Coronation Street producer confirms future of Paul's exit storyline
Coronation Street spoilers follow.
Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod has revealed the future of Paul's exit storyline.
It has been confirmed that cast member Peter Ash will be leaving the ITV soap as part of an issue-based storyline to play out over the coming months.
Viewers have already seen Paul struggling to recover from a recent car accident, but he will learn in April that some of these complications are due to a life-shortening motor neurone disease.
Motor neurone disease (or MND) is a fatal condition that rapidly impacts the brain and spinal cord, but can be more challenging to diagnose because it does not typically impact sight, sound and feeling.
Approximately 35% of people diagnosed with MND experience cognitive and behavioural changes. Many eventually can have trouble talking, moving or even breathing.
When Paul receives the diagnosis, he initially resolves to keep it a secret from partner Billy and his family, with viewers set to follow the progression of the disease as he must eventually confide in loved ones.
Producer Iain MacLeod and the Corrie team are working with the MND Association to accurately reflect the physical and emotional challenges Paul will face following his diagnosis.
"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," the producer explained.
"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."
MacLeod also spoke about why Paul is so intent on keeping the diagnosis from his loved ones while he processes what his future will look like.
"At first, Paul — who as a builder, relies entirely on his physicality for his livelihood — will massively go off the rails in a misplaced bid to ensure he isn’t a burden on his loved ones," he said.
"But in the end, they will be the ones to put him back together emotionally. 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.”
MND Association Director of External Affairs Chris James also addressed the collaboration with Coronation Street: "We are really grateful to the team at Coronation Street for choosing to tackle this difficult subject. Putting MND in front of millions of viewers every week will raise incredible awareness and help educate people who have never come across this disease – showing the day to day reality for those living with it and the impact on their families, friends and neighbours too.
“The Coronation Street team has been incredibly responsible when considering storylines, scenarios and scripts, spending a lot of time talking to us and members of the MND community to ensure the onscreen portrayal of MND is realistic, sympathetic and sensitive.”
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1 and streams on ITVX.
Read more Coronation Street spoilers on our dedicated homepage
Coronation Street has been working on Paul's storyline with support from the MND Association, which focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for people affected by motor neurone disease.
The charity's helpline MND Connect (0808 802 6262) is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and 7pm to 10.30pm. Calls are free.
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