Actor and legendary children’s tv presenter Derek Griffiths is to join the cast of Coronation Street in the new year.

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Derek will play retired mechanic Freddie, a pensioner who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Kylie Platt following the death of his wife, a beauty client of Kylie’s.

Derek, 69, will be known to many Corrie viewers as the face of iconic children’s series Play School and Play Away during the 60s 70s and 80s

He also has an impressive acting CV, working with the RSC for two years, appearing in numerous West End productions (including Miss Saigon and Two Gentlemen of Verona) as well as dozens of tv shows. He has recently finished filming Silent Witness.

Motorbike loving Freddie will ride onto the cobbles in March. Through Kylie he finds new friends and a surrogate community in the Street.

Speaking about joining the soap Derek said: “I remember being a young boy and watching Violet Carson on Coronation Street. She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate and later when I became

an actor and played the villain in panto many times those are qualities I would bring to the role.

“When I came for my audition one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps.”

Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn said: “I was utterly delighted when Derek accepted this role and I can not wait to work with him and see him on the Cobbles, it really will be a happy new year!”

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