Corrie star Sally Ann Matthews got a big surprise on tonight’s ITV documentary Coronation Street’s DNA Secrets when it was revealed that she’s related to a former member of the cast.
A host of Weatherfield regulars were seen taking a DNA test and working alongside Ancestry.com to find out how far across the world their roots had spread. But for Matthews – who plays new Rovers landlady Jenny Bradley – it turned out that her genealogical links could be found very close to home.
After travelling to nearby Ashton-under-Lyne to meet with a local historian, it was revealed to an astounded Matthews that her genetic cousin is none other than Amanda Barrie, who played the character of Alma Halliwell between the years 1981 and 2001.
As Barrie surprised her one-time co-star, the veteran actress was seen playfully asking: “Have you found any money in the family?”
Further astonishment came when it was pointed out to the two actresses that their Coronation Street characters shared a certain quality, having both been married to the local factory boss. In Alma’s case, this meant cockney businessman Mike Baldwin and in Jenny’s, the Connor family patriarch Johnny.
Speaking tonight to RadioTimes.com, Sally Ann Matthews said of her discovery: “Waiting for my Corrie cousin to come around the corner was torture – I was praying it was someone I liked! The joy when I saw it was Amanda was overwhelming and I thought, ‘well, of course it is, that all makes sense now.’
“We rarely had scenes together but, because of the way we worked back then, we were all in the rehearsal room together and knew everyone really well. I think we share a naughty, slightly bonkers streak.
“And the fact that the gift of a jug that Amanda gave me when I was 18 has been on every kitchen shelf I’ve ever had – and was one of my most treasured possessions even before I knew – clearly means something.”
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