There is heartache on the way in Coronation Street as Oliver’s diagnosis will see Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) struggle to handle the news- and begin to push away those who care about her in the process.
Upcoming scenes will show Oliver diagnosed as having an incurable form of mitochondrial disease and while it should be a time for the family to come together, Leanne will make that difficult as the characters stubborn nature looks to cause problems for those close to her.
Leanne begins to make choices for Oliver without asking anybody else for their input. The need for her to try and control the situation soon start to become a problem, with friends and family left “walking on eggshells” around her for fear of making things worse.
“She takes on the mantle of saying, ‘He’s my son, I’ll deal with this’ and she really puts up the barriers,” said Danson of how Leanne’s headspace is in the aftermath of the diagnosis. “Everyone around her is trying to help, but they all become punching bags for her emotions. There’s an element of denial to a point but then once there’s some acceptance, she decides Oliver needs her and no-one else.”
Explaining how everyone tries to handle how stubborn she is being, Danson added that it “puts a massive strain on the people around her who aren’t necessarily agreeing with what she’s saying”. With Leanne thinking she knows best, how will her family, in particular Oliver’s father, Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), make her realise that this is not a battle she needs to fight alone?
There is already one family member who has been pushed away when Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) overhears Leanne say that she will be left with nothing when she loses Oliver, prompting him to move in with his dad and refuse to accept any apology.
With things only set to get tougher, will Leanne realise that she needs those who care about her around, or will she continue to think that taking care of Oliver is a battle for her, and her alone, to fight?
To learn more about mitochondrial disease, visit The Lily Foundation who have been working closely with Coronation Street throughout Oliver’s storyline.