CORONATION Street boss Iain Macleod has revealed eleven major storylines for 2021.
The executive producer has teased deadly consequences for Abi Franklin, Yasmeen Nazir’s financial ruination and a new love for Nina with hints it could be Asha Alahan.
Speaking to The Sun Online at a 2021 preview Zoom, Iain teased the explosive storylines happening in Weatherfield this year.
- Visit our Coronation Street page for the latest gossip
- Find all Coronation Street spoilers here
Abi Franklin in danger from Ray Crosby
Abi’s determination to take down villain Ray Crosby will put her in serious danger, Iain revealed – and Debbie Webster will try to take him down.
"Ray's reign of terror, his sexual predation and his terrible, ruthless desire to knock down the Street is reaching fever pitch,” he said.
“In the 60th anniversary week, the residents won the battle but perhaps not the war.
“The war does rage on, with Ray very much in the middle of it. What we get to is a story where Ray becomes more and more desperate to get off the hook for what happened with Faye's sexual assault.
“He also becomes more desperate to get this building project over the line, because we discover he's got quite a lot riding on it. If it goes wrong, it could be curtains for him, very literally.
"That brings Ray into conflict with his old nemesis Abi. There's some fantastic stuff there where Abi takes Ray on and her life is in a fair amount of jeopardy."
Debbie Webster turns on Ray to save the cobbles
Iain added that Debbie will take on Ray to save her family – and the cobbles.
He said: "That, in turn, draws in Kevin and Debbie – as they end up in Ray's crosshairs as well.
“There's a really brilliant power struggle between Debbie and Ray, which has twists and turns – with literal life-or-death jeopardy. It's all really exciting.
"I love the fact that this story started off with this guy who was on the periphery in the show. Ray just owned a hotel and worked with Michelle, but then we saw signs that he might be this Harvey Weinstein type of character.”
Gary Windass to become a hero for sister Faye
And Faye Windass’ shock confession to being behind Adam Barlow’s attack will see her killer brother Gary step up and become a hero for her.
Iain said: “The story focuses on this troubled young girl, who has been subjected to a terrible ordeal by Ray and finds herself in a really conflicted situation.
“She knows she has done something terrible and feels an enormous amount of guilt, but the people around her feel that she is the victim here.
“They set in chain a sequence of events where they try to protect her from the scales of justice and keep her away from the police and court.
"That brings in loads of different characters – most notably Gary. Gary pulls out all the stops and becomes the hero of the piece for his little sister, in a way that I think people will really enjoy. It's a really huge story for that little family.
"One wonders how Maria might feel about this, when Gary is in the middle of yet another drama.
“But this time he is fighting for the forces of good rather than evil, so what will that do to Maria's feelings for him? There's exciting relationship material for those two."
Yasmeen Nazir left financially destroyed by abusive Geoff
Fresh from the death of her abusive husband Geoff, viewers have seen Yasmeen suffer with visions of him – but in the real world she will discover the financial devastation he has left her in.
Iain “said: We were very keen to reflect the real world experiences that people like Yasmeen go through.
“Alya told her gran that it was over, but actually, it's not. The psychological impact of abusive relationships can last forever.
"There's also the practical side of what happened to Yasmeen. We know that Geoff was embezzling money from Yasmeen and taking out loans in her name, without her knowledge.
“A lot of that will come home to roost for Yasmeen, in a way that threatens to destabilise her recovery from what she's been through.
"So there'll be some light stuff for Yasmeen to play, but overall it's going to be a heartbreaking next chapter for her."
Peter Barlow faces death from liver failure
Meanwhile Peter Barlow’s decision to drink again will see him face death from liver failure – with love Carla Connor facing desperate action to save him.
Iain explained: "Peter is obviously a very self-destructive character and his self-destruction will be taken to new depths with this chapter of his addiction.
“Chris [Gascoyne, who plays Peter] is very keen to go full method actor and fully immerse himself in Peter's physical deterioration this time, so we're having discussions with doctors and nutritionists over how we can best represent Peter's fall from grace and make it as visually realistic and shocking as possible.
"We're really going to town with this. Peter has been told many times that his next drink could kill him, so we felt that this time, we had to make good on that to a degree.
“We had to go right to the end in terms of what would happen to Peter and his body if he kept drinking. We'll take that to as realistic a conclusion as we possibly can.
"It's heartbreaking and exciting, but at the bottom of it all is a love story between Peter and Carla. What they realise is they love each other and they deserve each other.
“There's fireworks whenever they're on screen together and we're going to see a lot of that over the next few months."
He added: “Peter will essentially decide on a course that you might describe as like a slow suicide.
“His loved ones will be horrified that Peter is giving up and is planning a slow slide to his grave. There's a real battle to save his life and convince him that he wants to live.
"It's hugely heart-rending and emotional, with massive scenes for Peter and Carla.
“Carla loves Peter so much, so she has to behave in a way that she knows will make Peter hate her, in the short-term at the very least. But she's prepared to do that and have Peter hate her, because she loves him very much.
"It's complicated stuff and grown-up drama. I hope that fans of Peter and Carla will, by the end of it, feel that it's been the ultimate love story. It will ultimately have a happy ending, even though it sometimes looks like it's a long way away for those two."
