Soap star Antony Cotton said he was delighted that Beverley Callard was returning to the famous Coronation Street cobbles again this September.
Cotton, 37, was speaking at the opening of HomeSense in the Arndale Centre as Manchester becomes the first UK city to boast two of the homeware retailer’s stores.
And the TV star – who plays barman and factory worker Sean Tully – could not hide his excitement at the return of 56-year-old Callard, known to millions as Liz McDonald in the soap.
“I feel great about it,” he said. “She is a good pal and she is one of my best friend’s mums in real life so I’m really happy and it is nice news.
“They have not said any storylines or anything like that. All they have said is she comes back to help Steve.
“There is always something going on. We are post-Christmas now and we are now in the middle of summer.”
Cotton – who also appeared in Channel 4’s Queer as Folk – cut the ribbon to the store, with the first 200 lucky shoppers receiving a £10 gift card.
The star was put through his paces on the checkouts and even bought and bubble-wrapped a vase for his Lancashire home, admitting his mum would be jealous of him.
“I am very happy to be here,” he said. “My mum is a massive TX Maxx fan and this is the home department of TX Maxx so my mum will be fuming that I’ve not invited her!
“I might bring her here for a shopping trip. There is some great stuff here.
“It’s great it’s in Manchester and there are photos of Piccadilly, which is the gateway to tourists visiting the city.
“I already have bought something. I have just bought a vase, put it through, paid for it and bagged it up myself. You cannot have too many vases.”
Having recently won ‘Let’s Dance for Comic Relief’, Cotton said he still stays in touch with ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’ co-stars Mark Wright and Dougie Ponyter.
“I saw Mark and Dougie a couple of weeks ago. I am in touch with those two and we were like a band of brothers in there,” he said.
“It was 18 months ago now, so we were friends in there and we’re friends now we’re out.
“I see Mark at dos and I see him when he comes up to see Michelle Keegan, but work dictates that and you can’t see everybody all the time, but he is a good friend.”
The HomeSense store launch – which will have up to 50,000 items – was greeted by David Allinson, Manchester Arndale’s centre director, who feels it will be popular with shoppers.
“The launch day activity brings a real buzz of excitement to Manchester Arndale,” he said.
“The brand’s concept means customers will always have something new to look forward to, with the added bonus of reduced retail prices.
“The addition of HomeSense will also further strengthen our homeware offering within the centre.”