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Samantha Seager

By
Samantha Seager
Coronation Street's Jodie Morton appeared on our screens last month and, at the end of this week, the rest of her motley clan are set to follow in pursuance of their Weatherfield fast-food venture.

Actress Samantha Seager took time out of her busy schedule to chat about how excited she feels to be the Morton family pioneer, being recognised in public and teases about what's to come for her character.

Are you pleased the rest of your family have finally turned up?
"I am, it's nice to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together, it all starts to make a bit more sense when everybody else turns up."

Did you feel like a pioneer for the family?
"I paved the way for the Mortons! Yeah, it's really nice to have everyone else here. I'm part of a real family. It's like having a nice new real family, it's lovely."

What was your first day like?
"It was really overwhelming, to be honest. You turn up and you feel like you know everyone already because everyone's really familiar, but of course you don't know them... I was quite reserved on my first day, just looking around going 'oh my God, I'm on the Street'. Everyone's been very, very welcoming and it's lovely, really nice gig."

Have you ever called any of the actors by their character names?
"Do you know, I've not done it. I've stopped myself a couple of times, but I've not done it. I'm just waiting for people to start calling me Jodie, which I'm sure they will do."

Most of your scenes up to now have been with Jason. Do you think you've got a chance with him?
"I don't think I've got a hope in hell's chance with Jason, bless him. So far you've only seen one side of Jodie, the tough business side, but hopefully there's other sides that will come through in the future because she's become the maternal matriarch of the family.

"She's very practical and has a lot of responsibility - Kayleigh's only 13 so she's like a mother to her. Other things that mums have to do - shopping, food, everything the younger kids need. As far as men are concerned, she hasn't got time for them."

Do you envisage Jodie having a romance on the Street?
"People keep asking me this question, and I've been casting my eye around the Street for suitable candidates, and I'm just trying to think. I just don't know. Maybe Steve McDonald but he's already taken."

What about Dev?
"Dev! It's a possibility. Jodie would never say never. I think she would probably go for Liam a little bit, but then I just don't know. I could be pleasantly surprised, it could end up being Ken or Norris, you just never know!"

Who runs the family business?
"Jerry's at the head of it, my dad. He's the head of the family, Jodie's up there with him, they just have different roles within it. For the time being, we can rope in the twins to help and, over time, they're bound to need a bit more help in there."

Have you been noticed in the public domain yet?
"The first time this morning when I was trying to get here - I was on an escalator and the person behind me said 'hey, that looks like the girl off EastEnders'... I didn't say anything, kept my head down.

"They said 'Eastenders', 'yeah, she keeps telling that guy off about his building work'. I went 'oh, they have recognised me, they've just got the wrong soap'. I kept my head down and kept on walking."

Do we find out why she's so tough?
"I think they're all a bit like that, all the kids, the way the family is as a whole - Jerry, the dad, is very amiable but also quite rough round the edges. We've come from working in chip vans, going round football matches and festivals, that's how we've built up a business. We're a bit rough round the edges in general, but nice with it."

Are there any family secrets?
"Oh, I'm sure there are going to be plenty of family secrets, but what they are, I don't know yet."

Your screen family's fairly big anyway and you've taken the mother role. Do we find out about the history of Jerry's ex-wife, Jodie's mum?
"Our mum is definitely about, there'll be some ructions up the Street."

What are the living arrangements at number six?
"Grandad doesn't live with us. I think, Dad's got his own room. There are three bedrooms. Jodie's in a room, Matt and Kayleigh are sharing and Darryl's sleeping on the sofa. They were supposed to be sharing but he volunteered to sleep on the couch."

Jodie's quite old to be living with her dad - why's that?
"She's tough, but she's in a bit of a sad situation, really, but she's had to put a lot of her own needs to the back so she can look after everyone else. Seeing her dad go through a marriage breakdown, so supporting her dad through that, and the kids as well.

"Every time she tries to do something for herself, it gets pushed to the back. The kebab shop is their first bricks and mortar business. She's really ambitious, they're really into making money."

They don't mind moving into a house where someone's been murdered?
"No, they don't worry about things like that. They see a bargain and they're straight in there."

Are the Mortons anything like the characters from Shameless?
"I think there are comparisons to be made in - absent mother, lots of children, single parent dad, there is a lot of comparisons there. Whereas the Shameless lot - the father figure in that is a lovable character but he's not working and has no ambition, but Jerry is.

