Spoilers: Corrie boss reveals tragic new storyline for Toyah Battersby

Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor) is undoubtedly one of the best characters that Coronation Street has to offer, but fans of the soap have noted that she hasn’t had as much screen time as of late. However, if you’re a Toyah fan — and let’s face it: who isn’t? — you’ll be pleased to know that she’s set to feature a lot in the upcoming Oliver narrative.

Speaking about Toyah, Corrie boss Iain MacLeod told Metro.co.uk: ‘I agree she has been underused so we’re looking to fix that.’

‘She will be a huge part of the Leanne story and she and Imran make some big life changing decisions which are thrown up into the air because of it all.’

‘Everyone else feels shut out but Toyah is very much her rock and at her side throughout. There will be a lot more screentime for Georgia and Toyah.’

The storyline in question is Oliver’s diagnosis with Mitochondrial disease. Viewers will know that the young boy suffered a seizure several weeks back, and — although doctors weren’t too worried about it at the time — it becomes apparent that there’s more going on than meets the eye in the coming episodes.

Speaking about the storyline, Iain said: ‘This is a story about a family coming to terms with the most difficult news anyone can face and the ways in which this strengthens and shatters relationships in unpredictable ways.’

What is mitochondrial disease?

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).

Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.

The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.

Symptoms vary depending on the organ(s) affected but may include seizures, atypical cerebral palsy, autistic features, developmental problems, fainting and temperature instability.

According to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, the prognosis depends upon the severity of the disease and other criteria. As more research funds are raised to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure, some of the affected children and adults are living fairly normal lives with mitochondrial disease.

In other cases, children may not be able to see, hear, talk or walk. Affected children may not survive beyond their teenage years. Adult onset can result in drastic changes from an active lifestyle to a debilitating ilness is a short amount of time.

Treatment plans vary from patient to patient but involve therapies, diet changes and other means to try and slow the progress of the disease.

You can find out more information from the NHS here.

‘Above all, we wanted to do justice to the stories of the many thousands of families who have to deal with diagnoses similar to Oliver’s, be it a mitochondrial disorder or another life-limiting condition.’

‘It is something that, as a society, we find difficult to talk about but which is all too common. The taboo around these illnesses can mean awareness is low, which means funding for research is low. Aside from telling a brilliant, moving and emotionally complex story, we really hope to draw attention to this subject to change this situation for the better.’

Coronation Street continues Monday 11 May at 7:30pm on ITV.

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