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Death and revenge grip Corrie in knicker factory siege inferno

Coronation Street's Carla Connor fights for her life as flames engulf Underworld in a terrifying armed siege that leaves two characters dead.

In the most expensive episodes filmed for the soap, murderous Tony Gordon, played by Gray O'Brien, breaks out of jail next week to exact his revenge on those he believes have wronged him.

With the help of new henchman Robbie Sloan (James Fleet), the convicted killer takes ex-wife Carla Connor (Alison King) and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) hostage.

Former lover Maria Connor (Samia Smith) also becomes embroiled in the plot when she makes a surprise appearance at the knicker factory.

As the tension mounts, crazed Tony splashes petrol around the building and sets fire to it. Although the identities of the casualties are being kept under wraps, two characters lose their lives in the dramatic episodes, which took four weeks to film and used a purpose-built set.

Actress King underwent gun training before shooting her scenes as Carla, and insisted on doing some of her own stunts. She even needed emergency oxygen after filming in the smoke-filled room.

Detailing her injuries, she said: "There were a few cuts and bruises. I got a black eye at one point, and I got a stye [in my eye]."


Hesmondhalgh admitted that the scenes were a departure from her usual Corrie fare as mild-mannered Hayley.

"It was completely different from anything I've ever done before.

"I'm not often an action hero, strangely enough, but it was really exciting. It was great. I did feel like it was something special."

Smith, who returned from maternity leave especially to film the siege episodes, added: "It didn't feel like we were filming Corrie.

"Because the set was purposely made it felt like we were on a drama as the pace was a lot slower."