Corrie Summers age gap with character explored and why original actress quit

Coronation Street’s Summer Spellman has been a staple on our screens since her first appearance back in 2017.

After her dad’s death, she was placed in the care of vicar Billy Mayhew and his boyfriend Todd Grimshaw.

But Summer mysteriously disappeared last year, when original actress Matilda Freeman left the role.

When she returned to the cobbles, Summer was played by a different actress entirely – Harriet Bibby, who is considerably older than her character.

Matilda made the decision to quit the role in order to pursue other opportunities, commenting at the time of her leaving the show: "I’d like to say thank you to my second family, the cast, crew and viewers who have supported me during my time on the cobbles.

"After three and a half lovely years I felt it was time for a change and I’m excited to be starting that next chapter with a new role."

Aside from her role in Coronation Street, Matilda also appeared in an episode of Doctors in 2017 as Chantelle Briggs, along with appearing in short films like The Chime of Youth and Lifeline.

And she likes to keep fans updated with what’s going on in her life via Instagram, sharing stunning snaps that show off her glamorous transformation away from Corrie’s cobbles.

Matilda definitely has a cottagecore vibe, regularly dressing up in period clothing and styling out vintage items like roller-skates and upright pianos.

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In her latest post earlier this week, Matilda headed out into London with a friend, taking snaps at Chinatown and on the train.

The star recently came out as bisexual during a candid Instagram Q&A, after being asked about her sexuality by one fan.

Matilda responded: "I’m bisexual."

After many of her 47,800 followers rushed out in support of the actress, Matilda penned: "Can I just say – thank you for all the love and support I’ve received after making my sexuality aware on my socials.

"I really wasn’t expecting it and it means the absolute world, you guys are amazing. I love you all."

And while Matilda is just 16 – the same age as Summer – new actress Harriet is actually much older than her character.

The 23-year-old said it doesn’t feel too strange playing someone much younger, explaining: "I still feel like a kid and I do have a baby face, and [Summer’s] had a difficult past which has made her more mature.

"I’ve always had to have ID on me and I’ll have to carry it with me even more now!" she added.

The Wigan-born star admitted she was in floods of tears when she originally got the call from her agent that she’d scored the role of Summer.

She even got the blessing of departing star Matilda, admitting at the time: "Matilda has wished me good luck, which was lovely! I’m looking forward to bringing Summer’s sass and sparkle to the screen.

"I was so excited and nervous for my first day – I just wanted to make a good impression. Everyone was so welcoming and I felt comfortable right away."

But she said it was a "strange feeling" to come in as an existing character, taking over the role from Matilda.

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Harriet said she was "having a blast meeting everyone and making friends with the fabulous cast and crew", referring to them as "one big family."

And she’s already had to deal with some huge storylines, including Summer collapsing and being diagnosed with type one diabetes, and dealing with Todd’s betrayal.

Harriet, meanwhile, also shares plenty of life updates on her social media – and has recently been helping to raise money for charity.

Sharing a snap of her wearing a running vest, with her brunette curls secured in a ponytail, Harriet penned: "For those who may have not heard yet: My dad and I are running the Great North Run to raise money for Great Ormond Street Charity!"

Harriet isn’t afraid to get glammed up, either, and is often pictured with her Coronation Street pals.

She even posted snaps to commemorate the Queen’s visit to the cobbles, writing: "Said hello to the Queen today! This job is mad."

Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV.

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