Coronation Street‘s Johnny Connor (Richard Hawley) could be looking at a spell behind bars after taking the blame for wife Jenny’s (Sally Ann Matthew) drunken hit and run that put Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard) in hospital.
Boxing Day (Wednesday 26 December) saw the aftermath of Liz being run over by inebriated Jenny who had hit the bottle following a blazing Christmas Day ding-dong with Johnny over his feelings for his ex. Staggering home after bumping her head, but not seeing who clipped her as Jenny sped off, Liz later collapsed alone and was discovered unconscious the morning after by best mate Eileen Grimshaw.
Police deduced unlucky Liz was the victim of a hit and run, causing horrified Jenny to confide in Johnny she drove the car while drunk and angry and accidentally caused the accident. When the cops came calling to the Rovers, gallant Johnny told them he was the last person to drive his car but has no idea how the suspicious dent in the front wing mirror occurred… RadioTimes.com spoke to Hawley about the consequences for Mr Connor’s protective gesture that could potentially cost him his freedom.
Why does Johnny risk so much by lying to the police and covering for Jenny?
Because he’s a hero and it’s the honourable thing to do. Everyone has noticed how much Jenny has been drinking lately so if the police knew she was driving the car she wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s a no brainer for him to step up and do this, the consequences for Jenny drink driving would be worse. Yes he is perverting the course of justice but he’s protecting the woman he loves. She didn’t do this deliberately. But in a way it’s a split-second decision from Johnny, and not thought through.
Does he blame himself for Jenny running over Liz?
I think there is an element of that, he slept with Liz in the first place and takes responsibility for Jenny’s paranoia. He knows she’s in this state because of what he did, but he can’t help what’s happened and they’ve all tried to move on. It’s mind boggling what Jenny’s been up to, though, phone trackers and everything. Johnny hopes they can draw a line under everything and start again, but Jenny keeps it going and they keep having to draw more lines!
Will he continue to try and protect Jenny?
Yes. She’s human and has been hurt, he broke her trust. He understands and forgives, but he’s also amazed and bewildered by the extent of her emotions. Johnny and Jenny grow a bit stronger through all this, he has been honest that sleeping with Liz wasn’t meaningless – it came out of a depth of friendship and he did care for her. So Jenny has to face that, and that he did choose her.
Can their marriage survive?
I think so. They’ll save it because they want to work hard on it. Now so much is out in the open they are saving something that is less burdened than it was before.
Is he worried about Liz?
Absolutely. Unfortunately she has become a casualty of all this. Them sleeping together was a mistake for both of them but came out of a context of a particular time, when Johnny was hurting after losing Aidan. Johnny has been quite hard on Liz as he tried to get the boundaries clear with Jenny, but it’s ended up as these two women being at war! And Liz is also a woman scorned, she has reason to hate him now. Johnny spends most of his time trying to keep the family together in the middle of all these powerful matriarchs. It’s great for me being a ping-pong ball between two amazing actresses!
Could Johnny go to prison?
I don’t think he could cope if he did. He’s not designed for prison. After everything he’s been through with Aidan it would be really difficult for him to be alone with all that stuff going through his head. But everything is at risk for him now after what he tells the police, including ownership of the pub. We could both be taken out of the frame.