Coronation Street star Ben Price has revealed he sheds tears over his current heart-wrenching storyline, which sees his on-screen stepson battling an incurable form of mitochondrial disease.
Ben plays Nick Tilsley, in the soap with his stepson Oliver Battersby (played by Emmanuel and Jeremiah Cheetham) fighting the disease which could kill him.
Ben told The Sun: ‘I’ve got kids, it’s hard. It’s important but I’d be lying if I don’t go home at night sometimes and read the next bunch of scripts or the next scenes and have a little cry.’
Real emotions: Coronation Street star Ben Price has revealed he sheds tears over his current heart-wrenching storyline, where his on-screen stepson is battling an incurable form of mitochondrial disease
In real life, Ben is married to fashion stylist, Alexandra, and the couple have two children together, Paloma and Maximilian.
He appeared on the cobbles of Weatherfield in October 2009 but took a break from the soap in 2017 in a bid to spend more time with his family who are based in South England.
The family man revealed he struggles to leave the emotions from his role on set as he added: ‘You feel it, you’ve got to, you’re paid to feel it, but I can’t quite ever turn it off.’
Shocking diagnosis: His soap character, Nick Tilsley, is overwhelmed with emotion after his stepson Oliver Battersby is diagnosed with the disease, which could kill him
Ben said to The Sun: ‘I’ve got kids, it’s hard. It’s important but I’d be lying if I don’t go home at night sometimes and read the next bunch of scripts or the next scenes and have a little cry’
When a person has Mitochondrial disease the cells are not producing enough energy for the cell to work properly.
The commonest parts of the body affected are those that have the highest energy demands – the brain, muscles, liver, heart and kidney. The disease leaves them without the energy they need to function properly.
There are currently no official statistics to record the numbers of children but there are degrees of mitochondrial disease and the rate of progression depends on the severity.
The disease is present at birth, affecting boys and girls equally. Presently there is no cure, although research is ongoing.
Last week on the ITV soap, Nick was at hospital when he spotted his former girlfriend Natasha Blakeman, played by Rachel Leskovac.
Shocking revelation: After spotting his ex-girlfriend Natasha Blackeman- played by Rachel Leskovac- at the hospital Nick discovers he is the father to a ten-year-old son
She was engaged in a suspicious conversation and it was then revealed that Nick is in fact the father of her son, 10.
Speaking to Digital Spy, about the discovery of his 10-year old son, he added: ‘I think it’s a bit overwhelming for Nick. He likes a bit of proof, so he’s got to work it out. Then he’s thinking: “How can that be possible?”
‘Then there’s guilt for him over not being there, guilt about Leanne and what’s going on with Oliver.’
Ben and the crew at Coronation Street communicate with the Lily Foundation, which supports those affected by mitochondrial disease.
WHAT IS MITOCHONDRIAL DISEASE AND WHY CAN IT BE DEADLY?
What are mitochondria?
In every cell in the body, mitochondria are responsible for producing energy (called ATP) that the cell needs to function. Cells make up tissues and organs in our bodies, for example the heart and liver.
They are like power stations in our bodies, supplying the energy every cell needs to function.
If our cells do not have energy, then the tissues or body organs that the cells are made up of do not work properly.
One analogy is that if power stations do not produce enough energy for the country, there will be areas of blackout, where parts of the country cannot function.
What is mitochondrial disease?
When a person has mitochondrial disease the mitochondria in the cells are not producing enough energy for the cell. Sometimes they do not work at all, and sometimes they are just not very efficient.
If a cell does not get enough energy (ATP) it cannot function properly.
There is a huge variety in the symptoms and severity of mitochondrial disease. It depends on how many cells are affected, and where they are in the body – so every person with mitochondrial disease is affected differently.
Each individual affected will have a different combination of mitochondria that are working and not working within each cell.
However, there are times when particular body systems are affected in a recognisable pattern and these have particular names, for example Alpers, Leigh’s disease, MELAS and MERRF.
The commonest parts of the body affected are those that have the highest energy demands; brain, muscle, liver, heart and kidney.
If a lot of mitochondria in the body are affected in the important body organs, like the brain, mitochondrial disease can be very serious.
The symptoms of mitochondrial disease are usually progressive in body systems where the cells have a high demand for energy, such as brain cells.
Source: The Lily Foundation