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Corrie's Maria to get rich new love.

Byline: By BRIAN ROBERTS

CORONATION Street bosses have lined up a handsome new boyfriend for unlucky-in-love hairdresser Maria Sutherland.

Actor Michael Dixon is to play wealthy property developer Christopher Pitcher who falls for Maria - after he knocks her down in his car.

A show source said: "The pair of them make the ultimate attractive partnership.

"Both of them are very good looking and we believe they could become a strong force."

Maria, actress Samia Smith, was dumped by mechanic fiancA Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall) because he thought she didn't really love him.

Then she fell for an unscrupulous Weatherfield Gazette reporter.

But their brief fling ended when Maria discovered he was only using her to get some inside info on her break up with Tyrone to use in his newspaper.

Devastated Maria then vowed to give up on men.

But she'll fall head over heels for Chris when she steps out in front on his car and is sent sprawling across Corrie's cobbles.

There is an instant chemistry between the two but at first Maria plays hard-to-get and it is Chris, helped by Maria's matchmaking pal Fiz Brown (Jennie McAlpine), who will make the running in their relationship.

The Corrie source said: "Fiz was with Maria when Chris knocked her down and is determined to get them together.

"When Chris turns up in the Rovers Return looking for Maria, Fiz tells her: 'Eh. He's come back for you. In't that dead romantic? Your future together must be written in the stars'.

"Maria is excited, but tries to play it cool, responding, 'Oh, great. Let me see. What do I look for in a man? a) Looks, b) Money or c) Someone who tries to kill you!'

"Maria arranges to meet him again later that week and from there their relationship blossoms."

The new romance will be screened in June.

Baftas 2006: Pages 12-13

CAPTION(S):

HANDSOME: Dixon' LOVER: Samia
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 8, 2006
Words:319
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