Coronation Street spoilers: Anna left sickened after Faye bullies Simon – Debbie Rush interview

"Anna wonders if Faye can do that as a child, then what else is she capable of?" says the actress

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Anna Windass is to be left shocked to the core in next week’s episodes when a video nasty showing daughter Faye (Ellie Leach) bullying Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) goes viral.

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When headteacher Brian Packham (Peter Gunn) calls round, the realisation of what Faye has done hits hard with Anna sickened that the police are now going to have to get involved.

Gary (Mikey North) suggests that Grace was the ringleader and that Faye was just trying to impress her. But as Owen (Ian Puleston-Davies) and Anna accompany Faye to the police station, will the young girl maintain the cover up in the face of possible prosecution? Here, actress Debbie Rush reveals just how Anna handles this latest crisis to hit the Windass house:

So how does Anna feel when she finds out about Faye’s bullying?
She’s absolutely devastated. Anna has always thought Grace was an angel with perfect manners, so she’s struggling to believe this is all actually happening. She’s gutted.

Is she unaware of Grace’s bad influence?
Anna liked Grace right from the off. I think she was just really pleased that Faye had found a really good friend at school, especially as Faye’s always seemed to be at a bit of a loss. Anna was just happy that Faye’s moving forward and getting on with other girls at school.

However, because Owen’s really suspicious and thinks Grace is a bad lot, Anna starts to reassess and wonders whether she’s got Grace all wrong. She’s definitely been looking at her through rose-tinted glasses.

Does Anna then blame herself for the way Faye’s been behaving?
Anna does feels guilty. She feels as though she’s taken her eye off the ball because she’s been heavily involved with Roy and Hayley and helping out at the cafe. Anna’s been a bit of a confidante to Roy as he’s confided in her, so she’s been preoccupied with concern for them.

As far as Anna’s concerned, Owen’s just being overly harsh and is maybe thinking too much into the situation. It’s not really until things start to unravel that Anna starts to see just how serious a situation Faye’s found herself in. Anna feels as though she’s not dealt with it as well as she should have done.

Has Anna been more overprotective with Faye than she was with Gary?
She’s overprotective full stop. I think she makes more allowances for Faye because Faye’s not had a proper upbringing. She’s been passed from pillar to post so she’s got a lot to learn. Even though Anna’s a natural nurturer, she does give a little bit more to Faye.

How does Anna react when she sees the video of Grace and Faye bullying Simon?
When she first sees the video, she can’t quite believe it. She’s sickened to the pit of her stomach – that’s how I’ve played it. Anna looks at Faye differently for the rest of the day. She starts to panic and her mind goes into overdrive. Anna wonders if Faye can do that as a child, then what else is she capable of? She could be capable of anything.

It’s not really until the end of that day that she starts to really see sense. Anna does know deep down that Faye isn’t bad and evil – she’s just been led astray.

Do you think Anna starts to question whether she’s done the right thing in taking Faye on? 
No, not once does that ever cross her mind. As far as she’s concerned, Faye is her little girl. It’s not like she’s only had her for a couple of months. Faye is her child.

So how does Faye deal with being interrogated by the police? 
She’s terrified, like any other 11-year-old would be. Faye’s been strung along – she’s done everything she’s done just so Grace would be her friend. Faye doesn’t want to be ostracised again and doesn’t want to drop her mate in it.

When the police interview her she’s terrified but she’s probably more scared about what Grace will do if Faye gives her name to the police. It’s only when Anna tells her how serious the situation is that Faye starts to realise that she needs to tell the truth.

Does Anna try and discuss it with Grace’s mum? 
Anna references a couple of conversations she tries to have with Grace’s mum, but she’s not interested. Her mum doesn’t want to know, plus on the video you only really see Faye.

Why do Peter and Leanne agree to drop the charges? 
Probably because they realise that Faye is just a little girl and that she’s been punished enough. Anna’s also begged them to drop it. Faye’s apologised and knows she has a lot to prove.

Is Owen supportive throughout the whole ordeal? 
If anything, this has brought Anna and Owen closer together. What we’re seeing emerge is that Anna is maybe a little too soft and that Owen isa little too harsh, but that the pair together are giving a good, equal balance in the house. He’s been Anna’s rock really.

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Are you proud of Ellie [who plays Faye] for the way she’s been dealing with these storylines? 
She works so hard, especially as she has schoolwork to do as well. She gets a lot of homework as she’s at secondary school now. But she always knows her lines and she’s a joy to work with.