Coronation Street star Millie Gibson on Kelly Neelan's dramatic exit week

·11-min read

Coronation Street spoilers follow.

Coronation Street's Kelly Neelan has her world turned upside-down this fortnight as she finally discovers the truth about the death of her father Rick.

Kelly goes out for revenge when she learns that Gary Windass was responsible for Rick's death in 2019. She pays Rick's ex-client Kieron to kill Gary, but soon finds herself double-crossed when Kieron plots to murder her too.

The action-packed week builds towards a dramatic rooftop sequence, a shooting – and Kelly's exit from the show after three years.

Millie Gibson, who plays Kelly, recently caught up with Digital Spy and other press to preview what's in store.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

At the start of Kelly's exit week, she has her engagement party. How does Kelly really feel about Aadi?

"I think Kelly is completely besotted with Aadi. She has finally found great morals in a man and she has never seen that before, especially in her past with her dad, who ended up being a liar. We also had Corey, who ended up lying to Kelly as well.

"I think Aadi's the only trustworthy person that Kelly has met. She has really fallen hard for him and I think she's very in love at the minute."

On paper, Kelly and Aadi are complete opposites. Do you think they make a good match?

"I think it's beautiful that they're such polar opposites because it's such a nice juxtaposition of angel and devil type personalities. Aadi's such a soft soul and really tries to calm Kelly down.

"It's just great working with Adam Hussain. He's equally as soft-hearted and he's just an angel to work with. Seeing our characters bounce off each other, it's just a really great dynamic to work with."

In upcoming scenes, Kelly finds out that Gary killed her dad. How does she feel when the truth is revealed?

"It's the moment we've all been waiting for! It's a full arc of my whole storyline. Kelly's whole world just completely shatters. She thought that happened when her mum passed away, but this is way worse. She's shattered, I don't think she even knows what to do with herself.

"You slowly start to see this cold side to Kelly, almost like her dad is coming in to her personality. You see Kelly start turning into Rick Neelan. In that sense, it's just a completely new personality for her."

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

How serious is Kelly about wanting Gary to die?

"I think all the good morals Kelly has gained over the years are completely wiped from her memory and all she can think about is her dad, his morals and the ways he acted and dealt with situations. You see him take over her personality.

"I'm excited to see how it comes across, because it's like Kelly Neelan is a proper Neelan in this storyline – she's not the new Kelly that she's found herself to be. She really starts to change in the period after she finds out about her dad."

Were you surprised at this storyline twist?

"I don't think I was. I think the truth about Rick's death was always going to have to come out. You can't live with your dad's murderer for such an amount of time without it coming out at some point. I definitely expected it, it's just the way that it happened I didn't expect.

"I didn't expect Sharon to be the one that tells Kelly. Every single time I was reading the scripts I was thinking, 'Oh gosh!' Even though we all knew this was going to eventually come out, it happened in a way you wouldn't expect.

"It's really well written and I was excited to get the scripts through. I think seeing the build-up and the tension – and the dynamic between me and Mikey North – it's going to look very powerful, I think. I hope!"

Kelly approaches Kieron to do her dirty work, but he ends up double-crossing her and plans to kill her. How much does Kelly fear for her life?

"I think Kelly is utterly at rock bottom. There's only so many times she can hit rock bottom before it finally gets to her – from being in prison, being kidnapped and then this. I think it's really got to her now.

"I think Kelly has just accepted her fate, really. She tried to do what she had to do and then tried to go back. I think in a way she has been a bit naive and underestimated the types of people her dad dealt with. It bites back at her.

"You'll see just how intense it is. This poor 17 year old girl, she's experienced so much in such a short amount of time. It's tense, dramatic scenes."

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Kelly has had some heart-wrenching scenes in the past. How did these compare? Was it emotional knowing these were your exit scenes?

"I've been a wreck, you can ask anyone. There were a good two weeks where I was crying constantly because I was so overwhelmed and so grateful for these scenes and the storyline that had been given to me.

"There was a specific scene that sticks out to me. Basically, throughout Kelly and Gary's relationship, we've never, ever hugged. Even when I was breaking down in a basement, he's never hugged me.

"So there's a scene where Gary hugs Kelly and it's a really simple scene and as soon as we shot it, I just burst out crying. I'm getting choked up now. I just burst out crying because it was like: 'It's the beginning of the end now'.

"When we started filming our last scenes of being nice to each other that's when we were like, 'Gosh, this is getting real now'. It's been an emotional journey. It's been such a beautiful relationship on and off screen. It's just been really emotional thinking we're never going to act together again."

Kelly's exit week was filmed with a massive volume wall (green screen) and special effects. What was it like filming with those?

