Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) and Sam Blakeman’s (Jude Riordan) lives have turned upside down following Natasha’s (Rachel Leskovac) death in Coronation Street.
For young Sam, he is struggling to process the news that he’ll never see his mum again.
In recent episodes, he explained to dad Nick that he’d like to go and see Natasha at the funeral parlour to confirm in his mind that she wasn’t coming back.
And then there’s Nick.
It’s sometimes hard to believe Nick has only been in Sam’s life for a short period of time, the two of them are so close, but losing Natasha is shining a light on just how out of his depth Nick is when it comes to being a father, as Ben Price explains:
‘With Oliver, he was the stepfather and Oliver’s father Steve was very much in the mix and now the roles have flipped. He is the father and Leanne is the stepmother. But Nick has not had the first ten years. He has suddenly got the entire responsibility for Sam and the enormity has not quite hit him. He is the one that has to be with Sam through this whole experience of losing his mum and it feels very much like he is on day one, but Sam is ten years old.
‘He is really going to have to rely on Leanne, having Sam in his life is what he has always wanted but not like this. He has gone from being a part time dad doing all the nice things like days out and pizza nights to full time dad dealing with his son’s grief’.
Nick and Leanne struggled to reach a decision on whether or not Sam should see Natasha at the undertakers recently.
Despite Nick’s attempts, Sam wasn’t prepared to listen to him, telling his dad that if he didn’t take him to see Natasha, he’d just go on his own.
As Ben continued his chat, he explained what Nick learnt from the experience:
‘At that point Nick let his own feelings and perspective drive him as it isn’t something he would have wanted to do. But talking it through with George made him realise that actually Nick needs to learn from Sam and to not write him off as just a child. He knows his own mind and that scene where he says goodbye to his mum is heart breaking.
‘It was Nick who didn’t want to face it and now he realises that part of being a father is not just saying yes or no, it is giving his son a choice and listening and being there no matter what that choice is’.
After visiting Natasha, Nick emotionally told Leanne that Sam had locked himself in the bathroom and in recent episodes, concern has grown for Sam as the young lad hasn’t been able to talk.
‘I think that really does tap into the heart of Nick as well and resonates with him about how he felt when he lost his dad’, Ben adds, recognising the similarities between Nick and Sam losing a parent.
‘He didn’t want to talk or engage, and he knows enough to know that the trauma is that deep seated that it is going to be very very difficult to get through to him at all. So, you have to try and break that down and then you get into the therapy and professional help, and it frightens Nick that Sam is just not responding at all. He also misses him; he misses his kid and the conversations they had. Not all kids are as articulate or talkative as Sam, he has gone from one extreme to the other and that is painful for Nick.
‘At the same time, it is about Nick letting go and dealing with his grief and Sam is teaching him too, I am very keen to make it an equal relationship between them, Nick is not a dominant parent, they are in it together.
‘I want people to see Nick trying his best but also learning along the way’.
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