The lads and ladies of soap certainly get around! Some flit between Manchester and Liverpool, others go from Yorkshire to Manchester, and there are some triple shifters who travel from London to Chester and back again! Here are just a number of the actors whose itchy feet have seen them trade one ‘continuing drama’ for another…
1. Kenneth Farrington
Ken has done the triple! He starred as Billy Walker in Coronation Street between 1961 and 1984 – Billy was the only son of Rovers Return Inn landlords Jack and Annie Walker. Ken then played Jack Gates in Family Affairs for seven episodes in 1997, before heading to the Dales in 2003 in his role as ruthless businessman Tom King in Emmerdale, until he was killed off in December 2006.
2. Sue Jenkins
Sue played Gloria Todd, a Rovers barmaid in Coronation Street from 1985 until 1988. Gloria was an easygoing, outgoing character.
Sue’s real challenge came when she moved to Brookside Close to play Jimmy’s long-suffering wife Jackie Corkhill. When Jimmy first appeared on the close in 1986, the couple were estranged, getting back together in 1991.
Despite their difficult, volatile relationship the pair were popular with viewers and, in 2000, Jackie and Jimmy Corkhill received the best on-screen partnership award at the British Soap Awards.
3. Michael Starke
Another Brookside favourite was Sinbad, although his character’s real name was Thomas Sweeney, he earned the nickname Sinbad from his window-cleaning days and his reluctance to clean into corners, instead cleaning a porthole-shape! Sinbad had his share of traumatic storylines, but was most popular when he showed his light-hearted side. Michael played Sinbad from 1984 to 2000.
Following after a stint in medical drama The Royal, Michael turned up in Weatherfield to play Corrie’s Jerry Morton for a year from 2007. Jerry was a single dad to four children and the owner of a fast-food takeaway restaurant. The family were described as ‘a brash bunch’ and rubbed some neighbours up the wrong way, especially Gail.
4. Ian Kelsey
Ian loves a soapy drama! He played lothario Dave Glover in Emmerdale until he was killed off in a fire in 1996. After leaving the dales, Ian tuned up in Casualty, as doctor Patrick Spiller. He kept up his medical CV by joining daytime show Doctors as Howard Bellamy until 2015.
Ian’s now swapped his white coat for dodgy deals as evil Vinny. Vinny and unscrupulous builder Phelan have teamed up to con the residents of Coronation Street. But he may well bump into an old flame, as in the Dales, Dave had a fling with Kim Tate, played by Claire King who is also now hanging out in Weatherfield (see below).
5. Claire King
Glamorous Claire played Emmerdale’s superbitch Kim Tate for 10 years from 1989, where, as we mentioned, she snogged Ian Kelsey! Then, in a more business-like role, in 2005, Claire appeared in Hollyoaks as barrister Andrea Mason QC.
Since 2014, Claire has been starring as Coronation Street cougar Erica Holroyd. After a fling with Nick Tilsley, Erica became pregnant, but lost the baby.
6. Michelle Collins
It surprised viewers when gorgeous Cindy turned up in EastEnders in 1988 – and ended up married to Ian Beale! However, Cindy had an eye for Walford’s bad boys and was unable to remain faithful to poor Ian. Cindy lied and schemed, particularly where men were concerned, but got her comeuppance when she ended up in prison and died during childbirth in 1998.
In June 2011, Michelle swapped her cockney accent for a northern twang to play Stella Price in Coronation Street. Stella was the new bar manager of the Rovers Return Inn, but she had a ‘dark secret’. Turns out she’s the biological mother of Leanne Battersby (meaning she had a relationship with Les Battersby – more bad taste in blokes!) There was another surprise in 2012, when Stella’s estranged mother Gloria showed up. Gloria is played by Sue Johnson (more of Sue below). Stella left Weatherfield in April 2012, after a failed relationship with Dev Alahan and moved to Manhattan.
