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Actress Katherine Kelly, who played Corrie legend Becky, chats about a new costume drama and a possible return to the Street! By Alison James atherine Kelly really is ‘smashin’, as her alter ego Becky might well have said. She’s a fine actress, yes, but she’s a good ’un inside and out. Her Kelly’s Heroes four-part mini-series on Monday’s edition of ITV’s This Morning is winning her many new fans as she meets selfless volunteers up and down the country with true compassion, humour and interest. But this is no new role, what we’re getting is the genuine Katherine. “I’m loving it,” she says in a voice that’s a bit posher than Becky’s, but definitely still Northern. “I’m really excited about the This Morning project. I got to meet all these ordinary people doing extraordinary things – all oblivious as to how inspirational they are. It was very humbling.” The older generation of people she’s met are particularly close to her heart. “I love older people and used to work in a residential home when I was a teenager. I found it to be joyous. I did voluntary work there for my Duke of Edinburgh award, but enjoyed it so much I started there properly one evening a week and on Saturdays. “Out of about 27 residents, seven had dementia, which was

K

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As Becky in Corrie, Katherine always had the nation on the edge of their sofas

tough on their families. I don’t feel I can speak at length about it because I’m not qualified to and I haven’t been affected by it. Until a member of your family has it, I don’t think you can know what it’s like. Awareness is vital, and I must say your magazine does a brilliant job at promoting that.” Katherine hasn’t stopped working since leaving Corrie early this year. In addition to her This Morning series, she’s appeared at the National Theatre in London, starred in BBC Four’s Kenny Everett biopic, In the Best Possible Taste, yet to be broadcast, and is filming Mr Selfridge, an ITV costume drama about the Edwardian retail giant which is aired next year. Despite a glittering future, Katherine hasn’t forgotten The Street’s Becky McDonald, the character who made all things possible. “I loved Becky and I loved my time in Coronation Street,” she says. “It’s

six months since I left and I don’t look like Becky any more. I’ve gone back to my natural hair colour, but I still get recognised. Everybody is just so lovely, they always have been. It’s really nice, anyone who has ever come up to me has been lovely. They always say how much they miss Becky. How nice is that? A part you played for five years that people still love, even though you’ve been gone six months.” The big question is, of course, will she ever return to the Rovers? “I might well go back,” Katherine reveals. “When I left I said that I’d be happy to go back. I did an extra six months so that Becky had the right ending. I certainly wasn’t rushing to get out of there. The door’s been left open and I’d happily walk back through it. I’m in touch with my old workmates. They’re in Manchester and I’m in London but with social media, it’s easy. The Corrie cast are in London loads, anyway, so I get to see them quite a bit, too.” Katherine may live in London with her boyfriend, a non-actor


whom she prefers not to name, but she’s a Barnsley lass and her family still live there. Her parents are responsible for the existence of The Lamproom, the town’s independent theatre. “I’m the patron of Lights, which is like the youth theatre,” she says. “I don’t actually think it’s all about wanting to be a professional actor. I think that’s kind of secondary. For me, the youth theatre is about confidence and having a life outside of school. I think it’s lovely to have friends who aren’t just school friends. You want to make as much of life as possible, so I think it’s great to have a hobby. I’m a big fan of hobbies.” Not that Katherine has much time for hobbies of her own. “The one thing I love doing is reading, which I really miss,” she explains. “When I have scripts to read, I feel like picking a book up before a script. I also love yoga, and I love TV. A recent favourite programme of mine was The Apprentice. I don’t usually like reality telly but there’s just something about The Apprentice that’s very watchable.” And that goes for Katherine too. Very watchable – an actress with true star quality.

PICS: REX FEATURES

❙ star chat ❙

The rise and rise of Katherine Kelly

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‘I’ve gone back to my natural hair colour, but I still get recognised as Becky. People are always lovely though’

✤ 2003 – Katherine’s first TV role is in an episode of Last of the Summer Wine ✤ 2006-2012 – Katherine’s Becky McDonald becomes a Coronation Street heroine ✤ Winter/spring 2012 – Katherine wows London Theatre audiences and critics alike for her performance as Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer ✤ June 2012 – Katherine becomes a presenter on This Morning ✤ Summer 2012 – Katherine plays Leigh Middleton, the wife of Kenny Everett in the BBC 4 biopic In the Best Possible Taste ✤ 2013 – Katherine to star in ITV’s new sumptuous costume drama Mr Selfridge, due out in the autumn 17


