Text Santa: Mel B on the Cobbles

Take a look at the first pictures of Mel B taking to the the cobbles of Coronation Street for the Text Santa Christmas special.

Mel will be playing Chief Operational Head of Christmas management services.

It all sounds very official - we wonder what the storyline could be?

It looks like Mary (Patti Clare) will be in for a surprise on the night.

Behind the scenes, there's no rest as the team ready for the next scene.

Keep checking back for more pictures and big surprises on the build up to Text Santa night on Friday 19th December.

Coronation Street: Live

Coronation Street is going LIVE for a special episode in celebration of ITV's 60th Anniversary.

Speaking today at the Salford Media Festival, ITV’s Director of Television Peter Fincham will confirm Coronation Street is to broadcast a live episode in 2015 from its new production base in Trafford, Manchester.

The special episode will be filmed at Coronation Street's state-of-the-art production facility in MediaCityUK, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and will mark ITV’s 60 years on air.

Cast, crew and writers have received the news this morning (19 November) ahead of the announcement. The live episode will broadcast in September 2015 and will ensure viewers are tantalised by storylines reaching a dramatic climax.

"We’re delighted to be marking ITV’s 60th anniversary with a live episode from Coronation Street’s brilliant new studios and set," said Executive Producer Kieran Roberts.

"We’re immensely proud of our new home and it’s been the most amazing first year of production.

"The cast, writers, and production team are exhilarated by the prospect of a live broadcast as the programme’s 50th anniversary episode was received so brilliantly by the audience,” he added.

The tram crash

Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn, who produced Emmerdale’s live special to celebrate the drama’s 40th anniversary in 2012, will mastermind Coronation Street’s live episode whilst continuing to oversee the soap.

His production team will pre-record episodes across the summer of 2015 which will dovetail into the live episode in September.

“It’s an honour to be at the helm as Coronation Street goes live once more,” said Stuart.

“We’ve a reputation to uphold after the success of the tram crash and I’m going to enjoy working with the storyliners and writers as we plot stories for our live episode in 2015.

We’ll be doing all we can to eclipse what’s gone before,” said Stuart.

Jacqueline Leonard joins Corrie

There is more trouble ahead for the Armstrong Windass clan early next year with the arrival of Katy and Izzy’s estranged mum Linda.

Owen’s ex will be played by former Doctors and Eastenders actress Jacqueline Leonard.

Linda turns up unexpectedly in Weatherfield in February keen to build bridges with the daughters she left behind when they were children.

Owen, Katy and Izzy are stunned when she arrives on the cobbles from her home in Portugal as she hasn’t been in contact for years.

Having always been told by their dad that Linda abandoned them as she couldn’t cope with them as children, Katy and Izzy are reluctant to give her the time of day.

But it soon becomes evident that Owen was perhaps a little economical with the truth and Linda’s arrival puts the cat amongst the pigeons - not least with Anna who is worried about Owen’s relationship with his ex.

Jacqueline said:

"I am incredibly honoured and excited to be joining the amazing cast of Coronation Street.

"I love the Northern wit and humour along with the drama and tension that the wonderful scripts of Coronation Street encapsulate. So excited to start!"

Stuart Blackburn said:

“Linda's arrival will have a devastating affect on how Owen's family see him and he'll have the fight of his life to hold on to everyone and everything he holds dear.

"The sins of the father really will visit Owen's children."

Jacqueline is a popular face on television having played regular roles on several other dramas including Peak Practice, Holby City and most recently River City.

EXCLUSIVE: Mini-bus crash storyline revealed

Disaster is set to strike in Weatherfield this winter when a mini-bus crash leaves some of the Street’s favourite residents fighting for their lives!

Planning has started on the dramatic stunt which will be filmed before Christmas and screened in the New Year.

The staff of Underworld will be caught up in the horrific crash as they head off on a works’ outing - in a Street Cars minibus driven by Steve McDonald.

Exact details are being kept under wraps but more than one character will be hospitalised as a result of the crash and one Underworld knicker stitcher’s life will be on the line!

Locations for the smash are currently being explored to find a suitably dramatic setting for what promises to be a high octane start to 2015 for Corrie fans.

