Eileen Derbyshire, Coronation Street’s longest-serving actress, nearly went up in smoke when her shawl caught fire on set this week.
The 80-year-old, who plays unassuming Emily Bishop, was the unlikely star of an unplanned action sequence when her costume ignited after a chance encounter with a tealight.
Filming had to stop while a member of the crew raced for a fire extinguisher and sprayed Eileen with foam. It was reported that the actress, who was clearly shaken up, went to her dressing room to be checked over by a doctor. She was not burnt.
Fire-prevention training is obviously needed in Weatherfield as this isn’t the first conflagration on the Street. In 1980, Elsie Tanner narrowly missed incineration when her sofa burst into flames. In 1986, the pyrotechnics people scaled up to a blaze at the Rovers Return and nearly finished off Bet Lynch. And in 2008 they were at the matches again, with Peter Barlow passing out drunk and accidentally setting fire to his flat.
Last Wednesday’s incident only called a temporary halt to the filming of Sophie Webster’s birthday party. The more explosive 5 November scenes went ahead without any need for emergency services.
A Coronation Street spokesman said: “It was a minor incident and no one was in serious danger at any time.”