‘I know what it’s like to be ‘ Esther Rantzen is backing the Yours Bring Back Friendship Campaign. We took a reader panel to discuss the launch of Silverline, a senior version of her Childline charity, over afternoon tea

LOneLY S By Joy Harris

he had gone to address a conference about campaigning to end loneliness among the elderly, but as TV personality Esther Rantzen looked around the room, she hit on her real role in life. Talking wasn’t enough – she had to DO something. Esther (72), who lives in a beautiful apartment with a panoramic view over London, is still busy working and can look back on a high-profile TV career, a wonderful marriage and three children who have carved out their independence yet remain close. However, she is finally confronting something she has previously felt it would

be too selfish to admit: when she shuts the door at night, the aching emptiness is sometimes overwhelming. “People may find it surprising, but yes, I am lonely,” she admits. “For a long time, I felt I had no right to be, but now I realise that there are so many people like me.” Loneliness can often be linked to loss, which is an inevitable consequence of getting older. Esther married later than many, at 37, and the death of her husband, Desmond Wilcox, in 2000 hit her like a hammer blow. No more talking on the phone a dozen times a day, sharing laughter and discussing a book or a concert they’d both enjoyed. Since then, she has lost her mother, too, and her son and two daughters have all left home. And while she

The Yours panel shares a friendly cuppa with esther (left) and Joy (second from right)

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y taking action y to someone. I found that unbearably sad.” The reaction to her new venture has been different from when she set up ChildLine. “There was a bit of ‘who does she think she is?’ but it proved itself, I proved myself and this time there has been unanimous backing and cries of ‘why didn’t anyone think of this before?’.” Esther has enlisted advice and support from eminent people in the field and SilverLine trustees include representatives of Action on Elder Abuse and the Centre for Social Justice as well as the professor of public health, James Mumford, who invited her to the conference where it all began. She has had corporate sponsorship offers but SilverLine will rely heavily on fundraising. Esther hopes it can be operational by Christmas. Over tea and cake, members of the Yours panel were keen to share some of their experiences with Esther and she said they have given her extra food for thought. Ellen is not sure that loneliness can ever be ended, as there are factors that cause it on a personal, local and national level. “How do we change that part?” she asked, stressing the importance of not ‘lumping older people together as a body’ and considering different cultural dimensions. Veronica believes that the anonymity of talking on the phone could liberate the caller, but SilverLine must offer a friendly service (unlike some advice lines she has tried), and it is important also to encourage local help initiatives. Su stressed the importance of ‘movers and shakers’ to make

‘Loneliness carries with it a real stigma – I’m thrilled that Yours is tackling this crucial subject. Best wishes and congratulations.’ Esther Rantzen

Our Yours paneL… D Su elliott (61), actress and older people’s campaigner, shares Esther’s view of loneliness and bereavement after losing her own partner. She says: “Many people don’t realise the importance of recognising the lingering after-effects of bereavement and are not encouraged to talk about it.” D Veronica Fenn (73), who recently lost her disabled parking badge due to changes at her local council, says: “My car is my lifeline. I may have to leave the home I love because I can’t get to the shops and other facilities easily by public transport. I’ve tried appealing, but no one is listening.” D ellen Lebethe leads a pensioners’ action group and is very concerned about cuts in services. She says: “Silverline would work in some cases, but many older people wouldn’t dream of picking up a phone for help. We have to support groups that go out to find where it’s needed.”

sure older people are treated fairly. Inter-generational contact can make sure there are no older people’s ‘ghettoes’. SilverLine has already won the approval of Care Services Minister Paul Burstow and its importance is summed up by Dr Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, who recently wrote on loneliness in the medical journal The Lancet: “There are probably thousands of men and women who have lived a lot and loved a lot, men and women who are not yet done with being ferocious and bright, but for whom time now stands empty as they wait in homes full of silence.” D Is a helpline for older people needed? Write to the address on p3. D See our next issue for four inspiring stories of the enduring power of friendship. YOURS

