Leanne is to send Simon to live with Ken at No 1 Coronation Street when she reaches breaking point with her troubled son.
Following his return from Portsmouth, Simon will be seen causing yet more trouble when he bunks off school and then spray-paints ‘whore’ on the wall of the Bistro.
At her wits’ end, Leanne ends up confiding in Eva about what’s been going on. But following the heart to heart, Leanne ends up having a furious showdown with Simon, during which she almost strikes him.
After almost lashing out, Leanne decides that Simon would be best staying at Ken’s for a few weeks. But Simon begs her not to leave him at his granddad’s, telling her that he’ll never speak to her again if she does…
Here, Jane Danson reveals what lies in store as Leanne takes drastic action:
So how has Leanne felt since Simon’s been away – has she missed him or has she been glad of the break?
It’s a bit of both. We don’t see that much of her without Simon while he’s away, but she does say at one point that she’s glad of the break. Leanne knows that while Simon’s away she can go home and rest and not be nervous about putting up with his abuse. So she feels relieved to have the breather but, on the other hand, she feels guilty because she hasn’t been able to resolve the issue.
Is she looking forward to seeing him again or are nerves taking over?
Leanne is apprehensive about whether or not he’ll be back to the old Simon. She’s anticipating him being ‘mended’, but that’s Leanne being optimistic and I don’t think it’ll be quite as simple as that!
How does she feel when she finds Simon bunking off school – does she fear that his behaviour hasn’t changed at all?
Leanne has managed to paper over the cracks for a few weeks, but then Simon comes back to Weatherfield and his behaviour soon becomes quite acerbic again.
Simon says he’s gone to school, but she later finds out that he’s not been at all and he’s had his mates round at the flat. He’s gone from bad to worse in some ways – while he may not be physically harming Leanne anymore, for now, he’s being mentally abusive and really misbehaving and antagonising her.
So is she scared of Simon?
She wants to protect him and so she almost doesn’t want to involve anyone else because she doesn’t want people to think badly of him, or of her, in case they think she can’t cope with Simon or that she’s struggling with him.
Leanne is scared of what Simon is going to do next – it’s that fear of the unknown because she never thought Simon would act this way, so she doesn’t know to what ends he will go to. He pushes her and she’s more scared of how she will react.
Leanne’s a Battersby, at the end of the day, and she doesn’t take trouble lightly, if it was anyone else, she’d stand up to them. But Simon is her child, and he’s really unpredictable. One minute he’s fine, the next he’s not – and it’ll get to the point where Leanne is really quite unsure as to how she will react next time he pushes her one step too far.
What drives Leanne to tell Eva about Simon hitting her?
On this particular day, Simon is cheeky to Leanne and she nearly hits him…But I think Eva has picked up on a few things before that, a couple of occasions have made Eva think that Simon is perhaps being mentally abusive towards Leanne, but she doesn’t know to what extent.
Then, on this occasion, when Leanne nearly retaliates, that’s her breaking point and she admits to Eva that she needs some help. Eva is the one who tells Leanne she has to sort it out before it goes too far.
How does Leanne feel when she sees the graffiti at the Bistro?
Leanne’s past is her Achilles’ Heel – no matter what she does or how much she tries to move on, someone will always bring it up and it will always take her back to that dark time in her life.
Then Simon writing what he writes in public, on the front of the Bistro, is the final straw. She’s massively humiliated and she knows she has to sort this out once and for all. Leanne fears that, if she doesn’t, then she will lose him forever.
What kind of cruel things does Simon say to Leanne when she confronts him – do his comments touch a nerve?
Simon goes on the attack – verbally – and he tells Leanne exactly what he thinks of her. He says things that he knows will really hurt her. He says how glad he is that she’s never had any more children, which he knows will be hurtful because of how much Leanne wanted more children. He tells her he’s glad she wasn’t able to bring another child into this misery.
How close does she come to hitting him and how does she feel afterwards?
He really hits a nerve and pushes all her buttons when he’s throwing cruel things at her about not having any more children. It’s just too much for her. Leanne goes to hit him back when he sort of swings for her a little bit and then Simon becomes scared. Leanne then realises she needs help and it’s the point where she really realises she can’t cope alone.
What makes her finally realise that she can’t cope with Simon anymore and that she might have to ask Ken if Simon can move in with him?
Leanne thinks that perhaps being with Peter hasn’t been great for Simon because he’s not a brilliant father to him, so that’s possibly made him worse.
Ken is the better role model and a male influence, so Leanne thinks this might be the only way forward. Leanne knows that Ken is the voice of reason and might be able to resolve the issues. Even though Simon has done all of these bad things, Leanne still loves him and wants to help him get through this. She wants to resolve this on her own, but now she’s maybe realising she just can’t.
Does she start to change her mind when Simon begs her not to leave him?
Yes, Simon has a moment where he falters. He wants to be at his own home and in his own comfort zone. Being with Leanne gives Simon a bit of freedom as well, which he knows he probably won’t get at Ken’s. Leanne is compromised with working and looking after him, so he has probably liked the independence. When she walks away, it gives him even more of a fire in his belly.
Does she regret her decision once he’s actually at Ken’s?
She doesn’t regret it, initially. The moment she leaves him. she knows she’s got to go. She goes back to the flat and waits for him to text her goodnight, which he always usually does. But then when he doesn’t. she starts to think that maybe she has made a big mistake and made the whole situation worse.
Does she consider the possibility that Simon could be dangerous to other people as well?
No, I don’t think that comes into it. Leanne thinks that his problem is with her, that it’s her that has let him down and it’s her who he’s blaming and can’t forgive. When he found out Leanne used to be a prostitute that really pushed him over the edge and it made his behaviour even worse because he felt so let down by her. So, no, Leanne thinks that really his problem is with her and nobody else.
How have you found being part of this storyline?
It’s a really interesting issue to tackle – it happens a lot more than people are aware of. Alex Bain [Simon] is brilliant to work with, his performance is very believable and it is believable that Simon would behave this way given everything he’s been through.
What kind of response were you hoping for and what feedback have you received?
A lot of people have said it’s brought the issue home for them. A lot of parents can relate to the teenage years being quite awkward and frustrating. Simon has been through a lot, but then he’s also going through his teenage years, so there’s a lot going on for him at the minute.
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