Corrie's Katie McGlynn: Sinead's story is heartbreaking
It's a poignant time for Coronation Street right now, both on and off the set. Susan Griffin catches up with Katie McGlynn, to find out about the fallout
It's been a dramatic time for the Coronation Street team, following the death of Anne Kirkbride, who played the iconic Deirdre Barlow for more than 40 years. But as they always do, the cast and crew have closed ranks to look after one another during their time of need.
"I know people always say it, but we're a real family," says Katie McGlynn, who plays Sinead Tinker on the ITV soap.
The same week news reached fans of Kirkbride's death, drama was unfolding on screen too, following a minibus crash that's left the Underworld staff in trouble, and McGlynn's character with life-changing injuries.
The actress admits she was "humbled" to hear that Sinead would be the worst injured in the disaster.
"It's a really big storyline and I'm grateful for the opportunity," explains the 21-year-old actress, who joined the soap in 2013.
"The stunt was huge, and it looked really petrifying," she adds. "It was a really a good experience and very interesting to be part of, as we don't get the opportunity to do stunts on that scale very often."
In fact, it's the biggest stunt the soap's undertaken, since the tragic tram crash in 2010.
"One week we were doing Kirk and Beth's Eighties wedding, and the next we started doing the crash, so it was really weird. It was a bit like being in a movie," McGlynn adds.
The ambitious shoot took three weeks, at various locations around Manchester. Numerous special effects were involved, including the use of a blue screen, and it entailed most of the cast being strapped upside down in a smashed vehicle.
"It was hard, but you just get on with it and we always have a laugh," says the Rochdale-born actress, who suffered a few bruises during filming but says she got off lightly compared to the others.
Just as Steve McDonald swerves off the road, Sinead had unclipped her seatbelt to reach for a mobile phone, and was thrown to the floor. So while her cast mates were putting up with harnesses and uncomfortable positions, McGlynn found herself lying flat out, pretending to be unconscious.
"I nodded off at one point, which was funny," she recalls, laughing.
Following the crash, Sinead was rushed to hospital with potential spinal injuries and underwent emergency surgery, but even in the darkest of moments, she and her co-stars couldn't help keeping things light.
"I had this thing around my head, as if to stop it moving, but I could sit up in it, so I'd lie there dead still and then at the end of the scene, sit up and go, 'Yeah, what are you doing tonight?' I looked like a cartoon character."
Now it's just a waiting game, to see whether Sinead will ever walk again.
"It's a really long process, as it would be in real-life, and it's a bit heartbreaking to see what she has to go through," says the actress. "But that's what soaps are about, to show what really happens ..."
Sinead could be in hospital for a long time, but at least she has her other half Chesney by her side - although she can't help worrying that, if she is left with permanent injuries, the responsibility will be too much for her boyfriend.
"I think Sinead is worried about being a burden, which makes her even more upset, but Ches is so supportive and will stand by her through thick and thin. She's his only focus, and I think this will make them even stronger as a couple. It's been good to see the genuine relationship they have, and hopefully she will recover in time."
Before Coronation Street, McGlynn appeared as Jodi 'Scout' Allen in the long-running school-based series Waterloo Road. She's still recognised from that show on a regular basis, which might have something to do with the fact she's a lot more glamorous in real life (today she's wearing fitted jeans, a Debbie Harry T-shirt and heavy fake eyelashes) than her more preppy current Corrie character.
Unlike some of her co-stars, who are tentative about taking part in the live episode that's due to air in September to celebrate the soap's 60th anniversary, McGlynn is up for the challenge. "If I'm still here, I'd love to be involved in it," she says, smiling.
"I was only going to do four episodes [originally], but will stay as long as they'll have me."
- Coronation Street airs on ITV on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays