Coronation Street: Dolly-Rose Campbell interview – “I want to keep Gemma as a rough diamond!”

The British Soap Awards winner teases a new dramatic storyline for gobby Gemma


Gemma Winter has gone from Callum Logan’s gobby sidekick to fully-fledged Coronation Street comedy legend in just a few short years. As queen of the kebab shop her banter and barmy antics with co-worker Chesney Brown, not to mention her genius on-screen pairing with Weatherfield royalty Rita Tanner, have been absolute soap gold.


But life takes a more dramatic turn for our Gemma next week, when some mates from her dodgy old neighbourhood turn up and cause trouble for the scrunchie-wearing Ms Winter and she’s wrongly blamed for robbing best mate Rita.

With Gemma arrested and Rita rejecting her, there won’t be as many laughs on the horizon – so how has it got so serious all of a sudden? We asked Dolly-Rose Campbell to fill us in on the tough time ahead for her quirky cobbles character.

Gemma seemed settled on the street until recently, what’s thrown her off course?

Gemma was enjoying working her at the kebab shop and everything was going along nicely but this fall out with Chesney is getting to her. She misses him, they had a good friendship and without that she feels lost. That’s why she turns back to her old friends.

Why is she so angry with him?

Chesney quit the kebab shop so she feels like he’s abandoned her, and when Gemma reaches out to him he rejects her so that really hurts. She doesn’t quite realise how deeply everything has affected him though.

How does Jenny upset her next week?

Jenny ridicules her saying Gemma would struggle to find a husband, belittling her for being single. She’s just lost her best mate and Jenny’s comment makes her feel quite lonely. That’s why she turns to her old mates, Zoe and Roxy, who turn up on the street.

Is it weird seeing them again?

Gemma is alone and vulnerable. She left her old life behind where she did have a lot of friends, even though they weren’t the greatest influence on her.

What’s the backstory of the girls’ friendship?

They were at school together so have been friends for many years. They were probably the people who she used to hang out with at the Dog and Gun.

Why is Gemma so keen to impress them?

Part of her wants to show off how she’s turned her life around, but then she also has an old fear of being ridiculed and trying to fit in. There is definitely a history of Gemma being picked on and bullied in her past, but she has then adapted her behaviour to make sure she’s not the odd one out. It’s an interesting reminder of where she came from and how she used to be. She could slip into her old life again but doesn’t want to go down that road, she has to work hard to try and keep herself on track.

What happens back at Rita’s?

She invites Zoe and Roxy to the flat and things get a bit rowdy… Gemma hasn’t got any friends her age at this point and just wants to hang out, have a few drinks and show how good her life is at this flat she’s living in with a nice person.

Does she misjudge the situation by taking the girls to the flat, not thinking they’ll cause trouble?

Yeah, she’s forgotten the way it was back when she used to hang out at the Dog and Gun because now she’s turned her life around and things are so much better for her. She’s too trusting and is taking everything at face value, but that’s because she misses Chesney and she hasn’t really got anyone else.

How does Rita react when she arrives?

Rita is disappointed, and that not only makes Gemma disappointed in herself but also feel even more isolated because she loses her friends as well. She has lost Chesney and has tried to reconnect with Zoe and Roxy, but it goes horribly wrong.

This incident makes Rita mistrustful of Gemma, how does that make her feel?

Rita’s friendship means everything to Gemma because she was the one who took her in when Gemma had nowhere to go, and has supported her more than anyone else has in her life. She has come to rely on Rita as her family. Gemma is already feeling lonely so when things go sour with Rita she really is on her own.

What’s the best thing about working with Barbara Knox?

Barbara is very experienced in the business so I learn a great deal from her and how she works, especially the technical side of filming. It’s really nice to learn from someone as gifted as Barbara.

Do you hope that Rita and Gemma can get their friendship back on track?

I hope so but we will have to see. It’s an interesting relationship with Gemma being taken under Rita’s wing and almost being redeemed by her.

Are you still enjoying playing Gemma?

I love the humour of the role and all the scrapes she gets herself into. I want to keep Gemma as a rough diamond!

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

And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.