The cracks in Kirsty’s version of events are beginning to show and Julie (Katy Cavanagh) will next week feel the wrath of her friend firsthand. As Tyrone (Alan Halsall) stands trial, will Julie save an innocent man following Kirsty’s damning testimony? And what lies ahead for the abusive Kirsty herself once that violent temperament becomes more visible? Actress Natalie Gumede, who is set to leave Corrie in the coming weeks, tells us about the climax to Kirsty Soames’s story:
So, is Kirsty feeling confident about Tyrone’s trial?
I think, on the surface, Kirsty is feeling very confident about the trial because she’s a master manipulator and she has everybody on her side. Underneath though, I think she’s actually feeling incredibly lonely and under a lot of pressure, which starts to show very quickly. She’s a bit like a swan on the surface keeping that control by playing the victim, but in reality she’s very much alone. There’s nobody she can really turn to.
Why do you think she’s finding it so hard with Ruby?
I don’t think Kirsty is naturally very maternal. When she was with Tyrone she was quite happy going to work, which meant she could pick and choose when she wanted to be a mum. Now she’s completely alone with Ruby and even though she knows she loves her from the bottom of her heart, she doesn’t know how to deal with her or even how to be around her. I think a lot of it comes down to her own childhood. She’s actually quite detached from Ruby and approaches her upbringing with a very analytical mind.
And we see Kirsty lying by saying to Julie that there’s a family emergency, just so she can get her to babysit Ruby…
Yes, Ruby is very unhappy. She’s picking up on the negative vibes and she hasn’t had her daddy around who’d been looking after her every day. But Kirsty can’t quite get her head around it, and she can’t soothe her or make the crying stop. With that and the court case looming, she feels as though the walls are closing in on her and that’s when she asks Julie to babysit. She knows she needs to get away because she’s scared of her own actions. She’s starting to realise that she can’t do this on her own and that she might not be the best person for Ruby. She finds that very overwhelming.
What kind of reaction does Julie get when she starts to pick up on the signs?
Well, Julie also finds out that Kirsty asked Eileen to babysit the night after as well, which she finds strange. Tina also approaches Julie and tells her that the night Julie looked after Ruby, Kirsty was actually seen at home in the window of Number 9. That’s when Julie realises Kirsty isn’t coping , but when she approaches her about it Kirsty is extremely defensive and snaps at her. The cracks are certainly starting to show.
And then we have the stress of the trial. What’s going through Kirsty’s head when she takes to the witness stand?
Kirsty goes to the court very confident that she can handle this situation. She’s an ex-police officer, she’s seen court cases like this before, so she knows what makes a good victim and how to manipulate the jurors. She does get flustered under cross-examination but, ultimately, she thinks she has it in the bag.
Things do start to unravel though as Kirsty loses her temper when Julie leaves Ruby with Sally. By the end of that week, Kirsty’s actually gone missing with Ruby – do you think she’s beyond help at this point?
For me, these scenes are more important than the court case. This is the climax, almost more than seeing Tyrone in court. She’s incensed at Julie, loses her temper and throws a cup across the room – and that’s when the mask falls. Both of them pretend everything’s OK but, there’s this awful moment where Julie realises what Kirsty is really like, and Kirsty realises it’s over. She knows there’s nowhere left to turn, her mum knows the truth, Julie has seen her for what she is and in a moment of temper she hits Julie. She’s flipped and is no longer just taking her anger out on someone very close to her. This is the last piece of the jigsaw and everything’s come shattering down.
So Julie runs out and the baby’s screaming. In a manic state, Kirsty’s trying to calm Ruby but she realises that enough people now know for her lies to come tumbling down. Once again, she loses her temper, but this time with the baby. She’s screaming and screaming at Ruby and it’s just a horrid moment. That’s her moment of realisation. She realises she can’t bring this baby up as she was brought up – she knows that now.
So is this the beginning of the end for Kirsty?
This is probably coming up to the last time we see her. She’s nowhere else to go, nobody else to call and no one else to defeat. Her position on the Street is untenable. Everyone she used to work with is now going to know the truth one way or another. She’s going to be the enemy of the Street, so she feels the need to get away from that both physically and mentally. Once she has screamed at Ruby, she’s genuinely frightened of herself and doesn’t know what she’s capable of.
For Kirsty, the last six months have been a pressure cooker and she’s been living a complete lie, as has Tyrone. She decided to take her revenge on Tyrone because of his feelings for Fiz, and now she knows she’s turning into her dad. Her one redeeming factor is that she knows she doesn’t want Ruby to experience what she did as a child. She knows the game is up.
And how has it been playing this character who has been potentially quite dangerous from the start?
Challenging, surprising, daunting, terrifying, exhilarating, devastating: a whole mishmash of emotions! There’s always something about her that fills you with dread or surprise. Every step of the way there’s been something that has made me wonder how I was going to play it and make it real. It has been difficult at times to play. Personally, I like to plant the seed early on, but part of the challenge is the not knowing what is going to come next for your character.
So does the ending feel right then, for you?
For now, at least, it does.