Sir Ian McKellenThe distinguished theatre star and movie actor has revealed that walking the cobbles has been a greater thrill than treading the West End’s boards.

“I’m a huge fan of the show.” He told the Daily Mail, “I think over the years the standard of writing and acting have been remarkably high,” he says of ITV’s longest running serial.

The paper note his “greatest thrill” came in 2005 when ITV Granada signed him up to appear in ten episodes of Coronation Street.

“When I walked back stage at Granada in Manchester and saw one of the characters coming toward me, I was in a panic,” he is quoted, and notes, “It was very alarming. I felt the same way people feel when they see famous actors.”

In Corrie McKellen played conman Mel Hutchwright who posed as an author to get freebies off the residents.

“Going into the Rovers Return and seeing people who have been in that show for 40 or 50 years and being welcomed by them was quite a thrill. I was there as a fan but also had to keep in character. I had a wonderful time. I didn’t feel I was slumming it. In fact, I’d do it again.” McKellen added.

However former Weatherfield actor John Savident, who played butcher and later Rovers Return owner Fred ‘I say, I say’ Elliott reportedly didn’t take to the ‘celebrity guest roles’

“Don’t get me started on that score” he told the Manchester Evening News in April 2011, adding, “I took Sir Ian McKellen to task by asking how he could play a role in Corrie which meant some poor actor who needed the work lost out.  He didn’t reply – just hung his head”.

Coronation Street airs on ITV1, UTV and STV

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