TALKING TO: Sally Carman
(Abi Franklin in Coronation Street)
As Abi struggles to gain access to her children, and her friendship with Tracy falls apart, we chat to Sally Carman to find out how Abi’s sad but gripping storyline develops.
The twins seem to be the catalyst for Abi’s downward spiral, but what makes her turn to the vodka this time?
Abi’s kids are her heart and her weakness and she knows that she has let them down, so it’s a mixture of her shame, her guilt, her fear and her lack of trust in herself that are always the catalyst for her spiralling out of control. It’s also because she hasn’t got the support, or the means, or the strength to overcome that, which is a shame because it wouldn’t take much.
Why does Abi so often turn to drink and drugs?
Abi can’t deal with her problems and so she blocks it all out. That’s as much as she can do because she doesn’t know any better.
Tell us how Abi reacts to the news that her contact with the twins has been suspended because of her drug relapse…
That’s a different kind of blow because it’s that thing where someone can’t quite believe their luck, so they think that something will go wrong and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s what has happened with her: when she gets that news she is devastated, but she knows it is coming.
What makes Abi reach out and contact Tracy for help?
Abi has already had a drink, so at that point she knows she is minutes away from taking something else and she knows that once she starts, there’s no going back. She manages to ring her only real friend in the hope that she will help her like she has done in the past but it just doesn’t work out. That is the catalyst for her going under because she feels she has been let down and she hasn’t got that strength within herself.
Does Abi see Tracy as a good friend?
She does. She has thrown all her eggs in one basket with Tracy because she expects her to treat her with full loyalty. That’s the thing with Abi; if you get her loyalty then that is it, forever. She thought she got that with Tracy, and actually, she did, but because Tracy is also very flawed, she panicked and made a bad decision and that just happens to be at Abi’s expense.
What is Abi’s reaction when Tracy reveals that it was her who got Abi into trouble with the police?
It’s the last thing Abi would have thought about Tracy. She cannot believe it. Abi reacts in a way that seems to be anger, but actually, she is so hurt and distraught.
You were originally cast for just a few episodes, did you ever think that you would get such a big storyline?
I feel privileged. I can’t quite believe it because I have not been in the show very long and when I get the scripts and read what I have, it’s just jam-packed with such lovely stuff. I’ve been so lucky with the people I have worked with and I know I keep saying it, but I do feel lucky! I am delighted that the writers feel they can write for me and hopefully, I will keep giving them stuff so they feel they can keep writing for my character.