Before Becky Grainger joined itv’s iconic series ‘Coronation Street’, Katherine Kelly was a big fan of the soap but she never thought much about appearing on it. ‘I just never thought it would happen; it wasn’t like: ‘Ooh, it would be wonderful to be in Corrie’, because I just thought: No chance!’. Working mainly in the theatre she had missed out on Corrie for two years ,which she thinks was a good thing. ‘I’d kind of got out of the zone a bit so I wasn’t that nervous when I first arrived there’.
Becky’s first appearance was in December, 2006, and at that time the character was not exactly lovable. ‘She was a right ol’ mess. Jobless, homeless – she was living on the street and she had just got out of prison. Kelly – who works in the knicker factory - gave her a chance but she messed that up and was dumped by Kelly and went back to her old ways. Then Hayley gave her a true chance. Becky didn’t quite believe it until she realised Hayley and Roy didn’t want anything from her, they just believed in her. She just blossomed.’
She is adament that Becky is completely genuine with the Croppers. She would never do anything to hurt them. ‘She’s like their guard dog’.
Becky is now a favourite on ‘the street’, currently running ‘Roy’s Rolls’, while Roy Cropper is in Africa with wife Hayley. Katherine laughed at the thought of Becky creating chaos during her boss’s absence. ‘I will be working with Ken Barlow and he and Becky get on like a house on fire. He does what he’s told.’ She explained her plan of action for her reign as Queen of the Rolls. ‘Ken says ‘You just tell me what to do, Becky, because I’ve never worked here’ so she does.’ In the weeks to come, we will see her moving in with Roy and this will have it’s problems. Katherine warns it is going to be hysterical.
She is always surprised when a member of the public approaches her. ‘People love Becky! They always say ‘She’s so funny’ or more scarily ‘she’s just like my neice’. Katherine admits to basing her on-screen character on five girls she knew but refuses to divulge names.
As for her fellow Corrie-ites, she has nothing but praise for them and their acting talents, claiming David Neilsen, who plays Roy Cropper, to be one of the best character actors around. ‘He is absolutely amazing!’
She may be Yorkshire born and bred, but Katherine’s family roots are firmly in Ireland. ‘My Dad’s from Roscommon but he was born in Kerry. His mum is from Kerry. He moved over to England when he was about two. We’ve always gone back regularly for family holidays and family events.’
Her father is passionately patriotic so they all have Irish passports. She has two brothers and when it looked like they might have talent, her father insisted they play for Ireland. So how did he feel about her working in an English soap? ‘Oh he is so proud. You know, my family in Ireland LOVE Corrie. When I first started in Corrie, I went back to Kerry for my uncle’s funeral and it was crazy. I got spotted more in Kerry than I did in Manchester’
Katherine may be the first actor in her family but she is not the only talent. Typically Irish, her father plays several instruments and her mother is a ‘fantastic singer’. ‘they met through amateur operatics. It was a production of ‘Oklahoma’ in Barnsley (where I’m from). They used to do the working mens clubs. During the day they would do their ‘proper’ jobs – my dad is a trained nurse and my mum is a secretary. So it’s all there in the genetics’ she says proudly. As a child, she appeared in a amateur production of ‘Annie’ . ‘It was always musicals – there was no drama teacher at my school. I can sing ok’ she admits reluctantly ‘but I am more comfortable with drama.’
By the time she was eighteen, Katherine knew what she wanted to do so instead of going to university, she auditioned for RADA (Royal Academy for Dramatic Art) where one of her fellow classmates was the son of James Fox, Laurence Fox. He is now co-starring with Kevin Wheatley in the ‘Lewis’ series.
The complete interview appeared in the Irish Post May 29, 2008
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