Interview

Innocent star Katherine Kelly: ‘There were a lot of raised eyebrows when I went from Rada to Coronation Street’

The actor who played Becky McDonald in Coronation Street for years, is starring in the second series of ITV’s Innocent. She talks to Charlotte Cripps about her latest role as a woman wrongly convicted of murder, moving back up north, and her new sitcom podcast

Friday 14 May 2021 09:24
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<p>Katherine Kelly, who is starring in ITV’s Innocent, luckily hasn’t experienced most of what her characters have been through</p>

Katherine Kelly, who is starring in ITV’s Innocent, luckily hasn’t experienced most of what her characters have been through

“It matters to me that it rings true,” says Katherine Kelly, flicking her fingers through her hair. “I would hate for anybody to watch me on screen and think, ‘Oh I don’t think she’s been through that.”

The 41-year-old Yorkshire actor has certainly been through the wringer on-screen. In the ITV hit Mr Selfridge, she played a socialite who is abused at the hands of her bully husband (Aidan McArdle). As wild barmaid Becky McDonald in Coronation Street, she flailed from one breakdown to the next, suffering two miscarriages. Her role as Elizabeth in Sally Wainwright’s historical lesbian drama Gentleman Jack –  the second series of which she’s filming now – is a smaller one, but she nails what it’s like to be juggling three small kids while trapped in a marriage with the bullish Captain Sutherland (Derek Riddell).

In the ITV drama Innocent, which is returning for a second series with an entirely new cast, Kelly is suffering once again. She plays English teacher Sally Wright, a ball of raw emotion who was wrongly convicted of murdering her 16-year-old pupil. When we meet her, she’s just had her guilty verdict overturned after spending five years in prison, and is determined to rebuild her life. It’s not easy. She’s lost her job; accusations that she had a sexual relationship with the underage student won’t go away; her husband Sam has moved on with a new partner; and she miscarried their baby while on remand.

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