Casting News

Les Dennis To Leave Coronation Street

Les Dennis has today announced his intention to leave Coronation Street later this year in a hugely dramatic storyline.

Les joined Coronation Street in 2014 as charming house burglar, Michael Rodwell, who then began a relationship with Gail Platt after she forgave her uninvited guest.

Following a storyline about restorative justice, their romance blossomed when she got know the ‘gentle’ man behind the burglary. Softhearted Michael soon made himself at home, working as a taxi driver for Steve MacDonald and becoming a regular in the Rovers.

The (not-often) Happy Couple - Michael and Gail Rodwell

However, his marriage to Gail hit the rocks within hours of the nuptials when he discovered Andy had been masquerading as his son, Gavin. Michael was horrified to discover Gail had lied to him and even worse, Gavin was actually dead and she'd kept that from him too.

Angry and betrayed, Les's character fell into the arms of Gail's nemesis, Eileen. This was fairly short lived as Eileen soon replaced Michael with local builder, Pat Phelan. Michael could see Pat for what he was, but Eileen refused to see it.

Of late, Michael’s confrontations with Pat have become legendary, as he seems to be one of the very few characters on the Street who’ve got the measure of evil and conniving Phelan.

Renowned for his stage and television work, Les has become a firm favourite with fans of the soap, fellow actors and colleagues at Coronation Street’s production base in Trafford, Manchester and having achieved a long held ambition, feels excited to move on to new projects.

Of his decision Les said:

"As a lifelong fan of the show, playing Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street has been a dream come true. Becoming part of the ITV Coronation Street family has been a wonderful experience and my decision to leave was a hard one.

“Earlier this year, thanks to Coronation Street giving me a sabbatical from the show, I was thrilled to be able to produce and star in a sell-out production of Alan Bleasdale's Down the Dock Road at The Royal Court Liverpool. I always knew that the time would come when I would want the freedom to do more projects, and now feels like the right time.

“The talented team of writers and producers have come up with a very dramatic exit for Michael on the show which will be exciting to film. I’ll treasure the two and a half years I have been part of such an iconic show and move on with very fond memories, so many lovely friends and colleagues and an ambition achieved."

Coronation Street producer Kate Oates commented:

“We’re very sad to see Les leave Coronation Street as he’s an enormously popular and talented actor. He’s brought warmth, wit and integrity to the character of Michael. We have worked on giving him a great story to ensure a fantastic and dramatic end to his time on the Street. I can't wait to see it unfold!

"He will be very much missed and we wish him many successes with his new ventures."

  • Casting News

Ian Kelsey joins Coronation Street

Watch out Weatherfield - there’s a new bad guy in town and what’s more he is in cahoots with Pat Phelan!

Former Where the Heart Is, Emmerdale and Doctors actor Ian Kelsey has been cast as dodgy businessman Vinny, an old associate of Phelan.

With Jason off the scene, Phelan is helping Eileen look after his business interests but he has big plans of his own - which is where property developer Vinny comes in...

Ian, who also starred in Blue Murder and Casualty, started filming today (Friday June 17th) and will be on screen from August.

It remains to be seen just what the scheming pair will get up to but it certainly spells Double Trouble for the residents of Coronation Street.

Extras

  • Casting News

Paula Lane to leave Coronation Street

Coronation Street actress Paula Lane is to leave the show after six years playing troubled Kylie Platt.

Paula will be at the centre of a huge top secret storyline which will be on screen this summer. She will finish filming as she goes on maternity leave in June.

She notified ITV of her intention to leave the show a few weeks ago, the producers and writing team discussed her exit at the story conference and came up with an exciting storyline for her departure which will coincide with the timing of her maternity leave.

Writers and storyliners are now working on the details of her dramatic exit which will focus on the climax of the storyline which saw Callum Logan murdered and buried under Gail’s granny flat in the live episode last September.

Kylie and David buried Callum in the manhole during Corrie's live episode

Producer Stuart Blackburn said:

“Paula is one of the most talented and dedicated actors I know and in Kylie she has created an unforgettable Corrie character.

"I for one will miss both the character and the actor and on behalf of all at Coronation Street wish Paula all the love and luck in the world and I'm certain that Paula's future will be full of continued success.”

Paula Lane said:

“This has not been an easy decision for me to make. I have enjoyed every moment of my time on Coronation Street and learnt so much in the process.

