Maureen Lipman thought she was "going to die" on her first day on 'Coronation Street'.

Maureen Lipman

Maureen Lipman

The 72-year-old actress plays Tyrone Dobbs' (Alan Halsall) battleaxe grandmother Evelyn Plummer on the ITV soap, and while she was keen to get back into TV because she "likes being recognised in the street", the 'Educating Rita' star worried she had taken on too much at first.

Maureen - who has previously revealed her late husband, former 'Corrie' scriptwriter Jack Rosenthal, gave her a sign from beyond the grave that she should appear on 'Corrie' - said: "I wanted to be on television, and I don't get offered many drama series because I'm not everyone's cup of tea.

"I just wanted to get back into that world. I actually quite like being recognised in the street. I don't mind any of that. It's fun.

"When my agent said there's a part going in 'Corrie' ... I am a bit of a crazy person ... the light came on over Jack's picture.

"I'm a bit of a sucker for things like that, little messages. I know it's silly but it helps me.

"I went up there, I got off the train and chose and a few jumpers and skirts, and a charming hair style.

"The first day we shot 39 pages. I thought I was going to die, I really did. I thought, 'It just can't be like this all the time?'

"But actually we were just cramming everything in so I could go off to Edinburgh and do my one-woman show I'm now bringing into town."

Maureen - who appeared in 'Corrie' as landlady Lilian Spencer in 2002 - admits she is surprised when people approach her in the street and say they are fond of her no-nonsense character Evelyn, because she thinks her alter-ego is "ghastly".

She said: "I'm [Evelyn's] really not a nice person am I? It's not much of a stretch.

"I say to people, 'She's really nasty', but it's in the British tradition of a battleaxe isn't it? It's right back to early 'Coronation Street'.

"They're giving me some good lines and some good situations.

"I'm there like a festering, ghastly mole aren't I?"

As well as enjoying the fan attention her new role has brought, Maureen - who was born in Hull, east Yorkshire - is pleased to be spending time in the north of England again.

Speaking on 'This Morning', she added: "I must say going back to work up north and it's made me realise I've been an ex-pat for 50 years.

"I love London, I adore London, but actually [up north] you just relax bit.

"Although it's a really hard schedule and I'm up and down like a bride groom's trousers, it is still something I've realised that I'm really happy in the north."

Tagged in