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Georgia's Christmas

Georgia Taylor talks about how she'll spend Christmas this year.

I'd really like to spend Christmas this year somewhere hot with my boyfriend Mark, but I know my Mum would kill me if I did that! So instead I'll be with my family in Yorkshire on Christmas Day, and then on Boxing Day we will go to see my boyfriend's family. If  I'm totally honest though, I don't think I would like to spend Christmas far away from all my family, and opening presents when it's about 80 degrees outside would be a little weird! Perhaps I'll just go on holiday before New Year!

All About Soap Magazine December 2001

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The Bash Street Kids

Corrie Stars' School Beano

Corrie stars went back to school at the weekend - and proved real playground attractions. The Soap's sexiest boys and girls went for the classy look as they donned ties and uniforms for the bash where guests could only get in if they wore school uniforms.

Stars at the party at the "Back to School" disco at the Bar Cuba in Macclesfield, Cheshire included Georgia Taylor - who plays Toyah - who turned up with boyfriend Mark Eyden.

One fellow clubber said: "It was a fabulous night out. It gave the Corrie cast the chance to let their hair down and be carefree schoolkids again. The girls in particular looked really sexy. I'm sure quite a few guys wouldn't have minded classmates like that back at school"

Extracted From The Daily Star 26th November 2001

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Three Celebrates Third Birthday With Soap Star Trio        

TV3 yesterday unveiled its autumn schedule in front of three of Britain's top TV soap stars as the station celebrated it's third birthday. Having jetted in for the celebrity bash at Dublin's Commons restaurant in Stephen's Green, Coronation Street's hapless Toyah - played by Georgia Taylor - was joined by Street bobby Emma Watts, (Angela Lonsdale) and Emmerdale's Antony Audenshaw.

Ms Taylor looked relaxed as she mingled with TV3 personalities Mark Cagney, Grainne Seoige and Martin King. The young star revealed that Ireland is a home away from home for her and her Manchester-based family.

"My mum's from Clontarf in Dublin and I've been to Dublin more often than I've been to London," she laughed.

Enjoying the balmy sunshine, Angela Lonsdale was strictly off duty as she sipped a glass of champagne. She's a celebrity contestant on ITV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire tonight.

Also there was Weakest Link presenter Eamon Dunphy, whose Irish version will have its first airing on Monday, September 17.

From Daily Mirror:

Coronation Street star Georgia Taylor flew in for TV3's third birthday bash yesterday and was mobbed wherever she went. The 21-year-old, who plays Toyah Battersby in the popular British soap, joined TV3 stars including Eamon Dunphy to toast the station's remarkable success.

She said: "It's crazy but I get stopped more by fans in Ireland than anywhere else - even back home. "The show is huge here. I think it's because it is a lot like Irish soaps - homely and a good laugh. "The Irish people are very warm and open and think nothing of coming up and chatting to me when they spot me.

"My mum is from Clontarf in Dublin so I spent much of my childhood in Ireland."

Manchester-born Georgia said her character was in for a quiet few months after her rape drama earlier this year. She added: "Toyah has been through a dramatic time over the last few months with the rape. After that it's time for a lighter storyline."

The Irish Examiner and Daily Mirror 05/09/2001

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Street Survivor

Georgia Taylor talks about Winning of Soap Award and her Future in the Street

The brutal rape of Toyah Battersby was one of the hardest-hitting stories in soap history but for Georgia Taylor it was the chance to show what she was made of, as an actress.

She didn't waste the opportunity. Her performance won Georgia the coveted Best Dramatic Performance award at the British National Soap Awards in May.

"It was so unexpected because I honestly thought I had no chance of winning", recalls Georgia. "When the announcement came I was thunderstruck - I didn't think my legs were actually going to carry me to the stage they were wobbling so much!"

The first thing Georgia did after she received the trophy was to get on the phone to tell her mum. "But she already knew! She'd been following it on Teletext so was able to yell her congratulations down the phone before I had a chance to speak. I was so disappointed because I wanted to be the first to tell her. But she and all my family were thrilled to bits for me. They knew how much I'd put into the rape story.

"As for me, I'm still as thrilled to be in Coronation Street as that very first day I walked on the set. I'm happy to stay for as long as they want me"

Extract From What's On TV Puzzles August 2001

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Corrie barmaids give safety drive a lift

CORONATION Street barmaids really put their backs into a new drive to cut deaths and injuries in the workplace.

Actresses Georgia Taylor, Jennifer James and Sally Lindsay demonstrated the best way to lift heavy objects - such as a crate of Newton and Ridley bitter.

More than 282 people a year die and over 37,000 are injured each year at work in the UK. In the northwest alone there were 34 deaths and 4,000 injuries.

Now the government is determined to slash the figures, which cost the UK economy £18billion a year.

The Health and Safety Executive has joined forces with Granada TV to make a series of public service broadcasts, called Worksmart, which will be shown each day after the regional news.  

Manchester Evening News July 2001

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Where Next?

Georgia Taylor, actress

As Toyah Battersby in Coronation Street, you have just won a British Soap Award for Best Dramatic Performance — are you planning a holiday?
Not immediately, because I’ve had two trips to New York in the past month. We went the first time when my boyfriend’s mother and stepdad took us. I had to come back a day early for work and we liked it so much that as soon as we had some free time, Mark and I went back.

New York, New York, so good you had to go twice?
It was fabulous — just like it is in the movies — and everything is huge, from the food to the buildings.

Holidays as a child?
We went to Dublin most years, because that’s where my mum comes from, but we also went camping in France.

Best-ever holiday?
Walt Disney World in Florida when I was ten. It was a perfect time to go. I met them all: Mickey, Donald Duck, the Chipmunks — nearly said the Chippendales! — and got their autographs. I’m dying to go back with Mark — I’m a big kid at heart.

Worst-ever holiday?
I went to Spain with my parents when I was a few years older. We made some very good friends, but I got sunstroke and food poisoning at the same time. And I got an ear infection and couldn’t go swimming. The weather was so beautiful and I’m a real water baby, so I hated that.

Is there anywhere you’d really like to go?
I’d love to go to the Caribbean, because I like the sea so much.

I’ve wanted to go to Cephalonia for a couple of years, but Captain Corelli’s Mandolin has put me off a bit.

Ideal traveling companion?
My boyfriend Mark.  

Is there anyone you'd hate to go on holiday with?
Les Battersby. Bruce Jones, who plays him, is great, but I’d hate to go on holiday with his character — you just know that he’d be really embarrassing.  

The Times 2nd June 2001

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"I'm Going to Have to go Before I do a Gwynnie"

Georgia Taylor Takes the "Best Dramatic Performance Award" at the British Soap Awards 2001

Another popular winner was Coronation Street actress Georgia Taylor, who won best dramatic performance as rape victim Toyah Battersby. Both she and Vicky Entwistle, who plays her screen mum, Janice were very emotional as she collected her award. Looking at Vicky in the audience, Georgia said: "I want to say a big thank you to my screen mum, Vicky - she's been terrific." Eyes filling with tears, she added: "I'm going to have to go before I do a Gwynnie (Gwyneth Paltrow)."

Georgia confided that she didn't think she would win because the competition was so strong. "I think Natalie's acting has been exceptional and I'm pleased she got best actress. I've put more into this rape story than ever before, because I felt it was my duty to give it 100 per cent. But at the end of the day you have to be able to switch off, because it isn't real. It's just acting. You mustn't take it home with you. That has kept me sane."

On a lighter note, she joked that her chocolate brown dress was quite posh for her. "I'm usually a Top Shop girl!" she laughed. "I bought it in New York while on holiday."

OK Magazine June 8th 2001

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"Let's go get p*ssed and have a really good night."

The part of Georgia's Soap Award Speech that wasn't seen on TV!

Georgia Taylor, who won Best Dramatic Performance, brought howls of laughter from the audience when she picked up her award.

She said: "I'm going to have to go before I do a `Gwynney', referring to Gwyneth Paltrow's infamous crying at the Oscars ceremony.

She added: "It's really embarrassing. Let's go get pissed and have a really good night."

icNetwork.co.uk 27/05/01

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"It Was Terrible for my Mum to see me Like That."

The storyline was the most traumatic she ever had to cope with. But it was far tougher on Georgia Taylor's family.

She'd been attacked in a dark alleyway. Battered, bruised and raped. And afterwards, as she sobbed in her mother's arms, there can have been few women who didn't feel they could weep with her.

All right, its true this was make-believe, just something on one of the soaps. But the performance of Georgia Taylor as Coronation Street rape victim Toyah Battersby was so moving, so convincing, it went far beyond a good bit of telly. She touched the heart.

We first saw Toyah four years ago when she came bouncing into the Street, hair in bunches and school uniform just skimming her knickers. We've watched her scrap with her sister Leanne, scream at her mum Janice and followed how she lost her virginity to a boy named Dobber and her bitter-sweet romance with eco-warrier Spider. In short, we've watched her grow up, which is why viewers found the brutal attack and its aftermath so upsetting.

'People feel they know the characters in the soaps,' says Georgia. 'A lot of people say they shed a tear watching Toyah's scenes and that was the best compliment because its such an emotive storyline that if it's got people upset then its worked.'

And the fact that everyone's talking about Toyah is perhaps even more gratifying considering the storyline was hyped up in the papers as a cynical Coronation Street Who-Raped-Toyah Whodunnit versus EastEnders Who-Shot-Phil Whodunnit. But the hunt for the guilty man was never the point of the Street story, its always been more about the effect of the crime on Toyah and her family - and the suspects, particularly Peter Barlow.

'You can't compare the two storylines. To do that is almost sick,' says Georgia. 'I'm not slagging off the who shot Phil thing. I think it worked, it got the viewers. But it was about a character people love to hate getting his comeuppance. Everybody wanted to know who did it so they could pat them on the back and say well done. But if anyone feels like this about Toyah's storyline, then there's something very wrong.'

And, unlike the hunt for Phil Mitchell's assailant, which had the nation gripped for weeks, Toyah's attacker was revealed quite quickly in last Monday's, nail-biting, home alone episode when she suddenly realises it was her trusted friend Phil Simmons.

You might think that playing such an emotionally charged role would have left Georgia, who is after all just 21, a gibbering wreck. Not at all.

'It wasn't so much going home and feeling emotionally distressed. It was just feeling really, really tired. It was physically draining. I was of sane mind when I got home,' she jokes.

In fact, watching the scenes was perhaps tougher on her mum Caroline, dad Geoff and musician boyfriend Mark. 'My mum was quite upset. It started when she saw the photos in the paper and she rang me and said, "I felt sick. I know it was make-up but to see your daughter when it looks like she's been battered is awful.'"

Georgia herself watched the traumatic episodes sitting on the sofa with Mark's arm around her. 'I've been with him for a year and during that time I've not had any dramatic storylines so this was the first time I could really show him what I could do. I just so wanted to be good and for him to be proud of his girlfriend. He was so sweet, he was knocked out by it.'

As she talks of Mark, she smiles and her big round blue eyes light up. She has a pretty face and is a remarkably slim size eight. It's an amazing transformation from the rounded schoolgirl Toyah.

'Now I've got a sense of humour about it but at the time I felt very self-conscious. I'm not naturally tiny,' she says. 'I've had to work quite hard to do it. A year-and-a-half ago I lost a lot of puppy fat. I did it exactly how you're supposed to. I swam a lot of lengths every day and I just ate healthily.'

But can Toyah ever find love and happiness again? 'The rape is always going to be there for her and when I'm playing her I'll always have it in the back of my head, but at the same time the human spirit is strong and you can get on with your life,' says Georgia.

'I think Toyah's going to have the courage to pick up the pieces.'

The TV Times 5-11 May 2001

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 Radio Times Questionnaire: Georgia Taylor

The actress behind the Street's bolshy barmaid Toyah Battersby loves Johnny Depp and bacon butties, has happy memories of Crossroads and hankers after some soap sunshine.

What is your first memory of TV or radio?

Funnily enough my memory was jogged by Crossroads coming back. I must have been about five and I remember Benny walking around the swimming pool.

What are your favourite TV programmes?

The League of Gentlemen, Angela Lonsdale [Emma Watts in the Street] and I went to see the stage show recently and we met them afterwards. It was great. There are a lot of us on the Street who like it and there's occasionally the odd reference in the League's scripts.

Whose TV job would you like?

I quite like my own at present. I've got great storylines and am really enjoying it.

Who do you find sexy on TV?

Well he's not really on TV, more film - Johnny Depp. When I was 11 I had his poster on my wall, so I've been in love with him for ten years!

Who would you most like to serve you breakfast in bed?

Johnny Depp comes second to my boyfriend, Mark, so it would be Mark to serve me breakfast in bed.

Which great news story would you most like to have broken?

Being very tongue in cheek, I'd like to have done Davina McCall's job on Celebrity Big Brother. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have been in the house.

If you could live in a soap opera, which would it be?

One of those American or Australian ones because of the great weather.

What would be your first act as world leader?

To give women compassionate leave when they are on their menstrual cycle. For those odd days when you are in a snip!

Can you remember your worst review?

I've never read any although I'm sure there have been some. But I'm just very protected by the Street's press team. My grandma read something in a magazine once that described me as being hamster-like. Even that I had to laugh at.

What would you be doing now if you weren't in show business?

I'd still be doing something to do with acting, so maybe teaching drama. I wanted to be an artist when I was younger. I also did psychology A-level so maybe something to do with that.

Who would you play you in a film of your life?

Samantha Morton. I've really liked her since she was in Band of Gold.

Where do you see yourself in ten year's time?

Maybe married but if so, only recently. I'm in my fourth year of the Street and am loving it and I love Toyah. But I'd like to think I could do other things, maybe theatre. Just something different.

What would you most like to change about yourself?

I tend to read too much into things that people say and always with a negative slant. I am self-critical but in a way you need to be. I'd just like to not read so much into things.

Describe yourself in three words.

Girl on TV.

In a natural disaster, which one possession would you rescue from your home?

Assuming Mark could find a ladder, my cat. She's officially called Missy but I think she thinks her name is "No" because we're always saying that when she climbs up the curtains.

Are you a vegetarian like Toyah?

No. I love bacon butties and roast chicken. I do fantastic roast potatoes. I'm not really a cook but roast potatoes are my forte.

Would you make a good barmaid?

