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!"

Text Santa

Sir Richard Branson is making a special one-off appearance as part of a Coronation Street time-travel-themed sketch for Text Santa Christmas Jumper Day.

The sketch sees Sir Richard arriving on the street in his DeLorean and calling on locals Tyrone and Kirk to help fix the flashy vehicle.

However, when the boys ignore his strict instructions not to touch anything, they are transported back to Coronation Street Christmases of the past.

Long-term fans are in for a treat as the pair encounter iconic characters including Annie Walker, Albert Tatlock, Elsie Tanner and Mavis Riley - played by current cast members!

Whilst they enjoy their adventures, Sir Richard has a few of his own as he encounters current day characters including Dev and Leanne!

Speaking about taking part in the sketch, Sir Richard said:

“I was delighted to be a part of Coronation Street’s special sketch for ITV’s Text Santa.

"I hope everyone will do their bit in a Christmas knit and donate to this fantastic appeal.”

Watch Text Santa from 8pm on Friday 18 December to see the Corrie sketch and many other surprises on the night.

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!

Stephen Hancock

We are saddened to hear of Stephen's death and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

In Ernest Bishop, Stephen created a character that will always be remembered by Coronation Street fans, Ernest's dramatic exit from the soap is still one of the most memorable moments in the show's history.

Make the most of your extra hour!

The clocks go back on Sunday and that means a whole extra 60 minutes (or 3,600 extra seconds) to do as you please!

Don't waste it sleeping - here's a host of things to do to make the most of it!

Peter Baldwin

It is with great sadness we've learned respected former Coronation Street actor Peter Baldwin has died. Peter passed away at his home in north London last night (21 October) after a short illness.

We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.

Peter played Derek Wilton between 1976 and 1997.

ITV First Look: Jekyll and Hyde

Take a first look at ITV's brand new action-adventure drama Jekyll and Hyde, starring Tom Bateman and Coronation Street's Natalie Gumede.

Jekyll is a young, sensitive and naive man of intellect and morality, a well meaning if slightly repressed character who slips between his two personas unwillingly.

Hyde is a totally different person; a superhero with super powers, great strength, speed and invulnerability. He is confident, risk-taking and lives life on the edge. His self-destructive nature gets him into trouble, and yet he is an incredibly powerful force. He is a man of action who gets things done despite the consequences!

Throughout the series we will witness Jekyll wrestling with the dark, brooding personality of Hyde as he struggles to come to terms with his superhero alter ego.

Jekyll and Hyde begins Sunday 25th October, 6.30pm.