Coronation Street’s Colson Smith tells Soaplife about juggling his role as teenager Craig and keeping on top of his college work…

Are you now a full-time member of the Corrie cast?

“Yes – and no! It’s been my job since I turned 16 last summer and left school, but I’m also doing a BTEC diploma in Performing Arts at Pontefract New College.”

How do you manage to fit it all in?

“Basically I do a lot of work off my own back, but I also have a good teacher who really supports me.”

Do you do college work at Corrie?

“Yeah – quite often during breaks I’m in my dressing room doing college work. I just have to balance it out.”

What do your fellow students think of you being in Coronation Street?

“Everyone supports each other and is really nice. I’m just Colson to them. I’m not the only one who’s done some TV work and some of my course mates have signed up with my agent. There are some amazingly talented people on my course – one girl is an incredible singer and actor, and I’m learning from her and the other students, as well as from my teachers.”

How did you get into acting?

“I started going to a local, after-school drama class run by Northern Film and Drama when I was about 10 or 11. About four months after I started, I got my first two-episode contract on Corrie. I was basically an extra – Craig arrived in the Street with his mum, Beth, and I spent an hour just staring at Steve McDonald [Simon Gregson]!”

No speaking?

“I didn’t say anything. But from then on, Craig started being written in more regularly – viewers seemed to like this kid who ate a lot and stared a lot. It’s been fantastic going from being an extra to a popular Street character.”

Is Lisa George, who plays Craig’s mum Beth, a bit motherly when the cameras stop rolling?

“Yeah – she looks after me and seems to have a soft spot for me. We have a very close relationship and are good friends. I’m very glad she plays my mum in Corrie.”

Coronation Street, ITV.