CORONATION Street’s Fiz Stape actress Jennie McAlpine is a firm favourite with fans despite the character’s latest shocking plotline.
She auditioned for her role as the much-loved seamstress aged just 17, joining the ITV soap in 2001.
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During the past 20 years much has changed in her life on-screen and off, including marrying a man introduced to her by her co-star and setting up a Manchester cafe.
The Bury-based actress had her first taste of soap stardom with a role in rival soap Emmerdale, between 199 and 2000, but cemented herself on the small screen when she bagged the role of Fiz.
Originally, it was set to be a five-episode stint but, as we all know, Weatherfield life was made for Fiz and she remains on the cobbles – currently tangled in a nasty battle with ex Tyrone over their kids.
Off-screen actress Jennie’s love life is a lot sweeter.
She’s married to restauranteur Chris Farr in 2017, after being in a relationship since 2005.
They were introduced by Jennie’s co-star Antony Cotton, who played Sean Tully.
He called the actress and bluntly said: “I’m here with your future husband. Do you want me to put him on the phone?”
The matchmaking worked and the pair got married in a secret ceremony at Trafford Town Hall, in Manchester.
This chimed with what mum of two Jennie previously said about her wedding plans, telling the Daily Record: “I haven’t got time – for babies or marriage.
“I don’t like being the centre of attention so a big wedding isn’t for me.”
Yet one person in on the secret was Antony.
He wrote on Twitter: “Well at lease we didn’t have to keep that secret for too long!! We love the three of you very much.”
The pair now share daughter Hilda and son Albert.
Jennie and restaurant manager Chris have also pooled their passion for food into cafe, Annie’s.
In the heart of Manchester town centre, it has a four out of five rating on TripAdvisor and serves British cuisine.
The menu includes comfort food such as corned beef hash and home made soup as well as afternoon tea.
After its opening in 2012, Jennie said: “We wanted to do something together, and our whole family wanted to be involved,” said Jennie in 2014.
“Chris is the experienced restaurateur, and I just like food.
“I have got no other skill or qualification for this, but I like meeting people.”
The eatery plunged into debt in 2018 yet has battled hard to see the tough period through, and survive the current coronavirus pandemic which saw it forced to close its doors.
On May 17, the eatery posted on its Twitter page: “So pleased our brilliant restaurant team can get back to doing what they love.”
Yet sadly this week, the tea room was again forced to close its doors after a staff member tested positive for COVID, according to the Manchester Evening News.
It will remain closed until June 21.
A statement from Coronation Street confirmed: ““Jennie has not been at the restaurant so she is not required to self isolate and she is able to carry on with filming.”