Steve McDonald will pull out all the stops for Christmas 2014, but is he just masking his own depression. This year’s festive episodes will see Steve showering daughter Amy with gifts, but it turns out that he’s plundering the Streetcars business account to do so.
Couple that with Michelle misreading the signals by leaning in for a kiss that isn’t reciprocated and you can see why this will end up being one Christmas that Steve would much rather forget.
Here, actor Simon Gregson reveals what lies in store for Steve, both in December and at the start of the year, when the character is involved in a minibus crash that’s set to shake up the Street…
So, is Steve aware of how much he’s already overspending?
He’s getting very good at blocking things out. It’s typical behaviour for someone going through what he is going through – spending money becomes about the quick fix to make him feel better briefly and then he comes crashing down again.
Is he worried about it?
He’s worried about how he is feeling, but he’s still refusing to do something about it. He knows spending the money is wrong, but like everything else, he pushes any conscious concerns about it out of his mind.
Has anyone really come close to helping him yet?
The problem is that they don’t know he neesd help. He’s very clever at letting people believe he’s just having a mid-life crisis. They tried to help at the start, but when he shut them out they just got very frustrated with him. Maybe someone not quite as close to him like Andrea could be the key.
How is he feeling without Michelle?
Again, he’s burying his feelings and shutting her out, so he’s trying to ignore the fact that he does still love her. He doesn’t feel he’s worthy of anyone, so it’s easier just to be on his own.
How do Michelle and Liz deal with how over the top he’s being?
They’re bemused and confused, Michelle is devastated by his rejection of her and she still can’t work out why he ended the relationship. It’s a difficult time for everyone, but Steve is so lost in the depression, he isn’t really thinking about the effect he’s having on the others.
What about Amy – does she realise that something’s up?
When it gets to Christmas Day, even Amy realises that her dad is behaving strangely and he’s spent a fortune on her, which is not normal behaviour. It’s unsettling for Amy, but he doesn’t see that. He just thinks it’s the thing to do.
We hear that there could be fake snow involved?
Steve has foolishly promised Amy everything on Christmas Day – even snow! When it gets too late in the day and it hasn’t snowed, he asks Michelle to make it happen and they go upstairs to sprinkle fake snow out of the window. But sadly Michelle reads the wrong signal and, in a moment of what she sees as closeness, she assumes he wants to get back with her. He has to reject her, which is awful.
What will it take Steve to seek help?
It’s going to take a huge crisis or event to make him finally admit what’s going on. For it to be realistic, it had to be a story that was told over a period of time not just rushed through. But we are starting to film the turning point for Steve.
Does filming Christmas scenes put you off the real Christmas?
By the time we get to our real Christmas, it almost feels like Easter as we film so far ahead. We’ve been doing Christmas Corrie and Text Santa, so it does feel like Christmas has been going on forever. It’s a good job there is a gap between the fictional Christmas and the real one, otherwise none of us would want to eat our real Christmas dinner or see another decoration again!
We know that a bus crash is in the pipeline – what do you make of what’s in store?
We’ve already started to film it and it’s looking fantastic. This is the turning point for Steve and it is very cleverly done. The stunt is great, it’s being filmed across three weeks and there is a real buzz about it.
How’s Steve’s 2015 looking at this point?
It will be a year of ups and downs for Steve – it ‘s not going to be a quick-fix recovery for him and that’s the right way to do it.
Are viewers going to shocked by what happens to him?
I think people were surprised that Steve was the one at the centre of this storyline, but we’ve had some great feedback. Steve is a comedy character, but that’s why it’s important to show that even the least likely people can be hit by depression. The minibus crash is shocking but it’s a real wake-up call for Steve.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below: