The day of Stephen Reid’s downfall has finally arrived, as the character leaves Weatherfield in dramatic fashion in tonight’s Coronation Street.
With everyone beginning to realise the extent of his crimes over the past year, Stephen had planned to flee the country in Wednesday’s episode. Having thrown the police off his scent by bringing forward his flight to Thailand from Manchester airport, Stephen instead headed down the M62 to Liverpool airport, where he planned on buying a ticket for a flight to Amsterdam leaving in an hour, with a forwarding flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
It wasn’t until he was checking-in however that he realised that his passport was missing. It had been sitting in his passport wallet safely when he last checked at Rita’s apartment, and he realised that there was only one person would could have removed it—his partner Jenny.
Up until the previous day, Stephen had been hoping for a new life in Thailand with Jenny, but when he suggested they leave the very next day, she began to smell a rat after previously dismissing warnings from Carla.
“She doesn’t listen to Carla,” Sally Ann Matthews explained to EverySoap and other media at a press screening last week. “She just thinks, ‘Carla, you’re a bit of a psycho, and you’re having a moment’. Stephen’s never done anything wrong in Jenny’s eyes. She’s never seen him be violent, he’s only ever been supportive and kind to her. And that’s because he loves her, he’s not had an ulterior motive with Jenny at all.”
With Jenny telling Stephen she wants to wait a few more weeks, a heartbroken Stephen realised he’d have to go it alone.
The next morning, he suggested to Jenny that they should get a Thai bank account to transfer all their savings into, and though Jenny put on a brave face as she promised to think about it, she realised at this point that Stephen was only after her money.
“It’s only when the net is closing in on Stephen and he says about moving to Thailand tomorrow that she’s and he starts to go, ‘maybe what Carla said was right’,” Sal continues. “Some kind of self-preservation kicks in, and so she just tests the water suggesting they delay going to Thailand and thinks Stephen’s going to be right and everything will be fine. But when he says ‘I’ve found a bank account’, she starts thinking ‘….he DOES want my money‘”
“I think she has flashbacks to what her dad [the infamous Alan Bradley] did to Rita, and there’s a really lovely moment where she realises that this isn’t love (though it actually is!), but he wants her money.”
“Jenny has that moment of loss, and it was the same for Stephen when she said they’re going to delay it, he went into the kitchen and you saw his heart break. I think it’s really important because ultimately it is a love story aswell. If he’d not been such a murderous b*stard, they’d have had a really good time together!”
It wasn’t until later that Jenny heard that Stephen had stolen £250,000 from Underworld, and soon after that she heard that the body in the canal had been identified as former love interest Teddy. In disbelief that both of her previous partners had been murdered, she still doesn’t know that Stephen was responsible for both… nor that she could now be in danger herself, as Stephen returned to the street to confront her over his missing passport.
In tonight’s episode, passing the boarded up Rovers, former landlord Jenny hears some intruders and decides to go and investigate, whilst Sarah (Tina O’Brien) also spots something and enters the pub.
“It’s really cleverly done,” Sal explains. “Dylan (Liam McCheyne) and his dodgy friend have been in the pub, so Jenny feels confident in going in there.”
But it’s only as the two decide to share a bottle of dodgy sherry over the Stephen troubles that Jenny hears the true extent of his crimes…
“She’s heartbroken that he has done this. But as far as she’s concerned, he’s a conman and a fraudster and he’s after money. She not aware that he’s murdered anybody! She’s not privy to any of that information, so when Sarah says that to her in the pub, unaware that Jenny doesn’t know, it’s a huge shock.”
“And then she’s like ‘Oh sh*t, maybe I shouldn’t have nicked his passport, that was bad…‘” Sal adds.
When Sarah later mentions that seeing Jenny in the upstairs window was what prompted her to enter the pub, there’s a moment of shocking realisation for them both when Jenny points out she didn’t go upstairs…
“I love that moment,” Sal enthuses. “It’s only then when Jenny thinks ‘Woah, hang on’“…
Sarah and Jenny realise they need to get out of there fast, but as they rush to leave, a desperate Stephen emerges and whacks Sarah over the head with a bottle!
“It breaks Stephen’s heart to do that to her,” Sal adds. “I think that sends Stephen into a spin, because he loves Sarah, he loves Jenny, he loves his family… he doesn’t want to do these things to them.“
“I don’t think she would think for a second that he would hurt any of the Platts,” Tina O’Brien explains. “That’s family, and I don’t think she would ever think that he that she or anyone else in her family would be in danger. I think if she thought he was dangerous, she would never would have tried to, you know, have a word with him. I think she still believes that at the end of the day, it’s her uncle and that maybe there’s been miscommunications.“
It’s then a game of cat and mouse as Jenny confronts Stephen, wanting answers about the crimes he’s committed whilst he’s desperate for his passport.
“She’s been told that he killed Teddy, and it therefore makes sense that he killed Leo, and he then confesses to killing Rufus,” Sal continues. “Although Jenny’s terrified, at that point she’s angry and disregarding her own safety to get the truth out of him.“
Whilst we can’t go into any detail from this point on, things reach a shocking climax as Stephen drags Jenny out onto the street, holding a broken bottle to her neck, with Stephen’s friends and family watching on in horror.
With all bets now seemingly off, will Jenny and Sarah make it out of Stephen’s grasp alive as he makes his bid for freedom? Or will DS Swain finally catch up with him?