LUCY FALLON, Coronation Street’s newest star, has her driving licence with her at all times.
At 19, the actress is so fresh-faced she is playing 14-year-old teen tearaway, Bethany Platt, as the character returns to the ITV soap this month. But she’s not taking any chances, given what happened with actress Katie Redford, who was originally cast in the role. Redford was sacked after it emerged that she had lied about her age: she said she was 19; she was 25.“I have my driving licence here to prove I’m 19,” says Fallon, giggling. “I get asked for ID all the time”.
Fallon grew up just outside Blackpool, where she still lives with her parents. “I drive and have my own car, but once I got ID’d for petrol. And I got ID’d at the cinema, when I went to watch a horror film, which was a 15.”
And playing a schoolgirl on national television will exacerbate that problem, as 31-year-old Tina O’Brien can attest. She is returning to the cobbles after a seven-year break (to resume her role as Bethany’s mum, Sarah). Sarah was 13 when she gave birth to Bethany, but O’Brien was a few years older. Still, O’Brien was frequently turned away from nightclubs and grown-up films at the cinema, when people assumed she was the same age as her soap character.
After missing out on the part first time around, however, Fallon knows this is a small price to pay.
Following in her older sisters’ footsteps, Fallon took up drama and dance lessons as a toddler. While her siblings went off in different career directions, she pursued acting further. Advanced training proved “too expensive”, so she focused on auditions, instead.
“It sounds cliched, but it’s like fate, in a way, that I didn’t go to drama school,” she says.
Wild child Bethany, feeling neglected by her mum, Sarah, flees from Milan, where they live, and pays her family in Weatherfield an unexpected visit.
But it’s far from a peaceful reunion. She dupes Andy Carver into buying her alcoholic drinks, gets drunk in the Rovers and is rude to her on-screen grandmother, Gail, played by Helen Worth.
“I felt so bad,” says Fallon, who previously held Saturday jobs in Next, New Look and Subway.
“She’s just so nice. The things that Bethany says to Gail are like the things a typical teenager says to her mum, but I wouldn’t be horrible to my nana,” Fallon says.
Aside from the initial nerves over those gobby exchanges, she is taking the job in her stride.
The cast have been universally “lovely”, with co-star, Tisha Merry, who plays Steph, doling out plenty of helpful hints on adjusting to life on the Street.
Merry also talked to Fallon about the increased attention she can expect from being in the nation’s living rooms every week.
As someone who, by her own admission, “is no wild child” — she prefers nice, long baths to all-night raves — she isn’t worried about any skeletons coming out of the closet. That said, she appreciates fame can be a double-edged sword.
“It’s a difficult one,” says Fallon, who might host a Corrie curry evening for her family, friends and boyfriend to watch her first appearance in the soap.
“Obviously, it’s quite scary, but the main thing for me is the part, and I’m not really that bothered by the whole fame thing.”
At the moment, she’s on a six-month contract, but she’s unfazed by the possibility of taking on big, heavy-hitting storylines, if she stays on longer. “I’d be fine with controversial storylines, I just go with the flow.”
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