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Love rat to King Rat for Nigel.

Byline: Roz Laws

Wy mess with one of our favourite soap queens, there are bound to be consequences.

And for Nigel Havers, that means getting abuse in the street for the scandalous way he treated Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street.

For nine months he played male escort and conman Lewis Archer, a suave charmer who led Audrey, played by Walsall's Sue Nicholls, a merry dance.

Audrey was so smitten she was going to sell her house and business so they could start a new life in Greece - but Lewis was planning to run off with all her savings.

He conned the bookies out of pounds 4,000 and nearly broke up Deirdre's marriage by kissing her to distract her from his scam.

In the end he didn't take Audrey's money, but left her heartbroken at his betrayal.

"I have been getting a lot of stick from people over what I did to Audrey," reveals Nigel, in Birmingham to prepare for his run in panto at the Hippodrome.

"I've had a lot of reaction. I spend my time saying 'I am so sorry!' to people. But at least I didn't take her money - and I did leave a note saying 'I tried', so that's OK!" chuckles the man who'll be playing King Rat in Dick Whitting ton, alongside Joan Collins.

"I'm sure I'll be getting lots of extra boos in the panto.

"Coronation Street was one of the greatest gigs I've ever had. It was such a clever storyline and they are so nice up there. Sue N cholls is one of my favour people, she's just adorab and we've become clo friends.

"Now I'm hooked on Corrie and so is my mum. She can't miss an episode, even though I'm not in it any more.

"It is at the heart of British television, more so than East-Enders. It's done with a wonderful sense of comedy and irony."

Nigel is currently narrating the Channel 4 series Wedding House and is back on our screens in January in the BBC3 comedy Lunch Monkeys.

If the rumours are to be believed, he is also heading for the jungle to take part in the new series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, though that would mean cutting it fine for panto, which starts on December 18.

Nigel would make a good contestant as he's up for a challenge. Last year he took part in the BBC series I ven't Seen Star Wars, hich asks guests to do hings they've never done before. He ate a Big Mac for he first time - and got a attoo of a scorpion on his bicep, which horrified his wife Georgiana. "I didn't tell her I was getg it done. When she saw it, said 'That's so sweet, who that fake tattoo?'.

didn't contradict her. Af-f ter a month, she said 'That's really lasting, isn't it?'. I came clean and she was furious!" Something which does test his sense of humour, though, is a spoof political party called The Nigel Havers Alliance. Its website declares its policies, which include banning all women drivers to increase road safety and denying NHS treatment to ugly people.

Nigel says: "It's nothing to do with me, I assure you. I'm not sure if it's funny or alarming, but I can't stop it, can I? "One of its policies is that, to stop terrorist attacks on airplanes, everyone should fly naked. Can you imagine? That's certainly not my idea!" A future project for Nigel could mean returning to LA to appear in the latest series of the TV drama Brothers & Sisters, where he played Sally Field's love interest.

"I don't really like LA, to be honest. It's full of people who just talk about movies, it's like living in a studio. It's not a user-friendly place and everyone lives miles from the centre.

"But I love Sally Field. She was very upset when her character rejected me, but the plan is for me to go back to give her a happy ending.

"Maybe that will make up for Audrey!" FACT FILE NAME: Nigel Havers AGE: 59 CV: Nigel's best-known roles are in the film Chariots of Fire and the sitcom Don't Wait Up. He's also appeared in The Charmer, Dangerfield and Little Britain. FANCY THAT: His father, Lord Havers, successfully defended Mick Jagger on drugs charges and prosecuted the Yorkshire Ripper.


RAT: Nigel as King Rat in panto, and playing with Deirdre's affections in Coronation Street, left.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Nov 7, 2010
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