Keep checking back for more news and previews in the coming weeks and look out for our exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast during the stunt!

SPOILERS: Watch our Teaser Trailer for hints on what's to come over the next few weeks

Casting News: Sarah-Lou returns

Corrie favourite Sarah-Louise Platt is to return to the cobbles - to cause more problems for long suffering mum Gail McIntyre.

Actress Tina O’Brien will start filming early next year and Sarah-Lou will arrive in Weatherfield in Spring, alongside her now teenage daughter Bethany.

Gail is already facing a turbulent few months with her dysfunctional family and will no doubt be delighted her daughter and granddaughter are back in the fold.

But it looks like her only daughter is going to cause her as much grief as sons Nick and David, whilst granddaughter Bethany has also grown up into something of a wild child.

The exact details of Sarah’s return to Coronation Street are being kept under wraps but she is sure to make waves not just for the Platts but for the Grimshaws because of her history with both Todd and Jason.

Sarah-Lou in 2004

Tina joined the programme in 1999 and was immediately thrust into the spotlight when it was revealed that 13-year-old Sarah was pregnant.

She left Weatherfield in 2007 with Bethany for a new life working Uncle Stephen in Milan.

Tina said:

“I am delighted to be returning. Sarah has a lot of history and unfinished business on the street and I’m looking forward to finding out what she’s been up to and why she’s returned home.”

Jenny Bradley is coming back to Corrie

We are very happy to confirm that Jenny Bradley is to make a return to the cobbles after an absence of 21 years.

Jenny, played by actress Sally Ann Matthews, will arrive back in Weatherfield early next year as a love interest for Kevin Webster.

The couple meet online when Kevin turns to internet dating to try and find a girlfriend. He’s shocked when he arranges to meet a mystery woman and discovers it is none other than Jenny, daughter of infamous Corrie villain Alan Bradley.

She in turn admits that she has started internet dating after a nasty divorce and was intrigued to find Kevin online - and confesses she had a bit of a crush on him when they were younger!

The pair start dating but how will Jenny’s foster mum Rita react when she finds out about the relationship?

Jenny Bradley on the Street in 1989

The pair have not spoken since 1993 when Jenny returned briefly to the Street and it became clear that she was after Rita's money to set up a business. Furious Rita wrote her a cheque for £1000 and sent her packing.

Jenny, now a 43-year-old divorcee, first joined the show in January 1986, working for Rita and Mavis as a teenage papergirl at The Kabin.

When her mum was killed in a car crash, she was placed in temporary foster care with Rita, and was reunited with her estranged father Alan.

Alan's shocking death by Blackpool tram

Alan and Rita began dating but things turned sour. He was a cheat and a swindler and turned violent when Rita confronted him.

Alan spent time in prison but Rita suffered a breakdown in 1989 and Alan was killed by a Blackpool tram trying to bring her home.

Jenny blamed Rita for her dad's downfall and death, but eventually they got back on track, and Rita remained a surrogate mum to Jenny until their fall out in 1993.

Sally Ann Matthews said:

"I'm as intrigued as everyone else to find out what Jenny has been up to for the last 21 years!

"I'm thrilled to be invited back and can't wait to get started."

Text Santa: Corrie v Emmerdale charity netball

It's re-match time! Text Santa bring you this year's Corrie v Emmerdale charity netball challenge.

As part of Text Santa, the nation's two favourite soaps will go head-to-head in a netball match, all in the aid of raising funds for charity. Who will reign soap superstars and who will be left with the holiday blues?

Here are the team lineups:

Team Corrie
Tisha Merry
Hayley Tamaddon
Jane Danson
Katy Cavanagh
- Supported by the Manchester Thunder!

Team Emmerdale
Michelle Hardwick
Charley Webb
Amy Walsh
Eden Taylor-Draper
Sammy Winward
- Supported by the Yorkshire Jets!

Join us on Saturday 22 November at the Manchester Thunderdome at 2:30pm - you can buy tickets for the match from the Manchester Thunder website with all profits going to Text Santa.

Who are you supporting? Tell on Facebook and Twitter using #TeamEmmerdale or#TeamCorrie.