Friday 31 March 2017

Coronation Street Blog Interview: Amanda Barrie

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Earlier today I had the great pleasure of chatting with the Queen of the Nile herself, the wonderful Amanda Barrie. It was quite a surreal moment to have Amanda ring me up at home for a chat but it was absolutely joyous. Amanda is best known for appearing in two Carry On films, for her twenty year stint as Alma in Coronation Street and more recent appearances in series like Bad Girls and The Real Marigold Hotel. As well as finding out more about all this, I also wanted to ask Amanda about some her earlier work as a leading lady on the West End stage. 

Here's how I got on...

I wanted to ask about your time working as a dancer with Barbara Windsor and Danny La Rue. What are your memories of that time?

That was back in the 1950s, we did cabaret together! Bryan Blackburn produced a lot of those shows and there was an incredibly high standard with lots of good people. That was how a lot of people like Barbara and Una Stubbs got started and we all went on to do revues in the theatre. Of course the revues don’t happen any more which is a shame.

The cabaret shows were always late at night and people would come and have dinner and sometimes stay up all night and have breakfast! I remember one night staying up talking to Judy Garland’s husband all about race horses. Sometimes I look back and can’t believe it all actually happened. 


You appeared in the revue On The Brighter Side with Stanley Baxter and Betty Marsden. What were they like to work with?

I’d known Stanley even before we did the revue. I did a panto up in Glasgow at the Theatre Royal on Hope Street and he was Buttons! He is a great man and very talented. On The Brighter Side had a great cast – people like Pip Hinton, David Kernan, Ronnie Barker, Una Stubbs. Wonderful.

I remember while we were doing the pantomime in Glasgow I ended up in a Police Station! In those days the dancers weren’t listed on the theatre posters and I was caught adding my name to one of them! I was dragged down to the station and made to rub it off!

Six of One saw you work with the great Richard Wattis and Dora Bryan. Were they happy times?

I’ve never laughed so much! It lasted a full year and I think it’s probably the happiest show I have ever been involved in. We once laughed so much that they actually had to bring the curtain down! I was dressed as a daffodil, Dora was a primrose and then Richard Wattis came on a bluebell! We just couldn’t stop laughing and they both ran off and left me on my own! Richard was great and I still miss him. And Dora was such a talented woman.


You worked for Stephen Frears in one of the Plays For Today on the BBC. I read that your history as a Carry On actor caused him to think hard on whether to cast you?

Yes that’s absolutely true! The play was Early Struggles with Tom Conti. People had suggested to Stephen that he should see me for the part and he called me and walked round and round and said he’d have to go and think about it overnight as he’d never cast a Carry On actor before! He did subsequently cast me and the play was very good, it was much more serious than some of the other work I was doing at the time and it was good for me. And it’s great to say I’ve worked for Stephen Frears.

I think you starred in two West End runs with the wonderful Paul Eddington. What was he like to work with?

Yes I did two years in the West End with Paul. We did Donkeys’ Years by Michael Frayn and then Absurd Person Singular. I played his wife, he was a good actor and it was such a privilege to work with him. We had the best time and the work we did was equally written and very shared. He was a good friend as well as a colleague and such a nice man. A great loss.


You appeared in a revival of Oh Kay! In 1974. How important a role was that for you?

It meant a lot to me personally as I have always been a massive fan of Gertrude Lawrence. Guy Bolton who had written it – he met me and took a lot of convincing to let me go on and do it. I had to prove to him that I was such a fan of hers, that she was my heroine and that it meant so much to me. Once he understood he let me do it. P.G Wodehouse, who co-wrote the book with Bolton, sent me a letter while I was playing in Oh Kay! and he signed it “Plum” which was what he always called himself. I treasured that letter.

My comedy heroine is Joan Sims. Are you a fan of her work?

Oh yes, she was such a good actress. She was so underrated but she had the ability to do anything. Joan was a fine actress. She could have gone and worked at the National Theatre. 


I think she was quite insecure, despite all her talent.

Yes a lot of actors are – they have a love/hate relationship with acting and the insecurities and lack of confidence can plague them.

