Izzy and Gary are in for a major shock in next week’s episodes as surrogate mum Tina makes a momentous decision after growing ever closer to baby Jake.
“Tina tells them she’s keeping him,” reveals Cherylee Houston, who plays Izzy. “Izzy is in complete shock. It’s as if she’s in a goldfish bowl and all these people are talking around her. But when Tina says that Jake is her son, that’s when it really kicks Izzy in the stomach.”
So how do the pair react to Tina’s news that she can’t give him up? Is there shock? Anger? “It’s actually Izzy who blows up about it more than Gary, which is surprising as she’s usually the calm and collected one. Izzy does to try to talk Tina round, but when Tina won’t hear of it, Izzy is more than prepared to go further and take legal action. Gary on the other hand is slower to get to that stage. He accepts the facts more than Izzy does and he’s almost at a loss as to what he can do. He hasn’t found his fight as quickly as Izzy perhaps has.”
Yet despite Izzy asserting that Jake is biologically hers and Gary’s baby, Tina stands by her words: she feels like Jake’s mum, the law says she is, plus she and Tommy can offer him a stable home. So how do Izzy’s nearest and dearest react to Tina’s vow?
“They are completely behind Izzy and Gary,” says Houston. “Owen’s obviously trying to free up money for the legal fight and Anna is completely gutted by it – her fighter spirit is coming from her gut. In Anna’s mind, she needs to do all she can to destabilise Tina. For example, the flat she lives in is Owen’s, so Anna’s resolute that Tina has to move out of it. Anna’s got a fire in her belly because she’s such a maternal person.”
Later in the week, Tina will be seen questioning whether she’s done the right thing after she faces a backlash in the Rovers. In the end, she offers Izzy and Gary an olive branch and tells them that she will keep them updated on the baby’s progress. But then comes the news that she’s changed the newborn’s name to Joe:
“Yes, the offer is then followed by the news that she’s changed his name, so any olive branch she offers she almost instantly retracts. But Izzy is just so desperate to know he’s OK that she would take any offer, even though it hurts so much that another woman is giving her permission to enquire about her own son. But then to not know how he was doing would hurt Izzy even more.”
So, with allegiances being tested on the Street and tensions running high, whose side does Houston imagine the audience will be on? “I don’t think it’s about sides. I think people will understand the complexity of the situation and how difficult it is for both parties involved. But it’s an interesting shift that Izzy’s having – she’s suddenly becoming a stronger person and this fire she has for her son is pushing her forward. That’s been quite exciting as an actor.
“It’s also been fantastic exploring the issue of surrogacy and, despite the storyline, I still think surrogacy is such an amazing thing to do and I am definitely still a supporter of it. It’s great that the show is exploring all angles of it too.”