s happening between Michelle and Will,” Marsh laughs. “I’ve missed him terribly and I’m so glad he’s back. Doing our first scene together was like putting on a comfy pair of slippers. Although the fake tan is a bit much. He’s more brown than me! He always used to look like Caspar next to me. Now, he looks like Des O’Connor!”
Fans will no doubt be relishing the chance to see Michelle and Steve sparring on screen again, their chemistry having now established them as one of the soap’s classic couples alongside such memorable double acts as Jack and Vera and Hilda and Stan. That is, if newcomer Will doesn’t rent their marriage asunder…
“It’s very flattering to be thought about being anywhere near those kind of characters. And that’s why we hope that we don’t end up being split up. But you just don’t know, do you?”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.