Cast finalised for Corrie celebration

Published: 16 December 2012
Reporter: David Upton

Kimberley Hart-Simpson as Bet Lynch

The cast has been announced for two classic Coronation Street episodes from 1977 to be staged live as part of Lassfest at Manchester’s Lass O’Gowrie January 2-February 2.

Legendary casting director June West, who worked on the programme for more than 15 years has signed up a stellar cast for the live episodes.

Comedy actress Denice Hope, who has appeared in Coronation Street, Northern Lights, Life on Mars, and The Royle Family Christmas Special, is playing Betty Turpin.

Newcomer Kimberley Hart-Simpson, 25, a graduate of Italia Conti in London and a big hit recently at the JB Shorts in nearby Joshua Brooks, will play barmaid Bet Lynch.

But most of the cast of Coronation Street 1977 live have appeared in ITV's Coronation Street on the small screen including Ian Curley as Eddie Yates, Mike Woodhead as Fred Gee and Kimmy Allen as Len Fairclough.

Matt Lanigan, who was prosecutor Tim O'Mara in ITV's Coronation Street and appeared in Porridge and Steptoe and Son at the Lass and Dev’s Army at the King’s Arms, is Alf Roberts.

Back by popular demand are Joan Kempson (Edna Miller in Coronation Street on TV), and John Draycott (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Midsomer Murders, Cold Feet), reprising their roles as Hilda and Stan Ogden.

Their performances of the Jack Rosenthal scripts at Lassfest last January were so impressive that they were invited to perform at the launch of a Jack Rosenthal exhibition at the University of Sheffield.

Also returning are Jeni Howarth Williams as Elsie Tanner, David Crowley as Ray Langton and Kathryn Worthington as Renee Bradshaw.

The two episodes are written by John Stevenson, who penned 399 episodes of Coronation Street between 1976 and 2006 and is considered one of the greats of the programme.

Rovers Return landlady Annie Walker is preparing for a sherry party and the chance to show off her monogrammed carpet that Eddie Yates claims has been specially made for her.

Will Hilda Ogden, Bet Lynch and Fred Gee tell her where the carpet is really from before her guests arrive?

Coronation Street 1977 will have a première at Taurus on Canal Street on Wednesday January 2 and then be staged at the Lass O’Gowrie January 3-7.

Landlord Gareth Kavanagh said: “We are hugely grateful to ITV for allowing us to stage these episodes and can’t wait for you to see them! These tickets are much sought after and bound to sell out, and with room for only 30 customers for each promenade performance in the pub you need to be quick to get tickets before they sell out.”

Writer John Stevenson will also be appearing at Corriefest (Saturday January 5 10:30AM–4PM), a convention celebrating everything Coronation Street.

He will be joined by guests drawn from both sides of the camera and there will be screenings of rare footage, exclusive talks, a special quiz, auction and guided walks.

Coronation Street Live and Corriefest are part of the Midwinter Lassfest back for 31 days in January and February 2013 at the Lass O’Gowrie (National Supreme Champion Pub of Britain at the Morning Advertiser Awards 2012).