When Beverley Callard left Coronation Street in 2011, she thought it was for good. Two years later, she tells TV Times magazine why she couldn’t resist another comeback…
The last time we spoke to you was in March 2011 when you had called time on her role as Weatherfield’s Liz McDonald. But now you’re back!
“I did think that was the end for me. In those days, I was in practically every scene, every day, and I’d never taken enough time to get really well.”
You’d received treatment for clinical depression, and were back in time for screen son Steve’s wedding to Becky. But it seemed to be too much, too soon…
“I’d had 12 general anaesthetics and electroconvulsive therapy, and I was back on set three months later. I’d put the job before my health and I can’t do that right now. When you’ve had a mental illness, people can see you as unreliable and flaky, and think you might not be able to do your job as well as you could. And I was very aware that some people at Granada felt like that about me.”
Was that hard to deal with?
“I didn’t want to be talked about like that because, if I take something on, I usually finish it to the very end and do the best I can. I’m a perfectionist, but I think being a perfectionist is, maybe, part of the cause of the illness – you don’t want to let anybody down.”
How do you feel now?
“I’m fine, although I still have to take medication. I’m still skint [Beverley and husband Jon McEwan were made bankrupt last year] but I’m getting there; I’m climbing back up again.”
We hear that it was Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn who was instrumental in getting you back behind the Rover’s bar, just two days into his job!
“Stuart said: ‘We really want Liz to buy the Rovers’ and I thought ‘Oh gosh, I can’t say no to this, I just can’t say no!'”
How did it feel going back?
“I thought I was going be sick on my first day back – it’s walking into that building. But I’m having a ball. I’m working with Kym Lomas and Simon Gregson and we can’t look at each other without laughing. When I agreed to go back, I texted him and he said: ‘Oh my God, we’re going to rock the joint again!'”
How does it feel coming back to Liz?
“I love playing Liz, and running The Rovers is the one thing she can do that she succeeds at – because, with so many other things, she fails. And they’ve got me a fella – there is a new man coming in for Liz. My God, it’s so exciting!”
We’re glad to see Liz’s fashion hasn’t improved much, either!
“I’d like her to be toned down a bit, but I don’t know if the writers and the costume department agree with me on that! Yesterday, I had to wear a black and nude lace dress, which was awful, and I had my hair in a tight bun, and a wonderbra and false eyelashes on. I was scared to step outside of my dressing room!”
When did you discover your love of acting?
“When I was seven, I was in the school play, Darius the Pageboy. A boy called Neil Stansfield was playing Darius and I was the understudy, and the teacher, Miss Jacobs, said I was better than him and she sacked him and gave me the job. And from that moment, I just knew I never wanted to do anything else – never ever!”
You also appear in an upcoming episode of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories. What was that like?
“I was really scared, but I actually enjoyed filming it. The production team got in touch with some people I went to school with; some of whom I’d not seen since I was about 22. One of them was a girl called Susan. She and I ran away together when we were 16 and got a flat in Leeds. We thought we’d be like the girls in the Jackie comics, and that the handsome boy in the flat next door would whisk us away. We were so stupid!”
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