Roy Cropper’s mum Sylvia has gone from Coronation Street but she hasn’t been forgotten by the actress who played her, the wonderful Stephanie Cole.

“I keep up with Corrie as many of the cast became great friends,” Stephanie told Graham Norton on his Saturday Radio 2 show.

And to the fans who were upset that Sylvia missed Hayley’s funeral, Stephanie said: “It was out of character for Sylvia to do that but Sylvia was busy doing other things – as me.”

Stephanie, it seems, is always busy. A firm favourite with viewers for her TV roles in Tenko, Waiting for God and Doc Martin, as well as Coronation Street, she also enjoys treading the boards.

One of those “other things” Stephanie has been busy with is the stage production of This May Hurt A Bit, on at London’s St James Theatre until June 21.

“It’s about the demise of the NHS,” Stephanie explained. “It’s extremely funny and quite moving at times. We get NHS nurses standing at the end of performances and weeping. No one’s standing up for them.

“I play Iris, who’s 90,” added Stephanie, who’s 72 in real life.

“I don’t know why I always play characters older than myself. All I can say is that it has given me a very good career.

“My very first job was playing a 90-year-old when I was 17, opposite Leonard Rossiter. The wheel has turned full circle.”

But Stephanie will be back on TV at the end of the year playing a character her own age.

Fans who enjoyed the Still Open All Hours Christmas special in 2013 can look forward to a full series of the comedy.

“We start filming in the autumn,” Stephanie revealed. “And with my character, Mrs Featherstone, I am at last the right age.”