I would now because I've had so much practice! I'm quite reasonable at pulling pints. I don't think I'd get on with the touch-screen tills in modern pubs. The one in the Rovers is and old fashioned "ker-ching" one!

The Radio Times 21-27 April 2001

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How Soap Rape Drama Rings True
 
Toyah Battersby is still Struggling to come to Terms with her recent Rape on Coronation Street

The attacker so far hasn't been caught -- yet the finger is now firmly pointing at Peter Barlow, who is awaiting DNA test results. But how true-to-life is the soap portrayal of a crime which strikes fear in every woman's heart? Irma Heger reports. WHO raped Toyah? may be an instant ratings-booster for the Weatherfield-based soap -- but Bolton Victim Support believes the storyline rings true.

Volunteer and qualified counsellor, Susan (not her real name), should know. She has had special training to deal with victims, who don't have to report the crime to be eligible for unlimited help from Victim Support. Neither do they have to contact the service immediately. In fact, if Toyah's case were real, Susan wouldn't expect her to seek their help until after the immediate shock has worn off.

Susan said: "Coronation Street has handled the storyline quite well. "People need to be aware that these things happen. "They also need to be aware of the organisations that can help you through it. Some people think it's their fault -- they think: 'Was it me, was it the clothes I was wearing, did I say the wrong thing?'

"They do question themselves -- 'if they hadn't gone to such a place, if they'd taken a different route, I should have screamed...' "That's quite a natural response. In Coronation Street they've touched on all that."

A spokeswoman for Coronation Street told the BEN the storyline has been researched over "many months". "We worked closely with St Mary's assault centre in Manchester who advised on the process following a rape," she said. "Some scenes were also filmed on location at the centre."

She explained that Georgia Taylor, who plays the terrified teenager Toyah, "carefully researched the role she was to play". And Georgia told the BEN: "The rape storyline has been a challenging role to play and one that I was determined to do justice. "I worked closely with St Mary's Assault Centre and worked hard to get the portrayal right."

Georgia has described visiting St Mary's as "an eye-opening experience". She said: "There is this overriding feeling that the victim must be made to feel in control, because when you are raped you have no control over what is happening to you." She also said: "Rape does happen and it should never be glamorised."

The storyline, according to the Corrie spokeswoman, has in fact attracted "praise and support" from many rape counselling centres -- while Georgia's portrayal of a rape victim has been "well-received". Volunteer Susan has also visited the St Mary's Centre and said "you instantly lose the 'hospital feel' when you go in".  

She, like actress Georgia, doesn't find it easy to deal with the issue of rape. The actress admitted it hasn't been easy to "shake off" the feelings of the storyline. Yet she explained that she just portrays being a rape victim "as an actress", while "some people have to live it for real". While Georgia gets support from her boyfriend, Susan -- as a counsellor -- has a supervisor she has to see on a regular basis to "work through things".

Susan explained: "Women who have been raped will never forget and that's the difficult thing. "We just help them come to terms with it in the best way they can." And she explained that her training and work with victims has "brought home how horrific rape would be".

She said: "A lot of people think, it won't happen to me but it can happen to anybody. It's quite scary, really. "Until you are in that situation it's very difficult to try to imagine it. "Sometimes it can make you very angry -- that people can go out and do that." 

Bolton Evening News 21/04/01

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Exclusive: Coronation Street's Georgia Taylor Talks about her Role as a Rape Victim and some of the Most Harrowing Scenes in the Show's History.

A young girl lies semi-conscious in a filthy rubbish-strewn alleyway, her face battered and bloodied, her body bruised after a vicious rape; it is a scene that would shock even the hardest of hearts.

When viewers of Britain’s longest running soap, Coronation Street, tune in this week they will witness barmaid Toyah Battersby being attacked and left for dead. Even the show 's producers admit they will screen some of the most harrowing scenes in the soap’s 40-year history.

Today, Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah, is looking at stills of the dramatic scenes that have just been shot. She is silent for five minutes, only able to whisper; "creepy; really creepy”, as they are handed around. It is the first time there has ever been a rape in Britain's favourite and, until now, safest street.

Speaking in detail for the first time about the storyline, Georgia, 21, has taken time out of her 12-hour filming schedule to meet me. She confides: ''There’s no denying that rape is a sensitive and controversial storyline. But I have put my heart and soul into trying to portray it accurately and I only hope that women who have experienced it will think I have done the issue justice.

“Of course, there is always the danger of an issue seeming trivialised when it is shown on a soap, but I genuinely don't think we've done that with this.''

The actual rape of the 18-year- old Rovers Return barmaid will not be shown. But Georgia is so concerned about handling the subject sensitively, this is the only interview she has agreed to do, She explains: ''I wouldn't like anyone to think that we are trying to sensationalism rape; nothing could be further from the truth.

''It is possible that some people may get upset by scenes because the aftermath of any rape is chilling. But what I want to achieve is to move people. It is a horrific crime and one which happens to women all over the world, so if it does get people talking about it then I will have done my job.''

With her cherubic eyes, vulnerability, and soft Lancashire vowels, you cannot help but warm to her. Even talk of doing a photo makes the actress wince. She calls it ''being posey''; she doesn't like to make a fuss.

Dressed in Levi's, a T-shirt, trainers and Afghan coat, the Corrie Street Starlet is refreshingly honest. She has spent hours at a real rape treatment centre to give her portrayal accuracy. Six weeks before filming began, she took herself off to St Mary's Sexual Assault Centre in Manchester, where she talked to crisis workers and trained counselors.

“After the first day at the centre, I just walked out of the doors and broke down, '' she says, tensely lighting up the one and only cigarette of our meeting.

“It has been so emotional. I was really moved by it all.  The women helpers are absolute angels. Thank God people like them exist. It makes me feel very humble.

“I didn’t think it would affect me, but I found it very, very sad. I hope no one thinks me self-indulgent. I was just upset for these women because they obviously go through so much pain.”

She adds: ''There is not enough help for women in this country who are raped or sexually assaulted. St. Mary’s was the first centre of it’s kind when it opened in 1985 and, still, almost 20 years on, there are only 15 around the country. That is a disgrace and a shocking situation for Britain in the 21st century.

“Rape is a horrific crime and I am sure that more women would report it if they thought there was more help for them like this.”

With such maturity, Georgia has come a long way since she first appeared in the soap sporting two bunches and camouflage combats three years ago. She admits she has “grown up a lot” and that the storyline, which has already attracted criticism from ex-stars such as Jean Alexander, is one that will shock.

“I can’t deny the scenes are a bit harrowing. But rather than prejudging it, I hope people watch them with an open mind and then form an opinion,” she says. “The actual rape is tiny part of it; we are focusing on the repercussions on people around her; the counselors and general aftermath.”

Stability in her private life has helped her cope with the stresses of the current storyline. After a 10-month romance, boyfriend Mark Eyden moved into Georgia’s city centre flat earlier this year. She met the guitarist with rock band Marlo at a nightclub.

“We’re just having fun being together,” she says. “But I can’t imagine being without him now. He has made me the happiest I’ve ever been.

“Since we started filming the scenes, every day has been an emotional roller-coaster for me. I’m not suggesting for one second that I have been through even a fraction of what many of these women have, but some nights I have collapsed on to the sofa a drained wreck.

