Hustle’s silver-haired grifter-in-chief, Robert Vaughn, makes his ITV debut in tonight’s Coronation Street playing Sylvia’s cruise-ship beau, Milton. His casting in Britain’s longest-running soap is particularly noteworthy, not merely because it means that the Hollywood icon will be appearing in two mega-hit primetime TV shows in one evening (Corrie at 7:30pm on ITV1/ITV1 HD; Hustle at 9pm on BBC1/BBC1 HD), but because he’s allegedly “the most famous person” that Corrie producer Phil Collinson has ever met.
This is, of course, somewhat hard to believe, considering the number of big-name stars who’ve trodden the cobbles of Weatherfield over the years. Being something of a national institution, Corrie has understandably lured many of TV, film and music’s best and brightest over the Rovers’ threshold in its time.
From Cliff Richard to Kevin Whately, June Whitfield to Bernard Manning, stars from every conceivable background have flocked to the fictional community near Manchester, with Vaughn being the latest moth drawn to its brightly burning light. And so, in honour of the perennially popular ITV series and its eyebrow-raising list of guest stars down the years, here’s a selection of our favourite Corrie-crashing celebs who’ve had soap fans in a lather in the past…
Sir Ian McKellen – The show-stealing McKellen’s Corrie casting in 2005 was one in the eye for any snobs who’d call soap operas vulgar or trashy. Playing smooth-talking conman Mel Hutchwright, McKellen’s performance in Corrie was as enchanting as a kaleidoscope and intoxicating as a fine single malt.
Status Quo – With Danny the Drug Dealer from Withnail and I in tow as their manager, the boys from Quo livened up the soap in 2005, pounding out Rockin’ All Over the World as the soundtrack to Les and Cilla’s wedding.
Noddy Holder – Sticking with the rock 'n' roll theme, Slade’s bushy sideboard-sporting frontman Noddy turned up in Corrie’s live episode in 2000 as a character named Stan who wanted to save the Street’s cabbies from being replaced. Bedecked in tinsel, he managed a hearty and inevitable "MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!” before making his exit.
Andrew Sachs – Following the fallout from Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’s "Sachsgate" scandal, the former Manuel was given a latter-career burst of stardom as Norris’s softly spoken brother, Ramsay, for more than 20 episodes in 2009.
Prince Charles – Proving the point that everyone from princes to paupers enjoys Corrie, His Royal Highness turned up in 2000’s live edition of the soap, albeit in a pre-recorded segment and only on a TV screen, chatting to Audrey while other amazed cast members looked on. One can only imagine that they would have mirrored the reactions of his mum and grandma, both of whom are/were said to be avid fans of the show.
So with Robert Vaughn debuting tonight, Nigel Havers set to make a return in February and Craig "Lister" Charles bouncing back as Lloyd Mullaney before too long, Corrie’s racking up quite the gallery of famous faces this year. Can't wait to see who they'll book next…