She may have announced her departure from soap land, but Coronation Street's Debbie Rush has plenty more drama to air, in her storyline with the evil Phelan, before she bids farewell to the cobbles. She tells us why, thanks to the writers, her character Anna Windass has had nothing less than an 'exhilarating ride'.
From your perspective, how do you feel about the Anna and Phelan cat-and-mouse storyline? Is it important for Anna to bring him down?
I've really, really loved it. The first time he left, we knew we had unfinished business. He came back and we've let it gently bubble and boil until this big crescendo that we've got now. That's been great. I know there has been a debate for a long time over, 'Did he rape her, didn't he rape her?' Well, he did, because she was coerced into having sex with him to protect her family. That's the way I've played it and that's why it's very important that for me, Anna would be the one to bring him down with justice.
What reaction have you had from the public?
I'm still getting people in the street, from little old ladies to young lads, shouting, 'Oi, Anna, when you gonna get Phelan?' So it's great, everyone wants him done in, and they all want Anna to do it.
What's it like playing the scenes with Connor McIntyre? He has to go into a dark place to channel Phelan.
When we finish [a scene] we always have a cuddle. He works on the same page that I do, he throws his heart and soul into it, so he's brilliant! We arrive on set and are jovial, chat about what we did at the weekend, and once we get ready to start rolling, he's off in his corner and I'm off in mine, and we become those characters. So, in that moment, it's terrifying and frightening. The pair of us go to very dark places.
Tell us about Anna's escape from hospital.
After losing Gary, her whole world is caved in. We all know she hasn't pushed poor Seb. I think what you've seen is a bit of an unravelling of her. Then when you see she runs away and escapes, you'll see more of an unravelling, and it's a case of where things maybe can't get any worse.
When she's on the run, what's the mindset?
When you see her on the run, I think she just feels like ultimately Phelan's won. I think you see a woman full of desperation who thinks she has nothing else left in the world. And it's fight or flight and she decides to fight and that's the only way she can do it. Nobody believing her is driving her mad, literally.
How will her and Kevin's relationship develop?
Loads of people like us together, so that's a case of, 'Will Kevin be on her side or won't he?' She does love him but she's struggling with loyalty and equally he's struggling with belief of whether she has or hasn't [pushed Seb] because of the way the last 12 months have unfolded and her behaviour.
When you watch the drama back, are you rooting for her to triumph?
She's a very strong woman. That's why I love playing her so much because she's such a strong character. And what's been lovely about that is we've covered so many issues, where I've had lovely letters from a lot of women who have been through tough times. It's nice to know that the character is connecting with so many people out there.
Has it been exhausting for you to film this story line?
More than the exhaustion, it's been exhilarating, and I've loved doing it. I got set on fire last year for real - and when that was put to me, I thought, 'Oh, that's exciting!' I've throw myself into everything 1000%, and loved it.
It's not long until, you wave goodbye to the cobbles for good. How are you feeling about it?
I'm really excited, if I'm honest. I've been there for nine years and loved every minute, but as an actress it is time to move on. I've no plans. I'm a jobbing actress and that's what I intend to continue doing. It was frightening before I came into this because jobs are tough and they're few and far between. When I came here I thought, 'If I stay for a year, it'll be all right', and here I am nine years later. I talked about it for about two years before it was time to go. It's scary to leave a lovely job, I just want to be creative again somewhere else.
What's been the highlight of your time on Corrie?
There have been so many fabulous times. I absolutely love working with Mikey [North]. We laugh and laugh every day. He's become so close. I'll miss him dreadfully. Although, I won't, because he'll be coming for his tea!
Watch Debbie Rush's Coronation Street storyline unravel on ITV.
Catch up on all the drama on BT TV via the ITV Hub app.
Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock/ITV/PA