Coronation Street's Sue Nicholls loves a challenge. And 37 years since she joined the Street the show still keeps her on her toes.
"I may be 102 – not really but I’m not the spring chicken I think I am – but I feel like I’m still learning every day. That to me is what life – on every level – is all about," says Sue.
Corrie's schedule is a tough one, but Sue’s enjoying the Street as much as ever. “It’s lovely – we are like a real family and it’s been so special to see the kids grow up on the show. Ben Price and Jack P Shepherd, who play Audrey’s grandsons, Nick and David, can be very naughty and sometimes make me laugh so much. I was literally so exhausted from all the laughing the other day I had to sit down and have a rest on Gail’s sofa!”
But she admits some days are a challenge. “Some early mornings I stagger in and wonder what on earth I’m doing,” she laughs. “But once I’m there, I just get on with it and do the best I can. That’s what you’ve signed up to do. I’m what I call vaguely healthy and I’m lucky enough to be blessed with a reasonable ability to learn lines – long may that continue."
Sue's loving husband
"My husband Mark (actor Mark Eden) played Alan Bradley in the Street in the Eighties and I tell him he wouldn’t be able to cope with the pace today. I’m not being insulting, it’s just it’s a whole different ball game nowadays.”
Sue and Mark have been happily married for more than 20 years – but in Corrie, Audrey’s currently spoilt for choice with regards to a potential soulmate.
There’s the ‘will they/won’t they?’ relationship with old friend Ken, and also a growing friendship with relatively new character Freddie, played by Derek Griffiths. “I think Freddie’s more of a pal than anything else,” says Sue (aged 72). “But it goes deeper with Ken. She desperately wanted to help him through his grief at losing Deirdre, but there’s a part of her that’s in awe of him because he’s so educated. You’ll have to wait and see what happens, though. So will I. I don’t know what happens myself.”
What with everything that’s happened to the Platt clan in recent weeks – Nick’s wedding that never was, Callum’s body being found under Gail’s floor and Sarah’s meltdown – Audrey’s lovelife isn’t exactly a priority. “It is a worrying time and Audrey is trying to hold it all together,” Sue explains. “I like the family stuff. Although I have grown-up stepchildren, I haven’t had the kind of family Audrey has and it’s lovely that she cares for them so much. She even loves David when he’s being bad. Audrey has a real soft spot for her prodigal grandson.”
And we have a real soft spot for Sue!
Sue shares the secret behind her loving real-life marriage
Sue and Mark have been married for more than two decades – what would she say is the key to their marital bliss?
“Probably that most of the time Mark’s in London while I’m up here in Manchester,” she jokes.
“Seriously, for us, there are a number of reasons it works. Firstly, Mark’s an actor so he understands the tribulations of this profession. He’s also been around the block a few times – even more than I have. Actually he’s been in Manchester with me recently. He’s so thoughtful – he’s up early and gets breakfast for me. We’re not sweetness and light all the time – that would be horrendous – but I’d say we’re soulmates.”
- Corrie is on ITV on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- For more real life stories, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine
Did you know...?
- Sue made her Corrie debut as Audrey in 1979, before joining the cast permanently in 1985
- She won the 2000 British Soap Award for Best Comedy Performance and the 2003 British Soap Award for Best Dramatic Performance
- Before Corrie, Sue appeared in Crossroads as Marilyn Gates. The song she first sang on the programme, "Where Will You Be?", charted on 3 July 1968, eventually reaching number 17 in the UK Singles Chart
- In 2011 while watching an episode of Coronation Street, Anna Bianconi-Moore, a nurse at a dermatology department in Cambridge noticed a mole on Sue Nicholls' shoulder. The nurse contacted the show immediately via e-mail to express her concerns. Sue was seen by Coronation Street's in-house medical team, and later referred to a skin cancer specialist, where she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. After the mole was surgically removed ITV contacted Bianconi-Moore to inform her on the situation, and was invited to the Coronation Street set to meet Sue