Ex Coronation Street star Graeme Hawley has talked about his relief at playing a normal character after a string of killer storylines.

Graeme, who played Weatherfield’s accidental serial killer John Stape for four years, told The Sun he was looking forward to playing a normal dad in ITV comedy-drama Love and Marriage.

He said: “I seem to have spent a lot of time killing people and being miserable over the years, so it was great to do this show. My character, Martin, is funny and I definitely want to do more comic projects.

“I’d love to do stand-up, but I’m not brave enough. If I wanted to, I should have done it before now because being known as a character like John Stape would make performing comedy difficult.”

John Stape was at the centre of a series of blundered crimes in Coronation Street, including kidnapping Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan), stealing a fellow teacher’s identity and hiding his body when he died, killing the teacher’s elderly mother, and murdering another former colleague.

Graeme said: “I do still get recognised because of John. People come up to me in the street and say, ‘Oh, you’re a wrong ‘un’, although it has died down a bit now. But they are never negative – they are always lovely. The weird thing about John as a character is that he was actually quite comic. I know he killed two people, but he wasn’t a conventional cloak-and-dagger soap villain. He was just a hapless guy who wanted a simple life. Everything that happened to him in Weatherfield bordered on the absurd.”

Love and Marriage follows the Paradise family who are thrown into disarray when mum Pauline (Alison Steadman) leaves her husband.