Steve’s mental health looks set to cause further concern next week when Michelle’s (Kym Marsh) efforts to put some zing back into their relationship backfire. Aware that something is bothering him, Michelle does her best to talk to Steve over lunch at the Bistro. But will Steve be able to open up his partner? Here, Simon Gregson talks about his character’s current battle with depression and what the future holds for Steve…
For how long has Steve not been feeling himself?
It all started after Tina was murdered – Steve got it into his head that he could have done something to prevent it from happening and that if he’d said something about the affair then things might not have gone the way they went. Then, all the stuff with his dad really got him down. Steve thought his dad might have turned a new leaf and had been rehabilitated, but it turned out that Jim had just grown worse than he always was. There are a lot of catalysts that cause Steve to feel out of sorts. Hitting 40 didn’t help either.
Does the trial prove to be a nightmare for Steve?
He wasn’t in a good place by the time the trial came around. I’d say he was already on his way to having a breakdown. He was in a very bad place when it came to him taking to the stand. Steve couldn’t help but tell the truth, but then that jeopardises Peter’s case. It was awful for him. He had another breakdown on the stand when he gave evidence.
Tell us about his feelings when he went to the doctor about the mole he’d found, only to be told that he might be depressed?
He doesn’t want to accept that he might be depressed. In Steve’s mind, he thinks he might have to see a psychiatrist and that frightens him. Steve thinks he’s under the weather, stressed, and that it will all be OK over time.
Is he becoming increasingly introverted?
In true Steve fashion, he’s decided that rather than speak to someone about it, he’ll just shut down all of his doors and not speak to anybody. Of course that just compounds the issue and makes everything worse than it is.
Michelle is really worried about him – how much is she helping?
She’s really trying to help Steve and she’s giving him a lot of rope. Rather than add to the stress, she’s being very understanding. Steve just messes it all up and doesn’t want to admit something’s wrong. He’s in a very bad place.
Once the doctor plants the seed that maybe he’s depressed, does Steve try and do anything to come out of this?
Yes, he’s doing all sorts of stuff. He goes out and buys a campervan and then further down the line he’ll indulge in even more retail therapy. But he disappears a lot, goes off and gets drunk on his own. He doesn’t want to be around anyone that knows him or his family. He just wants to be anywhere where he can escape the truth and reality.
Why does Steve report Jim for having a mobile phone in prison?
Jim has upset Steve so much. Steve feels completely used by his own dad. Jim used Peter to get to Steve and then uses Steve to get back to Liz. Yet again, Steve feels like Jim’s pawn. So when it came down to it, he decided to get one over on his dad for a change.
How do you feel about being given the opportunity to explore Steve’s mental health?
Coronation Street has a moral compass and whenever we’re dealing with these topics and issues they have to be done right. Depression affects people in so many different ways, so I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong way to play it. Some people suffer from depression, but you wouldn’t necessarily recognise it in every situation. I have to play this out in the way Steve would deal with it. I want to do this true to him. We don’t want to lose Steve’s humour but it’s a serious subject, so I think there’ll be elements of light and shade along the way.
Watch a 60-second preview of next week’s Coronation Street drama below: