Unlikely Coronation Street couple Henry Newton and Gemma Winter have defied the odds and become one of the sweetest romances in soap – seeing love blossom between the privileged posh boy and the gobby girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s as if Pygmalion’s Professor Higgins hooked up with a young Vera Duckworth.
Henry may have blown his promise to make Gemma the next landlady of the Rovers, but the money troubles he cited as the reasons he failed to secure the pub go deeper than he’s letting on – as becomes evident next week when his past catches up with him in the shape of two burly blokes who come looking to settle a debt.
“Henry is hiding something,” reveals George Banks, who plays the brewery benefactor. “He will be faced with some pretty tough choices, and we’ll have to see if he makes the right ones…”
Banks is enigmatically referring to the arrival of a couple of sinister-looking types who turn up on the cobbles and accost Henry on Friday 24 August, demanding he pay back ex-fiancee Cressida’s family the £20,000 he owes them for the wedding that never was.
Coincidentally, Rita Tanner has just received a windfall of £15,000 after an investment matures – tempted to steal from his girlfriend’s best mate, Henry rifles around the flat looking for the cheque. Could he really rob from Rita?
“It’s pure desperation,” sighs Banks. “Henry has never wanted for anything so this is the first time he’s been in a situation he can’t buy his way out of. He could be honest with Gemma that he needs help, but his pride gets in the way.”
With the Rovers’ grand reopening under Johnny and Jenny Connor imminent that same day, Henry is feeling the pressure as the threats continue and he contemplates stealing from the pub till. His next plan is to fake an insurance claim by throwing himself down the cellar stairs and claim compensation – does Banks thinks this will work?
“It’s just an opportunity to get himself out of a big hole. At this point he needs this money now, no matter what, and it’s the last resort. There are no other options on the table and in his eyes if he doesn’t come up with the cash then he’s a dead man!”
Fans are loving Gemma and Henry’s sparky partnership, but this sounds suspiciously like time could soon be called on the class-divided duo. “Him and Gemma are learning from each other,” continues Banks. “He’s helping Gemma understand her value and she’s making him see the value of hard work. His sense of entitlement is the antithesis to how Gemma has had to work hard for everything.
“In his eyes, Henry’s dishonesty in this situation is actually to save their relationship, and he hopes if she finds out she would accept that reason. Which is risky! He has turned his back on his family to be with her and the idea of them being over purely because of money is devastating.”