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Richard Hawley talks Corrie farewell and future

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Richard Hawley talks Corrie farewell and future

Recently departed Coronation Street actor Richard Hawley joined the Loose Women panel to talk about his dramatic exit from the soap and his plans for the future.

Weatherfield certainly lived up to its name last week when a ‘huge climatic event’ brought death and destruction to Coronation Street with rain, sinkholes and gale force winds causing havoc…

After his character’s dramatic death in one of those pesky sinkholes, Richard Hawley – who had played former Rovers Return landlord Johnny Connor since 2015 – revealed he’s doing something a little different career-wise now he’s left the cobbles of Corrie’s famous street behind.

“I’ve got some really exciting plans actually,” he told Katie Piper. “Firstly, I’m going to train and volunteer in a forest school nearby where I live. I did a bit of work in one and they’re just fantastic places for kids. Families come as well, and I did washing up on my volunteering days.”

Asked by Jane Moore why he made the decision to leave, he explained: “I live a long way from Manchester, I live in Brighton, and it was getting quite difficult travelling up and down. 

Johnny has enjoyed his six years with the long running serial.

“Over the seven years, it was a good set of stories. Sally Ann [Matthews, his estranged wife Jenny in the soap] and I had always wanted to do what was a really great love story and to be perfectly honest if you want to do a really great love story, somebody has to die. It has to be over. And that’s what we wanted. That’s why I stepped up, really and said I was ready to go.”

The ITV Studios production saw expensive stunts, sets and lots of water create the tragedy over the six episodes last week. The week started on a high note with Debbie Webster putting the finishing touches to a House of Horrors attraction behind the street, while the Alahan family set off on a family holiday. 

Worsening weather conditions saw the Alahans collide with a prison van containing drug dealer Harvey Gaskill, who opportunistically escaped in the crash and headed to Weatherfield to extract revenge on Leanne (that’s a long story). Dev, meanwhile, was left struggling to save his teenage children from the wreck of his car.

For the end of Johnny, he discovered Jenny had been consumed by a sinkhole and sent himself down into it, to try and save her while Abi also wanted revenge and, having got her hands on a gun, ended up in the Victorian sewers with murderer Corey Brent pay for the death of her son Seb. However things turned on their head when Corey got hold of the gun, but thankfully Roy Cropper and his arms of steel were there to save the day.

“For me to enjoy it [the sinkhole scenes], I’ve really wanted to get to this point where I can actually speak about it and enjoy it because it was an incredible experience. I’m very proud of it. We filmed it two months ago, of course I knew before that so it’s been two months of [secrecy] – I told a couple of people. I was really worried they might let it out – just my mum and my sister, but it was okay.”

“We loved it really [filming in the water], and it was coming out of 18 months of social distancing, not being able to film closely, so as well as the water, all that was over. Backstage in the swimming pool was just like being in a comedy club. The safety divers, the guys making the bubbles, making the current were incredibly funny. It was an enormous pleasure doing the whole thing. It was just lovely to be able to do a story that was really deep and profound for the pair of us as well as all the exciting stuff with the stunt.”

To watch the show in full, visit itv.com/hub

Loose Women, weekdays at 12.30 pm on ITV (STV/UTV).

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