Soap legend Rita Tanner is all set for a surprise in Coronation Street next month - when her estranged daughter returns to Weatherfield.
For the first time in 22 years, West End and Broadway actress Tracie Bennett is returning to the cobbles as Sharon, the foster daughter of Rita, played by the peerless Barbara Knox.
Sharon was a key character in the soap in the 80s and 90s, and was last seen on screen in 1999; after falling out with mum Rita about selling her beloved corner shop, The Kabin.
Tracie, who first played Sharon 39 years ago, says it’s a dream come true.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to the cobbles. It is a dream come true for me, I had such an amazing time there and I am looking forward to working with Barbara again and getting my teeth into the storylines they have planned for Sharon.
"I was first approached about coming back about 18 months ago, I was keen and excited to see what was in store but my work schedule and then the pandemic has meant that it has taken till now for it all to come together. I am so pleased that I can finally tell everyone as it has been hard trying to keep the secret."
Iain MacLeod, Coronation Street’s producer adds: "It’s extremely exciting to see someone of Tracie’s calibre revisit a role so rich in history and with such a complicated psychology. Sharon returns across some badly burned bridges to reconnect with Rita - but very quickly her presence becomes destabilising and extremely dangerous, in ways that I hope the viewers won’t see coming.
"The big question is: what has her life become since she was last on the Street? The answer to that question will drive a massive story for us, which runs into the summer and beyond."
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