9 March 2005
For my next job I shall realise a long-held ambition – to appear in Coronation Street. On 29 March I go to the Granada Studios in Manchester and team up with the regulars for 10 episodes as Mel Hutchwright, a dodgy novelist invited to meet the local reading group. More I shouldn’t reveal, except that the script is hilarious and well up to the Street’s current high standards as UK’s most popular television programme.
About 15 years ago I turned down a previous offer to visit the Street, as Elsie Tanner’s long-lost nephew. But I chickened out. After all it can’t be easy to fit in with the expertise of the cast who have made Coronation Street so watchable over so many years. Now, I am nervous but raring to go. I don’t yet know what Mel will look like nor sound like (a bit of my native northern accent maybe) but I’m already studying his lines, as rehearsal time is scarce for the five-times-a-week show.
Coronation Street is recorded just off Quay Street in Manchester where I did some of my earliest theatre-going at the Opera House. So it will be a little like going home. Once I’m done, I go further north to the Lake District to record for BBC radio the 12 books of William Wordsworth’s verse autobiography, “The Prelude”, first published 200 years ago. Under the direction of Robert Woof who is curator of Dove Cottage where Wordsworth lived, I hope to record the poem in the place where it was composed, another chance to use my northern accent, akin to Wordsworth’s own.