The readers are most likely to remember your role as Liz on Coronation Street. What is it like to play a character for so long?
I played Liz for 32 years. I loved playing her. The scripts were amazing, and she was never boring ever. I had so many storylines over the years, particularly with Liz’s husband, Jim, the mad Irishman. One storyline that springs to mind is the time Jim battered Liz, and I had to lie in the snow in a backless Lycra mini dress. I have never been so cold in my life! For those episodes, we got 27.2 million viewers.
Why did you decide to leave?
I just decided it was time mainly, and I needed to do other things. I wouldn’t have been able to do panto, for example, but it was a massive decision. I also don’t have to prance around in a Wonderbra and a mini skirt again, which is great, I can tell you.
You now call Norfolk home, which is quite far away from those cobblestones.
It most definitely is! When Jon and I were looking for somewhere to live, we stayed with friends who live here, and as we were driving back home, we both said to each other this is amazing. And that was that. We now have the best of both worlds we are 25 minutes from Norwich to do our shopping and the lovely countryside that surrounds us.
You are playing the Evil Fairy. Are you looking forward to it?
I cannot wait! I am trying to remember when I was last on stage. It was the Rocky Horror Show back in 2019. I always get nervous for the dress rehearsal and the first show. I stand in the wings and think, why did I say yes to this? But once you get over that, it is the best feeling in the world it really is, especially when you play the baddie.
Ah! So, you are a fan of an evil character?
I am always the baddie every time I do panto. I wouldn’t want to play the Fairy Godmother, and I think I might be a bit old for Princess. But they are always so … good. The baddies are just so much more interesting, I think and the more boos I get, the better.
How do you celebrate Christmas?
I am like a child at Christmas. I absolutely love it. We have five grown-up children and six grandchildren, so it is really difficult to get everyone together. But if it is Christmas with us, we hide presents, and Jon does Christmas dinner. He is brilliant at it!
Are you excited to spend your Christmas at Norwich Theatre?
It is fantastic. Normally, if you are doing panto, you are away from home. So, I have got the best of everything. I will be doing a panto, but I can sleep in my own bed at night, which is amazing. That doesn’t usually happen in theatre.
Quickfire Norfolk Questions
The Broads. Every time someone comes to visit us, we have a lot of visitors! We have always hired a boat. Even in the winter, we just love that. I think the Broads is therapy. It is so peaceful.
I love Jarrolds because it is one of the few independent department stores in the UK now, and I want it to be there forever. I also love the market in Norwich. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the market, it is fantastic.
Norfolk Wine is very good. I love the wine at Chett Valley. After the show, I will be partial to a drink or two. I might bring a bottle for my dressing room.
Beverley Callard will be starring in Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy’s Tale at Norwich Theatre Royal between 9 Dec – 7 Jan, for more information or to book, click the link below or call the Box Office on 01603 630 000.