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Ex Play School presenter Derek Griffiths to join Corrie

(Image credit: Empics Entertainment)

Classic children's TV presenter Derek Griffiths (opens in new tab) is to join the cast of Coronation Street, playing a pensioner who strikes up a friendship with Kylie Platt.

Derek, 69, is remembered by many as the presenter of Play School and Play Away from the 1960s to the 1980s. But he also has a vast acting CV, having worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company for two years as well as appearing in numerous West End productions (including Miss Saigon and Two Gentlemen of Verona) and dozens of TV shows.

He most recently finished filming Silent Witness.

Derek said: "I remember being a young boy and watching Violet Carson on Coronation Street. She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate and later when I became

an actor and played the villain in panto many times those are qualities I would bring to the role.

"When I came for my audition one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps."

Dere play retired mechanic Freddie, a pensioner who becomes friendly with Kylie following the death of his wife, a beauty client of Kylie's.

Motorbike-loving Freddie will ride on to Coronation Street in March. Through Kylie he finds new friends and a surrogate community in the Street.

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.