Craig Charles: Drugs were a way of coping but I had a reason to get better

Craig Charles
Craig Charles
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Craig Charles has said he was "lucky" that Coronation Street bosses stood by him after it emerged he was taking drugs.

Charles, 53, who played cheeky cabbie Lloyd Mullaney on the ITV soap, was suspended after photos showed him apparently smoking crack cocaine.

The actor was welcomed back to the Cobbles after going to rehab.

He told the TV series In Conversation With: "I was dead lucky that I had a wife, Jackie, who I adore and adores me, I had kids who know what I'm really like, and I had a reason to get better.

"I had a job that I loved and I had enough people who knew what I was like to say, 'Let's care, let's care for him, let's care about him, let's get him well, rather than let's sack him.'"

He said: "When my mum died (when Charles was 24) I got into drugs. When my dad died, I did again.

"It was just a case of... I was like stuck in this little flat in Manchester missing my family, working like 14 hours a day, then travelling vast amounts of motorways all the time... It was just a way of coping."

Charles said he now pursued "positive addictions... like I work a lot. I love funk and soul (music). I get obsessive about it."

The Red Dwarf star became tearful as he talked about learning, while he was stuck in the I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! jungle, that his brother had died, aged just 52.

"We'd not been speaking... we'd fallen out. We'd had a family disagreement," he told comedian John Bishop, on TV channel W.

"He texted me... I wasn't allowed to tell anyone I was going in (the jungle), and he texted me a couple of times before I went in saying... 'Craig, it's Dean, just wanna chat'... And I've kind of ignored him.

"I thought look, I can't really deal with this right now. What I'll do is, I'll go in the jungle... come back out and we'll all be together by Christmas. And... that never happened."