“Mark is gigging in Jersey at the moment so he has probably had a lucky escape, He’d have had to put up with me working through these emotions otherwise.

“I often have to pinch myself. I feel very lucky to do the job I do, and to be able to come home at the end of a hard day to my boyfriend, who’ll be waiting with a pot of tea and a cuddle and my little cat.”

Born Claire Jackson, Georgia and her younger brother were brought up in Wigan by their mum Caroline and accountant dad Geoff. Young soap stars can come under pressure growing up in the full glare of the public spotlight, but Georgia believes she has coped with it all pretty well.

“It surprises me how I have remained normal. I look back on the shows and see that I have changed a lot. I am much more confident about myself now.”

Filming of the hour special on Easter Sunday, when she is found semi-conscious behind the Rover’s Return, has had its difficulties. Unwilling to take any credit, Georgia instead reels off a “praise list” of people, the length of which would rival an Oscar speech.

She describes actress Vicky Entwhistle, who plays her screen mum Janice, as a rock: I could not have done it without her. She was just brilliant, we love each other to bits off screen anyway, but she instinctively knew when I needed a hug and when I needed to be left alone for a minute.”

During filming, directors also asked for a few minutes’ silence from the crew in order to help her prepare mentally for the more traumatic scenes.

When the inevitable question of whether the rape storyline is just a ploy to compete with the Who-shot-Phil-Mitchell? plot in Eastenders, she sighs. For her, there is no comparison.

“Not at all”, she gasps, “they are totally different subjects. I hope the scenes will be powerful enough for people to forget about any supposed soap rivalry. We are very different shows with our own audience. The storyline has been in the pipeline since November. People are aware rape goes on, but it is such a horrible crime, we tend to shut our eyes and cover our ears to it. Sometimes, you need to be controversial to change that kind of attitude, don’t you?

“Coronation Street is not a miracle worker but, if this helps to bring just one victim forward to report what has happened to them, then that is worth any amount of controversy.”

The debate about the plot’s suitability for a pre-watershed programme is set to rage. Viewers – who see Toyah grabbed and dragged off before the titles roll on Good Friday – will have to wait up to a month before finding out who the Street rapist is.

A long career in The Street is evidently high on Georgia’s wish list, but so is charity. She describes how a local cancer charity, Candlelighters, recently gave her cousin “tremendous support” before he died of cancer at the age of 14.

Though she flinches at the word “crusading”, it is clear the experience has shaped her: “It’s not a big deal, I just think cancer charities do a fantastic job and, also, in the past few weeks, I have been helped immeasurably by St. Mary’s, so I’d like to give something back.”

As Georgia prepares to head back to film some of the most difficult scenes of her life, she takes me by surprise by giving me a sincere, parting hug. An hour ago, we had never even met. It is a sweet, spontaneous gesture.

Georgia Taylor may be the girl living on Britain’s most famous Street, but you can’t help feeling she is really just the girl next door.

The Daily Express 10th April 2001

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Barmaid Toyah Raped In Shock Street Episode.

Harrowing Scenes As 'Too Soft' Soap Struggles To Catch Up With Rivals.

Coronation Street viewers are set to witness the most harrowing scenes in the show's 40 year history with a hard-hitting storyline about rape.

Producers have promised to pull no punches in dealing with the vicious attack on barmaid Toyah Battersby after recent criticism that the soap has become too soft.

But to ensure their depiction of the ordeal is sensitively handled they spend four months researching victims' experiences at a real-life rape treatment centre where some of the most disturbing scenes were filmed.

Actress Georgia Taylor, 21, who plays Toyah, spent days speaking to counselors in an effort not to sensationalise her portrayal.  She said: "It's obviously a very sensitive subject, and as an actress I can only hope that I have done the storyline justice."

"For all the women who have gone through this experience I can only pray that I portrayed it accurately."  Georgia told a friend: "I found it the most demanding work I've ever done for the show.  There's always the danger of trivialising these things but I really don't think we've done that."

Both EastEnders and Brookside have already featured rapes.

Teenager Toyah is attacked late at night in the alley at the back of the Rovers Return, but the rapist's identity will remain a mystery.

Some of the Street's most popular characters will be suspects, including Duggie Ferguson, Jason Grimshaw and Steve McDonald.

The Daily Express 16th March 2001

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I Pulled My Hunky New Toyah Boy in a Club

SOAP BEAUTY'S ROMANCE HAS BROUGHT HER TRUE LOVE AND HAPPINESS: CORRIE GEORGIA REVEALS HER LOVE FOR MUSICIAN MARK

BESOTTED Coronation Street star Georgia Taylor told last night how she has fallen head over heels in love - with a man she chatted up in a nightclub. Georgia - who plays Rovers barmaid Toyah Battersby - was so smitten with hunky musician Mark Eyden that she broke all her normal rules and made the first move. And 10 months on, she is absolutely delighted that she did. For after a wonderful whirlwind romance she and Mark are living together and Georgia says she has never been so happy in her life.

As she gazes adoringly at Mark - who is a few months younger than her and so technically her toy boy - Georgia, 21, says: "He is the most gorgeous, fantastic man I have ever met. From the moment we first spoke I hoped it would be serious. "We got along so well that we thought of ourselves as a couple almost from the word go. It was as if we were meant to be."

When she met Mark, Georgia had been single for about nine months and wasn't particularly looking for her Mr Right. She says her fame had tended to attract men who were only interested in her because she was a star - so she was a little wary of getting involved with anyone and certainly never normally considered chatting a bloke up. But as soon as she saw Mark in a club in Stoke-on-Trent, all her normal doubts and reservations flew out the window.

Georgia says: "I was on a girlie night out with my best friend Nicole. I definitely wasn't looking to meet anyone. I was single and perfectly happy with it. "But I think it's absolutely true what people say - as soon as you stop looking the right person comes along.

"I fancied Mark straight away. I remember saying to Nicole: 'He's the most beautiful man I've ever seen. See if you can find out if he's got a girlfriend.' "I've never been like that with anyone before. But to be honest, because I thought he was so gorgeous I assumed he was either going to be an idiot or arrogant. But he wasn't. He was great."

Mark, 20, who sings and plays guitar for a band called Marlo, also fancied Georgia, but because she was famous he didn't want to go up to her. He says: "I didn't want to say anything until I thought she was interested." Luckily, best friend Nicole was prepared to play the go-between and soon Mark and Georgia were chatting away like they had known each other for years. And when they got out on to the dance floor it was bold Georgia who made the first move.

She says: "The first time we kissed was wonderful. The DJ was playing The Time Is Now by Moloko. I loved that song and I remember thinking: 'Perfect timing.' "Now I always ask Mark if I hadn't been the one to kiss him, would he have done it - and he doesn't think he would. "Because of Coronation Street, Mark was worried that I'd think he was talking to me for the wrong reasons. So I'm glad I decided to take the initiative."

The couple arranged to meet up the next night in Manchester - and it was obvious right from the start that they had something special. Georgia says: "From our first meeting I hoped it would be serious. I hoped Mark would turn out to be as lovely as he seemed. And he didn't let me down. "The more time we spent together, the more I liked him. "And when he told me he was a musician, I thought it was fantastic. I love the fact he's talented creatively."

