As Leanne’s past returns to haunt her in Coronation Street this week, actress Jane Danson picks out her favourite moments for TV Times magazine from her character’s colourful life…



When the Battersbys first arrived…

“It was magical for us, because we were all experiencing the same thing together. We came in with a bang, and viewers hated us!



“At the time, there were a lot of older characters like Percy Sugden, and Leanne and Toyah [played by Georgia Taylor] were quite nasty to them. I got shouted at in the street, and old ladies would hit me with their handbag and tell me to ‘turn the bloody music down.’”



“I remember there was a Teletext poll – ‘Should Corrie axe the Battersbys?’ – and I think 98 per cent said yes! But I understood the backlash. Viewers don’t like change, and all these strange faces were coming in and not being very nice. We had amazing back-stories – they’d all been in trouble with the police – but, as time went on, we gradually developed, not just as a family but as characters. That was one of the best times of my life.”



In 1998, Friends has just exploded onto the scene…

“And Corrie did a thing where Leanne and Nick (Adam Rickett) and Ashley (Steven Arnold) and Zoe (Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt) lived in a house together. We’d have parties, play loud music and not tidy up. Steven Arnold, who played Ashley, was such a great person to work with. We were all young and carefree, and we had a blast.”



In 2007, I was going through some exciting times in my life…

“I’d got married and had a child [Jane has two young sons, Harry and Sam, with actor husband, Robert Beck] and the escorting storyline happened when I came back off maternity leave. Leanne was still a bit immature; playing games with men and being a bit cheeky.



“The clothes were a bit zany and I had a big hairpiece that was a nod to the past. When she saw her clients, she’d adopt this different persona, so I got to do all this really hammy acting. It was great fun because it gave her another side whilst still retaining that inner wild child.”



Leanne’s had many men over the years…

“And has almost been a different character depending on who she’s been with. I really enjoyed working with Chris Gascoyne [Peter] because we were able to develop the characters, and we knew each other really well as actors.



“I loved the family unit that Leanne had. For a short period of time, she had that stability that she never had as a child. Obviously, it all went pear shaped! I’ve always thought there’s unfinished business with her and Peter but, as long as there’s history with two characters, you can always open that door again. And they will always have a relationship – they co-parent Simon, and that’s what holds them together in scenes.”



I loved the storyline where Leanne was seeing Jamie Baldwin and had the affair with his father, Danny…

“But I think the really clever story was her affair with Nick. I was struggling to find a reason why she cheated when everything was going well with Peter, and it showed me that not everything’s black and white, and people do things for reasons they may not realise at the time. Peter’s alcoholism was a massive strain on their relationship and she had a history with Nick.



“If you’ve got a history with a character, the bond’s always there. When they got married [at Christmas, 2012], I think Leanne settled – and, I think Nick knew that. Even if he hadn’t had the car crash, I think they’d have split up. Everything on paper was great, but she likes a bit of danger; it’s what she knows.”



The live episode in 2010 was a bit of a turning point…

“And it was a time where I cried quite a lot! In terms of an experience, I can’t say I’d like to revisit the live episode because it was incredibly stressful. But it was a box ticked and, from a personal point of view, it was a massive highlight.”



What we’re shooting at the moment is a little bit of that old Leanne coming back which, for me, is brilliant…

“All I’ll say is that it’s like the world is against her – she’s with a new partner, Kal, and his family are not very supportive of her past.



“Because her past is always there, it can flare up at any point and that’s what I really love about the character. It’s nice to have the change but also nice to keep a hint of the naughty 18 year old that we saw right at the start.”