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Sunday 17 March 2024

Comedian Helen Lederer joins Coronation Street

Acclaimed comedian and actress Helen Lederer is to guest star in Coronation Street next week alongside soap legend William Roache CBE.

Silver Fox Ken Barlow will prove he still has what it takes to woo the ladies when he catches the eye of Elspeth, played by Helen, during a singles cocktail night at the Chariot Square Hotel.

Having sent drinks over to Ken and his son in law Steve, Elspeth is invited to join them, leaving Steve gutted that his octogenarian father-in-law has managed to hit it off with an attractive lady whilst he hasn’t met anyone.

Below Helen chats about how much she enjoyed her brief visit to the cobbles and how she would love to return for Elspeth and Ken to pursue their budding romance.

Helen will appear in the episode on Wednesday March 27th on itv1 and itvx.

How did the role of Elspeth come about? 

It came out of the blue but for me Coronation Street, of all the soaps, is the most substantial and ironic with such humour, it's really a class act. So when you get the call for Coronation Street you drop everything. And to be offered a part playing a role opposite William Roache is even more exciting, I had met him once before when I sat next to him at an event and I thought what a lovely man he was and so personable. So for me to be offered this brief role was a joy.

You have had such a varied career working alongside incredible actors how did you feel on your day filming on Coronation Street, do you still get nerves?

I do indeed but as I'm older now, I recognize it for what it is and so I try and put them in a compartment and tell myself it is okay. I talked myself through it. It was a very rainy day up in Manchester and I was so excited to see the words ‘Coronation Street’ on the side of the building so I got a photo taken like a tourist before I went in. What struck me was how amazing everyone was and how comfortable they made me feel. From the word go everyone couldn't have been nicer. They were just so very friendly. I met Amy Robbins who I shared a dressing room with so that was fun and the day just got better and better. 

What was it like working with the Corrie actors?

The icing on the cake was being shown around by the lovely Sue Devaney who plays Debbie as I was filming in her hotel, she was amazing. I got settled and I just watched in awe as all these people came onto set and were so professional. To be there and watch these incredible actors who are so comfortable and brilliant at what they do was a joy. Simon Gregson who plays Steve is hilarious, so funny and Bill was such a charming lovely man. The three of us sat at the table and in between takes we had wonderful conversations about Scrabble and other board games we love. It was so random. Everyone really put me at my ease.

We only meet her briefly but tell me about Elspeth how would you sum her up?

Elspeth is quite a forward person. She is someone who is not afraid to put lipstick on and her hair done, make an effort with her nails and pull the velvet draped dress over her slightly fuller figure and sit at the bar by herself with an open heart and an open mind. She is bold and proud to be there on her own and speak to people.

Can you tell us what she does when Ken catches her eye?

This is where she is bold, she does something which is often something that men will do to women. She gets Debbie to send over two drinks to Ken and Steve to get Ken’s attention. I think bold is a very keyword now for this generation of women of a certain age who still want to live their life. If she wants to have a chat with a person she thinks ‘I'll do that’. So many people would have the fear of being rejected but she doesn’t. She takes the initiative and she is not disappointed as Ken is open to getting to know her  

That’s a great attitude to have, was she fun to play?

Yes, why close the door? At this stage of our lives we should grab every moment. What is the worst that can happen, someone might say no and that is her attitude. Being older you just have the attitude of some you win. Some you lose. Otherwise you'd never do anything. So it's a case of sort of saying look up, look up, don't look down.

What was Bill like to work with?

Well I can see why Elspeth is interested in him, he is a real silver fox with very chiselled cheekbones! I was very conscious of all the history. There's a certain pedigree and I'm very respectful of that. What really struck me was how dignified they were, and also having the grace to connect with a new person, they took time with me and I went away thinking what nice people.

Obviously what you know who knows what the future holds, but Elspeth and Ken do hit it off? You are busy, but would you be open to spending a longer time on the cobbles?

The answer to that is ‘most definitely’. Ken had Steve to deal with but he was certainly interested in her. He definitely made sure he got her number, he initiated it. So who knows one day he might actually call her and I can come back to Weatherfield.

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