"I have an amazing on-screen family who have become friends for life so this decision was not taken lightly. But sometimes you just have to follow your heart and I am excited about what the future has to offer both personally and professionally.”

  • Casting News

Michelle Connor’s old flame arrives on the cobbles

Leon Ockenden joins the cast as Michelle's ex-boyfriend, Will!

Should Steve be worried?

Michelle Connor’s marriage to Steve McDonald will be put to the test this spring when her first love arrives in Weatherfield.

Will turns up in the Rovers to book Michelle as his wedding planner but she is stunned to realise her new client is an old flame from her teenage years.

Leon Ockenden, best known for his roles in Waterloo Road and Mr Selfridge, has been cast as the charming ex-boyfriend and it isn’t long before Will and Michelle are taking a trip down memory lane.

With Steve McDonald still over in Spain helping out brother Andy, Michelle has been left running the pub and helping with Steve’s daughter Amy, whilst trying to run her own business.

And it soon becomes clear that there is unfinished business for the former lovebirds as they spend more and more time together planning the wedding.

Can Michelle and Will avoid temptation or will they risk both their relationships by letting their feelings for each other take over? Will Steve arrive back in Weatherfield in the nick of time?

Will’s first scenes will be screened in April, Leon and Kym started filming together this week.

Leon's first day in the Rovers with Kym.

  • Casting News

Bhavna Limbachia Joins Corrie

Sparks will fly when new girl Rana bursts onto Coronation Street.

Rana, an old uni friend of Alya’s, will set Zeedan’s heart fluttering when she arrives in Weatherfield in February to pay Alya a visit.

It’s not long before Rana’s got herself a job at the medical centre and while many of the Street’s residents have got their eyes on Rana, it seems she’s got her sights firmly set on Alya’s brother Zeedan.

Rana will be played by Lancashire born actress Bhavna Limbachia who’s previously had roles in Citizen Khan and Cuffs.

She’ll first appear on our screens on Friday 19th February and as this first on set picture shows, she’s sure to make an impression.

Talking about her new role Bhavna said:

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the show. Being a proud Northerner - it's a dream come true!"

Producer Stuart Blackburn said:

“Rana is sharp, funny, utterly gorgeous and not a little manipulative. She's a girl who likes to get her own way and when she sets her sights on something, or someone ... well, Zeedan better have his wits about him!”

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Derek Griffiths joins Coronation Street

Actor and legendary children's TV presenter Derek Griffiths is to join the cast of Coronation Street in the new year.

Derek will play retired mechanic Freddie, a pensioner who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Kylie Platt following the death of his wife, a beauty client of Kylie's.

Derek, 69, will be known to many Corrie viewers as the face of iconic children's series Play School and Play Away during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

He also has an impressive acting CV, working with the RSC for two years, appearing in numerous West End productions (including Miss Saigon and Two Gentlemen of Verona) as well as dozens of TV shows. He has recently finished filming Silent Witness.

Motorbike loving Freddie will ride onto the cobbles in March. Through Kylie he finds new friends and a surrogate community in the Street.

Speaking about joining the soap Derek said:

"I remember being a young boy and watching Violet Carson on Coronation Street. She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate and later when I became an actor and played the villain in panto many times those are qualities I would bring to the role.

"When I came for my audition one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps."

Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn said:

"I was utterly delighted when Derek accepted this role and I can not wait to work with him and see him on the cobbles, it really will be a happy new year!"

  • Casting News

Phelan Is Back!

We last saw the dastardly Pat Phelan riding off into the sunset having blackmailed Anna into sleeping with him and swindling her family out of their life savings.

How will Anna and Gary react to see the bothersome builder back on the cobbles?

Connor McIntyre started filming this week and will be back on screens in the new year!

  • Casting News

Rhea Bailey is coming to the Cobbles

Rhea Bailey has landed the role of Caz - the soldier fiancée of Kate Connor played by Faye Brookes.

Rhea played PC Mel Ryder in the Bill from 2008 to 2010. Some of her other credits include Blue Murder and The Mentalist.

She filmed her first scenes today and will be on screen in November when Caz arrives in Weatherfield for Kate’s birthday and to set the date for their wedding.

Rhea who has spent the last 4 years living in LA said:

“Too much sun isn’t good for ya’. Really excited to be swapping my surfboard for a brolly, and joining the cast on the Nation’s Favorite show!”

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