This time the spotlight is on Wendy Saxon, who has already crammed an awful lot into her life. I think you will find her story fascinating. Don't forget to check out Wendy's photo gallery at the bottom of the interview.
Wendy's Photo Gallery
What were you up to after leaving school, prior to joining Coronation Street? I have done lots of things. First I was an animal nurse at the local vets, and very much wanted to have a riding school. I had the horses and I went to Porlock in Somerset to get the necessary riding instructor's qualifications. However, before I did that, I really wanted to go to America and 'live the dream'. I got a job as a Nanny with a lovely family with an equally lovely Grandmother, who had a grand house and horses. The parents wanted me to teach the children to ride, and it was a pleasure to do so.
The Grandmother also rented a cottage to Jackie Kennedy just before she married Onassis. She had John John and Caroline with her, and I used to take them ice-skating with 'my' children on the frozen lake, with security accompanying us behind in another car. What a lovely quiet spoken lady Jackie was, and what a monkey John was!
I travelled the United States before coming home on the Queen Elizabeth with my pet skunk 'Flower'. She didn't have to go into quarantine as she was not an animal on their list, so I was allowed to take her straight home. Guess what got added to the list after that!
I can imagine! You were very lucky. I trust she had had her scent removed? Flower was bred as a pet and they are de-scented some time after they are born. I handled her a lot, as you should, and with a little harness and lead on could be taken for a walk. I kept her in the house and just like a cat she was litter trained. She loved to play, but if she got a bit fed up she would turn her rear end towards you, raise her tail and pretend to aim. She had a different sort of smell about her, but not unpleasant and kept herself very clean.
After that, what then? A year after that, I was drawn back to the States for a further ten years, and travelled to some lovely places. I eventually came home and settled down.
How long have you worked on Coronation Street? Not as long as some, who have done 20 - 40 + years, but I hope to have the chance to do so!
Do you have a specific job? Or do you work in a variety of roles? I am a Supporting Artist, as they call it these days, and my roles are varied in as much that on occasion I have been lucky enough to be able to ad-lib with the characters (which is called a Walk On 3). For example I have been a customer of Sally's when she had her hardware shop. I have had several chats with Ken, one with Norris in the Kabin, one with Hayley in Roy's Rolls and one with Audrey. Otherwise I am just one of the heads bobbing about, or pushing prams, doing a bit of shopping or drinking a gin & tonic in the pub!
Have you worked on any other shows? To name a few! Casualty, A & E, A Thing Called Love, Afternoon Plays, Brookside, Clocking Off, Crossroads, Cutting It, Dalziel & Pascoe, Doctors, Hollyoaks, Merseybeat, Playing the Field, Spine Chillers, Sweet Medicine, The Royal, Where the Heart Is. I also worked on a film called The Parole Officer, starring Steve Coogan, who happens to be the nephew of Molly, a fellow Supporting Artist.
I have also done voice-overs for radio commercials, but that was when I lived in the States. I used to do shows on stage. I have also done lots of non-professional roles with Operatic Amateur Dramatic Societies, for instance I was the fairy in Aladdin, Prince Charming in Cinderella, plus I have also been in Desert Song, Student Prince and Carousel to name a few. I guess you could say I enjoy acting, however, I do admire 'proper actors', as they have to learn scripts day in and day out relentlessly. Dressing up and doing it just for fun as and when is what I like.
How did you manage to land a role on the Street? I understand you are what they call a 'Direct Supporting Artist', which is one hired by ITV rather than the majority, who are hired through an agency. A couple of friends of mine, Adrian and Dianne had worked for Corrie for years, but I had a full time job, and much as I would loved to have joined them it just wasn't possible at that time. However, the company I worked for (Proctor & Gamble) decided to move to Ireland, and I didn't want to go with them, so I joined an office temping agency with the purpose of trying to get TV work. The time was right, as it is usually a closed shop to new 'Directs' for Corrie, an opening came up and with my friends' recommendation I got in. I was so thrilled!
Are you married Wendy? Yes, after my second trip to the U.S. I met and married Geoff, and have a son, Peter, who is 29 years old now and works in the world of I.T. Aha! Then we have something in common, my son is in the same field, do you have the same trouble as I do in getting help from him when you have computer problems? Yes, I suppose like a husband who is a plumber, the drains are last to be done at home! But after a bit of prodding he does sort things out for me.
