This week, Stephen attempted to leave Weatherfield after his secrets slowly started to be exposed. He was hoping to fly to Thailand and start a new life with Jenny (Sally Ann Matthews) but as the truth caught up with him, Stephen chose to secretly leave on his own instead.
When he got to the airport, Stephen faced a huge problem when the assistant at the check-in desk pointed out he didn’t actually have his passport.
Forced to return home, a desperate Stephen then took Jenny hostage and held a broken bottle to her neck.
As he fell apart, Stephen’s reign of terror came to a dramatic end when Peter (Chris Gascoyne) drove into the evil businessman and killed him.
With Peter Barlow’s exit from the show looming, the next few weeks will involve DS Swain (Vicky Myers) and her team investigating everything that has occurred over the past year and a half.
But while the police do their job, the Weatherfield residents must also deal with the damage Stephen has caused, as Corrie boss Iain MacLeod explains:
‘It’s like when you watch a movie and it’s the end of the film and that’s that and the protagonist walks off into the sunset as the credits roll. But obviously soap doesn’t end. It goes on and you need to have the sequel to the movie in your heads before you’ve even started telling the story of the first movie.
‘So, yes, there are wide-ranging consequences to Stephen’s exit, both emotionally and practically and criminally going forward. You need to know what season two of the tv series is before you’ve written series one, or you need to know what the sequel is.
He added: ‘So, in the grand tradition of sequels, I hope what you’re about to see is Godfather part two which is one of the best sequels ever. And not Ace Ventura two, which isn’t. I’m confident we’ve nailed this. The consequences inevitably of crimes of this scale are going to be huge, so it’s going to be an exciting few months on Coronation Street.’
Reflecting on the community being involved in Stephen’s final moments, Iain also highlighted the importance of that, and how it kickstarts other characters’ storylines:
‘That’s what continuing drama and soap does best. It’s about communities, isn’t it? It’s not just as simple as Stephen’s done some bad stuff, it has ripple effects across the whole street and that’s just a lot more fun to watch really, otherwise it doesn’t feel like a soap anymore. So, we were very keen to explore all the ways in which Stephen’s bad behaviour, to euphemistically describe it – it’s probably gone further than bad behaviour by now – but we wanted to explore all the people he’s impacted from Carla to Peter to Audrey, indirectly to Sarah who’s trusted this guy.
‘He’s been like her mentor, her inspiration business-wise and there’s a big impact on her. Michael, who’s been mentored by Stephen recently, the impact on him. He’s just had all these far-reaching influences on all these characters an we just loved the idea of all these chickens coming home to roost in this big week.’
‘I think it’s entirely unique!’, he said, pondering over Stephen’s entire storyline and the impact it’s had on so many.
‘What I’ve liked about watching Stephen is, yes, you could try and sit there and find parallels between previous iconic Corrie bad guys, but I think he’s entirely of his own genre.
‘I’ve talked about villains before, but I’m reminded of Alan Rickman, who was apparently once asked why he always played villains, and he somewhat prickly replied, “Oh, I don’t play villains, I play very interesting people.” I think that’s how Todd’s approached it and how we’ve approached it in the writing, which is this isn’t a man who woke up one morning and thought, “Do you know what’s missing from my life? A bit of random murder and mayhem.” We’ve watched that evolve and we’ve rooted it all in this man’s massive, fragile ego.
‘I think he’s entirely unique and will go on to be entirely iconic. As we’ve seen today, he’s had his face on cupcakes and popcorn boxes already – I wish I hadn’t eaten mine because Ebay might quite enjoy that!
‘The story, the character and the performance from Todd has just been up there with my very favourite Corrie villains.’
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