Corona­tion Street:

Some walk the cob­bled street for decades, oth­ers leave and re­turn – but what of the char­ac­ters who are cast out of Weather­field for good? Thérèse Henkin looks at the paths taken by some of the TV show’s muchloved for­mer res­i­dents.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

we catch up with some for­mer Coro stars

Mil­lions have fallen in love with the drama of life played out in the cob­bled roads and ter­raced red-brick houses of Corona­tion Street over the past 55 years. This fic­tional ad­dress causes very real heartache when view­ers wave good­bye to some of their favourite char­ac­ters. But the end for those char­ac­ters is often a new be­gin­ning for the ac­tors who played them, as they go on to grace our tele­vi­sion screens and steal our hearts in a num­ber of other sig­nif­i­cant roles. We look at where the Street has led for six of those stars.

Sarah Lan­cashire BE­FORE

Sarah Lan­cashire’s con­nec­tion to Corona­tion Street be­gan well be­fore she was serv­ing pints be­hind the Rovers Re­turn bar – her scriptwriter fa­ther had worked on more than 100 episodes of the long-run­ning soap and in­spired her cu­rios­ity for tele­vi­sion.

In 1986, the tal­ented cre­ative grad­u­ated from the pres­ti­gious Guild­hall School of Mu­sic and Drama, which also counts among its alumni the likes of Ewan McGre­gor and Orlando Bloom.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Sarah helped sup­port herself by teach­ing drama at Sal­ford Univer­sity in Manch­ester for five years, while also estab­lish­ing her act­ing ca­reer.


Sarah landed her break­through role in 1991 as Raquel Wol­sten­hulme, the Rovers Re­turn Inn’s scat­ter­brained, and kind-hearted bar­maid, who dreamed of be­ing a fash­ion model.

Af­ter an on/off re­la­tion­ship with book­maker Des Barnes, Raquel mar­ried her long-time ad­mirer Curly Watts. But she walked out on the marriage when newly preg­nant with daugh­ter Alice to pur­sue a mod­el­ling job in Kuala Lumpur.

She even­tu­ally set­tled in France and re­turned to the Street in 2000 for one episode to get a di­vorce from Curly so she could marry Ar­mand de Beaux, to whom she was preg­nant, and to re­veal Alice’s ex­is­tence to Curly.


Sarah strug­gled with men­tal health is­sues for much of her Corona­tion Street ten­ure, made worse by her di­vorce from her first hus­band Gary Har­g­reaves, with whom she had two sons. She left the show in 1996 and later ad­mit­ted that she strug­gled to cope with the at­ten­tion the role brought her.

How­ever, af­ter the ac­tress left Corona­tion Street, she found sta­bil­ity and a more com­fort­able type of fame in the qui­eter world of sit­coms and mid­week tele­vi­sion drama. But it wasn’t an easy ride and Sarah felt her time on Corona­tion Street cast a dim shadow on her act­ing prospects.

The 51-year-old star has crit­i­cised the prej­u­dice against soap stars held by some writ­ers and pro­duc­ers in the tele­vi­sion in­dus­try.

She told the Ra­dio Times: “Soaps are a dou­ble-edged sword. There can be prej­u­dice from some writ­ers and pro­duc­ers who feel you will lower the cur­rency of their work if you’ve been in one. You have to rise above such lu­di­crous prej­u­dice.”

Sarah says soap op­eras are a great arena to learn your craft be­fore mov­ing on, but there is no such thing as soap ac­tors. She says, “We are all ac­tors and we work across an enor­mous amount of me­dia – ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, or stand­ing out­side a su­per­mar­ket in a Weetabix out­fit.”

Sarah found fur­ther suc­cess with roles in UK TV se­ries Where the Heart Is, Clock­ing Off and the TV film See­ing Red. It was in 2000 that Sarah re­port­edly be­came the high­est paid ac­tress in UK tele­vi­sion af­ter sign­ing a two-year con­tract with ITV.

In the midst of her blos­som­ing ca­reer, Sarah met and fell in love with TV ex­ec­u­tive Peter Salmon and the pair mar­ried in 2001. In 2003 the cou­ple wel­comed Sarah’s third son into the world.

The busy mother and ac­tress also made her di­rec­tional de­but on the an­thol­ogy se­ries The Af­ter­noon Play. Af­ter sev­eral other cos­tume drama and tele­vi­sion roles, Sarah re­ceived an Olivier Award nom­i­na­tion for her role as the fe­male lead in the mu­si­cal Betty Blue Eyes in 2011.

