Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine has admitted being an on-screen mum did nothing to prepare her for real-life motherhood.

The actress plays Fiz Stape in the ITV soap, mum to toddler Hope and partner Tyrone Dobbs’ (Alan Halsall) daughter Ruby, but is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to her first child, Albert, four months ago.

Fiz gave birth to Hope during 2010’s live episode to celebrate the soap’s 50th anniversary.

She said: “Put it this way, simulating birth on-screen wasn’t any sort of practice for the real thing although thankfully my son’s delivery was quite straightforward.

“Motherhood on set is a doddle by comparison with reality – you can’t give them back when you’re tired – but I’m enjoying every minute of it. I can honestly say it’s the happiest period of my life.”

She continued of Corrie: “There are strict rules about the babies during filming and they’re handed to us for only a few minutes and only when they’re well-fed, placid and happy. By contrast it’s fair to say that Albert doesn’t always feel that way! But I’m getting the hang of looking after him and feel so lucky because he’s an incredibly chilled baby who’s fitted so well into our lives.”

Jennie’s colleagues Paula Lane, who plays Kylie Platt, and Catherine Tydlesley, who plays Eva Price, have both been on maternity leave too after giving birth to their sons Arthur and Alfie this year.

Catherine Tydlesley, who plays Eva, is also on maternity leave (ITV)

She said: “Luckily I got in first and told the producers about my impending arrival, then it was Paula, and by the time Cath went in, the producer was probably tearing his hair out.

“I don’t know what I did to cause the baby boom but it’s been nice to be able to support each other. Albert’s met Arthur and we’re arranging to meet Alfie soon. It will be great to get all the little guys together and it certainly means no shortage of playmates in the future.”

She said of being off work: “I do miss Corrie because as a northern lass I’m so attached to the show and, of course, it’s been a massive part of my life for 14 years. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid growing up in Manchester and to be in it is a dream come true for me and it’s great that they still want me and I have a great role.

“I love it now whenever I hear Tyrone mention Fiz because I think, ‘Oh, good he’s not forgotten me.’ I’ve already introduced Albert to the series as I put my feet up in the evenings and watch it while I’m feeding him. Recently I took him on set to meet everybody – the cast are like a second family to me.”