Chesney talks to Linda on a bench on the cobbles in Corrie

It’s hard to believe, but Coronation Street star Sam Aston has been in the show for 20 years. In July 1994, nine year old Chesney Brown joined big sister Fiz (Jennie McAlpine) in the street when his mum Cilla (Wendi Peters) moved in with Les Battersby (Bruce Jones).

Sam still remembers his first scene.

‘We were on location and it was just a bit of a prank really,’ he recalled. ‘Fiz comes to the door to see if I am in, and I open just the letterbox. Fiz asks ‘“Where’s Cilla?” I say I’m home alone and then I have a water balloon rigged to fall on her head – that was my first day which was fun to do as a kid. I remember it like yesterday.’

Now, of course, Chesney is all grown up. he’s the father of five children and is about to get married to Gemma (Dolly-Rose Campbell).

‘Time just seems to absolutely fly here,’ he told us. ‘I came in on, I think, a six-month contract, to come in as Cilla’s son and Fiz’s brother kinda thing, just to do a few eps and before you know it, I’ve been here 20 years.’

He also admitted that he’s been there so long that everyone on the show calls him Chesney rather than Sam.

‘It’s weird. I go into the green room and they just say Hi Ches. Dolly and Jane [Hazlegrove, who plays Bernie] say Old Man Chesney. People say sorry that’s not your real name but I say just call me Chesney because that is easier.

‘I walk around with Chesney on my work shirt. On the back, in case people don’t know.’

Among the many highlights over his time in the show, Sam cites a scene that many long-time viewers will recall fondly as being one of his favourites.

‘When Schmeichel jumped in the hot tub and came through the ceiling, I remember filming that vividly,’ he said of a classic scene where Chesney’s dog Schmeichel the Great Dane jumped into the hot tub where Les and Cilla were relaxing, causing major mayhem as the bath upstairs became the bath downstairs.

‘When I was a child, all I wanted was a dog and my mum and dad didn’t get me one just because they worked long hours and it’s not fair on the dog,’ Sam said. ‘So when I got a dog on the street, it was a dream come true to me. It was great as I got to go to work and hang out with a dog. I could go to work and get my fix – so definitely the bathtub.’

Most soap actors will tell you that they work from contract to contract, never knowing what the show’s bosses have in store for their character and even whether their time on the show is about to end. Despite being such a fixture in the show for so long, Sam is no exception to this worry.

‘With us getting 12 month contracts, you always think, you know, could it be that? Is it my time now? and fortunately enough, I’m still here. It’s mad. It’s just crazy,’ he admitted.

If Sam has his way, he won’t be leaving Coronation Street any time soon. ‘I’d love to still be here in 20 years,’ he told us. ‘If the powers that be want me to still be here then I’d love to be. I can imagine Old Man Chesney being an old man and pottering off to the Rovers. I can. Yeah, it’d be an honour. We will have to wait and see.

‘He might be the new Roy Cropper or Norris, who knows?’

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