Jane Hazlegrove has joined the cast of Coronation Street as Bernie Winter, the errant mum of both Gemma and Paul. But this isn’t the first time that the actress has appeared in Weatherfield: between January and August 1985, she portrayed cheeky teenager Sue Clayton, who moved in to Number 11 with mum Connie, dad Harry and sister Andrea. And while the family weren’t a hit with viewers and ended up being written out after less than a year, Hazlegrove went on to have career success in a number of prime-time TV dramas.
Across ten years and over 400 episodes, Hazlegrove was a Casualty mainstay playing paramedic Kathleen ‘Dixie’ Dixon, who worked alongside such familiar Holby City Hospital faces as Polly Emmerson, Big Mac and, of course, on-screen husband Jeff Collier. Dixie eventually left in January 2016 to start a new life in Cornwall after turning down an offer of promotion.
Prior to Casualty, the actress played DD Burridge in 2003 C4 prison drama Buried and WPC Madeline Forrest in the BBC’s police procedural series Waterfront Beat. Long-time soap fans may also recall that she portrayed Debbie Taylor in the short-lived 1980s’ Granada soap Albion Market. Other screen credits include guest appearances on the likes of Judge John Deed, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Father Brown and London’s Burning.
On what Corrie fans can expect to see when Bernie turns up on the Street this evening, Hazlegrove said: “She’s not every maternal – I think you could guess that from the way Gemma and Paul have turned out and they left home as soon as they could! For her, parenting got in the way of her having a good time. She loved her kids but they weren’t her priority and feeding and caring for them would always have been a bit of an afterthought.
“It’s very different to the role I had on Casualty – Bernie has no morals and Dixie took life and her job very seriously. Bernie is an opportunist and she has no sense of consequence. She is very funny, though – I can’t wait to get the scripts each week and see what she is up to.”
Hazlegrove also revealed that one cast member in particular remembered her from that original stint playing Sue Clayton: “Back in 1985, I did work with Barabra Knox [Rita]. And I had another scene with her recently and she remembered me, which was lovely. I’m also really good friends with Sally Dynevor [Sally], so I’d love to work with her. I was also thrilled to have some scenes with Maureen Lipman, especially as Evelyn and Bernie do not see eye to eye at all. We had such fun doing the scenes – Maureen is a legend.”