Q&A with Gray O'Brien
How is Tony feeling as the birth of Maria's baby
He's feeling very protective of Maria. He's worried about her and he wants to make sure she's getting enough rest, so much so that he decides to take two weeks off work and kip on her sofa. He's on 24-hour call for her.
What happens when he takes her for a walk on the
They're having a walk on the beach, he's distracted with the dog then he hears her scream. He turns round to see she's obviously gone into labour, so he does a 100-metre dash to her and tries to calm her down and convince her everything is okay. Then he goes for his mobile phone but has no signal. There's no-one about, the beach is totally deserted and that's when he starts to panic. He says he's going to have to carry her to the car but she says it's too far. He manages to carry her over the sand dunes and find a beach hut for a bit of a privacy. It's happening quickly by them, he manages to get a faint reception on his phone and calls for an ambulance but they can't get there in time and the operator has to talk him through it. So he ends up with one hand glued to the phone and the other glued to more medical things!
Is Maria scared, and how does Tony handle it?
She's petrified but she just has to trust Tony and get on with it. Inwardly he's terrified too but he tries to keep his cool in front of Maria.
How does Tony react when the baby is born?
He's completely overcome when the baby is born. There's a lovely moment when he passes the baby up on to her. It's just the three of them together and I think Tony maybe wishes the baby was his and they were together as a family. They're overcome with joy and it was quite emotional to film. You're shooting with this prosthetic baby then they whip it away and produce the real one. He was such a tiny, gorgeous baby that we used; it was a lovely moment.
Have you ever delivered a baby before?
I've delivered a few babies in my time; usually in a medical capacity though, while working on Peak Practice and Casualty!
When does she tell him she's calling the baby
They're in the hospital, the girls have come up with some ridiculous ideas for names then when everyone else has left she tells Tony she's going to call him Liam. Tony's really choked but it's what she wants and there's nothing he can say. Every day the name is mentioned he's riddled with guilt. He's totally remorseful about his involvement in Liam's death and he wishes it had never happened.
They're quite cosy at the hospital aren't they?
Yes. Tony takes a picture of them all together, it looks like a nice little family snap and it's another little moment between them. They're so at ease in each other's company and it looks like they're really falling for each other. The baby needs a dad, she needs a man in her life and he's falling for her, so it all looks set.
What happens when Liam's parents arrive?
Liam's parents come over and they're very overbearing. They don't like Tony at all; in their opinion he muscled in on their first son's widow and now he's doing it again. If you look at it that way, I can see why they're a bit cheesed off. Tony can see that she's getting a bit confused and he encourages them to back off and allow Maria to get into a routine with the baby, but they're intent on being involved. They're convinced they're right and it pushes Maria further into Tony's arms.
What happens when Tony moves out?
He packs his things to move out; Liam's parents are there, Michelle's coming back and there seems no reason for him to be there. He's done his bit - the agreement was he'd help her when she was on her own and he's fulfilled his promise. He's very sad about leaving though and he's back every five minutes checking on her. He's got his own keys and he's really kind to the both of them.
What would happen if Carla came back, would he want
Carla or Maria?
I don't think he wants Carla anymore because of the way she's behaved. She left him in the lurch and although it's taken him a bit of time to get over her, I think he has. Maria is a new start and a new chance for him.
Does he want a proper relationship with Maria?
I think that's exactly what he wants: a proper family unit and to live happily ever after. He's successful in everything else he does but not in love. This is the chance to have a ready-made family.
How will he live with the guilt if he stays with Maria
and baby Liam?
I think it's going to be more than difficult but he's trying to put the past behind him and move on with his life. Hopefully there's going to be some loveliness and happy times coming up for Tony.