Leanne (Jane Danson) will face humiliation in the weeks to come thanks to the actions of a bitter Nick Tilsley (Ben Price).
The tension between the warring former couple will reach boiling point when he makes her position at the Bistro untenable. But worse is to come when Nick tells the family of Leanne’s new boyfriend Kal (Jimi Mistry) that she used to be a prostitute!
Can Leanne work things through with her ex? Or is this one battle that the former Battersby is set to lose? Here, actress Jane Danson reveals more about her character’s latest drama…
So, how is Leanne feeling now that she and Kal are officially a couple?
There’s a huge sense of relief now she’s not walking on eggshells and she can breathe easy. But obviously it doesn’t come without it’s pressures because she’s not divorced from Nick yet so she’s still got that to deal with. There’s also all his family to get on side. Kal’s quite level-headed about it though – he’s a calming influence on her when she explodes.
Did she ever imagine that Nick would be so vengeful?
She understands Nick’s reaction and that’s why she didn’t tell him for so long. She’s sympathetic about his brain damage, but she’s been too busy thinking about his feelings and not considering her own. She’s tried to work it out, she tried her best to be nice and he’s thrown it back in her face because he’s hurting. She wanted to do things amicably, but he’s making life as difficult as possible and that breeds resentment. That’s when it becomes like the war of the roses as they’re both very strong personalities.
Is Leanne worried about the effect all this is having on her relationship with Kal?
Kal was Nick’s friend and Leanne’s destroyed that relationship so she is wary of that. She’s been through so much in her life, so she knows it’s not going to be plain sailing.
How does Nick try to spoil her birthday?
He’s really mean. He leaves Steph in the lurch at the Bistro when he knows Leanne’s got this romantic evening planned with Kal, so she ends up working because she knows how busy it is and she’s worked so hard to keep the Bistro running. She’s very proud of the Bistro but he pulls the rug from under her feet. She’s a bit cross. She just thinks he’s bitter and twisted.
And then Nick really escalates things by telling Kal’s mum that Leanne used to be a prostitute?
It’s hard to impress a mother-in-law at the best of times, but Leanne has got a very murky past to contend with. It’s not the best first impression and you’ll see her trying to redeem herself in the coming weeks, but all the odds are against her now.
Is Kal supportive throughout all of this?
He is. I’m sure he’s got a past as well, but he’s very understanding. He must like her a lot! The family, however, has a very different reaction. Obviously they want the best for their son and by all accounts his ex-wife was a good girl so she’s got a lot to live up to.
So what makes Leanne quit the Bistro?
It just becomes intolerable. He’s being too nasty to her and she just became tired of it.
Tell us about what happens when Nick renames the Bistro ‘Just Nick’s’ and tells her she won’t get a penny….
I love that he renames it ‘Just Nick’s’. It’s very funny. Leanne decides that if he’s going to play dirty then so can she. She’s a Battersby, so she can play very dirty when she wants to. So it all kicks off which needs to another story down the line where Leanne sees Nick’s true colours.
Do you think she now hates Nick?
I don’t think she hates him. She’s just incredibly frustrated and sad. She did try and make a go of their marriage and, for the first time, it wasn’t her who walked away. It was Nick. So she starts again but it doesn’t go the way she’d hoped.
Are you sad that the writers split up Nick and Leanne?
I’m always sad when Leanne splits up with somebody because you get used to working with that person and you want your character to be happy. But it was never going to work because she settled for him, really. I still get to work with Ben though, which is great, and with both of them on set it’s like working with two naughty schoolboys. There’s lots of banter going on.
What’s it like having Jimi Mistry as an on-screen other half?
He’s just lovely to work with. I’ve been very fortunate with all of my men folk. I’ve had some good co-workers and that’s enabled my character to develop. As for Kal – well, he’s been in the Army so he must have a past himself, but at the moment the relationship is new, exciting and fresh. I’d like to see he and Leanne have some fun before they have any more dramas.
Will you miss working in the Bistro?
I will miss the lighting in the Bistro the most as it’s the best-lit set and you look about 10! I loved the business of it – the fact that you got to work with lots of different people. It felt like home.
Would you like to see Leanne launch her own business?
Who knows – yes! I’d like to see her come good again in her business ventures, but in the end I think she’s destined to always be the underdog.