Fiz Stape leaves Coronation Street next week to accommodate actress Jennie McAlpine’s real-life maternity leave, with the show confirming Wednesday 5 December as the character’s last appearance for the next few months.
To explain her absence, Corrie has concocted a storyline around her wayward daughter Hope who goes even more off the rails following her recent exclusion from Bessie Street primary school for biting a teacher.
On Monday 3 December, Hope incurs the wrath of partners Tyrone Dobbs’ (Alan Halsall) terrifying granny Evelyn Plummer by losing her beloved dog Cerebrus. Hope accompanies her stepdad as they walk the pooch, but the sly schoolgirl gives him the slip and sneaks off with the pet pooch. By the time Hope reappears, she reveals she put Cerebrus on a tram bound for Rochdale – and refuses to apologise to a distraught Evelyn!
As Evelyn learns quick-thinking Cerebrus got off the tram she laments she may never see her canine companion again, and lays into the little girl and her mortified mum Fiz for the bad behaviour. As Fiz and Ty visit a therapist to discuss their daughter’s unruly antics, which just seem to be getting worse, Fiz is stunned to learn her other half has already found a special school for Hope to attend that could help with her behavioural issues – the only snag being that it’s in Birmingham, miles away from Weatherfield.
On Wednesday 5 December, tension increases between Fiz and Evelyn, and when Hope lashes out and bites her sister Ruby it’s the last straw for her mother who realises she needs proper, professional help. Announcing she will move to Birmingham temporarily so Hope can attend the special school until she is better, Fiz is surprised when Evelyn thaws and offers words of comfort, realising the sacrifice she’s making for her child.
Agreeing to let Evelyn stay in the house while she’s away, having tried to get her to leave for weeks, Fiz bids an emotional farewell to her friends and family on the cobbles as she and Hope set off for the midlands…
Off screen, McAlpine finished filming some time ago and gave birth to her second child, Hilda, in October, a sister for Albert, her and husband Chris Farr’s first child who was born in 2014. It is expected McAlpine will be back on screen as Fiz towards the second half of 2019. But will Hope have stopped sinking her teeth into people by then?