After an epic year of hate crime, murder and mayhem, 2022 is lining up to be just as packed for the residents of Weatherfield.
Romantic betrayal, earth-shattering secrets and the return of some old faces promise to make it another exciting year ahead – and we’ve got a sneaky tease of what’s in store.
Abi and Imran’s baby bombshell
“Abi Franklin (Sally Carman) is always in a pickle, and over the course of 2022 will find herself in the Branston of all pickles as she fears she’s pregnant after her one-night stand with Imran Habeeb (Charlie de Melo). It’s another challenging year ahead for the character in and she risks losing Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) and Jack Webster (Kyran Bowes) as she’s pitched into a protracted legal battle to try and keep hold of her life. As for the impact on Imran’s relationship with Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor), the bounds of her forgiveness will be tested to the max and he could be forced over to the dark side. The bomb at the heart of this story won’t go off for months, but the way it does is surprising and the last thing you’d imagine to happen. It becomes a gob-smacking cataclysm!”
Faye and Emma’s criminal cover-up
“2022 gets off to the worst start for Faye Windass (Ellie Leach) and Emma Brooker (Alexandra Mardell) – on the drive back from a New Year’s Eve party they knock over a man in the street, it’s not their fault but it becomes this terrible life-changing event that throws them into a total nightmare of secrecy, dilemmas and a cover-up. These two likeable, decent but hapless young women are miles out of their depth and there are serious consequences. The decisions they make only add to the nightmare! It’s a brilliant story, actually quite funny and quirky in places, that cements and challenges a new friendship between the characters."
Lydia destroys Sarah and Adam
“We wanted an updated version of those 80s and 90s thrillers like Fatal Attraction. Looking back they’re horribly dated in terms of the gender politics but what might a story of that type look like in the 21st century, with no vilification of the ‘scorned woman’? Lydia Chambers (Rebecca Ryan) is Adam Barlow’s (Samuel Robertson) ex and will be a threat to his marriage to Sarah Barlow (Tina O'Brien) – to put it more accurately she is the catalyst for them destroying their own relationship. There’s lots of secrecy, scheming and intelligent subterfuge, everyone is capable of behaving badly. It culminates in an exciting sequence in the first six months of 2022."
Summer falls apart
“For Summer Spellman (Harriet Bibby) we have what I hope is a relatable story about the pressures of being a teenage girl, encompassing having to look a certain way, romantic and academic stress, and how conforming with your peers might be risky from a health point of view. It digs further into Summer’s experience as a diabetic and reveals things the audience may not be aware of about her condition. It will be a long-running, nuanced and heartbreaking watch as this promising young woman disintegrates, and examines her three dads – Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank), Todd Grimshaw (Gareth Pierce) and Paul Foreman (Peter Ash) – trying to co-parent Summer, but with the undercurrent of their messed-up romantic entanglements underneath that.”
Barlows and Platts at war
“Summer has been the catalyst for Max Turner (Paddy Bever) and Daniel Osbourne’s (Rob Mallard) feud which lights a burning fuse between two huge legacy families, who have just spent an uncomfortable Christmas together. David Platt (Jack P Shepherd) and Daniel develop a bitter rivalry which sucks in Sarah and Adam and soon we have a ‘clan warfare’ vibe. David and Daniel have never really crossed before and having them in angry, emotional scenes is dynamite, they’re both smart-mouthed and witty. It has the potential to run for a long time."
Can Fiz trust Phill?
“We will give the audience cause to question the motives of Phill Whittaker (Jamie Kenna) at times in the coming months – I won’t spoil the outcome but Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine) ends up with a huge dilemma about where her future lies. I think I know what her happy ending looks like… It’s a long and complicated story but when once you’ve been hurt and humiliated like Fiz has by Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall), even if she wanted to take him back is that straightforward? Will her pride, and her family, let her? We’ll definitely have more comedy fighting between Ty and Phill after their hilarious spat on Christmas Day!”
Amy dates drug dealer Jacob
“How would Tracy McDonald (Kate Ford) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) react to their daughter Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney) being in a relationship with possibly the most unsuitable boyfriend they could think of? I’m thrilled Jacob Hay (Jack James Ryan) is back, he’s got that laconic, funny Corrie leading man quality. He wants to redeem himself, make amends with Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) and Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) and put his drug-dealing past behind him. It’s ‘Meet the Parents’ done Corrie style, really rich and funny as Steve and Tracy try to put Amy off Jacob, then have to bite the bullet and try and get along with this lad.”
Tim and Sally’s life-changing bombshell
“Kicking off at the start of January is a massive story for the Metcalfes, stemming from a New Year’s resolution which seems innocuous at first then quickly turns into something life-altering. We’re dragging an incredibly prevalent issue out into the daylight, some might find the subject matter awkward but its incredibly potent and becomes a threat to what Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine) and Sally Metcalfe (Sally Dynevor) think they know about each other, themselves and their future. Plus it starts with a brilliantly ludicrous scene in which Tim mistakenly thinks he needs to pull his pants down – it all starts from there!”
New love for Yasmeen
“What Yasmeen Metcalfe (Shelley King) went through with Geoff was colossal psychologically and has lifelong ramifications, so we want to explore that but not in a way that feels like retreading old ground. As she gets closer to Stu Carpenter (Bill Fellows), can she learn to trust again or is her emotional circuitry irrevocably damaged to the extent it will cost her future happiness? We imagine Stu as a bit like what Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) might be like in his mid-60s, he’s a little rough and ready and likes to carouse and cause trouble which messes with Yasmeen’s head, as she disentangles to what degree Stu is like Geoff. It’s a complicated, unique love story and I’m staying tight-lipped about how it ends!”
Zeedan wants to repent
“I’m pleased Zeedan Nazir (Qasim Akhtar) brought trouble when he returned, as there’s nothing more difficult to storyline than a stable soap family! You need somebody upsetting the apple cart but beneath that he’s still a good guy who made a terrible mistake. Bringing in his ex-wife Marrium Nazir (Kiran Landa) holds a mirror up to his worst behaviours and Zeedan starts to regret the man he’s accidentally become in trying to protect his secrets. He could lose his happy ending as a result of the dishonesty he’s perpetrating. There is brilliant stuff to come of a family at war with itself.”
Gemma and Chesney’s blast from the past
“Chesney Brown’s (Sam Aston) son Joseph Brown (William Flanagan) is a sensitive young lad who’s already got a certain amount of tragedy in his backstory with the death of his mum. While his parents’ attention is lavished entirely on his four little screaming siblings, Joseph runs away which provokes widespread panic and spins off into another story for a neighbouring household. Bernie Winter (Jane Hazlegrove) makes a faustian pact in the aftermath of his disappearances that tarnishes the family’s reputation, and sees the return of a character connected to that household that provides another threat to their stability.”
Jenny’s toy boy scandal
“When an older man dates a younger woman in soap barely anyone remarks on it, but when it’s the other way round it becomes the story. The relationship between Jenny Connor (Sally Ann Matthews) and Leo Thompkins (Joe Frost) addresses that, she must overcome her own internalised prejudices of being a ‘cougar’ and whether he has some kind of fetish for older women. It’s funny, romantic, cringey in a deliberate way, and sees Jenny single-mindedly decide to pursue her own happiness. But it’s not that simple… I want to bring the fun back to the Rovers, because we all need some fun after the last few years, and this plot feels fresh and heartfelt.”