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Roving return of ex ‘Corrie’ star

TOUR: Batley and Spen MP visited Coronation Street with local activists Josh Smith, Jasmine Kennedy, Katie and Christine Warrilow.
TOUR: Batley and Spen MP visited Coronation Street with local activists Josh Smith, Jasmine Kennedy, Katie and Christine Warrilow.

MP and former soap star Tracy Brabin revisited several old haunts on a trip to Coronation Street to discuss social mobility in the media industry.

The Batley and Spen MP, who played Trisha Armstrong in ‘Corrie’ in the 1990s, took local activists and campaigners along on a fact-finding mission to the ITV studios in Manchester.

The group met with senior executives to discover what is being done to get more working class people into the industry.

Ms Brabin, who tried the door of her old on-screen home of 9 Coronation Street and met with street stalwart Sally Dynevor, said: “To return to the set after all these years brought back a lot of fond memories and it was fantastic to catch-up with old friends.

“However, there was a serious intent behind my visit beyond a trip down memory lane. Too many young people, particularly those from working class families, are unable to get a foot in the door.

“This is has led us to a situation where, a few notable exceptions aside, the arts and cultural industries are dominated by those from privileged families.

“Cuts have led to a systematic eradication of arts education in our schools, while chronic low pay and insecure work mean that those from lower income families have no hope of paying sky-high drama school fees or supporting their children through unpaid internships.”

Last year Ms Brabin led a Labour Party Inquiry into the performing arts, discovering a “class-shaped hole” in the industry. A recent study by the London School of Economics and the University of Edinburgh found that just 16 per cent of actors come from a working-class background, compared to 51 from a privileged background.

Other research in 2016 showed 67 per cent of British Oscar winners and 42 per cent of BAFTA winners went to a private school, while just 7 per cent of the population attend independent fee-paying schools.