Former Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding makes her debut on the cobbles soon. Here she tell us more about her new role…
How did you get the role of Coronation Street?
I was here last year doing a film with Good Morning Britain and everyone saw that I was a really big fan of the show, I was running around getting my photo taken on set. I asked them if they ever did cameo appearances and they knew I had done some acting. That was how it started and the producer Stuart Blackburn got in touch and we had a meeting and he said there was maybe a role for a guest appearance and a good few months later here I am!
Did you have to keep it quiet for a while?
I did yes, I only told my mum and my fella and swore them to secrecy. I was bursting to speak about it as I was so honoured to have a part in this programme so it was hard keeping it quiet. I was a bit overwhelmed with it but so excited at the same time. There is so much pressure too.
What sort of response did you have from your fans on Twitter?
They are so excited but I just hope I can do the Coronation Street fans justice as well. I want to be able to switch over and please those fans and not just my own fans.
It is a guest role at the moment but would you be interested in making it something more permanent?
It’s not just about whether I would like to, it depends on whether the storyline would work for Joni to return and also my schedule as I am very busy with my music now across the summer. Obviously I would love to come back and do some more bits and bobs but we will have to wait and see, it isn’t something that could happen in the near future.
In your short time on the show do you get to have slanging matches with Tracy?
Hahaha yes I did on the first day! I was filming with Kate who is the complete opposite of her character and also Lisa George and Tristan, it was very nerve wracking. It was a long day and there was a lot to learn, I had to give her a good slap. It was all choreographed to look nasty but I didn’t actually touch her!
Is it a shock for Joni that Robert has come back to Weatherfield to find Tracy?
Yes it is a bit of a shock but she knows deep down he hasn’t ever got over Tracy. Joni has moved up with him to his restaurant but obviously he is still holding a torch for Tracy so I play a woman on the edge! She is very vulnerable at the same time, she does come across as very angry and feisty but she is also hurting people have to remember that. If you catch your husband having an affair you would be wouldn’t you!
What has their marriage been like, has she been aware of him holding a torch for Tracy?
In the scenes she does say to him that she is not surprised because of the way he goes on about Tracy. She is aware she is not living up to his ex wife’s memory. Then she meets her and she is less than impressed. She knows she is in someone else’s shadow, she is living a lie and trying to believe that he will fall in love with her. But once he meets up with Tracy again it is evident that isn’t going to happen.
What does she do for a living?
They own the restaurant together, she is front of house. She is the face of the restaurant.
Does she give him an ultimatum?
She doesn’t want to play second fiddle, he clearly goes for a certain type of woman and having Tracy and Joni in the same room there are bound to be fireworks. It’s a natural reaction if you literally catch your husband with someone else.
Tell us about your first scene on the cobbles
I have been back and forth across a few weeks doing different scenes for the four episodes I am in. My first scene on the cobbles was with Malcolm Hebdon who plays Norris so that was fun. Joni is trying to bang down Tracy’s door and poor Norris gets in the firing line.
Do you feel comfortable with acting, you have done a few different things now?
Corrie is the sort of place that you are always learning, it is very fast paced there are a lot of people making this show. With films you have lots of read throughs and run throughs, it is very different with soaps so for me it has been a learning curve and it hasn’t been easy but I am so glad I have done it as it has been a massive honour too because it is one of my favourite soaps. it has been nerve wracking at times definitely!
Is music still very much your first love?
It is pretty equal at the moment between acting and singing, they are side by side. I love my music but I love to think I have other options and paths available to me. I did train in acting when I was younger which a lot of people don’t know and for me it is nice to have another option, it mixes things up a little bit and keeps it interesting. These days it is good to be a bit of an all rounder.
How did the other girls from the band react to the news you had the part?
They have been great, they tweeted me, they are really pleased for me. I caught up with Cheryl and Kimberley a few weeks ago but we are all so busy it is impossible to get us all in the same room together I was supposed to meet up with them all a few weeks ago, I had arranged that meeting but in the end i couldn’t go as I had to work!
Are you still super healthy, do you live a healthy lifestyle?
I am on the go all the time working and Iive outside of London these days, I have got five animals , I live the country life, I have a veggie patch and I have been growing my own beetroots! I live in Buckinghamshire.
Are the happiest you have been?
I am definitely more content, I am very far removed from London, I am quite far out of the loop on most things. I am trying to get my head round social media. It is quite nice to be away from all that though. It is better for the mind sometimes. When I am really busy I love to get away to the peace. I love listening to the owls at night – I am like an old woman these days!
Are you prepared for the reaction when your Corrie episodes air?
I know it is going to be a mixed reaction because people are going to be expecting high standards. As long as I am prepared for that i will be ok. Stuart was saying that for myself and Shayne we are probably going to be under a lot of criticism and scrutiny so you just have to be prepared for that, it is one of the nation’s most loved soaps and it has been a massive honour to be on it I just hope I have done it justice. I look on the positive side, I have done something I love doing and have had a blast doing it.
Are you planning anything special for your first episode?
I haven’t really had time to think about it. I am my own worst enemy, my own worst critic I am the same with the music. I will probably just watch my Corrie episodes with my mum she is my biggest fan.