CORONATION Street star Richard Hawley explained his alter-ego Johnny Connor’s new diagnosis.
The Landlord of the Rovers has been battling Charles Bonnet syndrome and the actor has warned the suffering is set to continue.
Johnny Connor star Richard Hawley explains his character’s new diagnosis
In upcoming episodes, Johnny will admit to having hallucinations and seeing his late son Aidan, as well as hallucinations of mice, cockroaches and a ginger cat as his eyesight deteriorates.
His eyesight continues to get worse and being stuck behind bars plunges Johnny into further turmoil.
Explaining his character’s situation, Richard shared: “Once you have a diagnosis of Charles Bonnet syndrome things can get a little better simply because you know what it is.
“What happens is your brain makes up images because it is not getting enough information because of reduced eyesight. There is no attendant feeling of anything else. It is just simply hallucination, it can be an unpleasant one or it could be a pleasant one or both.”
Johnny has been diagnosed with Charles Bonnet syndrome
Johnny is also serving time in prison for armed robbery
The soap star compared having traumatic episodes to that of a ‘horror movie’ and shared his thought process when channeling the role.
He added: “When it is an unpleasant one it is a bit like sitting there and having to watch a horror movie that you don’t really want to watch.
“But before you get a diagnosis people can look at it and can worry themselves that this is a mental health problem, which is what I tried to do with the performance with Johnny, to look like he was having mental health problems.”
Before taking part in the storyline, Richard admitted he had never heard of the condition and revealed the soap worked closely with charity Esme’s Umbrella to help with their research.
Ricard has played Johnny on Coronation Street since 2015Credit: Rex Features
Richard compared dark hallucinations to a ‘horror movie’
Richard, who has played Johnny since 2015, said: “It is incredibly important to do the research and find out as much as you can, for me it is one of the most interesting parts of the job that you get the opportunity to speak to these people and learn about things you were either unaware of or knew very little about.
“You have a responsibility to the people who are going through it for real. They always bring something surprising to the table.
“I spoke to a remarkable lady called Nina Chesworth who has it, she has a family and is also a visual artist,” he added.
“The brain is a very extraordinary thing. Even though there is a commonality of some types of hallucinations it manifests itself differently for different people and everyone has a different experience with both MS and Charles Bonnet syndrome so this is still very much Johnny’s story.”