Awards success for EastEnders
EastEnders' on screen husband and wife Trevor and Little Mo have triumphed at an awards ceremony dedicated to soap operas. Kacey Ainsworth, who plays Little Mo, and Alex Ferns, who stars as the bullying Trevor, collected the best male actor and actress award at the Inside Soap Awards held in London.
EastEnders also won best soap and best storyline for the gripping scenes of Zoe Slater discovering Kat is not her sister but is in fact her mother. Ferns, who has filmed his last scenes as Trevor, lost out in the best "bad boy" category to Coronation Street's very own serial killer Richard Hillman, played by Brian Capron.
At the recent TV Quick Awards, the BBC's EastEnders swept the board winning every major award, but Coronation Street fought back at the Inside Soap event, picking up five awards in total. The show's interfering Norris Cole, played by Malcolm Hebden, was once again voted soap's funniest character. Suranne Jones won an award for her portrayal of the scheming Karen McDonald. And an outstanding achievement award was handed to Bill Tarmey and Elizabeth Dawn for their work playing Jack and Vera Duckworth for more than 20 years.
The best newcomer award was won by Emmerdale's Seamus Gubbins, who plays the shady Ray Mullan in the rural soap. The sexiest male and female awards were awarded to EastEnders' Jack Ryder and Jessie Wallace, who star as Jamie Mitchell and Kat Slater.
Coronation Street's Tracy Shaw, the winner of last year's sexiest female award, walked away with best dressed soap star. Known for the daring outfits she wears at various showbiz bashes, Shaw announced that she is set to quit the soap after seven years playing hairdresser Maxine.
Channel 4 soap Brookside did not go home empty-handed as Raymond Quinn collected the best young actor gong for his role as the bullied Anthony Murray to add to the best dramatic performance award he won earlier in the year at the British Soap Awards.
The best drama award went to ITV's long running police show The Bill.
29 September 2002
WHEN Tracy Shaw walks out of Coronation Street, the soap will be losing its sexiest star. As flirty Maxine Peacock - a girl with model looks and a body to die for - she became a heart-throb to millions of men. But racy Tracy, 29, is more than just a pin-up. In private she has had the steamiest life of any Corrie star EVER. She's romped with a string of famous men and lived out all her fantasies. And today, in an exclusive adaptation of an explosive new book called Shaw Thing by AMANDA CABLE, we can reveal the sizzling bedroom secrets never known before...
DRESSED demurely and holding a bunch of flowers, Tracy Shaw arrived at a private hospital to visit her new hunky boy-friend. She smiled sweetly at the nurses and nodded to other patients as she was shown the private room where the 28-year-old star was recovering from an operation. Tracy walked over to the bed, and threw herself on him, kissing him frantically. As he started to fumble with her clothes, their groans became more frantic. Tracy urged him: "Let's do it, I can't wait." The couple slithered on to the floor and writhed with lust across the tiles of the star's bathroom.
Tracy later recalled: "We were as randy as hell. He was due to
be discharged the following day, but we couldn't wait. We didn't want to get
down to it in the bedroom in case someone came in, so we locked ourselves in
the bathroom and made love there." The couple managed to sneak their sex
session within yards of unsuspecting doctors and nurses, trying hard not to
gasp too loudly as their lovemaking came to a climax. They stopped only to gulp
down a mixture of Vodka and the high energy drink Red Bull which Tracy had smuggled
in. Tracy confessed with a wicked smile: "It wasn't the most romantic setting
in the world but very memorable and well worth it."
The lucky guy was Darren Day. He was then a stage star of Summer Holiday and TV presenter of shows like Don't Try This At Home. Tracy was already Britain's No 1 soap pin-up and had enjoyed a string of affairs with other famous men. But it was Darren who encouraged her to live out her sexual fantasies. She admitted: "I was never highly-sexed until I met him. "But his body drove me wild and what got me in the mood was a long, hot soak in a candlelit bubble bath with Darren." Soon, Tracy was having three-day sex marathons with the star. He whisked her off to Paris for a romantic break to celebrate their engagement. Tracy recalled: "We stayed at a gorgeous hotel and had a beautiful suite, which is just as well, because that's where we spent most of our time in bed."
Tracy and the I'm A Celebrity star later split. But Tracy says: "He told me he got his lovemaking skills from an older woman - a 38-year-old when he was 18. "Well, all I can say to that lady is 'Thank you, ma'am'. Mind you, I think I taught Darren a few new tricks too!"
Coke-fuelled sex with a stranger
IT was late in the evening and the hotel opposite Granada studios was full of Coronation Street fans eager for a glimpse of their favourite stars. As they walked from the lobby to the bar, autograph books in hand, no-one paid a second glance to the young blonde in the corner wrapped round a muscle-bound hunk. If they had looked closer, they would have been shocked. For there was the Street's hottest new star, Tracy Shaw, high on cocaine and groping a stranger.
Fuelled by the illegal drug and desperate for sex, she groaned as they kissed and cuddled. Finally, unable to control her urges any longer, she grabbed his hand and marched him up to her hotel room for a two-hour sex session. Tracy had met the man - game show host Glenn Williams at a showbusiness bash only hours earlier. As soon as Tracy spotted the former Gladiator's star's bulging muscles, she told a friend: "He's the one for me." Tracy later admitted: "I seduce with my eyes by staring and then looking away coyly. I can become either really girlie and play with my hair or I am shy and ignore them."
Her seduction of Glenn worked. After their frantic session in the
hotel together, they became an item for a couple of weeks. But, like most of
Tracy's other relationships, it was doomed to failure. Just weeks later, she
dumped Glenn, saying furiously: "I'm not seeing Glenn any more. Just like
a lot of men, he wants to use me because of my job."
Amazingly, when Tracy first took the role of man-eater Maxine Peacock in 1995, she claimed: "I'd rather die than throw myself at men the way Maxine does. I'm not as forward as she is - in fact I'm very shy." But fame changed the young actress, who is the daughter of a pub landlord in Belper, Derbyshire. She realised that just like Maxine, she now had the power to pull any man she wanted. She dropped her steady boyfriend of four years and soon became a regular sight at Manchester's clubs and bars. One of her early conquests was soccer star Shane Nicholson, then a Derby defender. They met when she presented him with a man-of-the-match award.
Shane recalled: "She turned heads - that's why I went after her. I plucked up courage to ask her out, and we met the following day. "She was definitely up for it - we slept together all the time." The couple were together for five months before the passion fizzled out.
Tracy was then linked to a string of other men including Emmerdale star Ian Kelsey. But she was no push-over. When Simply Red pop star Mick Hucknall saw her at an awards ceremony he described her as "sex on legs" and set out to bed her. Hucknall took her out for a meal and then with a line straight from the Manchester charm school said: "Right, let's go back to your hotel room, then." Tracy says: "I jumped in a cab and fled."
But when she fell in love with stage star Darren Day during a whirlwind
romance, it appeared that Coronation Street's wild child was ready to settle
at last. Tracy had always enjoyed sex. But Darren taught her to throw off all
her remaining inhibitions. Tracy said: "I know it sounds unreal to say
that you can fall in love with somebody straight away, but that's what happened.
Darren and I were staying in a Manchester hotel, and we met in the bar. "We'd
met before, but never thought anything more of it. Then, all of a sudden on
this particular evening, we were together and we fell in love."
Within 12 days, Tracy announced she had been "hit by Cupid's thunderbolt" and Darren declared he'd been "hit by a ton of bricks". Love - and passion - turned Tracy into a confident, radiant woman who oozed sexuality. When Tracy walked on to set one morning, her skin glowing, her eyes twinkling and her hair freshly-washed, a famous cast member rolled her eyes and said: "She's been having sex all night." But soon the long separations started taking a toll and while Tracy longed for passionate nights in, Darren would party non-stop.
Tracy said: "All I asked from him was a phone call a day, so I could hear him say that he loved me. But he'd just be going out. The couple spent a traumatic weekend together, trying to work out their problems. But the rows continued into Monday until Tracy broke down on the Coronation Street set. Horrified members of the cast led her aside and told her to end the affair.
Tracy recalled: "He rang me and shouted at me on the phone while
I was doing lots of scenes. I was crying my eyes out and I had another five
scenes to film. "The other people on the street were very kind. When they
saw what I was like they said 'You've got to finish with him' so I rang him
up and finished with him and he just yelled more abuse at me. "The thing
is I loved the guy. But he'd hurt me so badly and I couldn't carry on with all
that going on around me." The couple who had spent hours of non-stop lovemaking
each weekend now could not talk to each other without screaming. And within
days, Darren was parading his new love actress Isla Fisher on his arm.
Heartbroken Tracy found solace in the arms of a younger man - shop manager Alex Moscovitch, 20. He was powerless to resist when she chatted him up at London's trendy Titanic bar in April 1999. The couple met up a few days later and became lovers. Alex said: "We spent all evening in her hotel room. Tracy loves champagne and we got through three bottles as we got to know each other better. Tracy is a great kisser, very sensuous."We made love for the rest of the night - I don't think we stopped until daybreak. It was everything I hoped for."
But as usual it did not last. One of the reasons is that at the same
time Tracy was being wooed by soccer star Dwight Yorke. And when Tracy called
Alex "Dwight" by mistake four times, he ended their relationship.
