Coronation Street will shine a light on the plight of disabled workers during the pandemic as much-loved character Izzy Armstrong (Cherylee Houston) returns.
During this storyline, Corrie will shine a light on the difficulty millions of disabled people have experienced during the pandemic and the pressures they are under while trying to work remotely and shield at the same time.
Viewers have already seen Carla (Alison King) and Sarah (Tina O’Brien) come up with a scheme to help Izzy work from home. However, unbeknownst to the Underworld bosses, Izzy has been struggling to keep up with the workload and things will come to a head next week.
For the first time since the pandemic began, we will see Izzy in her home environment. These upcoming scenes have been filmed by Cherylee Houston and her partner Toby Hadoke in their Manchester home.
Toby has also joined the cast as Izzy’s concerned neighbour Fergus.
As Carla grows frustrated at Izzy’s poor work, she’ll tell Sarah that if Izzy refuses to come back to Underworld, they’ll have to get rid of her.
When Sarah video calls Izzy, Fergus steps in and tells Sarah that Izzy needs to put her health first.
In a recent survey carried out by YouGov, one in 13 disabled workers said they were subjected to bullying and/or harassment, being ignored or excluded, singled out for criticism or being monitored excessively at work.
The show’s writers and producers have collaborated with Cherylee for many months on the storyline. Cherylee has been shielding since last March and discussing her return to filming as Izzy, she said:
‘I have been unbelievably fortunate that my employers enabled me to continue shielding after the official shielding guidance ended in March. I’ve been so supported by ITV, but I’m aware that many of my disabled peers who were previously shielding haven’t had that safety and have been forced to make the decision to earn money to survive whilst facing the real fear of death or serious illness through Covid.’
Coronation Street Producer Iain MacLeod added: ‘We had to think outside the box in order to tell this story, devising new protocols and ways of scripting scenes that would allow Cherylee to film the scenes herself in her home. It certainly helped that her partner Toby is a fabulous actor!
Despite all the technical challenges we had to overcome, this was a story that needed telling and I hope it will resonate with millions of people who have found themselves in a similar position to Izzy, and perhaps open the eyes of millions of others who had little awareness of the issues facing disabled people during COVID.’
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