Coronation Street is to highlight the plight faced by millions of disabled people during the pandemic and the pressures they are under through trying to work remotely whilst shielding.
Viewers have already seen Underworld bosses Carla Connor and Sarah Barlow come up with a scheme to help Izzy Armstrong work from home. However, behind the scenes Izzy has been struggling to keep up with the workload and things come to a head next week.
For the first time since the pandemic we will see Izzy in her home environment in scenes filmed by Cherylee Houston and her partner Toby Hadoke at their Manchester home. Actor Toby has joined the cast as Izzy’s concerned neighbour Fergus.
With Carla increasingly frustrated by what she sees as substandard work from Izzy she tells Sarah that the situation is untenable and if Izzy refuses to come back to work, they’ll have to get rid of her.
When Sarah video messages Izzy, Fegus steps in and tells Sarah that Izzy is struggling and needs to put her health first.
The reactions of Carla reflect the real life experience of many people in Izzy’s position.
“There’s currently 4.4 million disabled workers in the UK. We experience almost double the unemployment statistics compared to our non disabled peers (mostly due to prejudice or lack of reasonable adjustments).”
Coronation Street Producer Iain MacLeod said: “We had to think outside the box in order to tell this story, devising new protocols and ways of scripting scenes that would allow Cherylee to film the scenes herself in her home. It certainly helped that her partner Toby is a fabulous actor! Despite all the technical challenges we had to overcome, this was a story that needed telling and I hope it will resonate with millions of people who have found themselves in a similar position to Izzy – and perhaps open the eyes of millions of others who had little awareness of the issues facing disabled people during COVID.”
‘Coronation Street continues on ITV and the ITV Hub’