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Keith Duffy (Ciaran McCarthy, Corrie)

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Keith Duffy (Ciaran McCarthy, Corrie)
After a five-year break from the role, Boyzone singer Keith Duffy returns to Coronation Street at the beginning of next week as ladies' man and ex-navy serviceman Ciaran McCarthy. The 35-year-old last appeared in July 2005 when Shelley Unwin's mother Bev made a drunken pass at him. Half a decade on and Ciaran's working in a fancy Cheshire restaurant, as Peter and Leanne turn up for lunch in the hope of scoping out the local eatery competition while they prepare to open their new bar. Unbeknown to the pair, however, Ciaran's the head chef and Peter's complaints cause the Irish womaniser to lose his job. How will Peter cope with his wayward mate back in his life? And who'll become the first notch on Ciaran's bedpost? We gave Keith a bell to find out more!

How did the return come about?
"Well when I left back in 2005, it was always the plan at some stage to try and get back on the Street after spending a bit of time at home and whatever. The boys and I got back together in 2007 and I was busy for a few years but when we started going on tour again and played the MEN in Manchester, I sent an invitation over to the cast and crew of Corrie for anyone who wanted to come across to the show. A few of the guys came along and we hooked up at the Lowry Hotel afterwards for a few pints and got talking. A few were saying, 'Would you come back?' and I was like, 'I'd love to come back but I can't see it happening in the future because the band are so busy and one thing and another'."

Were you not ready to return back then?
"Going into 2009 we had a whole new show, a whole new tour and again I sent across an email inviting people if they wanted to come along, and all the while I'd kept in touch with a few people from the press department, and Kieran Roberts who was then the producer and is now the exec producer. On that night we were chatting and I was saying I'd done [Dublin soap The Clinic and Irish soap Fair City] and that I'd got my trade - my apprenticeship if you like - with Coronation Street. If it wasn't for Corrie, I wouldn't have got these other jobs. I said I'd love to return knowing the game a lot better and knowing what I'm doing is a lot better - being a lot more confident with the character. Things just started from there, really."

What happened after that?
"There were a few emails back and forth between me and Kieran Roberts, then Kim Crowther (producer) got in touch with my agent and asked me to fly to Manchester for a meeting regarding nothing, really. At that stage, I hoped it must mean something because I'd told them that the lads in the band were taking some time off - possibly six or seven months - to finish the album. I hate having time off, I much prefer being busy so this was my chance to get back on the Street again. We all agreed and here I am!"

How do we see Ciaran again?
"Peter and Leanne were reading a review of a restaurant in Cheshire that got rave reviews and decide to go over and treat themselves to a lunch meeting to discuss their new wine bar. They're waiting a very long time for their food and Peter goes out to the maître d' and tells him that if he wanted bread and water, he'd have gone to Strangeways. The maître d' apologises and tells him the head chef's a bit of a perfectionist and goes out to the kitchen, pushes him out the door and starts screaming and shouting at him - the chef happens to be Ciaran McCarthy! The maître d' says, 'Don't make me fire you!' and Ciaran says, 'I won't, I resign!' and gets out a bottle of whisky for him and Peter not realising that Peter's on the wagon."

How long are you around for this time?
"A minimum of six months. Enough time to get into some trouble, I'd say!"

Where's Ciaran been?
"All I know is that he's been working as a chef in this restaurant and he's been there for a while. I think he might have gone home to Ireland for a bit and over to the States for a while. He was over with his cousin Mick who owns a cocktail bar in New York and he was over working the cocktail bar for a bit - that bit was in my script along the way - but apart from that I really don't know what he was up to! He was AWOL from the Navy so he could have done a bit of jail time, too."

Who does he have his eye on when he's back?
"[He's] pretty much straight in for Michelle to be fair! It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it! Anything that walks by that's at all attractive or in a skirt he chats up to be honest. He chats up Carla, he chats up Michelle, he's very charming to Liz McDonald who sees it as a come-on - that's a funny scene in itself - Kelly from the factory... no-one is safe!"

Does Ciaran have much to do with Sunita when he's back?
"Yeah - he's been back chatting her up as well. He's under the illusion that herself and Dev are together and obviously he and Dev left on bad terms, so she's on her own in the pub and he goes over and starts chatting her up and charming her again. Sunita was quite up for it because they nearly got married - I think I left her at the altar if I remember rightly."

If you could pick anyone on the Street for him to be involved with, who would it be?
"I don't really mind and I don't think Ciaran McCarthy would mind too much, either - if they're attractive and they like a drink he's happy enough." Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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