I understand you got on very well with both Sid James and Charles Hawtrey while you were making Carry On Cleo?

I loved Sid! Again, we just laughed all the time when we worked together. He was great to work with as was Charles. Charles Hawtrey kept bringing me in bits of food as he always worried I wasn’t eating enough. I was rushing around filming Cleo in the day and performing in She Loves Me in the West End at night so I didn’t have a lot of time. He kept bringing me in pieces of haddock for my dinner but I never got around to eating it! I think Cleo actually stands up pretty well as a film in its own right, even after all these years. It’s got a brilliant script and we had all the sets and costumes from Cleopatra so it looks like a big budget film. I saw some of it when it was on television last weekend and I thought it stood up well.


You went off to the Bristol Old Vic after making Cleo. Would you have liked to have made more Carry Ons?

You’ve done your homework! Yes by that stage I’d done quite a few bits and pieces for the people who made the Carry Ons and I’d done other films like them…

You made a Doctor film (Doctor in Distress) and films like A Pair of Briefs…

A Pair of Briefs! All the classics…Operation Bullshine! Yes I could probably have done more Carry Ons as I was becoming known to them and I think they wanted me to come back but in those days the Carry Ons weren’t thought of as anything special. You couldn’t do them and be seen as a serious actor. So my agent packed me off to the Bristol Old Vic to do proper acting and it was probably a good thing.

Your first Coronation Street scenes were with Pat Phoenix as the legendary Elsie Tanner. How was that?

Terrifying! Even though I’d worked in films and television and been a leading lady in the West End I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was acting opposite “Elsie Tanner”! I think the characters in Coronation Street are so strong that after a while the actor and the character merged into one and that’s how it was with her. She had played her so long by that point, she just was Elsie.

The other one I loved was Doris Speed who played Annie Walker. I had such admiration for her, she was a lesson on how to deliver those speeches and her timing was wonderful. She would go down the corridor next to me and ask me if she had odd coloured socks on! She was lovely.


I loved your rapport with Sue Nicholls who plays Audrey. What was she like to work with?

I absolutely love Sue, she’s a great actress and a lovely person to be with. We had such fun and I remember we always wanted to do more comedy between Alma and Audrey but it didn’t work out like that which is a shame. She was with me all the time when Alma was dying towards the end, we worked together a lot at that time. I always laugh when they repeat that episode of Alma going as Audrey wasn’t there, she was late and when she finally gets there Alma’s gone and all you can see is the tip of my nose as I’m lying there!  I loved working with Sue and Helen Worth who plays Gail. Barbara Knox (Rita) and Eileen Derbyshire (Emily) were also lovely and great to work with. I still think Barbara could have been one of our biggest music stars, she’s so talented.

One of my all-time favourites was Jill Summers who played Phyllis Pearce. What was she like to work with?

I’ll always remember coming on set with Jill and she’d recently been quite unwell. All of a sudden she grabbed my arm and said “Amanda! I’m going! I think I’m going!” I asked her where and she said she thought she was dying! I said she couldn’t die as we had a scene to do and I wouldn’t let her go in the chair! Oh, I thought I’d never work again after that! And the director Brian Mills didn’t know anything about what was going on at the time! She was something else!

At this point Amanda does an uncanny impersonation of the gravel-voiced Jill Summers which takes me some time to get over! 


Jill was a great actress though, very real. She had quite a history, she’d been a stand up comic and done all sorts of work, she was very experienced. She was quite well to do, I don’t think she needed to work but she loved it. She used to come up to my dressing room and pester me to come down because we could get a free meal at the local French restaurant! She was a real character.

I went to see her in hospital a few days before she died. Her last words in hospital before she did die were typical. The nurse had asked if she wanted a drop of brandy and she said no. Then she was offered a cup of tea and she said no. Finally the nurse offered her some water. Jill replied “It gets better, doesn’t it”.

I remember a scene you did with Jill in the cafĂ©. She was talking about getting older and how she’d once been young and gorgeous and how nowadays she looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise herself.

