Coronation Street star admits ‘shock’ over previous axing

But what doesn’t kill you…

Jane Hazlegrove – currently ruffling feathers in Coronation Street as Gemma Winters’ flighty mum, Bernie – has talked of her shock at previously being axed from the soap.

The 51 year old star originally appeared on the cobbles in 1985 as Sue Clayton; the youngest member of the Clayton family. The four-strong clan – who also included Sue’s elder sister Andrea, mum Connie and dad Harry – were introduced in January of that year, but left the following August; doing a moonlight flit when Andrea became pregnant by Terry Duckworth.

Andrea and Connie later made a brief return in 2000, when Andrea’s son, Paul, needed a new kidney. Vera Duckworth donated one of hers, and Andrea then made a final appearance in 2001 when she and Paul paid Jack and Vera a visit.

Reflecting on the Claytons’ short-lived spell, Jane says: “We were brought in under one producer, and as soon as the new producer arrived, we were kicked out. It was quite a shock.

“But it was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me. I learnt an awful lot, and then I had to go out there and start earning my stripes.

“Corrie had been a really good apprenticeship for a couple of months. I’d learnt about etiquette on the studio floor, how to talk to people and how to behave, so it was really good for me. But it meant I could go off and do lots of other things, and theatre as well – where I really could learn to act.”

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Jane went on to appear in a number of high-profile shows, including Making Out, London’s Burning and, more recently, Casualty, in which she played paramedic Kathleen ‘Dixie’ Dixon from 2006 to 2016.

Chesney, Gemma and Bernie in Rovers in Coronation Street

Gemma and Chesney were stunned by Bernie’s arrival

The star adds that, before being offered the part of Corrie’s Bernie, she unsuccessfully auditioned to play a different character.

Reveals Jane: “They said that they had something (else) in mind for me. I was like ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever,’ because I’ve been in the business a long time and don’t believe anything that anyone says. But sure enough, they gave me the call.

“I don’t want to say what the other part was, but I do look back and think I wasn’t right.

“Physically, I think there is a bit of a likeness with Dolly (Dolly-Rose Campbell, who plays Gemma) and I, and the make up department have done a brilliant job of making me look more Gemma-ish.”