Then a few weeks later Tracy met male model Matt Bailey at a friend's wedding
and despite the fact that he was four years younger, set out to win him over.
She told pals: "He's got the most gorgeous body in the world." A pal
said: "After her split with Darren, she had felt dead inside. But Matt
re-awakened those urges within her - she felt sexy and wanted and needed once
Tracy admitted: "Matt's a very genuine guy and I love him to bits, but I've still got big hang-ups. "I'm insecure because of past relationships, and that's difficult to take on board. "I was so open about Darren and it all backfired in my face."Now I don't want to say 'Here's the man I'm going to stay with for the rest of my life' until I know it's true." Friends were hopeful that Tracy had found lasting love. But after a four-month passionate fling, the couple parted. Tracy told her friends she had simply not been able to get Darren out of her system.
Shaw Thing by Amanda Cable is to be published by Blake Publishing.
Corrie's Tracy shuts charity
29 September 2002
CORONATION Street's Tracy Shaw says money problems have forced her to wind up the charity she founded to support people with eating disorders. Tracy, 29, who plays hairdresser Maxine Peacock, blames "management and financial pressures" for her decision to close the Tracy Shaw Foundation, set up in aid of anorexia and bulimia sufferers.
The news comes less than a week after Tracy revealed she is to quit her role in the soap. She is expected to leave the show next year in an explosive storyline linked to the "who's the daddy?" storyline involving her screen husband Ashley Peacock and ex-neighbour Dr Matt Ramsden. Tracy, whose own weight plummeted from eight to five stone when she suffered anorexia, was inspired to set up her appeal after hearing how a 16-year-old girl came within three days of starving herself to death.
Vicki Carter, 19, from Stockport has since won her battle against the illness after her parents backed a court order to force feed her. Tracy said: "Running the charity has been hard work and solicitors and accountants need paying, but I will continue to raise money for the cause."
Dirty Dick's plot to drive Audrey mad
29 September 2002
CORRIE wife killer Richard Hillman WILL get his hands on Audrey Roberts' fortune, I can reveal. But he'll use cruel psychological mind-games rather than the physical violence inflicted on his first two victims. And when Audrey, played by SUE NICHOLLS, believes she's going mad, Dirty Dick (BRIAN CAPRON) pounces by convincing her to hand over control of her cash to HIM.
My Street mole tells me: "This devastating storyline will take us up to Christmas by which time Audrey has turned to drink and anti-depressants."If fans thought Richard was bad before they'll be shocked by this."
Already Richard - whose finances have collapsed since marrying Audrey's daughter Gail - has copied her house keys, then sneaked in to rearrange furniture. But he'll pile on the pressure next month. In one dramatic episode he moves her car to a different street. He then enters the flat above her hairdressers and turns up the radio to full volume. While Audrey storms off to confront Fiz and Toyah, Richard creeps back in and turns it off.
At first she blames all the strange occurrences on old age. But Audrey finally falls sobbing into Richard's arms, saying: "Please help me, I'm losing my mind - but not a word to Gail." As financial adviser Richard pulls stunt after stunt to convince her she can't cope alone, she signs over more and more of her affairs to him.
Actor Brian says: "This is a fantastic storyline but I'm worried. "Richard is already hated by soap fans. How much worse will it get when he drives Audrey mad?"
CORRIE star JENNIE McALPINE is fed-up with fans who think she's as daft as her crazy character Fiz. She tells me: "Fiz is a bit scatty and it annoys me when people confuse her with me. It's terrible when people point at you in the street and say, 'There's the dumb bird from Coronation Street'."
Burglars hit Street star Bill
29 September 2002
CORONATION Street star Bill Tarmey's luxury holiday home has been ransacked while he recovers from heart surgery. The 61-year-old actor, who plays lovable loafer Jack Duckworth, returned home from a funeral to discover burglars had raided the villa in Tenerife. The gang's haul included credit cards and his mobile phone containing numbers of the cast of the show.
They broke in as Bill and his wife Alma attended the funeral of a close friend in the resort of Playa de las Americas.
A neighbour said: "There has been a spate of burglaries in the area and the police were called immediately. Bill was obviously distressed." Bill, who has starred in the Street for 23 years, had been convalescing on the holiday island after undergoing a heart by-pass operation four months ago. He had similar surgery in 1987.
out of fund
27 September 2002
CORONATION Street star Tracy Shaw is winding up a charity she created for victims of eating disorders. Tracy - alias the Street's Maxine Peacock - blamed "management and financial pressures".
The former anorexia victim, who is leaving Corrie next year, intends to use
cash raised through the charity for research into eating disorders.
Soap veteran tells of army
26 September 2002
Coronation Street legend Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, thought he was heading for the Korean War but ended up drinking rum and playing cricket. Bill joined what would become Britain's longest-running soap after five years in the army in which he played cricket amid Jamaican banana trees and lived in a Bedouin tent in the Gulf, he told Soldier magazine.
He also said the experience of persuading the War Office Selection Board that he was officer material showed him he might have a talent for acting. He said: "I played cricket five days a week and rum was twopence a tot. "We used to go to banana plantations. The cricket fields were surrounded by trees and had no proper boundaries. "Steel bands would start up, the rum would be brought onto the field and we never knew when the game ended."
He also revealed that after he returned to civilian life he almost turned down
the part of Ken Barlow - a role he has now played for 42 years. He said: "I
was asked to come to Manchester to do a pilot for a 13-week series called Florizel
Street. "I had just played the lead in Play of the Week, very prestigious
in 1959, and told my agent I didn't want Florizel Street." Needless to
say he was persuaded to reconsider joining what was soon renamed Coronation
Samia snaps up man-eater
26 September2002 by Jonathan Donald
Glamorous Corrie star Samia Ghadie has spoken about her return to the ITV1 soap as a man-eater. Maria Sutherland, played by Ghadie, will toy with the hearts of local men after a doomed trip to Canada. The 20-year-old actress said: "She arrives back in Weatherfield a changed woman. "She's completely up for the sole purpose of having fun and meeting handsome men and generally being an up-for-it girl.
Ghadie will be beguiling men while pulling pints in the Rovers. "My skirts have been taken up a few inches, my tops are even tighter and I've had my hair coloured," she said. "Which is great for Maria as she's about to take on a new vocation as the 34th barmaid in the Rovers, it's a legend in itself to follow in the shoes of such great barmaids as Bet Lynch and Raquel Watts."
Cabbie Vik will be among Maria's many conquests when she returns. Samia said: "She gets to snog a lot more men than before, and even has a fling with Vikram (Chris Bisson) that eventually leads to his exit from the show."
Ghadie herself recently split from actor boyfriend Ciaran Griffiths. Maria
returns from Canada on Oct 6 after growing bored with boyfriend Nick Tilsley
Bookies bear bad omen for
26 September 2002
Coronation Street's Audrey Roberts is the bookies' favourite to fall foul of her killer son-in-law Richard Hillman. Bookmakers Blue Square are offering odds of 7/4 on bets that Audrey, played by Sue Nicholls, will be dastardly Dick's next victim. Fans placed 268 bets (worth a total of £1,800) within the first 24 hours after the book opened.
Coronation Street bosses recently confirmed that Richard, played by Brian Capron, would strike again prompting a flurry of speculation over the identity of his next victim. Richard's unsuspecting wife Gail (Helen Worth) and undertaker Archie Shuttleworth (Roy Hudd) are joint second favourites at 4/1, ahead of Aidan Critchley (Dean Ashton) and Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire), who are both on odds of 7/1. A spokesperson for Blue Square said: "There is a massive interest in it. Dastardly Dick seems to have caught everyone's imagination."
One surprise so far has been a surge in bets on Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor)
forcing the firm to cut her odds from 33/1 to 16/1. But the firm is confident
Audrey is still the firm favourite. The spokesman said: "People will always
back the mother-in-law." Fans can consult www.bluesq.com for a full list
of 11 possible victims.
Samia unmoved by Adam's
26 September 2002
Samia Ghadie says that as a schoolgirl star she was too obsessed with Ronan Keating to give Coronation Street's own Adam Rickitt a second look. Samia, who plays feisty hairdresser Maria Sutherland made teenage girls across the nation jealous with her passionate scenes with Adam's Street character Nick Tilsley.
But Samia, who has acquired a new man-eater image, does not find herself going weak at the knees about Adam. She told OK! magazine: "It's weird because Adam first came into Corrie when I was still at school and one of my friends was completely obsessed with him."I told Adam about it and he just laughed. "But me, no. I was too obsessed with Ronan Keating at the time."
Now Maria is poised to become the new Rovers Return barmaid. Samia said: "She's
about to take on a new vocation as the 34th barmaid in the Rovers, which is
a legend in itself, to follow in the shoes of such great barmaids as Bet Lynch
and Raquel Watts."
Corrie Les inspires Bognor
25 September2002 by TV Plus reporters
Four thieves were caught stealing turf while mimicking a scene from Coronation Street. The men later admitted to Sussex police that they were copying the actions of character Les Battersby. Sergeant Russ Phillips said: "They fully admitted their actions, claiming they had seen the same thing carried out by Les Battersby. "Apparently, he didn't get away with it either."
