Coronation Street’s Alison King is going to strut back onto the cobbles this Christmas as Carla Connor makes a surprise return to Weatherfield.
Carla is called on by Aidan Connor who reveals that Underworld is on the brink of collapse and he needs her help.
But when she returns Carla’s carrying a secret that could blow everything apart. Here Alison reveals what’s in store this Christmas…
What made you decide to come back?
I have been away about a year and a half. Once Kate had started as producer I met up with her and said that I would be happy to come back a bit earlier than I had originally discussed. I had said I would maybe have a two year break but I felt ready to come back. I didn’t feel like I wanted to go anywhere else. I wasn’t keen on the idea of travelling around the country with work, I had done what I wanted to do and spent time with Daisy and we had a great time, I was there for her, I hadn’t really had time to do that and it was a crucial age for schooling etc. That is the most rewarding thing, I needed that break. But it was time for me to have the adult banter again. I was also excited about working with Kate as producer. She asked if I could come back for Christmas and I was more than happy to do that.
What have you done workwise during your time away?
I was very lucky to work on series two of a comedy a drama called sicknote which is Sky 1. The first series is out now written by Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz – brilliant writers, director Matt Lipsey made by King Bert productions which is David Walliams’ company. It is a comedy, it is quite dark, I play Chief Superintendent Christine Henchy. She has her hair all rolled up and I wear a very austere Chief Superintendent outfit. She is quite posh so completely different to Carla and it was great to work on a comedy. There is room for her to return in series three which would be great. It was fantastic to work with Rupert Grint and I also got to do some scenes with Lindsay Lohan who was really lovely. I was offered a few of the celeb shows such as Strictly Come Dancing but I just didn’t fancy it. My main aim was to spend time with Daisy, you don’t get any awards for being a good parent but it is the most important job in the world.
Is it easy to get back into Carla?
Yes it was like pulling on an old sock or an old pair of stiletto boots! My first two scenes were with Shayne on location and the crew who are like family, I got butterflies from excitement about seeing everyone but not from nerves. It was so lovely, like I had never been away and I was happy I made the decision to return. I’ve know for a good few months that I was coming back so I was pleased to be finally with everyone again.
What was it like seeing all your mates again?
I am sharing a dressing room with Kym and Faye which is lovely – the Connor girls reunited. When I came back I asked which dressing room I was in and they said Kym had asked if I could share with them which was so nice. So we are squeezed in together and it is great fun.
Where is Carla at in her life and how does she feel about Aidan getting in touch with her?
Because it is near Christmas it is nice to hear from him. She wonders what it is about but she sees it as a chance to catch up with him as she is nearby on business. She doesn’t feel too overwhelmed because it is only him and she is intrigued and misses everybody but her first reaction when he asks her to help him buy the factory is ‘absolutely not’ she just isn’t keen but then she starts thinking about family. Seeing him has made her realise she misses everyone and would like to see them and be with them at Christmas. She has been able to switch off from the family, it has been a case of out of sight out of mind but now she can’t stop thinking about them.
She puts on a front that she can survive on her own and is independent but can she really?
Yes she is a hard shell with a soft centre, these people, her family and Roy are more important to her than she would care to admit.
What happens when she turns up on Christmas Day?
Aidan is not too happy as she has turned him down when he asked for her help but then she turns up on Christmas Day and she says she has changed her mind. She really does want to help. She rallies round and is a nice person to be around. She is a bit like Mother Christmas, she is a bit more vulnerable than she has been in the past.
She is back with a secret, what can you tell us about what is happening in her life?
She is at a stage where she is starting to think about life and family, her secret is making her take stock. In the past two years she has acquired a family that she didn’t know she had. Prior to that she was a bit of a lone wolf, she had people like Michelle around her but suddenly she had a family that she does really care about, they mean a lot to her.
Kate has got her secret with Rana, Johnny has got his illness, is she someone they can depend on?