But this wasn’t the end of recog­ni­tion for Sarah; she went on to win the Bri­tish Academy Tele­vi­sion Award in 2014 for the Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress for her role as Caro­line in the con­tem­po­rary drama se­ries Last Tango in Hal­i­fax (2012). That year her lead­ing role as Sergeant Catherine Ca­wood in the crime thriller se­ries Happy Val­ley earned fur­ther ac­co­lades.

Kather­ine Kelly BE­FORE

Born into a fam­ily of per­form­ers, both Kather­ine Kelly and her younger sis­ter Grace are ac­tresses.

Grad­u­at­ing from the Royal Academy of Dra­matic Art in Lon­don, Kather­ine played a num­ber of the­atri­cal roles be­fore join­ing the cast of Corona­tion Street in 2006.


It was for her role as no-non­sense, feisty Becky Mc­Don­ald that Kather­ine won Best Ac­tress at the 2009 Bri­tish Soap Awards and Best Se­rial Drama Per­for­mance at the 2012 Na­tional Tele­vi­sion Awards.

Ini­tially only con­tracted to be on the show for three months, Becky be­came a se­ries reg­u­lar af­ter the tal­ented ac­tress wowed the pro­duc­ers.

Kather­ine ad­mits she some­times re­quested changes to the script in or­der to make Becky’s be­hav­iour more ex­treme. She says the script would often say that Becky was to slap Steve, her busi­ness­man hus­band, but Kather­ine felt that was too clichéd and didn’t ac­cu­rately re­flect Becky’s hell­rais­ing an­tics. In­stead she would sug­gest a punch or even a kick in the “bol­locks” on one oc­ca­sion.

Becky be­came re­ferred to as a Corona­tion Street icon as view­ers watched her trans­form from a thiev­ing ex-con to a vul­ner­a­ble young woman, with crit­ics often prais­ing her per­for­mances.


Kather­ine has landed a num­ber of ex­cit­ing roles since leav­ing the cob­bles in 2012. The busy ac­tress showed off her mu­si­cal prow­ess as Baroness Schraeder in the tri­umphant live broad­cast by ITV of The Sound of Mu­sic, she starred as Lady Mae in the tele­vi­sion se­ries Mr Sel­fridge, and ap­peared as De­tec­tive Jodie Shack­le­ton in Happy Val­ley, along­side for­mer Coro star Sarah Lan­cashire.

Af­ter giv­ing birth to her daugh­ter Orla in March 2014, Kather­ine took a year off from act­ing, and says she is ab­so­lutely smit­ten with her lit­tle girl. As is her hus­band of three years, dig­i­tal an­a­lyst Ryan Clark, who said at the time of their daugh­ter’s birth that Kather­ine had given him the best gift in the world.

Most re­cently, the 36-year-old ac­tress has had a re­cur­ring role as a se­nior civil ser­vant in the spy drama The Night Man­ager. She is also set to star as Miss Quill in the up­com­ing Doc­tor Who spin-off se­ries, Class.

Kather­ine says she is on cloud nine with her work at the mo­ment, but sees her years on Corona­tion Street as a ca­reer high­light. In say­ing this, she has also said many times that she wouldn’t re­turn to the role of Becky, be­cause she wouldn’t want to spoil the suc­cess and hap­pi­ness she ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing her time on the Street.

Su­ranne Jones BE­FORE

Born Sarah-Anne, be­cause her fam­ily priest didn’t be­lieve Su­ranne was a “proper” name, the star says she al­ways wanted to be dif­fer­ent. Su­ranne Jones said she felt sti­fled at school and she al­lowed bul­ly­ing to knock her con­fi­dence. But the talk­a­tive young­ster found solace in per­form­ing and landed her first am­a­teur act­ing role at just eight years old. She later be­came a mem­ber of Bri­tain’s Old­ham Theatre Work­shop and com­pleted a diploma in per­form­ing arts.


Su­ranne joined the Corona­tion Street cast in 2000 as Karen Mc­Don­ald. The sassy char­ac­ter has been de­scribed as a “bull­dog in hoop ear­rings” and very quickly stole the hearts of many Coro Street fans. Sto­ry­lines in­volv­ing Karen’s whirlwind re­la­tion­ship with hus­band Steve Mc­Don­ald, on­go­ing ri­valry with Tracy Bar­low, fam­ily drama and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a mis­car­riage gained Su­ranne sig­nif­i­cant public at­ten­tion. Episodes fea­tur­ing feuds be­tween Karen and ri­val Tracy Bar­low at­tracted mil­lions of view­ers and the episode that showed Tracy’s rev­e­la­tion, dur­ing Karen and Steve’s sec­ond wedding, that her daugh­ter was Steve’s love child had more than 16 mil­lion view­ers. Su­ranne made her last ap­pear­ance on the show on Box­ing Day 2004 af­ter Steve left Karen fol­low­ing her mis­car­riage.






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