How anxious does Summer feel going into her final A-Level exams after her first exam didn’t go to plan?
She’s very anxious, the last exam she had to leave because she wasn’t very well, she’s debated whether or not to even do this final exam so she knows how much is riding on this one exam. She already felt a tremendous amount of pressure but now it’s doubled.
She’s been getting support from both Aaron who she’s met at her support group and Aadi who’s helping with her revision. How does she feel about both the boys?
With Aadi she’s just glad they’re in a position where they can be friends, they do get on and they are very similar in the fact they both want to do well, they’re quite bright and kind people, so she’s really grateful that he’s still in her life, even if it’s not necessarily a romantic connection. With Aaron she’s a bit more excited by him, obviously they’ve only just met but they have quite a fast connection because he understands a little bit more about what she’s going through with her diabetes and her eating. He’s the only person she feels who really understands what she’s going through. For Summer he’s someone who she can talk to but there’s definitely romantic feelings there too.
Aadi makes Summer some revision cards, does she take them into the exam with the intention to cheat or is it more for security?
I think it’s for security, we don’t actually see her plan to take them in, it’s more of a case of if I freeze I have them there but I don’t think she necessarily plans to look at them. She’s so worried about doing well in this exam. She’s really feeling the pressure to get results after she was taken ill in her first exam and I think they are a security blanket for her, a back up to make her feel safe.
How important is it to Summer to do well in her exams and follow this path to uni that she has mapped out?
I think she hasn’t stopped to think about what she actually wants for some time now, I think she started down this route, people were telling her you could go to Oxford and she’s got swept along with it. Now she’s fallen down this rabbit hole of needing to do well because everyone expects her to do well. So I think it is very important to her but probably more so because of all the outward expectation that’s being put on her rather than what she really wants. I don’t think she’s actually checked in with herself for a long time to think about whether it’s what she really wants or just what everyone else thinks she should do.
Do you think she is starting to question her future now she has her health and her diabetes to deal with as well?
I think after she became poorly in that first exam and couldn’t sit it she started questioning what would happen if she doesn’t get the grades but I don’t think she stopped to consider whether she wants to do it because at minute everything for Summer is just go go go. She hasn’t had a chance to stop and take a breath and think actually is this what I want to do. But when things start falling down around her, I think that’s when she starts realising will I be able to go and am I that sad about it.
After the exam, when her revision cards have been found and she sees Aadi being spoken to about cheating, because it was his handwriting on the cards, how does Summer feel to hear him being blamed?
She’s absolutely mortified because she links together what has happened. She goes into panic mode and she’s like a deer in headlights, it’s all just happening in front of her. She does really care about Aadi and I don’t think she wants him to take the blame.
It would be a big thing for Summer to come clean, as she’ll risk losing everything she’s worked for, but on the other hand she’s quite a moral person. How torn is she over what to do?
I think her immediate reaction is wanting to go and tell the truth, she’s Billy’s daughter and his advice would always be to tell the truth but it’s Aadi who stops her. He gives her this bog speech, saying I’m going to stay here and run my dad’s businesses, you actually have a chance to get out of here and do more with your life so take it. After that she’s very torn as to whether to tell the truth and see where that leaves her or tell this lie and potentially get to where she wants to be.
You must feel for Summer, did you feel a similar stress going through exams?
Definitely, I did A-levels myself, my mum was a teacher at school and I’d always done quite well so I think I did feel the pressure, despite my parents always saying you get what you get and don’t worry. But you do feel a sense of needing to do well, there’s a lot of pressure on young people these days but actually when you can step back when you’re a bit older and you’ve got your results and are off to uni or looking for a job you think why was I so worried about this, it’s actually not the end of the world. Yes it can allow you to go on and do other things but really the amount you stress about it when you’re in that bubble just isn’t needed. It lies so heavy on your shoulders, it’s only when you step away later that you can see you need to cut yourself a bit of slack. I’m reading the scripts for Summer and I’m just thinking calm down, it will all be ok.
She has the added complication of her health to deal with, her mental health as well as her physical, how interesting have you found it to play this role?
It is really interesting, I think with any chronic illness it does also become a mental health issue as you have to cope with life changing aspects. In a show like Coronation street the conflict often happens between a group of people or two people, whereas with this story it’s all happening in Summer’s head, the conflict is within. So at times it’s been quite difficult, any anger, annoyance is not with someone else it’s at herself and that can be quite hard to play. She feels very alone, like she’s floundering a bit.
What would you like to see for Summer next?
I just hope that she gets a little bit of a break, a bit of happiness and that sigh of relief, whether she does well in her A-levels and it all turns out ok in the end or whether she decides actually I don’t want to do this and makes a different choice that she knows she will be happy with.
Coronation Street airs hour-long episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm on ITV.