Coronation Street ended 2019 in a blur of bullets and bawling as an armed siege claimed the life of Robert Preston and put Shona Platt in a coma, Gary Windass covered his criminal tracks and Michelle Connor left Weatherfield behind.
To get the lowdown on 2020, the year in which Corrie celebrates its 60th anniversary, RadioTimes.com spoke to producer Iain MacLeod who gave us an in-depth insight into what to expect over the next 12 months…
1. More pain for the Platts
Shona wakes up next week but David is devastated when she doesn’t recognise him or her family. MacLeod says it will be a long road to recovery after Mrs Platt’s encounter with a pistol…
“It’s no exaggeration to call this the biggest test of David and Shona’s relationship. It’s going to be a very big story, not just in January but all the way through 2020. The character of David can sustain any kind of story, whether its comedy or tragedy, this is more towards the latter.”
With Julia Goulding on maternity leave in real life, expect Shona to be absent for a while.
2. Jade’s masterplan
Killer John Stape’s long-lost daughter Jade is out to avenge her father by bringing down Fiz, who she blames for his demise.
“The story is slightly heightened and, dare I say, campy,” grins MacLeod. “Jade’s brilliant, bonkers secret assault on the Dobbs household is fabulous and exciting, with a really high-octane ending.”
Social services take Fiz’s kids into care and next week Jade plots to smuggle half-sister Hope out of the country… “Eventually we’ll subvert people’s expectations as to what they think about Jade, which is going to be interesting.”
3. Carla’s secret past
MacLeod describes Carla Connor and Peter Barlow as the soap’s Taylor and Burton, and pledges to keep the popular couple together as they face an unexpected challenge in 2020.
“Following Carla’s mental health story I’ve got an appetite to see her back in the saddle and regain her status as Queen of the cobbles. In April we discover something about her ‘lost weekend’, where she went missing during her breakdown, that we haven’t known previously, and which provides a bump in the road for her and Peter – ultimately he forgives her and they will survive, but it plants a seed of friction between them.”
4. Clans at war
A shocking twist kicks off a sprawling storyline pitting the street’s most important families against each other, which MacLeod ambiguously alludes will be the one of the year’s biggest plots.
“There’s a huge event in early spring that has the most far-reaching impact of any story we’ve done since I’ve been on the show. Something horrifically difficult draws in three to four different clans and forces them to deal with the hardest thing imaginable. Having survived the New Year indiscretion with Paula, Steve and Tracy’s relationship will be back on its strongest footing just as this occurs, which builds into a ‘clans at war’ story.”
5. Laters, Liz
As a consequence of the top secret multi-stranded plot, Liz McDonald will be driven out of town in the summer, following Bev Callard’s decision to quit.
“Liz attempts to do something heroic for her son to save him from the nightmare he finds himself in. That ends up going slightly wrong and ends up corrupting their relationship,” says MacLeod. “Ultimately it will determine the best place for Liz is not in Weatherfield as she and Steve are upsetting each other. Bev is going out with a bang and we are certainly not killing Liz off.”
6. Bethany and Daniel’s doomed romance
Another, more imminent, exit for 2020 is Bethany Platt, who’s springtime farewell is likely to be tinged with heartbreak.
“Grieving Daniel tries to move on which accelerates into a romantic entanglement with Bethany,” reveals MacLeod. “It’s going to end in tears for both of them. It’s a good story for Rob Mallard that showcases his abilities, and gives Lucy Fallon something entirely new. This ‘doomed romance’ is really big in the first three or four months of the year.”
7. Gary’s body of evidence
The bad boy builder’s trajectory into full-on villainy will burn slowly but surely this year, with some unexpected developments.
“Having ridden the storm of Christmas he finds himself in a relatively stable and happy place with Maria, then something incredibly difficult throws that up in the air,” teases MacLeod. “Meanwhile, Adam Barlow is secretly conspiring against Gary which threatens to lead him, and therefore the authorities, to Rick Neelan’s final resting place… We’ve resisted the urge to dig up Rick’s body so far as it feels like everyone is anticipating it, so we’re playing with the audience’s expectations around that. This precipitates a big explosive story around the time we traditionally do our stripped week in May during Britain’s Got Talent’s live shows.”
8. Sarah and Adam’s wedding drama
Talking of Adam, he and Sarah Platt are engaged and planning a spring wedding. Could this be the backdrop for the big Britain’s Got Talent week MacLeod hinted at? Tina O’Brien recently compared her alter ego tying the knot with Adam to Romeo and Juliet, as it would be the first marital union between heritage clans the Barlows and Platts. Could it go the same way as it did for the Montagues and Capulets?
9. Evil Geoff ups the ante
Geoff Metcalfe’s creepy coercion of wife Yasmeen continues as he launches a sick smear campaign falsely painting her as an abusive alcoholic. When Geoff accidentally gets a black eye next week, he turns the situation to his advantage and lets concerned pals Brian and Cathy believe Yasmeen lashed out while on the lash. Soon everyone’s convinced Yasmeen has got a drink problem, making the new Mrs Metcalfe doubt herself and putting her further under Geoff’s psychological control.
10. The 60th anniversary
On 9th December 2020 Corrie will have been on air for six decades, so what can MacLeod tell us about how the soap will mark the mega milestone?
“Not a lot at this point for reasons of secrecy, so forgive me for being cryptic!” he teases. “We’ve thought long and hard about what we want from this astonishing landmark, and the expectation from the audience now is that there is a spectacle attached to it, but with character-driven stuff within that. We have some novel, fairly left-field ideas with elements of genre-bending that we are currently exploring. It’s exciting.
“At the start of the year we have our 10,000th episode which we are also intending to mark in a way that is Corrie to the core, with a laconic, comedic and character-driven vibe.”
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