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PIC: JOEl CHaNT/UNP

still has a busy working week, she often dreads evenings and weekends. She’s ashamed to admit that she once asked her younger daughter to move back home and that her elder daughter’s wedding day was clouded with her own thoughts of the loss of the love of her life. But wallowing is not her style – and that conference made her realise that if she had these feelings, then many other people must have them, too. The idea for SilverLine was born. Based on her experience in founding ChildLine (the national confidential helpline for young people) 25 years ago, Esther came up with an equivalent for older people who don’t know who else to turn to. SilverLine is intended to be an information and befriending service and a means of empowering older people. “It will be a place where older people can talk to someone about anything from abuse of the elderly to money problems,” says Esther. “There are lots of services out there, although people don’t always know how to plug in to them. We don’t want to overlap, just to listen and signpost people to the help they need. “What we learned from ChildLine is that the problem people raise is not always the only thing they need to discuss. There may be something else hidden that they feel they cannot talk about. Skilled listeners can draw out the real issue. “There is a huge need to address loneliness and isolation. I was staggered to discover that the Samaritans receive many calls every evening from older people who just want to say goodnight


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Reclaim waist Perfect your

Diet news to help you shape up

DIET NEWS

LATEST STUDIES…

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Is your waist circumference less than half your height? If it is, you’re likely to live longer and stay healthier than people who are wider than half their height. If you’re 163cm (5ft 4in) tall, aim to have a waist less than 81cm (32in). Fat around your tummy increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes more than fat stored elsewhere.

PRO-PORTI O

f your diet is full of fruit and vegetables, you choose wholegrain carbohydrates and like your meat and dairy lean and low fat then you might be wondering why you’re not losing weight. The chances are it’s your portions that are to blame. “Portion distortion equals weight gain, regardless of how nutritious the foods may be,” says Yours Diet Club nutritionist Catherine Matthews. “The size of your plateful directly relates to the amount of calories you’re eating. Portion sizes

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*T&Cs: six weeks for £15, after this initial period you pay £14.95 every four weeks

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Portion distortion equals weight gain Food labels come in very handy when it comes to determining how much of something you should be eating. Even different types of the same food have different serving sizes. “For example a typical serving of corn flakes is 30g, muesli is 60g, and All Bran is 40g,” says Catherine. “Instead of pouring the same amount of cereal into your bowl, take time to look at the serving size. Weigh out the recommended portion and remember how this looks in the bowl you usually use.”

Poached eggs on toast, boiled egg with soldiers, or a veggie omelette for breakfast could be your best weight-loss weapon. Eggs are a good source of protein, which researchers found helps to lower levels of the hunger hormone gherlin in your body, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Are you a Yours Diet Club success story? Have you lost weight with Yours Diet Club? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Write to Yours Diet Club Success Story at the address on p3 or email us at yours@bauermedia.co.uk. Lose weight with us Get a personalised diet plan and expert advice at www.yoursdietclub.co.uk. Sign up to our friendly diet club now and you’ll pay just £15 for six weeks membership – and we’ll give you two weeks free! That’s just £1.88 a week.

have steadily increased over the years and most of us are eating a lot more than we realise.” Most people underestimate how many calories they consume each day by as much as 25 per cent, according to research. “Some of the confusion comes from not knowing the difference between a portion size and a serving size,” says Catherine. “Put it this way: a portion is what you are actually eating and a serving size is what you should be eating!”

FAD OR FACT… Try adding a good grinding of black pepper to your meals. This flavour enhancer has been found to block the formation of new fat cells. So, while it might not help you to lose weight, it could help you to keep it off.


Ask the Nutritionist

ONS

Catherine Matthews, the Yours Diet Club nutritionist, will guide you through your slimming highs and lows

Be a savvy server Here are a few quick and easy ways of identifying the correct serving size when the packaging is not to hand: ✤ Cooked pasta – size of a tennis ball ✤ Portion of fruit – 1 apple, 1 pear, 1 orange or 2 small fruits like plums or kiwis ✤ Potato – computer mouse ✤ Cheese – matchbox ✤ Steak – deck of cards ✤ Fish – cheque book ✤ Nuts – fistful

DID YOU KNOW? A weekly jog could add six years to your life and help you to burn off up to 450 calories. You don’t even need to run quickly, according to Danish researchers who found an hour-long jog (or two 30-minute ones) every week at a slow pace could help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems.