Yes I remember doing that scene! She was wonderful. I’d forgotten how much I’d worked with her in it, but it all tends to merge together because there was so much.


Do you keep in touch with people from Coronation Street?

Mainly Helen Worth and Sue Nicholls because I knew them best while I was in the show. Helen came to my wedding. I invited Sue but she was busy working. I keep up with what they are doing and make sure they are all still in it. They do such a good job.

Finally, what’s coming up next for you?

Well The Real Marigold Hotel is going out at the moment. It was a great show to do and I’m still in touch with everyone who was on it with me. I rescued a stray dog while I was in India. You’ll see Poppy in the last episode. I couldn’t bring her home with me but we got her checked out and treated and rehomed.

I recently received an Icon Award for outstanding achievement from Attitude Magazine. Paul O’Grady presented me with it and I was so proud! When I wrote about my private life in my autobiography I didn’t know what people would think but I needed to do it. It was so hard while I was in Coronation Street because the press were always after a story and it made it very difficult. But look how things have changed even in the past decade.

Will you be back in Benidorm?

Yes I’m in an episode of the new series, as Psychic Sue again. It was good to be back and working with Sherrie Hewson again. I’ve also been to Tel Aviv to do the most outrageous series for a new online channel called Black Pearl. There are twenty short television episodes and some of the material was outrageous! I ended up in bed with a drag queen, he’s a big star over there and it was quite a big deal! I’ve also filmed a series called Bus Pass Bandits which was me and Henry Blofeld in Soho! That was a hoot and he’s become another good friend.

And you’ve been causing controversy on morning television! 

Yes, I didn’t realise saying “shit-hot” was a swear word! And anyway I was shit-hot on that Segway! 

I had an absolute ball talking with Amanda. She has long been one of my heroines and she was just as funny, entertaining and delightful as I'd hoped she would be. I'd like to thank her very much for giving me a ring on a wet Monday in February - it brightened up my day. And i'll be holding her to the offer of a drink or two in Covent Garden! 

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82

This interview was originally published on Carry On Blogging

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Coronation Street couple sign up for another year

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Cath Tyldesley and Shayne Ward, who play Eva Price and Aidan Connor in Coronation Street, have signed up to the show for another 12 months, says The Sun.

Mr Curry Sauce tells the tabloid:  “Aidan and Eva have been top value on Corrie and they’ve quickly made themselves one of the soap’s power couples. Producers took a chance on Shayne when they hired him for the gig but it’s one of the best decisions they could have made. Shayne and Catherine are firm friends off set and the cast are delighted they’re remaining on board.”

As always with tabloid tittle-tattle, we don't know if this is true or not but I do hope it is.

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Inside the mind of Peter Barlow

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2017, reposted with permission.)

Currently, the stand-out character on the cobbles is Peter Barlow. He is so compelling, so watchable and every word he utters, is believable. He is also seriously flawed, which, ironically is a large part of his charm.

Unwisely, maybe, but women have always fallen at his feet. Intelligent women, attractive women - all have succumbed to his charms. He has a very persuasive, seductive way about him so it it's no wonder that he is rarely without female company. Despite this, in his conversation with Toyah about buying The Rovers and disappointed at her lack of enthusiasm, he muttered quite a telling phrase. 'I aim low in life and I still miss.' 

It was interesting how after his conversation with Toyah at the back of the pub, where he lied to her saying that his sponsor was fully behind him, he headed off to Chloe's  - a bottle of wine on the front seat, deliberately intended to make the viewer think that Peter had fallen off the wagon, But no - he grabbed the bottle, took it inside Chloe's house, and asked for a cup of coffee.

Chloe, unlike the rest of Peter's family was very supportive of his new venture and Peter was delighted. Chloe asks if Peter is going to tell the truth - the truth that in actual fact Peter's sponsor is against his plan. Chloe tells Peter that she understands why Peter wants to get the pub as he can then show all those who doubt him that he CAN stay sober.

