Friday, 31 May 2013

Corrie A-Z: E is for the Even side of the street

With thanks to Daran Little’s Coronation Street: Around the Houses for all the info on the history of the even side of the street prior to 1960.
 
Between 1882 and 1931, Hardcastle’s Mill, a cotton maker, reigned over that side of the street and it was the proprietor, Charles Hardcastle, who was responsible for the building of two new streets to house his work force: Mawdsley Street and Coronation Street. Many of the residents were employed there (including Ena Sharples and Albert Tatlock) before the business folded at the beginning of the Great Depression. The building was bought by Jack Elliston who established a raincoat factory that survived through the Depression and the Second World War and lasted until the factory’s demolition in 1968. Characters who were employed there include Christine Hardman (who tried to commit suicide from the factory roof), Sheila Birtles, Irma Barlow, Lucille Hewitt and Bet Lynch. Between 1964 and 1968 there was a social club in the basement of the factory.
 
Built in 1902, the Glad Tidings Mission Hall stood beside the mill/factory. It was the sixth mission hall in Weatherfield and conducted weekly religious services. It had a chapel, hall and a vestry where the caretaker lived. It had two long-serving caretakers: Gladys Arkwright (1902-1937) and Ena Sharples (1937-1968). It remained a mainstay on the street for over sixty years but dwindling numbers amongst the congregation led to its demolition in 1968 along with the factory. Since the early 1960s, the Mission Hall had been used for over-60s clubs, children’s birthday parties and various other functions.
 
In a bid to modernise the show, producers decided to introduce new maisonettes on the even side of the street. They comprised of four two-storey flats and three OAP ground-floor flats. Despite housing Ken and Valerie Barlow and their twins and Ena Sharples, other than that the flats were empty and became derelict and were unpopular with the residents. The viewers were unhappy as well as now the street lacked a place for the community to interact. By early 1971 only the Barlows occupied the flats and when Valerie was electrocuted and died in the flat fire, the council decided to demolish the maisonettes which was welcomed by the residents and viewers.
 
Replacing the doomed maisonettes was Mark Brittain’s Mail Order Warehouse. While the warehouse itself didn’t bother residents, the noise of lorries going back and forth did. Residents who were employed here included Ivy Tilsley, Vera Duckworth, Emily Bishop, Mavis Riley, Gail Potter, Tricia Hopkins and Ken Barlow. But yet again the viewers failed to warm to the warehouse and in 1975 the place was burned down thanks to a cigarette smouldering. Employee Edna Gee was a fatality of the fire. When the fire was extinguished, there was only a gutted shell left.
 
A year passed before the warehouse was put to use when Londoner Mike Baldwin opened up his denim factory. Read here for an account of the factory’s history.
 
Built along with the warehouse in 1971 was the Community Centre. There was once again a place for the community to come together. Plays, flower shows, concerts, youth clubs, fetes and pantomimes were held in the community centre over its 18 year history. Ena Sharples was the original caretaker until 1975 when cleaners took over the realms while Ena stayed put in the flat. Newlyweds Fred and Eunice Gee became caretakers in 1981 but didn’t last long. Pensioner Percy Sugden took up the post in 1983 and became the street’s latest busybody. In 1988, Percy was forced to retire and within a few months the bulldozers moved in under the orders of Maurice Jones who’d bought the site and the centre and Baldwin’s factory were knocked down.
 
In their place came three houses, three shop units, a few flats, a garage and a factory. The layout has stayed unchanged for over 20 years and is the longest lasting set-up on the even side of the street. Rita Fairclough bought one shop unit and relocated her paper shop ‘The Kabin’ from Rosamund Street. The shop remains to this day with Norris Cole now proprietor.
 
Another shop unit was bought by the Weatherfield Hospital Volunteer Group as a charity shop with Emily Bishop as manageress. By the end of 1990 the business had folded and in 1992 the shop was bought by hairdresser Denise Osbourne. Then in 1995 the business was taken over by Fiona Middleton and in 1998 by Audrey Roberts who still runs the business now. There is a flat above the salon. Since 2000, the unit behind the salon has been a cab office called ‘Street Cars’ that has been owned by Steve McDonald and various others like Vikram Desai, Dev Alahan and Lloyd Mullaney. There’s also a flat above the cab office.
 
