Coronation Street star Peter Ash reveals Paul's emotional wedding scenes

Coronation Street spoilers follow.

Coronation Street's Paul Foreman makes a big decision this week, as he chooses to make amends with his twin sister Gemma Winter and attend her wedding to Chesney Brown.

Paul recently engineered a bitter argument with Gemma, looking for any excuse to avoid the ceremony as he was worried about her potentially discovering his Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis.

In this week's scenes, Paul changes his mind and walks Gemma down the aisle, as well as giving a touching speech at her wedding reception. But will he be able to keep the truth from Gemma and their mum Bernie for much longer?

Peter Ash, who plays Paul, recently caught up with Digital Spy and other media to discuss the storyline.

gemma winter, paul foreman, coronation street

Last week, Billy finally discovered the truth about Paul's MND diagnosis. What was it like filming those scenes with Daniel Brocklebank, who plays Billy?

"We'd waited for that moment. For the longest time, only Dee-Dee knew about the MND, so it was quite a big moment for Paul to let his partner know exactly what he was going through.

"I love working with Dan and we have a great time, but when we do these heavy scenes as well, it's always really nice and we have this rhythm together.

"It was quite emotional to film those scenes, especially as we had just met Rob Burrow [former rugby league star, who was diagnosed with MND in 2019] that afternoon during lunch break. It was very poignant after meeting Rob and his wife.

"They were quite big scenes in terms of the story so far and there was quite an emotional atmosphere on set. Jane [Hazlegrove, who plays Bernie] was waiting behind the flat set to come on, and she said that just listening to the scene between Paul and Billy was making her emotional.

"Of course in the scene Bernie didn't know yet, so she was saying she had to close her ears and think of something else. It was just a beautifully-written scene as well, so it was emotional."

Paul has been pushing people away. Will he now accept the support that Billy can give him, or will part of him want to end the relationship?

"I'd say probably a bit of both. Obviously it is a massive relief for Paul that Billy now knows, even though he didn't want Billy to find out yet. He didn't know how Billy would take it and the heartbreak it would cause for the people he loves.

"Paul is definitely willing to accept that help now, but there will also be a part of him that doesn't want to put Billy through that.

"Billy is going to end up having to say goodbye to Paul within the next few years. There'll be a part of Paul that does want to spare him from that, but obviously he loves the guy as well."

paul foreman, billy mayhew, dee dee bailey, coronation street

Is Paul glad that the court case forced him to tell the truth?

"In the moment when Billy turned up at the court, it was absolutely not what Paul wanted. His plan was to tell Billy, Gemma and everyone else, but not until after the wedding.

"For Billy to turn up before that, Paul hadn't even processed in his mind what he was going to say yet. But after Billy knowing, there's a sense of relief as well for Paul."

Why is Paul still keeping it a secret from the rest of the family?

"Just with the wedding coming up, really. It's something Gemma has been looking forward to for so long – as has Paul and the rest of the family. Paul just doesn't want to put that worry and stress on what should be the happiest day of Gemma's life.

"It's just one of those situations where it's not the right time and he can't do it yet. They've got so much to worry about anyway, with bills, the quads and the wedding. He doesn't want to add to that yet."

Is Billy supportive towards Paul's decision?

"Yeah, Billy understands where Paul is coming from. But Billy is still carefully nudging Paul after his threats not to attend the wedding at all. Billy is saying: 'Come on, you will regret this, it's a one-off day, I think you should go'. It's not in any harsh way, but a very understanding way.

"Paul only had the argument with Gemma because she wanted him to dance with her at the hen do at The Rovers. If he'd done that, it would have been obvious there's something wrong and the truth would have all come out.

"In the moment, Paul had to make an argument out of anything really, just to not do the dance. Also, they're twins – Gemma knows something is not right and if he spends more time with her, she's going to wheedle it out of him. So he just had to say: 'No, I'm not coming'."

gemma, paul foreman, coronation street

How has it been to portray Paul's new struggles with his leg?

"It's another layer of things you have to think about. Since his hand lost its grip, Paul is having trouble picking things up. In scenes, I have to be consciously aware that I'm not using my hand in certain situations, so as you've probably noticed I have it in my pocket a lot. That's so I'm not tempted to use it on set, but also because Paul is trying to hide it so it's the best place to put it.

"Now that Paul is experiencing problems with his leg, that's harder to hide so that's why he's not wanting to go to the wedding. It's another layer of things to think about – the technical side rather than the emotional side of the acting."

Have you spoken to the MND Association to help with this?

"Yes, we're in constant contact with the MND Association. They've been great – since the first symptom they've told me exactly how it works and the things you would and wouldn't be able to do.

"With the foot drop, it's not a limp – the muscle has gone so you can't flex it. You have to over lift your leg to get your foot placement properly. They've sent me videos of people at that stage so I can see how they walk."

As Paul is worried that he can't hide his condition, what makes him ultimately decide to attend the wedding?

"On the morning of the wedding, Billy's trying to talk Paul into going. Paul's having none of it, but they get a ring at the door, and bless him, it's little Joseph. He tells Paul he's an idiot because Gemma is crying on her wedding day and Joseph says: 'It's all your fault, pal'. You can't argue with that, can you?"

paul foreman, coronation street

How does Paul feel walking Gemma down the aisle?

"In that moment, immense pride and happiness. It was a lovely couple of days filming. In that moment, Paul realised everyone's going to be looking at Gemma, so no-one's going to be noticing Paul's problem in the moment.

"Paul is immensely happy and so proud, but he's worried that Billy will be the one to give the game away by getting too emotional."

How is it for Paul to keep the truth from his family on such a big day?

"It's bittersweet. He's loving the day for what it is, but he's also thinking this could be one of the last big days he gets. He has no idea how long he has left now that he has been diagnosed – possibly three years."

How does Paul feel giving a speech at the wedding reception?

"It's an impromptu one because he didn't think he was going to go. All of a sudden he's got to come up with a speech. But in that moment, seeing the kids with Gemma, it does get to him a bit. It's a bit touch and go whether he can get through the speech or not."

paul foreman, coronation street

Can Paul keep the secret for much longer?

"If you bottle anything up it's going to spill out, especially something this big and life-changing. I don't think he can keep that in for much longer…"

What has the reaction been to the story so far?

"It's been amazing, it really has. Everyone's been amazing, it's been quite overwhelming. To get messages from people who have lost loved ones and who are currently living with loved ones who have MND, it really is something. I appreciate all the kind responses we've had so far."

Fans are sad to know that you'll eventually be leaving the show…

"Yeah, once it's confirmed that Paul has MND, you know he's going because there's no cure so it's got to happen at some point. People have been lovely saying they don't want me to go and stuff like that. I really appreciate that. Corrie fans are amazing – it's great."

Coronation Street airs a special schedule this week, with episodes from Monday to Friday at 7.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

Read more Coronation Street spoilers on our dedicated homepage

Coronation Street has been working on Paul's storyline with support from the MND Association, which focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for people affected by motor neurone disease.

The charity's helpline MND Connect (0808 802 6262) is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and 7pm to 10.30pm. Calls are free.

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