Fans of Coronation Street will know that Maria Connor developed feelings of a distinctly romantic sort towards her gay best friend Marcus Dent (Charlie Condou) a few months ago…
But of course, because Marcus is gay, Maria knew there was no chance of anything happening on the romance front, so she instead rekindled her relationship with beefy builder Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas).
However, Maria’s remained friends with Marcus – who has no idea she’s attracted to him – so when she finds a lump in her breast in forthcoming episodes, in her panic, she immediately confides in Marcus, and he vows to help her through every step of the way.
And not only has Samia Ghadie, who of course plays Maria, revealed that Marcus is about to develop feelings for Maria, the storyline reflects her own terrifying experience of discovering a lump in her breast soon after her daughter Freya was born…
Of that cancer scare, Samia said, “I had just had Freya and she was only three months old when suddenly I came across a lump on my breast that was like a really hard pea.
“It wasn’t even a case of checking my breasts, as it was just there and so very obvious. I felt so scared.
“I went to the doctor straight away and I was hoping she was going to say ‘oh, don’t worry’, but I was very frightened when instead she said: ‘Actually we don’t want to get caught out with things like this, you need to see a specialist’.
“To hear that was terrifying, and luckily for me I do have private health insurance so I could go that evening for a hospital scan to get it checked out.
“It was horrendous and in those few hours while I was waiting, all sorts of horrid things went through my mind. You worry so much.”
And her fears were intensified at the time because when she was pregnant, her dad, Joseph, died aged of oesophageal cancer.
However, thankfully, the lump was benign.
Samia said, “It was a case of my hormones playing up as I was breast-feeding.
“I was so relieved. I am so glad I did get it checked out and it’s made me very aware now. I check my breasts on a regular basis. It’s so important to.”
And of Maria’s breast cancer storyline, Samia – who is dating her former co-star Will Thorp – explained, “Because it’s so sensitive, we worked with Macmillan on the storyline as we wanted to get it right.
“I know myself how it feels and how scary it is and I think a lot of women will identify with what Maria has to go through.
“As an actress, it is challenging filming harrowing scenes and I hope people will feel I have approached it sensitively.
“Maria goes through very similar emotions as I did, but it is far worse for her as she doesn’t get the results back so quickly and she really stresses out about it.”
Then, of the romance that develops between Maria and Marcus, Samia said, “Marcus finds Maria crying about her breast cancer scare and, eventually, he manages to find out what is wrong.
“She is dating Jason Grimshaw but it’s Marcus who she wants to accompany her to the hospital.
“They are good friends but the lines start to get blurred. She knows he is gay but she can’t help her feelings for him.
“On paper, Jason is the best choice for her but she can’t stop her feelings for Marcus.”
Samia went on to say that when she heard about the storyline twist, she was very surprised that the show’s writers were exploring such an emotive issue.
She said, “I was completely shocked. I found it weird and I didn’t want to do it at first.
“It is such a sensitive area and it was completely unexpected.
“But after a while, I realised this does happen in real life and I do think it is a good issue to tackle.
“It will get people talking and I know some people will be pleased they do get together.
“People stop me in the street and ask me why Maria isn’t with Marcus.”
However, she added, “It is going to affect Jason heavily. The whole street turns against them.
“They are happy initially, but long term, I am not so sure.
“With Maria, there is never a happy ending. At some point I will be crying again!”
What do you think about Maria and Marcus becoming a couple?