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Coronation Street's Leanne is distraught when she realises that little Simon has been abducted by his father Peter, who plans to take him off to the Caribbean. But Leanne manages to track them down, and Simon is asked to choose between them once again! Jane Danson, who plays Leanne, tells TV Choice more about the story and reflects on her own time in the soap…
Why has Peter resorted to such desperate measures?
When he falls off the wagon, he does unpredictable things. And he’s kind of neglected Simon really. He’s not been there for him 100 per cent. Even though he loves him. So he’s incredibly frustrated. He wants some normality, and to get his son back is the first thing.
Simon is played by Alex Bain, who’s only 10. But you also acted in GBH when you were 12, so do you have any advice for him?
Well, I think it’s slightly different in his case, because even though I worked as a child, I wasn’t famous. He’s famous, so I think it’s a very different environment for him. He’s instantly recognisable, so he’s probably got a few outside pressures I didn’t have.
But I think, personally, the most important thing is that when he’s not on set he’s allowed to be a kid. He goes to a normal school and does normal things, and I think you’ve got to be mindful of that, and not expect too much of them at such a tender age.
In real-life you have two children, Harry, five and Sam, three. So do you let Harry watch Corrie, and is it a bit strange for him to see you on-screen with Alex?
No, he doesn’t watch it. He’s generally in bed when it’s on. He’s aware of it when people come up to me, when I’m out and about. Or he sees me in a magazine. But I don’t think he fully understands it. I’m quite happy for it to stay that way for as long as it can, because all he has to worry about is his own little world then. I’m sure as he gets older, he’ll become more aware but I’ve so far managed to shield him a little bit from it all.
How would you describe your own history in Corrie?
I came in when I was 18. I left for a few years, because I felt that at that time that I was so young, and I needed to go out and explore the acting world a little bit more. I’m really glad I did that actually, because you don’t ever expect a job to last this long. I suppose now I’m a little bit older and wiser to how the industry works and I like the fact that it’s pretty much the most security you get as an actor. I like the fact I go home every night, which — when you’ve got two small children — is very important.
Do you have a favourite storyline from you time in Coronation Street?
I think I’ve probably enjoyed Corrie the most in the past couple of years, because the storyline has been continual. It’s obviously been heavier in parts, then they’ve revisited it later on. Whereas before, some of the stories were for a couple of months, and then they’d go. But I’ve worked with so many different people, it’s almost like having a new job every few years.
Is it strange to look back on how far Leanne has come from her early days as a mouthy teenager?
I like it when she does find herself in deep water because the Battersby of old comes out. The attitude is still there, although it might be buried a little bit. But when she came in, she was as rough as hell! Great fun, though.
Do you ever look back on early scenes?
It’s funny, I have seen a couple. You don’t think you’ve really changed, but then you look back and think, ‘Oh my God, I look horrendous!’ But I think what is nice is that Leanne came in as an 18-year-old and now she’s a thirtysomething — so it’s nice to see that transition. Life experience makes people change, but I just love the fact that whenever she has an argument the attitude comes back out. That makes me laugh, because I just think of the old days when we were shouting all the time.
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