Corrie's Paula Lane: 'I was so terrified of telling the producers that I was pregnant during my big story'
Coronation Street actress Paula Lane tells how her character Kylie descends into a drugs hell, and how she’ll be on maternity leave when the storyline reaches its climax.
Paula Lane is at the centre of a huge Coronation Street storyline, but she only found out what was going to happen through her co-star Jack P Shepherd, who plays her on-screen husband, David.
“It was a text saying, ‘Kylie's going to be a full-on druggie!”' Lane reveals, adding that it's not that strange that Shepherd knew of the storyline before her.
“Sometimes, it just happens,” she explains. “We're in a big building and things get filtered down the line, and more often than not, we're put in the loop quite quickly.”
Understandably, the actress (28) wanted clarification, so sat down with the show's bosses. It transpired that Kylie would start taking her son Max's ADHD medication (as viewers have witnessed in recent weeks), but her life's set to take an even darker turn, when she makes the decision to contact her bad boy ex — Max's father, Callum.
“Kylie feels really strung-out, like a failure basically, and she's aware that people on the street judge her quite quickly, especially with Max's behaviour, so Kylie wants answers from his biological father,” explains Lane. “She hasn't got ADHD herself so she's just thinking, ‘What could he have inherited from his father?”'
Eva, played by Catherine Tyldesley, offers to accompany her to her old neighbourhood, but is shocked to see how Kylie is with Callum, played by handsome new recruit Sean Ward, laughing and joking, rather than discussing the real reasons for her visit.
“In my head, they were king and queen of their estate, they ruled the roost, and I think she gets a bit of a kick out of being with him again,” says Lane. “I wouldn't say she fancies him, but he's got this charm and makes her feel excited.”
She and Ward share great chemistry, something Lane is thankful for, as the pair only had a day to get to know one another. “He's fabulous, and I think he's going to add a great flavour to the street.”
The same can't be said, however, of his character Callum, a known drug-dealer who soon provides Kylie with speed, after David discovers her secret and prevents her from taking any more of Max's medication.
As part of her research, Lane had a meeting with a recovering speed addict.
“She was fabulous and told me all the horrors. I came away feeling like I'd been really opened up to this world,” she recalls. “With heroin, your body absolutely needs it, but with speed, it's more psychological, so you hallucinate, you essentially go a bit stir-crazy and I'm trying to keep that in mind.”
As traumatic a time as Kylie's had since making her Corrie debut in 2010 (including selling her son, cheating on David and battling a drink problem), Lane was genuinely shocked when first told about the storyline.
“I didn't see it coming, but actually, I've really enjoyed playing it,” says the actress, who married her long-term boyfriend earlier this year.
The story's set to run for a few months, culminating in the Christmas specials.
“This is my third Christmas when I've had quite a big story. I don't think I could have got a better audience than Christmas Day. It always peaks, doesn't it?” says Lane, who's pregnant with her first child and will be going on maternity leave in early November.
“Initially, I did state I would've liked to have worked closer to the birth, but realistically, I will be ready to go at that point.”
She confesses she'd been unnecessarily terrified about telling producer Stuart Blackburn about her pregnancy. No doubt relieved that she wasn't announcing her resignation, “he just said it was great and we'll sort it out”.
“It was also like a light bulb moment, and he went, ‘We can do this and this',” recalls Lane who, so far, hasn't had too many problems disguising the bump.
“It's amazing what a baggy top can do,” she adds, laughing. “I've been very lucky that I've stayed a similar shape to what I was before, but you can cheat with patterns and a big handbag. My first disguise was a teapot and a fruit bowl. They were like, ‘Don't move from that spot!”'
As it stands, she's planning on taking three months off. “That was just a personal choice. I've got a very good support network, so I'll be making arrangements so that I can come back and get my feet back on the street.”
Has she thought about what else she'd like to do?
“In a perfect world, I'd love to come out, tread the boards at [Manchester's] Royal Exchange Theatre, or be part of a fresh drama,” she says.
There's nothing lined up at the moment, but she does have a “time span in my head” for when to move on.
“That could change, so I'll just go with whatever my instinct says at the time,” Lane adds. “Because the baby's going to change things, and you've got to be realistic.”
Coronation Street airs on UTV on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays