Leanne moves to Coronation Street with her family. She begins a relationship with Nick Tilsley (Adam Rickitt), despite his mother, Gail Platt's (Helen Worth) disapproval. Nick proposes and he and Leanne go to Scotland to get married. In an effort to become more responsible, Leanne quits her hairdressing course and starts working with Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) in the Kabin. Nick, however, continues at college and they move into number 4 Coronation Street with Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold), his girlfriend, Zoe Tattersall (Joanne Froggatt), and Zoe's daughter, Shannon. Nick and Leanne's relationship becomes strained when Leanne becomes pregnant. Insisting they are not ready for a baby, Nick persuades Leanne to have an abortion and tell people that she miscarried. Leanne reluctantly agrees and the relationship begins to deteriorate.
Nick learns that his father's killer, Darren Whateley (Andy Robb), will soon be released from prison on parole and persuades Leanne to befriend him, intending to send Darren back to prison. Things do not go according to plan, and Leanne's safety is threatened when Darren breaks into her house. He returns to prison for breaking his parole conditions, regardless of the fact that Nick was responsible for the situation. Their relationship does not survive such trauma and they separate. Now single, Leanne begins dating Vikram Desai (Chris Bisson). Excessive partying and late nights take their toll and Leanne resigns from the Kabin following a row with Rita's foster daughter, Sharon (Tracie Bennett), over missing money and starts work as barmaid at the Rovers for Natalie Horrocks (Denise Welch) for money, but she refusses to break into The Rovers Return. Leanne ends up in hospital after a fight with one of Jez's thugs. Leanne is scared and decides to leave Weatherfield.
In June 2004, Leanne's father, Les Battersby (Bruce Jones), finds her working as a belly dancer in a bar. She returns to the Street and moves in with Janice (Vicky Entwistle), but quickly causes trouble for ex-husband, Nick, and his girlfriend, Maria Sutherland (Samia Ghadie), after learning of Maria's affair with Toyah's ex-boyfriend, John. Leanne and Maria’s sparring culminates in a brawl in The Rovers Return and Nick leaves Weatherfield alone. Leanne dates Jamie Baldwin (Rupert Hill) and despite briefly dumping her for Maria, they reunite. However, in 2005, Leanne has an affair with Danny (Bradley Walsh), Jamie's father. After the affair is exposed in January 2006, Jamie ends the relationship with Leanne and disowns his father. Danny moves in with Leanne and they subsequently get engaged, plotting to change his father Mike's (Johnny Briggs) will, so Danny will inherit his fortune. Leanne eggs Danny on and, after Mike dies in April 2006, Danny inherits everything. However, in July; Leanne finds a more recent will that leaves everything to Mike's youngest son, Adam Barlow (Sam Robertson). Leanne blackmails Danny with the newer will to get £100,000 of Mike's estate. When Danny rejects her threats, Leanne gives the will to Adam and he has Danny arrested but drops the charges when Danny offers him a 40% share in Underworld. Danny evicts Leanne and she leaves Weatherfield.
Leanne returns eight months later, secretly working as an escort. Her stepmother Janice, now separated from Les, is disgusted. When Leanne starts dating Liam Connor (Rob-James Collier), Janice insists she choose between a loving relationship and the money she can make by prostitution. Leanne's latest client turns out to be Liam's brother, Paul (Sean Gallagher), and he threatens to tell Liam that she is an escort but keeps quiet after Leanne threatens to tell his wife, Carla (Alison King), about his activities. Following the incident with Paul, Leanne chooses to buy a restaurant with Liam's sister-in-law, Carla. However, after Leanne buys the lease for the restaurant, Carla learns that she and Paul met once when she was working as an escort. Refusing to believe that they did not sleep together, Carla refuses to have anything to do with the restaurant, leaving Leanne £10,000 in debt, and dumps Paul. An angry Paul kidnaps Leanne, putting her in the boot of his Mercedes before crashing his car into a truck. Leanne suffers minor injuries but Paul is killed but Carla tells Liam about Leanne's former profession so he ends their relationship. Leanne borrows the £10,000 she needs from Janice's boyfriend, Roger Stiles (Andrew Dunn), and pays him back throughout the year.
She later takes on Paul Clayton (Tom Hudson) as a chef and he develops feelings for her, which she rejects. However, after realising that Valandro's is losing money, she and Paul stage an insurance scam and burn the restaurant down in March 2008. Leanne sleeps with Paul to persuade him to torch the restaurant, which he does on 31 March 2008. Meanwhile, Leanne is now dating Dan Mason (Matthew Crompton). When the police question her and Paul about the fire, Dan gives her an alibi, leaving Paul in the frame. He is arrested and released on bail but later flees Weatherfield to escape imprisonment. In September, Dan needs £10,000 to buy the betting shop from his father, Harry (Jack Ellis), and Leanne offers him the money after Janice won £25,000 in a lottery scam. However, when Dan learned where the money came from, he breaks up with Leanne. Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) returns to the Street with his son, Simon (Alex Bain), and buys the betting shop. On 17 December 2008, a drunken Peter tries to kiss Leanne but she rejects him. However, she forgives him when he promises to give up the booze and they start dating. Early in 2009, Peter struggles to stay sober and starts a rehabilitation programme which Leanne supports, running the betting shop in his absence. Leanne thinks that he is having an affair and confronts him in The Rovers but is mortified to learn that he was planning to propose to her. The reappearance of Leanne's ex, Nick (now played by Ben Price), is another challenge to her relationship with Peter. After an explosion at the bar and a tram derailment, Nick, Peter and Ashley are trapped in the office. Peter is seriously hurt and taken to hospital where he and Leanne marry but moments later, Peter goes into cardiac arrest brought on by a pericardial effusion and has to be resuscitated. To Leanne's relief, he survives and successfully comes through surgery to stop internal bleeding but it is later revealed that he has damaged his spine and it could be some time before he can walk again. Noticing that Carla has romantic feelings for Peter, Leanne warns her to stay away from them and takes Peter on an impromptu honeymoon on New Year's Eve.
On their return, they move back to their flat but Peter is depressed about his injuries and hates being treated like an invalid. Leanne finds herself under great stress, having to look after both Simon and Peter and run the bookies with Nick, who continues to pressure her to leave Peter. Leanne later suspects that Peter and Carla have been having an affair but they were, in fact, supporting each other as alcoholics. Leanne and Peter argue and Peter refuses to forgive Leanne because she did not trust him. Leanne plans to leave for London but Peter stops her at the station. After a weekend spent talking through their problems, the couple agree to give their marriage another try and head off, with Simon, on the honeymoon Peter had booked. The new landlady at The Rovers, Stella Price (Michelle Collins), is revealed to be Leanne's biological mother but Leanne rejects her. Leanne is overjoyed to find that she is pregnant but although Peter seems happy, he admits to Ken that he is not sure they are ready. Peter and Leanne celebrate in the Rovers and Carla overhears Deirdre and Ken congratulating them and forces Peter to confirm that Leanne is pregnant. Leanne is furious when she realises Carla knows about her pregnancy, especially when Carla drops hints to Simon about it. She confronts Peter, and they argue about it, which ends with Leanne hurling vicious insults at Peter about his alcoholism and he storms out of the flat. Feeling guilty, Leanne runs after him but trips and falls down the stairs, where she is later found by Stella. Leanne miscarries and reconciles with Stella. Dr Matt Carter (Oliver Mellor) tells her she's unlikely to get pregnant again without IVF and while she is discussing this, Peter begins an affair with Carla. When Leanne learns of this, she leaves Weatherfield, despite Stella begging her to stay. She stays with her sister, but when she returns, Leanne decides to go for custody of Simon after she believes Peter and Carla cannot take care of him. Simon ends up in hospital after drinking a bottle of wine, and Peter hands Simon over to Leanne.
Leanne later reconciles with Nick, and she and Simon move in with him after Peter and Carla leave Weatherfield. Leanne receives her decree absolute, but manipulation from Leanne's jealous half-sister, Eva, leads Nick to propose to Leanne, which she initially rejects but later accepts. Peter and Carla return from L.A and Simon insists that he stays with his father, forcing them to cancel the wedding. Nick re-books the wedding, but calls it off when Eva tells the congregation that Leanne visited Peter. Leanne attacks Peter and attempts to win Nick back, after realising he is the one she wants and re-books the wedding. Leanne sells her share of the bookie's to Carla, for £90,000 and refuses to lower the price.
Nick falls into a coma following a car accident with David. Leanne supports Nick when he is released from hospital. He becomes argumentative and short-tempered which Leanne finds difficult. Leanne discovers that Nick slept with David's wife, Kylie Platt (Paula Lane) and that David caused the car crash. Following weeks of indecision she allows Nick to look after Simon. He loses his temper and Leanne decides to reconcile with him and support his recovery. Their marriage ends when Nick punches Leanne during an angry outburst witnessed by Nick's family.
Leanne develops an attraction to Kal Nazir (Jimi Mistry). They initially attempt to distance themselves from one another fearing a relationship would ruin Nick's recovery from brain damage. When they enter into a relationship Nick fires Leanne. She and Kal overcome problems in their relationship and she files for divorce from Nick. Nick behaves harshly towards Leanne and informs Kal's family about Leanne's prostitution past. Leanne begins work at the kebab shop and halts her divorce fearing the stress will take its toll on a Nick's health. Nick admits he faked being stressed and smashes items in his restaurant - she then returns to working there.
Kal is killed in a fire moments after proposing to her. Leanne recognises Liz McDonald's (Beverley Callard) new boyfriend, Dan Jones (Andrew Paul) as an old client from working as a prostitute. He holds Leanne hostage for telling Liz and informs Simon about Leanne's prostitution. An angry Simon hits Leanne and continues to be abusive towards her but promises to stop. On another occasion he pushes her over knocking her unconscious and she is taken to hospital. Leanne sends Simon to stay with Peter but his behaviour worsens when he returns and she confides in Eva about the abuse. Simon continues to hit Leanne, refuses to go to school, vandalises property and drunkenly causes a scene in the Bistro. Leanne forces Simon to live with his grandfather. When he tries to hit his cousin Amy, Leanne tells the truth about the domestic violence. They agree to help Simon with counselling. When he accidentally injures a fellow football team player, Leanne reports him to the police. Simon initially refuses to forgive speak to Leanne but after he visits Peter, they live together again.
Leanne sleeps with Steve and becomes pregnant by him. She fears it could be her final chance to be a mother and tells Steve she is keeping the unborn child. Steve chooses to have no role in his unborn child's life to protect his relationship with Michelle. When a plan to go into business with Nick fails to happen, Leanne returns to work as the manager of the Bistro. After rejecting his attempts to rekindle their relationship, Leanne is hurt when Nick flirts with a customer. Leanne finds out Liz knows about her pregnancy and Leanne is furious Steve told her. Leanne makes it clear to Liz she is nothing to do with her baby and Leanne decides to move to Liverpool with Simon. At the coach station, Simon secretly phones Nick and Leanne admits she loves him. Nick arrives, knowing about the baby and persuades Leanne to stay. Nick accompanies Leanne to her first scan. Leanne and Nick decide to move in together and for Nick to raise the baby as his, which doesn't impress Gail. Leanne admits to Nick that Steve is the father and he struggles to accept it. Nick decides to stay with Leanne. Leanne learns Steve may have inherited myotonic dystrophy from Jim and she and Nick want Steve to be tested for it, however, he refuses. Leanne encourages Michelle to get Steve to take the test and also tells Tracy about it. Michelle is annoyed with Leanne's interference and reveals he took the test. Leanne sees Peter at the hospital after Ken suffers a stroke. Leanne finds out she is expecting a boy.
Toyah returns on Christmas Day, telling Leanne she has left her husband Toby Chapman (Andrew Dowbiggin), as she has been having an affair. Toyah later meets with Leanne's ex-husband, Peter, with whom she is having the affair, and they agree to tell Leanne they are together. Toby visits Toyah to save their marriage, but Toyah refuses to listen or reconcile. Toyah then accompanies a pregnant Leanne to the hospital after she suffers a migraine. Toyah and Peter decide to keep their relationship a secret, but Simon witnesses their kiss using his drone. Peter tells Toyah that Simon knows and they ask him to keep it secret for Leanne's sake. Leanne figures out Peter is Toyah's boyfriend, after Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine) inadvertently reveals to Leanne about Peter's new girlfriend. Leanne is hurt that Eva knew and they involved Simon and she disowns her sisters. Nick proposes to Leanne, and she accepts. Leanne forgives Eva, witnessed by Toyah and Toyah confronts her. Leanne and Toyah get stuck in the lift and Leanne goes into labour. Toyah helps deliver Leanne's baby and Leanne forgives her. Leanne and Nick name the baby Oliver. Leanne tells Nick she has decided not to put him on the birth certificate, but changes her mind. At a family party organised by Gail at The Bistro to celebrate his birth, Steve announces that Oliver is his son and Michelle hits Leanne.
In February 1997, Rolf Myller from The People reported that a "family from hell" would be introduced to Coronation Street. Customers at the Rovers Return were said to be "horrified when a gruff newcomer with a jailbird wife and two tearaway teenage sons" (later changed to two daughters) arrive in Weatherfield. A Coronation Street insider said that the new family were the "real neighbours from hell", explaining that it was "a taste of things to come" from new executive producer, Brian Park, who thought the family would increase ratings. The previous "new guns" in the show were the McDonald's, however, this was over a few years ago. The insider hinted that the new family would have a "big impact". The writers introduced Leanne's mother by releasing her from jail, which the insider thought would shock viewers. They added that fans would be pleasantly surprised by some of the new twists in plots.
Actress Jane Danson was cast in the role of Leanne. After the introduction of the family, Danson said that the family came in with a bang and said that they are very different to anyone else on the show. She did not believe she had got the part until she filmed a scene in the Rovers Return Inn. Danson said she has always been a big fan of Coronation Street. Her favourite characters are the Duckworths and the Malletts. Everyone has been really welcoming and keep asking how she is doing. After joining Coronation Street, Danson started to become drained, tired and put on weight after playing Leanne for just six months. Danson took a short break from the show after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Danson stated in March 2008 that she would stay with Coronation Street for as long as producers wanted the character. She explained that she has managed to create a perfect timing for filming and spending time at home with her family. She told the Sunday Mirror that being an actor with children is the perfect job. Danson said she could never imagine getting bored with Leanne and said if it was up to her, she could quite easily imagine still being there in 20 or 30 years time. Talking about her character, Danson added: "She's a loose cannon and she's destined to end up in a really bad way. I wonder how long she can keep picking herself up and dusting herself down - she's probably had six of her nine lives by now!"
Leanne has been described as loud, cheeky and holds an "in your face" attitude. She is very cocky, does not care and does what she wants. She's just a lout coming in at three o'clock in the morning all the time. She disrupts the Street with her loud music and she's always smoking and getting on everybody's nerves." She continued: "She's like a second-hand Spice Girl, who can't afford to go the whole way. But she wouldn't think twice about nicking clothes if she had the chance." Danson also added that she has "always been a good girl" and wouldn't dare shoplift like Leanne.
Danson told the Daily Mirror that she would never put her own family life at risk like Leanne has done. After Leanne has an affair with Nick Tilsey, and keeps it a secret from her fiancé Peter. Danson said that Leanne is feeling a bit trapped with Peter and believes things have got a bit predictable and boring. She said that she is different and a very family-orientated person and although she enjoys work, she likes being with her family. Danson added that she likes the idea of being a party girl like Leanne but the reality is quite different and that Leanne seems to like drama and danger in her life. She added that she loves the fact that her character and herself are opposites, because Leanne gives her a chance to do things that she wouldn't do in reality.
Danson said she was "intrigued" by the decision to re-introduce Nick Tilsley played by a different actor, Ben Price. Leanne was married to Nick from 1998 until 1999. Leanne and Nick split in 1999 and Nick started dating Maria Connor (Samia Smith). Speaking about Nick's re-introduction, Danson said it's interesting when an old character is re-introduced because even though it's a different actor, the previous baggage remains. Danson said that Nick has been involved with both Leanne and Maria and said obviously his family are there too so there is potential scope for that character. Danson said she doesn't know whether they will make anything of Leanne and him or not because she seems quite settled where she is. Danson revealed that there's always a possibility of revisiting it but Leanne would just wind up Nick.
In an interview with Soaplife, the new actor of Nick, Ben Price said that even though Nick has told Leanne that he still loves her, Leanne wants to be with Peter. Price added that there is always a chance with Leanne and Nick to get back together. Speaking to The Sun, Price commented: "Nick started with Tina, then he moved to Kelly. I'm getting through the whole of the Street, I'll be on to Rita by the end of the year!" Price added that he is expecting a storyline to develop between Nick and Leanne. He added: "You'll see him bump into Leanne soon. I'm sure stuff will come out of that - there's a story there." Asked whether if he wants to see Leanne and Nick to get back together, Price said: "There'd have to be a big journey to get to that point, but yeah, I would. But who knows? I don't know how it's going to go! But I think that would be great. But I think it could also be great if there's someone else on the Street who could come into his life. It's nice to keep spicing things up, really."
In November 2003, it was reported that Danson was in talks with Coronation Street producers about returning to the show. A Coronation Street insider said that producers would "love" for Danson to return and were currently looking at storylines for Leanne. On 5 February 2004, it was confirmed that Danson would be reprising the role of Leanne. It was revealed that Danson would be returning to the show full-time. Danson commented on her return: "They're having a ball in this really seedy bar, eyeing up the ladies. Les spots Leanne from behind and says, 'Wow look at that'. She turns round and he realises to his horror it's his daughter. Les shouts, 'What are you doing here?' But Leanne is wondering exactly the same about him. Of course, Patrick doesn't realise it's Les's daughter. He gropes Leanne's bum and she gives him a good wallop. It causes such a commotion they all get chucked out and Leanne is sacked. She also lived in a room above the bar and suddenly has nowhere to stay. So Les offers to take her home to No.5."
Upon hearing that Leanne would be returning as a hooker, Danson told the Daily Mirror: "Even for Leanne it's quite a radical storyline," she says. "But I've been pleasantly surprised. There hasn't been any adverse reaction." Danson said she found it hard to work on Coronation Street as her 10-month-old son Harry was asleep before she left and was in bed upon finishing filming. Danson commented: "As much as I love my job I miss Harry incredibly," she admits. "He's happy, he's with his dad and he's absolutely fine, but I feel I'm being pulled in two directions and not giving 100 per cent to anybody. I feel completely torn. I need to work and to provide for Harry, but I also feel terribly guilty that I'm not there. I pine for him and feel this need to be with him constantly. With Leanne's current storyline I'm working long days. Harry wakes up at 7am but I leave the house about 6.30am and when I get home he's usually gone to bed. But I'm not on my own - a lot of the cast have got kids and they tell me it does get easier. I ache for him sometimes, but I think I would be forever kicking myself if I hadn't come back to work. I love being in Coronation Street. I've worked really hard to get this far and this is Harry's future too." When Danson was presented with her return scripts, she was shocked to see that she was returning as an escort girl. Danson added: "I'm not going to pretend that initially thought it was great. Coronation Street has never done a story like that before and I was worried people wouldn't like it. When I read the scripts I thought it just was a funny storyline - Leanne was charging people for her company while they took her out for a slap-up dinner. But when it turned out she carried on after dinner, I thought, 'Oh God!' "Thankfully it's not been seedy and I think she will redeem herself in the end." A Coronation Street insider added: "Soon after arriving back Leanne wonders what the hell she has come back to. There are some cracking storylines lined up for her."
In February 2007, it was reported that Leanne would become Coronation Street's first ever prostitute following Danson's on-screen return from maternity leave. The Daily Mirror reported that Leanne would reveal that she became a prostitute to make money while holidaying in Spain. A source told the newspaper: "It’s one of our racier storylines and we believe it will be a ratings winner, sparking much debate." Leanne cannot see anything wrong in being a prostitute because "if the money’s there she’s up for it". Danson was told about the storyline after returning from maternity leave and she initially disapproved. She said "Coronation Street has never done a story like that before and I was worried people wouldn't like it." However, upon reading the scripts for the storyline, Danson thought it was "just a funny storyline". Discussing her initial hesitation, Danson explained "Leanne was charging people for her company while they took her out for a slap-up dinner. But when it turned out she carried on after dinner, I thought, 'Oh God!'" The actress added that she was thankful that the storyline was not "seedy" and opined that Leanne would "redeem herself in the end". Leanne adopts an alter-ego, Rachel, who is a high-class hooker. The alter-ego "plies her trade to bored businessmen in top Manchester hotels". Leanne tells Les and Janice that she is selling property for an estate agent. Danson did not have to complete a lot of research for the storyline. Leanne is a high-class prostitute who wears nice clothes and meets her clients in "top" restaurants. Danson adopted a "posh voice" for the alter-ego of Rachel to impress her clients. The actress revealed that humour was added to the storyline in "true [Coronation Street] fashion". Leanne uses the alter-ego of Rachel as way to justify what she is doing. Leanne uses a hotel to meet her "wealthy businessmen" clients. The hotel manager (Damian Myerscough) discovers this and throws Leanne out of the hotel, humiliating her.
Leanne begins a relationship with Dan Mason (Matthew Crompton) in 2008. Crompton said that Danson and himself had to film "a lot of heavy petting" and added that he was nervous because he has only worked with Danson a couple of times previously. Speaking to Inside Soap, Crompton said: "The script said I had to wander around in a towel, so I spent all weekend doing sit-ups to get into shape. The producers took one look at my body though, and said for me to keep my shirt on!" It was later confirmed that Dan would be leaving the show after he tries to burn down Leanne's restaurant in an insurance scam.
In October 2008, The Sun reported that Leanne would begin a relationship with returnee, Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne). Peter returns to Weatherfield with his recently discovered son, Simon Barlow (Alex Bain), and Leanne helps Peter as he struggles with fatherhood. Leanne is still "reeling" after her ex-boyfriend, Dan, ends their relationship. Peter returns to Weatherfield a "broken man" and finds fatherhood difficult. He does not receive the "warmest reception from the locals". Discussing Leanne and Peter's relationship, an insider revealed: "When everyone else turns away from Peter, Leanne is there for him. She doesn't judge him and she listens to his problems." Simon also likes Leanne. The insider said that "Leanne and Peter's problems bring them together — but it's not long before their colourful pasts are tearing them apart." Gascoyne told Digital Spy that Peter has not thought about how his relationship with Leanne is progressing. Gascoyne explained that Peter is taking it "step by step", saying "Peter knows that Leanne gets on really well with Simon and I think Peter's nicely surprised by that. Leanne kind of has the upper hand on him and in a strange way, Leanne's a moral voice."
In August 2008, it was reported that Danson was pregnant with her second child and that she would take maternity leave from Coronation Street next year. Producers hid Danson's pregnancy by filming most of her scenes behind the counter of the show's fictional bookmakers, where Leanne works. In December 2008, Gascoyne revealed that an upcoming storyline would see Peter enter a rehabilitation facility for his alcohol dependence. When Peter returns from rehab, Danson said that Leanne is "thrilled" to see him. Leanne tells Peter's family that she is going to reconcile with him rather than accept a job offer from her friends in Leeds. However, a woman named Christina (Sarah-Jayne Steed) arrives and claims that she met Peter on her father's yacht recently and decided to visit him. Leanne discovers that Peter left rehab early and she decides to leave. Of the situation, Danson said "Leanne's been taken for a real mug. She has to decide whether to give Peter a second chance." The story arc was implemented to facilitate Danson's temporary departure from the show to take maternity leave. Digital Spy reported that Leanne becomes "fed up" with Peter taking her for granted and finds employment in a restaurant in Leeds. Peter attempts to prevent Leanne from leaving by getting Simon to beg her to stay. Despite this, Leanne leaves for Leeds. Leanne's departure was broadcast on 9 March 2009.
In September 2009, it was revealed that Danson had recently returned to work with the show. Danson admitted that was "terrified" about returning, saying "I felt like I’d been in Babyworld for ages and I was panicking about whether I could learn my lines. There didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day with two kids, but you somehow find the time." Leanne made her full-time return on 11 September 2009 when Peter finds her in Leeds. Danson said that Leanne is getting on with her life and tells Peter that she has moved on from their relationship. However, Leanne "has a change of heart and comes back [to Weatherfield]". She tells Janice that she has split up with her boyfriend and Peter invites her for dinner. She is impressed with how Peter has battled his alcoholism. Peter admits to a "few meaningless flings" and Leanne spends the night with him. However, Leanne becomes suspicious about remark that Simon makes about Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh). Leanne tricks Michelle, who reveals her one-night stand with Peter. Leanne then refuses to reconcile with Peter. When Peter apologises to Leanne, she throws eggs at him and refuses to forgive him. Leanne and Peter later reconcile and Danson hoped that they would be "together for a while". Danson's father, Jack died in February 2008 and a big storyline featuring Leanne and Peter was moved to help Danson come to terms with the loss. It was announced in February 2009 that Leanne and Peter's relationship will hit rock bottom. Just as things couldn't get any worse, Leanne proposes to Peter. An insider told TV Biz: "It's a really romantic scene. She proposes in front of everyone and Peter is thrilled. They're a great soap couple and viewers love them." In an interview with What's on TV, Danson said that Peter and Leanne make a good couple and expressed her desire for the couple to marry at some point. After Peter accepts Leanne's proposal, asked if Leanne wants to be a real mum to Simon, Danson said: "She'd like to. Her mum left when she was little and Janice came to her rescue. Leanne wants to be as good at being a mum and she is. All she's ever wanted is the family set-up she has with Peter and Simon."
