Coronation Street may be one of the most-watched shows on television and many of its stars would be recognisable almost anywhere, but since leaving the show, some of the soap’s biggest stars have gone on to lead completely different lives when their time on the Cobbles came to an end.
Some of the soaps best-known faces have gone on to have complete success, while others have sadly met troubled circumstances, here are just a few of the actors from the cobbles who are bound to shock:
The ultimate heartthrob on Corrie for over 16 years, Ryan Thomas played the role of Jason Grimshaw. After such a long spell on the show, the actor decided it was time to make a bold move and take a short break away; or perhaps more of a long-term departure, should his acting career plan out as hoped.
Last year, Ryan quit Coronation Street with the aim to make it big in Hollywood – a move many soap stars try to achieve but fail due to the large amounts of competition.
The 33-year-old flew out to LA, but didn’t manage to secure any roles for films or television shows and knew that he would need to think up plan B.
Discussing his disappointment with The Sun, Ryan said: “Going to Hollywood is a dream so I’m going to see what happens. We can always dream”
He also admitted that Coronation Street has been his only job as an actor, therefore the wish to avoid being typecast and move away from the soap had been a long time coming:
“I wanted a complete change after leaving Coronation Street. My agent’s in London, my meetings are there and many of my friends, too. I’m also going to do some drama classes there.” he continued to tell The Sun.
“I’ve only ever had one job. I need to start from the bottom and start learning my craft. I want to be tested and taken out of my comfort zone. I need to do auditions and be rejected for roles – rejection is so much part and parcel of this business, but I’ve never experienced it.”
According to The Sun, Ryan now has his sights set on joining Austrailian soap, Neighbours, which boosted the careers of some of the world’s biggest stars – including Kylie Minogue, her sister Dannii and Jason Donovan.
“I’ve never been in an audition situation apart from when I was up for the role of Ryan in Corrie, and I got that part just 15 minutes into that audition.” he went on to say.
“I feel that I need to find out what it’s like to be told I haven’t got a role I’ve gone for.”
Aside from his acting career, Ryan is also excited about potentially joining this year’s line-up for ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here’; which he was potentially encouraged by his brother, who starred in last year’s series.
The name may not be familiar to you, but Dawn Acton initially played the role of Tracy Barlow, who is now played by Kate Ford.
First appearing on the soap in 1988 as teenage Tracy, Dawn has since spent the majority of her life out of the spotlight, but this could have been so very different if she had managed to impress Corrie bosses almost 15 years later.
Back in 2002 Tracy Barlow was set to appear on the cobbles once again and it was reported that Dawn had been invited to re-audition for the role, but instead of choosing her, bosses opted for Kate, who is still playing the character of Tracy to this day – ouch.
Luckily, it seems Dawn held no grudges against the Corrie team or the soap and often makes the odd appearance in documentaries discussing the history of the soap and her fondest memories.
These days, it seems like acting has been put on the back-burner for the 40-year-old as she has opted to spend her life working for a charity which helps children with their learning, as well as DJ’ing in the evenings.
According to The Daily Express, Dawn stated that she does ‘miss’ working on Coronation Street, but has no regrets of the career path she has now chosen: “Obviously I do miss working on Corrie but I do find the work I do now very rewarding.” she said.
“The fact is, I believe everyone should have the chance to learn to read. I still do DJ-ing but I like volunteering for Beanstalk as I supported children to read about things they were interested in and for them to be able to get enjoyment from it.”
Formerly playing the role of Martin Platt in the soap, actor Sean Wilson couldn’t be further away from the glitz and glamour of the acting world, with the new business idea he has come up with.
Deciding to step out of the limelight in 2005 after two decades on the soap, Sean went on to secure a ‘cheesy’ new job – as a cheesemaker. Like the pun?
Getting lucky with his business plan, he has managed to secure a deal with B&M in which his Lancashire cheeses are being sold to the nation.
Seemingly preferring his cookery profession to his acting work, Sean has gone on to publish a book titled ‘The Great Northern Cookbook’ and a TV documentary of the same name.
The former soapstar praised his new range of cheeses and told The Sun:
“It’s for people who don’t get a lot of time to cook, who don’t necessarily go into high-end supermarkets but don’t want to compromise on quality.
“My business partner and I were approached about doing the range, and I said I’d want the range to have a certain proviso.
“It had a be a clean label, so minimum salt and preservatives, so people can buy our products with confidence. I’m really proud of what we’ve done and we are working on another 10 lines to bring out in future too.”
When asked whether he would consider returning to soapland after his 13-year break, Sean admitted that he wouldn’t rule out the opportunity, but feels he would be taking a step backwards, as Corrie has lost a significant amount of viewers since his departure.
Deborah McAndrew played the role of Angie Freeman on the soap for almost twenty years, first appearing back in 1990.
She’s come a long way since working behind the bar of the Rovers Return and has gained herself an amazing new job. Swapping her entertainment lifestyle for the education sector, Deborah has now replaced presenter Gabby Logan as chancellor of Leeds Trinity.
Announcing the exciting news on Twitter, she wrote: “I’m absolutely delighted to be the new Chancellor of the wonderful @LeedsTrinity.
“Thanks to all students, executive and leadership team and to all the staff who made me feel so welcome today.”
Formerly voted as one of soapland’s sexiest females, Tracy Shaw, otherwise known as Maxine Peacock is hardly recognisable from her days on Corrie.
Spotted in public with bruises on her arms, whispers circulated that her marriage to TV producer Robert Ashworth wasn’t going too well. Those close to the star admitted that alcohol had been leading to intense arguments and fights, and on a return flight home from a trip, many witnessed the actress slapping her husband across the face, which she later told the press had been the result of drinking.
While many were left feeling sorry for Tracy, her agent Peter Charlesworth claimed that the actress could more than stand up for herself, due to her fiery nature and told The Daily Mail: “If anybody tried to beat up anybody in that marriage, it would be Tracy beating up Robert. She’s very tough.
“They have had a couple of rows, but they are a volatile young couple. To say that her marriage is over is all lies and rubbish.
‘She has just spent a week with him at home, they are living in that house together. There is no question at this time of a divorce.
‘What is going on is that Robert has got a job which is taking him to Los Angeles for two weeks. While he is there she is taking the opportunity to have a holiday with some friends. You should not read more into it than that.”
Those close to Tracy confessed that she is a completely different person, with one source claiming that the actress looked ‘haggered’ the last time they saw her.
She previously dated Darren Day for over a year-and-a-half, but the actor claimed that even during their relationship, Tracy threw an ornament at him in a moment of anger. Talking to The Daily Mail, he recalled the incident, stating:
“Tracy used to collect these little pottery pigs and she was just grabbing them, plus anything else she could get her hands on, and hurling them at me.
‘She got into such a rage she pulled down this shelf unit she had hanging on the wall. It could have fallen on me and done me a nasty injury.”
Due to her numerous issues, Tracy has failed to return to the screen, securing very small roles on the odd occasion.
She left Coronation Street back in 2003 when her character Maxine was killed by Richard Hillman. Since then, she’s appeared on stage in various shows including The Blue Room in 2003, Mum’s the Word in 2010 and Busy Body in 2011.