Have a butcher’s at Ashley’s new role

Steven Arnold.
Steven Arnold.

It’s Ashley, I say, it’s Ashley, but as you’ve never seen him before.

Actor Steven Arnold is best known as the loveable Coronation Street butcher but is now turning his hand to a stage tribute to Les Dawson.

Steven, who played squeaky-voiced Ashley Peacock on the famous cobbles for over 15 years, takes on the role of Terry Ravenscroft, the late comic’s scriptwriter.

Ravenscroft penned Dawson’s famous ‘Cissie and Ada’ sketches, which form the basis of the show this Thursday and Friday (September 5 and 6) at the Lancaster Grand.

“I used to watch Les Dawson as a kid and he was absolutely great,” said Arnold.

“It’s 20 years since he died. Eric Potts, who played Diggory in Coronation Street, plays Les and takes him off to a ‘T’. It’s like Les comes alive again on stage.

“In the show I learned so much about Les Dawson I didn’t know, from when he started at Yorkshire TV right up to joining the BBC, about him losing his first wife.

“It really has its funny moments and is sentimental, you really feel for him.”

Since Ashley was killed off in the Coronation Street 50th anniversary tram crash three years ago, Steven has been keeping busy with roles in Casualty and on Dancing On Ice.

And he has no regrets about being written out of the Street, where he formed such a well-remembered double act with screen dad Fred Elliott (John Savident).

“It was a great way to go out after 15 years, I didn’t want to leave in a taxi.

“I wouldn’t change being on Coronation Street for the world. The character had gone as far as he could, through all his ups and downs, and they didn’t know what to do with him any more.

“I keep in touch with Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone, Andy Whyment who plays Kirk and Simon Gregson who plays Steve. I grew up with those lads. They’re some of my best friends for life.”

‘Cissie and Ada’ A Hysterical Rectomy’ also stars Steve Nallon in the ‘Roy Barraclough’ role and actress Natasha Magigi.

Shows start at 7.30pm and tickets cost £15 (£13 concessions) available from the Grand Theatre box office or call 01524 64695.