FOR many actors departing a beloved show after 30 years, it could mark the end of the road for a glittering career – but for Beverley Callard, the best is yet come.

Shortly after filming her final scenes as Liz McDonald in Coronation Street next summer, Callard has set her sights on a return to Rhyl in November 2020 as part of box office record breaking show The Thunder Girls first UK tour.

Describing handing in her notice with Corrie producer producer Iain MacLeod as “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make”, Callard is nevertheless focused on a new mission in the stage adaptation of Stockport author Melanie Blake’s best-selling novel.

Speaking to The Journal, Callard said: “When Melanie was in talks to adapt the novel, she was told that they wanted to make the cast younger as “nobody was interested in women over 40”. But she stuck it out, and the moment I read the book I told her the minute she’s ready to go, I want to be part of the show.”

Fortunately for Callard, and women over forty everywhere, Blake was clued into something that was evading the powers that be. The show earned returning cast mates Coleen Nolan, former Emmerdale actor Sandra Marvin and former EastEnders actor Carol Harrison “ three standing ovations a night”.

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Carol Harrison, Beverley Callard, Coleen Nolan and Sandra Marvin in The Thunder Girls. Picture: Anthony Donovan (Donovan Graphics)

The show is a case of art imitating life, and follows a fictional ‘80s girl group who haven’t seen or spoken to each other in 30 years after greed, envy and ego tore the band and their friendship apart in what can only be described as “the girls night in from hell”.

Indeed, among the accolades that most resonated with Callard, audience members have described the show as “like the Christmas specials of Coronation Street, EastEnders, Dynasty and Dallas” all wrapped up into one.

With that in mind, expect the soaps to collide in a reignition of the Oasis versus Blur styled rivalry of Coronation Street and EastEnders between Callard’s Roxanne and Harrison’s Chrissie to come out in their very physical, literally bruising on stage fight scenes.

Callard added: “I was so nervous when I went into to discuss the plans for Liz for the 60th anniversary of Corrie. They started outlining what they wanted to do, and I just had to stop them and tell them that I had to leave to work on this amazing show.

“They were really nice about it.”

As for hints as to what awaits Liz: “I’ve been told they won’t kill her off, but Liz will go out with a bang” Callard revealed. “I won’t know until two months before the audience, but in my heart I hope we can bring Jim and Andy back for her last scenes.”

This bold new path for Callard is all the more impressive, given the adversity the actor has face off screen. In 2010, Callard was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and required 12 sessions of Electroconvulsive therapy. At the time, due to the effects on short term memory, the star was left unable to write he own name and feared she’d never be able to memorise her lines again.

Since then, the former Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps actor and Loose Women presenter has gone on to become the first female narrator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and also visited Rhyl for Little Voice in 2013.

Callard said: “This is one of the main reasons I can’t wait to come back to Rhyl. Little Voice had so many lines in it and it was the first role I had after leaving Coronation Street and my therapy. I had such an amazing response from the audience and I really want to make this show as accessible as possible for people here who might not otherwise go to the theatre.

“Given that Rhyl and Liverpool are the closest places to Manchester after the opening in Stockport, I expect most of my Corrie cast mates will be coming down to see the show.”

To see this incredibly powerful and poignant smash on its first visit to Rhyl, head to the Pavilion from Tuesday, November 24 and Saturday 28.

Tickets are £31.50. To book, visit thundergirls.co.uk and rhylpavilion.co.uk, or call the box office on 01745 330000.