Actress Rhea Bailey may have spent the last five years living the sunny LA lifestyle, but it seems she had no hesitation about abandoning the US once Coronation Street came calling.
“It’s such an important programme. If Coronation Street comes knocking, you drop what you’re doing as far as I’m concerned. Especially if you’re a northern actor. It’s a rite of passage so if you get the opportunity you can’t turn it down!” she says. “I’ve done some fairly big things in America that people won’t see over here, but then this is a job that everyone from my nana to my goddaughter are proud of.”
The role she’s playing is soldier Caz, the fiancee of factory worker Kate Connor, who only recently arrived in Weatherfield herself. Scenes to be broadcast next week will see Caz surprise Kate for her birthday, with the pair then deciding that they’ll get married in April next year. But Caz is definitely the more enthusiastic of the two of them about getting hitched.
“Yes, it’s Caz who really pushes for them to fix a date – she wants something to aim towards and I don’t think she’ll feel like it’s happening until they’ve set the date,” explains Bailey. “She wants to make sure this wedding happens before anything goes wrong or before any obstacles can appear!”
Is she a little bit clingy, maybe? “You will see how keen Caz is – she’s super, super keen! She doesn’t want anyone else to have Kate. She never wants to let her go. You’ll pick up on the fact that perhaps Kate is feeling a little apprehensive about the wedding – this is all quite new for her and she doesn’t really see what the rush is.
“Their relationship is strained at times because Caz is away for long periods and then comes back, so it’s short bursts of intensity. I think you’ll see how hard a long distance relationship is for them.”
Thankfully, there are no signs of angst behind the scenes, with the 32-year-old actress (who drama fans may recognise from her past role as PC Mel Ryder in The Bill) having already fitted in at Corrie. Commenting that she feels like she’s “come home”, Bailey says that she’s bonded with the close-knit cast.
“I love Kate Ford [Tracy] – I’m drawn to her and I think she’s wonderful. We chat about all sorts. Faye Brooks [Kate] and I have got a little bond as well. I call her Fi-Fi, my fake fiancee!
“The Connors in general have been so welcoming – to both me and Caz! It was a bit intimidating when we were doing the Christmas scenes as everybody was involved and I did feel like the new girl! But everyone made a point of checking I was OK and talking to me. It was great.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.
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