Kal Nazir (Jimi Mistry) sensationally departed Coronation Street on Thursday night after being caught in the explosion at Victoria Court. Kal, Leanne (Jane Danson) and Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney) became trapped on the balcony of Carla’s flat and whilst Leanne and Amy were rescued it was too late for poor Kal. It was announced a few months ago that Jimi Mistry was leaving the soap but Corrie kept his departure a secret to ensure his demise would shock viewers. In poignant scenes Leanne accepted Kal’s marriage proposal just before he turned back towards the flames, almost resigned to his impending death. His death leaves Leanne and the Nazirs reeling in the aftermath of the episodes but in the coming weeks new conflicts occur and unlikely friendships develop as Leanne tries to move on with life after Kal.
Last week The Custard TV spoke to Jimi Mistry, director David Kester and producer Stuart Blackburn about the explosive episodes.
Jimi, how did you feel when you first read what your exit was going to be?
I was really pleased because it was the biggest fire that the show has had and it’s been a busy week on TV for it as well so hopefully it will get a good audience. It was like being in a little action movie at the end which I really liked so I was pleased with how the whole thing turned out.
Did you always know that Kal was going to be killed off?
No! I didn’t know from the beginning but it was something that was discussed. When the idea was pitched I thought it was a fantastic, dramatic part of Coronation Street history. I’ve done a lot of things in my career and I’ve always wanted to keep moving on, I’ve had a fantastic time and to be part of something like this, I really wanted to do it. It was a great end to the character and it will give so much future to the [Nazir] family as well. There will be a lot of drama for them because of this.
Did you feel emotional watching your exit?
JM: Yeah it was quite emotional watching myself die like that on screen.
DK: It’s what makes it Coronation Street; it’s not just about the explosions it’s about the impact on the characters too.
David, can you tell us about the preparation for such a huge stunt?
It involves a lot of planning! We spent a lot of time breaking it down scene by scene deciding what we were going to do mechanically in terms of all the stunts. There was a lot of special effects and a lot of stunt work so I had to be across all of that so when it came to the shoot I could give my support to the actors and concentrate on that knowing that everything would go as planned… apart from when the fire brigade turned up thinking there was a real fire! That was a little bit awkward!
What was the hardest thing about filming in the fire?
JM: You prepare the script and learn your lines but then it all changes when you are on set because you are dealing with the circumstances of being in that situation. We were really close to the fire when filming; it was as real as can be. It was quite claustrophobic but it did add to the performance that you were giving.
DK: It was all broken up into little sections and we had to remember what we did when. All the sound had to be redone afterwards because we filmed in a massive warehouse and it didn’t sound right. We had stunt people but we tried to use them as little as possible as so that the audience can see the actors.
Is there going to be tension between Leanne and Zeedan in the aftermath of Kal’s death? We saw the look he gave Leanne at the end of the episode…
SB: It’s a moment in time, Zeedan will actually wise up and realise how much Leanne meant to Kal. There’s trouble ahead for Leanne but Zeedan will be there for her in the coming months trying to support her. He knows it’s what his dad would have wanted.
How will Kal’s death affect Simon?
SB: He’s been through so much, losing Kal and other male figures in his life who have gone, Simon is going to take it really hard. It’s one piece of grief too much for him and it’s all these emotions that he just can’t handle. But the Nazirs will remain close to Leanne and Simon.
Stuart can you tell us about the future of the Nazirs now that Kal has gone?
We’ve got some great things coming up for them, as you can see from that last scene Qasim Akhtar who plays Zeedan is so good, so watch out for him, We’ve also got massive stuff for Alya coming up and the grandparents will be involved too. The Nazirs come into their own in the aftermath of the events, they’re absolutely fantastic. They’ve got a bright future.
Jimi, you have worked on both Coronation Street and Eastenders, how do you compare both experiences?
Very different because Eastenders was at the beginning of my career and this is now. I was a young lad then whereas now I am very much more experienced and I’ve enjoyed myself a lot more this time around. The Corrie family is a very special one, everyone makes you welcome, it’s a really good atmosphere. They’re producing some great work so I’ve really enjoyed myself this time.
Did you take a souvenir from the set Jimi?
I didn’t, I think for about two weeks afterwards I could still smell the fire so that was a big enough souvenir for me!
And finally Stuart, you have said previously that you feel people still sneer at soaps, do you think after events like this week that the view is changing?
I hope so. The thing that always upsets me, on behalf of the actors, directors and writers, is that they could work in any genre and they actually work a damn site harder then someone who is perhaps doing a six part drama and had a lot more time and the results are still the same. I just hope they all get the respect they deserve because all the way through the episodes this week the performances from everyone were spot and on and could have graced anything.
The aftermath from the explosion continues in Coronation Street this week and all next week.
Contributed by Rachael Miller