Celebrity News

Coro Street's new bad girl - Connie Hyde reveals what it's like playing Sally's sister Gina

This isn't the first time Connie has played a risky character.

By Judy Kean
When TVNZ skipped ahead 18 months with Coronation Street episodes so we'd be up-to-date with the popular UK soap, there were several new characters whose introduction to the show we missed.
One of the new people who suddenly popped up was Gina Seddon – sister of Coro stalwart Sally Metcalfe – who has caused a whole heap of trouble since we tuned in to the updated episodes.
While Sally's errant sister has been mentioned in the past (Sally, played by Sally Dynevor, stayed with her while recovering from breast cancer) and Gina turned up on the Street for a few months in the late '80s to live with Sally and her then- husband Kevin, this time round she's been part of a major storyline involving Sally being sent to jail for a crime she didn't commit.
Connie plays Gina Seddon, the troubled sister of beloved Coro character Sally.
While viewers may have been unfamiliar with Gina, and wondering how she ended up on the cobbles, they'll have most likely recognised Connie Hyde, the actress who plays her, from another iconic British show.
Before Coro, Connie was best known as WPC Cathy Bradford on The Bill. She joined the police series in 2002, and it soon became obvious that her character had issues with jealousy and telling the truth.
By the time she left The Bill three years later, Cathy had lied about having HIV, killed two people and got a popular colleague sent to prison.
Around eight million viewers – including, allegedly, the Queen – tuned in to see the episode where the deranged copper got her comeuppance.
Connie (49) says she dealt with playing an abhorrent character by reminding herself that Cathy was mentally ill and desperate for attention.
"I worked for the Samaritans for two years before I started at The Bill, which helped me to understand her. She wasn't evil; it just came from loneliness."
She was so convincing as the unhinged Cathy that some people had trouble separating her from the character.
"I went to buy some shoes in Selfridges and the assistant saw my face, and went, 'Oh, my God,' and ran off," recalls Connie. "She never came back. People gave me a wide berth, but that suited me because I'm a private person."
When she landed the Coro job in 2017, Connie was delighted.
"It was a dream come true to be on Corrie," she says. "I grew up watching it and always wanted to be on it."
Connie also played reviled dirty copper Cathy on The Bill
Unless you're watching the daily catch-ups (spoiler alert from here on in if you are!), you may be mystified about why Gina has ended up back in Sally's life.
Her return was a shock – Sally was being trolled by an online stalker and when her daughters Sophie and Rosie investigated, it appeared to be Gina.
When confronted by her nieces, Gina had no recollection of making life a misery for Sally and was deeply distressed. She attributed her behaviour to having bipolar disorder, but it was later revealed that her stepdaughter had been the culprit.
Gina and Sally renewed their relationship, but since being back in Weatherfield, Gina has caused all kinds of havoc, including racking up huge debts in Sally's name.
A brief romance with shop owner Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) ended because he couldn't cope with her manic episodes.
Her infatuation with her brother-in-law Tim (Joe Duttine) has caused problems, as has the fact that her testimony helped to get Sally convicted, but she has redeemed herself to some extent by helping to get Sally out of jail.
Connie says she feels a huge responsibility when it comes to playing a bipolar character
"I have got a responsibility of care. That's why it was very important to me that Gina wasn't seen as a baddie. Her behaviour came from a vulnerability."
She has wondered if the recent storyline would result in a public backlash from devoted Coro fans who are fiercely protective of Sally.
"I'll probably be barricading myself in the house, avoiding getting egged!" she jokes.
Playing Gina can be wearying, especially when she is going through manic times and has excess energy.
"I found that hard at first because a lot of scenes were hyper and that was exhausting. But you'll see a different side to her."
Mum-of-one Connie says she switches off from playing such an intense character by gardening.
"Growing vegetables is lovely, when you see the sprouts on the stalk… That is usually my Christmas present to everyone – a dirty old sprout stick!"
She's also taken courgettes onto the Coro set.
"Some people appreciate it and some people don't!" she shrugs.

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