Coronation Street stars are about to have their emotions seriously tested as Rita Sullivan’s health deteriorates.
The ITV soap’s Sally Ann Matthews said that the coming weeks will pull on viewers’ heartstrings as her character Jenny Bradley is forced to halt her own wedding plans to rush to Rita’s side in hospital.
Fans have already been speculating that it could soon be the end of the road for the long-running character (Barbara Knox) who has grown steadily more ill over recent episodes.
While she refused to comment on whether the scenes are leading up to Rita’s swansong, Matthews hinted at a press conference this week that one episode over the coming days will see “Twitter go crazy”, and advised viewers to get ready with “Kleenex, and wine”.
She also poured praise on Knox, 83, who has been contributing to the creation of her own emotional scenes, spending months in discussions with producers.
“Barbara is a fantastic actress and a consummate professional,” she said.
“The emotional scenes are very easy to play with Barbara, they are going to be tugging at the heartstrings.”
“It’s a storyline that Barbara is so deserving of, it has been so well thought out and she has been very involved in the way it’s going to play out.
“As it was with Bill (Ken Barlow star William Roache)… to have two actors who have been in the show forever, who are in their mid-eighties, to be carrying ITV’s flagship show is exceptional, and they both do a sterling job.”
Commenting on Jenny’s reaction to Rita’s major upcoming health scare, Matthews teased: “It’s a huge spanner in the works when she finds out Rita is unwell… it’s a big wake-up call for Jenny (about her) priorities, and it’s quite interesting the direction that she goes in.”
It will come on the day of the “epic” wedding saga, where Jenny plans to tie the knot with Johnny Connor in a shared ceremony with soon-to-be stepson Aidan Connor (Shayne Ward) and Eve Price (Catherine Tyldesley).
She said of the big day: “When Corrie is 150 years old, you’ll have a clip of this wedding, it’s that epic.”