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Coronation Street star Sam Aston has shared his joy at the fact lockdown gave him time off set with his premature first born son, but it did mean that he couldn't bring his baby on set and show him off, like many proud parents love to do.
Sam and his wife Briony were surprised by their baby arriving six weeks early on 11 August last year, throwing his mum and dad's plans up in the air.
“It was a bit of a shock for me,” Sam tells OK! when we catch up with him and Briony to celebrate their son Sonny's first birthday.
In fact, Sam was busy filming on Coronation Street when his wife started to go in to labour at 34 weeks.
Sam tells us: “Everyone at work knew he wasn’t due until September. I was at work the day before he was born and no one could believe how early he came.
"I remember texting Alan Halsall as his birthday is the same day as Sonny’s and I told him that he’d just been born and sent a picture. He replied and said, 'A fellow Leo, he’s got a very good birthday!'"
The couple had gone to hospital when at 31 weeks Briony began to have contractions. By 5.50pm the next day, he’d arrived.
Since then Briony and Sam have been settling in to parenthood and of course introducing Sonny to as many friends and family as they can.
Sam says he was really pleased to be able to meet up with Brooke Vincent, who plays Sophie Webster and is on maternity leave with her second child, Monroe, and Dolly-Rose Campbell, who is Sam's on-screen partner Gemma.
He says: “We went to a baby brunch with Brooke and Dolly lives near us so she’s seen him on a walk. Because of Covid we’ve had to be so careful and things have only just started easing. With filming, things are still distanced and all the rules and regulations are in place.”
But he does admit that a visit to the set in Manchester's MediaCity has yet to happen. “I haven’t taken him into work yet but everyone has seen him on FaceTime.”
His Corrie character Chesney Brown had quads last year, but Sam – himself one of nine children – doesn't think that gave him much insight in to being a real parent.
“I think it did for holding a baby, but it’s not like I’m getting up in the night and changing their nappies!,” he says. “They only bring them on set for the take, so I hold them for a bit and then they go off with a chaperone or their mum. I don’t think anything can prepare you for your first!”
The actor also reveals that it has meant he gets some interesting reactions from his fans when he's out with baby Sonny.
“Since the quad storyline people expect to see me with a pram full of kids. Whenever I’m with Sonny, people say, 'I bet one is easier than four!' Before I always used to get, 'Where’s Schmeichel?'"
Sam is about to celebrate 18 years on the cobbles, and he can't see himself ever leaving.
He says: “I’ve been there more than half my life. I don’t see myself leaving. Right now I absolutely love playing Chesney. I get to work with Dolly who plays Gemma and she’s fantastic, and I have great friends there like Alan, Andy [Whyment] and Jennie [McAlpine].
"As long as they want to keep me, I’ll be there! I feel lucky to have the job. I can see why people stay for so long. I’ve been so fortunate to have . I’ve never struggled or had to be out there auditioning.”
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