But while it was Georgia who made the first move, Mark was the first to admit he was in love - just THREE WEEKS after they met. He says: "It was a bit premature, I do admit. But I was so convinced. It's been said before, but when it feels so right, you can't help but say it."

Georgia was shocked but overjoyed by his declaration of love. She says: "We were in a bar when he took me into a corner and said: 'Don't get freaked out, but I've just got to tell you that I love you.' "I was totally taken aback. I really felt the same, but I was frightened by just how quickly things were happening. But things have just got better and better."

Mark soon got the seal of approval from Georgia's Corrie friends - including Vicky Entwhistle who plays her screen mum Janice. "Vicky thinks he's great and that means a lot because she's always been honest and quite protective of me. If she thinks a man's taking the Mickey she'll be very straight."

The couple have become very close in a very short space of time, but Georgia says their relationship has never felt rushed. Things have moved along with a natural momentum all of its own. Just a few weeks ago she asked Mark to move into her flat in Manchester. She says: "It's been a really gradual thing. It just feels like our home now. "Although we joke about being old and married, we've no plans to get engaged just at the moment.

"We're just having fun being together. I can't imagine being without Mark. He has made me the happiest I've ever been."

The Sunday People 4th March 2001

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No growing pains for Georgia

Coronation Street’s Toyah Battersby may have recently become something of a moral crusader but actress Georgia Taylor confesses she would prefer to see her become a man-eater.

“I don't want her to be seen as a tart, but just to have a few flings because when you are 18 that's what you do,” says the 20-year-old actress. “It’s almost as if she is a woman now. Even though she used to live with Spider she was always seen as a child. I feel like she wants to be worldly wise and meet some different people and travel,” she adds.

It is just over three years ago since the Battersbys first appeared in Weatherfield. The rough and ready family were brought in by producer Brian Park to boost the show’s ratings. The family – dad Les, mum Janice and sisters Leanne and Toyah – were dubbed “the nightmare neighbours” when they moved into Don Brennan’s old home at number five, Coronation Street. They certainly ruffled a few feathers when they arrived on Britain’s most famous street.

Taylor, from Wigan, says it has not always been easy playing a Battersby brat. “It was sometimes a bit difficult playing someone who was younger than me,” she says. “When I first started, three years ago, Toyah was still at school so when I celebrated my 18th birthday and started going to nightclubs people would come up to me and say I was too young.

“I wasn’t like Toyah when I was growing up but I can remember the teenage angst,” adds Taylor. Although she admits there was one point in her life when she turned into a bit of a rebel. “I did go to a very strict school and I did well, getting all my GCSEs. But I was constantly getting into trouble with teachers, mainly for talking in class. Once I left, I dyed my fringe bright red and wore tatty, second-hand clothes. “I’d got over all that by the time I auditioned for the Street, or they might have thought they had a real life Toyah on their hands,” she laughs.

She still cringes about the way Toyah looked when she first walked into Coronation Street. “I was so excited being in the show as it was my first acting role. But I remember being given the outfit I had to wear as Toyah. I had these hot pants which looked like huge camouflage granny knickers. “I had these pale pasty legs at the time and had to wear these mini skirts and have my hair in pigtails. My make-up was hysterical. I wore bright pink lipstick, no foundation and had this black eye liner scrawled all over my eyes. I looked absolutely dreadful.”

Young stars of soap operas come under pressure growing up in the full glare of the public spotlight, but Taylor believes she has coped with it all pretty well. “It surprises me how I have got through it and remained normal. I look back on the shows and see that I have changed a lot. I am much more confident about myself now.

“When I started it felt like I was the most grown up person in the world, but I soon realised I wasn’t. I just got swept along with it all. “But I went on a crash diet and lost loads of weight then put it straight back on. I’m better now but I still don’t like doing photo shoots.”

She admits there are some similarities between her character and herself. “I can be similar to Toyah,” she says. “She will work hard for what she wants and that's what I admire in her. She is incredibly loyal and if anything would happen to her mum, if Les hurts her, she'll give it her all. I am like that in the fact that I am loyal to my family. She is also cocky but does it to get her point across and I empathise with that. She is a bit of a rough diamond in times of crisis. Her roots are with her family and it's really apparent that she will always be a Battersby."

Taylor admits that her favourite storyline from the last three years is one of Toyah's most traumatic moments. "The kidnap story was the best for me," she says. "It was really gritty and I am proud of it. I still look back on it. I am really self-critical but I worked very hard on it. It was great, all emotion. It's really sweet as people still come up to me and comment on the story."

From the Irish News 04/12/2000. Written By Phil Gould and Harriet Tolputt

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The Street's wild girls are doing a lot of growing up;

40 YEARS OF WEATHERFIELD: THE FEMALES WHO FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ENA, ELSIE, HILDA, BET, AND RITA...

Coronation Street's Toyah Battersby may have recently become a bit of a moral crusader, but actress Georgia Taylor would prefer her to become a man-eater. "I don't want her to be seen as a tart, but just to have a few flings because when you are 18 that's what you do," says the 20- year-old actress.

"I think it would be nice to see her as more of a sexual being. It's almost as if she is a woman now. Even though she used to live with Spider she was always seen as a child. "I feel like she wants to be worldly wise and meet some different people and travel," she adds.

It is just over three years ago since the Battersbys first appeared in Weatherfield. The rough and ready family were brought in by producer Brian Park to boost the show's ratings. The family - dad Les, mum Janice and sisters Leanne and Toyah - were dubbed "the nightmare neighbours" when they moved into Don Bren- nan's old home at Number 5, Coronation Street. And they certainly ruffled a few feathers when they arrived on Britain's most famous cobbled street.

Taylor, from Wigan, says it has not always been easy playing a Battersby brat. "It was sometimes a bit difficult playing someone who was younger than me," she says. "When I first started, three years ago, Toyah was still at school so when I celebrated my 18th birthday and started going to nightclubs people would come up to me and say I was too young.

"Now I'm 20, playing an 18-year-old, it's not too bad, as I can remember what it was like being a teenager. "I wasn't like Toyah when I was growing up but I can remember the teenage angst," adds Georgia.

She admits there was one point in her life when she turned into a bit of a rebel. "I did go to a very strict school and I did well, getting all my GCSEs. "But I was constantly getting into trouble with teachers, mainly for talking in class. Once I left, I dyed my fringe bright red and wore tatty, second-hand clothes. "I'd got over all that by the time I auditioned for the Street, or they might have thought they had a real-life Toyah on their hands," she laughs.

She still cringes about the way her character looked when she first walked into Coronation Street. "I was so excited being in the show as it was my first acting role. But I remember being given the outfit I had to wear as Toyah. I had these hot pants which looked like huge camouflage granny knickers. They were awful!

"I had these pale pasty legs at the time and had to wear these mini skirts and have my hair in pigtails. My make-up was hysterical. I wore bright pink lipstick, no foundation and had this black eye liner scrawled all over my eyes. I looked absolutely dreadful."

Young stars of soap operas come under pressure growing up in the full glare of the public spotlight, but Georgia believes she has coped with it all pretty well. "Growing up with the Street has really been quite a smooth transition," she admits. "I look back on the shows and see that I have changed a lot. I am much more confident about myself now.