In November 2010, Carla Connor (Alison King) falls for Peter. Asked what is attracting Carla to Peter, king replied: "In Peter she has found someone who understands what she is going through." After Peter becomes disabled, Gascoyne said that Peter will be unable to be a proper husband to Leanne. Leanne and Peter's wedding day is coming closer, and Leanne is still having an affair with Nick. Asked whether Leanne will stop the affair, Danson replied: "She does love Peter. She feels safe and secure with him. They've created this family unit with Simon – and Leanne has the home life she craves. But when she's with Nick she gets a taste of the fast life and she’s the Leanne of old." After Carla calls her wedding off to Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel), Leanne cannot understand why Peter is being so protective of Carla. When asked to sum up Peter and Leanne's twelve months of marriage, Gascoyne said: "It's been very rocky to say the least. There was the stuff with Nick, Peter was very ill and had to get back on his feet, and there was all the guilt of Ashley dying, so it started off badly and carried on badly. And Peter says he's forgiven Leanne for Nick, but in his heart, it still niggles him." Danson said: "It's not been the best, has it! They had the blessing, where Peter found out about Nick, and then her mother turned up and they argued over that, then she got pregnant and had about half an episode of happiness, and then she lost her baby. And in the middle of all this, Carla's been hovering in the wings..." It was announced in September 2010 that Peter's father, Ken, will catch Leanne in bed with Nick. An insider commented: "Leanne is wracked with guilt over the affair," a source told the paper. "She loves Peter, she loves his son Simon and they've been through a lot together - but Nick was her first love and she never got over that." It was later revealed that Peter will find out from his sister Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) that Leanne is sleeping with Nick. Danson has said that Leanne's actions has changed her views on cheating.
In March 2008, it was reported that Leanne will receive an idea from Paul Clayton (Tom Hudson) to set fire to her restaurant in an insurance scam. Of the storyline, Danson said: "Leanne needs to tell somebody about Valandro's as she is losing money. Dan flippantly says, 'If I were you, I'd torch the place!' She thinks it is great, but it has disaster written all over it." Leanne bribes Paul with sexual favours if he successfully torches the restaurant. Danson said of the storyline: "It's looking a bit dodgy for Leanne at the moment as she could go to prison if Paul spills the beans that they've committed arson and fraud. But she is relying on Dan's support to keep her going."
In May 2011, Danson teased an "exciting" upcoming storyline involving Leanne. Danson revealed that she was surprised by the storyline, saying "I thought now that [Leanne and Peter are] married they'll probably have a baby and do the expected thing. But I think I'm alright to say that it's not that. I would love to tell you [what it is]! Keep watching." It was later reported that new character, Stella Price (Michelle Collins), would be revealed to be Leanne's biological mother. The storyline was confirmed in June 2011. Collins told Soaplife magazine that Stella has moved to Weatherfield as she has decided that it is the time to finally make herself known to Leanne. Stella was in a relationship with Les Battersby (Bruce Jones) and gave birth to Leanne when she was seventeen. Les started drinking and left her alone with Leanne and she struggled to cope. Stella left with every intention of coming back for Leanne once she was settled. When she did, Les would not let her near Leanne and Collins said that Stella "didn't stand a chance".
