Exclusive interview with Coro's Katherine Kelly!
Katherine Kelly, who plays Becky on Coronation Street,
chats to tvnz.co.nz - be warned though, it contains some
We're over a year behind the UK for Coronation Street, but there are plenty of huge Coro fans in NZ who would love to know what's in store for Becky after the wedding.
Katherine: You see quite a nice side of Becky now. She's the happiest she's ever been, she thinks all her Christmases and wishes have come at once, and you see her be a really lovely mother.
What I like about her is that she doesn't try to be Amy's mum, she's very sort of a big sister to her. Steve sees this and how good she is and he wants a baby so obviously after a wedding the baby thing crops up. You see her go through lots of transitions really. At first she doesn't want one at all which makes you suspect a little bit about what's gone on in her past. She's almost too reactionary against it.
It's a nice year. There's lots of fun, we do a Pantomime at
Christmas. You see everything you hoped for Becky.
Do you enjoy playing Becky when she's good or bad?
Katherine: I love playing bad girls but I do also have a tendency as a person to get bored very easily which is why I never thought being in Corrie would be for me. I never thought playing the same character for four years would stimulate me as much as it does.
What I love about the writers is that they constantly change Becky [but] they never lose that base rate; the bottom note of the fact that she is feral deep down and a bad girl really. That's always sort of underlying and they've never lost that. So she's not completely reformed but at the same time you can't keep being bad all the time 'cause it's boring.
I did really enjoy playing the maternal side of Becky, it was a
real challenge. Not in terms of ... I'm maternal anyway and the
little girls playing Amy are just divine so that was not a problem
... but I thought it was nice to see that side and explore that
side of her. It was great. It was a very good choice. Also I like
when you see the way they've done it.
Of course, nothing can ever be easy for Becky, so there are lots of twists and turns and they made a real choice about whether Becky could have a child or not and they definitely made the most interesting choice for me as an actress. I think we've got the best writing team in the country and they love Becky as much as I love her. And they get the right balance of what you want for her as an audience member but also what keeps me stimulated as an actor as well.
Do you share any qualities with Becky?
Katherine: Not really. Definitely not at first, which is another reason why I enjoy playing her, because she's some sort of alter ego, completely different. That's a challenge. I don't really get a buzz from playing characters that are similar to me 'cause that's not acting to me.
Now I would say there are certain aspects of Becky [I identify with]. I don't smoke, I don't drink like she does, that's for sure. But I'd say she's a hard worker, she likes to have a laugh, she's got a real thirst for life - but that's about it really.
She's got some great qualities I sort of wish I had. She's very
in the moment. She doesn't worry about yesterday or tomorrow, she
only cares about the here and now. She's got a big heart and she's
very un-judgemental as well which I think is such a brilliant
quality. She's very accepting of everybody and everything and I
think that was when the audience fell for her really. 'Cause we saw
that side of her with Christian - when Hayley's son arrived she was
so defensive and that's when the audience sort of latched onto
Becky and loved her.
It's been very exciting for you in the lead-up to the 50 years of Corrie, with lots going on. How did you find filming that, particularly the live episode with the tram crash?
Katherine: I wasn't too nervous as I've come from a theatre background. But in the UK it was like tuning in to watch the England football team, like a national event rather than a TV show and it was a topic of conversation all that day and all the next day.
Everybody watched it. It was just crazy. It was phenomenal really. To be honest, to actually execute it and do your job, you can't think about it. It's too big. We just focused on making it. It's very shared out when you see the live episode. That's the great thing about Corrie, it is an ensemble cast and it didn't rest on one person's shoulders by any means. So we just all got our heads down and wanted to do our bit right and just thought about it afterwards and thought how did we do that? It was incredible. The next day in the press, it made everyone really proud to be British. The only thing the papers could come up with that was negative is that they didn't believe it was live as nothing went wrong!
That's a real testimony to the team. There's no sort of hierarchy at Corrie, the crew get on. We've got crew that have been there as long as Bill Roache. The crew are fantastic and all our writers and production team. It's a really happy place to work and I think it showed to the world that's the truth when everything came together so well.
Are you proud of being part of such an iconic show like Corrie?
Katherine: Oh yeah. I'm always proud to be in something that's
good. There's nothing like being part of a winning ship. Corrie
fluctuates like any show does. It can't be dramatic all the time
'cause it takes away from the times when it is dramatic. I've never
been more proud to be right at the heart of the 50ths and also the
fact that Tony Warren is still alive and with us, who brought the
show to the world and changed the face of television 50 years ago.
I'm really proud.
What is it about Coronation Street do you think makes it such a long running show?
Katherine: I think it's got heart. It's got heart and I think it works through the characters. It's doesn't just plonk an issue based storyline, like "Right let's do a drug storyline..." Everything comes from the characters. It stays with the times and moves with the times but the bottom line is that it's got heart. The minute you stop loving the characters is the minute you stop caring.
How do you get on with the other cast members?
Katherine: Brilliantly. I know it's so boring to say that. It's so annoying, everyone asks "There must be one person?" We are like a big family even though it's a cliche. We spend 12-hour days together minimum, then there's everything else that goes on and you can't really fake that for that length of time. It's a very, very happy job and a very happy place to work.
That comes from Bill Roache, he very much sets the tone. He is so delightful with everybody that walks through that door, even if they are here just for one line or one scene. I always think that filters down. It's like any workplace if the people at the top of the tree are delightful and kind and supportive, then that filters down throughout the company.
Do you think you'd ever go back to stage?
Katherine: Oh no, I'm really happy at Coro St right now. I've got such a great year coming up, (* MAJOR SPOILER*) with Tracey Barlow coming back. That's just a gift - Tracey vs Becky.
I'm definitely happy for now. I know there's a lot of rumours surrounding me going but that's been for the past two years so just ignore them for now.
What other TV shows would you like to be in?
Katherine: We've got great show here in the UK called Downton Abbey, which is a period drama. It's like Upstairs Downstairs and everyone would expect that I'd want to be downstairs but I'd definitely want to be upstairs. Put my best arty accent on for that.
But Becky is probably one of the best roles ever on screen. I
can't wish for anything else.
Have you got any plans to come over to NZ at some stage?
Katherine: I'd love to. I went to Canada in April with Anthony
Cotton and we did a little tour of Canada and obviously NZ is the
other biggie for us. Julia and David (Roy and Hayley) came over to
see you a few years ago and they loved it and thoroughly recommend
If they'd give me the time off, I would love to come over next year. I'm crossing my fingers that that's going to work out.