New lover for Nina and Asha – with heartbreaking end?
Another major storyline will see Nina fall in love – and there’s hints it’s with Asha Alahan who will be left devastated when boyfriend Corey reveals his villainous colours.
"There'll be a fantastic and unique love story for Nina, which might not entirely end up where you expect now,” Iain said.
“The love story will turn into a massive social issue story that deals with tolerance of people who are part of minority communities and don't look like everybody else.
"It'll become a real talking point for next year – how does the world view people like Nina in reality? When they're on Coronation Street, all of our characters take them under their wing – and the viewers have taken Nina to their hearts too.
"But in the real world, if you don't look like everybody else, sometimes that can be incredibly challenging.
“We're going to explore that a little bit in the show – to heartbreaking effect, I hope.
"That story draws in Roy, Abi and Kevin. It becomes a huge, emotive community story, with some of our favourite actors in the middle of it."
He added: “We've seen Corey intermittently over the past couple of years, but he will now reveal himself to be every bit as unpleasant as we have probably suspected, after his dealings with Asha in the earlier point of the story.”
Leanne Battersby goes to war to save son Simon Barlow
After the death of her son Oliver, Leanne will struggle to cope with every day life – but that will all change when Simon gets in trouble forcing Leanne to re-enter the world to save him.
Iain said: “What we're trying to do with Simon and Leanne is find a way to play their grief that doesn't feel like grief stories that we've done and other shows might have done.
“We've come up with something that starts quite small, but ends up turning into this colossal, thriller-ish, high-octane piece that will play out in the first six months of 2021.
"It ends up with Simon being driven by grief and getting himself into an inescapable situation.
“That forces Leanne to put her war paint on and go out in defence of her remaining son. She takes on an incredibly dangerous situation in order to protect Simon.
"That ends up drawing in Nick and Sam – and it collides with Peter and Carla's love story too. It is a grief story, but it's far removed from being one woman sitting alone in a room and feeling sad.”
Blast from the past for Rita
He added: “The thing that's exciting me the most is the Leanne story, which I know I've been a bit vague about.
“I think it's incredibly exciting. It will also draw in Rita at a certain point – and there'll be a blast from the past for Rita that emerges as a result of the story.
"I really think this story will end up in the place where you least expect it when you start watching it in the New Year."
Todd Grimshaw loses everything – but gets a new job
Iain said: “Todd will set out in a very underhand way to undermine Billy and Paul's relationship.
“He will ultimately and temporarily look like he's got everything he wants. Unfortunately, the lengths that Todd has gone to in order to get what he wants, will be the very thing that will be his undoing in the end.
"Todd gets his happy ending but it's already got a massive fracture in it. In a very explosive, dramatic – again quite thriller-ish – way later in the year,
“Todd's machinations will all come to light and he'll end up losing everything again."
He added: "Todd being Todd, he's fairly Teflon. He'll lose everything again and then quite quickly set about reacquiring it, or something of equal value.
“We want to enjoy that character, really. We're conscious that the best villains are ones that you enjoy hating and almost laugh at their sheer audacity.
“Todd has that capacity to be very funny and enjoyable as a villain.
"We're giving him another arena. We're giving him a job in the undertaker's with George Shuttleworth.
“We thought that could be a brilliant double act, as George is quite big-hearted, kind, warm and funny, while Todd is not! If you were casting a sitcom set in that undertakers, what better foil for George than the perpetually scheming Todd?"
Ed Bailey’s ruthless brother Ronnie arrives
“Ed's brother Ronnie turns up and he is a massive injection of chaos, energy and humour,” Iain explained.
“He's just a real jack the lad and will tip their currently-quite-cosy lifestyle on its head.
“He'll be setting many cats among many pigeons up and down the street, much to Ed's exasperation at times.
"Ronnie will arrive off the back of quite a big family drama and he turns up with a secret. He comes in at the worst possible moment, when Michael and Grace are trying to contend with the arrival of their slightly premature baby. Then in comes Ed's brother Ronnie – holding the hand grenade with the pin already out and just wondering when to drop it.
"As you can predict in a show like ours, he drops it at a point where it will do maximum damage. It's not through any malice, it's just because he can't help himself.
"Ronnie reminds me a lot of Danny Baldwin. He can be slightly ruthless but also irrepressibly charming.”
Cathy Matthews driven to the edge by trolling
"It's not the biggest story we're doing by any stretch, but there's a really interesting story we're doing about the perils of social media and the hellstorm that can rain down on you if you take on the trolls,” Iain teased.
“That will arrive in the first quarter of 2021, when Cathy will make some unwise choices in her online life that will threaten to see them completely ostracised from their friends and also sees them getting viciously trolled online.
"It will bring in Alex as well and there'll be an interesting angle for him, in terms of the online cruelty sometimes facing disabled people when they venture into social media.
"It's a really modern story that will play to Brian and Cathy's strengths. It will put their love in the spotlight for perhaps the first time in a long while.
“It becomes a story about love and loyalty, and about standing by somebody who's maybe made some terrible transgressions.
"It's about understanding that one transgression online can maybe ruin your life, but it isn't necessarily indicative of that individual being a terrible person, it's just a moment of madness where you say or do something online that you regret forever.”
Source: Read Full Article