Words by Alison James; Pic of Beverley on set © REX
As the Street’s Liz McDonald, actress Beverley Callard is currently setting our screens alight! Over the past few weeks there have been run-ins with jailbird ex-husband Jim, stand-offs with on-off boyfriend Tony, spats with best mate Deirdre and mother-knows-best chats with son Steve.
Beverley’s on a roll and seeing her now it’s hard to believe that five years ago she was hospitalised with clinical depression and described by her doctor as looking as if she was 100. These days she looks great – healthy, happy, fit, youthful and kind of at-one with herself. So what’s her secret?
“I’ve started teaching my fitness classes again twice a week and that has something to do with it,” she says. “I couldn’t do any classes for a while because the medication I was on at the time affected my balance. I really, really missed it. I just didn’t feel like me when I wasn’t exercising regularly. Now I feel very well indeed. I’m still on some medication but exercise has definitely helped my recovery. If you’re really ill then obviously you shouldn’t push yourself to exercise but it’s such a good thing to do if you feel you can manage it. It’s an hour or two of ‘me’ time and we all need that. Forget your husbands, your kids, your grandkids, the housework, your job...
“When they come into class, I tell my ladies ‘leave all that at the door, stop worrying about anything and everything. For the next hour, this is all about YOU!’”
People think because I’m an actress that I must be brimming with confidence, but I’m not’
Beverley, who’s happily married to Jon McEwan, feels we all worry too much.
“We tend to set ourselves unrealistic goals, which we have difficulty sticking to, and then beat ourselves up when we can’t keep it up. We’re constantly fed perfect images of how we’re supposed to look but they’re false images. It’s all smoke and mirrors and is a bit disturbing. Life’s too short to worry about stuff like this and nobody’s perfect. It’s hard not to be self-critical and lack confidence, though – and I speak from experience.” Really?
“Absolutely. People never believe me when I say that. They think because I’m an actress I must be brimming with confidence, but I’m not. I don’t really like photo shoots and I simply can’t bear to watch myself on Corrie. It’s excruciating for me and I give myself such a hard time. I love watching the Street as a viewer – but never when I’m on!”
Unlike Beverley, we’re really enjoying watching her play Liz – especially now she’s kissed-and-made-up with boyfriend Tony (played by actor Terence Maynard) and he’s moved into the Rovers with her.
“I’m desperate for the writers to keep Liz and Tony together,” Beverley (57), enthuses. “They make such a good couple and I love working with Terence. He’s such a nice man. A real family man. He’s happily married with two lovely children plus he’s very talented and very handsome. When we filmed Liz’s birthday scenes, which aired on November 3, we completed them all in just one take each time because we work so naturally together. I’d love Liz and Tony to get married. And, thinking about it, would Liz actually want to get married? I’m not sure. She does like a bit of danger and unpredictability.”
As we continue into November, Liz will find herself becoming increasingly concerned about her son Steve who’s suffering from depression but won’t admit it to himself or anyone else. As Beverley has personal experience of the condition, has she been helping Simon Gregson, who plays Steve, with his research?
“Simon’s very capable of doing his own research,” Beverley replies. “He doesn’t need any help from me. This storyline is really stretching him and letting him show what he can do. Because Simon’s so good at comedy, most of his storylines have been funny but years ago Steve had some extremely dramatic storylines. He’s a wonderful actor and can do drama as well as comedy.”
Beverley says she’d love a storyline with Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Tanner in Corrie. “Barbara’s such a laugh and as a viewer, I’d like to know more about Rita. Actually I’d like all the older generation of characters to get more storylines – I’d love it if Emily got a boyfriend, for instance. The nation is very fond of the likes of Emily, Rita, Norris, Ken and Audrey.”
With Strictly Come Dancing now hitting its stride, we can’t let Beverley go without asking her why she’s never taken part in the show. We think she’d be fantastic – especially as this year there’s a distinct dearth of female competitors in the vein of Anita Dobson (2011), Cherie Lunghi (2008), Felicity Kendall (2010), Lesley Garratt (2004) and our own lovely Lynda Bellingham (2009) – the celebs Yours readers naturally root for.
“I’d love to do it,” she replies. “I’ve been asked to do I’m A Celebrity and Big Brother but Strictly is the only reality show I’d be interested in. I would just love to learn how to dance properly."
Strictly bosses: sign Beverley up now, for the class of 2015!
- Coronation Street is on ITV1
Beverley shares a secret
She’s got tiny feet... “I take size two-and-a-half. Simon Gregson and Kym Marsh (who plays Michelle) are always winding me up – they put Barbie doll shoes in the till at the Rovers and in the Hot Pot dishes!"
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