The garage unit has been in the hands of the likes of Don Brennan and Mike Baldwin but for many years now the place has been owned by Kevin Webster.
 
The factory unit has been in the hands of Steve and Vicky McDonald before Mike Baldwin took over the ownership and established a knicker factory. Since Mike’s death, the factory has been owned by Danny Baldwin, Adam Barlow, Liam Connor, Paul Connor and Frank Foster. Since 2006, Carla Connor has been in charge. The three houses (numbered 4, 6 and 8) have had various inhabitants, with Gail Tilsley/Platt/Hillman/Platt/McIntyre being the only one who’s lived there the longest.
 
The even side of the street has seen much change in the last 50 years, is it time for another?

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Vote for your favourite Corrie moment from the 1980s

 
If you haven't yet, you can vote for your favourite Corrie moment from the 1980s here.
 
Voting closes on Monday, 3rd June.

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Liz McDonald's Corrie To Do List


With the wonderful news that Liz McDonald is returning to Weatherfield in October, I thought it might be timely to give the delightful Elizabeth a few pointers on what needs to be put right when she totters down the cobbles of Coronation Street once again. So I bring you, without further ado, Liz McDonald's urgent to do list:

1. An obvious one this. Skull drag Stella Price out from behind the Rovers bar. Why else would Liz return to Weatherfield than to sort out the current mess that is the Rovers Return public house.

2. Continuing with the same theme: Reinstate herself as Landlady of the Rovers Return. Liz is much more suited to life as Rovers landlady. She's strong, she's brassy, she's fiery and she's more than a little outrageous. Most importantly of all, she is actually a character with character!

3. After sorting out the Rovers, Liz needs to turn her attention to No. 1 and help old mate Deirdre find a storyline. I loved the period years back when Liz lodged with the Barlows - who can forget Blanche's withering comments on Liz's inappropriate dress sense?! Deirdre needs a friend more than ever and these two share plenty of on-screen history. 

4. Next, Liz needs to sort out Steve's love life. I hope Liz would agree that Michelle is just not right for Steven. I've long felt that they are an odd match - Michelle dominates and emasculates Steve and it's not pleasant viewing. Add to that life in the tiny Kebab shop flat with beige Ryan and whiney Katy and I'm hoping Liz will think Steve can do a whole lot better.


5. Once Liz has dealt with Michelle, she needs to track down Karen McDonald and bring her back to Weatherfield. Without a doubt Karen was Steve's best partner in crime. While she gave as good as she got with Steve, their arguments mainly enjoyed a comic slant which made the partnership loveable and affectionate. I know Karen and Liz had a strained relationship - all the more reason for her to return!

6. Liz quite clearly needs a man. And who better that Big Jim McDonald. I think we need to forget about all that armed robbery/bank hold-up nonsense and spring Jim from The BIg House once and for all. I love Liz and Jim together - there is proper chemistry in their tempestuous relationship. I would love to see them run the Rovers together. 

Oh to hear Jim utter those much loved words once again: Catch yourself on Elizabeth!



7.  Liz has always had her own unique sense of style. No, I'm not praying for that frizzy ginger perm to make a return. I do hope we see that wonderful zig zag necklace back in Weatherfield though - Liz wouldn't be quite the same without it!


8. On another important style issue, Liz really does need to encourage Steve to stop shaving his head. It really doesn't do him any favours. Stick a lolly in his gob and he could pass for Kojak. 


I think that just about wraps up my list. I reckon that'll keep Mrs McD busy for a few months! So what would you like to see our Liz get up to when she clatters back into Weatherfield later this year? 



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Fab Photo Friday - May 31st 2013

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. With the news that Liz Macdonald is to return to the cobbles here are a couple of great pictures of her. I know we featured one of them recently but you can't have too many pictures of Liz on a bacony in her nightie. Can you?




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Corrie's Mavis Riley and Valerie Barlow on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip

Thelma Barlow, who played Mavis Riley, and Anne Reid, who was Ken Barlow’s first wife Val on Coronation Street, have beein filming a special episode of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.  The show will be on screen in November and was filmed to raise funds for Children in Need.

