Coronation Street: Tina O’Brien on Sarah’s hostage crisis and hospitalisation

"The psychiatrist says she is having episodes of psychosis"

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The Platts will be faced with a fresh crisis next week when Sarah is taken hostage by Billy’s heroin-addicted brother Lee. After undergoing an ordeal with sinister echoes of what happened to her at the hands of Callum Logan, Sarah will end up suffering a breakdown and being hospitalised.

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With her mental health in a state of turmoil, it seems that the future is bleak for Sarah – but can doctors help her make a recovery? And will the secret the Platts have been harbouring about Callum’s murder come out in the wake of Sarah’s latest drama? Here’s actress Tina O’Brien with the latest:

So, why is Sarah so desperate to see Billy at the start of the week?
Because she’s gone to Callum’s funeral and taken on board what Billy says about never truly dying if you believe in God. She knows Callum’s dead, but then she’s not sure. She needs to speak to Billy about this.

How much of a state is she in at this point?
She’s really upset, she’s really panicked. She’s been having doubts for weeks about Callum and wondering if he really died. She’s in a really bad place. It’s just too much pressure for her. She’s had a baby, she’s not sleeping, she’s not got anybody to confide in and she just starts unravelling.

Does she trust Lee? Why does she go back to his bedsit?
She doesn’t trust Lee at all. But he tells her that he’s off to see Billy and she’s desperate to see Billy, so she agrees to go with him. Lee has been on the scene for a little while, just hanging around, and he’s aware that Billy and Sarah are close. When she goes to the funeral, he oversees what’s going on and thinks, ‘Oh hang on, Billy’s close with her, I know if I can get in with her, I can probably get some money out of my brother’, like you do. And so he takes her back to his bedsit and almost straight away realises she’s got a lot of issues and she keeps talking about Callum.

Why does he tell her Callum is still alive?
He can tell she’s not quite right. She keeps talking about Callum and he realises that if he can keep her there then he‘s more likely to get what he wants. He abuses the situation and tries to make her feel scared and insecure. It backfires though because she completely believes him and goes ballistic.

Why does she try to make a run for it?
Because she truly believes that Callum’s coming. To her it’s conceivable that Lee was a friend of Callum.

So, who rescues her – and what do they find?
She tries to make a run for it. But then David and Billy arrive and find her.

How does everyone react when they realise she’s having a breakdown?
Everyone’s genuinely worried for her but David has a lot of issues trusting the police or her having any kind of medical intervention because of their secret and that she might reveal what actually happened and they could go to prison for it.

Can anyone get through to her?
No, she thinks Callum is there and is going to get them.

Why does she barricaded herself in?
She barricades herself into her house because of what this guy’s told her. That Callum’s out to get her. She feels she needs to make the house as secure as possible so that if he does come looking for her he can’t get in.

How do things look when she’s taken to hospital? What does the psychiatrist report?
The psychiatrist says she is having episodes of psychosis because of what’s happened – the body has been discovered in the house, she’s just had a baby and the lack of sleep contributes to it all.

What state is she in when Todd and Jason visit?
She’s been given a lot of medication so she’s kind of there, but not there. She’s not anxious and not in a state of mania.

Where does she go from here?
She acknowledges that she needs to get better. People are telling her that it’s not real and although she has moments when she believes what everyone is telling her, her head still tells her that she’s right.

How have you found filming this storyline?
It’s easily the hardest thing I’ve ever filmed. It’s been really tough and sad. It’s definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone.

Can Sarah get better?
I hope so. I’m not sure yet but I think she’s getting all the help she can get in a mother and baby unit.

Do you think it would be better if the secret about Callum was out?
It would be better for Sarah. That’s the root of a lot of her problems – it’s the dark secret that’s been eating her up.

Are you hoping it will come out eventually?
I think so, yes, because it would be a good story to play.

And have you enjoyed working with Daniel Brocklebank?
I love working with Dan, he’s brilliant. Working with different actors definitely brings out different dynamics. Because Sarah doesn’t have a boyfriend it’s great that the writers are finding other people for her to confide in.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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