Belfast Telegraph

Beverley Callard drew courage from late co-star for Corrie return

Beverley Callard drew strength from the memory of her friend and co-star, the late Anne Kirkbride, on her return to filming scenes for Coronation Street.

Beverley Callard used her memories of late co-star Anne Kirkbride to help when she returned to the Coronation Street set.

The British actress, 59, who plays Rovers Return landlady Liz McDonald in the iconic British soap opera, took a break in March (16) to battle clinical depression.

She returned to the set earlier this month (May) and says she looked at a picture of Anne, who died in January last year, for inspiration before filming scenes.

"My first day back at Corrie was nerve-racking," Beverley told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper. "But I've got the most beautiful photo of Annie on my dressing room wall.

"I looked at her and said, 'come on, you need to kick me up the a**e now, I need a push'. I was really scared."

Anne, who passed away aged 60 after a battle with breast cancer, played Deirdre Barlow in the ITV soap for 42 years and was already one of its most popular stars when Beverley joined permanently to play Liz in 1989.

On her return, Beverley not only looked to her late friend, but also received moral support from members of Coronation Street's current cast.

"I was really scared, but everybody was so welcoming," she smiled.

Her battle with depression was caused primarily by a change in the drugs she was able to take as part of her Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

After the prescription drug Restandol became unavailable to her, her mental health began to suffer, until she was signed off work after breaking down in tears on set.

"It's amazing how medication can affect you," she said. "The first few weeks I was absolutely fine and thought, well, maybe I don't need it and then nine weeks in, goodness me, I was in a mess. I just couldn't face life and couldn't face the day or night."

Now after finding a replacement drug, her health has improved to the extent she is able to enjoy donning her character's famously outlandish outfits and throw herself into playing Liz once more.

"Before I took time off, I'd lost myself so much I wasn't confident enough to wear Liz's clothes," she admitted. "Then when I returned, she's getting out of a taxi wearing a pink leather jacket, fake leather leggings and the highest heels you've ever seen. That's when I knew I was back to my old self."

Although the veteran star admits she worries about suffering a relapse, she adds, "I will always dread going back there again but I'm fine now. Hopefully it won't ever happen again and I'm so excited to get on with the rest of my life."

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