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Patti Clare is Corrie's Mary Poppins

Coronation Street's Mary Taylor, actress Patti Clare, explains to TV Times magazine (opens in new tab) how she’s become Weatherfield’s Mary Poppins…

Corrie's Mary surprises Dev this week when she offers to cook for Asha and Aadi and he returns home to find her perfectly in control…

"I think Mary is a trier who will have a go at anything. Deep down, she would love her own family and I think that in looking after Dev’s kids, she is fulfilling some primary need. Her instincts are kicking in and she feels real compassion for them."

Mary takes Dev's kids under her wing. Do you all get on on set, too?

"I remember looking after one of my friend’s kids and I said to him 'Shall we call your mum?' and he turned to me and exclaimed 'But Patti, we need an adult to make a phone call' and there I was, towering over him whilst he treated me as if I were a very large child. I don’t have kids of my own, but I have four godchildren and that’s such a privilege."

What's so great about playing Mary at the moment?

"I am really enjoying showing her softer, more caring side and I love working with Tanisha and Zennon who play the twins. They did pull a few tricks on me, which I fell straight into. They thought it was hysterical. Also, Zennon can move one eyebrow whilst the other remains perfectly still – that really appeals to my sense of humour."

We also hear that you've formed a close bond with Malcolm Hebden who plays Norris…

"We’re really good friends. Poor Malcolm has to eat a lot of marmalade at the moment as I am really into making it. I know it sounds strange, but I find it really therapeutic. I was late on set once – not because I am bad at timekeeper, but because they’d moved me and this poor runner didn’t know where I was. Malcolm was in The Rovers and announced 'Don’t worry, she’s probably making marmalade somewhere!'"

Do you enjoy working on Coronation Street?

"I do. And Mary is such a wonderful character. There have been times when I’ve come in and thought, 'Wow, I’m in the Rovers' or 'It’s Rita!' But Malcolm always reminds me that it’s a job. A wonderful one! I didn’t expect to be here for so long – it’s been four years now. Initially, I was on a six-month contract, but people took to Mary and they told me they were bringing me back."

Do you often get stopped by fans of Corrie?

"The other day, I was in the park when this lady stopped and said 'I know you.' Then she declared 'You’re the nurse from my surgery aren’t you?' I should have said, 'Yes, and your results are back, you should phone the doctor', but I didn’t. I was once recognised by a little Indian lady in a department store in Singapore. She walked straight up to me and said, 'Hello Mary.'"

The schedule on a soap must be hectic. Do you ever get a break?

"I love getting away. I’ve just spent two weeks in Massachusetts which was lovely and last year I visited some relatives in the Far East. I have lots of family members dotted all over the world, so I always have a good excuse for travelling."

Are you anything like Mary in real life?

"She is more thick-skinned than me and has a drive that I don’t have.  Also, things seem to bounce off her whereas I am a bit more sensitive. I think the writers enjoy seeing what they can get away with when it comes to Mary. She has also got a kind of basic sense of dress which I don’t share, although recently she has got quite colourful."

What do you think is going to happen to Mary next?

"I’m not sure where they are going to take her next, but I would like to see her get involved with a gentleman caller. She is the eternal romantic and is on a quest to find the romantic hero who will sweep her off her feet."