Actor and legendary children’s TV presenter Derek Griffiths is to join the cast of Coronation Street in the new year.
Griffiths will play retired mechanic Freddie, a pensioner who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Kylie Platt following the death of his wife, a beauty client of Kylie’s.
The star, now 69, will be known to viewers as a regular presenter and performer on such classic BBC children’s series Play School and Play Away from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
Since that time, he has worked with the RSC appearing in such West End productions as Miss Saigon and Two Gentlemen of Verona. He will soon be seen in a guest role on the next series of BBC crime drama Silent Witness.
Watch Derek Griffiths in a 1979 edition of Play School below:
Speaking today about his new role on the ITV soap, he said: “I remember being a young boy and watching Violet Carson [as Ena Sharples] on Coronation Street. She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate and later when I became an actor and played the villain in panto many times those are qualities I would bring to the role.
“When I came for my audition one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps.”
Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn added: “I was utterly delighted when Derek accepted this role and I cannot wait to work with him and see him on the cobbles. It really will be a happy new year!”
Watch a 60-second rundown of Christmas and New Year on Coronation Street below.
And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.