Another departure from show tonight as Aaron Sandford (James Craven) finally started to accept what he did to Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney) – even if he didn’t admit to it.
They were emotional scenes tonight as Aaron finally started to accept what he did to Amy that night. When Aaron found out that Amy’s family were looking to sell up everything to fund the libel case, is that when his doubts started?
He started to have slight doubts about the court case prior to this, because when he had that first meeting with the solicitor and the solicitor mentioned that even if there’s a 51% chance that they are leaning in Amy’s favour, then it would go to her. So that was already concerning him and he was already starting to have doubts about how reliable the outcome was going to be. Then when he found out that Amy’s family were selling the business it was really the guilt at that point, it was almost overwhelming for him what he was putting them through. He will always care about Amy and whether he did it or not he was already starting to feel responsible for putting her through all of this in the first place, because he’s the one who took out the court case.
Do you think there’s part of him that struggled to believe it had come to this, how that one drunken night has spiralled to this?
He definitely feels like it’s all slipped way out of his control. Also since his dad has come back into the picture he’s felt a tremendous amount of guilt about that too because he’s not had money in the past and suddenly it was all going on this court case that Aaron was starting to think he might be fighting a losing battle with.
When Amy decided to write a retraction and hand it to Aaron, did the fact that what she was saying didn’t really make sense, give him that first wake up call?
When he read it, it seemed like she was backtracking on things that they’d both admitted in the past which worried him, because to him it made it obvious that she was just writing the retraction to make it all go away. Obviously he wanted and needed something that was concrete and solid that would prove his innocence. It wasn’t until he went to write it himself that he actually struggled to put it into words and started to realise that what he believed was the truth maybe wasn’t the truth.
Is that what made him go back over that night and realise as he tried to write the retraction for her that he couldn’t actually write it?
Yeah at that point he was still trying to really push it out of his mind, these thoughts that maybe he’s actually not innocent. But definitely when he tried to go through it I think that’s the first time he’d actually sat down and tried to think it all through logically. And also try to think about it from Amy’s point of view and add perspective. Then when it came to it, he just couldn’t seem to string it all together, in a way that outrightly proved that he was innocent.
Because realistically he did just want to write the truth. And then when he started to write it down, he realised that the truth may not be what he thought it was.
That must have been horrific for him because as you’ve said before Aaron was essentially a good person who did a bad thing. Talk us through how he felt as the realisation hit him?
He has been a good character and the whole time throughout this story he’s been telling himself that he’s not capable of doing something like this. He would never do something intentionally, he’s always been a thoughtful caring person, so the realisation that he might have done this was really devastating for him. And also the realisation that he is the one who’s put Amy through all of this is awful. I do think it came from a lack of education, a lack of awareness to stop and check in with her rather than malice but nevertheless it’s just as devastating.
Aaron then went to talk to Amy to say he was dropping the libel case. Was that conversation between the two of them hard to play?
It was a really nice scene, not nice in the sense of the context but in terms of filming something that ever since I read it I’d thought about quite a lot, because I knew that it was one of the most important scenes of the story. So it was something I had slight apprehensions about but then when we did it, we just really sort of let the scene breathe and really took our time with it. We used all the pauses and then when it came to it, we sort of just let it happen and we did it in one take. We probably couldn’t have done any more with it because what came just came naturally.
What sort of emotions did Aaron go through in that moment as he’s speaking with Amy?
The way I thought about it was that throughout the scene he really doesn’t want to go through all of it. When he arrives he’s hoping that he can just tell Amy that he’s dropping the libel case and leave. Then when she starts to break it down for him and starts to go through everything, he’s still trying to push it out of his mind the whole time. He doesn’t really want to get to the end of that story because he knows that when she gets to the end of it, that’s when the realisation comes in for him. The whole thing is building up to that but he never quite admits it because he can’t admit it.
His failure to say the words made Amy angry, as she followed him into the street, did Aaron just want to get away at that point?
She knows that he knows what he’s done is wrong, even though he never quite admits it, and the fact that he does sort of runaway highlights that. But I think for Amy it was just so overwhelming because whilst it’s not necessarily the closure that she wanted, in some respects it’s possibly as much closure as she needed. Although definitely not the closure she deserves.
How did you feel about this being the end of the storyline? Was it the ending you wanted for Aaron, to see him come to some point of realisation?
Yeah, I think I was always hoping that he would admit it or have some sort of admittance. I liked that there wasn’t anything particularly overly dramatic about it, and I think unfortunately that is quite realistic, because there are so many of these cases in real life where people don’t face justice and people aren’t prosecuted for it. So I think whilst that’s obviously quite a hard thing to come to terms with for Amy, it is sadly quite realistic. I never wanted him to get away with it but I think it’s one of those things that he’s now got to live with it, knowing what he’s done.
How do you feel to be leaving the show?
It’s obviously very sad, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve really, really loved my time there. I met so many great people and I’ve made so many good friends for life. But I’m excited, I’m really, really excited to get on and go on and do other things.
Do you have any plans you can share as yet or is it too soon?
There’s a couple of things I’ve got coming out but I can’t really say too much at the moment.
What’s it been like for you these last few months, since that night with Amy, where it looked like Aaron wasn’t going to take responsibility for what happened. What sort of reaction have you had from the public?
Anyone who’s come up to me in public has been very positive about the story and congratulated me on the storyline. I think overall the reaction to it has been quite mixed, it’s definitely done what we hoped it would and it sparked a conversation for sure.
Have you found that people have wanted to talk to you about the storyline and debate the issues surrounding consent?
Yeah definitely, I’ve even had the conversation with friends and family friends and people have said to me that they’ve looked at the situation differently. I think that’s particularly something people of an older generation have said to me, that it has made them look at situations like this slightly differently, and I think that’s a really positive thing.
Is it a storyline that you feel proud to have been involved in?
Yes I do feel very proud, from the beginning I knew how much work I was going to put into it and I knew how much work everyone at Corrie has put into it. As soon as we got started I knew it was going to be a really positive storyline in the long run so it’s something that I feel very proud of. It’s something that I hope the fans have enjoyed and more than anything have started to think about.