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I knew it was time to move on, but I thought long and hard because I was very happy on the Street.” The play was centred on the brutal kicking to death of a young girl in a park in Bacup, Lancashire, just because she dressed as a Goth, and was later the subject of a BBC4 airing where Julie again played Sylvia and Rachel Austin played Sophie – both were amazing!

Simon Armitage wrote the book and the evocative poetry that was a major feature.

“Mina and I were at juniors, secondary and college together and moved to London to attend Drama School at the same time. Also at LAMDA were Joe Alessi and Connie Hyde (now Gina in Corrie).” I asked Julie when she first realised she would be a performer.

She said: “I always loved it since Mrs Mulderrig encouraged me to do English speaking Board exams at Hyndburn Park, but I’m not sure I seriously thought about it as a career until I went to Accrington College.” It was here that Julie first utilized her talent and along with many others from this college was accepted into Drama School thanks mainly to “the excellent tutelage” of Martin Cosgrif.

I worked with Mike Leigh all last summer on his epic film about Peterloo, so that was a new and exciting experience.” I went on to ask Julie what she enjoyed watching in the way of TV and films when she wasn’t working.

“Transparent on Amazon, A Handmaid’s Tale, Corrie (of course! “I read a lot, novels but non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels too.

Here Julie tells us about her career before and since leaving the soap in 2014 and we find out about the future projects of this talented actor and tireless social campaigner.

But Wit at the Royal Exchange (in which I played an American Professor dying of cancer) was pretty life changing too, and I’m currently working on a beautiful new play there called The Almighty Sometimes.I asked Julie what were her main inspirations when she was growing up that made her want to become an actor and she replied: “I loved old musicals mainly, and then I started to go to the Royal Exchange (Manchester) with School and with a family friend.” Julie told me that her first stage performance was as Sammy Sludge in the school panto and she loved every minute of it.Of course we all know Julie from her – at that time ground-breaking - portrayal of transgender Hayley who went on to become Hayley Cropper, in Coronation Street, but she was an actor for some time before that big television break, her first television appearance being in Catherine Cookson’s “The Dwelling Place” as Rose, the miller’s daughter, which she says is still shown on UK Gold from time to time.She attended Hyndburn Park, Moorhead (now Accrington Academy) and Accrington and Rossendale College before going to London to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).I asked Julie how she would describe herself as a student in those early years.

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