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Exclusive: 'Coronation Street': More story gossip from producer Stuart Blackburn

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Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn

© ITV

Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn recently took some time out to chat to Digital Spy about his future plans for the show.

If you haven't done so yet, check out Stuart's thoughts on this summer's storylines, the upcoming returnees and much more in part one of the interview here.

Here in Soap Scoop, we present some extra bonus snippets from Stuart on upcoming storylines and more.

How do you feel about overseeing the exit stories of Hayley and Tina, who are two big characters?
"With any character but those two in particular, it's a massive responsibility. I remember storylining Tina's very first scenes, so I'm so connected to the character. It's rare for young actors to come into the show and make the impact that Michelle has done in a relatively short space of time, so we really need to get the story right and I know that it's going to be exciting.

"I'm also in buckets over Hayley, as I'm heartbroken to be losing such a fantastic character. What I can guarantee is that we're throwing everything in to make it the most honest, truthful and emotional story that we'll be playing this year.

"It's all hands on deck for those stories, but the key for me is always what is coming up next. Sometimes you can be so focused on an exit storyline that you don't consider what it means for the people left behind. We really need to make sure that the exits of Tina and Hayley will become the prologues of exciting new stories for the people around them."

Is Jimi Mistry's character Kal going to be a big one for the show?
"Well, Jimi Mistry is a fantastic actor - I was so surprised and delighted that we managed to get him on board. We're going to entrust him with some really big stories.

"There's always the danger that the audience will view new characters with suspicion, so we're going to work hard to link Kal to a number of our established regulars. We'll see him with people like Dev, Steve and also Nick as his story moves on. I hope Kal will be a big character for us - that's certainly what we're aiming for."

Jimi Mistry attends the opening night of La Soiree, at the Roundhouse, Camden, London

© PA Images

Jimi Mistry



We've noticed a few viewers seem to be favouring Tim rather than Anna and Owen in their rows over Faye. Was that your intention, or has it come as a surprise?
"I think it's great! We were always worried that Tim would just be seen as the 'baddie' in the story, which would be wrong. He's made some bad decisions and he doesn't always get it right, as he can be feckless and he has issues with commitment. But I think what people will see is that Tim is learning, and there's a history there to explain why he is like that.

"Equally with Anna, if she'd been in the right every time, the story would have been quite dull. In fact, she's not always making the right decisions either. Obviously we have characters like Richard Hillman and Charlie Stubbs who were very bad - but with 90% of our stories, if they come across as just black and white, then we haven't told them properly."

Can we expect to see Sally and Sophie back at the forefront of the show?
"I do love those characters. Sally is so funny and I think she can do great comedy as well as drama. I didn't want to rush into anything with Sally, as I wanted to make sure that the story was right. There might be some romance coming up for her soon…"

Are you expecting the viewers to back one party over another in the Paul and Lloyd race row story, or do you think it will divide the audience?
"It's so hard to tell, but I think it may divide the audience. I really hope that people will be able to see both points of view. We all know that Paul's remark is something that shouldn't have been said, whether as an accident or not - but to be accused of being a racist is a big deal, so it's understandable why he digs his heels in. As the story progresses, there's a danger that Paul could lose Eileen and also his job - the two things that motivate him the most.

"From Lloyd's perspective, he will have heard these types of remarks as a cab driver on a daily basis, and he's chosen not to make an issue of it. But with his daughter there, he feels that he needs to take a stand. Why should Jenna have to hear that kind of remark in her own pub?

"In a sense, once we get beyond the comment itself, I think people will want to bang both Paul and Lloyd's heads together, as they could easily resolve the situation by swallowing their pride!"

Eileen begs Paul to swallow his pride and apologise to Lloyd.

© ITV

Paul, Eileen and Lloyd



Are you pleased with the reaction to Sinead, Beth and Craig?
"I'm absolutely delighted. One of the things I was really keen to do when I arrived at Corrie was to dig a bit deeper with Beth. We'd established that she was gobby and funny, but I wanted to know what mattered to her.

"In terms of Craig and his troubles, we'll start to see a bit more of Beth as a mother and we'll give her a bit of self-awareness as well. I've just been watching this in an episode which will be on screen in six weeks' time. Craig as a character is also developing really well.

"Sinead is brilliant too. She's quirky, intelligent and she may be very different from Beth, but she'd protect her to the ends of the earth! Through Sinead, we can also learn a bit more about Beth and why she's in the place she is now. Hopefully there's a lot more to come from that gang."

Quite a few of our reader questions were asking for Jason to be used more. Does he have some good stuff on the way?
"Absolutely - I think Jason can really carry stories and he'll be re-emerging as we come to the end of the Karl and Stella story, so there's more stuff from him there. It also helps with Todd coming back, as that household will be a lot more dynamic later in the year."

Is there more to come for the Lloyd/Mandy/Jenna family unit?
"Definitely. The story between Lloyd and Paul will massively involve Mandy and Jenna, and it will have consequences. There's also quite a bit coming up for Sophie, Jenna and Sally. We'll be focusing in on Lloyd in particular, as he's a real stalwart of the show."

There's always rumours of changes at The Rovers. Do the Price clan have a strong future there?
"At the moment, the story is about Stella desperate to get The Rovers working and back on its feet. It's her family home and whatever happens with the pub in the future, I really like the Price family. It's such a lovely inter-generational family of strong and very different women, so I'm really keen to invest in them."

8126: Eva arrives back from her holiday and is horrified to see a ˜for sale' board outside the Rovers and Stella cleaning at the bistro. Gloria can't live with the guilt any longer and makes a shock admission to the family.

© ITV

The Price clan and Karl



What's ahead for Tyrone and Fiz?
"They're both going to be really busy with the Roy and Hayley story we have coming up. Both of them owe Roy and Hayley so very much, so they'll be working closely with them to help them out.

"Aside from the Roy and Hayley story, one of the things that I've got on my agenda is what's next for Tyrone and Fiz. They're such a credible, wonderful couple and so believable. We need to find the right story for them, as I don't want to end up in silly affair storylines after everything they've been through."

Is it true that you're keen to see a lot more of Deirdre on our screens?
"I love her and I think Annie is such an amazing actress. She's so familiar to the audience and the public as a whole - there's not many people in the country who don't know who Deirdre Barlow is! As a product of that, you just get used to her and her talent sometimes goes unrecognised. We'll definitely be using her as much as we can."

A lot of fans were pleased to see Emily get a storyline recently. Are you keen to keep using the older characters?
"Definitely. We've got so many fine characters in the older group. I want to use them all and make sure we're using them in the right way. It shouldn't just be about whimsy, as the characters are too good for that."

How's everything going with the upcoming studio move, and will it pave the way for new sets?
"The intention is that any differences will be off-screen. On-screen, we're not using it to rebuild, recreate or to add any new locations for the sake of it. Were there to be a new family or somebody moving house, then and only then will we be getting new sets.

"At the moment, everything's going well. There's no published date for the move, but sometime towards the end of the year, Salford should be ready for us. At some point at the start of next year, we should make the move and as far as is humanly possible, the audience won't notice the difference!"

> Read more 'Coronation Street' spoilers and news

Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV.

Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - press play below to watch Amie Parker-Williams reveal gossip on a big twist at the bookies in Coronation Street, a heartbreaking discovery in Hollyoaks and wedding plans in both EastEnders and Emmerdale.

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