"When I started it felt like I was the most grown-up person in the world, but I soon realised I wasn't. "I just got swept along with it all. "But I went on a crash diet and lost loads of weight then put it straight back on. I'm better now but I still don't like doing photo shoots."

She admits there are similarities between her character and herself. "She will work hard for what she wants and that's what I admire in her. "She is incredibly loyal and if anything would happen to her mum, if Les hurts her, she'll give it her all. I am like that in the fact that I am loyal to my family.

"She is also cocky but does it to get her point across and I empathise with that. She is a bit of a rough diamond in times of crisis. "Her roots are with her family and it's really apparent that she will always be a Battersby."

Georgia says her favourite story line so far is one of Toyah's most traumatic moments. "The kidnap story was the best for me," she says. "It was really gritty and I am proud of it. I am really self-critical but I worked very hard on it. It was great, all emotion. "It's really sweet, as people still come up to me and comment on it."

Evening Post 29 Nov 2000 (Phil Gould)

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Corrie actress wants a better sex life for Toyah
 
Georgia Taylor says she'd love to see her Coronation Street character Toyah Battersby become more of a man-eater.

The 20-year-old actress said she doesn't want her to be seen as a tart, but to have a few flings because that's what 18-year-olds do. And Georgia cringes at how her character first looked three years ago. "I remember being given the outfit I had to wear as Toyah. I had these hot pants which looked like huge camouflage granny knickers - they were awful," she said.
 
From Ananova 29 Nov 2000

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Corrie and A&E Cast Join With NHS to Launch Exciting
New Organ Donation Scheme


Top stars from Granada TV's Coronation Street join with Martin Shaw from hospital drama, 'Always and Everyone' (A&E) to launch the NHS Organ Donor Website.

The website is being launched to raise awareness of the growing need for organ donors. It also provides a simple and easy way for people to find out more information about this very important and sensitive issue.

Coronation Street's Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah Battersby, said, "I carry a donor card but it's not enough just to carry one - you have to make sure those closest to you are aware of your wishes. This web site is a great way of ensuring that happens."

Wednesday 18th October 2000

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Street star dumps boyfriend

Coronation Street's Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah Battersby in the soap, has dumped her boyfriend of 18 months, computer studies student Phil Collinson. The 20-year-old star is now said to be seeing wannabe pop star Mark Eyden, who plays guitar for unknown band Marlo. Mark said: 'We've going out together for a few weeks now and we're having a really good time.'

Daily Star July 2000

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Pets and Their People: Toyah Fights To Free Corky

Street Star Joins Campaign

Coronation Street eco-warrior Toyah Battersby is joining the Sunday People's crusade to free Corky

Actress Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah in the top TV soap, was horrified when she read how Corky - a top attraction at SeaWorld in California - has been in captivity for 30 years.

Now she's agreed to fly out to the San Diego centre to spearhead our campaign. She said: "It's such a tragic story - it could be right out of a movie or novel. It's outrageous. She's lucky to be alive." And she thought our Free Corky T-shirts were brilliant!

Corky lives in a concrete tank where there are no sounds of the sea, no place to explore and little room to swim. Georgia, who has been mad on whales and dolphins since her schooldays, added: "An animal is protected in captivity. But the way they do things like carry people on their nose or jump through a hoop is unnatural. "And their enclosed environment doesn't give them the freedom to develop as they would do in the wild."

Georgia said: "An awful lot of whales in captivity seem to lose their babies when they become pregnant." Corky, who is sometimes allowed to play with a male friend, has lost seven young.

Georgia added: "We are a nation of animal lovers, so I would encourage people to find out as much as they can about this very important issue. If you have any love for animals, then you should get right behind this campaign."

We want to reunite Corky with her 13 brothers and sisters and her mother, who is still alive, off the coast of Canada. And Georgia's going out there this summer to carry out that fight in person. She said: "It would be fantastic if Corky could spend the last few years of her life in the wild with her family. Your campaign is brilliant."

From The People - 23rd April 2000 

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Spider's Farewell Tribute To Caring Co-star

CORONATION Street's Spider was saved from a nervous breakdown by the love of his co-star Toyah, the Sunday People can reveal.

Martin Hancock - who is quitting his role as scruffy eco-warrior Spider Nugent to become a movie star - was devastated by the premature death of his mum Vi a year ago. The wafer-thin actor stopped eating and lost even more weight. But Georgia Taylor, 19, who plays Spider's screen lover Toyah Battersby, pulled him out of his misery.
 
Martin, 27, told the Sunday People: "If it hadn't been for Georgia's love and friendship I don't know how I'd have got through the last year. She's been my guardian angel. "I love her to death. Working with Georgia has made me realise just how lucky I am."
 
Vi died earlier this year after a series of strokes. Martin said: "I don't really want to talk about the weight thing, but after she died I did lose a bit. "Mum and me were really close and losing her really hit me. If there's one person in this world I know I can turn to it's Georgia. I look at her and think `What a bonus' when we are at work.
 
"When I was at my lowest point she cared for me. She is simply the best. "She had this incredible knack of knowing how to get me through the day when I was struggling with things. "At one of my lowest points we were talking and I was really down. She walked away and a few minutes later came back with a hot cup of tea. "That was just the best thing she could have done."
 
Spider told of his abiding love for co-star Toyah as he spoke for the first time about his shock decision to walk out of The Street. Spider will be seen leaving Weatherfield in August after an emotion-charged break-up with Toyah. But despite the recent split with his real-life girlfriend, 24-year-old lapdancer Gaynor Britt Royle, Martin insists his relationship with Georgia is platonic.
 
He said: "She probably thinks of me like some big brother type of character and I look at her like a big sister. "But it was strange having to kiss someone you regard as your sister in a romantic way for the TV cameras."

From The People - 9th April 2000 

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Q&A

Gets Personal With Corrie's Georgia Taylor

Do you come from a large family?

Yes. I've only got one brother, but I've got loads of cousins, aunts and uncles. I've got a lot of relatives in Dublin and some in Germany, too.

Who do you turn to in times of trouble?

My best friends, Nicole and Caroline, and my mum and dad. I've got a lot closer to my dad as I've got older. When you're going through puberty, your dad isn't always the person you want to speak to.

Which well-known person do you most admire?

Nelson Mandela. He's an unbelievably strong person and it's hard to grasp what he's been through.

What would you be doing if you weren't an actress?

I used to want to be a solicitor or a barrister. When I was younger I just wanted to make lots of money, and I knew most barristers were loaded.

What would you most like to change about yourself?

I would like to be more rational, because I have moments when I'm the most neurotic person. Sometimes I'm really down to earth and calm, but other times I'm totally over the top.

What was your first ever job?

Babysitting. There were loads of kids in our Street, so I'd do the rounds and get something ridiculous like £2 for five hours' hard work.

What quality do you most admire in yourself?

I suppose I'm quite generous. Everyone likes giving because it's just as much a buzz as receiving.

What quality do you most admire in others?

Honesty. We all tell little white lies, but when it comes to the big things in an intimate relationship or a friendship then it's important to know the truth.

What did your school reports say?

They were quite good actually. The only thing I was told off for was being chatty in class and not concentrating enough. I always got reasonable grades, so my reports were quite boring.

Can you remember your first kiss?

When I was seven I got married to a boy called Craig Jones in the school playground. We had plastic rings for each other and someone even brought in a little camera. I'm sure we must have kissed at some point.

