Coronation Street’s Anna Windass collapses and is taken to hospital later this month as her life spirals out of control.
Kevin Webster later visits Anna in hospital and tells her it is over between them as he has to put Jack first and can’t risk anything happening to him.
Devastated she prepares to go back to prison but spies an overcoat and putting it on furtively heads towards an open door.
Tim breaks the news of Anna’s escape to Faye who seeing the look of glee on Phelan’s face confronts him about what really happened between him and Anna.
The scales fall from Faye’s eyes and she tells Seb that Phelan is a liar and Anna did not push the ladder but when he refuses to listen she dumps him.
Meanwhile Anna cowers in a deserted building frightened and alone – what will she do next?
Here Debbie Rush, who plays her, reveals all…
How has it been for you filming what has been a very draining storyline which has gone on for months?
I have found this storyline exhausting, but more than that it’s been exhilarating and I’ve loved doing it. I got set on fire for real last year, and when that was put to me I thought ‘Oh, that’s exciting!’ I throw myself into everything 1000%, and loved it, as tired as I am when I get home, I’ve loved it.
What are your thoughts on the Phelan/Anna dynamic?
I’ve found the Phelan storyline a fantastic opportunity to be chosen to play cat and mouse, if I’m the mouse and he’s the cat. I’ve loved it. The first time he left we knew we had unfinished business. Since he’s come back we’ve let it gently bubble and boil until this crescendo we have now, I think that’s been great and I’ve loved doing it, because I think the public thought for a while it was going away and it hasn’t. It’s been great
Do fans want Anna to bring him down?
They want Anna to bring him down, massively! I still get little old ladies, to young lads shouting ‘Oi, Anna, when you gonna get Phelan?’ So everyone wants him done in, and they all want Anna to do it.
Is it important to you that she’s the one who brings him down?
As a woman… I know there has been a debate for some time, did he rape her or didn’t he rape her? Well, he did, because she was coerced into having sex with him to protect her family. We’ve just done the Bethany storyline and the nation is on Bethany’s side and knows she was groomed and raped. Anna was a grown woman who was groomed and raped. That’s the way I’ve played it and that’s why, it’s very important for me, Anna would be the one to bring him down with justice.
How is it playing the scenes with Connor who is so lovely in real life?
Connor is lovely. Whenever we finish a scene we always have a cuddle. He’s a giant and I’m a midget, so we have a cuddle, and he’s so lovely. He says we will get a fight arranger on and I say I don’t want a stunt person, throw me on the floor so it looks real. He’s on the same page as me, which is great, I love it.
Does he scare you when he gets into character?
We work in a very similar way, so we arrive on set and are jovial and jolly and chat about what we did at the weekend, but a minute before the cameras start rolling we go into our corners and become those characters. In that moment it is terrifying and frightening, and we go to very dark places. So yes, it is frightening.
When does Anna go and what was behind your decision to leave?
There are more Phelan and Anna scenes to come before Anna goes. We have a month of filming to go, and takes us to the end of January on screen. As the weeks count down, I am really excited, if I am honest. I have been here for nine years, and loved every minute, but as an actress it is time to move on. What do I want to do next? Just work. I’ve no plans. I’m a jobbing actress and that’s what I intend to continue doing.
Are you nervous about getting more work?
It’s terrifying. It was frightening before I came into this as it’s tough and jobs are few and far between. But it’s what I did before and it’s what I’ll do again. When I came in I thought, ‘If I stay for a year, it’ll be alright’, and here I am nine years later. Every time I’ve thought its time to go, I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I took a really long time to make a decision, talked about it for about two years before I decided to go. The show has been very good to me, I have been really lucky, had great storylines, feel highly respected by my colleagues and it’s scary to leave a lovely job, but I just want to be creative again somewhere else.
How does Corrie help in terms of getting more work?
Corrie is an iconic television programme. It’s been in all of our lives growing up. It was a blessing to arrive here and if there has been any snobbery in the past about it, that’s been diminished and it’s not there any more.
