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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 March, 2005, 15:53 GMT
Actor McKellen joins the Street
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen will appear in the soap in May
Actor Sir Ian McKellen is joining the cast of ITV1's soap Coronation Street to play a "dodgy novelist".

The Lord of the Rings star will play author Mel Hutchwright, who is invited to address Weatherfield's book club.

Sir Ian will appear for 10 episodes in May. "I am nervous but raring to go," he said on Thursday.

Last year, the 65-year-old said his only remaining ambition was to appear in the soap - after fulfilling his other aim, to play a pantomime dame.

The actor once turned down a role as Elsie Tanner's long-lost nephew because he was intimidated by the prospect of appearing with Coronation Street's regular cast.

He added: "I don't know yet what Mel will look nor sound like, but I'm already studying his lines, as rehearsal time is scarce for the five-times-a-week show."


His character's steamy bodice-ripper, Hard Grinding, has already featured on the soap.

Sir Ian said he started his theatregoing at Manchester Opera House - near the Quay Street studios where Coronation Street is produced. "It will be a little like going home," he said.

Sir Norman Wisdom and Honor Blackman are among other stars who have taken roles in the long-running series in recent years.

Producer Tony Wood said: "We are delighted that an actor of Ian McKellen's calibre has agreed to appear in the show, it is a testament to the direction we have been taking the show in the last 12 months.

"Ian will be perfect as Mel Hutchwright and the cast and crew are looking forward to working with him on what promises to be a very funny storyline."

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