Coronation Street: Craig splits with Bethany as he hides OCD? Colson Smith interview

The actor reveals Craig's issues will get worse next week

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Coronation Street’s Craig Tinker has been secretly struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for months, but next week the condition starts to really take hold and threatens the future of his romance with Bethany Platt.

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When the trainee copper reports a disturbance at lap dancing club Tassels, where Bethany is working, Ms Platt is busted as being underage and is sacked on the spot. Craig feels guilty, despite his views on his girlfriend’s job, and begs for forgiveness with a bunch of roses on Valentine’s Day.

As the week goes on, the OCD is keeping Craig a prisoner in his own mind as finds himself unable to leave the house without performing countless rituals of flicking switches and checking the time.

As little Liam Connor catches him acting suspiciously and Bethany believes she’s been stood up for a date, will Craig speak out about his struggles? We caught up with Colson Smith, who plays the Tinker teen, to discuss the hard-hitting storyline.

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What was the trigger for Craig’s OCD?
It was when Craig saw the dead body of Lara on the railway tracks, one of the girls involved in Neil and Nathan’s grooming ring. Later that day in Nathan’s court case Craig made a mistake and got the time wrong when being questioned, and since then he has developed an obsession with twenty-four hour clocks. This then turned into an obsession with even numbers and now it has come to this ritual he has to perform before he can leave the house. Craig has ritual OCD.

Craig’s cop partner Jess warns him not to start bending rules as he could end up corrupt like Neil, how does Craig react?

It’s hard for Craig to hear because Neil was an awful man who raped his girlfriend, Craig thinks Jess has gone too far and it throws him so he has to do the rituals because if he doesn’t he feels something bad is going to happen to Bethany again.

What happens when Craig is late for his date with Bethany?
Everything just goes wrong – the phone is ringing and someone is buzzing him so his ritual is thrown and he loses count. Craig realises he has missed the date with Bethany but he has to get back into his ritual because he just can’t stop doing it.

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How does Craig react when Liam catches him performing his rituals?
Craig tries to brush it off by describing what he’s doing, which he would never say to an adult but because it is a little kid, Craig lets his guard slip. Craig explains he is keeping people safe with the rituals. Liam thinks Craig is some kind of super hero and he goes along with him believing he has magical powers.

How does Craig feel that someone now knows about his OCD?
It’s agreed it is their secret but that is really hard for Craig, and he shouldn’t be putting Liam in that position and relying on him to keep quiet. Craig slowly starts to gather what he is doing is not normal, esepcially when the routine is broken and he gets frustrated, but he thinks this is what he has got to do in order to keep Bethany safe.

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How did you prepare for this storyline?
I met an OCD sufferer called Richard and it was very emotional to hear everything he had been through and how it affects his day to day life. I asked him how to portray OCD because I wanted it to be realistic on screen. Richard was really helpful in sharing his story with me, and I was able to relate it to Craig’s journey. Both my parents work in mental health so I have talked to them, and I also received advice from Ian Pulestone-Davies, who played Owen Armstrong in Corrie and has suffered with OCD himself.

What do you hope this storyline will achieve?
I would like to help rid the stigma of OCD and raise awareness about it. Hopefully anyone watching who recognises the symptoms can speak to someone about it or be pointed in the right direction.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.