Jane Danson was scared to leave her house after receiving ‘Coronation Street’ hate mail.

Jane Danson was scared to leave her house after receiving Coronation Street hate mail

Jane Danson was scared to leave her house after receiving Coronation Street hate mail

The 45-year-old actress has played Leanne Battersby on the ITV soap since 1997 but revealed she did not receive a warm reception when she first appeared on the programme as part of the brash family - which was also made up of matriarch Janice (Vicky Entwistle), ex-con-Les (Bruce Jones) and younger daughter Toyah (Georgia Taylor) -and became fearful of going out in public as a result.

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “People wrote to me all the time saying, ‘We hate you. Leave our street!’

“I was just a girl from Burt who had done a few bits of acting, so as an 18-year-old that was a big shock.

“One day, I was out at my local shops when an old woman hit me with her handbag and told me to ‘turn that bloody music down’, because Leanne had been shaking the cobbles with her big boom box!

“I became too scared to leave the house and had to be careful where I went out.

“I’m not gobby like Leanne, but back then, for many viewers, ‘Coronation Street’ was a real place.

“Nowadays with social media like Instagram, people get to see us as actual people and not just characters. But the attention is still pretty intense.”

Despite the negative attention she initially received, Jane - who appeared in CITV drama 'Children's Ward' before landing her signature role as Leanne and then had a short-lived role in 'The Bill' in 2002 before going back to 'Coronation Street' two years later - has seen her character grow in popularity because of her range of storylines.

Over the years, Leanne has been married to Nick Tilsey (Ben Price) and Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) and in 2011 discovered her birth mother was Stella Price (Michelle Collins) but has also been at the heart of darker storylines, such as burning a local restaurant down in an insurance fraud plot and famously became the show's first prostitute in 2007.

One particularly tough storyline came when her three-year-old son Oliver, who was a result of a one-night stand with Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), was dying from genetic mitochondrial disease, and started a legal battle to prevent the hospital from turning his life-support machine off.

The former 'Dancing on Ice' contestant revealed that telling such sensitive stories had been able to strike a chord with viewers.

She said: “I’m poured we managed to tell a powerful story against all the odds.

“Parents with seriously ill children would stop me in the street and tell me their story.

“That’s another thing that comes with the job, and we aren’t always qualified for, but we hoped we raise awareness of this terrible disease.”