What would your ultimate date be?

Anything spontaneous, I like men to be decisive. I hate people who just sit there and say, "What do you want to do?"

What would you save if your house was on fire?

I'd save a locket that I was given by my grandma. My granddad bought it for her and when he died she passed it on to me. Oh, and my Wallace and Gromit slippers!

Which other soap character would you like to play?

Dot Cotton is fantastic, and I'd love to play a rich bitch like Kim Tate.

Inside Soap article 07/01/2000

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The Dream Team
 
Martin Hancock and Georgia Taylor look forward to the festive season - and beyond...

When Toyah Battersby finally got together with Spider Nugent this August, Corrie fans the length and breath of the country rejoiced. Nobody more so, though, than actors Georgia Taylor and Martin Hancock.

"We both wanted it to happen for ages," says Georgia. "But we didn't realise how encouraging the public response would be. It was really flattering to have so many people rooting for us."

"They make a very good combination," adds Martin. "She's young and worldly, while he's older but a bit immature, so their personalities balance each other out."

The success of Georgia and Martin's on-screen partnership lies not only in their likeable characters, but also in the mutual respect and admiration they have for one another.

"On a personal level, Toyah and Spider's relationship is brilliant because it guarantees that I get to work with Georgia a lot, which I couldn't be happier about," says Martin. "she's a brilliant actress and we get on really well together on and off screen."

Georgia is equally complimentary. "Martin's always happy to sit down and go through a scene with me if I'm worried about something. He's also my agony aunt uncle. If I've got a problem, he just sits back and lets me whinge on for as long as I like. He's a great listener and a really good friend."

While their characters are dreading a Christmas of rows with the Battersby clan, Georgia and Martin have far less stressful plans for the festive season.

"My family is nothing like the Battersbys and it's wonderful to spend Christmas with my relatives," beams Georgia. "My auntie lives in a little cottage in Yorkshire and we spend most Christmases there. It's surrounded by hills and it's so beautiful, and I love watching my baby cousins get excited when they open their presents."

Both actors are looking forward to developing their characters' relationship in the new year. "It would be interesting to see how Toyah would react to a third party," says Georgia. "I don't want her to have an affair as such, because that's a real soap cliché, but I'd quite like her to be tempted by someone else. What I definitely don't want is for Toyah to have a baby. I love kids but I wouldn't want to get stuck working with one because it's so tiring. 

Extract from Inside Soap article 24/12/1999 (Click pictures to enlarge)

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Hey There Georgia Girl
 
With romance blossoming both on screen and off, life has never been better for Georgia Taylor.

Toyah Battersby has come along way since those days of puppy fat, short skirts and sulky glares. These days she is a slim line, deliriously happy woman in love. And there's nobody more pleased than actress Georgia Taylor, who has played her for the last two years.

"There's nothing better than seeing unrequited love fulfilled," says the 19-year-old. "People seem to be genuinely happy that Toyah and Spider have got together."

Their relationship certainly seems to be the making of Spider. Not only has he found them a flat to live in, but he is about to get himself a job with the DSS in order to pay the rent. "It's a pretty grotty flat, but Toyah doesn't mind," Georgia reveals. "At least she's independent and can be with him."

"Spider is responsible for the Toyah we see today - he encouraged her to think in a different way and go to college to complete her studies. He cares about her and wants her to better herself. That's one of the main attractions for her; she knows that Spider cares about her."

Away from the Street, Georgia's madly in love too, - with Phil, her boyfriend of almost two years. She describes him as her best mate, and one of the things she likes best about him is that he laughs at her. "He finds me funny," she says, "and although we have different senses of humour, we have a lot of fun together."

One of the finest young actresses working in soap at the moment, Georgia can seem mature beyond her years. Growing up in Wigan in a secure, loving, middle-class family - her mother Caroline is a housewife and her dad Geoff is a financial advisor - she gained 11 GCSEs and was bound for university to study drama when Coronation Street and the role of bolshie Toyah beckoned.

Although she was only being offered a five-month contract, Georgia decided to take the risk. "It worried me at first," she confesses, "but now I've got too used to working full-time to go back to education. It would take an awful lot of discipline."

She now owns her own flat in Manchester, about 30 miles away from her home, but keeps in close contact with her family. "I miss not seeing my mum and dad, and try to visit them as often as I can," she says. "Even so, I like living away from home. I had got to that age when I would have been going to university anyway, and I wanted to be on my own and learn to cook and organise bills, and generally grow up. "I'm far enough away to have my independence but close enough to get there in an hour by train. I appreciate my parents' company and they appreciate me more when I do go home. There's always loads to talk about."

She is close friends with fellow Corrie brat-packers Jane Danson (Leanne), Tracy Shaw (Maxine), Steven Arnold (Ashley) and Martin Hancock (Spider). "We were all thrown together and we could have been complete mismatches and all ended up hating each other," she says. "But we're fortunate that we all empathise with each other. We're a big family, and genuinely are best mates."

She says her off-screen friendship with Martin Hancock helped her through her first love scenes on national television. "There's a great chemistry between us. We always have a giggle during the intimate scenes and we are very comfortable with each other. It would have been much more difficult to act the scenes with a different actor."

All About Soap Magazine November 1999 (Click pictures to enlarge)

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"That Toyah, Phwoarr!"
 
Matin Hancock Interview.

'Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah, has blossomed into a lovely young woman. She's lost some weight and cut her hair and looks so good now. I've noticed it, and so have others. When I'm out and about, I have blokes in vans shouting out "That Toyah - phwoarr!" I think Toyah and Spider are a perfect match - she may be younger, but she's so worldly while he's such an innocent.'

While Martin is currently dating a model, he and Georgia are good pals. But the actress is less keen on Archibald, Martin's Staffordshire bull terrier, which likes chewing her handbag and other possessions when he gets the chance.

'He's taken a fancy to her,' laughs Martin, 'I can understand that.'

Extracted from Soap Life Magazine November 1999

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Girls at Our Best

Toyah Battersby

Coronation Street has traditionally proved itself a good breeding ground for strong, focused, aspirational women - think Bet Lynch and Vera Duckworth, dominant and brave and guaranteed all the best one-liners - and Toyah Battersby is the latest to prove herself a female force to be reckoned with.

Initially introduced to the cosy ranks of the soap as an annoying, screeching, two-dimensional teenage scrubber on the side lines, Toyah has become one of the principle focuses for the show. Sweet and determined, kind and uncompromising, anxious to do the right thing by her own devastatingly complete moral code, Toyah Battersby takes no prisoners. She's also taken the unusual step of falling for a man who, if hapless and broke and a bit old for her, has no hidden agenda, not an ounce of cruelty, and is genuinely good.

The Guardian 27/10/1999

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We help he-mails chat-up TV babes

CORONATION STREET favourites Jane Danson and Georgia Taylor had the screen test of their lives when they sat in front of a PC to answer e-mails from starstruck fans.

Jane, who plays barmaid Leanne Tilsley, and Georgia, who is lovestruck Toyah Battersby, were inundated with chat-up lines.

