Coronation Street’s Paul Foreman was diagnosed with motor neurone disease just over a year ago, beginning a moving, emotional storyline that has seen the character and his loved ones struggle with the reality of his deteriorating health.


An unflinching performance as Paul from Peter Ash has earned him a best actor nomination at the Soap Awards 2024 sponsored by Inspired Villages.

In an exclusive interview, the Corrie star discusses the heartbreaking MND storyline and how the real-life story of the late rugby hero Rob Burrow inspired him.

How does it feel to be nominated for such a big storyline?

It’s very flattering. I’m not knocking it! To be involved in this story and raise awareness for a great cause feels like is a massive privilege, MND is such a horrible disease and obviously very much in the public conscience because of Rob Burrow’s recent passing.

Did you get to meet Rob?

Yes, him and his wife Lindsey came to the Corrie studios last year. It was amazing to meet the guy, sad to see by that point the condition had taken so much from him, but they were both really glad we were doing the storyline. We were made up with that. They came in at lunchtime and I remember the scenes we filmed that afternoon felt all the more poignant after meeting Rob and Lindsey.

More like this

Have you researched MND for the role?

Absolutely, yes, I knew next to nothing about it before starting and did a lot of reading up on it. Right away the guys at Corrie put me in touch with the MND Association, who have been an amazing help.

Paul sits at the table with Bernie in Coronation Street
Coronation Street. ITV

What’s been your most challenging moment in the last year?

I guess when Billy agreed to help Paul end his life when the time comes, that was heartbreaking to film, but beautifully written. Billy and Paul have had their ups and downs as a couple but come out stronger. Out of this horrible situation they’ve developed this amazing strength and bond.

Are you pleased Billy has stepped up for Paul?

I’m glad we’re showing how this affects those caring for Paul, and seen how it’s taken its toll on Billy because that’s what it’s like. Paul was quite a loner until he met Billy, he grew up close to Gemma then went awol for a bit and only reconnected with his family since coming to the street. It’s a horrible situation but Paul is surrounded by people that love him.

Apart from Billy, who has been the most important person in Paul’s life?

It’s a close tie between Bernie and Gemma, but I’d possibly say Bernie just because there was more to make up from with her. There was the resentment of his mum abandoning him as a child, Paul and Gemma wanted nothing to do with Bernie when she first came back into their lives. Even now they’re arguing because she lied about her other son, Kit. But Bernie has stepped up and I’ve had some beautiful scenes with Jane Hazlegrove, who plays her.

How did you feel about the twist Paul has a long-lost brother?

It’s pretty believable with Bernie’s past, there’s probably other little Bernies out there! For Paul it was a massive shock, he was angry at his mum for hiding Kit and how much time they’ve wasted when they could’ve got to know him. I think in the end, Paul will understand the circumstances around it all. Jacob Roberts is a great addition to the show as Kit.

What do you like about playing Paul, and what frustrates you?

I guess his short temper frustrates me, he is very quick to anger. We can all be like that though! I love the fact he’s got a heart underneath all that front he puts up, that has really come out since he came to the street. It’s softened him in the best way. There’s a lot of layers with Paul, he’s not perfect but then no one is!

Has it been tough filming so many heavy scenes?

Despite it being so horrific, Corrie have managed to write in moments of levity and humour that you have in real life. You make light of the awful things you’re going through and the audience has responded to that, families living through a similar situation have picked out those little human moments or jokey lines. It’s made me realise we are getting this right.

Which of your co-stars do you think deserves an award this year?

I’d have to say Daniel Brocklebank (who plays Billy). The storyline is so personal for him because his grandfather passed from MND. My character is in the thick of the storyline but what he’s doing as Billy is fantastic, and he deserves just as much as credit. He’ll owe me a beer for saying that!

Read more:

The Soap Awards 2024, sponsored by Inspired Villages, will take place on 13th July. Find out the nominees ahead of the big day!


Check out more of our Soaps coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what else is on. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.