Coronation Street star Jane Danson has said she struggled with fame so much after joining the soap that she barely left her house for a year.
The actress is marking 20 years playing cobbles favourite Leanne Battersby, but said that when she joined the well-loved ITV series as an 18-year-old, she found it hard to adjust to life in the spotlight.
Jane told the Daily Mirror: “It’s really weird thinking it’s been 20 years, my contract was initially for three months – I never expected the Battersbys to be so big.
“In fact, a Teletext poll when we joined said 97% of viewers wanted Corrie to get rid of us.”
She said of becoming famous: “I couldn’t cope with it – I had this amazing job, and by 19 had my own little house, but I just sat inside.
“I’d be scared of someone throwing a drink in my face. Coping with the attention was terrifying. So I just sort of stayed at home, ate biscuits and put on a stone.
“It was good in one sense – you are young and earning money, there are parties, drink and other things, so my relationship with my barrel of biscuits was pretty okay.”
Jane added: “If I am brutally honest, I still don’t like being centre of attention, I just see myself as a normal person.
“I only joined Twitter as someone else was pretending to be me.”
Leanne’s recent storyline has seen her give birth to a baby fathered by Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), whose wife Michelle (Kym Marsh) had a late miscarriage around the same time.
In real life, Kym had a stillborn son, Archie, seven years ago, Simon and his wife have had 11 miscarriages and Jane miscarried two years ago, making it a tough storyline to film.
Jane said: “When we first started, it was still really raw for me.”
Saying she now feels “at peace with it” she added: “I get to hug these most beautiful babies. I love babies. They make me broody.
“I’ll be 39 in November. You do think ‘Oh, am I getting a bit old for that now?’”
:: Coronation Street continues on Monday on ITV at 7.30pm.