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Sarah Harding admits Coronation Street stint was ‘tough gig’

Sarah Harding admits Coronation Street stint was ‘real tough gig’ (Picture: Getty/ITV)

Sarah Harding has confessed that she found starring on Coronation Street a ‘real tough gig’.

The former Girls Aloud star, 39, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, opened up about her time on the ITV soap where she played the role of Joni Preston – the wife of Robert Preston (Tristan Gemmill)

Sarah made her debut on Corrie in July 2015 and appeared in four episodes across two months and admits that she struggled to get ‘into her stride’ – especially as she says Joni was a lot like her in reality.

Writing in her new memoir Hear Me Out, in excerpts shared by Digital Spy, Sarah said: ‘It’s such an iconic show, an institution, and when you’re going on as a short-term character, it’s hard to get into your stride.

‘That was a real tough gig for me because it was like I was playing a part that wasn’t a million miles away from the real me.’

Sarah explained: ‘You might imagine that it would be an easy thing to do, but I think I’d have found it more comfortable playing someone who was the complete opposite of me.’

Sarah Harding as Joni Preston in Coronation Street

Sarah made her debut on Corrie in July 2015 (Picture: ITV)
She starred in four episodes and was seen slapping Tracy Barlow (Picture: Rex)

The singer suggested that even having different hair or having to speak with an accent would have helped her to ‘settle’ into the role better.

Sarah added: ‘Corrie is shot at a very fast pace and they literally threw me in at the deep end. In fact, my very first day was pretty much all screaming, crying and slapping.’

Recalling fond memories on set, Sarah said she enjoyed getting to work with Kate Ford (who plays Trace Barlow) and revealed the girls would always have a ‘proper giggle’ together.

At the time of her soap debut, Sarah faced backlash from Coronation Street fans, but she didn’t let her critics get to her.

Responding to the mixed reviews her character Joni received, Sarah told Daily Mail: ‘With soaps, [viewers] are very familiar with the characters, so it is very difficult to be accepted if you’re a known face for something else.’

Joni descended on Weatherfield looking for her estranged husband Robert, who at the time had just reignited his romance with Tracy.

Walking in on Robert and Tracy kissing at the restaurant she owns with him, Joni was seen slapping Tracy in true Corrie fashion, before later demanding Robert sign over all of their assets as she put an end to their marriage for good.

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