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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 23:31 GMT 00:31 UK
McKellen ready for Street debut
Sir Ian McKellen as Mel Hutchwright with the Coronation Street cast
Sir Ian McKellen (front) said it was his ambition to appear in the soap
Actor Sir Ian McKellen will join some of Coronation Street's longest serving characters when he makes his entrance in the soap next month.

Sir Ian has signed up for 10 episodes of the ITV soap, which will be broadcast in May.

The Lord of the Rings star plays author Mel Hutchwright, who makes an appearance at Weatherfield's book club.

The author moves in with regular characters Norris, played by Malcolm Hebden and Emily (Eileen Derbyshire).

His character's steamy bodice-ripper, Hard Grinding, has already been mentioned in the show.

Intimidating prospect

He appears in the series after the book club wrote to his publisher asking whether their favourite author was a woman or a man.

Sir Ian, 65, was born in Burnley, near the soap's Manchester studios. He said appearing in Coronation Street was his only remaining ambition.

"It will be a little like going home," he previously said. "The script is hilarious."

Sir Ian McKellen as Coronation Street's Mel Hutchwright with Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire)
Sir Ian's novelist character Mel Hutchwright moves in with Emily Bishop
Sir Ian said in the past he had turned down a role as character Elsie Tanner's long-lost nephew because he was intimidated by the prospect of appearing with Coronation Street's regular cast.

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

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