Two officers patrolling the West Sussex town of Bognor Regis were alerted to the prank when they heard a commotion in a garden on Wednesday. Sergeant Phillips said: "It would apper that four people were attempting to re-turf the garden with pieces of dirt dug up randomly from the adjacent field." They were told to replace the turf.
The news was met with derision from a Corrie spokeswoman. She said: "You
have to question the wisdom of anyone who would copy the actions of Les."
His now legendary scheme aired earlier this summer. The schemer, played by Bruce
Jones, was hired to landscape Ashley and Maxine's garden. In a bid to maximise
his profit, he pinched turf from a playing field.
beat bullies' jibes to become a star
25 September 2002 by Julie Mccaskill
CORRIE girl Nikki Sanderson is the latest star to back the Save Our Kids campaign. Since launching the campaign last week, we have been inundated with tragic stories of young suicides, many of which have been the result of bullying.
Now the 18-year-old actress, who plays Candice Stowe, has revealed she was bullied at school and knows the psychological damage it can cause. Nikki, from Bury, said: "I fully support the Record's campaign because I know what it's like to be bullied. During the first couple of years at high school, I got a bit of bother. "Because my nose sort of slants up a little bit a couple of lads at school would call me `Pig' and oink at me. "I used to get really upset about it and was worried about my mum going into the school to complain because I didn't want them to think I'd grassed on them." And she added: "My advice to anyone being bullied is don't cry over these people, never keep it to yourself. Tell someone close to you what's going on - it always helps to get someone else's opinion."
The Save Our Kids campaign was set up after we revealed how 12-year-old Emma
Morrison hanged herself after being bullied. Cash donated will help set up five
centres across the country for troubled children and young people.
Les hails turn-around on
25 September 2002
Coronation Street star Bruce Jones says the show's producer Kieran Roberts has overseen a dramatic improvement in the atmosphere on set. Jones, known to millions as loudmouth Les Battersby, tells Inside Soap magazine: "People are buzzing, all the actors are really happy. "We're enjoying what we are doing now and can't wait to get our scripts. We've even started going out for drinks."
The show has seen a marked turn-around in its fortunes in recent weeks after a period which saw it lose out to BBC1 rival EastEnders both in the ratings war and in terms of collecting awards. But Street bosses have boosted interest with an autumn season complete with sex, intrigue and murder as well as a series of double bills to draw fans back.
And almost 60% of soap fans agree that the soap has recovered its momentum. In a poll of Inside Soap readers, 59% said the show was back at its best.
Roberts was appointed last November.
Is it the end for Sarah?
22 September 2002
THIS is the terrifying moment when Coronation Street's Sarah-Louise Platt is left for dead. In the explosive storyline, the teenage mum - played by TINA O'BRIEN - suffers horrendous injuries after an horrific joy-riding crash with her tearaway boyfriend Ade Critchley (DEAN ASHTON) at the wheel. A Street insider told me: "Viewers will be left wondering whether Sarah-Lou will survive the crash or leave little Bethany motherless."
In the dramatic storyline, to be shown next month, Corrie fans will see Sarah-Lou clawing at the door of the stolen car desperately trying to escape. But nasty Ade ignores her cries and flees the scene. This in turn lines Ade up as Richard Hillman's possible third murder victim.
As the insider says: "As Sarah-Lou's stepdad, Richard is fiercely protective
of her and could take revenge..."
Street mum Sarah's life in balance after crash
22 September 2002
Coronation Street teenage mum Sarah Platt's life will be left hanging in the balance after a joyride smash. She will be seen lying in the wreckage as tearaway Ade Critchley loses control - and lines himself up as a possible victim for Corrie killer Richard Hillman. The scenes will be screened in October in a double-bill of the show which recently regained its crown as the nation's most watched soap.
Sarah (played by Tina O'Brien) agrees to go for a high-speed trip in a car he has stolen from Ken Barlow but she panics when he refuses to slow down. As she claws at the door to get out, he takes his eyes off the road and veers out of control with the car spinning on to its roof and slamming under a parked lorry. Ade (Dean Ashton) struggles free and is left to wrestle with his conscience over whether he should help her or flee the scene to save his own skin.
A Street spokeswoman said: "Viewers will be gripped by these dramatic
scenes and whether the teenage mum will survive the crash or leave Bethany motherless.
"With Sarah's life hanging in the balance, Ade's actions line him up as
yet another possible victim for Richard Hillman's next killing. "Street
murderer Hillman, Sarah's new stepfather, has proved he's prepared to kill to
protect his family and Ade's behaviour gives Richard a possible motive. "Richard
will strike again later this year in an unmissable storyline."
Rat Adam beds Samia
22 September 2002
CORRIE stars Samia Ghadie and Adam Rickitt had a steamy love affair for REAL after filming the raunchiest sex scenes ever seen on the soap. But following their off-screen romps, Samia has been left UPSET because Adam - who plays randy Nick Tilsley - has dumped her.
Last night, a friend of Samia told The People: "It was love at first sight when she met Adam on set. She fell for him in a big way. But now she is devastated by the split." In the soap, hunky Nick bedded Samia's character, hairdresser, Maria Sutherland, within hours of their first meeting. But what Street fans did not know was that Samia and Adam were recreating the sizzling bedroom antics for real.
A crew member said: "It was obvious as soon as Samia was introduced to Adam that there was a terrific spark between them. "Even during rehearsals they were constantly seen flirting outrageously. "When it came to the scenes where they had to kiss and cuddle there was no stopping them. There was real passion between them."
Pals of the blond actor say he has dropped Samia because is he "too busy" and desperate to get back with his long-term partner, dancer Jane Doyle. But it has come as a bitter blow to Samia, 20, who broke up with her love of three years, actor Ciaran Griffiths from The Bill, to go out with Adam.
Meanwhile, there'll be a big change when Samia returns to the soap after a break... shy Maria is about to become a man-eating vamp!
Maxine will dump hubby for dirty Doc
22 September 2002
SEXY Maxine Peacock will quit Coronation Street by running off with dirty doctor Matt Ramsden. The bubbly hairdresser will walk out on dimwit hubby Ashley after discovering the former Weatherfield GP really is her baby Joshua's dad.
Producers came up with the sensational storyline after actress TRACY SHAW announced she wanted to quit the soap in a row over money, The People can reveal. They know Maxine will end up becoming public enemy number one when she dumps butcher Ashley at Christmas. And they are bracing themselves for an avalanche of protests from stunned viewers. But they believe the gripping storyline will have audiences hooked. Doc Matt fathered the baby during his infamous one-night stand with Maxine.
Now actor STEPHEN BECKETT has been signed up to return to Weatherfield and finally wreck the Peacocks' crumbling marriage. A source revealed: "Maxine's departure is set to be one of the Street's biggest-ever storylines. "It will see the return of the Matt - once Ashley's best mate but now his arch-enemy. The final nail in the coffin of the marriage is when Matt and Maxine run off, leaving distraught Ashley with no wife and no child."
After quitting the soap, Tracy is set to start work on two top-secret ITV drama
premieres in which she plays lead roles. It is rumoured she has also been approached
to take over the lead role from Hollywood star Nicole Kidman in the Broadway
play The Blue Room.
22 September 2002
SALLY LINDSEY, Corrie's cuddly, bubbly barmaid Shelley Unwin, wants to be a mum.
She says: "I'm really broody. I love kids. A palm reader predicted I'll marry and have a baby soon. But the trouble is I haven't found Mr Right."
Street's Shaw to leave
Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw is to leave the hit soap after seven years as hairdresser Maxine to pursue other projects. It is not yet clear how Shaw will be written out, but it is likely to be at the beginning of next year, a spokeswoman for the show said.
The actress met producers earlier this year and informed them of her desire to move on. Shaw met producer Kieran Roberts this week and agreed the timing of her departure. "Leaving Coronation Street was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make," she said. "I have had a fantastic seven years, worked on some fabulous storylines and made some great friends. "But the time has come for me to spread my wings and move on. "I am very excited about the future, I am already talking to people about possible projects and although I am nervous about saying goodbye to such a big part of my life I am relishing the prospect of new challenges."
Shaw posed for a photocall outside the ITV1 soap's local - the Rovers Return. Asked by photographers to look downcast about leaving, she laughed and replied: "I don't want to be miserable." The spokeswoman said the storyline leading up to Shaw's departure would be kept a strict secret. Shaw has been contacted about possible roles in two West End productions and is also considering drama work at Granada itself. She has become almost as famous for her raunchy poses in men's magazines and arriving at awards ceremonies in risqué outfits as she has for her acting.
Mr Roberts said: "Maxine has been a hugely popular character for the show
and, while we are sorry to see her go, we fully understand Tracy's desire to
try her hand at other things. "Characters come and go in soaps all the
time and the departure of a character like Maxine does give the scriptwriters
great scope to come up with dramatic storylines for the viewers to enjoy. "We
are looking forward to devising a great plotline for Tracy's exit next year."
Maxine to leave Corrie
20 September 2002
Tracy Shaw is to leave Coronation Street after seven years playing hairdresser Maxine Peacock. The actress met producer Kieran Roberts this week who said she could leave the show early next year. Scriptwriters have begun working on a dramatic exit for Maxine. But the spokeswoman for the Street says producers want to keep exact details of her exit secret. An insider says it is likely to be linked to the 'who's the daddy' storyline from last year. Maxine still does not know whether her husband Ashley or Dr Matt Ramsden is the father of her son Joshua.
Shaw has been approached to appear in two different West End productions and is interested in the possibility of working with Granada's drama department. Coronation Street producer Kieran Roberts said: "Maxine has been a hugely popular character for the show and, while we are sorry to see her go, we fully understand Tracy's desire to try her hand at other things. "Characters come and go in soaps all the time and the departure of a character like Maxine does give the scriptwriters great scope to come up with dramatic storylines for the viewers to enjoy. "We are looking forward to devising a great plotline for Tracy's exit next year."
Tracy Shaw said: "Leaving Coronation Street was one of the hardest decisions
I have ever had to make. "I have had a fantastic seven years, worked on
some fabulous storylines and made some great friends. But the time has come
for me to spread my wings and move on." "I am very excited about the
future, I am already talking to people about possible projects and although
I am nervous about saying goodbye to such a big part of my life I am relishing
the prospect of new challenges."
20 September 2002
CORONATION Street killer Richard Hillman will strike again in a Christmas edition. The murder guessing game - like Cluedo - is set to grip viewers and have fans asking: "Who's next?"
Tricky Dickie has already struck twice. He let business pal Duggie Ferguson die after a fall and then robbed him. He also finished off ex- wife Patricia and buried her body in the foundations of new flats. The next victim of the baddie played by Brian Capron is a closely-guarded secret. An insider said: "Viewers will be gripped and left guessing right to the end. It's edge of the seat stuff."
There is no shortage of possible victims, beginning with mother-in-law Audrey Roberts and her £250,000 will for daughter Gail. Richard could also cash in on Gail's life insurance policy. Archie Shuttleworth is a close friend of Rita and could stand between Richard and her cash. Richard would gain the value of widow Emily Bishop's house in an equity release scheme if she died. Student Toyah Battersby is keeping a protective eye on Emily - and actress Georgia Taylor is quitting Corrie. Troubled Vikram Desai is played by Chris Bisson who is also quitting the soap. Only Norris Cole suspects Richard is s schemer. His days could be numbered.
Corrie killer lines up next
20 September 2002
Coronation Street bosses have released the names of 11 characters, one of whom will be murdered by serial killer Richard Hillman. The identity of Tricky Dicky's next victim is being kept a closely guarded secret and two different storylines have been written in an attempt to keep viewers guessing. But a list of 11 possible victims has been released by bosses of the ITV1 soap. They include favourites and Street stalwarts, such as Audrey Roberts, Emily Bishop, Jack and Vera Duckworth, Rita Sullivan and Hillman's wife Gail. The hit list also includes Aidan Critchley, Norris Cole, Toyah Battersby, Vikram Desai and Archie Shuttleworth. Hillman, played by Brian Capron, has a motive for murdering any one of the characters on the hit list.
Fans of the show will place Vikram and Toyah as favourites to join Hillman's gruesome tally of victims because the actors playing the characters have announced they are leaving the Street. But Tricky Dicky's dodgy financial dealings and greed give him a motive to kill any one of the others. Hillman would dearly love to see the back of Norris, the only person so far to suspect him of wrong-doing.
Richard Hillman has already been implicated in two dramatic deaths. He left business partner Duggie Ferguson to die after falling from a balcony and then robbed him of £70,000. Earlier this year he murdered his ex-wife Patricia and buried her in the foundations of his luxury flats development when she threatened to expose his dodgy dealings.
A Street spokeswoman said: "Money is Richard's primary motivation and
now that his finances are in dire straits it can only be a matter of time before
he strikes again. "One thing is certain, Coronation Street viewers are
in for some gripping storylines as we head towards 2003."
Corrie killer Richard to
20 September2002 by Derek Robbins
Corrie killer Richard Hillman is to murder again later this year in a shock new storyline. The soap's team of writers and producers have just spent two days deciding who will be Richard's next victim, and they have penned two different plots in a bid to keep the dead person's identity secret. Richard (Brian Capron) has alredy been involved in two deaths: he left Duggie Ferguson to die and killed ex-wife Patricia with a spade.
Corrie bosses have issued a list of 11 possible victims. They include mother-in-law
Audrey Roberts who has a £250,000 fortune; his wife Gail; Jack and Vera
who he has conned out of £2,000 and Norris Cole who suspects Richard of
being a baddie. Also included are Emily Bishop; Rita Sullivan; Aidan Critchley;
Toyah Battersby; Vikram Desai; and Archie Shuttleworth.
Corrie bosses hope the plot will attract huge ratings.
A spokeswoman said: "We hope it will have the same impact as the hugely
successful 1998 plot where viewers were kept in the dark about whether or not
Deirdre Rachid was sent to jail until the night of the episode. "Cast and
crew have been sworn to secrecy as we want to keep the victim's identity a closely
Oasis drop Rovers Return
17 September 2002
Manchester rock legends Oasis have ditched plans to hold a party in Coronation Street's boozer the Rovers Return because it was too expensive.
Noel and Liam Gallagher had hoped to hire the pub at Granada's studios in Manchester for a private bash to thank staff and friends who had helped organise their current tour. But the brothers dropped the plan when they realised they would have to pay £20,000 to hire the venue. While the Rovers set used for filming is alcohol-free, the Gallaghers had hoped to hire a replica built for visitors to enjoy a pint after touring the studios.
A spokesperson for 360 Media, the group responsible for hiring the venue, said: "It normally doesn't cost that much but the price was because we're about to start renovation work on it. "Any delay would have built up costs and we would have had to bring in security for the night."
I had to rescue Gail's hair...
15 September 2002
Adrian Wilde has come a long way from the tough council estate in Denton, Manchester, where he grew up. Back then, the closest he came to the stars was watching them on TV. But now the 28-year-old hair stylist has a celebrity client list that boasts Coronation Street's Suranne Jones, Jennifer James and Helen Worth and, what's more, he can lay claim to the fact that he's sorted out Gail Platt's hair.
"Helen had already had her hair cut into a bob, and wanted me to come and advise her on colouring it," recalls Adrian. "I was nervous, but she was really nice and looked even more scared than me. She'd never had her hair coloured and she was frightened of ruining it. "I assured her that we'd keep it natural-looking and chose blonde, gold and chocolate-coloured highlights. Luckily for me, she loved it. Now I'm called at all sorts of odd hours to do her hair. Recently, I coloured it for Gail's wedding. "It felt like I was doing her real wedding, and I almost gave her a good luck hug when she left."
Adrian's break came accidentally, when he met actress Denise Welch at a charity function in Leeds. She invited him to style her hair for a shoot and recommended him to Vicky Entwistle, who plays Janice Battersby in Corrie. "Vicky and I got on like a house on fire," says Adrian. "Now, when she comes in, she tells us the gossip and has everyone in stitches."
The celebrity clients keep coming to his Manchester salon - and all for £25 a time. He charges the same for stars as for locals and has become so much a part of Corrie style, even his staff are becoming famous. Suranne Jones was his Saturday girl as a teenager, but when she joined the Street in 2000, it was her mate Adrian she rang and not a high-flying London hairdresser. "She's such a mate to me," says Adrian. "She's constantly buying me little gifts to say thank you, and she'll come over to my place and I'll cook her dinner - she just loves my Sunday roast."
His lifestyle is a million miles away from the rough estate where his mum Jackie brought him up with his two brothers, Scott, now 30, and Simon, 32. "Life was tough and you'd either sink or swim," he recalls. "I used to look at the faces of people with no hope, clutching their Saturday night treat of 10 cigarettes and a can of lager, sitting in the doorways of their flats, and I'd think, `God, get me out of here!' "We never had cash for fancy clothes and, when I was training to be a hairdresser, I'd go to all the Oxfam shops in the area and dig out designer gear. Nobody ever guessed that I didn't have two pennies to rub together. "But Mum doesn't stop talking about me now and I've been able to buy her all sorts of nice things."
Adrian lives in a beautiful, three-bedroomed detached house in Manchester. He owns his own salon, drives a BMW and is about to open a tanning centre with Suranne. For any showbiz bash, he's the one that the Corrie girls call and he went to last year's TV Soap Awards. "I was in a limo about the size of the front room of the flat I grew up in. I was with Liz Dawn, Tracy Shaw and Steven Arnold. It was amazing. "I even got to walk down a red carpet. People were waving at me and I thought, `Who do they think I am?' But then I thought, `Who cares? It's Saturday night, I'm being treated like a star and it's a long way from Denton'."
Going back to Corrie was like walking in on a crash
15 September 2002
MENTION that you're going to interview Julie Goodyear and the reaction, give or take the odd swearword, is usually the same. "Oh my God, she's a complete nightmare." So imagine my surprise when I turn up at a photographic studio in one of Manchester's less salubrious areas to be greeted with an "alright, cock" and a friendly handshake. Then Julie smiles and says "are we having our picture taken together then?" and offers me the services of her make-up artist. I take my place next to her and we both smile for the camera.
Suddenly, and without breaking her smile, Julie whispers the following words: "Let's just hope Granada have learnt something from the last two months. And never have this awful woman back again." No one else in the room heard her. In any case the words would have meant nothing to them. But they meant something to myself and Julie. I wrote them in June when she announced her Coronation Street comeback was over after only 24 days. And she had remembered every word. Oh-oh, here it comes. The Queen Of Weatherfield is about to give it to me both barrels.
I'm the first journalist she's spoken to since she quit Coronation Street through ill-health and, more pertinently, I'm a member of that elite band of media snipers who poured a bucketful over her when the news broke. Instead she rolls her head back and lets out a throaty roar of laughter. "Water off a duck's back, cock," she says.
I'm still trying to come to terms with all that bird imagery when we sit down for our chat. But before we even begin, Julie is very keen that I read a Press release which Granada have prepared specially for me. Basically, it says Julie is not coming back to Coronation Street full-time but she will be returning on a part-time basis very soon - possibly as early as January next year. Here we go, I think, I'm getting the company line. This is going to be a complete waste of time. So the fact that Julie spent the next two hours talking as openly as anyone I've ever interviewed was a welcome relief. (Almost as welcome as the fact that she seemed to have forgotten that I called her "a scabby-headed horse" just six weeks ago. Or has she?)
So why, following a fanfare of publicity, did Julie's return to Coronation Street go so disastrously wrong? "It was my fault," she says. "I freaked out. For me it was like being in a car crash. Going back there was like hitting the deck at 150mph. "I couldn't deal with it all. I couldn't catch my breath. Once I realised it was too much for me I panicked. I started to lose my sleep pattern very quickly and it was very scary. I was totally shell-shocked."
D-Day for Julie was Friday May 24. That's when she knew she could take no more and made what she calls "the most awful phone call of my life". She says: "I'd worked all day and I was exhausted when I got home. Even though the next day was my day off I had 10 scenes to prepare for Sunday. Something just snapped. Physically, mentally; there was no way I could do justice to the job." A tearful Julie called the show's producer Kieran Roberts and told him she couldn't go on. She then phoned her doctor.
Julie recalls: "She told me, 'You've got severe exhaustion - there's no way you can go back to work'. "I said, 'Oh, but I'll be alright in a couple of days' and she said, 'No Julie, you won't, this is serious'. "So it wasn't Granada or myself who decided I was leaving Coronation Street again. It was my doctor. I've never had what you'd call a sicknote in my life. I've never been the cause of script rewrites. I felt terrible and thought I was to blame. "Kieran was very good about it. He said in hindsight he thought maybe I'd been hit too hard and maybe he should have reintroduced me more softly. But I still couldn't help feeling I'd messed up. I felt so disorientated and I was going through every emotion in the book while everyone was sticking the boot in. It was terrible."
So did Julie make an error of judgement? Did the legendary Goodyear swagger get in the way of common sense? "Look kidder," she said ,suddenly sounding a lot like Bet Lynch. "I'd been working right up until I went back, on stage every night singing and dancing. Why should I have ever suspected I wouldn't be able to take the pace?" Bravado aside, Julie is big enough to admit she made a mistake. "Do I feel like I've failed? Not really because your health is the most important thing. At the end of the day what we do isn't rocket science. You have to get your priorities right. "But I don't think it's finished my career. I won't be the only actress in history who can't handle those sort of schedules. "When I was last there we had such a thing as rehearsals. It was only three episodes a week and you had Saturday and Sunday off. My first week back it was five episodes. Now you go in and you just do it, no time off in between. Seven in the morning to 7.30pm at night. It's like this huge conveyor belt.
"These days nothing is shot in story order and I'm not ashamed to admit I just couldn't get my head around it. "I've got nothing but admiration for the rest of the cast. The older ones have had time to get used to it. The kids know nothing else. "I think Corrie will go five nights a week pretty soon but I don't think there'll be a cast exodus. They will be upset about the workload but however much you squeal about it ITV Network Centre has the last word. But it's a shame. It puts more and more pressure on writers, producers and actors. And as for the viewers - I really don't know how they keep up."
The viewers are very important to Julie. It's clear they responded to her return very positively even though she feels she let them down badly. The simple fact is that Coronation Street's ratings went up when she came back and figures announced just last week suggest an upturn in the show's fortunes since June. Isn't she tempted to pick up the phone? "I feel fine now but I'm not silly enough to go and say, 'Come on let's start again'."
But why not? And is she really OK? She's already battled cancer in her life. Is she simply putting on a brave face to cover up a more serious medical problem? "No, I haven't got any serious health problems but thanks for asking, cock," she laughs. "Anyway I don't think I'd be very good at putting a brave face on it. I'd suck my thumb and sulk. "I'm happy to do whatever the writers come up with for next year. And this new arrangement means I can do other things - there's talk of a comedy drama with Granada."
So, who knows, some good might come out of the Corrie debacle. It might even kick-start her telly career. "Kick-start?" she yells. "After 25 bloody years you think I need a kick-start?" At last. The Diva is back. "Oh don't start with that diva stuff," she says sipping her pink champagne. "Your stylist has already had a go at me for not being demanding enough. I think she's a bit disappointed."
Well, now you mention it Julie, there are a lot of rumours that you've actually been given the boot because you're such an uppity old cow."For a start, less of the old," she says. "I'm only 60. And that stroppy image has been created by the media because it suits them." Yeah, and it suits you. "It doesn't suit me at all, young man. How can being a prima donna help me? If anything it made going back more difficult. The young kids on the Street had heard all this stuff about me and they believed it. They heard stuff I'd not even heard. I'd be frightened of myself if I WAS like that."
So you're telling me you've never had a hissy fit on set? "Listen, the only ding-dongs I've ever had were on a much higher level, upstairs with the bosses. I've never had problems with anyone I worked with. "People want to believe that I'm this monster and I do understand that. Showbiz legend demands people like that.
ANYWAY, if I was that bothered about my image would I have done those scenes with no make-up on recently? "And I did them even though I knew the Press would say look at that ugly old trout rather than look at that brave woman."
Ah, the Press. If Julie had an axe to grind they'd feel the sharp end of it. "Right from the press launch I felt the knives were out," she says. "Having chatted to people at Granada they say there's been an 18-month vendetta against the Street and I took the brunt. "I'm an easy target. And I'm not in a position to sue. I haven't got Elton John's money, even though I would like his frocks. And it hurt like hell. Any actor who tells you they don't read every word is having you on."
Does she have any regrets about the last few months?"To be honest, I'm a little sad it wasn't like the good old days. I couldn't even have a laugh with old pals like Bill Tarmey and Bill Roache. There just wasn't time."
So what now for Julie Goodyear? Will she retreat to lick her wounds to the
farm she shares with her boyfriend Scott, 33? The one in Heywood, Lancashire,
the village where she's lived all her life? "I've had lots of offers to
do a life story so maybe I'll put some thought into that." Can you remember
it all? "Course I can, I'm not that bloody old you know." From what
I can see you're not a stroppy old cow either, Julie. But if I'm wrong I must
say you're a bloomin' good actress. So you win either way.
Sunita off the shelf with Dev
15 September 2002
DISHY Dev Alahan is about to fall deeply in love with his shop girl Sunita, I can reveal. The randy womaniser of Weatherfield will settle down with Sunita after she has a brief fling with Curly Watts. And although Dev has enjoyed a string of one-night stands - including a drunken romp with Deirdre Barlow - this time he's tamed by TRUE LOVE.
My mole in the Corrie green room reveals: "The relationship between Dev and Sunita has been a love story waiting to happen. It's going to be very slushy and romantic - and it will have a happy ending. When Sunita (played by SHOBNA GULATI) joined the show two years ago, she was on the run from her parents because she didn't want to return to India for an arranged marriage. Caring Dev gave her a job, let her live above the shop and encouraged her to defy her parents. Now it turns out that Sunita has secretly fancied Dev (played by JIMMI HARKISHAN) all along.
And Dev realises he feels the same way about her. Shobna tells me: "At first Sunita thought of Dev as being like a big brother who looked after her, but then she started to fancy him." However, Sunita has had to comfort Dev's ex-fiancee Geena and console a distraught Deirdre, while secretly pining for Dev herself.
Fans of the show will be delighted that Sunita, who once dated the late Duggie
Ferguson, finds happiness. At first she drops hints to Dev, and whoever else
will listen, but he just doesn't get the message... until an emotional outburst
when her love comes pouring out.
13 September 2002 by Frances Traynor, TV Editor
CORONATION Street is biting back in the ratings war. Monday night's new double helping of the ITV soap is proving a winner with viewers. Unofficial ratings figures show that more than 10 million people this week tuned in to watch Weatherfield bad boy Joe Carter go on the rob with Steve McDonald.
That news follows the release of official figures revealing that Corrie has been No1 in the BARB ratings chart for six weeks on the trot. Now Corrie bosses have gone on the offensive against big rival EastEnders and hit back at claims that Britain's longest- running soap is on the slide.They have revealed that this year, Corrie has actually been No1 in the charts twice as often as EastEnders. Unlike the BBC show, Corrie doesn't add its omnibus edition to the weekly ratings. Granada's John Whiston said: "These figures prove it's still the country's favourite TV show.
"We did suffer a drop in ratings over last year and 2001 was a very strong year for EastEnders, but the tide is turning and the evidence is now there in black and white."The plots are gripping, the characters are brilliant and the quality of the writing is second to none."
Street claims 'ratings crown'
Soap opera Coronation Street says it is "the country's favourite TV show" after ratings success against its rival EastEnders. The ITV drama has occupied the top spot on the TV chart for each of the last six weeks, according to its makers, Granada. It proves that "the tide is turning" after losing the battle in 2001, they said.
The claim comes four days after BBC One's EastEnders swept the board at the TV Quick Awards for the second year running, eclipsing Coronation Street, which left empty-handed. Coronation Street, shown on ITV, also lost out at the British Soap Awards and the Baftas. But makers Granada Northwest say viewing figures are on the up again.
"We have held the top slot in the official chart for the last six weeks, and with the strong storylines we have lined up for the autumn we expect to build on that success," Granada's director of programmes John Whiston said. "We have always admitted that we did suffer a drop in ratings over last year and that 2001 was a very strong year for EastEnders, but the tide is turning and the evidence is now there in black and white."
Coronation Street was the most popular show in 20 of the last 33 weeks - compared with 10 for EastEnders. Producers have hailed a new double helping of the show on Mondays - at 7:30 and 8:30pm - as a success. More than 10 million people watched bad boy Joe Carter commit a robbery with Steve McDonald on Monday.
The extra instalments will be continued until the end of September, and take the total number of episodes to five per week. "Once again, the plots are gripping, the characters are brilliant and the quality of the writing in Coronation Street is second to none," Mr Whiston said. A spokeswoman for EastEnders said they did not comment on ratings matters.
Corrie rebuts critics' jibes
12 September2002 by Derek Robbins
Corrie chiefs have rejected criticism that it is playing second fiddle to EastEnders in the popularity stakes. The jibes reached fever pitch this week when Corrie left Monday's TV Quick Awards empty-handed while the BBC1 soap got five gongs. But Corrie bosses say it beat its BBC rival six weeks running in the ratings to the end of August.
John Whiston, of Granada, said: "These figures prove Corrie is still the country's favourite show." Show bosses say Corrie's failure to pick up awards does not reflect the healthy state of the veteran soap. Mr Whiston said: "The awards focus on plots from last year. We did suffer a drop in ratings then and that 2001 was a strong year for EastEnders, but the tide is turning. "Loyal Corrie fans are sick and tired of hearing the show is somehow 'in trouble'. They know plots are gripping, writing is second to none and the characters are brilliant."
A new fifth weekly episode will cement its ratings dominance over EastEnders, say makers. Monday's 8.30pm offering was seen by 10m and a spokeswoman said: "It was a fantastic start for a new time slot." Mr Whiston added: "We expect to build on that success with our strong plots in the autumn." According to BARB ratings Corrie has been Britain's most-watched show 20 times this year, while EastEnders has topped the chart 10 times.
8 September 2002
CORRIE'S Les Battersby is used to being in deep water - so it was no big deal when a couple of pals threw him into his hotel pool on holiday.
Les - actor BRUCE JONES, 49 - was all washed up after his unscheduled splash during a break in Majorca. And he could be forgiven for thinking he was back in Weatherfield - where he sank into oblivion after wife Janice left him for his best mate Dennis Stringer, then got out of his depth with an Aussie backpacker. But, like his character, you can't keep Bruce down for long. Within minutes he was back in the swim and enjoying his holiday.
Corrie's unlucky-in-love Tyrone - gets more than 50 letters a week from adoring girls fans. But he says: "It baffles me. It's not as if I'm a pretty boy like Brad Pitt."
Boyzone star returns to
6 September 2002
Former Boyzone singer Keith Duffy is set to return to Coronation Street playing Irish womaniser Ciaran McCarthy. The chart star was a hit when he appeared in the show earlier this year. His character Ciaran tried to seduce Rovers Return barmaid Shelley Unwin (played by Sally Lindsay). Shelley was dating Ciaran's best friend Peter Barlow (played by Chris Gascoyne) but he refused to believe her story about his mate and the pair rowed furiously before Peter came to his senses and told Ciaran to leave.
The stage is set for Ciaran to make a dramatic return to Weatherfield and producers
promise that more sparks will fly. Keith said: "It's great to be back on
the show. I had the most fantastic time working with the cast earlier this year
and am really looking forward to meeting up with them all again."
Corrie one-offs best for
6 September 2002
Stayaway Coronation Street legend Julie Goodyear has decided not to return to the soap full time, reports suggest. The actress, who plays Bet Gilroy, has been off work for exhaustion since June after filming only 17 episodes in her comeback to the Street. Photographers pictured Goodyear meeting the soap's executive producer Carolyn Reynolds in a Manchester restaurant and, according to the Daily Star, the pair agreed that in future she will only make one-off appearances.
After returning to the Street, Julie, 60, reportedly complained that the show's
gruelling, four-times-a-week schedule was too demanding. Sources told the Star
she was happy to ditch her £78,000 contract in return for the one-off
stints. "It was a good meeting between the two of them and everyone has
gone away more than satisfied," a source said.
Archie enlists Street stars
6 September 2002
Coronation Street's jolly undertaker Archie Shuttleworth has lined up a star-studded array of fellow Weatherfield regulars for a special variety show. Actor Roy Hudd is hosting a celebrity gala evening for performers' fundraising group the Grand Order of the Water Rats to raise cash for charities and has enlisted the help of fellow Street stars.
Organisers are remaining tight-lipped about which stars will leave the Rovers
Return for the night but are promising singing, dancing, comedy and a few surprises.
The show takes place at the original art deco Plaza Theatre in Stockport, Greater
Manchester, on November 8. The Grand Order of the Water Rats is an exclusive
showbiz club set up by music hall stars in 1889 to raise money for good causes.
More information is available by calling the box office on 0161 477 7779.
Hubby can't wait for Geena
5 September 2002
The departure of Rovers Return glamour girl Geena Gregory will be mourned by many fans - but at least one will be celebrating. Former Street co-star Lee Boardman, who played violent drug dealer Jez Quigley, admits that he can't wait for Geena - played by his real-life wife Jennifer James - to quit the soap. Jennifer's contract with Coronation Street is set to end in the next few weeks and Lee admits he has wanted his wife to leave for ages.
"She's got about three weeks left on her contract. I've been banging on to her for 18 months to leave," he tells the Daily Star. Since his character was killed off, the actor has been busy working in films and the theatre.
Now Jennifer is set to relocate to London and is hoping to follow her husband
on to the big screen. She is said to be eyeing roles in gritty Brit flicks and
Street chiefs looking for
4 September 2002
Coronation Street bosses are looking to inject an extra touch of glamour into the long-running ITV1 soap. Producers have recruited a number of attractive youngsters in an attempt to inject some youth and beauty into the show, the Daily Star claims. The newcomers will feature as extras in disco and party scenes and it is hoped that they will blend in better with characters such as Maria (Samia Ghadie), Fiz (Jennie McAlpine) and the Grimshaw boys (Ryan Thomas and Bruno Langley).
The move is said to have been prompted in part by the fact that Toyah, actress Georgia Taylor, and Vikram, played by Chris Bisson, are leaving the soap. The Star says producers fear that too many of the show's characters are elderly. The current cast includes 72-year-old Eileen Derbyshire (who plays Emily Bishop) and 82-year-old Betty Driver (Betty Williams).
An insider reportedly told the newspaper: "The powers-that-be feel they have been relying on the older members and extras too much. "Characters such as Archie and Blanche may be funny to some of the older viewers - but writers are being told to scale down the age factor. "Younger extras might just do the trick."
Suranne hosts birthday bash
3 September 2002
Coronation Street star Suranne Jones has marked her birthday in style with a star-studded bash in Manchester, according to newspaper reports. The soap beauty's 24th birthday party at the city's trendy Life Cafe proved irresistible to her co-stars on Britain's longest running soap, the Daily Star reports.
A string of Weatherfield faces - including Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald) and
Jonathan Wrather (Joe Carter) - joined stars from cult comedy Phoenix Nights
and Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks at the bash, the paper says.
Former Street star in UK tour of comedy play
3 September 2002
Beverley Callard is touring the UK in the new comedy play, Mum's The Word. The nine-week tour begins tonight in Stoke-on-Trent.
Callard, who played Liz McDonald in Coronation Street, plays one of six mums sharing their experiences of motherhood. The cast also includes Julia Watson from Casualty and Tina Malone from Brookside, www.whatsonstage.com reports.
The tour will go on to visit theatres in Manchester, Reading, Liverpool, Birmingham,
Folkestone, Felixstowe, Torquay, Dartford and York.
Conniving Carter bids to save Corrie factory
2 September 2002
Coronation Street insiders have revealed Joe Carter is set to become more underhand than ever. As boss Mike Baldwin finally realises he has been hit by an "Alahan Scam", Joe shows he will stop at next to nothing to secure the firm's future. But when faced with the prospect of a return behind bars, he quickly changes colours and decides to save himself.
Ex-cons Carter and Steve McDonald team up after a deal brokered by Dev Alahan collapses and the pair decide to stage a robbery to retrieve stock. Feelings are already running high between Joe, played by Jonathan Wrather, and Dev, and the heist inevitably leads to a bloody confrontation on Corrie's cobbles. Realising he suddenly has the upper hand, Dev turns to blackmail and persuades ex-fiancee Geena he will drop charges if she agrees to drop Joe.
Actor Jon Wrather said: "Joe's freedom is more important to him than anything else, to the extent that he is prepared to sacrifice Geena to save himself." "The tension between Joe and Dev escalates into real hatred and Geena is the innocent victim caught in the crossfire."
Other shocks include Audrey falling prey to her double-killer son-in-law, Richard
Hillman, before her granddaughter, Sarah, is left for dead after getting caught
up in boyfriend Ade Critchley's wayward plans. Also Peter Barlow has no sooner
patched up his relationship with barmaid Shelley Unwin than he falls for a florist
he meets while buying her a romantic gift.
Star offered strip role
1 September 2002
Coronation Street stunner Tracy Shaw has been offered a West End stage role. Providing she agrees to strip - and quit her role as dippy hairdresser Maxine in the top ITV soap - the part played by Nicole Kidman in the Blue room is hers, according to the News of the World. The actress is currently embroiled in a row with the long-running show's bosses over her contract and the play's producers believe she would create as big a stir as Kidman in the role.
Tracy has already received a string of offers, the Sunday tabloid says, including
one from Broadway and another from producers planning a stage version of the
movie Grease. It also claims the BBC is poised to poach her for its drama department
if her contract is not renewed when it expires in October.
Crime lures jailbird Joe
1 September 2002
Street jailbird Joe Carter can't resist going back to his old ways when the opportunity presents itself, according to reports.
The People's soap columnist Garry Johnson reckons the character rekindles his criminal career after Dev and his cousin Naveen rip off his boss Mike Baldwin. When their cheque for an underwear order bounces, he teams up with Steve MacDonald to break into Naveen's warehouse and steal the stock, he says.
The plot sparks off a "sensational spiral of revenge and law-breaking,"
the columnist adds. Actor Jonathan Wrather, who plays Joe, is delighted with
the new plotline. He tells the newspaper: "Much as I've enjoyed playing
Joe straight, it's a lot more fun playing him evil."
It's a dog's life for new soap star
31 August 2002
Canine fans will love the new star of Coronation Street - a gold and white shih-tzu called Mr Woo. The latest resident on the cobbled street will join the soap in October, when he becomes Rita Sullivan's companion.
Three-year-old Mr Woo, real name Teddy, was chosen from more than 30 hopefuls for a role in the show. Canine casting director Kevin Horkin said he was perfect for the part. He said: "It was vital that we found the right dog with the right temperament for the show and Teddy had that extra something that made him shine out from the rest. "He'll be working with some of Coronation Street's top stars."
But trouble is ahead for Norris Cole, who helps Emily Bishop look after the
pet while Rita is on holiday. Norris is not a dog lover, and living with Mr
Woo creates a battle of wills.
Watts this, Curly in steamy
29 August 2002
Nerdy Curly Watts is set to bed Coronation Street sizzler Sunita after finding out his policewoman wife has been cheating on him, according to reports.
The Daily Star reckons he'll leap between the sheets with Sunita (played by Shobna Gulati) when she volunteers to babysit for the couple. She is shocked to learn that Emma has been unfaithful with a fellow police officer and offers Curly (Kevin Kennedy) a shoulder to cry on - when the action soon hots up, the paper says.
But, it claims, Curly won't end up ditching his wife for her because actress
Angela Lonsdale, who plays Emma, has asked scriptwriters to ensure she and Curly
fight to save their marriage.
Duffy back as Corrie womaniser
29 August 2002 by TV Plus reporters
Ex-pop star Keith Duffy so impressed TV bosses during his recent stint in Corrie, he's to return to the soap. The former Boyzone pin-up, 27, set sparks flying as Irish womaniser Ciaran McCarthy earlier this summer. He betrayed his best pal Peter Barlow by making a play for his girlfriend, Rovers Return landlady Shelley Unwin.
Duffy, to return to Weatherfield in the autumn, said: "It's great to be back on the show." "I had the most fantastic time working with the cast earlier this year and really look forward to meeting up with them all again."
Corrie bosses have yet to reveal how he will return, but his spell is expected
to run well into next year. They will be hoping his Irish charm will help boost
ratings, which have at times fallen below nine million.
Street babe leaves bikini
27 August 2002
Coronation Street pin-up Suranne Jones says she is giving up posing in underwear and swimsuits for glossy lads' mags. The 23-year-old soap stunner who plays feisty Karen McDonald tells the Daily Star that she is giving up the photoshoots and opting for a quieter life.
"When you get into a programme like Corrie, you want to go to every party and do every glam photoshoot you are offered just in case it doesn't last," she says. "I did bikini shots for FHM, Loaded and Maxim and I don't regret that. But I got sick of seeing my mug everywhere. Now I just want to concentrate on my character."
Suranne, whose loudmouth character Karen has been compared to Street legend
Elsie Tanner, now wants to take things more slowly. "Instead of going to
parties, I want to go home with my boyfriend and watch a video," she added.
and tired of Corrie
27 August 2002
CHRIS Bisson shocked everyone when he sensationally announced he was quitting Britain's most famous street. Naturally, Coronation Street bosses said they were sorry to see him go but wished him "every success for the future".
Tear-jerking stuff. But not entirely true as 3am has learnt that Chris's relationship with the show's executives is far from amicable. When we caught up with Chris, who played Romeo taxi driver Vikram Desai for four years, he revealed he's quitting when his contract runs out in December because he is fed up with his "boring" storylines. And he also told of a number of young Corrie stars who are set to throw in the towel for the same reason.
Revealing the real reasons for his shock departure to us, he said: "I was very frustrated with my storylines... and I'm not the only one. "My character was going nowhere. I made my feelings clear to the bosses but they didn't do anything about it. "I got to the stage where I'd had enough. Once I'd decided, the only person I confided in was Steven Arnold. He was trying to talk me out of it but I felt I'd done my time on the Street. "It's one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. My co-stars were gutted and the bosses weren't thrilled either. They wanted me to stay but I'd rather take a pay cut and star in a more challenging role in the West End."
Bisson's decision to hand in the cab keys came a little more than a week after
Georgia Taylor declared she had had enough after five years of playing rape
victim Toyah Battersby. Chris's departure is another blow for ITV executives.
Last month, the show's audience of 12million plunged below nine million three
Now bosses are attempting to take Corrie back to its roots - with fewer explosive stories and greater concentration on humour and relationships. But the changes haven't come soon enough for Chris and Georgia.
The only consolation for Chris is that at least now he'll have more time for
romance. He confessed to 3am that unlike his "Dirty Desai" character,
he's only had two intimate relationships this year. "One only lasted a
night. The other was over in weeks. I've been single ever since," he said.
Speaking of the star's departure, a Corrie spokesman said: "It was a mutual
decision that Chris should go as his character wasn't going anywhere. "He
can speak for himself but not for everyone else on the show. Anyway, we're making
sure Chris goes out with a bang."
Loud-mouth Karen shown the
26 August 2002
Coronation Street hothead Karen McDonald is about to talk her way into trouble again.
After giving herself a top-to-toe makeover to look the part for her job in
flashy furniture store Elevation, she's keen to make a good impression, the
Daily Star reports. But the image is shattered when her down-market mates Fiz
Brown (Jennie McAlpine) and Janice Battersby (Vicky Entwistle) come calling
at the hi-tech boutique. They immediately flout the no-smoking rule and are
told to leave the premises by the boss. As usual, bigmouth Karen (Suranne Jones)
starts sounding off before she's engaged her brain - and before she knows it,
the boss has shown her the door too.
So all Bets are off for the Street
25 August 2002 by Lily Savage
CAN anyone tell me what's happened to Bet Lynch? Is Julie Goodyear going to return to Coronation Street or not? None of the characters mention her. It's like she didn't exist. You'd think that Audrey or Rita might mention her in passing, being such old mates, but no. It seems the motto on Corrie is definitely "out of sight out of mind".
I know Julie Goodyear has knockers - critics to be more precise - but I was delighted to see Bet back. And once Ms Goodyear got into her stride she was very entertaining. Well to to be honest, I was a bit startled at first when Bet and Rita got back together as they reminded me of a comedy drag double act that used to tour the pubs. But at least they were entertaining...so come on Granada, is Bet coming back? You let Maureen Lipman slip through your fingers, don't make the same mistake with Bet.
McDonald's burger bother
24 August 2002
Coronation's Street's furniture store assistant Karen McDonald is set to be carpeted by her boss after clashing with a customer. Karen (Suranne Jones) tells the man off for eating a burger while he checks out the expensive stock. But what she doesn't know is that he's a mega-rich record producer who regularly flashes his cash in the store, the Daily Star reports. Her boss does not appreciate her showing him the door, telling her: "He can cover the place in mayonnaise for all I care."
Peter risks loosing Shelley
24 August 2002
Corrie bookie Peter Barlow's relationship with girlfriend Shelley Unwin is set to take a turn for the worse as he gambles with their relationship. Already in trouble after believing the lies his former best friend Ciaran McCarthy (ex-Boyzone heart-throb Keith Duffy) told him about her, he's about to find himself at the centre of a love triangle.
