Richard Hawley has insisted Johnny Connor’s death was the right way to end his Coronation Street love story.
The 66-year-old actor – whose cobbles alter ego died in heartbreaking scenes last week as her sacrificed himself to save the love of his life, Jenny (Sally Ann Matthews) – has revealed the reasons he wanted to walk away from the soap, and it turns out there are a few of them.
Appearing on Monday’s episode of ITV daytime show Loose Women, he said: ‘Well, I live a long way from Manchester, I live in Brighton. It was getting quite, quite difficult travelling up and down.
‘I felt that the character had – to be honest, I felt that seven years was a good set of stories, and if there could be found a really great ending to that… Sally Ann and I had always wanted to do what was a really great love story.
‘To be perfectly honest, if you want to do a really great love story, somebody has to die. It has to be over. That’s what we wanted, so that’s why I kind of stepped up and said I was ready to go.’
Despite the Johnny’s emotional and intense exit, which saw him fall into the water in the sinkhole and drown, Richard himself admitted he actually ‘loved’ being on set.
‘Well, we loved it really! It was coming out – we’d done 18 months of social distancing and not being able to film closely. So as well as the water, all that was over,’ he added. ‘That whole crew, backstage in the swimming pool was like being in a comedy club.
‘The safety divers, the guys making the bubbles, making the currents, were incredibly funny. It was an enormous pleasure doing the whole thing – and just lovely to be able to do a story that was really deep and profound for the pair of us.’
Johnny admitted it was a massive relief to be able to talk about his on-screen death, which was filmed two months or so ago, and had been in the scripts for even longer.
‘It’s been really… just waiting for this moment to be shown. For me to enjoy it, as well, I really wanted to get to a point where I can actually speak about it and enjoy it, because it was an incredible experience, I’m very proud,’ he said.
‘I told a couple of people, so I was really worried that they might let it out – just my mum and my sister.
‘It’s been a couple of months since we filmed it and I’ve been so excited. It’s been really strange waiting to see it, kinda like an opening night but I’m not doing anything!’
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.