"It's been incredible. I can't say how insane the set has been. The first day I stepped on to the volume wall, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, we're in Hollywood'. It was incredible. It was really long days and I was feeling exhausted, but the cast and crew and producers have all been so, so amazing.

"It was the best crew. Acting around this digital wall, it has just been crazy. We were there for a week and I couldn't get used to it, but it was all part of the experience. It was insane."

Why did you decide to leave Coronation Street?

"I think Corrie is a home. It's the best way of describing it, it's a home. Because I'm so young, I thought, 'I've got to leave'. I have no responsibilities – I don't have kids, I don't have a mortgage to pay or anything like that, I'm still grateful to be living at home.

"So I thought, 'I'm just going to see what else the world has'. If it does happen, it does – that would be quite good, wouldn't it? I just thought I might as well see what happens while I'm still young."

What have been your highlights working on Coronation Street?

"There's so many scenes and storylines I can think of. The scene with Kelly's mum Laura sticks out a lot, because it was Kel Allen's last day on set when we did the scene where Kelly broke down on top of her on the hospital bed.

"I think we had such a special relationship and that was the first scene that I was really, really proud of because I really put my heart into that. It was easy to do working with Kel because she's such a brilliant actress.

"Even though she was just lying there, I kept saying to her, 'Please don't close your eyes until the take, because I can't look at you' – because she really looked dead. So that was really sad.

"Having the relationship grow with Mikey as well. My first day on set was with Mikey when I was 14 years old. It's been a great four years to grow that dynamic and that relationship. We really have become a little family. It's been really hard doing my last scenes with them. We've been very emotional!"

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

What will you miss about the show?

"I think just the routine of it all. Walking into the building, knowing the person on the desk. Just the familiarity of it all. I'll miss Kelly, I'll miss the cast, I'll miss the crew. I bang on about it, but it's a family. It's just like leaving a family, so it's sad. I'm trying not to get upset, but it is sad."

Was it a hard decision to make?

"Yes. It was a decision where it would always be in the back of my mind if I didn't make it, so I had to just go with it and see what happens.

"When I first thought this is going to be the year where I do it, my mum and dad were like, 'Are you sure? It's such a secure place, you're doing great, you're having great storylines'. And I was like, 'I know, but I've got to trust my gut, I've got to trust my instincts'.

"I went with it without them even being on board with it at first, but as soon as I started to go with it, I convinced them. But it was one of those times where I just had to make the decision for myself and go with it and hope for the best."

How emotional was it filming your exit scenes?

"I can't say too much but there was a day with Mikey. It was the end of the day and it was my and Mikey's last scene. I could not stop crying, even on the line run. It's like a seven page scene with just me and Mikey and I was choking up on the line run.

"I was trying to save it but it was so hard, such a hard scene. I'm so excited to see it because it's a really good scene. It wraps it all up but it's really sad. That was very hard."

Were you pleased with your exit?

"Yes! Oh my gosh, when I first heard about it, I was like, 'Gosh, they're really pulling out all the stops for this one, aren't they?' I was absolutely buzzing. I couldn't thank them enough, honestly. I'm eternally grateful for this being the end."

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

What are your plans for the future?

"I'm currently auditioning so I'm just going to see how that goes, but I'm looking forward to just having a bit of a break. I'm going on holiday soon with my cousin Amy and we're going to Italy for a week, so I've got that planned. I think I'll really need it by the time that comes around."

Do you have any particular ambitions for life after Corrie?

"I've got so many roles in mind. I'm trying to keep myself grounded but at the same time I need to bet on myself, if that makes sense. I really like dramas, I'd love to do a drama again. A period drama would be incredible – I'd have to take my lashes off!"

How have you found working with Mikey North and Samia Longchambon? Did they give you any advice when they heard you were leaving Corrie?

"They've been my rocks. They've betted on me through my whole experience. When I told them I was thinking of leaving, I couldn't have asked for a better response. They were so lovely about it.

"Like I said, I've known Mikey for four years now. Over this period, I've seen him more than my dad, I've been with him that much and working with him non-stop, but he's such an easy person to work with.

"It's so easy to ask him, ‘What do you think about this?' And it's not so much advice they've given me, it's more like experience they've left me. I'll never forget any days I've worked with them. Every day has been an experience and every day has been everything to take in from them."

Have you taken any souvenirs from the set?

"I'm going to take Kelly's black puffer coat with fur on the hood – she wears it all the time in winter. Every time it's summer I miss her coat because I feel like her whenever I wear it. I'm going to take that for sure.

"This is a bit of a spoiler but I made sure in my last scene I was wearing that coat because I wanted to take it."

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV and streams on the ITV Hub.

Read more Coronation Street spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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