One of the things that Coronation Street is currently exploring in its storyline about Paul Foreman (Peter Ash), who is battling Motor Neurone Disease (MND), which he knows will soon claim his life, is having to watch the health of the person you love deteriorate day by day.
Billy Mayhew, Paul’s boyfriend, is doing his best to support Paul but, as the actor who portrays him, Dan Brocklebank, said, it’s a huge challenge.
He explained to us that while Billy, as the Archdeacon, is used to doing the pastoral care job, this is different since it is his partner.
He feels a lot of pressure to go, but he also has to make an effort to attend for himself, which is one of the reasons he tries to get Paul to attend these MND sessions. He has a parishioner with MND, so he is familiar with the ailment and understands what will happen to Paul. But he believes that if Paul can connect with other MND sufferers, it will relieve some of Billy’s strain.
Unfortunately, this partially backfires when Paul attends a conference and is horrified to think about how incapacitated he could soon become as his disease worsens.
Paul is going to experience a ton of stress as a result of attending those sessions since he will be able to see his future. “Having to deal with it is going to be problematic. to some extent. In contrast to what Billy had anticipated, it has had the opposite effect. It really originally brought more difficulties home to Paul, I think, rather than providing him that support and someplace else to kind of blow off steam about it.
Following this, Paul declares that he has been considering assisted suicide. Dan described the response to the information that his character had.
He said, “He is absolutely horrified.” Because it not only contradicts his own moral principles but also his duty as an archdeacon, which places a strong emphasis on appreciating the time they have left together rather than ending it. He is thus frightened beyond belief that Paul is even thinking about it. I believe Billy has many reasons to oppose assisted suicide, both personally, professionally, and spiritually.
The actor acknowledged that the plot is emotionally taxing as Paul’s symptoms increase and gave Peter Ash credit for his talent in depicting Paul’s MND journey.
I’m beginning to take note of the development as well. The other night after recording some sequences when Paul is unable to climb the stairs, I saw it when I got home. Billy and Paul had recently returned from their honeymoon when the scene was filmed, and there had been a significant physical decline in Paul. Really, Peter is doing a fantastic job. He is really committed to it and pays tremendous attention to detail. It’s plainly excruciating to see, and it’s awful.
Dan has personal experience with MND since his grandpa passed away from the condition, thus he is quite happy of the way the plot is being handled.
“The illness grows in such a manner that by the time you really get any care for that one piece, you’re already gone past that. Therefore, it is amazing that we are able to emphasize it in a way that is both compassionate and occasionally hilarious.
There is humor in the gloom, too, because, in my opinion, if you get a fatal diagnosis, you don’t spend every waking moment thinking about it. You do make an effort to be present.
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