Coronation Street has confirmed details of a major new storyline that will see Paul Foreman (Peter Ash) diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
In recent weeks the fan-favourite character has been experiencing mobility issues and after tests, next month he will receive the devastating news that he has the life-limiting condition.
Paul initially keeps the news from his family, including sister Gemma (Dolly-Rose Campbell), mother Bernie (Jane Hazlegrove) and partner Billy (Daniel Brocklebank), confiding only in his flatmate Dee-Dee (Channique Sterling-Brown).
As his condition worsens, Paul eventually has to break the news that he battling a fatal, rapidly-developing disease.
"Paul is completely blindsided by the diagnosis and he decides to keep it from his family and friends as he tries to come to terms with the news," said Ash, who has been on the soap since 2018.
"I knew very little about MND before embarking on the storyline and I am hugely grateful to the MND Association for all their help and support.
"For any actor playing a role which examines a real life issue or condition there comes a huge sense of responsibility and we are aware that some people watching this storyline are experiencing it in reality, it is their life.
"Awareness and education are really important. I have learned so much even in the short time I have been involved in this storyline. We hope Paul's journey can make people more aware of the symptoms and what it is like for someone to live with MND."
Corrie producer Iain MacLeod said: "Motor Neurone Disease is something that many people might have heard of but perhaps don't know a lot about, even given the recent cases of public figures talking about their experiences of living with the condition.
"A show like Coronation Street is uniquely placed to show the day-to-day reality of dealing with an illness that gradually and progressively erodes the physical attributes that you perhaps take for granted, changing forever the way you interact with the world around you.
"At first, Paul - who as a builder, relies entirely on his physicality for his livelihood - will massively go off the rails in a misplaced bid to ensure he isn't a burden on his loved ones. But in the end, they will be the ones to put him back together emotionally.
"We are committed to portraying in a long-term, sensitive way the effects of this condition on Paul and his family and friends, not shying away from the sometimes painful reality of what his life will be like.
"We have been privileged to work with the Motor Neurone Disease Association - including talking to people who have the condition and their families - to ensure we do justice to people's real-life experiences."
MND, which currently has no cure, affects up to 5,000 people in the UK at any one time. The disease kills a third of sufferers within one year of diagnosis, with more than half losing their lives inside two years.
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