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Coronation Street star: Gemma’s mum is 'an absolute fruitloop'

Coronation Street Gemma Winter mum Bernie
(Image credit: ITV)

Wayward Bernie arrives in Weatherfield next week

Actress Jane Hazlegrove has given Coronation Street fans a few teasers about her character Bernie Winter – mum of Weatherfield residents Gemma and Paul.

Bernie will arrive on the cobbles next week, homeless and penniless, and is set to ruffle feathers as she moves into number five with Chesney Brown – father of her daughter’s unborn quads.

Gemma and Chesney get closer in Coronation Street

Bernie causes chaos when she arrives in Coronation Street

Says Jane, who is best known for playing paramedic Kathleen ‘Dixie’ Dixon in Casualty: “To say Bernie is an opportunist is an understatement. She sees an opportunity and she’ll grab it with both hands and run as fast as she can, without regard for any moral obligation or consequences.

“She’s not a natural mother. She loves Gemma and Paul deeply, but she doesn’t know how to do it, really. I don’t want to say she’s selfish because there’s more to her than that, but if it’s about her, then it’s about her, and balls to everything else, really.

“She’s hilarious, though, and you can’t not laugh at some of the things she gets up to. Every week, I’m looking at the scripts and I’m laughing out loud as I learn the lines. She’s an absolute fruitloop!”

Chesney will soon realise what he has let himself in for when Bernie makes a play for him – on one occasion, he finds his new lodger naked in the kitchen, proposing they spend the day in bed together.

Laughs Jane: "Bernie is very highly sexed. She might not necessarily get what she wants, but she’ll give it a jolly good go!

“She thinks Chesney is cute. And if her daughter’s had a go, then she’s probably going to want to have a go as well, unfortunately.”

Coronation Street bosses announced back in May that they had cast Jane for the role. The 51 year old star reveals she was picked after unsuccessfully auditioning for a different part.

She explains: “I went to see them a long time ago for a role and that didn’t happen – I don’t want to say what character it was. They said that they had something in mind for me and I was like ‘Yeah yeah, whatever’, but sure enough, they gave me a call.

“I look back and think I wasn’t right (for the other part). Physically, I think there is a bit of a likeness with Dolly-Rose (Campbell, who plays Gemma) and I, and the make up department have done a brilliant job of making me more ‘Gemma-ish.’”

Coronation Street continues on ITV.

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.