Coronation Street spoilers follow.
Sally Carman has previewed the difficult road ahead for her Coronation Street character Abi Franklin following the tragic death in Friday's episode.
The latest double bill followed up from the brutal hate crime earlier this week, revealing that Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) had succumbed to his injuries from the beating at the hands of Corey and his gang.
Looking ahead to upcoming scenes, Carman admitted that Abi's "impulsive" personality will take hold in harmful ways as she initially blames Seb's girlfriend Nina for putting him in danger.
"She 100% blames Nina at one point. She has got all this anger, grief and heartbreak and she needs somewhere to channel it," the actress told Digital Spy and other media on a Zoom call.
"She initially thinks if she finds out who has done it, that will help but it doesn't. She wants to know why it happened but obviously, there is no real answer to that. She is told it's because of the way Nina looks as they were attacked as part of a crime due to what Nina was wearing.
"Abi is impulsive and decides to blame Nina – she thinks if Nina didn't dress that way then Seb would be alive. Nina really gets it in the neck. Abi really goes for her."
Fans will also undoubtedly question whether Abi's grief over her son's death will lead her to relapse into drug use.
"Just from what I have filmed already, it seems unlikely that it's going to happen," she said. "Kev and Sally are particularly worried that Abi might go back onto drugs and there are times where she says that it is something she thinks about constantly but it's not what Seb would have wanted, so she's not going to do that.
"I absolutely believe she won't. I think her focus will go from Seb to Nina. I'd love it if she transferred that love onto Nina as she's a bit of a lost soul."
Carman confirmed that the coming weeks will feature Abi on a relentless search for justice, as Corey desperately tries to cover his tracks.
"The impulsive, emotional creature that she is – there isn't a lot of emotional maturity going on there," she admitted. "It is not good. There are a few days where she tries to take matters into her own hands but luckily she is talked down. She is really trying to hook onto something the only way she knows how.
"Her heart has been ripped open and there is a lot of guilt there as she wasn't there when Seb was growing up. There is so much she has to deal with and she hasn't got a clue. She is reeling and Corey very nearly becomes a culprit of this a couple of times."
She discussed filming Abi's misery in the aftermath of losing her son: "With that kind of grief, there is nothing anyone can say or do. Weirdly that helped as you do have to go insular with it. It's actually easier than a love scene as with those, you need someone else to reciprocate it.
"Grief is so personal and no one else can understand that loss. It is something you can do [act] on your own and so that actually worked a treat."
In the long run, Carman remains hopeful that Abi and Kevin will be able to pull through this harrowing period stronger than ever.
"I think they will come through it. I've had such a glorious time filming with Mike, he is such a dreamboat," she told us. "The scenes we've been doing are brilliant and it has brought out such a gentle side to Kevin.
"Obviously, Abi is all over the place – furious one minute, crying the next – she is pinging off all the walls and he is just there taking slap after slap and saying that he loves her and that he's got her. It's just gorgeous."
On the importance of this hate crime storyline, the actress said: "Yes, it's an age-old story and I don't think it's ever going to go away. The more we can do about getting information out about it and opening avenues for people to talk and report hate crimes, the better.
"You can read a story about something happening to someone and it's not personal, but when something happens to a character on Corrie who you love, it becomes personal and it gives you a deeper level of empathy and awareness that these are people's daughters, brothers, sisters and it could impact anyone of us. It's a reminder to be kind, we are all just doing our best."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV, with occasional Friday episodes airing for one-hour blocks at 7.30pm.
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.
Coronation Street has worked on the current storyline alongside The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was set up to challenge prejudices and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures, and extend UK hate crime legislation, following the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007.
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