Entertainment & Arts

Coronation Street: Derek Griffiths to join cast

Derek Griffiths in 1983
Image caption Derek Griffiths is known to many as the face of children's shows Play School and Play Away

Actor and children's TV legend Derek Griffiths is to join the cast of Coronation Street next year.

The 69-year-old will play retired mechanic Freddie, a pensioner who strikes up "an unlikely friendship" with Kylie Platt.

The actor was one the the hosts of Play School and Play Away during the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

His motorbike-loving character will ride onto the Weatherfield cobbles in March.

ITV said Freddie "finds new friends and a surrogate community" on Coronation Street following the death of his wife, a client of Kylie's at the beauty salon.

Image caption Derek Griffiths appeared with Johnny Ball and Sarah Long

Griffiths said: "I remember being a young boy and watching Violet Carson [who played Ena Sharples] on Coronation Street. She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate, and later when I became an actor and played the villain in panto many times those are qualities I would bring to the role.

"When I came for my audition one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps."

Griffiths' acting work includes two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, West End productions Miss Saigon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and he has recently finished filming Silent Witness.

He was also the voice of SuperTed.

Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn said: "I was utterly delighted when Derek accepted this role and I can not wait to work with him and see him on the cobbles, it really will be a happy new year!"

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