This article includes discussion of terminal illness and assisted suicide that some readers may find upsetting.


Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank) made a solemn vow to husband Paul Foreman (Peter Ash) in tonight's heartbreaking episode of Coronation Street (9th January 2024).

Paul is terminally ill with Motor Neurone Disease, and has been planning to end his life as his condition progresses more with each day.

Confiding in friend Todd Grimshaw (Gareth Pierce), Paul asked him to help him die when the time comes that he no longer wants to live with his illness.

Todd refused, so Paul made an appointment to see Dr Gaddas (Christine Mackie) to ask for some morphine, claiming he needed stronger pain relief.

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Dr Gaddas said she was unable to prescribe this, and Abi Webster (Sally Carman-Duttine) overheard Paul telling Todd that he had been refused morphine. Abi was shocked, given the seriousness of Paul's condition, but she was later intrigued to be invited round to Paul and Billy's flat.

Todd was uncomfortable as Paul went on to ask recovering addict Abi if she would score him some drugs so he could take his own life.

Coronation Street's Abi talks to Paul.
Abi tried to help Paul. ITV

Although she understood why he had made the request, Abi explained that she couldn't agree; not because of the risks to herself, but because, as a mother who had lost her own son, she had seen the toll that Paul's MND was taking on his mother Bernie Winter (Jane Hazlegrove).

Abi added that she couldn't be the reason Bernie lost her son even sooner. But when husband Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) later praised Abi for helping Cassie Plumber (Claire Sweeney) no matter the cost to herself, Abi had a change of heart.

She approached dealer Dean Turnbull (Anthony Crank) and bought some benzos, before telling him he would never hear from her again.

Little did she know that sneaky Cassie was taking photos of her, which she reported back to Kevin who promptly dumped Abi and ordered her out of their home for turning back to drugs!

Abi was forced to admit that she was actually trying to help Paul, and Kevin visited Paul to ask him not to involve Abi again. Billy had been kept in the dark after originally rejecting Paul's assisted dying plan months ago, but when he arrived just in time to hear what Paul had done, he was furious and devastated.

Billy demanded to know where Paul had hidden the benzos, but Paul refused. However, the conversation took an even sadder turn when Paul announced that if Billy wanted to search him, he could no longer do anything to stop him as his body was too weak.

Paul relayed his pain and suffering and explained that he would need to take his own life soon, before he no longer had any use of his good hand. Paul admitted that he didn't want to leave just yet, but felt he had no other choice as he couldn't expect anyone to help him.

Eventually, coming to an understanding of his husband's torment, Billy declared that he would help Paul instead.

Paul knew that when it came to it, Billy may not be able to go through with helping him to die, but Billy sealed his promise by swearing on his bible that he would end Paul's suffering when Paul wanted.

Paul was overwhelmed with love, but as the weight of Billy's vow takes hold, will he be able to do what Paul so desperately wants?

For information and support on all aspects of motor neurone disease, visit the MND Association's website or call the charity on 0808 802 6262.

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