What I found amazing about the press release here is that Thelma is now 83 years old. I know!  She says she doesn't watch Coronation Street any more as she's too busy gardening and seeing friends.

Anne Reid keeps going from strength to strength too. She did a five-night cabaret residency in London last week and is looking forward to the start of filming next month for a second series of BBC1’s Last Tango In Halifax.

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Spot the Corrie prop - May 31st 2013

Many congratulations to Sally McFarlane who was the first one to correctly spot that last week's lovely little leopard resides in Eileen's house. A special mention also to Duly Noted who idetified Jason's boot in the corner of the picture.

For this week's prop puzzle all you have to do is tell us whereabouts on the Coronation Street set you would find this classy cake stand.
 

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Coronation Street Blog editor on charity cycle this Sunday


Hello! I'm Glenda (aka Coronation Street Blog editor Flaming Nora) I'm cycling 20 miles this weekend,  Sunday 2 June in the Sunderland Big Bike Ride.

Last year I did 14 miles for fun, this year I'm doing it for fun and funds - raising charity cash for Cancer Research UK.  If you'd like to sponsor me, please do.

THANK YOU

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Sneak preview of tonight's Corrie - Friday 31 May

Coronation Street, Friday May 31st 2013 at 9pm

TINA’S DESPAIR BRINGS HER CLOSER TO TOMMY. With Tina’s words ringing in her ears Izzy agrees to grant Gary access to baby but will she accept his apologies and agree to them getting back together? Worried about Tina’s growing feelings for the baby, Tommy insists she doesn’t have to go through this alone, he loves her, always has and always will. How will a stunned Tina respond?
ROB’S PLAN MASSIVELY BACKFIRES. As Carla catches Rob with the stolen silk she demands to know why he ripped her off. Rob’s defiant as he insists he was looking after number one, as Carla has done all their lives. Gutted by his betrayal will Carla call the police or has she got another plan to punish Rob?
DEV STARTS TO QUESTION SUNITA’S GUILT. Over dinner with Stella and Karl, Dev’s upset as the kids refuse to accept Sunita was a criminal. Moved by their faith in their mum Dev starts to wonder if Sunita really was capable of murder. Karl squirms as Dev vows to push the police for answers.
Elsewhere Ches has a change of heart and agrees to look after Joseph. But when a tired Katy insists she and Ryan come home early, Michelle wonders how long their relationship will last.

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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pics: Canada's No. 1 Corrie fan at the British Soap Awards


Canada's Number 1 Corrie Fan, Deborah Cyr, recently had a chance to attend the recent British Soap Awards on her holiday to the UK. Deborah has met dozens of Corrie actors and is a dedicated fan. She was very lucky to get tickets for the awards and tickets for the red carpet. Here's Deb's overview. You can go to her website to see the rest of the details and lots more photos.


"In March I booked a holiday to England, May 2nd - 27th. I had a few Corrie things planned and really hoped one of them would be to be on the red carpet of the British Soap Awards meeting actors as they arrived. A number of friends had done that in 2011 when the awards were in Manchester and it was something I really wanted to experience.


I never realised the odds of getting tickets this year were next to none, but somehow once again I had some Corrie luck on my side. Not only was I on the red carpet, but for the first time in the British Soap Awards history fans were given the opportunity to apply to be in the audience.

I got three tickets for the red carpet and to be in the audience for the show. I got to cheer all my Coronation Street favourites as they won 8 awards, including best soap. My luck continued as I was given a goody bag that the actors left the ceremony with, thanks to Nathan Wright of Doctors.

My husband Al, good friend Emma and I were the first to arrive at Media City on May 18th and the last to leave. When we left, all of the actors had also left. Our feet were aching and the jacket potato we'd had at lunch was long gone, but we had the biggest smiles on our faces. It was one of the longest days, but a day we will never forget. Watching my favourite soap win, seeing the familiar faces arrive all glammed up and then meeting a number of the cast after.

You can read all about it and see more photos on my website

This is another day I will remember for a very long time!!"


