The stars of Coronation Street are used to fans approaching them in the street for a selfie or, equally commonly, asking if it “really is” them.
But actor Jamie Kenna, who plays Fiz Stape’s new boyfriend Phill Whittaker, says that when people recognise him, they often do a u-turn soon after - because they think they’ve made a big mistake. The reason? It’s all to do with his accent.
Jamie’s alter-ego Phill is, of course, a Northerner. But in real life, Jamie is actually a Southerner, and fans are flummoxed when he opens his mouth and sounds less Weatherfield, more Walford.
“A few people have shunned me,” Jamie reveals. “They’ve asked for a picture or they say ‘Are you Phill from Corrie?’ and then I speak and they go ‘Oh no, it’s not you’ and they disappear!
“So it’s the biggest compliment I could have about the [Coronation Street] accent that people think I’m not Phill.”
Jamie adds: “I’ve done a lot of accents in my career and I like doing them, but I’m really fussy and want to do them to a standard where you can go to that place and fit in.
“The one I actually find the hardest is RP (Received Pronunciation or ‘The Queen’s English’) because I’ve got such a South London twang. I can do any regional accents, but when I do RP, that’s when I have to really work at it.”
Jamie joined the Corrie cast back in July when his character, Phill, wandered into Gary Windass’ furniture shop, where Fiz was working and took a shine to the single mum.
Phill and Fiz went on to have several dates, but Fiz soon called time on the blossoming romance, insisting she wasn’t ready to begin a new relationship so soon after splitting from long-term partner Tyrone Dobbs. They reunited, however, a few months later.
The couple will be central to Coronation Street’s festive drama when they cancel plans to go away to Scotland with Fiz’s girls, Hope and Ruby.
Spending Christmas Day with Tyrone and Evelyn, all hell breaks loose when Tyrone makes a pass at Fiz, leading to a furious - and somewhat farcical - row between the two men.
Says Jamie: “Phill is not happy! It’s the first time you’ll see that you can only push Phill so far. It’s definitely a turning point.”
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV. You can also catch up on episodes on ITV Hub now.
For Christmas soap schedules see our TV Guide for full listings.
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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.