Carol Jackson is to be left facing an uncertain future in an upcoming episode after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her family are left reeling by news that the cancer could have spread, while Carol seeks support from daughter Sonia and makes the decision to split from Masood. Here, actress Lindsey Coulson talks about these latest emotional developments and the impact she hopes the storyline will have on viewers:
Later this month we’re going to see Carol receive the news that she has breast cancer – what’s her immediate response to the diagnosis?
It’s like her head is imploding, which from what I’ve heard from several people is how it feels when you get that news.
Does she think that David’s going to give her the support she needs?
Carol does love him and she believes he’s changed, but she’s not 100 per cent sure. At the moment, the biggest thing is her fear of death and she feels most comforted by Sonia.
Yes, can you tell us about how Sonia reacts when Carol visits and tells her the news?
Well, Sonia’s a natural carer as she’s also a nurse. So Carol feels very quietly at ease with her. She’s very practical, whereas Bianca’s so heady and a bit like Carol, which is probably why they spar so much. Everything feels all right when Carol’s with Sonia.
There’s a scene where Carol and Bianca are listening to Sonia’s daughter Rebecca singing and playing the guitar and Carol is overcome and breaks down – is that when it really sinks in?
Yes – Carol’s been holding it in and worrying about everybody else, but the enormity of it hits her when she’s listening to that beautiful music. That’s the key moment for her.
And why does she end her relationship with Masood – is it because she loves David more?
I don’t think it’s as clear cut for her, actually. I like to play the ambiguity. In another life, she would have been with Masood because she knows he’s caring and safe, but she can’t quite let go of the bad boy. She can’t let go of when she was 14-years-old and how he made her feel. Masood doesn’t do anything wrong, so there’s no real reason, but she’s at a crossroads.
Will the cancer diagnosis change Carol’s everyday life?
Clearly, if you have something like this, the small things are just not important because we’re talking about life and death here. But she’s trying to do normality too. Lots of women that I spoke to who’d experienced breast cancer were saying that it’s a bit like being in a goldfish bowl – you’re trying desperately to grab onto something that’s normal.
What do you think will be the impact of the storyline?
To be honest, that’s a difficult question for me to answer. You might like Carol, you might dislike Carol, but you’ll be interested in finding out how she deals with her diagnosis. It would be fantastic if it made people check their breasts as so much can now be dealt with – it’s not a death sentence now, it can be caught. Women are living with it and dealing with it.
It’s a massive issue for women because breasts are part of your sexuality and it’s about child-rearing as well, so it’s a huge thing. And if you did prostate cancer for men, or testicular cancer, then hopefully it will prompt men to do the same. Hopefully, it will let people know that if you actually find something, then you should go and check it out as soon as possible.