With her flawless complexion and glossy dark hair, Alison King looks stunning as she chats to TV Times about her departure from Coronation Street. But while she looks glowing on the outside, it soon becomes clear that, on the inside, she is feeling anything but…
How are you feeling about your departure from the show?
“I’m ready to stop filming now; I’m a broken woman today. It’s been an amazing 10 years, but I can’t keep going at this pace.
“It’s been 14/15-hour days lately, and then I have to go home and learn 30 pages for the next day. I don’t really get to wind down; I just get to go to sleep if I’m lucky. And it doesn’t stop. Obviously, there are weeks that are bigger than others, but that’s what it’s like for me nearly all the time.”
So it’s time for you to spread your wings – and perhaps have the occasional lie-in?
“I can’t do this for the rest of my life, so while 40-somethings are hot to trot on TV, I’ll just get out there and try some other things, spend some time with my daughter [seven-year-old Daisy Mae] and take it a bit easier.
“There’s so much drama that inspires me. I still need to catch up on Marcella – the writer of that wrote The Bridge, which I’m a massive fan of. I liked The Affair on Sky Atlantic, and ITV have made some great stuff recently.
“When I came into acting, I always wanted to be versatile. All my parts have been strong ladies, but I hope that they are all different. I want to do something with less words and more acting.
“You find a lot in soap that you have to explain things, because someone might’ve missed the last episode, whereas with something like The Bridge, you can see visually where they’re going, and tell a story that way.”
Is there anything you won’t miss?
“Carla has necked a fair few glasses of red wine – which is actually a sweet grape juice. It’s foul! Then there’s Carla’s high-heeled boots. I’ve only had two pairs, and I’ve got a stress fracture on my metatarsals from walking on the cobbles in them.”
How about the wedding dresses!?
“I hate them all, apart from the purple one I wore when I was pregnant (Carla’s wedding to Tony), which was quite comfortable.”
“Don’t get me started on Carla’s accent. If I ever do anything else, please remind me not to do a nasally voice like that! I’d been in London for so long when I got my Corrie audition, and my accent had almost gone neutral. So I went round Manchester with a dictaphone and got ladies to speak into it, and did a version of their voices. And that was it, I was stuck with it.”
So what will you miss?
“The cast and crew; they’re my family at the end of the day. I can’t even talk about it; I’ll start crying. I see more of them than I do anybody, and we all look after each other so much.
“While many actors claim that the cast of their particular show is one happy family, that really does seem to be true on Coronation Street.”
The million dollar question: will Carla ever come back?
“Who knows? Maybe if I was working a little bit less and was on more of an even keel.
A soap bubble would be nice, following Carla’s life post-Weatherfield…
“No! Not unless it’s in the Maldives…”