7. Sue Johnston
So well-known on our screens now, it’s easy to forget that back in 1982, Sue appeared as Sheila in the first ever-episode of Brookside on 2 November 1982 – the day that Channel 4 first went on air! Sue stayed until September 1990, when her character was written out following her divorce from Bobby Grant (played by Ricky Tomlinson who she later co-starred with in The Royle Family) and her remarriage to Billy Corkhill.
Before her Brookside role, Sue had been in Coronation Street for a few weeks in August 1982, in her first TV role as Mrs Chadwick, a bookie’s wife who took landlady Annie Walker’s prized Rover to Blackpool and dumped it in Wigan!
Fast forward 30 years to 2012, and Sue was back in Weatherfield as Stella’s mum Gloria. She arrives at the Rovers, telling her daughter she’d got into trouble in Spain, where she was living, and needed to lay low. Gloria interfered in Stella’s life and wound up the locals, especially Rita, as Gloria persuaded Rita’s husband Dennis to go travelling with her! But Dennis soon tired of the controlling woman and returned. Gloria later settled in France…
8. Nikki Sanderson
Our favourite leaving storyline ever, was in autumn 2005, when Nikki’s character, Coronation Street hairdresser Candice Stowe, left the street to tour with Status Quo as their stylist! Nikki joined in 1999 and began working for Audrey as a trainee. Her lucky break came, when, at Les and Cilla’s wedding, she was asked to fix the hair of some members of Status Quo who played at the reception. The Quo were impressed and offered her the job of keeping their locks tamed on tour!
When Nikki first appeared as Maxine Minniver in Hollyoaks on bonfire night on 5 November 2012, she was soon creating fireworks! In late 2013, Nikki and her on-screen boyfriend Jeremy Sheffield appeared as their characters Maxine and Patrick in a series of government: ‘This is Abuse’ adverts, highlighting the issues of domestic violence, following on from a storyline in the show.
Although not actually scooping an award for her portrayal of Maxine, Nikki’s received nominations for the Best Actress award at the British Soap awards in 2014 and 2015. She was also nominated for the Best Serial Performance at the National Television Awards last year. And it looks like Nikki is sticking around, as this August, she signed a contract to stay for at least another year.
9. Bill Ward
This is a real case of kill Bill! Bill joined Coronation Street in 2007, as bully builder Charlie Stubbs. His character was involved in a domestic abuse storyline terrorising his girlfriend, Rovers bar manager Shelly Unwin. Charlie then moved on to Tracy Barlow. Everything was going well until he tried to manipulate her. He’d met his match this time and first Tracy performed a lap dance for him, then whacked him over the head with a statue and killed him! Her self-defence story didn’t hold up in court and Tracy was sent down! And Bill went on to receive the Best Exit Award at the British Soap Awards in awards in 2007.
Bill came back from the dead to play Emmerdale’s James Barton. But when Bill announced this year that he’s quitting the soap, his character was yet again killed off in another dramatic storyline! Wonder if this exit will win Bill a gong..?
10. Gillian Taylforth
It’s amazing what they can do in soapland! Gillian’s character Kathy Beale was recently brought back from the dead! Gillian first appeared as Kathy Beale in February 1985 – in the first-ever episode of BBC’s new soap EastEnders. Gillian was in the show on and off from 1985 until 2000 – where Kathy was involved in an array of serious issues including rape and teenage pregnancy. She became one of EastEnders’ longest-running characters, but quit in 1998. She made a brief return in 1999, and left again on 6 January 2000. But then, in February 2006, Ian got a call to say his mum Kathy had been in a car accident and had been killed.
However, in February 2015, despite Kathy’s apparent death, Gillian made a surprise appearance as Kathy Beale, in a live segment of the 30th anniversary episode.
While away from Walford, in 2013, Gillian was busy (busy being the appropriate word) playing mum of six boys, Sandy Roscoe on Hollyoaks. She left in Summer 2014, and returned in December then left again in January 2015. Obviously due to her imminent resurrection as Kathy in EastEnders, a role which the BBC confirmed she would be reprising permanently.
Do you know any stars who’ve swapped soaps? Let us know below…