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The death of Seb Franklin rocked Coronation Street, and changed the lives of some residents – like his mum Abi and girlfriend Nina – forever. Now we're in the midst of the court case, and Kelly Neelan is facing the toughest week of her life as she stands trial over Seb’s death. Millie Gibson, who plays the Weatherfield youngster, admits that living on remand has been hell for Kelly.
"She’s not really coping at all. She’s a really vulnerable young girl and she’s going through what feels like the most nightmarish fantasy,"
And while viewers know that it was Corey who really killed Seb, he seems to have the upper hand, with Kelly in the dock.
"At first she’s optimistic but as the trial goes on she realises that the odds are stacked against her due to her upbringing, against Corey with his dad’s wealth, his full legal team and his privileged background. Her optimism is starting to fade. But then she knows she’s told the truth so she just hopes the jury can see that."
Corrie fans will be on tenterhooks waiting for the jury to return their verdict on Friday. And Millie, who joined the show in 2019, the prospect of her character being convicted and going to prison over Seb's death is horrifying.
"I don’t think she could cope, she’s so young that she’d feel like her whole life is over."
And the pressure builds for Kelly as she looks into the courtroom and sees Abi and Nina.
"I think when she’s on the stand it’s terrifying for her to relive these memories but then she sees Nina and Abi’s faces, his girlfriend and mum, and she feels so guilty and conflicted about what she should say about that night."
Kelly's in such a low place that when her mum reaches out, Kelly accepts her approach despite the many times that Laura has let her down.
"Kelly’s so desperate at this point, she’s hasn’t got anyone, then she can see Corey surrounded by his dad, a team of lawyers, a football club that are all helping defend him. She’s so grateful to Imran and Toyah but they’re not blood so when her mum offers her her help she just jumps at the opportunity to have someone else in her corner."
While Imran is doing his best for her, it's actually his ex Sabeen, who's really putting her under pressure as Corey's lawyer, suggesting that Kelly killed Seb in a bid to impress Seb.
"She’s so frustrated, she feels like no one will believe her as his lawyers are trying to twist what actually happened that night, and give a motive that just wasn't there. She’s just infuriated."
Looking at her character's sad background Millie reckons that Kelly's upbringing is partly to blame for her predicament, and the fact that she got in with a bad crowd, and wanted to impress the wrong people.
"I think because her Dad isn’t in the picture anymore, she's got a real need to impress men. That’s how the whole nightmare with Corey started. Trying to act all cocky and like top dog has been a way of coping with her insecurities and now because it’s all come crashing down she feels lost."
And while the storyline they are playing out is grim, Millie admits that she loved getting back together with castmates to film the trial.
"It was so cool being on location again, it felt like such a privilege, even if it was only Bolton! It was so hot the week we filmed, it was like being in a greenhouse sitting in that box, but it was a really good experience, we all bonded a lot that week. It was very easy to find the tears in that courtroom."
And as we wait for the verdict, Millie reckons Corrie fans have changed their opinion of her screen alter ego.
"I think since she started showing more vulnerability and her actual true colours, rather than just this cocky teen, then people have started to soften towards her. She’s in a really dark place and people will see it’s not just an act."
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Coronation Street, Monday and Friday, ITV
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