'Beautiful and wise - a lethal combination,' responds Peter. She leans into him but swerves away and goes off to make the coffee. Chloe certainly knows what she's doing and while in the kitchen she undoes a couple of buttons and squirts herself with perfume. Then, to her obvious shock and dismay, the disappointment writ large upon her face, Peter informs her that he has to leave.

So what exactly is going on in the mind of Peter Barlow? Well, he is clearly confused. He claims to love Toyah, the love of his life he says, he wants to make her happy, to get the money together for  the IVF that they are planning which most certainly doesn't come cheap. Is he going full pelt to commit to Toyah?

If so, then why is he running to Chloe? Yes she's attractive but so are lots of women. Is it that he is flattered by her attention?  Is he angling for an affair? Does he think he won't get found out? Can he just not resist the allure of a woman who seems very attracted to him? Does he wish to have a bolt hole to which he can flee when babies and domesticity lose their allure?

But the disturbing plot development of Chloe tracking him on her tablet may lead to real problems for Peter. Chloe seems to be a woman who gets what she wants. Peter's lack of self-control may well be his downfall.

It may be the case that I have dreamt this, so bizarre is the idea, but there seems to be a storyline that suggests that Peter is the actual biological father of baby Oliver. If this turns out to be the case, then the mind of Peter Barlow would provide sufficient material for a psychiatrists' conference.

Ruth Owen, twitter: @Ruth1722

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Thursday 30 March 2017

Sam Robertson: "I love Adam Barlow's camel coat"

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

In this week's Inside Soap magazine there's a good interview with Sam Robertso, who plays Adam Barlow in Coronation Street.

Sam is asked a whole load of questions sent in by fans and answers them as best as he can. There's one question that made me laugh out loud when I read the answer to it.

Q: "Do you have a favourite item in Adam's wardrobe?"
A: "I love his camel coat - he wears that a lot because I insist on it. It's from Reiss and it's expensive.  So I feel rich when I'm wearing it. It makes me happy!"

Sam also says he would bring back Craig Charles, who played Lloyd Mullaney, to the show if he could. I can only agre with that.

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Keep Fit with Corrie: Week 1 - Molly Dobbs

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Gemma and Michael over at Conversation Street, the Corrie podcast, have been keeping fit the Corrie way!  To explain all, it's over to Gemma and Michael for part one in an exclusive weekly series of blog posts specially for us at the Coronation Street Blog.

"If you listen to our podcast or follow us on Twitter, you’ll know that aside from luring in neighbours’ cats, our other recent endeavour has been trying to lose a bit of weight and get fit for the New Year. We’re no strangers to fitness, but, not really being ones for the gym, have amassed a number of exercise DVDs – Jillian Michaels and Davina McCall being our personal favourites.

This year, though, we thought we’d try something different: we’re big Corrie fans after all, so why not give some of the DVDs featuring stars of the Street a try? Thanks to some bargain hunting on Amazon, we were able to acquire around ten workout DVDs for under £20, and over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing our progress with you in regular updates!

When it comes to Corrie fitness DVDs, there’s only one ‘official’ title that we could find – Coronation Street Funk Fit from 2004, which features Tina O’Brien (Sarah-Louise Platt), Nikki Sanderson (Candice Stowe) and Lucy-Jo Hudson (Katy Harris). However, plenty of other Corrie stars have produced get fit programmes – some of them linked to a personal weight-loss experience, and some of them based around a life-long commitment to working out and keeping fit. The themes range from dancing to HIIT (high intensity interval training – the latest development in exercise research), and all of them promise great results as long as you commit yourself. 

We’ll be reviewing each one as the weeks go by, starting with Dance It Off with Vicky Binns from 2007. Vicky played Molly Dobbs in Coronation Street and was famously killed off in the tram crash of 2010.

