Coronation Street‘s Sue Nicholls has a big storyline this week as we see Audrey struggling with her family…
Sue, 78, has been a permanent member of the Coronation Street cast since 1985 and she’s one of the show’s most loved characters.
In this great Q&A she spills the beans on what’s in store for Audrey this week and how she’s coping with her family’s judgements.
Q&A with Sue Nicholls:
How has Audrey been feeling about her family’s treatment of her?
She feels very much as though they have been treating her like a child and like someone who didn’t have the capacity to make her own decisions. She realised why she was so upset about it when she had the chat with Rita who is also very independent and she made it clear to her that they shouldn’t be treating her in that way. All of the things that had happened to her initially were not that desperate and could have happened to anyone. She backed the car into Rita’s car and they told her she shouldn’t drive. She had her cataract operation, again not a huge thing these days and they started to say she had to slow down, they were doing it for the right reasons, but she found it irritating and especially when they kept telling her she couldn’t have a drink, putting everything down to that, so sometimes she did it just to annoy them as she was frustrated.
Does Audrey have a drink problem?
This storyline is not about Audrey having a drink problem but in the end she caused herself a bigger problem when she did get tipsy in the salon, sacked everyone and got trapped under the motorbike, thereby in their eyes proving them right, when actually she was pushed to behave in that way by her frustrations with them.
Is Audrey worried about growing older?
Audrey is a very independent woman and she is struggling to accept that maybe she needs a little bit of help and the problem is they have gone too far. She wants to be in her own home on Grasmere Drive and not sleeping in one of the kids beds at David’s house. She isn’t going home to drink in secret, she wants to relax and watch her own television and maybe have a glass of wine but they don’t think she is capable of that and she is angry about it all. She is able bodied and has full mental capacity and she knows there may be a time when she isn’t able to look after herself but she isn’t there yet. She feels they are stifling her independence and judging her in totally the wrong way. I can identify with Audrey, I live on my own and love my independence and it is difficult for her having people trying to take it away.
How does she feel about Stephen’s arrival and what is her relationship like with him?
As far as she is concerned Stephen can do no wrong, he is the golden child. He is a very successful businessman and whether the family like it or not he is ‘her Stephen’ and she has him on a pedestal. She has not seen him for years. He was her first born and her parents made her give her son away. She had no idea that they had contacted him because they were worried about her. She is thrilled that he has arrived and he is in Grasmere Drive with her when she comes out of hospital.
What happens when she decides to tell them she is leaving her money to WARTS?
She has called a family meeting as she has updated her will. They are all excited wanting a piece of the pie and she knows this so she tells them that they are all doing OK so she has decided to leave it to WARTS as it meant so much to Alf and as expected they are all horrified. And then she walks away and Stephen finds her in Victoria Gardens and she confides in him that she was just doing it to teach them all a lesson because she feels like they are just waiting for her to die.
What happens when she goes back to speak to them again?
She goes back and tells them that she has taken advice and has decided to put it all into trust with Stephen as the executor and they are quite horrified at that.
The family feel that her trust in Stephen could be misplaced, do you think they could be right?
I don’t read scripts or find out storylines so ignorance is bliss, she trusts him implicitly. He can do no wrong and she sees nothing wrong with doing that as she is not disinheriting them even though they have done things which have been fraudulent, and disloyal so she isn’t really interested in how they feel about it. She is just doing it her way and having some control over it. Stephen is the one person who has given her no reason to believe he has anything but her best interests at heart.
What is her relationship like with Gail now?
They are such different personalities, Gail has more of her dad’s personality. She is always worried, everything is on the bleak side for Gail whereas Audrey has more of a positive vibe. But there are the most wonderful moments where you do see how much they care about each other.
Audrey and Shona have had some nice scenes. Are you enjoying their friendship?
Funnily enough Shona, despite, or maybe because of, her brain injury is the one person she gets on very well with because she is straight talking and also has for Audrey and Audrey appreciates that. I have enjoyed those scenes and that relationship development very much. She has a similar energy to Audrey and has no filter. She doesn’t have that with Gail, Shona is a bit more like Audrey was when she was younger.
Are you pleased that we are exploring a storyline that examines what later life is like and what it is like to get older and the reactions of those around you?
Yes I am really pleased that they are taking that up, it isn’t about whether or not Audrey is drinking too much it is about her trying to keep her independence. I am only a couple of years younger than Audrey and I am also a lady on her own, it is interesting, there are a lot of people out there who will identify with what is happening to Audrey and will identify with the family’s side of things.
How are things going to pan out for Audrey moving forward?
She is going to continue to struggle, she has always worked and it was a big part of her life and she misses seeing different people and being out and about. Now the family are fighting over her will which gives her a real sense of her own mortality and that is not a nice thing to have to think about. Stephen is there supporting her but he has other things happening in his life and she doesn’t want to keep him from his businesses. There is a lot more to come in this storyline and I really hope it will resonate and make people have a chat about their own circumstances.