Advertisement

Coronation Street: Claire Sweeney shares spooky coincidence with Brookside soap role

The former Brookside star gives us a preview of her new soap character Cassie

FROM ITVSTRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 20th June 2023 Coronation Street - Ep 1099192Wednesday 28th June 2023Cassie Plummer [CLAIRE SWEENEY] shows up on the street, much to Evelyn Plummer’s [MAUREEN LIPMAN] dismay.Picture contact - David.crook@itv.comPhotographer - Danielle BaguleyThis photograph is (C) ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Claire Sweeney as Cassandra Plummer in Coronation Street (ITV)

Claire Sweeney says that her agent ‘swore her to secrecy’ after receiving the news that she had earned a role in Coronation Street.

The actor, who played Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside, is soon to be seen in the role of Cassandra Plummer, daughter of sharp-tongued Evelyn Plummer (Maureen Lipman) and the birth mother of Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall).

Speaking at a recent press event about her casting, Sweeney reveals: “So, here's the thing. When I got the part on Brookside, it was my birthday, 17th of April. When I got the part of Cassie, it was my birthday, 17th of April.

"I was in Majorca with my family and my agent swore me to secrecy, [they] said, ‘you're not allowed to tell anyone’. So, I had my mates phoning me up to wish me happy birthday and I knew I'd got a part in Corrie.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 20th June 2023

Coronation Street - Ep 1099192

Wednesday 28th June 2023

Cassie Plummer [CLAIRE SWEENEY] shows up on the street, much to Evelyn Plummer’s [MAUREEN LIPMAN] dismay.

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

Photographer - Danielle Baguley

This photograph is (C) ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Cassie's mother is Evelyn Plummer, played by Maureen Lipman. (ITV)

“And even my mate Tony said to me, he knew I’d auditioned, he said: 'Wouldn't it be lovely if you’d have got it on your birthday?’ And I'm like 'I can't say anything!" And so, I wasn't allowed to say anything, but I got two parts in soap operas on my birthday, which was the best present ever.”

It’s an exciting time for the star, who couldn’t be more thrilled to be working on the longest-running ITV soap. “I always thought if I was to do another soap opera, Corrie would be the dream one for me. I've grown up watching it.

Read more: Claire Sweeney teases that 'unruly' Corrie character will bring 'major problems'

“I remember as a kid sitting down and being obsessed with Pat Phoenix initially, then Bet Lynch and I remember one scene with Bet Lynch, where she was crying in the back room of the Rovers. She'd broken up with a boyfriend or something awful had happened to her. And then she stood up and she had to get a game face on to walk into the Rovers. And just the change as she walked through.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 20th June 2023

Coronation Street - Ep 1099192

Wednesday 28th June 2023

Evelyn Plummer [MAUREEN LIPMAN] hurries into A&E reception and explains that her daughter, Cassandra Plummer [CLAIRE SWEENEY] has been admitted as an emergency.  

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

Photographer - Danielle Baguley

This photograph is (C) ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Cassie is hospitalised from an overdose in her first episode. (ITV)

"It stayed with me, that, as a kid, just to watch her grow in stature and get the brave face," she explains. "That same way she said, 'This isn't a smile. It's a lid on a scream'. It's just been iconic and part of my childhood and all these wonderful women in the show over the years and the comedy, and so Corrie is a dream role.

“I just want to say about Iain [MacLeod, executive producer] as well, I've spent the last few years, I've done a little bit on Benidorm, Scarborough, a drama I filmed last year. Not massive parts, but wanting to get back and do some really great acting. I never dreamed Corrie would be the thing. Iain has given me a chance and it just takes that one person to believe in you and go 'Yeah, you can do it. Give her a chance.' And I'm so grateful for that.”

Read more: Coronation Street spoilers: Ryan accuses Daisy of catfishing, Bec labels Max a terrorist

Viewers will recall that when Tyrone first met grandmother Evelyn, she told him that Cassie was dead. Now Sweeney teases what we can expect from her introduction. “Well, Evelyn's been living a lie, hasn't she?” says the actor.

“She has not told the truth to Tyrone and suddenly the truth is in front of her, being Cassie. So first of all, he finds out his mother is alive, he's got a mother, his grandma's been lying to him. And it's a whole scenario that's gonna unfold before our eyes.”

