Nikki Sanderson: Coronation Street actor set to testify at Prince Harry’s privacy trial

Coronation Street star Nikki Sanderson is set to testify in the media trial alleging that journalists working for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) unlawfully gathered information about her and other public figures, including Prince Harry.

The case involves 207 newspaper articles published between 1991 and 2011 – 33 of which refer to the Duke of Sussex.

Sanderson is bringing a damages claim against MGN over the alleged unlawful gathering of information, including by voicemail interception. In May, the 39-year-old told the High Court that she was “physically assaulted” in the street following “false insinuations” published in articles by MGN.

The details of the exact articles in question have yet to be disclosed.

Andrew Green KC, acting on behalf of MGN, said it is admitted that a private investigator was instructed by an MGN journalist at The People to unlawfully gather information about Prince Harry’s activities at the Chinawhite nightclub on one night in February 2004.

“Otherwise, the specified allegations are denied, or in a few cases not admitted,” he said.

He said at the outset of the trial that voicemail interception is denied in all four other cases, including Sanderson’s and that there is “no evidence or no sufficient evidence”.

The barrister continued: “There is some evidence of the instruction of third parties to engage in other types of unlawful information-gathering in respect of each of the claimants, save for Mr Turner whose claim is entirely denied, and MGN has made pleaded admissions in respect thereof.

“MGN unreservedly apologises for all such instances of unlawful information gathering and assures the claimants that such conduct will never be repeated.”

At the start of the trial in May, an MGN spokesman said: “Where historical wrongdoing has taken place we have made admissions, take full responsibility and apologise unreservedly, but we will vigorously defend against allegations of wrongdoing where our journalists acted lawfully.”

Andrew Green KC, representing Mirror Group Newspapers (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Sanderson first joined Coronation Street in 1999 as Candice Stowe, recurring character Sarah Platt’s (Tina O’Brien) friend from school. Prior to that, she had appeared in the children’s drama called Children’s Ward.

The Blackpool native featured in Coronation Street for six years, through several major storylines, before exiting the show in 2005, when her character was hired as a stylist for the rock band Status Quo.

After that, she joined the cast of BBC’s Holby City and New Street Law. She has also acted in several other soaps including the Yorkshire-set police drama series Heartbeat, medical soap Casualty, New Street Law, and the teen soap Hollyoaks.

In 2013, Sanderson and her Hollyoaks co-star Jeremy Sheffield, who played her abusive onscreen boyfriend, Patrick Blake, were involved in a series of anti-domestic abuse adverts. She was nominated for the Best Actress award at the British Soap Awards in 2014, and again in 2015.


Sanderson is also known for her singing skills. She once appeared in Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, where she did a rendition of LeAnn Rimes’ hit single “Can’t Fight the Moonlight”, which earned her the winning spot.

The Boogeyman 3 star also appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars where she was mentored by Sharon Osbourne. However, she was suffering from tonsilitis at the time and was eliminated.

Sanderson’s barrister told the court that it was “scary” feeling like [Sanderson] was always being watched, and “upsetting” that MGN’s alleged conduct caused the lines between her public and private life to blur, making her believe that she was “public property”.

 (Getty Images)

“The impact of the stories on Nikki Sanderson was aggravated by their false insinuations that she was promiscuous, causing her great upset and giving rise to her being subjected to mental and physical abuse, having people shout at her in the street calling her a ‘whore’, ‘slag’ or ‘slut’ and even being physically assaulted on numerous occasions,” the barrister added.

“It gave rise to her feeling in a constant state of paranoia, distrusting everyone around her.”

Sanderson is testifying alongside the Duke of Sussex, Coronation Street star Michael Turner, and the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse, Fiona Wightman.

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