Kevin Webster and Molly Dobb
During the workouts on her DVD, she demonstrates various seductive moves that she would no doubt later use on Kevin to lure him away from Sally. Decked out in a silver sports bra, along with trainer Rachel Ravenscroft, she dances her way through Street Heat, Urban Burn, Power Groove and Core Crunch, all of which are around 10-15 minutes in length and involve plyometrics (basically jump moves like squat jumps), side lunges, hip thrusts, leg curls, grape vines and even a bit of cardio boxing. Rachel leads the workout, with Vicky following along and adding the odd comment now and then.
For this workout, you’ll need a lot of space in your front room, because you’ll have to walk from side to side and forwards and backwards (although we managed to cope in our small lounge – just about). Each section involves various parts which build into a mini dance routine, so the moves can get a bit repetitive, but by the end of each section you’ll learn the moves very well. A common problem in DVDs like this is poor camerawork, where the shot lingers on a specific body part rather than a wide shot, and there is at least one section in this DVD where the camera is focused on entirely the wrong thing to be able to follow along properly.
The cardio can get intense at times, but Rachel and Vicky are both friendly and enthusiastic, and the sessions are usually over before you know it. This one will definitely get your heart rate up and have you sweating by the end! All around, this felt like an enjoyable and well worth it exercise session, which didn’t contain that much in the way of body-weight training like push-ups or sit-ups until you get to Core Crunch, which is also the cool-down section. We prefer the warm-up and cool-down sections to stand alone, which gives you more control what to include in your workout sessions, but it was good that you could select parts individually – you just have to return to the menu once the section is over and select a new part if you want to continue, rather than loading them all up in advance.

Rachel is a great coach, and provides ample cues for what’s coming up next, meaning it’s easy to follow along, even when the dances get more elaborate as they go along. (Even Michael, who is chronically uncoordinated and uninterested in dancing, was able to keep up most of the time!) The music is a fairly generic techno style, which is fine, but not exactly our cup of tea!

Included on the DVD are some fairly simple dietary guidelines under the header Eating Plan – which contain recipes for breakfasts (250 calories), lunches (350 calories), dinners (400 calories) and snacks (100 calories). You’re advised to eat one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and two snacks a day, plus 600ml milk and 8 glasses of water a day. We didn’t follow this plan, but it’ll provide between 1200-1300 calories a day, which is fairly standard for a woman wanting to lose weight. (If you’d like to know more about how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, go to to input your details!)

To find out more about our podcast, search for Conversation Street on iTunes, or go to If you want to follow Gemma’s blog, all about her fitness journey, and her love of food and fashion, head to!

Conversation Street Podcast webpage / twitter / facebook

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Corrie Canada sneak previews for April 3 - 7

Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.

Leanne registers Oliver's birth. Who will she enter as the father? Nick and Leanne compromise with Steve. Seb's behaviour leads Anna to be forbidding and Faye comes face to face with her past. Ken discovers Daniel's great opportunity but Daniel hasn't told Sinead, yet. Ken is horrified to discover Daniel and Sinead's plans for their future. Tracy overhears something dismaying. Gail plays matchmaker.  Chloe comes on to Peter.

For more detail and photos check out the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Wednesday 29 March 2017

In Praise of Eva Price

(This post was originally posted by Sophie Williams on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

For International Women's Day, I thought I would honour my favourite feisty female on Corrie, Eva Price (played by Cath Tyldesley). Over the years, Eva has definitely shown us she is strong and charming, fearless and confident; a force to be reckoned with. I've decided to honour her today because she has become a Cobbles icon, a character that will continue to make us laugh, cry, and have serious wardrobe envy (also add a few face-palms for good measure) for a long time to come.

Eva began her cobbled journey in 2011, exploding onto our screens for the first time when she burst into The Rovers declaring to her mum Stella (played by Michelle Collins) that her engagement was over. From here onwards, poor Eva has seen her fair share of heartbreak; from Nick, to Jason, to inevitably Aidan. But despite the tears and running mascara, Eva has still continued to show us just how tough she really is.

Freeing Marta from the O'Driscoll's is my favourite Eva storyline, defying people's ideas that she's just ditsy and proving that she does have ingenuity when she puts her mind to it. We saw her caring, sensitive side with Marta, her comedic side during her blossoming friendship with Billy Mayhew (played by Daniel Brocklebank), and her resilient side when dealing with the ruthless Richie and Julia O'Driscoll. This was also a perfect opportunity to appreciate Eva as a character, rather than be in a storyline with her love life at the core.