Corrie viewer John Martin did his best. He asked: "Did they ever catch the thief who stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes?" Then a message from fan Liam McGurk popped up: "Jane, how do you manage to remain as cute as a button and as sexy as a sausage?" he asked. And casanova Grant Ogdem waded in with: "I've had two serious relationships. One was with a girl named Jane and the other with a girl called Leanne. We're destined for each other."

Jane, 20, chuckled: "That's not bad. I'd have to give him 10 out of 10 for effort. Men just think they are talking to Leanne. The worst I've had was, 'Did it hurt when you fell out of the sky from Heaven?' That was cheesy."

Georgia, 19, was envious. "I never get anything romantic in my chat-up lines," she moaned. "I just get, 'Oi Toyah, give us a snog'. It happens all the time. Our characters are quite strong and dominant and men think we're like that. I just laugh them off."

The only problem for these lads is that Jane is dating Emmerdale's Robert Beck, who plays romeo Gavin, and Georgia is mad about her student boyfriend, Phil Collinson.

Lisa Armes wanted to know why Leanne refused to follow hubby Nick to Canada in the show. Jane replied: "Basically, because I didn't want to leave the Street. The door is still open for Nick to return but there are no plans for him to come back at the moment."

Nine-year-old Kate Dyer, who had her mum's permission to go on the computer, wanted to know what Toyah saw in Spider and whether she'd ever go for Tyrone. Georgia said: "There's something quirky about Spider. He's attractive in an unconventional way. Anyway, Tyrone and I would have real trouble kissing because he's quite a bit smaller than me. When I have my platform trainers on, I tower over him."

Michelle Spence asked what it was like being famous and if they minded being recognised in the street. Jane said: "I have to keep doing a reality check to realise how lucky I am. But the thing that really gets to me is the show's global appeal-the fact that our faces are seen all over the world."

Georgia agreed: "Yes, that freaks me out. I try not to think about that because it's too intimidating." On a lighter note, she added: "We get lots of fan mail from young people asking what shampoo we use. For all those people who keep asking about our shiny hair-it's the bright studio lights not the shampoo that does it!"

John Gallagher wanted to know how they kept straight faces during scenes with layabout screen dad Les.
Georgia admitted: "The truth is we don't. There must be hundreds of out-takes by now. The other day I tripped over the mat walking out of the door and stumbled, half hopping, down the street, then tried to carry on. Everyone was in stitches."

Jane added: "The scripts get me laughing when I first see them, but once you've rehearsed a scene four or five times, you focus and don't get the giggles." 

Georgia admits she has become a bit of a computer whiz thanks to her boyfriend, who is studying for a degree in software design. She said: "He's mega into computers and games consoles, and we're linked up to the net. He's on there so much that I had to get into it for us to have some time together. We now sit side by side at the computer.

"I'm quite into visiting the Coronation Street sites." One that you all may want to try is www.coronationstreet.co.uk

The Sun 03/10/1999

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Wow! It's Toyah Batters-babe

Sensational pictures reveal how 'dowdy' Street kid Georgia is now a beautiful woman

CORRIE Street star Toyah has finally shed her dowdy image and blossomed into a full-on Battersby babe. Millions of viewers were glued to the TV last week as the once gawky teenager got her dream man Spider in a steamy clinch during the Eclipse. And the hot-blooded scene revealed that, without anyone noticing, she has blossomed into a stunning young woman.

For in real life actress Georgia Taylor, 19, has dropped a dress size and is looking gorgeous after a three-month health drive. And Spider is getting all the benefit of it on screen. As she modelled these designer clothes which are streets away from her Plain Jane soap image, she said: "I'm feeling fantastic. I am no longer a little girl - I'm a young woman. "And I'm so glad Toyah is growing up and having a love life at last."

The stunning young actress, who is two years older than her street character, has undergone a total transformation from the time of her Corrie debut. Georgia still remembers the early Toyah with a shudder. She said: "I was so excited to be in Coronation Street which was my first acting role. But I remember being given the outfit I had to wear as Toyah. "I had these hot pants which looked like huge camouflage granny knickers - they were awful. "I had these pale pasty legs at the time and had to wear these mini skirts and have my hair in pigtails. "My make-up was hysterical. I wore bright pink lipstick, no foundation, and had this black eye liner scrawled all over my eyes. I looked absolutely dreadful - I still remember those knickers."

Spider - played by actor Martin Hancock - who has become her lover in the Street would be amazed by these
pictures of his co-star. In real life the actress has blossomed into a beautiful leggy blonde with an amazing figure and beautiful looks. Explaining the way she has developed, Georgia said: "People do grow up and young women do have sex. "Coronation Street is very responsible about story lines, but it's really good that they are making things so realistic."When I read that Toyah and Spider were going to have a relationship I cheered. Toyah was getting to be a young woman at last."

Georgia's sleek new figure is the result of her determination to get fit and give up her favourite fatty foods. She said: "I never thought I was fat, but I did enjoy unhealthy foods like crisps and chocolates. I always thought I should cut down for my health. I was always a skinny child and I remember having these little sparrow legs. "But then my body really changed during puberty and I began taking after all the other females in my family. "They are all really voluptuous. That's a wonderful thing - but it did make me more aware of my figure. It took a while to get used to the new curves.

"I have been on countless diets in the past but this is the first time I've really stuck to one. Before I have lost a few pounds then gone straight back on the chocolate. "But this time I'm doing it to get healthy and fit. For three months now I haven't eaten chips. Instead I have been tucking into cereals and healthy dinners like chicken and rice. I still eat like a horse - I'm just eating the right things.

"I think the best thing I did was start swimming - I've been doing 50 lengths a time even if I work a 12-hour day. It has given me loads more energy." Georgia first went to the baths with Street co-star Joanne Froggatt, who played Zoe Tattersall. But she said: "We ended up chatting the whole time, so now I go swimming on my own. Nobody recognises me when I've got my goggles on and I'm bombing up and down the pool. "I'm not obsessed about exercise and dieting - I just wanted to feel fitter. I was happy with my body before, but I feel so much fitter and healthier now."

Georgia has lost so much weight that her Street clothes started falling off her. The soap's wardrobe mistress had to go out buy her some trendy new outfits. "Toyah is not exactly into designer labels like these - well, she is a Battersby after all!" said Georgia. "But with a new boyfriend and a new college life, she is a bit more aware of the way she looks. "Thank goodness her new wardrobe doesn't include any more of those dreadful granny knickers."

Spider is not the only one besotted with Georgia's new look. Real-life boyfriend Phil, a 19-year-old computer studies student, is also over the moon. They have been going out together for over a year now and he is also pretty tolerant about her increasingly sexy image in the Granada soap.

Georgia explained: "I read through my scripts with him so he knows what's happening. But Phil is not jealous at all. In fact when I showed him a photograph of me and Martin kissing during the Eclipse he just burst out laughing. "He thinks it is hysterical that I should have a love affair with Spider."

The street-wild Toyah had her first sexy scenes last October when Coronation Street bad boy Dobber took her virginity away on the backseat of his car. But now she is having her first real love affair with handsome eco warrior Spider - and growing up fast.

Pretty Georgia said: "I love the look here. I like getting dressed up and wearing something sophisticated.

"I'm not sure what my screen dad Les would think, though, if I tried going out in some of these outfits. "He'd probably take one look and shriek `Get inside and cover yourself up girl'."

The Sunday People 15/08/1999

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