Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) has reunited with Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) after the stressed mum lashed out at her partner when the stress of her and Steve McDonald’s young son Oliver’s illness boiled over into a tense argument.
The Coronation Street couple have been on and off since they were childhood sweethearts back in the late 1990s, and while their bond remains strong through the many bumps in the road they have encountered their dynamic has deliberate echoes of another classic cobbles romance.
“Leanne and Nick’s relationship is history repeating itself,” says Danson, speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com. “Helen Worth, who plays Nick’s mum Gail, and I always say that. I grew up watching Gail clash with Ivy, her former mother-in-law. Gail was never good enough for Ivy’s son Brian, Nick’s father, and they were always bickering – and the same has happened with Gail’s attitude towards Nick and Leanne since day one!
“Helen and I are actually really close, we’ve known each other a long time, and we love those shades of Gail and Ivy in Gail and Leanne’s relationship. We have a good laugh about it, she’ll give me a hug after s queen where we’re fighting!
“That kind of character continuity is important to Corrie, especially as we have produced more episodes over the years it’s the kind of thing that can be neglected. But I’m pleased Leanne and Gail’s relationship is one the show has always kept very true.”
Nick, along with Leanne’s sister Toyah, looks set to be in the line of fire as the devastated mum struggles. “She’s hurting so much and takes it out on the people that mean the most,” says Danson. “Those are the people who will forgive Leanne anything so Nick and Toyah are the ones she vents her frustrations on.”
Leanne’s ordeal with Oliver, currently in hospital after suffering mysterious seizures, is only just beginning, with a long-term story set to play out over the coming months that sees the toddler diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a rare, incurable life-threatening illness.
The soap has worked closely with the Lily Foundation, a charity set up by Liz Curtis in 2007 in memory her daughter Lily, who died from the illness aged eight months. The organisation funds research into finding a cure for the disease and provides support for families with experience of the condition.
Next week sees more upsetting developments in the storyline as Oliver’s condition worsens and doctors warn he could have brain damage from the seizures, and admit it could be weeks before tests results confirm his prognosis…