Absolutely, she wants to be there for them all, she knows about Johnny’s illness and that is one of the reasons she wants to help Aidan with the factory. As for Kate, Carla is non judgemental she has been around the block a few times. She wants to genuinely be there for them all, there is nothing selfish about that, she genuinely wants to be at the centre of the family.
How is her relationship with Michelle?
She can tell that Robert and Michelle really love each other and she is really pleased for her. She has her reasons for being wary of Robert, he as one of the reasons for her marriage with Nick not working out so she has her doubt. But she knows really she hit her own self destruct button so she hopes his relationship with Michelle is true but she does discover some things which make her unsure.
How are things with Roy?
Roy is always there for Carla, he is the one person who knows her secret and he is the one person she has confided in. He has always been a father figure. He could be the key to her sticking around. She has no plans to stay when she first comes back but if she was going to stick around for anyone it would be Roy. He could persuade her that it is a good idea to move back. She loves everything about Roy, she would go and look at trains for a day with him, she gets unconditional love back from him. I was excited to know I was coming back to scenes with David, he is so exciting to work with.
What has Carla been doing since she left?
She certainly doesn’t seem to have a man on the go but she has been keeping her hand in on the business side of things. Carla has always had business as her main focus and that hasn’t changed.
Has Carla’s wardrobe changed at all?
She’s a bit more relaxed for the Christmas episodes but other than that she still the classic Carla of old – the heels are a touch lower though, after months not having to wear the heels I didn’t want to be tottering around the cobbles in heels quite as high as I used to!
What were your first scenes back on the set?
It was in the Bistro with Rita and Jenny and Johnny and the family. The Carla and Jenny dynamic is not one I had played before. It is fun to play as Jenny is quite jealous. Carla is back and she is getting all this attention off Johnny and Jenny doesn’t really like it. Carla is oblivious, she comes into the Bistro with all these petrol station gifts for everyone and is flinging them round and can’t understand why she is putting everybody out, she knocks Jenny’s make-up bag on the floor and accidentally hits her on the head with a box of chocolates she is passing to someone. She comes in in a flurry, that is Carla, thereby annoying Jenny so that puts a new dynamic there from the start which I am enjoying.
How does Tracy react to her return?
There is a great scene in the pub when Carla has her back to Tracy so she doesn’t see her but she hears her voice and she makes a classic Tracy remark and Carla gives her a great one line repost and walks off. Carla has no desire to revisit that old rivalry, she doesn’t have the time for it anymore.
How does Daisy feel about you going back?
She is really excited about me coming back to work, she is ready for it now as am I. She has had enough of me now!
What are your plans for Christmas?
Normally Daisy’s da Adam and I spend it together with Daisy so that is what we will do either here or with family down south. It is nice to know we get two clear weeks off to rest, eat and relax.
Do you think there is romance on the cards for Carla?
She is happy on her own for now, she is not looking for love. She is truly happy on her own but when she gets bored she quite likes to do things to take her mind of stuff. There is someone she has a little fling with, but she is a bit like a cat with a mouse playing with him. It is something to do, it is not a big romance, and she also has another agenda for setting her sights on this person.
Does she still has feelings for Peter?
There will always be something, she knows that she lost the good egg in Nick but she will always love Peter, she lost his baby, he knows her inside out.
Might this cause problems between her and Toyah?
Toyah is a bit insecure about Carla being back, everyone knows about Carla and Peter’s on off relationship and how powerful it was. Everyone has their own opinion of what Carla is and most of them are not very good opinions, she is talked about in a certain way as a Diva so you can understand why Toyah may feel threatened but that perception of Carla is not really true. She is not seen as a woman’s woman but she actually is and we have seen that over the years and she will fight for her friends.
What can we expect now Carla is back?
This is a different Carla because of the secret she is keeping so the next few months we will see a more vulnerable Carla who needs her family and friends more than she ever has before.