Coronation Street has aired an emotional death for Rana Habeeb who was killed off in the dramatic factory roof collapse on what should’ve been her wedding day, marking the final scenes for Bhavna Limbachia after three years in the role.
The unstable Underworld structure was sabotaged by a mystery figure causing it to cave in on a number of characters, and in the second part of Wednesday 21 March’s action-packed double bill Rana, who had sneaked into the office without anyone noticing to fetch her bag en route to her nuptials seconds before the ceiling crumbled, died shortly after being found by emergency services with a heartbroken fiancee Kate Connor (Faye Brookes) at her side.
Following a tear-jerking exit in which the couple exchanged their wedding vows, sure to traumatise the Kana fans who had waited so long for them to tie the knot, Limbachia reflects on her time on the Street.
How did you feel about Rana being killed off? When I told producers Kate Oates and Iain McLeod I wanted to leave the show to try other things, it was my decision and my choice for Rana to die because it was the only fitting end to the character. Kate and Rana had fought so hard to be together and had been through thick and thin. I believe their love was so pure as two souls that there was no way Rana would have a change of heart, hop in a cab and leave. I felt that if they were to be separated, they had to be torn apart and it couldn’t have been their decision. She would never have left Kate.
What was it like to film Rana’s final scenes buried under the rubble? The crew did an exceptional job with the set, a lot of time, effort and money has gone in to the collapse and it was almost like a film set. The final scenes were hard, tough, emotional and sentimental. Knowing it was the end for myself and for Rana, it helped bring out the truth and the emotion of the scenes. They were probably the most challenging I have ever done. It’s not every day you get stuck under rubble and film such an epic storyline!
Do you think Rana knew she was dying in her final moments? It was only when the second roof collapse happened that she knew. As a nurse, she knew there was no way out. When Kate tried everything to get to the office, Rana knew it was her last moments and the last thing she wanted to do was to upset Kate, so she told her not to look at the rubble but to focus on her. Rana’s final wish was to be married to Kate so that’s why they exchanged vows – as soon as Rana felt complete and content, she passed away.
Was it draining to shoot those scenes?
The physicality was hard because I was laid on a board on wheels and was wheeled in and out of the rubble and a lot was happening so it was important to focus and stay in the zone. It was tough at times because we filmed for four days under the rubble, Faye and I were emotional knowing it was the last time we would be working together. We were in tears, but it’s the best exit I could have wished for and I hope the viewers like it.
What was your favourite thing about playing Rana over the last three years? I love that she’s flawed, she’s human, she makes mistakes, gets scared and on the opposite end of the spectrum she’s a fun girl. She came on to the cobbles as this sassy, vivacious, flirtatious woman who used her sexuality to validate herself but it was great to unravel the character, strip away the layers and as the years went on, the viewers started to see she was just trying to find out who she was.
Finally, what are you most proud of about Rana’s journey in Weatherfield? I am proud to be an ally for the LGBT+ community. It wasn’t something I knew enough about so when I was approached with the storyline about Rana falling in love with Kate, I felt it was important to educate myself and I am definitely a different person because of it. I am very grateful to Coronation Street for educating me, for giving me the opportunities and allowing me to grow both personally and professionally.