Did you have a say in how you leave?
I’m happy to let things roll and go how they go. When I said it was time to go it was quite a long time agin and we kept it under wraps for quite some time. I told my husband and children, and have a very close inner trusting circle. I said it was up to the writers to do whatever they like is best for the character. Even if the door is shut permanently. I wasn’t bothered either way.
Tell us about Anna’s escape from hospital…
When Anna escapes, after losing Gary her whole world is caved in. We all know she hasn’t pushed poor Seb, so her whole world has caved in. She lost Owen, the love of her life, she fell into Kev’s arms and things looked up for her, then she had the accident and was badly burned and had all the body confidence issues. She’s finally feeling like she’s getting on her feet and this has happened. Anything that could have gone wrong, does. You’ve see an unravelling of her. Then she runs away and escapes and you’ll see more of an unravelling, and it’s a case of where things can’t get any worse.
Security is very shoddy in the hospital!
Security isn’t great in the hospital and they are unassuming with little Anna and think she won’t run away. I think he only went to get a coffee from the drink machine for five minutes. She does find herself back on the street.
Is it the end of her and Kevin?
Loads of people like us together so that’s a case of ‘will Kevin be on her side or won’t he?’ She’s struggling quite a bit with that although she does love him and he has come up trumps in the past. She does love him but she’s struggling with loyalty and equally he’s struggling with belief of whether she has or whether she hasn’t [pushed Seb] because of the way the last 12 months have unfolded and her behaviour.
When she’s on the run what is her mindset – what’s the endgame?
When you see her on the run, I think she just feels like ultimately Phelan’s won and she’s completely innocent and he’s won. I think you see a woman full of desperation who thinks she has nothing else left in the world. And it’s fight or flight and she decides to fight and that’s the only way she can do it.
How does she feel towards Seb because he’s to blame for this?
Is he? Or is Faye? Because Faye is the one that feels that it’s all Anna’s fault and has so much angst and hate towards her mum that’s misplaced. I think it’s a bit of a combination together. Poor Seb – I think the way that Anna sees it is that Seb – She understands what a powerful manipulating bully that Phelan is. Because what I said previously about the fact that he did rape Anna – it’s about bullying. So poor Seb’s been bullied and she gets that. She knows with everything that’s going that’s what’s happened. Equally, regards Faye, she knows that she’s a little girl that came to her at nine from a foster home and then she adopted her. So Faye has all that angst and all those issues that came before of mistrust and doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – and who to trust. Anna being the mum she is, she’s very forgiving of them straight away because she just wants the best for them because they’re children. They may be sixteen but they’re still children. She’s quite understanding of the [fact that] something small erupted into something massive and they didn’t understand the consequences of that.
When you watch it on screen are you rooting for her to triumph?
She’s a very strong woman. That’s why I love playing her so much because she’s such a strong character. We all know she’s not real but what’s great is that the writers saw something – and they just threw the next one and threw the next one and threw the next one [storylines]. And what’s been lovely about that is that we’ve covered so many issues, where I’ve had lovely letters off a lot of women who have been through tough times. It’s nice to know that the character is connecting with so many people out there.
What’s been the highlight of your nine years on Coronation Street?
Seriously, there have been too many! That’s a cliched thing to say, but it’s hard because there have been too many. There have been so many fabulous times. I absolutely love working with Mikey [North]. We laugh, and laugh and laugh every day. He’s become so close. We kid all the time and say sometimes at the end of the scene where we go in for a cuddle. Because, obviously, he’s thirty-odd and I’m not seven hundred. So at the end of it we laugh and we pretend, and we laugh. We’ve got a bit of a sick sense of humour between the pair of us and we just laugh and laugh and I’ll miss him dreadfully. Although I won’t, because he’ll be coming for his tea! Yes, I’ve really loved working with Mikey and all the silly fun times together.