The real life of Leanne Battersby star Jane Danson from Coronation Street

Leanne Battersby will leave the cobbles next week as Jane Danson’s Coronation Street character is swept away by ‘The Institute’. As viewers of the ITV soap know, Leanne has been listening to Rowan Cunliffe since his arrival in Weatherfield and he has even pulled her away from partner Nick Tilsley and even her sister Toyah Battersby in times of need.

In the coming scenes, Toyah finds a forum for ex-members of the Altovalent Institute. She tries to show her sister a message she saw, suggesting that the Institute cannot be trusted, but discovers that it has been removed for legal reasons. Leanne is dismissive but calls Rowan, who discovers that his bitter ex wrote it and there is no truth in her words. When Rowan reveals he has been promoted to head of the North West Division and offers her a tour of the Institute, Leanne is left flattered.

Later, Leanne explains to Simon Barlow that she met a man called Jared at the Institute who is keen to help him set up his food delivery app, and Toyah listens in. But when Simon reveals that Jared has agreed to meet him, he’ll need to borrow some money, Leanne is delighted, while Toyah thinks it’s another scam.

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Soon, Toyah is studying Rowan’s page and copies a number to her phone. Toyah meets Rowan’s ex, Una, and explains how her sister has become embroiled in the Institute and fears she is in danger.

Later, as Leanne leaves for the retreat, Toyah begs her to reconsider, but Leanne refuses. It hurts Simon to find her gone without saying goodbye, especially after his father, Peter, did the same late last year.

It’s now 27 years since Leanne arrived on the cobbles in 1997 when it was announced that the ‘family from hell’ would be introduced to the ITV soap to cause some trouble on the famous street.

Leanne, played by actress Danson, made her arrival with her father Les, stepmother Janice and stepsister Toyah. But Jane left the cobbles in 2000, not long after the harrowing storyline that saw her character become a drug addict. She returned again in 2004, where she married Peter Barlow for a second time and then Nick Tilsley, before the couple split again.

Leanne is swept away by Rowan's arrival -Credit:ITV

Leanne is swept away by Rowan’s arrival -Credit:ITV

But she has since reunited with Nick twice more – in 2016 and 2018. Also in more recent years, Leanne became pregnant with Steve McDonald’s baby and gave birth to a son, Oliver Battersby, who tragically died in 2020 from mitochondrial disease.

After Oliver’s death, Leanne fell into depression and after pushing Nick away while living in their flat unbeknownst to anyone, it was Simon who confronted her and agreed to help with the bills. At this point he started working as a delivery person at For Your Fries Only, while Leanne started calling paranormal hotlines to try to contact Oliver, pushing herself further into debt.

While on the job, Simon was pressured by his colleague Jacob Hay to supply drugs and later delved deeper into the dark depths of the drug trade before Leanne intervened when drug boss Harvey Gaskell began threatening Simon. She eventually offered to take his place, but acted as an informant for the police. After helping him get behind bars, Harvey escaped and planned to kill her, but instead ended up killing her stepson’s mother, Natasha Blakeman.

And while there have been many ups and downs, affairs and marriages for her soap opera alter-ego, Jane’s real life is very different from the silver screen. Jane has taken on many roles alongside Leanne, first starting in children’s television with the drama Children’s Ward and then the CBBC sitcom Out of Tune.

Jane during her earlier years as Leanne in Corrie -Credit: Granada TelevisionJane during her earlier years as Leanne in Corrie -Credit: Granada Television

Jane during her earlier years as Leanne in Corrie -Credit: Granada Television

She also appeared in ITV period drama The Grant, starred as nurse Samantha Docherty in Always and Everyone and played the first lesbian police officer, Gemma Osbourne, in police drama The Bill. And some might be surprised to know that Danson isn’t actually her real last name, but Dawson. So her actual first credited role is as Eileen Critchley in the 1991 Alan Bleasdale drama GBH, where she was credited as Jane Dawson at the time.

But when Jane’s character first arrived on the cobbles, the soap star was afraid to leave the house for fear of public abuse for being the gobby ‘neighbor from hell’. As she celebrated her 20th anniversary with Corrie, she revealed all to the Mirror: “I would be scared if someone threw a drink in my face.” Jane said she chose to stay home rather than go out partying, adding: “Dealing with the attention was terrifying.”

The 45-year-old from Bury has been with her husband, Robert Beck, for 23 years. He is also a well-known face on TV, with roles in Brookside, Emmerdale, Waterloo Road, and even had an appearance in Corrie in 2008. More recently, Robert Fergus Collins starred in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and had a dramatic short stint in Emmerdale at the end of last year as villain Damon ‘Harry’ Harris.

Jane is married to fellow actor Robert Beck.  Credit: Jane Danson InstagramJane is married to fellow actor Robert Beck.  Credit: Jane Danson Instagram

Jane is married to fellow actor Robert Beck. Credit: Jane Danson Instagram

But it’s not really his first time in the Dales, as mentioned, as Robert played a character in the soap in more than 70 episodes in the 90s and old Emmerdale fans may remember him. He starred as Bernice Blackstock’s love interest Gavin Ferris in 1999, but in a twist, the character was caught kissing Jason Kirk during his engagement to Bernice.

And when his return to Emmerdale – as a new character – was announced, Jane said she “owed” the soap a lot as she remembered meeting Robert for the first time. The pair met in 1999 at the British Soap Awards, but Jane has previously admitted she has been in love with Robert since she was 15.

After years of friendship that turned into romance, the loved-up couple tied the knot in 2005 before welcoming their first child Harry just a year later, and second son Sam in 2009. They previously spoke to OK! Magazine, Jane said that friendship is the secret to their long and happy relationship. “Me and my husband have been together for 22 years, we are very good friends and love each other very much.”

Their relationship was not without heartbreak. The mother of two has also opened up about her miscarriage and has come to terms with remaining as a family of four. Jane and Robert discovered that they lost their third child during the three-month scan.

“It was heartbreaking and it took us a long time to get over it – I don’t think you ever will,” she told OK! in 2018. “There will always be that sadness and that longing will always be there, but we’re getting older now and the boys are getting bigger. Sometimes you just have to appreciate what you have.”

Jane also took to Instagram in October 2022 to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week, saying: “The pain of having a ‘missed miscarriage’ will stay with me forever. My three month scan showed there was no heartbeat, but my body stayed pregnant It was devastating for a while.

“The worst thing I did was not talk about what I was going through and somehow it made the grief even more painful. Over time, I learned to talk and express how broken I felt. With the love of my husband @robertbeck529 and support from my friends and family, I began to heal.

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