Kym Marsh says new boyfriend’s career means ‘life is unlike anything I’ve known’

Kym Marsh can’t wait for her first Christmas with her grandson Teddy.

It’s fair to say she’s besotted and at the mere mention of his name she whips out her phone to show us picture after picture of what, to be fair, is a very sweet baby.

‘I can’t wait, he’s soooo cute,’ she smiles. ‘I love him so much – he’s an absolute ray of sunshine and such a happy little boy.

'As soon as I walk in and pop my head around the door he’s got the biggest grin on his face.

‘Teddy won’t have a clue what’s going on, of course, but my own children are older now, so it’s lovely that I get to do the Christmas baby thing again.

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'He wore a pumpkin outfit for Halloween , so I’m sure he’ll be in a little Christmas outfit on the day, and our dogs will be all dressed up – our King Charles spaniel Barney is usually Santa Claus and the two Chihuahuas Rico and Lola wear elf costumes, which is quite amusing!’

And the festive spirit doesn’t stop there. Following the dogs’ lead, Kym’s grown-up son David and her eight-year old daughter Polly will be donning Christmas jumpers, while Kym and 21-year-old daughter Emilie – Teddy’s mum – will be wearing festive dresses covered in gingerbreads.

Fittingly, for someone who clearly adores this time of year as much as Kym does, the Coronation Street actress is spending most of December appearing in Elf: The Christmas Spectacular , a musical version of the classic film.

Although it will briefly take her away from Teddy, Polly will be by her side.

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‘She’s appearing in Elf with me and she’s just finished filming a short film with her dad (actor Jamie Lomas), so she’s doing really well,’ Kym says proudly.

‘She was initially playing a spoilt child in Elf , but they’ve given her an extra role, so she’s also playing an elf. She’s beside herself and it’s great that she’s going to be with me.’

The role in the play follows Kym’s momentous decision to leave Coronation Street , and she’s chatting to us in between filming her final scenes, where she’ll be saying a no-doubt tearful farewell to her character, long-suffering Michelle Connor.

After finding out that her fiancé Robert Preston is expecting a baby with another woman, Vicky, Michelle has sworn revenge.

This week, she and Robert are set to walk down the aisle – while Robert thinks she has forgiven him, Michelle intends to take him for every penny.

On the day of their wedding she confides in her cousin Carla Connor that she can’t wait to expose the truth.

However, when Robert reads out his heartfelt vows, will Michelle be able to go through with her plan?

We’re chatting in one of the show’s casting suites – not unlike the one a young Kym would have nervously auditioned in 13 years ago.

Nursing a healthy decaf coffee with oat milk, she’s dressed head-to-toe in black.

‘Michelle is having a hard time at the moment, so black clothes, no eyeliner and no flicks in her hair!’ she laughs, by way of explanation.

It’s a little bit different from Kym’s usual attire; she’s normally seen striding around Coronation Street ’s Salford set in exercise gear, either on her way to or from the gym.

Her fitness regime and diet give her a naturally healthy glow, so it’s no wonder that at just 43, she feels a little bit too young to be called Grandma. Instead she’s come up with the original name Loli.

‘I’m absolutely chuffed to bits at being a gran, but think I’d feel about 80 if I was called Grandma!’ she chuckles.

‘Having said that, I always knew I’d end up a grandmother in my 40s. David is 24 and Emilie’s nearly 22, so it was inevitable.

I felt fine about that, but then when it happened, I went, “Oh!”’

Kym, who lives in Cheshire, found fame in the pop group Hear’Say after entering the TV reality show Popstars in 2001.

She later enjoyed a solo career, achieving two Top Ten singles and a top 10 album, before relaunching herself as an actress, with small parts in Holby City and Doctors .

In 2006 she was offered a small role in Corrie playing Michelle.

It was only meant to be for four episodes, but Kym had clearly found her calling, so 13 years and countless dramatic storylines later, it’s hard to believe she’s leaving. What was behind the decision?