Photos copyright Deborah Cyr. Top photo shows her and her friend Emma with Oliver Mellor (Matt Carter) and Sol Heras (Ryan Connor)

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Queen-a Sharples?

Maybe I was looking at this morning's newspaper through horribly bleary eyes but every time I glanced at this new picture of Her Majesty, my brain kept telling me it was Ena Sharples!

This is, of course, wrong on many levels .It could be a serious indicator that I've reached a stage where everyone reminds me of someone who has trodden the cobbles.

Other than the Audrey Roberts/Duchess of Cornwall 'separated at birth' example, I can't think of any more Royal resemblances down Weatherfield way.

Prove me wrong!


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Which Corrie characters are 'safe'?

Earlier in the week we were assured that Deirdre's future on the show is safe. Some comments in reaction to this began to question if some characters/actors are regarded as being safe, and maybe don't have to renew their contracts every two years like we hear happens to Kym Lomas or Michelle Collins.

It has been said that both William Roache and Eileen Derbyshire have 'iron' contracts, and that they cannot be axed. Since when has this been in force, who knows? If it has been! Bill Podmore once said that Ken Barlow has survived more assassination attempts than J. R. Ewing. Does Barbara Knox have an iron contract and did Betty Driver and Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn?

Poor Peter Baldwin, who played Derek Wilton, thought that his future on the show was secure when he signed a contract in late 1996. But bang, in early 1997, he was told that Derek was being written out! So, signing a contract doesn't always mean an actor's future's safe!

And did Jean Alexander go before she was pushed? She was unhappy about her lack of storylines and decided to leave. Would producers dare axe the show's most popular character?

A few years back producers also discussed axing Blanche but changed their minds. Even a character as popular as Blanche was not safe from the axe. Helen Worth was considered to face the axe in 2001 but was saved when she became involved in the Hillman storyline. And she had been in the soap for 27 years! So sometimes a character's longevity doesn't always mean their future's safe.

So who do you think should be regarded as 'safe' characters? Characters you wouldn't dream of getting rid of them. Do you think producers should make public reassurances of the future of certain characters like the veterans of the show and acknowledge their appreciation of them?

My list of who should never be axed are: Emily, Rita, Deirdre, Gail, Audrey, Steve, Roy, Sally and Norris.
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In praise of Corrie's Stella Price

Coronation Street Blog reader Lara has taken up the challenge we posed here for a fan who likes Stella Price to write a blog post in praise of her. 

And so, it's over to Lara, who is on twitter @larapetale

"I think Stella is a very diverse character, you either love her or you hate her, and in my case love her.

She is strong, independent and has been like this from the offset. From being Leanne's biological mother to being run over by a drunken Carla, Stella has never been short of big storylines - and that was only in her first 6 months!


I know everyone has an opinion and that is totally justifiable but I just wanted to respond, and as you said defend her.

She has been on our screens for almost two years now and in my opinion contributed greatly to the events which occurred in that time. She has been at the centre for many story lines, each showing a different side to Stella, from the vulnerable Stella to the fiesty Stella and I'm sure there's plenty more sides to be see!"


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Liz McDonald returning to Coronation Street

Fabulous news in today from the official Coronation Street website at itv.com/corrie who confirm that that Liz McDonald will be returning to Coronation Street!

Liz will be back on our screens in October.

She left the ITV soap fearing she was slipping into depression that had led to a breakdown in 2009. Street bosses believe she can cope now after she toured with hit stage show Little Voice this year.  We saw her on stage in Little Voice in Scarborough and she was fantastic - read the review here.

I'm overjoyed by this news and hope Liz will take up her rightful post behind the bar of the Rovers once again.  What do you think?

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Hayley Cropper's cancer storyline revealed

There's a Coronation Street spoiler in today's Star that reveals more about the exit storyline for Hayey Cropper. It says she will be left heartbroken when she’s diagnosed with cancer.

The Star says that Corrie bosses have been working closely with cancer specialists and charities to make sure the emotional storyline is handled in the best way possible.

Hayley will be on screen until January 2014.

