Interview – Natalie Gumede, Coronation Street’s Kirsty - Corrie's Kirsty is 'verging on evil'

Kirsty and Tyrone continue to be trapped in an abusive relationship in ‘Coronation Street’ – with Kirsty battering Tyrone and him refusing to leave. At first this week, things look up as she agrees to see the doctor – but as Natalie Gumede, who plays Kirsty, explains to our soap writer Jon Horsley, it soon spirals downhill and ends up with another fight and some serious manipulation....

Hard-hitting plot: Kirsty and Tyrone in Coronation Street's domestic violence storyline (Credit: ITV)

Is Kirsty in shock at her own actions right now?

Up to now her violence has been in the middle of a red mist and Kirsty has been very taken aback by her own behaviour. This time I feel like we are taking a step up in the level of violence and the story has driven on. We have gone to a place now where, she knows it’s wrong but she is finding a way to justify it.

What is her reaction when Tyrone asks her to get help for her anger issues?

She knows she has to do something so she’s not going to argue because she wants to save her relationship with Tyrone. I think it is probably something that had already crossed her mind but she’s not very brave in that sense. The idea of actually talking to somebody about it is terrifying her because she has to admit her problems.

Does she go through with the doctor’s appointment?
She doesn’t go through with it; she gets as far as the surgery and checks in with Deirdre but when she is waiting she just loses her nerve.

What happens when Tyrone finds out she lied about going?

She is very emotional and is close to having the baby, as well as being manipulative, so she tries to work every angle in her favour. When he brings up her bad behaviour she flips it back onto him about his bad behaviour, which he doesn’t really have. The argument takes place in the garden where they have been arguing about the washing. While they have a few exchanges - slamming doors and that's it - it comes to a head again when Tyrone decides he’s not getting any sense out of Kirsty. She insists on having the last word and keeping him on the spot so Tyrone heads back into the living room to leave for work. Kirsty doesn’t want him to go so she throws herself at him but as he shrugs her off she loses her balance and ends up smacking her head on a concrete plant pot. Of course, just at that moment, Deirdre is walking the dog along the back street and the back door is open so she hears the crash of Kirsty falling and comes to the rescue.

Does Kirsty suggest to Tyrone that people might think that he is hitting her?
Yes. Deirdre witnesses the scene but all she sees is Kirsty on the floor flinching at Tyrone’s affection. At that moment I think that Kirsty genuinely has a bit of a flashback of her father stood over her but she is still a very intelligent woman who is present to everybody’s emotions and will pick up on everybody’s vibe. She is alive to the fact that Deirdre sees Kirsty and Tyrone’s dynamics and thinks that it is a violent thing. When the doctor comes and Tyrone sees him out, Deirdre says to Kirsty, “if you ever need to chat I’m here for you”. Kirsty knows exactly what she’s doing. If that means that Tyrone is the bad guy then so be it.

What advice would you give Kirsty if she was your friend?
She would never be my friend. She would probably be someone that I would find quite exhausting and dominating. I wouldn’t know what was going on behind closed doors but if I knew anyone like that I would remove myself from that situation, it would be very difficult to give her advice but she needs help and intervention.

What kind of feedback are you getting on this storyline now?
So far, it has been surprisingly understanding. I am interested to see what happens when this next section is screened because it is a step up in the violence and she is moving ever further away from redemption. I think that it is a very serious storyline and perhaps people are a little bit intimidated by me. I did start off as a panto baddy but now it is so much worse than that and there’s an eerie quiet.

Is Kirsty evil or damaged?
Damaged, she is verging on evil now but it is because she is damaged.

‘Coronation Street’ is on ITV1, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays