Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Street life - 50 years of Coronation Street

AS Coronation Street celebrates its 50th birthday with a dramatic live episode tomorrow night we take a look back at South Cumbria's relationship with the nation's favourite soap. NATALIE CHAPPLES reports

WE’VE been inviting the loveable characters from the cobbles of Coronation Street into our living rooms for the past 50 years.

This week the national institution that is Corrie marks its golden anniversary with an explosive tram crash storyline which will kill off some of our favourite Weatherfield residents.

The Evening Mail takes a look at the great Northern soap and its connections to Furness and South Cumbria.

Furness actor David Marcus had been a fan of the show since the start and he remembers fondly when he appeared on the Street back in the 1970s.

Cllr Marcus, of Biggar Village, Walney, has also been in plays with some of the stars like William Roache (Ken Barlow), Sandra Gough (Irma Ogden) and
Graham Haberfield (Jerry Booth).

He said: “It was about 40 years ago and I did a couple of episodes. I was a relation of Jerry Booth at his wedding. I was terribly excited about the whole thing. It was so exciting to be on the Street, it’s programme I have watched and enjoyed from its onset.

“I don’t care for Eastenders, Coronation Street is the only one I watch.

“I think it is the bite of Northern humour throughout, and it has the ability to laugh at itself.

Cllr Marcus was doing quite a lot of TV work at the time and he said Corrie remains his favourite.

The actor and chairman of Walney Musical Theatre Company said: “Monday’s episodes were incredible, it was superb television.”

Cllr Marcus said his favourite Street character was Hilda Ogden, and he is also a fan of the actress who played her, Jean Alexander.

Street stalwart Rita Sullivan may have met her end while reaching for a box of chocolates in The Kabin.

Julie Matthews, who co-runs the Queen’s Arms at Biggar Village, has appeared in Coronation Street three times, and one of those scenes was in the famous paper shop with Barbara Knox, who plays flame-haired Rita.

The actress, who uses the stage name Westwood, first played a nurse about 20 years ago when Martin Platt had a car accident.

She was back in the mid 1990s as the irate mum of a paperboy who has a go at Rita.

Ms Matthews said: “It’s a classic, you just look around and think I’m here, it’s Rita, and Oh my God it’s Ken.

“They were all absolutely gorgeous.

“I’ve been proud to be on the show, it is really fun.”

The actress also played a doctor in the soap about five years.

Her favourite characters are Rita and Eileen Grimshaw. Ms Matthews is a friend of actress Sue Cleaver who plays Eileen.

Actor Russell Dixon, who is originally from Walney, played a caretaker in 1992 alongside Derek Wilton, played by Peter Baldwin.

The street’s Sally Webster, Sally Dynevor, has had a second home in the Lake District with her family and back in 2002 she opened a fete at Colton Church.

She was also the celebrity who championed Wastwater to victory in ITV’s Britain’s Favourite View.

Rovers Return landlord Steve McDonald, actor Simon Gregson, was in Bowness this summer with Bill Webster, actor Peter Armitage for a charity motorbike ride.

Mr Gregson has a boat on Windermere Coronation Street’s Sam Aston (aka Chesney Battersby-Brown), Ryan Thomas (aka Jason Grimshaw) and man-of-the-match Alan Halsall (aka Tyrone Dobbs) were part of the winning Soap Stars team against The Bay All Stars in a charity match at Holker Street this summer.
There have been many other Street stars here over the years.

Jack Duckworth, actor Bill Tarmey, worked in Barrow as a builder for two weeks on a roofing job at the docks in the late 1950s.

He returned in 1992 and he was due to switch on the Barrow Christmas lights but he was more than two hours late because his filming commitments changed due to the Manchester bombings. He still came to see the fans who had waited.

Bill also swapped the Rovers for the bar at Ulverston’s Hillfoot Hotel.

Vera Duckworth, actress Liz Dawn, was a visitor to Barrow in 1994 to make a presentation to a Bingo winner.

Coronation Street used Windermere as the location for its scenes of debt-ridden Joe McIntyre faking his own death, but the storyline sees the scam go wrong when Joe is knocked unconscious by a sail pole and dies.

Chris Dodd, from Newby Bridge, worked as an extra during the Lake District scenes, which were shown at the start of this year.

In January 2008 character Liam Connor fell 300 feet from a Lake District cliff and had to be rescued.

Mavis “I don’t really know” Wilton, (actress Thelma Barlow) who was Rita's assistant in The Kabin, left the show to set up a guest house in Cartmel.

Have your say

You missed the fact that Jack Howarth ( the actor who played Albert Tatlock) attended the "Donkey Derby" (and started the race, I think) at Dalton in the early 60s.
Can't remember the exact year, but maybe another reader does ( must have been 61-64,
and probably not 64).

Posted by Geoff Robinson on 9 December 2010 at 13:34

Congratulations David!

Posted by Frank Davies on 9 December 2010 at 11:48

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