Coronation Street: Faye Brookes on newcomer Kate Connor – “There’s rivalry between her and Aidan”

"She’s opinionated and a bit of a hot head, but she’s a Connor so she’s competitive like them!" says the actress

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Aidan Connor’s sister Kate arrives in town next week and will quickly establish herself as a force to be reckoned with. 

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Kate – who will feature alongside her father Johnny – is to embed herself at the factory, quickly riling Beth in the process when it appears that she’s getting close to Kirk.

But the Weatherfield newcomer is actually engaged to a soldier Caz (Rhea Bailey), who will be following on behind her fiancee in the weeks ahead…

Here, we catch up with actress Faye Brookes about how she’s finding life as part of the newly expanded Connor clan.

So, tell us what your character Kate is like…
She’s a little cheeky, mischievous and very fun. She likes to be the life and soul of the party. She’s opinionated and a bit of a hot head, but she’s a Connor so she’s competitive like them! There’s a bit of rivalry between her and Aidan. I think she’s a lost soul and she’s just trying to find herself.

Is she ambitious?
She is, what with the father that she has and Aidan set to accomplish a lot with the factory. But she just doesn’t know what she wants to do and that’s what frustrates her.

So what brings her to Weatherfield?
She has been living in Spain for two years and has found out that her brother has taken her inheritance and put the money into the factory. This brings her and her dad back from Spain to Weatherfield to ask for the money back. First and foremost that’s the only reason that she’s back, but Weatherfield’s probably the best thing to happen her in a while. She needs her feet on the ground. In Spain, she’s been a holiday rep, a waitress, a dance teacher – she’s done it all! She’s 26 and she’s tried everything.

What’s her relationship with her brother Aidan like?
She’s close with him. It’s playful but competitive and slightly argumentative. There’s teasing and they’re quite similar; two hot heads clashing.

Is Kate a Daddy’s girl?
All the way! She actually abuses that slightly in front of Aidan but, at the same time, she adores her Dad and she looks up to him. She idolises him and will listen to any advice that he has to give.

Has she met Carla many times before arriving in Weatherfield?
She knows Carla through the family. She looks up to Carla because she’s achieved so much and she’s older than Kate. She doesn’t have a mum, so I think she automatically idolises any strong female that comes into her life.

And is she close to her cousin Michelle?
Michelle babysat her growing up. She has been her sister, best friend and mum. She’s a bit of a mother hen to her!

Can you tell us about her upcoming wedding?
She hasn’t known Caz for very long. They’ve probably known each other for the sum total of seven months. Caz works in the British army so she’s away a lot, which means that she’s probably only been with her for three weeks. It’s happened very fast – too fast for Kate.

We don’t know what’s going to happen with that because you can see that Kate’s a little bit overwhelmed by it all. She doesn’t know what her purpose is and she’s clinging onto something – maybe the wedding’s the only answer for her right now. I just don’t think that it’s something she truly wants deep down.

What does Kate think about the prospect of working in the factory?
She’s only on board because her dad’s forcing her to and she is even more annoyed because her brother has to be her boss – that just rattles her even more. She’s asked to do certain jobs that she doesn’t want to do and she’s completely out of her comfort zone. She doesn’t know how to sew, so obviously she’s not going to be on the machines, but she’ll get to toy with the machinists and tease them a little bit, particularly Beth.

All she wants to do is make friends, but she’s just going about it the wrong way and she ends up being put in packing with Kirk. Even though she finds it the biggest insult to be shoved in the factory with a load of boxes, having to count knickers, she finds Kirk very endearing and he becomes her first real friend in Weatherfield, which is quite sweet.

So, I take it that people don’t get her sense of humour straight away?
No, she’s dry and sarcastic. She’s been away in a different country, so that sometimes makes her a bit of an outsider, which in turn makes her more of a stranger to everything; not just the people but the community, what’s going on in society and even social media.

How do you feel about getting this part?
It sounds such a cliché, but it’s an absolute dream come true. I have been wanting a job like this for a very long time and I’ve obviously had to work for it and I completely believe in being in the right place at the right time.

Kate is not only a challenge for me but she’s also the absolute dream role. Who wouldn’t be happy to be living on the cobbles and working in the factory while being surrounded by such a strong family? There all have great personalities and they get to bounce off each other. The writers have Kate as the wit of the Connors so I get to have a lot of fun. I was with my brother and my boyfriend in my flat when I found out and I think I screamed and cried at the exact same time, which just didn’t make sense!

What did you do to celebrate?
My boyfriend took my brother and me out for dinner. It’s recently been my birthday so we all celebrated with my family up north and tied it together.

What was your first day on set like?
It was scary and slightly overwhelming because there were a lot of scripts and it happened very fast. It was an out of body experience where you get there and you get given your costume and you’re put in make up and then have to find your character all at the same time.

Then when you get to set, you try not to be fazed by the cameras or the actual characters that you’re surrounded by that you’ve grown up with. You know these people from TV and then you’re stood next to them and it’s just got to be normal. It was strange but I loved it all at the same time. I came home and I was so tired, but at the end of the day I thought, ‘I love my job!’

Are you prepared for the level of recognition that comes with being on a show like Corrie?
I’m not too sure how anyone can prepare for that because it’s from the audience perspective as well. How are they going to take Kate Connor and what do they think of this family? We are new to Weatherfield and I think that already adds pressure to each of us. People love the Connors, but you have to hate them at the same time because they are who they are, so take them with a pinch of salt!

We are definitely a force to be reckoned with. I am just so excited about what’s to come and I hope the audience see that. That’s all I can say about how to prepare yourself. Being recognised on the street is a completely different thing in itself but I am absolutely going to go with it and enjoy it. You don’t know how long that moment is going to last so I just want to enjoy each moment as it comes.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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