EastEnders LEGEND swaps Walford for Weatherfield in THIS Coronation Street spin off

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It's Jessie Wallace as you've never seen her before...

Soap fans are in for a real treat this weekend as ITV airs The Road to Coronation Street - a spin off drama documenting the journey of the UK's longest-running serial drama.

But that's not all, soap legend Jessie Wallace, better known to fans as EastEnders icon Kat Slater, swaps Walford for Weatherfield as she takes centre stage in the drama.

EastEnders Kat Moon

Soap fans are used to seeing Jessie as Kat Slater in EastEnders (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC / Jack Barnes)

The Road to Coronation Street

The drama was first aired back in 2010 on BBC Four, despite Coronation Street always airing on rival channel ITV, and was made to mark the 50th anniversary of Corrie being on our screens.

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This isn't the first time The Road to Coronation Street has been aired on ITV, though.

The channel has repeated the drama on ITV3 a number of times, and it was also aired on ITV when Coronation Street creator, Tony Warren, died in 2016.

The  drama follows the true story of Tony as a struggling scriptwriter, who created a programme following the lives of those living in a normal street of terrace houses in Salford.

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Jessie's role with a difference

Jessie Wallace plays legendary actress Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street from the first episode in 1960 until 1984.

The EastEnders actress was heaped with praise for her role as Pat, particularly as it was such a shift from her usual role as Walford's mouthy Kat.

Actor David Dawson played the role of Tony Warren, while James Roache played his real-life father, Bill Roache, who still plays the legendary role of Ken Barlow to this day.

When The Road to Coronation Street first aired a decade ago, 852,000 people tuned in to watch, making it the second most watched programme in BBC Four's history behind The Curse of Steptoe in 2008.

Ken Barlow Coronation Street

James Roache, the real life son of Coronation Street legend Bill Roache, played his dad in The Road to Coronation Street (Picture: ITV)

Speaking of her role at the time, Jessie explained why it was such an honour to play Pat...

"There have been a lot of strong women in soaps, but she was the first. She was the pioneer," Jessie told Radio Times.

"Elsie Tanner is actually my favourite soap character of all time. I used to watch her with my nan. Her looks reminded me so much of my nan.

"Elise was sexy, voluptuous and fiery. Every time she was in a scene she just stole it. You couldn't take your eyes off her."

You can watch The Road to Coronation Street at 7.30pm,  Sunday 28th June on ITV.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.