Ahead of her return to Coronation Street as Debbie Webster, actress Sue Devaney has recalled her appearance on ITV soap stablemate Emmerdale which was brief but historic, as it was during the soap’s first ever live episode.
Emmerdale broadcast live to the nation in October 2012 to mark its 40th anniversary, in an ambitious hour-long edition remembered for the murder of Carl King and two births in the iconic Dingle family, one of which – Debbie Dingle and Andy Sugden’s son Jack – was overseen by Devaney’s character.
“One of the Dingles was having a baby and I was the delivery nurse,” reflects the actress. “That was really exciting! I’m back on Corrie and will be involved in the 60th anniversary in December and I was hoping there might be a live episode for that, but I’m not sure it’s happening.”
Emmerdale’s memorable, and still only, live outing saw Devaney’s midwife safely deliver Debbie’s saviour sibling for sickly daughter Sarah Sugden, who’s bone marrow would save the little girl who was battling a rare form leukaemia.
Meanwhile, fellow Dingle Gennie Walker had an audience at the B&B as she went into labour with daughter Molly and gave birth with half the cast watching.
Deb had her family by her side in the hospital delivery suite, except for dastardly boyfriend Cameron Murray who was busy back in the village killing Carl King, which is a whole other story…
Devaney had a brush with the Dales earlier in her career, and was almost part of the regular cast: “I remember getting a part in Emmerdale years ago but I couldn’t do it,” she reveals. “I was working at the Royal Exchange theatre at the time. I love soap, I’m such a fan of the genre. I did three months in River City (BBC Scotland’s continuing drama), it’s very fast-paced you can get rewrites handed to you literally there and then.
“I’m so grateful to be back on Corrie, especially as part of the big anniversary year. It’s amazing. It’s like all my Christmas and birthdays have come at once!”
Devaney started in Corrie back in 1984 when she was 16 as Kevin Webster’s gobby little sister. She left the following year and was back for a guest stint in 2019. Audiences will recognise her from classic 1980s kids’ drama Jonny Briggs and Victoria Wood’s sitcom dinnerladies, among many numerous other screen and stage credits.
Producers have given her cobbles character a longer run this time round, and she’s set to clash with Kev’s new girlfriend Abi Franklin. Devaney makes her return on Wednesday 26th August.