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STREET PSYCHO'S OUT TO GET ME; From gymslip mum to teen rebel, Corrie star Tina could be facing her toughest fight yet against stepdad.

Byline: FRANCES TRAYNOR EXCLUSIVE

TEENAGER Tina O'Brien has packed a lot into three short years on Coronation Street ... gymslip mum, stalked by an Internet pervert and rebel without a cause.

Now she is about to face her scariest moment yet - risking the wrath of Street psycho Richard.

As Sarah-Louise Platt, Tina is giving screen mum Gail hell by ditching baby daughter Bethany to hang out with bad boy schoolmate Ade.

She even threatened to give the tot up for adoption when Gail found the teenagers drunk on her couch.

But moody Ade will meet his match when Richard - who has already been involved in the death of his business partner and killed his ex-wife with a shovel - warns him off.

Tina, 18, says: "Sarah-Lou and Ade better watch out because Richard has a nasty streak.

"No-one in the Platt family has seen that side of him because, at home, Richard is Mr Nice Guy. But Ade certainly sees Mr Nasty.

"I don't know if Ade and Sarah-Lou cross Richard, but the storylines have been so exciting so far that anything could happen.

"Richard killed his ex-wife because he thought she was going to ruin his perfect family.

"He does love Gail and the kids, but who knows what he'd do if he fell out of love? Sarah-Lou will have to watch her back."

Bubbly Tina has been thrilled by all the twists and turns the script- writers have thrown at her character.

Within months of walking down the famous Weatherfield cobbles for the first time, Tina was given the bombshell news that Sarah-Lou, then 13, would become pregnant.

Her performance as a reluctant mum won her Best Newcomer at the National Television Awards and a Best Storyline gong at the British Soap Awards.

Tina admits: "I didn't know when I auditioned that they had that in mind, but my dad laughed and said ... 'I bet they'll have you pregnant in no time!'.

"I loved that storyline because it gave me the chance to go through so many different emotions. I feel really lucky."

Having shocked mum Gail and stepdad Martin with the pregnancy, Sarah-Lou settled down to early motherhood, but that didn't last long.

And Tina is thrilled that she's getting to be a rebellious teen on screen.

She says: "At the moment, Sarah-Lou is going a bit mad. What's really annoying her is that she's not allowed to be a normal teenager because she has a baby and has to be responsible.

"She's not doing anything really bad, it's just strops and drinking. And it was more in the heat of the moment that she said she wanted to give Bethany away.

"She was thinking of whether she was a good mum and capable of bringing this baby up.

"I don't think she could really give her baby away, but at the same time she's frustrated. She sees that this is how her life is going to be now.

"There were things she wanted to do and now she can't because she's got to take someone else into consideration."

Tina is in no doubt that acting bad is much more enjoyable than being an on-screen goody two shoes.

She explains: "From my point of view, it's fun, winding Gail up to try and get my own way.

"You get to be selfish and act as if you're the only person in the world."

TINA also admits that she's had her fair share of teenage strops - but insists she has done a lot of growing up since becoming one of Britain's most famous teenagers.

She says: "I didn't do anything too bad, just what everyone does.

"It was more about me wanting to do things and my mum saying no. And if I wasn't allowed to do what I wanted, it was like ... 'you've ruined my life!'.

"I remember being really upset because I wanted to go to a New Year party at the Town Hall and my mum said I couldn't go because she was worried about me being in town that late.

"I thought it was the end of the world, that I was never going to have a good time at New Year again. Then my friend had a party and it was brilliant and I forgot all about the other one."

Some youngsters have suffered from having to grow up in the public eye, but Tina reckons it's not been too hard. In fact, she thinks it has helped her.

She says: "I've definitely matured. That would have happened anyway, but I can feel it more because I've grown up on screen, too.

"Maybe it's because of all the things I've gone through. When I think back at my time here, it seems longer than three years."

Tina is part of a Corrie cast that seems to be getting younger by the day - and the younger generation gel together off-screen, too.

She has close friendships with Nikki Sanderson, who plays her on-screen best friend Candice, and Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria.

Tina says: "When I first went on the Street, the only other young person was Nikki and I love her to bits, she's a great mate.

"But now there are loads of younger characters and that's great for the show and for us."

The Street has also brought romance to Tina's life - she's dating co-star Bruno Langley, who plays Todd Grimshaw.

So how awkward was it doing last week's scenes where Tina - as Sarah- Lou - chucked Bruno's character to chase Ade?

Tina says: "It's just acting, so I didn't find it strange to be dumping Bruno. We had a laugh about it afterwards. Todd'sther."

THE only small problem Tina has with her current storylines is that she has to be mean to Helen Worth, who plays her screen mum Gail, when they are really good friends.

She says: "We get on well and she has been a great support to me.

"If I'm doing an interview and my nerves are going, she helps me. One time she put her hand on my back and it was so comforting.

"The scenes at the moment between us are quite emotional. I had to shout that I hated her in one and afterwards I was like ... 'I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it'.

"It's horrible because Sarah is so mean to her mum at the moment, but Helen and I are such good friends, it's not a problem."

Despite her youth, Tina is something of a TV veteran. Before Corrie, she was seen in the kids' programme Children's Ward and played former Street star Sarah Lancashire's daughter in the first series of Clocking Off.

Then, last Christmas, Sarah-Lou was the principal boy in the ITV panto - but she has no plans to swap her life in front of the camera for one on the stage.

Tina says: "I have done theatre and I love getting on stage, but I'm much happier in television.

"TV lets you be more natural and I find the filming fascinating. I always watch what's going on.

"It's exciting, too, because things are always changing. New people come in all the time, so I really appreciate what I've got and enjoy the experience."
COPYRIGHT 2002 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 24, 2002
Words:1199
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