Coronation Street legend Barbara Knox has spoken out following episodes just broadcast that saw her character Rita Tanner diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Corrie fans had been led to believe that Rita’s forgetfulness and confusion meant that she was suffering with dementia, only for doctors to reveal the true state of her health in Monday’s double bill.
Speaking about the drama that lies ahead, Knox said: “There is a long way to go yet in this storyline for Rita; as we follow her journey from the devastating diagnosis and how she comes to terms with the uncertainty of what the future holds for her, she has some big decisions to make in the coming weeks.
“Until I started working on this storyline I had no idea that a brain tumour could cause someone to act in the way Rita has been. It can’t just be me who has been surprised by how it affected Rita, so clearly not enough is known about brain tumours and their symptoms. It is a frightening disease and my thoughts are with everyone affected by a brain tumour.”
National charity Brain Tumour Research has been consulting on the storyline since Spring in order to ensure that Rita’s experience is as accurate as possible.
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, chief executive, said tonight: “Some 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK each year, so we were pleased that Coronation Street approached us to advise on this storyline.
“This disease is indiscriminate; brain tumours can affect anyone, at any age, while symptoms can vary significantly. Patients can experience confusion, like Rita, mood swings and depression amongst other things; unfortunately, there are cases where these symptoms are extreme.”
Wednesday’s episode of Corrie will see Rita continuing to reel from the news given to her by doctors, lamenting that so many people with whom she once close have now died – including late husband Ted, who died of a brain tumour in 1992
Speaking about her experiences portraying Rita’s story, Knox added: “When our producer Kate Oates talked to me about the brain tumour storyline for Rita, I was truly honoured to be tasked with taking on such an important story.
“I was immediately determined to ensure that we got every aspect of the portrayal of such a devastating illness correct. The work the team did with Brain Tumour Research has been invaluable. As an actress playing the role I am mindful that there are people going through this in real life and it is vital that we do their stories justice.”
You can watch a scene from Wednesday’s episode of Coronation Street below
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