"We're brash, we're loud, we're hardworking. That's the difference for the whole family. I just think they come from a similar place, but it's different morals. I think whereas the Battersbys would be happy to sit around all day drinking and smoking, they're really hardworking, and they just want to make a success of themselves and their business and that."

What about the competition with Roy's Rolls?
"We're selling to a different market - we're the fast food outlet and they're a cafe."

Why do the family think their fast food venture will work when Diggory's pizza shop didn't?
"I think they have a lot of faith in what they're selling. They're the best chips in Weatherfield, and they do the best kebabs. They don't just want to be good at it, they want to be the best chippie in town."

Did you all gel together pretty well on the first day of filming?
"Yeah, both myself and Michael were involved in casting the rest of the family as well. Michael was involved in my casting, because he was the first one in place. He screentested with all the actresses shortlisted for the part, and then both myself and Michael were doing auditions and improvisations.

"All these great kids were coming in, trying to match us up as a family was really interesting. It was really interesting from my point of view to see how they did all that stuff. When it all fitted into place at last, it was like a jigsaw had been finally fitted together. I was like 'I know who I am, I know where I've come from'."

Do you have children in real life??
"I do, two. They're four and three. They're called Jonny and Willow, Willow because I found it in a book and it fit her when she was born."

Will they be watching?
"Yeah, I let them stay up late every now and again to watch it, if the scenes are suitable. They haven't really seen Coronation Street before, as they're tucked up by then. They're much more 'CBeebies'.

"Obviously since they've been born I've been working doing bits here and there. It's quite confusing for them, cos they'll watch it and think things they're seeing are real, but now my son's getting a bit older he's starting to realise that that's my job and that's something I do that's different - pretending to be somebody else. My little girl still doesn't quite understand - she doesn't understand why I'm not talking back to her off the telly."

How are you handling juggling being a mum and working on the Street?
"I've got a fantastic support system. For all of us who are working mums - there are lots of us about - it's always a juggling act. You do your best and hope everyone's needs are being met."

What does your partner do?
"He's a barrister, so he's not in the business at all."

Will you be moving to Manchester now?
"No, I think I'll be commuting for the time being, seeing how things go. It's not too bad as far as jobs go. At the moment it seems to be working out very nicely. It's not too difficult."

How do you feel about your life changing through Corrie?
"I can't imagine. I've got one friend who is a celebrity - or became a celebrity, she wasn't a celebrity when I knew her. She's really famous, but I'd rather not say her name, she might not appreciate me saying. I've seen how her life has changed, and the thing is, she's still very much down to earth and herself - I think it's how you take it. It's a job at the end of the day, and all that comes with it is fantastic in some ways and there are downfalls in other ways, with privacy."

Do you think the fact you're married with kids might help?
"Yeah, I go home, and I'm still mum, and I'm just me. That's never going to change. You're still always going to be just you when you go home. You could quite easily get carried away with all that goes with this job."

Is this your dream job?
"Coming from Manchester, when I was a kid I used to watch Coronation Street on the telly and think 'wow, that's it'. Telly, anything, really, but Corrie particularly because it's from Manchester. It's still sinking in that I'm here."

Did you ever think you'd be sat here now?
"I didn't, I really didn't. I always thought I'd love to be in something like that and I'm an actor so maybe, one day I could get there. I always thought that that was a bit out of my reach cos it's a big soap. I've worked hard over the years, and eventually I've made it."

How different is Jodie compared with Julie who you played in 'The Lakes'?
"Jodie does share some qualities with Julie from the Lakes. I think that'd be a bit too racy for the Street - what I got up to in the Lakes makes me blush; don't know what my grandma thought of that.

"I think there are certain qualities - of all the characters I've played, Jodie's the most similar to Julie from The Lakes in that she's very streetwise, quite tough and I think Julie was a lot more up for the boys than Jodie is. Jodie's very much more focused."

You did an episode of Little Britain - what was that like?
"That was brilliant. I was involved in a scene with the character who goes 'computer says no'. It was lovely, I didn't really get a chance to talk with them much or meet them properly. The way they record it, they rehearse for a week and rehearse different blocks of sketches - so they'll do all the characters.

"I was lucky enough to be there when they were doing the Prime Minister and his gay assistant. So the whole of that series, they rehearse all the sketches over the course of a week - and every now and again I'd run up and do my little bit and run off again. Tony Head was there, seeing them do all the different characters... I got coughed over and told to go away."

Thanks for chatting, Samantha!

Click here to read our interview with father of the family, Michael Starke.

Check back on Wednesday, March 14 for our interview with Jonathan Dixon - a.k.a. Darryl Morton! Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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