Top 5 soap recasts as Todd returns to Coronation Street

Todd Grimshaw is about to return to Coronation Street with a brand new head and a few fresh secrets. Having gone on the run back in 2017, Todd is set to resurface, now played by actor Gareth Pierce rather than Bruno Langley.

But don’t go expecting any Face Off-style plot twists – re-castings in soapland are a regular occurrence and fans (usually) soon get used to a character displaying new features. So in honour of this latest Weatherfield comeback, here’s a look of the best recasts in soap, as well as the odd time the strategy has backfired…

Scott Robinson (Neighbours)

Darius Perkins may have embodied Scott in the earliest episodes of the Aussie soap, but it’s Jason Donovan who turned this boy next door into a global heartthrob. Especially when Scott hooked up with a certain tomboy mechanic by the name of Charlene Mitchell.

Neighbours has also proven to be quite lucrative for the Donovan family at large, what with Jason’s dad Terence having played Doug Willis and daughter Jemma currently featuring as Harlow Robinson.

Tracy Barlow (Coronation Street)

After years of forever being sent upstairs to her bedroom, Tracy emerged from her cassette-tape addiction in 2002 with Kate Ford now in the role. Cue years of plotting, sniping and backbiting as Ford transformed Deirdre’s daughter into a Machiavellian murderess. Only recently has her personality softened into something that’s halfway sympathetic, but viewers know that Tracy is still never left wanting when it comes to acid-tongued putdowns.

Peggy Mitchell (EastEnders)

Jo Warne was the first actress to play the Mitchell family matriarch, but it was Carry On star Dame Barbara Windsor who turned her into the powerhouse publican and Violet Kray-type figure who’ll do anything to protect her beloved boys.

Incidentally, you can see Windsor’s November 1994 debut this Thursday on Drama in Classic EastEnders, when Peggy arrives at the hospital bedside of ailing son Phil with a bunch of grapes in her hand and an atypically considerate tone to her voice.

Robert Sugden (Emmerdale)

Ryan Hawley took over from Karl Davies when Robert returned in October 2014 and very quickly turned his alter-ego into one of the soap’s best antagonists. Hawley certainly kept viewers on their toes during his half decade on screen, with Robert earning himself so many enemies that he ended up getting shot, while also embarking on a fan-favourite romance with Aaron (himself a recast, lest we forget). Robert is currently residing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, but #Robron devotees are no doubt praying for a jailbreak.

Martin Fowler (EastEnders)

James Bye had perhaps the toughest gig of them all when he succeeded James Alexandrou as Arthur and Pauline’s youngest child. Alexandrou had been a Walford mainstay for over a decade, but Bye has made Martin his own, thanks to his chemistry with Lacey Turner (Stacey) and camaraderie with Davood Ghadami (Kush).

And those we’d rather forget…

But for every spot-on recast, there’s been a misfire. Unfortunately, we can’t help but wish Michelle Fowler had never made that trip home from America and that Johnny Carter had stayed overseas with Gianluca.

And some of us are old enough to remember the 1984-85 season of Dallas in which Donna Reed was parachuted in to play Miss Ellie Ewing due to original star Barbara Bel Geddes’s ill health…only for Bel Geddes to then be asked back the following year. How JR and Bobby were able to keep track of what their beloved momma looked like, we’ll never know.

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