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KATHERINE KELLY may have bid a fond farewell to Corrie back in 2012, but hers is a career that goes far beyond the famous cobbles.

Despite taking an initial break from the small screen - "I'd done about two years of solid crying. I turned down a lot of jobs, brilliant jobs, thinking I just need to give my body a break" - the actress has since earned her stripes in a whole range of hit TV dramas.

Take her stint as the aristocratic Lady Mae Loxley in Mr Selfridge, for example, or her ruthless portrayal as editor-in-chief Maloney for The Field Of Blood. Then came harrowing missing child drama Guilty; The Night Manager; Doctor Who spin-off series, Class; and, of course, her run as the stonyfaced DI Jodie Shackleton in Happy Valley.

Don Idrisi Kelly It's a list that has undoubtedly silenced industry snobs who question the prowess of soap stars outside of their realm - in her case, brash barmaid Becky McDonald (nee Granger).

Katherine puts her success down to a willingness to take risks.

"I look back and think pre-Coronation Street, the five years that I had since drama school, it was always the reason that I got the gig," notes the RADA graduate, 37, whose theatre credits include Othello and She Stoops To Conquer.

"Now it's probably a bit of both, really. A lot of it is my wish to do it all, and if it's very different I find that really appealing."

Katherine, who readily admits that after many "shiny shows" her "stamina is back for something really gritty and real", can next be seen in the sixth series of Sky One's Strike Back.

Joining an all-new cast, the Barnsley-born star takes the part of British baddie Jane Lowry who, as a committed wife to the man behind some of the worst terrorist attacks on the West, masterminds her own husband's prison break.

With her loved one Omair Idrisi (Don Hany) now on the run, Section 20 - comprised of Sergeant McAllister (Warren Brown); US special ops soldier Samuel Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson); Lance Corporal Gracie Novin (Alin Sumarwata); and Captain Natalie Reynolds (Roxanne McKee) - is reinstated to clean up the mess over a 10-episode run.

For Katherine, Strike Back - the hit series based on the the novel of the same name by Chris Ryan - simply ticked all the boxes.

"I've always wanted to play the baddie," smiles Katherine. "What I like about this, is that she never looks like your stereotypical baddie. She is an enemy that you just can't quite figure out."

Hany as Omair and Katherine as Jane Low" When Katherine wasn't tooled up in Jordan, however, she was filming in Budapest - where she was pleased to be able to be accompanied by her family.

"Well that was the big thing.

I didn't want to leave them," she says of her two young daughters, Orla and Rose, whom she shares with her husband Ryan Clark.

"One of my dearest friends was there last year filming Jamestown [and she said] there's no better city for children, and I absolutely think that that's the case.

So, what's next for Katherine? "I definitely need to raise the children a bit," she quips, having taken a year off with her first child and six months with her second.

"I don't want to hand them over completely, so I need to be at home for a while."

| Strike Back premieres on Sky One and NOW TV on Tuesday, October 31 at 9pm


Don Hany as Omair Idrisi and Katherine Kelly as Jane Lowry
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 29, 2017
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