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Friday 7 July 2017

Coronation Street Blog interview with Jacqueline Chadwick

Jacqueline Chadwick, or Jacqueline Pirie as you might recognise her from her soap days, will be best known to us Coronation Street fans as Linda Baldwin in Coronation Street.  Jacqueline appeared in Corrie as knicker stitcher Linda Sykes who went on to marry factory boss Mike Baldwin. Her stint on the Street lasted from 1998 to 2001.

She's now written a series of crime novels and has very kindly agreed to speak to us here on the Coronation Street Blog as her first book is released today.

Hello Jacqueline! It’s lovely to speak to you. Coronation Street fans will remember you  best as feisty Linda Sykes. You were in Corrie from 1998 to 2001 – what are your favourite memories of working in the show?

It’s lovely to speak to you too. My favourite memory has to be the first time I saw my name on the credits, it was a real pinch-myself moment because we all grow up watching Corrie.

You had some memorable storylines in Corrie, not least marrying king of the knicker factory Mike Baldwin himself. Mike was old enough to be Linda’s dad and then she got involved in a love triangle with his son Mark.  Can you remember the public reaction to any of that, as it was a huge storyline back in the day?

It’s funny because people rarely commented on the fact that Mike was forty-something years older than Linda. Everyone just seemed to take to them as a couple. The love triangle. Well, that storyline was crazy successful and we even won an award for it. Shooting it for months was surreal because I would go from one studio scene to another kissing either Paul or Johnny. It’s a strange way to earn a living.

And Linda was involved in an armed siege at Freshco too. Exciting stuff, eh?

Sometimes the exciting scenes on screen are actually the most boring ones to film. Because my character came in at the end of the siege to find her bother (the armed hostage taker) dead, I spent all but fifteen minutes of a long night-shoot sitting in a stuffy caravan somewhere in Salford. 

What made you leave Coronation Street and are you happier now you’re out of the public eye?

I’ve never actually spoken about this before but I left Corrie due to complications during my second pregnancy, under doctor’s orders. My departure seemed to infuriate some people but any parent knows that a decision like that is a no-brainer. The good news is that my son, Jamie, is now a healthy fifteen year old. 

Do you keep in touch with anyone from Corrie now?

No, never did. Leaving a job in entertainment is just like leaving a job in any other industry: you make the decision, put it behind you and move on.

Do you ever watch the show now?

I have no idea what’s going on in Corrie. I’m told that it’s on here (in Canada where she now lives) on Sunday mornings so one week I might forgo my usual lie-in and catch up.

Since leaving Coronation Street, what have you been up to?

Since leaving Corrie I’ve been leading an awesome but pretty average life. I’m a mother and a wife. I have four dogs. I homeschooled my kids and we immigrated to Canada. 

And now you’ve written not just one, but a series of crime novels. The first one’s released today as an ebook and in paperback on July 14th… tell us all about the books!

Yes, the first one, In The Still, is available in paperback on the 14th and you can also download it onto your device through Amazon from the 7th of July. 

Having three books published by Fahrenheit Press is another pinch-myself moment for me, I’m thrilled! The novels feature a talented criminalist called Ali Dalglish who is finding her way back into her career whilst trying (and often failing) to juggle her personal and professional responsibilities. In book 1 of the series, Ali is thrust into the hunt for a psychopathic killer and forced to sharpen her once neglected talents, the unique abilities that set her apart from other investigators. Each of the books centre around a different case, some of the stories are set in Canada, the one I’m currently writing is set in England. Ali Dalglish is a dream to write because she’s bright and as flawed as the rest of us but my favourite characters have to be the antagonists; the more twisted and terrifying I can make them, the better.

Have you always loved writing?

I always loved to write and started off by writing plays, screenplays and even a TV series but writing a novel allows you the space to explore more of the story and discover unexpected facets of your characters. I absolutely love writing a novel. From the very first page all the way to the end, it’s a thrill.

We understand you now live in Canada – what’s that like and how does it compare with the UK?

I adore Canada but I have to admit that I get very homesick for Britain. Canada is stunning. We live on an island off its west coast so it’s very green and very clean. During an average day at my desk here, I see several Bald Eagles and deer and our house overlooks the Pacific Ocean so it’s not unusual to see cruise ships passing by as well as the odd pod of Orca. Although that sounds idyllic, there’s a lot to be said for the familiarity of home, that sense of belonging we take for granted sometimes. It’s actually the little, insignificant things that I miss like my favourite TV programmes or proper fish and chips, Skips crisps and Irn Bru.

Thank you SO much to Jacqueline for taking the time to speak to us this week.  We'll be running a special competition to win copies of Jacqueline's first book In the Still very soon indeed. Watch this space!

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