Corrie role for Jacqueline

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A Blackpool-born actress is preparing to make her Coronation Street debut in the New Year.

Jacqueline Leonard has been cast in a long-running role in the nation’s favourite soap opera.

Jacqueline, 48, who currently lives in Poulton, will step on to the cobbles for the first time in February in the role of Linda Armstrong.

Her character is the ex-wife of Owen Armstrong, played by Ian Puleston-Davies, who recently announced he was to leave Corrie to pursue other projects.

Linda’s arrival is expected to be linked to Owen’s departure and Street sources say she will immediately cause sparks to fly in Weatherfield.

Jacqueline said: “I am incredibly honoured and excited to be joining the amazing cast of Coronation Street. I love the northern wit and humour along with the drama and tension that the wonderful scripts of Coronation Street encapsulate. So excited to start!”

Jacqueline was born in the resort and attended Greenlands High School before moving to London to follow her acting dreams.

She studied at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, later going on to win the Michael Warre award for Best Actress in 1988.

She became a household name when she was cast as Lorraine Wicks in Eastenders from 1991-97.

After the completion of her starring role in Eastenders , Jacqueline moved back to Lancashire, first settling in Poulton to care for her mother.

She has also appeared in Holby City, Holllyoaks, The Bill and Doctors.

Jacqueline was shortlisted for the role of Stella Price in Corrie in 2011 but the role went to Michelle Collins.

Her Corrie character Linda is an estranged mum and is said to be keen to build bridges with the daughters she left behind as children.

Owen, Katy and Izzy will be left open-mouthed when she arrives on the cobbles from her home in Portugal as she hasn’t been in contact for years.

Having always been told by their dad that Linda abandoned them as she couldn’t cope with them as children, Katy and Izzy are reluctant to give her the time of day.

But it soon becomes evident that Owen was economical with the truth - and Linda’s arrival puts the cat among the pigeons.

Producer Stuart Blackburn added: “Linda’s arrival will have a devastating affect on how Owen’s family see him and he’ll have the fight of his life to hold on to everyone and everything he holds dear. The sins of the father really will visit Owen’s children.”

Jacqueline’s signing comes just a day after Puleston-Davies – announced his exit after almost five years on the ITV soap.