Her on-screen wedding was a modest affair with just three guests at a local hotel, but Coronation Street’s Sally Carman is planning something much more romantic when she gets married on her own.
The actress, better known as grieving mom Abi Webster, marries Cobbles co-star Joe Duttine, and the couple have a beautiful Christmas ceremony.
âI’m obsessed with Christmas, so when Joe said, ‘What’s your favorite moment, when would you most like to do it? “It must have been Christmas,” Sally smiles.
âWe will be celebrating the wedding in the late afternoon, so it will be dark and it will be lit by rows of Christmas trees and twinkling lights; I can not wait.
âWe should have gotten married in December, but we put it on next year because we didn’t know what the score would be for Covid. We thought it was better to be safe than sorry because I would have hated having fixed it and then not being able to do it right.
Sally is such a huge Christmas fan that if she ever gets fed up – whatever time of year – she takes comfort in watching back-to-back Christmas movies from her own lair.
âI put up a pop-up tent in the living room and fill it with pillows and quilts – it’s like a little Christmas cave,â she laughs.
âI will do it in the middle of the summer. It comforts me. I wear a jumpsuit and a cocoon myself. The tent has two pockets, so I put drinks in one and crisps in the other.
âI tilt the tent door towards the TV, then I put on Christmas movies. I love all the classics like Home Alone and White Christmas.
âI’m completely crazy about it; the decorations go up in early November and we have three trees. Joe isn’t obsessed like me and he growls, but he knows when he’s beaten.
Sally, 40, and Joe, 51, will be married at St Philip’s Church in Salford, where Sally herself was baptized two years ago.
âI became a Christian later in life, about seven years ago,â she explains.
âA friend shared something with me and suddenly religion took on another level of meaning. One of the great things about St Philip’s Church is that they do so much for the local community.
“They make bags of hope, which are bags full of essentials, such as toothpaste or deodorant, and they take to the streets giving them to sex workers or people in need.”
Sally joined Coronation Street in 2017. She has been praised for her portrayal of chaotic ex-drug addict Abi, who this year has been grieved by the murder of her son Seb.
On a happier note, the cobblestones is where she met fiancÃ© Joe, pictured, who plays cab boss Tim Metcalfe.
The couple, who live in a small village outside of Stockport, got engaged during the first lockdown and Sally is a devoted stepmother to Joe’s three children, aged 25, 14 and 12.
âThey are wonderful kids, it’s so easy and I feel really lucky to have this extension of family,â says Sally. “Not to be a mother figure, because they have a mom and they don’t need another, but just having a relationship and part of their journey to adulthood is amazing.”
On screen too, Abi has just become the mother-in-law of Jack, the 11-year-old son of her new husband, garage owner Kevin Webster. And viewers saw her cement her family unit by asking Jack if she could officially adopt him.
âShe realized that she had a good chance of starting a family,â says Sally. “She believes that she has failed to be the mother of her own children, especially of her adopted twins, and she has the opportunity to love a child who has lost her mother.”
Her role on Coronation Street is truly a dream come true for Sally, who grew up in Mexborough, South York, with her parents, miner Steve and nursing home worker Ann.
âI was raised on Corrie,â she says. “I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, watching all the tram stuff with Rita and thinking, ‘I want to do this.'”
Not that things got off to a good start, as Sally was twice fired from her performing arts college class due to poor attendance.
âThey gave me a second chance the next year, but I still didn’t want to do it,â she laughs. “I was in a group and I was too busy going out and having fun and not showing up to class.”
She thanks her father for helping to change her mindset. She explains, âHe said, ‘You’re not going to do this drama school thing, are you?’ I said, ‘No, I am, I’ll show you.’ “
Sally then landed a place at LAMDA, one of the top drama schools in the country. Her television debut was at City Central in 1998 and she has since appeared on Heartbeat and Silent Witness.
Before the cobblestones, her biggest role was former heroin addict and prostitute Kelly Maguire in Shameless, which she played from 2009 to 2013.
âI have cornered the market in these kinds of characters,â she laughs. “I don’t know why, because I show up to auditions with my hair done, wearing nice clothes and my makeup done and they always say, ‘Crack addict, prostitute, it’s you.'”
When she joined Coronation Street, Sally had no idea Abi would grow to be such a great character.
âAbi is emotionally immature which is great because I get the chance to do crazy things. I’ll be staying at Coronation Street for as long as I enjoy it and as long as they have me, so hopefully forever.
As happy as she is on the cobblestones, Sally admits to an exceptional secret ambition. âI would love to make a Christmas movie,â she reveals.
Sally might like a happy ending, but with Abi’s luck, it’s safe to say her on-screen holiday season is unlikely to be a miracle on Coronation Street.
* To donate to Bags of Hope, follow St Philip’s Chapel Street on Twitter and Instagram: @spchapelstreet, then click on the Bags of Hope link.