Actress Sue Johnston is arguably most famous for her role in sitcom The Royle Family as matriarch Barbara Royle, and/or her role in Brookside as Sheila Grant…
However, what many fans may not know is that Sue in fact began her career in TV with an appearance in Coronation Street in the role of Mrs Chadwick – that was in 1982 – and now of course, she’s back, playing the part of feisty Gloria, who is Stella Price’s mum.
And in an interview with the Daily Mirror, Sue revealed that she feels her return to the cobbles was “meant to be.”
She also explained that working on the Manchester based soap also has the advantage of enabling her to be nearer to her son and new grandson, who live in the area.
Sue said, “My son has just had his baby and they live in Manchester…
“Corrie producer Phil Collinson had rung my agent to see if I’d be interested in coming in to play Stella Price’s mother.
“I thought to myself, ‘That seems meant to be… a job in Manchester and my baby grandson up there’.”
However, Sue added that she had some doubts about moving from her home in London.
She said, “I feel a bit wobbly about leaving London, because I love London.
“But I’m nearly 69 now, and prioritising what’s important is a big thing. Work is important because I love it and I suppose it defines who I am.
“Also my family is very important, so it’s keeping the balance between them.
“I want to keep my family close now at this time in my life.”
However, it seems that Sue has no plans to retire and take things a bit easier.
She said, “It’s not something I would consider. I just don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t acting.”
She added, “I’ve been off for a while, and it was just hell. I’m not very domesticated, so I don’t like housework or anything like that.
“I’d read forever and potter around the garden and walk the dogs, but after that you’re going berserk because there’s no creativity.”
Sue then explained how she came upon the role of Mrs Chadwick in Corrie.
She said, “When [my son] Joel was three or four, I’d only ever done theatre and I thought it was very hard to look after him and do theatre, especially rep.
“I was going to go back to college for a year to get a teaching diploma so I could teach, because that would fit around being a single mother with a little boy.
“I decided to give it a year to see if I could crack getting into telly and I got a Manchester agent.
“Coronation Street asked me to come in for Mrs Chadwick because the casting director had seen me.
“She brought me in for the part and then this agent put me up for Brookside…
“It was great timing. The luck I had at that time changed my career.”
And finally, of Gloria, who arrives on the cobbles next week, Sue said, “Gloria’s a funny one really…
“She’s sort of an ageing hippy and likes to say it as it is, which for me means she’s totally insensitive to other people, particularly her daughter.
“She’s not a very nice mother, either. She doesn’t exactly build Stella’s self-esteem, she’s very critical and she’s got a quite an acid tongue.
“Coronation Street writes brilliantly for characters like that, so she has some cracking one-liners.”
She has a cracking right hook too, as you can see by clicking here!
Are you looking forward to seeing Sue as Gloria?