Coronation Street fans have been left slack-jawed with shock by tonight’s double bill, thanks to cliffhanger scenes which revealed that Andy Carver is alive and being held captive.
Andy – who viewers thought had been killed by villainous Pat Phelan back in January – is actually still in the land of the living and being kept against his will by the duplicitous builder.
A lank-haired, bearded and terrified Andy was glimpsed this evening as a prisoner in the basement of a derelict house – proof that Phelan has been living a double life since the start of 2017.
One person who has been in on the ruse all this time has been actor Oliver Farnworth, who was told of the plan by show boss Kate Oates:
“When I first read the scripts where Phelan attacked Andy, I thought he was dead. I think we all did. But before I left last time, I had a meeting with Kate, who pitched the idea to me. Obviously, I was hugely excited and said yes there and then. I had no idea it would be eight months away, but everything fell into place and – when Corrie called – I was available for the filming dates.”
Eagle-eyed Corrie devotees may well have witnessed recent clues that Phelan has been hiding something major: an unexplained black eye, hidden bags of shopping and excuses about returning home late all pointed to Pat’s skulduggery.
But all except a chosen few have been kept in the dark about the surprise twist. Said Farnworth: “I knew it had to be kept under wraps and it’s been fun, difficult and challenging to keep that secret going.
“I told a few close friends and family – an inner circle that I would trust with my life. But, apart from that, no one else really knew. Even a lot of the people didn’t know. I felt a bit like a movie star being driven in my own personal car to set every day. And I’d come out with sunglasses on and a hood over my head to avoid the paparazzi.”
It now appears that the tables could be turned when Andy decides that the time has come to try and escape his prison.
Monday’s episode will see him lying in wait with a rope and, as Phelan arrives in the basement, Andy pounces on him in a desperate bid to secure his freedom. But will his efforts be successful?
“What you’ll see is desperation from Andy,” added the actor. “He’s seen a shift in Phelan’s behaviour and an air that he’s acting more on a knife edge. He’s even more unpredictable and strained, which is why he thinks the time has come to try and escape. But he could well be in more danger.”
Whether Andy makes a getaway remains to be seen, but Farnworth himself is glad that at least the secret is out: “Ladies in my local Co-op have been asking me what I’m up to. Some of them say they think Andy might be alive and others think he’s definitely dead.
“They did give me some advice about getting another job though and said that maybe I should think about shaving off the beard and getting a haircut as it probably wasn’t helping. At least now I can go and tell them why I looked like that!”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below