We've seen all of these traits in recent storylines. with her looking after Liam for Maria and also kicking off at Alya when she was led to believe she was having an affair with Aidan. Every time I see Eva and Aidan (played by Shayne Ward) together it's like a ticking time bomb and although my heart will be breaking for her after it's eventually revealed, I'm excited to see Eva release her inner warrior and give Maria and Aidan exactly what they deserve.

But of course, a brilliant character would be nothing if they didn't have an even more brilliant actor/actress behind them. Cath Tyldesley is perfectly cast for Eva and plays her with such conviction and passion. Just as fabulous as her alter ego, Cath is also a figure to be honoured on this day, having become an inspiration for women and girls everywhere.

Written by Sophie Williams - @sophie_jw26

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Conversation Street Podcast 243

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the  episodes that aired up to last night's Canadian Corrie can be heard here.

This week on Coronation Street, the Barlows were front and center. Daniel and Sinead grapple over what to do about the pregnancy, Peter makes a decision to buy the pub and Adam gets tangled with a drug dealer. Ken's disappointment is off the scale and his actions are going to cause more trouble for Adam. There's an update on the character profile of Liz Mcdonald and some feedback as always. Also, please vote for the podcast over at the British Podcast Awards. We Canadians can help muster the troops and get behind our favourite podcasters!

Remember, you can also listen to Conversation Street on iTunes (leave a fab review if you do!)

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Sean Tully's cocktail quote - crude, rude or funny?

I almost choked on my barm cake on the other night when Sean uttered *that* line.

As he handed over a blue cocktail to Sinead on her birthday, he said: “There you go, I’ve even sugared the rim for you!”

It was followed by Liz saying: “You don’t get an offer like that everyday!”

It was a cheeky little quote and I liked it. I think it's exactly the sort of thing Sean would have said and was totally in keeping with the character.

I wonder if it's one of the quotes that would have made its way to the saucy script snippet board?

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Tuesday 28 March 2017

Did Ken do the right thing with Adam - Yay or Nay?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Was Ken too harsh on Friday night when he told grandson Adam to sling his hook?  Ken even packed Adams' bag for him and gave him the cash to pay for a plane ticket back there too.

"It's because I'm Mike Baldwin's son, isn't it?" Adam asked. And even though Ken denied that it had anything to do with that, we know that's got to be a factor.  Ken wants a quiet life with his academic and that doesn't involve Adam, or any reminder of Mike Baldwin either.

It's hypocritical of Ken, I feel, to abandon Adam while continuing to allow Tracy - who, let's not forget, killed someone - to live at No. 1.

But was Ken right to cut his ties with Adam and set him loose?  What do you think?

Yay or Nay?

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Rob Mallard: "I'd love Denise Black to return to Corrie!"

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There's an excellent interview in Inside Soap magazine this week with Rob Mallard, who plays Daniel Osbourne in Coronation Street.

I won't blog the whole interview, because it's definitely worth buying the magazine to read what Rob has to say over two pages.  But in a nutshell, the highlights of the interview for me were the following:

Rob says the best thing about being in Corrie is hearing 57 years worth of stories from Bill Roache (Ken Barlow).  "I do feel very privileged to be hearing them from him," he says.

He says he's had a good response from the public after his interview with Gay Times.

When Daniel had to punch the wall the other week in Corrie after his fight with Chesney, Rob says: "There was actually a little square piece of wall made out of polystyrene, which was screwed into the real wall to absorb the shock.  I mean, I was still hitting a brick wall underneath, but they didn't tell me that until afterwards!"

And finally, Rob says this about the possible return of his on-screen mum, Denise Osbourne:

"I would love it if she were to come back to Corrie! I've been a fan of Denise for a few years and when the audition for the role of Daniel first came up, one of the reasons I was so keen to win the role was because of the people I'd get to work with.  I knew I'd get to do scenes with the Barlows, but there was also the possibility I'd get to work with Denise at some point down the line. And that wasn't something I was going to turn my back on!"

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