Katherine Kelly: How acting stopped me being a rebel

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Barnsley born actress Katherine Kelly is about to star in two supernatural series. Susan Griffin reports.

Katherine Kelly admits her teenage years must have been a difficult time for her parents.

Katherine Kelly with her husband Ryan Clark
Pic: Ian West/PA Photos.

Katherine Kelly with her husband Ryan Clark Pic: Ian West/PA Photos.

“I was tricky at 14/15,” says the 36-year-old. “I wasn’t at a youth theatre; I was actually one of the few youths in an adult company, so I was constantly mixing with adults.

“I’m the oldest of four. I’m the oldest of all my cousins. I was treated like an adult, and suddenly I hit an age, when I was 14, and I already thought I was 18, and that was the cause of huge frustration. The thing is I looked 18 as well, and that wasn’t helpful for my poor old mum and dad.”

The Barnsley actress - who’s starred in Mr Selfridge, The Sound Of Music Live, The Field Of Blood and The Guilty since leaving Coronation Street, and the role of Becky McDonald, back in 2012 - believes it was acting that “saved me, really, from being a rebel”.

“It was such a huge passion and took up so much of my time,” continues Kelly, who’s enjoyed success on the stage too, starring in the likes of She Stoops To Conquer at the National Theatre. In her latest project, three-part domestic horror drama titled HIM, Kelly plays Hannah, whose 17-year-old son’s going through a troubled patch.

FIONN WHITEHEAD as Him, PATRICK ROBINSON as Victor, KATHERINE KELLY as Hannah, SIMONA BROWN as Faith, LUCY LIEMANN as Beth, JAMES MURRAY as Edward and BOBBY SMALLDRIDGE as Jack. PA Photo/ITV.

FIONN WHITEHEAD as Him, PATRICK ROBINSON as Victor, KATHERINE KELLY as Hannah, SIMONA BROWN as Faith, LUCY LIEMANN as Beth, JAMES MURRAY as Edward and BOBBY SMALLDRIDGE as Jack. PA Photo/ITV.

Caught between childhood and adulthood, the two homes of his divorced parents and their new families, the teen feels like he’s stuck in limbo. But while others his age might ‘act out’ and rebel by banging doors and yelling, Hannah’s son is actually struggling to control a supernatural power - whereby he can control inanimate objects - that poses a real danger to those around him.

Aside from the script, by award-winning screenwriter Paula Milne, Kelly was attracted to the project because, as she puts it, “there are no goodies and baddies”.

“It’s a lot of grey area and everybody is trying to do the best for ‘him’. There are no wicked step-parents and I like that.”

Kelly has a two-year-old daughter with her Australian husband Ryan Clark, but says she’s managing “to find a balance between motherhood and work, which was always my aim”.

“I enjoy both and try to make sure the scales don’t drop too much on one side, and always measure it back out, so I either get back to work or spend more time with my family. I think that goes for lots of mums that still work, not just actors. For me, life is all about balance.”

After HIM, she’ll be seen in Class, a Doctor Who spin-off for BBC Three written by Patrick Ness, which executive producer Steven Moffat has described as a British version of the Nineties show, Buffy.

“I like to mix things up and try and make interesting choices. I might be able to pick and choose today, but tomorrow - who knows? You just can’t take anything for granted in life, so I neither worry about it, nor celebrate it,” says Kelly.

“I take every day as it comes, and try not to overthink it, because you just don’t know what the future holds.”

HIM begins on ITV tonight, 9pm

Class begins on BBC Three on Saturday, October 22

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