Corrie's Jane Danson warns there's 'not a lot of hope' for Oliver in new story

Coronation Street’s Jane Danson has warned viewers that there is ‘not a lot of hope’ for Leanne Tilsley’s son Oliver during the soap’s new mitochondrial disease storyline.

The ITV soap is currently airing a storyline which will eventually see Oliver diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a life-limiting illness that may drastically reduce his life-span.

Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning, Jane admits that things are not looking good for Leanne’s son.

‘Hopefully we can help the families and charities [of mitochondrial disease],’ Jane revealed.

‘There’s not a lot of hope. There’s not a lot of research and we don’t know enough about it.’

Jane continued: ‘It’s life-limiting and it’s devastating for people.’

Mitochondrial disease, or ‘mito’, is the term given to a group of medical disorders caused by mutations in mitochondria, the tiny organelles that are present in nearly every cell in our bodies and which generate about 90% of the energy we need to live. Cells cannot function properly without healthy mitochondria, so when they fail the consequences can be serious and wide-ranging.

Previously speaking to, Corrie boss Iain MacLeod told us that the devastating story will be a wide-ranging story that effects Leanne’s wider family, not just Nick (Ben Price) or Steve (Simon Gregson).

‘The reasons for doing it is because it’s a strong story to tell with a really blended family so we could see a multi faceted story where the whole clan – Leanne, Steve, Tracy, Nick, Gail, Emma, Amy – have to overcome the worst possible news,’ he said.

‘Also the condition, not many people know about it – it is relatively common but also underfunded so it was also an opportunity to draw attention to families’ struggles as better treatments need to be found for this illness.’

What is mitochondrial disease?

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).

Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.

The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.

Symptoms vary depending on the organ(s) affected but may include seizures, atypical cerebral palsy, autistic features, developmental problems, fainting and temperature instability.

According to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, the prognosis depends upon the severity of the disease and other criteria. As more research funds are raised to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure, some of the affected children and adults are living fairly normal lives with mitochondrial disease.

In other cases, children may not be able to see, hear, talk or walk. Affected children may not survive beyond their teenage years. Adult onset can result in drastic changes from an active lifestyle to a debilitating ilness is a short amount of time.

Treatment plans vary from patient to patient but involve therapies, diet changes and other means to try and slow the progress of the disease.

You can find out more information from the NHS here.

Iain continued: ‘The fundamental component is Leanne’s love for her son and willingness to move mountains to save him. It’s really passionate and heartfelt, the cast are right behind it. Jane has been talking to charity partners about how Leanne is feeling she wants to get it right. We all do.

‘In Oliver’s case it was latent from first then manifest in 3-4. There are 100s maybe thousands of strands so his case is different. He was been asymptomatic but his diagnosis means he is going to have a seriously limited lifespan. It then goes on with how everyone copes with that – Leanne and Steve are bonded tightly more than ever and the difficulty is Tracy and Nick feel shut out from that little triangle.

Sadly, Iain has also hinted that due to the devastating nature of the disease, Oliver may die.

If you are affected or are living with someone who has a mitochondrial disease, for information about the disease and the support available please visit

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