Leanne discovers Stella's true identity as she celebrates her 30th birthday. Speaking to Inside Soap magazine about the storyline, Danson explained: "Leanne has never really given her birth mother a second thought because she's not been in her life. Her dad Les and stepmum Janice [Battersby] (Vicky Entwistle) were together for a long time, so Janice always took on that mother role. Having said that, Leanne's always known Janice by her first name, so she hasn't called anyone 'Mummy'." Discussing having Collins as her on-screen mother, Danson said that she was looking forward to the "really meaty" scenes between Stella and Leanne. Danson added that people have said that she and Collins have similar face shapes and the same mannerisms. She thought it would be interesting to see if viewers pick up on the resemblance between herself and Collins.
Danson said that Leanne will be "furious" upon discovering that Stella is her mother. Speaking to Inside Soap about the plot, Danson commented: "Leanne has never really given her birth mother a second thought because she's not been in her life. Her dad Les and stepmum Janice were together for a long time, so Janice always took on that mother role. Having said that, Leanne's always known Janice by her first name, so she hasn't called anyone 'Mummy'." Asked how Leanne reacts to the discovery, Danson added: "You'll have to wait and see! She'll either be over the moon to have her real mother in her life, or she'll be absolutely furious that she's been absent all these years." Speaking to Soaplife, Catherine Tyldesley who plays Stella's daughter Eva Price explains Eva's motions when Stella starts to show a significant amount of interest in Leanne. Tyldedley commented that Eva is Jealous that Leanne is married with a family because she split up from her fiancé just weeks before finding out Leanne is her half-sister. She also added that Stella is Eva's "territory".
In March 2015, it was announced that the character of Simon would be involved in a domestic abuse, with it being where Simon is the perpetrator and his mother Leanne would be the victim. Executive producer Kieran Roberts said "It’s a really interesting story. It’s come from character, as Simon is a child who has obviously been through a very difficult few years with the death of his mother, his dad’s alcoholism and then being passed around by the adults in his life. He’s seen a lot of difficult things and he’s got some more difficult things to go through this year in the next few months. I can’t give much away, but there is at least one other major trauma that Simon is going to have to go through. I think it’s fair to say that he’s going to come through all of this a little bit damaged. We’re going to explore how that impacts on his relationship with Leanne, and we’re going to touch on this issue of domestic violence from a child against a parent."
Danson said of the storyline that she had doubts when she heard about the domestic abuse plot. She admits she didn't buy the storyline when it was pitched as Leanne is "quite tough and she's always been a bit gobby" and wondered whether the character would "really take it from a teenager".
In June 2016, it was announced Leanne would fall pregnant following a one-night stand. Of the storyline, Danson said she was "really chuffed" for Leanne as Leanne "thinks this could be her last chance". Danson says her character wants to give Simon and the baby a life she never had and with Simon, Leanne "makes the point she won't love him any less". The father was revealed as Steve McDonald and Leanne and Michelle will also be "forced" to be friends after Michelle finds out she is pregnant and that "it's just really awkward". Danson also stated that Leanne wants to forget the McDonald's and raise the child with Nick. Liz also finds out, and Gail is "thrilled when she finds out" and that the situation, "It's like a little pressure cooker, it's all waiting to blow". Danson also says the storyline "provokes a lot of stories for a lot of other characters and it's how they will deal with the repercussions". Steve being the father will have implications on Leanne and Nick's relationship. Producer Kate Oates said, "Nick is persistent and Nick adores her" and the storyline will see if they can overcome Leanne being pregnant with another man's child.
A writer for the Sunday Mirror called Leanne "tough" while another writer called her "loud-mouthed" and a "mouthy Manc". A Coronation Street insider said: "Leanne packs a mean punch. It's no holds barred." Daniel Kilkelly from Digital Spy described Leanne as "love-torn". Danson won the award for the "Best Dramatic Performance" at the British Soap Awards 2011. Danson was additionally nominated for "Best Dramatic Performance" at the Inside Soap awards for marriage to Peter at his deathbed but lost out to Emmerdale's Danny Miller. She was also nominated for "Best Actress". In December 2010, following the show's critically acclaimed live episode, Jane Danson's performance was singled out by many Digital Spy forum members. The Guardian columnist Grace Dent commented on Danson's decision to return to the show in 2007 saying that viewers knew Leanne would come back. She described Leanne as "one of those rare thesps who knows which side her bread's buttered on".