Corrie star Kerri Quinn has spoken of her pride at representing the pro-life community in a new TV drama about the recent change in abortion law.
The Belfast actor, famous for her role as fiery Vicky Jefferies on Coronation Street, plays a pro-life activist in upcoming BBC drama The Awakening which deals with the relaxation of abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
The mum-of-one said she was honoured to take on the role as the subject is an important one to her and her family with her parents having lost her brother Kevin, who had a hole in his heart, at just three years of age.
Kerri (37) said: "I play a pro-lifer which I was delighted about because my whole family are pro-life, so it was a role I really wanted to portray and portray properly.
"It's a topic I don't really discuss that often because I have a lot of friends who have a very different view. It's not that we would argue but we have differing views so we shall remain friends and not discuss it because there's no point.
"They have one view and I have another which is okay, that's life, it's one of those things. I based the character very much on my mum who comes at it from a very different angle having lost a child.
"I think that definitely impacts on how you feel about it. I think that's why I believe that life is absolutely precious, I really do, because I have watched friends and family lose children.
"My mum and dad lost my brother Kevin when he was three and I think life experience plays a massive part in the matter. My mum is the most influential person in my life so I wanted to represent the pro life community as I know it.
"It was great to have the opportunity to represent that point of view and represent it well."
Kerri, who has also appeared in hit TV series Derry Girls, said she was delighted to have been asked to appear in the show as the arts continue to struggle during the pandemic.
She also believes it will create important conversation around the topic of reproductive rights, saying: "I've had bits and pieces work wise, nothing really major, just a few readings and things like that in the last couple of weeks.
"I happened to touch lucky for The Awakening which was a bit of a lifesaver, it was just so refreshing to get back to work and be doing something.
"It's just nice that people are still thinking of you and having the opportunity to get yourself on tape, it just keeps you ticking over and gives you a focus. It was a real joy to be back at work I feel very lucky.
"We wrapped on it a few weeks ago and it was strange circumstances with everyone masked-up and stuff, that kind of slowed down the process slightly. But it was just amazing to be working on something which is going to create quite a hype, it's about the abortion laws in Northern Ireland and I think it's going to be a fantastic piece.
"It's obviously going to provoke a reaction from both sides and but I was thrilled to be a representative of the pro-life community.
"I think there will be a lot of controversy around the piece but controversy that needs to happen I think so I'm really excited to see how it's received.
"I really clicked with the director straight away - we had a lovely call at first and it was very clear that I was meant to play that part."
Kerri's last appearance on Coronation Street was one year ago last week with a dramatic Boxing Day exit for her character Vicky Jefferies who was embroiled in a love triangle with Robert Preston, played by Tristan Gemmill, and Michelle Connor played by former Hear'Say singer Kym Marsh.
Kerri also revealed she had been due to return to the street before the pandemic struck earlier this year.
She said: "It never actually came to end, she was going back to Belfast and we had a leaving do, it was all great.
"It was a proper farewell and emotional to say goodbye to some people who I'd met there because I had made some really lovely friends but before we'd even hit new year it was like 'do you wanna come back?'
"I was like 'yeah!' and as far as I know there was a story there and the idea was to go back at some point during the summer which obviously didn't happen.
"Realistically it's not safe, I'd be commuting and I have a young child but the way it's been left there's a pin put in it and we'll see where we are at next year.
"Who knows, at the time they might have wanted to act off the back of the Christmas storyline with Vicky having just left, she wasn't long gone, I don't know."
Kerri was speaking to Sunday Life after appearing in a series of Christmas charity songs for The Lyric Theatre raising money for The Goliath Trust, a charitable organisation dedicated to tackling underachievement in disadvantaged children in Northern Ireland.
In the series, entitled Countdown To Christmas, Kerri performs a rendition of the song I Don't Know How To Love Him from Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Kerri says she was very pleased to be asked to perform as she loves singing and relished the opportunity to try something a bit different.
She said: "I was thrilled to be asked to be involved.
"Everybody else was doing Christmas songs and I think that's great but there's a cut off point with everyone where if they hear one more Christmas song grandma and Santa and everybody are getting strangled so I decided to do something a bit different.
"I always wanted to play Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and I just thought I Don't Know How To Love Him is such a beautiful song.
"It's a risk because it's a song some people find blasphemous, especially at this time of year, but it's about loving Jesus Christ and it fit what I wanted to do so we went ahead and did it.
"I've had some lovely messages about how heartfelt and beautifully acted it is which is lovely. It's not a festive song but it's beautiful, I'm sure it's not for everyone but that doesn't bother me."
More information about Countdown To Christmas and The Goliath Trust can be found at lyrictheatre.co.uk