Coronation Street: Iain MacLeod on Stephen ‘meeting his fate’

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Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod has revealed plans for more dark storylines for “demon child” Hope Stape have been scrapped over fears the young actor who plays her could “burn out”. She is portrayed by 12-year-old Isabella Flanagan who took home the best young performer gong at the Inside Soap Awards in October last year. In recent times she has been at the centre of some harrowing plots but it seems like she is about to have some respite as MacLeod says he plans to take the ITV soap character in a different direction.

Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, MacLeod revealed: “She’s certainly not going to continue down such a troubled path.

“We thought actually we’ve done some very dark and twisted things with that character, and okay, that will still be part of her, but for the next 12 months we’re going to do normal pre-teen stuff.”

He said: “We’re going to be building a friendship with her and Sam that will verge on a very innocent pre-teen romance a little bit and they try to navigate those waters.

“It will always have a Hope twist on it because she’s maybe wired a bit differently than most kids her age… but we’ll see a more down-to-earth grounded side of her.”

Explaining why this decision was made he said: “I think there’s a risk with any character that’s that brilliant – and Isabella is such a good actress as well – that you burn them out by having them do too much big crazy stuff in a run.”

Hope has had some huge storylines in the past couple of years.

In 2019, she set fire to Underworld only to find herself trapped in the blaze before Ali Neeson (played by James Burrows) bravely rescued her.

In 2021 she yet again turned to fire as she tried to kill Tyrone’s pregnant ex-girlfriend Alina Pop (Ruxandra Porojnicu) by attempting to burn down her flat as she slept.

She blamed her for breaking up her parents Fiz (Jennie McAlpine) and Tyrone (Alan Halsall) and although Alina survived she suffered a miscarriage.

In another dark storyline, she hid her cousin Joseph (played by Isabella’s real-life brother William) in the attic for days while everyone frantically searched for him thinking he was missing.

Earlier this year she tried to take advantage of being the daughter of serial killer John Stape (Graeme Hawley) attempting to cash in on his infamy by selling signed copies of a book about his life in school.

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She later heard classmates making fun of her and she pulled out a hammer to ‘re-enact’ one of his gruesome murders.

While things may be settling down for Hope on the Street, MacLeod sees big things in her future tipping her and co-star Jude Riordan, who plays Sam, for Hollywood stardom when they get older although he hopes they both hang around the cobbles for a while.

“If we’re lucky, God willing, we’ll have them for years and years,” he said.

Riordan is also an award winner having won the National Television Award for Most Popular Newcomer in 2021.

Famously he was too small to reach the microphone when he took to the stage to accept the award so show host Joel Dommett had to lift him up.

Coronation is on ITV1 at 8pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or watch it on catch up on ITV X

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