Coronation Streets star feels added pressure with MND plot

Coronation Street: Paul struggles to lift his wine glass

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Paul Foreman (played by Peter Ash) has been struggling to recover from the injuries he sustained after Carla Connor (Alison King) crashed into him in a van she wasn’t insured on. Paul was signed off work and told that he sustained muscle and nerve damage. Coronation Street have confirmed Paul will be diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) leaving his family and relationship with Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank) devastated.

Dr Gaddas (Christine Mackie) revealed to Paul during Friday’s episode that his injuries were not sustained by the accident and would be sending him to a neurologist.

Paul also starts to notice other issues with balance, mobility and dexterity as he is referred to a specialist.

In early April he is given the devastating news that he has MND and struggles to come to terms with the news, refusing to tell Billy and his family.

The storyline will follow Paul’s journey with the disease before he eventually breaks the news to his loved ones.

Billy actor Daniel Brocklebank recently opened up about working alongside Peter for the storyline and revealed he had a personal connection to the issue.

Touching on whether he felt added pressure, Daniel told and other press: “Well it has only been very recent that I have spoken to them because obviously, we have to keep our mouth shut about what’s coming up.

“But I did speak to my mum, it was my mum’s dad that had MND and my mum has a brother and a sister so I have spoken to all three of them and asked if they mind about how much of our family’s journey through living with somebody with MND that I disclose.

“And all three of them were happy for me to talk about everything really because in the larger scheme of things it will raise awareness and raise money which will hopefully generate research that will mean people won’t have to go through what we went through at some point.

“I think the only pressure comes… I mean it is Billy’s journey and not mine so I think the only pressure for me really is to see how triggering it is going to be.

“I won’t have any trouble accessing emotion to play it, Billy is quite an emotional character anyway I think, and obviously of course, as Peter said we want to portray it with as much sensitivity and realism as we can.

“I don’t think that it’s going to be any problem for me at all because I’m stepping into something that I need to do no research on.

“In some ways, it takes the pressure off because I have lived through and experienced it in real life. I guess the added pressure will be trying not to burst into tears all the time.”

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Speaking on the upcoming storyline for Paul and how he felt being given the opportunity to raise awareness for MND, Peter said: “I knew very little about MND before embarking on the storyline and I am hugely grateful to the MND Association for all their help and support.

“For any actor playing a role which examines a real-life issue or condition there comes a huge sense of responsibility and we are aware that some people watching this storyline are experiencing it in reality, it is their life.

“Awareness and education are really important. I have learned so much even in the short time I have been involved in this storyline. We hope Paul’s journey can make people more aware of the symptoms and what it is like for someone to live with MND.”

Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod also added: “Motor Neurone Disease is something that many people might have heard of but perhaps don’t know a lot about, even given the recent cases of public figures talking about their experiences of living with the condition.

“A show like Coronation Street is uniquely placed to show the day-to-day reality of dealing with an illness that gradually and progressively erodes the physical attributes that you perhaps take for granted, changing forever the way you interact with the world around you.

“We are committed to portraying in a long-term, sensitive way the effects of this condition on Paul and his family and friends, not shying away from the sometimes painful reality of what his life will be like.

“We have been privileged to work with the Motor Neurone Disease Association – including talking to people who have the condition and their families – to ensure we do justice to people’s real-life experiences.”

Coronation Street airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8pm on ITV.

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