Actress Sophie Thompson admits she was terrified of joining a soap but says it has helped her conquer any acting nerves...

Actress Sophie Thompson, who has recently joined the cast of Coronation Street as clairvoyant, Rosemary Piper, says that being a baddie on EastEnders helped her overcome any first day Weatherfield nerves.

Emma, who played Phil Mitchell’s unhinged wife Stella Crawford from 2006 to 2007, told TV Times, “I’m very grateful for having that experience otherwise I literally would have been pooping myself.”

Speaking about her soap experience, the 56-year-old, mum of two, who has recently starred in BBC’s Detectorists, and Sky One’s Bounty Hunters, said, “On my first day on EastEnders when I got my schedule through, I thought it was for the whole week and it was actually for just one day! There’s coloured paper all over the walls with who has to be where at what time. So I’d got over those initial frights that a soap can give you when I got to Corrie. If I hadn’t been used to it already,  that would have really freaked me out!”

Audrey Roberts (played by Sue Nicholls) with clairvoyant Rosemary

Talking about the role of Albert Square’s  Stella, who was seen abusing and cruelly manipulating Phil’s son Ben before committing suicide by jumping from a rooftop, Sophie said, “She was the first baddie I’d played. She didn’t have any empathy and was not nice. EastEnders were quite worried when they brought me in and said, ‘You do something nasty to a child and you might get some funny reactions from the public.’

“But people were actually really nice and I think they just enjoyed the story although my sons and I did get a bit mobbed in our local swimming pool for a bit so we avoided going there.”

Sophie, who lives in London, will be filming with Corrie until the end of April and said her character Rosemary, who tells Gail she’s getting messages from beyond the grave from her ex, Richard Hillman, could not be more different from Walford’s Stella, but admitted she still hates watching herself on screen.

The actress who was the winner of Celebrity MasterChef in 2014 and  is the younger sister of actress Emma Thompson, smiled, “I’ve got such a rubbery face, it moves about without me knowing about it. Over the years, I’ve learned to calm it down a bit and try and keep it still but it’s like having an untrained pet. I watch myself sometimes and think, ‘Oh get her off!’”

But as a lifelong Corrie fan this latest role is a dream come true for her. She said, “I’m so proud to be in Corrie and so excited when I hear the theme tune. I’ll probably watch myself like you do when you’re watching Doctor Who…through pillows.”

Coronation Street airs on ITV