What do you like to do when you are not working in Weatherfield? Well, my husband, who was a Super Chef, had to retire due to ill health, so I do some work for a Surveyor, but this fits around Corrie nicely as and when I get the call. Do they give you much notice when you are needed for Extra work? Years ago, we were called upon to arrive straight away if someone was unable to attend, but that's not necessary any more as there are plenty of Agencies to call upon. We normally get a week to two weeks notice.
So you are married to a Super Chef? You must have had some wonderful meals over the years? Oh yes, the meals he cooked up were splendid! He can still cook a mean one when he feels up to it.
Other things I like to do are going out to restaurants, visiting friends, pottering around the garden at home, and I also enjoy swimming. Also, I love to travel, I have been to Canada, Hong King, China, Hawaii & Europe. I have also really enjoyed going on cruises, they are definitely not just for old people these days!
My fellow Canadians will never forgive me if I don't ask where you went while in Canada? Banff Springs, Calgary, Denver, Seattle, Victoria Falls. Bobbed in and out on the way up to Alaska and back. Vancouver, Oregon. You see I went on one of those lovely escorted coach tours through all the National Parks in the US and Canada on the West side starting from Chicago for 4 weeks.
Do you have any funny stories to tell us about things that have happened while working on the Street? Well, I was once coming round the corner of the Salon, and there before me was Archie Shuttleworth (Funeral Director) dropping his trousers! All in good taste, and he was just joking around. It has actually been shown on 'It Will Be Alright On The Night. What a giggle!
Is there any back stage gossip you are willing to spill? No, I wouldn't dare!
What do you like best about working on Coronation Street? We do have lots of laughs and giggles, and like others have said, the cast and crew are great to work with, but one of the things I really enjoy is the variety of people I get to work with each day, some funny, grumpy, quiet, noisy, chatty or 'full of it' - never a dull moment!
What do you like the least? Should I say? Yes I will! It's listening to people who go on and on about 'when will we be finished?' all through the day! Sorry guys.
Do you live in Manchester? No, I live in Pontefract, Yorkshire. We moved there in the 1980's from Haworth. Perhaps you have heard of that through 'Wuthering Heights'. I most certainly have, I have heard of Pontefract too - isn't that where they make those yummy liquorice Pontefract cakes? Oh yes they still make them here and lots of other sweets too. They are lovely and really liquoricey aren't they?
Have you met any famous people while working on the Street? Well, I have worked with some, but not actually met them. I was in a scene in the café with Sir Ian McKellan, Ant & Dec (when they were dressed up as women) and Robert Vaughan when he played Milton.
What is the most exciting episode you have appeared in? Oh that has to be the Train Crash that was shown last Christmas. Have you appeared in any other memorable episodes? Yes, running about in the street when the factory was blown up by Tony Gordon. Bits of plastic to look like glass was being thrown about, and we had to duck and dive, screaming away, and of course the effects were really good.
Do you ever wish you had stayed with your first love, animals? I am still very much an animal person, and have had some lovely pets, but Flower was the most unusual. At the moment I have a 19 year old cat called Mouse, who is very much an independent bossy member of the family, and also two dogs who tolerate Mouse, but she rules the roost.
Thank you so much for allowing us to peek a little bit into your very interesting life Wendy.
Incidentally, I didn't yet find the episode of "It Will Be Alright On The Night" with Archie Shuttleworth, but if you want to check this link, you will find loads of episode clips, and they are extremely funny.
This was the speaking role Wendy had with Audrey Roberts in the Salon.
Here she is standing behind Sally Webster with fellow Background Artist Pete Reidy, whom you will hopefully get to know later on. The recipient of Sally's punch was Janice Battersby, if I remember correctly.
The next few are from very recent episodes. Here she is sitting at a table with Darran Burr, who was our very first Featured Extra. This was Spanish Night at Roy's Rolls.
Our Mary certainly does bob about a lot doesn't she? Makes it very hard to get a clear shot of those behind her.
As you can see, sometimes she wears glasses and sometimes she doesn't, it all helps to make her look like a different person. In the foreground I expect you recognise Eva Price and Darran Burr.
Just like any other job, the co-workers like to get together for a meal at Christmas. Here are a couple of Christmas dinners
Left to right round the table: Eileen, Jenny, Leeanne, Alan, Darran, Molly, Eve, Wendy & Christine from the Factory (there are two Christines in the factory, this one and Quigley)
Left to right round the table: Elaine, Alan, Wendy, Eve, Gerry, Toni, Margaret (Wardrobe), Jenny, Molly & Leeanne.
And finally, we just knew you would want to see Flower, unfortunately this was the best photo that Wendy could find of her, but there is no doubt that she is a skunk is there!