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Now visit www.yours.co.uk for more diet tips and health facts

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I love a good barbecue in the summer – can you suggest how to make things diet friendly? Catherine says: Barbecuing is a healthy way to cook – to a certain extent. However, there are traps waiting to catch you out, like large portions of red meat, alcohol, dips and crisps. Swapping fatty meats such as sausages, burgers and lamb chops for leaner cuts like pork or reduced-fat sausages will dramatically cut your calorie intake – saving around 200 calories on these swaps alone. Hold the butter on that baked potato for another 75 calories saved. Go for a salad with low-fat dressing instead of mayo-rich coleslaw, potato salad, and full-fat dressings – that’s 300 calories and more than 34g of fat you’ve avoided. Vegetables are brilliant on the barbecue – make kebabs with cherry tomatoes, onion wedges, slices of courgette and mushrooms ✤ Send all your and marinade with nutrition questions to orange juice or a lowAsk Catherine Matthews fat dressing. Or, how at the address on page 3. about grilling slices For more nutrition advice of aubergine, oily fish visit www.yours.co.uk/ such as salmon, low-fat askthenutritionist halloumi or even trying veggie or quorn burgers? And, watch portion sizes – you wouldn’t eat two burgers and a sausage at normal meals so don’t at a barbecue!

Next issue: Avoid common holiday diet traps

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PICS: ALAMY; GETTY; THINKSTOCK

Q


How to...

fall in love again If your relationship is missing a bit of that ‘spark’ that it once had follow these steps to rekindle the love

regularly get letters from couples who have fallen out of love,” says relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam; “It’s a life-changing issue and can happen to any of us.” All relationships are testing, and things inevitably change over time. Triggers such as your children leaving home, or retirement, can leave you feeling increasingly jaded with your life or your partner. “Over time we can shift from ‘excited infatuation’ to ‘comfortable affection’,” says Susan. Follow Susan’s tips to bring the magic back.

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✤ Take Time The starting point is very simple – spend more time together. Daily commitments to family and home are wonderful, but ironically, they can divide partnerships. The average couple squeezes in just 20 minutes of ‘us time’ each week. Try to increase the time you dedicate to one another to at least three hours a week. It will make such a difference. ✤ Touch When you and your partner first met, you probably couldn’t keep your hands off each other. Of course, there is passion, but more than that, touch helps us to feel wanted, close, YOURS

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Look back Once you’ve started to re-connect, you can move on to the next crucial step: reclaim your memories. Go through photo albums and souvenirs. Trigger recollections of how excited you were before your first date, how it felt the first time you kissed, and how nervous you were on your wedding day. It’s also worth visiting some of your old courting haunts if you can – who knows what might come flooding back?

Over time we can shift from ‘excited infatuation’ to ‘comfortable affection’ ✤ Look forward Finally, focus on the future. One of the most wonderful things about being in love is the knowledge that your life together is secure, and that the years ahead will be full of happiness and celebration. Actively reclaim

Some relationships may need more help. If the situation is serious, you might benefit from face-to-face counselling (call 0300 100 1234, or visit www.relate. org.uk).

that feeling – talk about what lies ahead, make plans, and create a positive future. ✤ Susan Quilliam is a relationship psychologist, columnist and author. Visit her site: www.susanquilliam.com. Snuggling up in front of a romantic film is a great way to feel close to your partner. We love The Vow, in which a woman has to get to know her husband again after an accident. Out now on Bluray and DVD.

Enhance the blessings Now turn your attention to the present day, and how you each express your love. Different people like to be cared for in different ways; some need attention, others need physical contact, gifts, or an, ‘I love you’ from time to time. Talk to your partner honestly about what helps you both to feel loved. Agree to make a conscious effort to show your appreciation to one another.

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WORDS: SUSAN QUILLIAM. PICS: ALAMY; MASTERFILE; GETTY IMAGES; THINKSTOCK

safe, desired and bonded. To recreate that connection you once had you need to reach out; cuddle up on the sofa, walk handin-hand or sleep entwined. ✤ Talk Equally important is talking – and it needs to be about more than asking what’s for dinner. You may think you know your partner inside out, but people change. Instead of seeing this as the end of an understanding, view it as an opportunity. Summon up your enthusiasm and have a conversation – which means listening as well. Discuss the world, your hopes and dreams, and how you feel. ✤ Count your blessings It’s so easy to take your achievements as a couple for granted, rather than feeling overwhelmingly thankful that the other simply exists! Reclaim that grateful feeling, by remembering everything good that’s happened over the years – the loyalty, the support, the happiness you’ve enjoyed and the struggles you’ve overcome together. Then say, or write, a thank you to each other.


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