A blast from the past, but not as you know it. Gabrielle Glaister is returning to Coronation Street in a new role after Bernie Winter learns she have a doppleganger and tries to entice her lookalike Fern into some dodgy antics.
Corrie actress Jane Hazlegrove came up with the idea of Bernie having a double after she and former Brookside and Blackadder actress Gabrielle Glaister were constantly mistaken for each other.
She mentioned the possible storyline to writer Jonathan Harvey and the Bernie/Fern mirror image plot was developed with Gabrielle cast as Fern.
Jane has revealed that the pair look so similar that some of their Coronation Street colleagues have even stopped Gabrielle in the corridor to chat thinking it was her.
She said: “I mentioned this idea to Jonathan a while ago. Gabby and I are constantly mistaken for each other with people saying they have seen one of us in something when it was the other one. We have often laughed about it together but then I started thinking it might be fun to have her in the show as Bernie’s secret twin or a doppelganger.
“I was so chuffed when they told me that they had devised this storyline and that Gabby was on board.
The plotline starts on August 26th with a mix-up about a parcel collection. Bernie is collecting Joseph’s new school uniform when she is given a parcel for Fern by a shop assistant who mistakes her for the other woman. Fern arrives at the house demanding her parcel and accusing Bernie of theft. The women are struck by how alike they are and the following week Fern offers Bernie a dodgy way of earning some money.
“Shortly after I had heard that we were doing the story, I was at the Soap Awards and someone who used to work with Gabby started talking to me thinking I was her. The actor was mortified when I pointed out who I was but of course I don’t mind being mistaken for Gabby, it is a huge compliment and secretly I was thinking ‘that’s brilliant, this storyline is going to work so well’.”
Gabrielle said: “Jane and I have been mistaken for each other for years and years .Me constantly denying that I was in Casualty, Jane insisting that she wasn’t in Brookside! Or people congratulating me on my performance in something I wasn’t in because it was Jane being brilliant. A very good friend of mine texted me last week to say he caught a bit of Corrie and thought I was very good. I pointed out that I wasn’t on screen yet!!
“When they approached me with the storyline It seemed like fate! What they’ve written is so clever and I’m having a ball working with Jane.”
This is not Gabrielle’s first role on the cobbles having appeared 22 years ago as cruise ship entertainer Debs Brownlow. Back in 2000 Deb stole the boyfriend of her sister Natalie Barnes.
Coronation Street airs hour-long episodes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm on ITV.