A show insider told The Star: “Getting the news that she’s got cancer is a massive blow. Hayley will put up a fight but whether she wins is another matter. H

er diagnosis may be fatal or she may well beat it but decide life is too short to stay in Weatherfield and head off on a globe-trotting adventure. It’s going to be heartbreaking saying goodbye to Hayley.”

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Sneak preview of tonight's Corrie - Thursday 30 May

Coronation Street, Thursday 30th May 2013 at 9pm

IZZY AND GARY FIGHT AS TINA BONDS WITH THE BABY. As Tina watches over the baby, Tommy’s concerned about her growing attachment to the child. When a strained Gary then turns up, begging Tina to let him see his son, Tommy gently urges to Tina to take a step back. As Gary approaches the incubator he’s very much the doting dad, urging his son to stay strong. But how will Izzy react when she finds Gary at the baby’s bedside and how will Tina respond to their rowing?
CARLA SETS A TRAP FOR ROB. As Tracy and Rob arrange a meeting with a buyer for the stolen silk, Carla gives her brother one last chance to come clean, asking if he has any contacts who could get hold of any silk - no questions asked. Will Rob have a change of heart or will Carla’s worst fears be confirmed?
SALLY HAS SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT ONLINE DATING. Sally gets a text from a man through the dating agency asking her to meet for a drink, will she agree?
Elsewhere Chesney refuses to babysit Joseph for Katy so she can go for a night out on the town with Ryan.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Where have the Corrie kids gone?

Little Simon Barlow and little Amy Barlow have been missing in action for ages from Coronation Street.

I can't help thinking that if Simon had been around more, and been acting up in the way that kids do, Carla and Peter might not be out shopping for wedding rings just yet

And if little Amy had been on the scene more as the daughter that Tracy forgets she's got, Rob Donovan would have run a mile in the other direction.


And hang on a minute, but on the night when the Rovers Return reopened, who was looking after Joseph?  Katy and Ryan were in the pub while earlier Anna said she'd babysit Joseph, but then Anna turned up in the pub when Katy and Ryan were there.

Are we supposed to believe that Emily was doing the babysitting?  And while on that note....  where's Emily gone?

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Yay or Nay - should Izzy forgive Gary?

I was heartily moved by Owen's performance last night on Coronation Street.

The new grandad was having to contend with the fact that baby Jake might not pull through, and even if he does, his daughter Izzy might not have the strength to look after him as her own. 

And on top of all of that, Owen's trying to maintain his relationship with Anna, the mother of the fella who's done the dirty on his daughter.  Well, I was moved, I tell you.

But what about Gary and Izzy? Do you think Izzy should forgive him for trying to kiss Tina - Yay or Nay?  I say Yay.

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Corrie fans vote Jack and Vera as their favourite double act

It comes as no surprise that the winners of our poll to find Coronation Street Blog readers' favourite double act are Jack and Vera. 433 of you voted and the Duckies secured 150 votes (34.64%) and were clear winners, well ahead of their nearest rivals.

In second place were Stan and Hilda with 65 votes (15.01%). In third place came Steve and Lloyd with 47 votes (10.85%). And in fourth place came Roy and Becky with 36 votes (8.31%) with Rita and Mavis close behind with 35 votes (8.08%).

Rita and Norris were in sixth place with 26 votes (6%), Steve and Eileen in seventh with 22 votes (5.08%), Alec and Bet in eighth with 9 votes (2.08%%) and Jack and Annie in ninth with 6 votes (1.39%). In joint tenth place with 5 votes (1.15%) were Audrey and Gail and Fred and Ashley.

Reg and Curly received 4 votes (0.92%), Roy and Hayley received 3 votes (0.69%) while Swindley and Emily, Derek and Mavis, Becky and Steve and Mary and Norris all secured 2 votes (0.46%).

The following received a vote (0.23%) each: Alf and Audrey, David and Kylie, Emily and Percy, Carla and Peter, Carla and Michelle, Alma and Gail, Percy and Phyllis, Steve and Karen, Steve and Michelle, Sophie and Sian, Reg and Maureen and Simon and Amy.

Happy with the results? Let us know! How are you enjoying the weekly polls so far?

If you haven't yet, you can vote for your favourite Corrie moment from the 1980s here.
 
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