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 20th June 2023

Coronation Street - Ep 1099394

Friday 30th June 2023

Evelyn Plummer [MAURENN LIPMAN] returns home to be met by Tyrone Dobbs [ALAN HALSALL] who reveals that someone called Cath has come to see her. Evelyn enters the living room and is horrified to see Cassie Plummer [CLAIRE SWEENEY] grinning at her from the sofa. When Tyrone enquires how they know each other, Evelyn’s thrown into panic. 

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

This photograph is (C) ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Tyrone Dobbs has no idea that he is meeting his birth mother. (ITV)

Sweeney’s character is an addict who has a turbulent start on the cobbles, ending up in the hospital after overdosing on heroin. While recovering, Cassie insists that she wants to meet her son.

Asked to describe Cassie, Sweeney hints that she has the kind of layers that Coronation Street is known for exploring. “I love Cassie and I hope the audience love her as well, as much as I do. She's vulnerable, she's troubled. She's got problems, she's got major problems.

“And as I'm reading the scripts, I kind of want her to sort herself out, because we all love Tyrone – it's hard too because I'm a fan as well and as a fan, we all love Tyrone, and you don't want anything to upset him do you? So, I'm reading the scripts and I'm thinking ‘Please sort yourself out Cassie, sort yourself out'. She’s troubled. She's feisty. She's gonna cause some trouble on the cobbles. She's a loose cannon, but then she's vulnerable as well.”

Stars of the Channel Four soap 'Brookside' arrive at the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs) at Grosvenor House in London. From left: Michael Starke, Dean Sullivan, Claire Sweeney and Sue Jenkins
Michael Starke, Dean Sullivan, Claire Sweeney and Sue Jenkins of Brookside arriving at the British Academy Television Awards. (Alamy)

It soon becomes clear that, during Evelyn’s last absence from Weatherfield, she was actually with her daughter, trying to help her stay clean from drugs. And for her first ever scene as Cassie, Sweeney had a lot of dialogue to learn.

Read more: British Soap Awards: The fight for Best Soap over the years

“Poor Cassie, she gets clean and then falls back into her old ways again. And what was wonderful for me, and it was my audition scene as well, I know Maureen spoke about this. My first scene speaking, filming for Corrie was a 14-page two-hander with Dame Maureen Lipman, who I'm a massive fan of, so you can imagine.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 20th June 2023

Coronation Street - Ep 1099394

Friday 30th June 2023

Evelyn Plummer [MAURENN LIPMAN] returns home to be met by Tyrone Dobbs [ALAN HALSALL] who reveals that someone called Cath has come to see her. Evelyn enters the living room and is horrified to see Cassie Plummer [CLAIRE SWEENEY] grinning at her from the sofa. When Tyrone enquires how they know each other, Evelyn’s thrown into panic. 

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

This photograph is (C) ITV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Evelyn has been living a lie, telling grandson Tyrone that Cassie was dead. (ITV)

It's clear that she's in awe of her co-star. “A normal scene is three, four pages and this is a 14-page two-hander," she explains. "And I thought 'well, that's a baptism of fire!' And working with Maureen, she was just like a master class, she was so fantastic. And I'm just looking forward to doing more stuff with her and with Alan. When I did my screen test with Alan, what a wonderful actor he is, as well. So, I'm surrounded by great people.”

Sweeney promises that, amongst the more grittier scenes, Cassie will bring some comedy too. “She's gonna cause havoc. She is a live wire. She's also, I'll be honest with you, I've also been reading some future scripts; not only is there great drama, I mean, the writers are just fantastic. My first big scene written by Ian Kershaw was just wonderful. The writing is fantastic, but I'm starting to read scripts now, and she's quite funny as well. And I was like, 'oh my god, this is fantastic.'

“Now, not only have you got great dramatic storylines, you've also got that wonderful Corrie humour, which we love,” adds the star. “This is why we love Corrie. We love to see Corrie, we love to laugh. And then one minute you laugh and one minute you're crying, and that is the wonderful thing about Corrie.”

Watch the latest Coronation Street spoilers