After being unable to grip with his right hand for weeks, leaving him unable to work, Paul sought help from doctors – eventually being told by a specialist that he had the condition in April 2023.
Paul has been grappling with his diagnosis – getting into trouble with the law ever since, and initially struggling to share the news with partner Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank).
But does the diagnosis mean that Paul will be leaving Weatherfield, and that actor Peter Ash will eventually depart the ITV soap?
Here’s all you need to know.
Is Paul leaving Coronation Street?
Yes, Paul Foreman will be leaving Coronation Street. At some stage, he will die of his condition.
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a rare condition that affects the brain and spinal cord.
It is rapidly progressing and attacks the nerves that control movement, leaving the sufferer unable to move, and unfortunately there is no cure for it.
After being told by his neurologist that he is likely to have MND, Paul begged her to tell him how long he will live.
The neurologist admitted that, although it can vary from person to person, most people live for less than three years after a diagnosis.
So, though we know Paul will depart the Cobbles at some point, we don’t know exactly when.
About motor neurone disease (MND):
- MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
- It attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. MND does not usually affect the senses such as sight, sound and feeling etc.
- It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.
- Over 80% of people with MND will have communication difficulties, for most this means a complete loss of voice.
- It affects people from all communities.
- Around 35% of people with MND experience mild cognitive change, in other words, changes in thinking and behaviour. A further 15% of people show signs of frontotemporal dementia which results in more pronounced behavioural change.
- It kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis.
- A person’s lifetime risk of developing MND is around 1 in 300.
- Six people per day are diagnosed with MND in the UK.
- It affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.
- It kills six people per day in the UK, just under 2,200 per year.
- It has no cure.
Actor Peter Ash, therefore, is also set to leave the soap – and is now portraying his final storyline as Paul.
The 38-year-old spoke about how he found out about the emotional plot in late March 2023, revealing that he was ‘shocked’ to find out he would be leaving the soap after four years.
He said: ‘I think I was called into the producer Iain’s office late last year.
‘He said ‘We’ve got this very big storyline for you, it should be a great thing to do. Unfortunately, it does mean an eventual exit’.
‘Yeah, it was a shock, I suppose it’s always a bit scary when you’re called into his office. I had mixed feelings, obviously…
He added: ‘So yeah, I’ll be sad to leave but at the same time, I’m quite happy to be involved in such a powerful storyline that hopefully will bring awareness to it. It’s a double-edged sword.’
In May 2023, Peter reflected on the response to his character’s diagnosis, and playing the progression of the illness.
He recently told Metro.co.uk: ‘People have been lovely saying they don’t want me to go and stuff like that…
‘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.’
As Paul’s condition comes with physical symptoms, Peter also shared how he is approaching playing the part.
He shared: ‘In scenes I have to be consciously aware I’m not using my hand in certain situations so as you’ve probably noticed I have it in my pocket a lot – A) so I’m not tempted to use it on set, but B) because Paul is trying to hide it, sothe best place to put it in his pocket.
‘Now that [Paul] has the foot drop symptom, that’s hard to hide… It’s another layer of things to think about the technical side rather than the emotional side of the acting.’
There are surely plenty more emotional scenes to come – as Paul has yet to tell his family about the illness.
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