Debbie Rush talks about the impact Phelan's return to the street is having on Anna's life. Coronation Street can be seen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings on ITV.
What state is Anna and Kevin’s relationship at this point?
Obviously at this point she hasn’t told Kevin the real reason as to why she dislikes Phelan so much so she’s keeping the secret to herself. Kevin just thinks that Anna has a vendetta against Phelan because of Owen losing his business. Anna’s always on the verge of being desperate to tell Kevin but she also feels too ashamed to tell him. Without even realising it, Anna is putting up barriers to protect herself and maybe Kevin is picking up on that.
How has Anna felt about having Phelan around again?
The longer Phelan is around, the more Anna feels on edge. She’s not coming to terms with it and I don’t think she will. She’s really had to carry this around with her ever since it all happened with Phelan and she’s really quite frightened of him. So the more he’s around and the nicer he is being to everyone else, the more on edge Anna is starting to feel and her nerve is wearing thin.
Do you think Anna feels quite vulnerable and alone this time, because she obviously had Owen around last time?
I think Anna feels isolated, particularly because Kevin has Phelan and Jason work for him so she feels alone and unsupported, and for that reason she feels even more as though she can’t tell Kevin the real reason she is so frightened of Phelan. Obviously Izzy and Gary know the full truth but it’s just not the same as being able to completely confide in someone who will put their arms around you and tell you everything is going to be OK. She is growing increasingly more vulnerable - even more so because of the barriers she is putting up.
Why won’t she tell Kevin the truth about him?
She won’t tell Kevin because she still feels completely ashamed of what happened. When she eventually plucked up the courage to tell Owen what had gone on, it completely destroyed their relationship. Even though she wasn’t with Kevin at the time I think Anna worries it would also destroy their relationship and that Kevin might look at her in a different light.
Has Phelan’s behaviour been worse than last time? How has he been with Anna?
He’s very subtly trying to get to Anna and doing it in such a smarmy, clever way so that nobody else can see it. Phelan’s playing a very clever game in that nobody can see what he’s doing and obviously nobody knows about what he’s done to Anna in the past! So for this reason Anna is growing more and more on edge and Phelan is relishing in that fact. He keeps going into the cafe when he doesn’t need to and giving her a little wink and a smile. To the outside world he looks like a lovely man - although the viewers will know what he’s up to!
How does she feel when she finds out Phelan will be sticking around for longer?
She wants him gone - she tells Kevin to sack him, to get rid of him and that she doesn’t want to see him knocking around. Anna begs Kevin not to give Phelan a job. Kevin falls for Phelan’s lines and says to Anna that other people have ripped him off but Phelan hasn’t. Anna knows that it’s probably Phelan on the sidelines ripping him off, pretending to be other people, but Kevin can’t see any of this. When she realises Phelan is going to be sticking around a while longer she starts to lose it completely.
What prompts her to start smashing up the van?
Anna finds out that the work at Kevin’s has come to an end and that Phelan’s work there is done. So on this particularly morning she’s in a really cheery mood, she’s fine with Kevin and they’ve buried the hatchet and she thinks now she’s got a chance with a really lovely man and they’ve got a shot at something really great. She’s on her way back from seeing Kevin, full of the joys of spring and then she turns the corner and sees Phelan filling the van with work stuff - not to leave the Street, but to go and start another job with Jason. She goes up to him and wants to know what he’s doing and Phelan tells her that he’s sticking around for good because Jason’s given him a job! He gets right into Anna’s face and really taunts her where nobody else can see. Anna walks into the cafe and something snaps to the point where she storms back out, picks up the crowbar and smashes his van to bits. She finds this inner strength from somewhere and does something she’s never done before.
How does Phelan react?
He’s still acting like the wounded party so she winds up laying into him and really goes for him. Anna completely sees red - she’s completely pushed over the edge.
What does Kevin do when he arrives?
Kevin rounds the corner to see Anna attacking Phelan and suddenly everyone thinks it’s Anna who is in the wrong - which is exactly what Phelan wanted! He wanted to taunt her to breaking point in the hope that people would think it was her who was in the wrong. Kevin doesn’t know what has brought Anna to this point and he panics and thinks he doesn’t need this and this isn’t what he signed up for when he started seeing Anna, especially after everything that happened with Jenny Bradley.
How does Anna feel afterwards?
She’s so sad that this has ruined another relationship. All she wanted was a nice, happy and simple relationship. Anna also feels ashamed for allowing Phelan to get to her and to push her over the edge. She also feels ashamed because Gary and Izzy witnessed it too, and she’s always told Gary that this isn’t how they deal with things and that violence isn’t the way to resolve issues. Rumours then start to spread around the Street about what she’s done and about the destruction she’s done to the van so she’s humiliated too. More than anything Anna does feel saddened by it all.
Will she tell Kevin the truth now?
I don’t think she will - I think something will always get in the way.
How does she feel about Kevin?
I think Anna really likes him and thought they had something good going on together. I still believe that Owen was her ultimate love - they were mad about each other - but Kevin makes her laugh. The viewers will see a brief period of a cheery happy Anna when she’s with Kevin, before Phelan ruins it. They’ll briefly see a fun side to Anna, because that’s how Kevin makes her feel, before Phelan stamps it out of her again.
And did you enjoy filming the fun single night scenes with Claire King and Bev McDonald?!
We had such fun filming those single night scenes - they were just brilliant. We had a great time doing those.
What’s it like having Conor back?
It’s brilliant having Conor back with us - we keep laughing because every time Phelan does something horrible to Anna, the director shouts cut and he says sorry and gives me a hug!