Coronation Street star Beverley Callard has said starting out as an actress on Coronation Street was an “intimidating” experience.

The actress, who joined the soap in 1989 to play Liz McDonald, said her family had watched the programme “from the very beginning”.

She added she knew the characters as a viewer “so your first day is very intimidating”.

National Television Awards 2010 – Arrivals – London
Beverley Callard wanted Liz to complement the show’s ‘iconic’ characters (Ian West/PA)

Callard said: “Certainly it was such a matriarchal show, with the women being the strength of the show.

“So when I went in, I looked at the other women around my age like Deirdre, Sally, Gail, and I just thought ‘I have to make Liz different to them, because they’re all so iconic’.

“I didn’t want my character to compete with them in any way. You have to go in and complement the show.”

She added: “I think it’s really important because in a long-running soap, rather than you taking the inspiration from the writers, which of course you do, you can also inspire them, which is amazing.

“In an ordinary play or a drama series, which concludes quickly, you can’t do that.”

TV Quick and TV Choice Awards – Arrivals – London
Callard said Corrie has a different way of working these days (Ian West/PA)

The actress, 63, said she was “full of admiration” for some of the actresses working on the show.

“I’m not just saying this, they were such kind and giving actors,” she said.

“They didn’t suffer fools by any means but they were amazing.”

Callard said the soap now has a “very different way of working” to when she joined.

“In one way it’s much easier because in those days we had to have our lines learnt and be word perfect for rehearsals and the producers’ run, which was every Wednesday at 2pm,” she said.

“All the writers, directors and producers came and just watched you. That was the scariest afternoon of the week for me.

“If somebody wrote something down, you immediately thought ‘they don’t like me’. It was incredibly scary.”

Classic episodes of Coronation Street are being made available on ITV Hub, with new episodes being made available every weekday.