‘Madness!’ she laughs. ‘It’s been a difficult decision. I see this place very much as my home and I’ve made some amazing friends, who will be pals for life.

'Hopefully one day I can come back, but I didn’t expect to stay this long. The years creep up and I’ve done some fabulous storylines, especially over the last few years and I think that’s what prompted me to go.

'I’d been given some challenges and I liked the challenge and it made me think it might be nice to try some other stuff and play a different character.’ (In fact, Kym has just got a film role alongside Joan Collins and Martin Kemp in a comedy.)

The current on-screen Corrie drama is a world away from her own personal life, which she shares with boyfriend of 18 months, army major Scott Ratcliff. ‘I’m from a military family – my grandad was a para – but Scott is like nobody I’ve ever met,’ Kym says.

‘His whole life is completely unlike anything I’ve ever known with a partner before.’

Scott will be away with the army for Christmas, but they FaceTime each other every night and she’s excitedly counting down the days to his return in the New Year.

With so much going on in her life, she hasn’t yet had much time for Christmas shopping, nor has she come up with her own list for Santa.

‘I prefer to buy presents rather than receive them from people, I get more excited about that,’ she explains.

‘I’m not a materialistic person, so I never really know what I want, but at the same time I think I’m quite easy to buy for because I’m easily pleased.’

No doubt the greatest gift this year has been the birth of baby Teddy and Kym says his arrival felt particularly poignant after losing her baby son Archie, who passed away in 2009 after being born 18 weeks early.

‘Teddy has brightened up our lives and it’s nice to have a little boy back in the mix, because we always feel like we’re missing a boy,’ she says softly.

‘It’s nice to have him there and of course they surprised me and told me his middle name was Archie, which was lovely.

‘Having a grandchild is like a massive gift. It’s so different to anything I’ve ever experienced before. He means the world to us – it’s going to be a very special Christmas.’

How do you spend your Christmas Day?

Lazy lie-in or up with the lark?

It’s impossible to get a lie-in on Christmas Day. Polly will wake me up at ridiculous o’clock.

But I remember doing the same thing to my parents. I’d go in to their room and they’d say: ‘Five minutes!’ I’d go back into my room and count to five then go back!

I usually say to Polly, ‘Come in here and have a cuddle,’ so I’ll get a few more minutes sleep.

Cooked breakfast or save yourself for turkey?

I start the day with a bit of Buck’s Fizz – it’s usually the hair of the dog after the Christmas Eve wrapping antics the night before – I stay up late wrapping the presents with a glass of wine! We then do bacon butties, cereal and croissants.

What Christmas TV do you watch?

We’re not a Queen’s Speech kind of family and with the exception of Coronation Street I always think Christmas Day is rubbish on TV.

Years ago they used to put really good movies on. Instead we’ll watch the Christmas channel or put on Miracle On 34th Street.

What’s on the menu for Christmas dinner?

It’s the full traditional roast, with turkey and pigs in blankets. My mum always used to do two meats, so I might do a roast beef as well, depending on how many of us there are.

There’ll be mashed potatoes, roast potatoes and roast veg. And of course sprouts have to be on the table whether you like them or not!

Bored or board games?

We usually play the game we’ve bought for Polly, so we might play Pie Face and last year it was Articulate.

I’m not really that competitive, but our Polly is. You have to let her win sometimes, otherwise she starts getting annoyed. She’ll throw the board at you – she’s dreadful!

Do you have a totally lazy day?

One year I was in the gym on Christmas Day. I was doing my fitness DVD and needed to work off the turkey – I was only
being good so I could go and gorge myself on Quality Street later on!

This year we’ll probably do a dog walk and take Teddy out in the pram.

Kym is starring in Elf: A Christmas Spectacular, a musical based on the hit Will Ferrell movie. The show is touring around the country between December 7-29. For more details CLICK HERE.

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