Six months after the high-rise stand-off that saw her endanger the life of Kevin’s son Jack, loose cannon Jenny Bradley is back in town! Yes, baby snatcher Jenny will get back in touch with Rita next week via Facebook. And it isn’t long before Rita is inviting Jenny to lodge with her after seeing the state of her current living conditions.
But will the Websters react to the sight of a supposedly reformed Jenny returning to the neighbourhood? Here, actress Sally Ann Matthews reveals all about Jenny Bradley’s reappearance in Weatherfield…
So, what’s happened to Jenny since she was last in Weatherfield?
Jenny was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. So, as part of that process, she was hospitalised and she would have been given medication to help her cope with the situation and also some counselling to help her come to terms with what had happened in her past. It had been successful in so far as she was released from hospital, but she has to keep up her medication and her counselling. She is on the mend.
How would you describe her state of mind?
She’s definitely getting better and I think part of her healing process would be to get the chance to say sorry and make amends with Rita, Kevin and Sophie.
What prompts her to reach out to Rita? And why is it Rita she contacts and no one else?
Jenny wants to apologise for what she put everyone through. She also doesn’t want anyone to worry about her, so she contacts Rita and tells her that she’s fully recovered and has fallen on her feet, has found a fantastic place to live and that life couldn’t be better.
Unfortunately that’s not the truth, but her intentions are just to say she’s sorry and that she’s fine. Jenny chooses to reach out to Rita because they have so much history. Rita was a mother figure to Jenny ever since Jenny lost her mum at the age of 15. And Rita was the one she called when she took Jack. Because she knew she had gone too far.
What happens when they meet up for the first time?
When they meet up Jenny has spruced herself up a bit and tells Rita all about this fantastic new life she has and that her treatment has more or less stopped. She tells her she has this lovely flat and that life couldn’t be better.
Rita is suspicious as to why Jenny has got in touch with her but Jenny’s motivation is innocent – she really does want to make amends. Rita tells Jenny that she doesn’t think Kevin and Sophie will be quite ready to make peace just yet. That really upsets Jenny – it isn’t what she wants to hear, so she runs off.
Rita tracks Jenny down to a bedsit. Can you describe the sort of conditions that she’s living in?
The truth is she’s not in some swanky apartment – she’s living in this sort of hostel-type place with very basic accommodation. But Jenny is very grateful that she’s got a roof over her head – it’s a new beginning for her and that really is the way she sees it. She’s not feeling sorry for herself. She knows she has to restart somewhere.
Is Jenny relieved when Rita offers her a lifeline?
Rita sees where Jenny is living and decides that she can’t live like this. It’s not the living conditions that Jenny’s in, it’s more about the people that are around her and the area she’s living in. Rita doesn’t think it’s safe.
So, how does Jenny feel about the prospect of facing Kevin?
Jenny is optimistic that she’s going to be able to apologise and that they’re going to be understanding and forgiving. She’s naively thinking that they will understand why she did what she did and that they’ll forgive her and put it in the past.
Talk us through the moment when they come face to face for the first time…
When Jenny first arrives back on the Street, the first people she sees are Kevin and Sophie. She’d imagined it to be quite easy, but she’s suddenly overwhelmed and thinks that maybe this was a step too soon for her. But she’s there now so she tries to explain. The big question is whether they’ll listen and understand?
How does Jenny feel to see little Jack again?
I don’t think it’s so much the trauma that she went through with Jack that would set her back, but more her now realising the genuine affection she has for Jack, and not Jack who she saw as a replacement for the child she had lost.
So when she sees him there’s the realisation that had the whole ordeal not happened last summer, she would be really close to Jack now. She’s denied herself the opportunity to spend time with him. From Jack’s point of view, he just sees Jenny – and he is pleased to see her!
Does it sting Jenny to know that Kevin has moved on with Anna?
I think Jenny knows that this is her fate now and it’s because of what she did. She doesn’t blame herself for what she did, she knows it was grief and that it wasn’t ‘her’. But Jenny still has real affection for Kevin, and he does for her. But he’s going to be too terrified to go there again with her.
Kevin knows who Jenny is deep inside and why she did what she did and what she’s been through, so he will turn out to be quite supportive. Jenny has to resign herself to the fact that he’s moved on with someone else and probably knows that there isn’t potential for them to get back together…but who knows? Watch this space!
Given their past, how do you think Jenny and Rita will get on living together?
I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve not a clue how they’ll get on. They both have genuine affection for each other and even when Jenny tried to get money out of Rita, she didn’t do it behind Rita’s back – she asked her outright! So she isn’t conniving or underhand with Rita and I don’t think she ever would be. She might do things without thinking of the consequences for Rita…but I don’t know.
Is it nice for you to know that people want to see Jenny back on the street again?
Yes it is really brilliant. It’s great to be back under circumstances where there are people who are still absolutely hating Jenny for what she did and then others who have such sympathy for her.
People perhaps don’t condone what she did but understand why she did it and those people want to see Jenny get help and reconcile with Rita and Kevin. It’s really nice that the viewers bought into the story and that they care enough to want to know where she’s been and what she’s been doing.
Have you found that her crazy side has stopped people from wanting to approach you?
A lot of people shouted, “oh I’m not going near you! You’re that Jenny Bradley off the Street!” People were wary, yes. But I don’t mind – as long as people aren’t throwing things at me!
How do you feel to be back on the street?
It’s lovely to be back, it feels like I’ve had a week off and come back. It’s great and I’m really looking forward to watching. I’ve got some fantastic scenes coming up with Sally Webster – the Sally/Jenny showdown is brilliant. I find it very funny and I think the audience is going to love the scenes between those two.
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