It starts when he pops into a florists to buy a bouquet for Rovers Return barmaid Shelley (Sally Lindsay), the Daily Star reports. Lucy Jenkins, the girl who serves him, is no shrinking violet and mutual lust soon blossoms into a secret affair. Shelley finds out and gormless Peter (Chris Gasgoyne) begs for forgiveness, asking her to marry him - while carrying on his affair with Lucy (Katy Carmichael).
Peter Barlow is following in the footsteps of lothario dad Ken, who has jeopardised a string of relationships with reckless affairs.
Stupid punt, Peter Barlow
19 August 2002
Corrie bookie Peter Barlow's relationship with girlfriend Shelley Unwin is set to take a turn for the worse as he gambles with their relationship. Already in trouble after believing the lies his former best friend Ciaran McCarthy (ex-Boyzone heart-throb Keith Duffy) told him about her, he's about to find himself at the centre of a love triangle.
It starts when he pops into a florists to buy a bouquet for Rovers Return barmaid Shelley (Sally Lindsay), the Daily Star reports. Lucy Jenkins, the girl who serves him, is no shrinking violet and mutual lust soon blossoms into a secret affair. Shelley finds out and gormless Peter (Chris Gasgoyne) begs for forgiveness, asking her to marry him - while carrying on his affair with Lucy (Katy Carmichael).
Peter Barlow is following in the footsteps of lothario dad Ken, who has jeopardised
a string of relationships with reckless affairs.
Bet to return to Street
19 August 2002
Coronation Street bosses have ended speculation over whether veteran Rovers landlady Bet Lynch will be returning to the show after her illness. Actress Julie Goodyear delighted fans by returning to the ITV1 soap earlier this year but was taken ill soon afterwards leaving fans guessing whether or not the return would be permanent. Street bosses have told www.coronationstreet.co.uk the character would be returning but only for occasional guest appearances. Comedy actress Maureen Lipman was parachuted into the soap for a brief run of eight episodes to fill a gap in the storyline immediately after Julie Goodyear's illness in May.
It was reported at the time that Goodyear was suffering from exhaustion. After
discussions between the show's producers and the actress, it has been decided
that she will be written into the script for occasional guest appearances whenever
her commitments allow. A statement from the show said: "The viewers have
caught up with Bet and the character has renewed her links with Weatherfield
so it will work for both Julie and the show to see Bet on an ad hoc basis."
Street is on song
18 August 2002
CORRIE starlet Sally Lindsay has been dubbed "Sexbomb" of the Street by sound engineers who play the Tom Jones hit when she walks on set. Sally, who plays Shelley Unwin, blushes as the song is blasted through giant speakers and the crew start dancing.
But she is not the only "victim" as Coronation Street jokers have songs for all the stars. Jennifer James (Geena Gregory) is greeted by Robbie Williams' She's The One and sci-fi fan Georgina Taylor (Toyah Battersby) gets the theme from Star Wars. Boyzone star Keith Duffy (Ciaran McCarthy), who blew the lid on the backstage antics, is teased for his bad-boy image with a recording of drunken Father Jack from the TV comedy Father Ted.
A Corrie insider said: "The cast and crew enjoy themselves, it takes tension out of the scenes."
Who will tricky Dicky kill next?
18 August 2002
EVIL Richard Hillman is all set to kill again as Corrie gears up for a sensational autumn of death and sex, I can reveal. Bosses are lining up another victim for callous property developer Dicky (BRIAN CAPRON), who has already murdered his ex-wife and robbed Duggie Ferguson after watching him fall to his doom. And younger members of the cast are already running a book on who he will kill next - with EMILY BISHOP and NORRIS COLE joint favourites and VIK DESAI also in the frame.
My Corrie source tells me: "Richard and Gail are back next week and it's no big secret that his financial dreams immediately go pear-shaped. "Richard becomes increasingly desperate as he tries to hold his empire together and as always there's a handy fall guy for his frustration." Dirty Dick star Brian says: "The public already dislike Richard, but he's going to get a lot worse and probably become the most hated character in British soap."
The stunning storyline is part of a concerted effort to keep the ITV soap ahead
in the battle with EastEnders. Street bosses are planning more sexual hanky-panky
too. Mike Baldwin will bed Maxine's mum Doreen. And there is a bitter fall-out
between Kevin and Sally Webster, who split up again next month when Kev refuses
to become Sal's bedroom plaything. My source reveals that Sally gets a job with
Peter Barlow in the bookies and to celebrate she and Kevin share a bottle of
wine over dinner. Sal asks him to share her bed but adds: "In the morning
we'll just be good friends again and not lovers." Kev then storms out,
saying: "I'm not just gonna be here for when you fancy a one-night stand."
The Rovers Return turns
16 August 2002 by Hannah Wright
If walls could talk, this is one building which would have some toe curling tales to tell. Corrie's Rovers Return pub is 100 years-old on Sunday, and it has seen more action in its time than Mike Baldwin's bedroom. Eleven landlords and landladies and 33 barmaids have passed through its doors. We have also witnessed punch ups, slanging matches, a raging fire and the death of gossip Martha Longhurst under its very roof.
Corrie may be only 42 years old, but Weatherfield had its own history way before the cameras started rolling. The Rovers Return dates back to 1902, when the rest of Coronation Street was supposedly built. It was to be called The Coronation but the brewery changed its mind when the street itself was named. Two fictitious landlords held the fort before the soap hit our screens and Jack and Annie Walker took over.
Annie's children Billy and Joan were born in the pub. She ran it single-handed while husband Jack served in the army. The snobbish pair ended up with their name over the door for a record 33 years and it became the focal point of the whole show. In its earlier years, there was a Snug in the bar - where pensioners Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst gossiped, and drank. Up until WWII, this was the only room the women were allowed to be served in - and the drinks were a half-penny cheaper than in the main area. The other bar was the Select, which doubled up as the function room. The last Christmas show to be put on in the Rovers Return Select bar was in 1984. Percy Sugden performed his terrible farmyard impressions and Alf Roberts told awful jokes. Memorable moments from the earlier days include Minnie Caldwell's recital of The Owl And The Pussy Cat and Rita Littlewood's impersonation of Danny LaRue in 1973, wearing a glittering dress and wig.
In its 100 years, the Rovers Return has churned out many barmaids - but none so memorable as Corrie's Bet Lynch. She had worked there since 1970 so no-one knew the Rovers better. It was while she was calling the shots that the pub was gutted by fire in 1986 - Bet almost died trying to claw her way out. The pub was all but destroyed and she thought that was it. But the brewery gave it a makeover.
Bet Lynch didn't last long as landlady of the Rovers Return before she packed her bags and fled to Spain. Next to fill her shoes were Jack and Vera Duckworth - who jumped at the chance to take over after landing an unexpected windfall of £30,000. After them came Natalie Barnes - who threated to sell out to the Boozy Newt chain. Outraged at this threat to the cobbles, Mike Baldwin, Fred Elliot and Duggie Ferguson stepped in. It is now run by Fred's wife Eve.
"It's a busy local pub so warrants its staff quota, and Fred Elliot isn't
the most hands-on of landlords so he does need all the staff he can get,"
says a spokesman for the show. The producers try to make the Rovers as authentic
as possible, complete with a jukebox and fruit machine. "These rarely feature
in storylines so aren't always seen," he explains.
Laid-up Bill lays off booze
16 August 2002
Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey, who hopes to be back at the soap by Christmas, is avoiding all alcohol to aid his recovery from his recent op. Bill, 61, who plays slothful Jack Duckworth, spent six hours under the surgeon's knife last month during a heart bypass at the private Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle, Cheshire.
The former 60-a-day smoker is under strict doctor's orders to avoid all booze
and so is sticking to coffee for the time being. According to the Daily Star,
Bill knows he is lucky to be alive following his second bypass, and is determined
to do everything possible to get back to full health. A friend told the newspaper:
"He is doing marvellously well - but he's the first to admit he wouldn't
mind getting his lips around a pint again. "He's taken the odd joke about
sipping coffee all the time." Bill is recovering at his home in Ashton-Under-Lyne.
Battle of the Baddies
15 August 2002
The actors behind two of TV's nastiest characters are vying for a gong in this years Inside Soap Awards. Alex Ferns, who plays EastEnders' wife-beating rapist Tevor Morgan, and Brian Capron, who plays Coronation Street psychopath Richard Hillman, have both been nominated for a best actor award, according to the magazine.
Richard shocked Coronation Street viewers when he murdered his ex-wife Patricia with a spade and buried her under several feet of concrete. Now he has married Street veteran Gail (Helen Worth), leaving fans wondering whether she faces the same gruesome fate.
Meanwhile, in Albert Square, Trevor's abuse of long-suffering wife Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth) ended when she finally hit him over the head with an iron and left him for dead. After a trial which gripped the nation she was jailed. Both sagas have also been nominated for the best storyline award.
The nasty duo face tough competition for best actor from Dan Paris, who plays
Neighbours nice-guy Drew Kirk, and Ben Hull, whose Hollyoaks character Lewis
Richardson committed suicide. Other actors nominated are EastEnders Martin Kemp
(who played Steve Owen) and Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell); Coronation Street
actors Charles Dale (Dennis Stringer) and Steven Arnold (Ashley Peacock); and
Brookside stars Steven Pinder (Max Farnham) and Dean Sullivan (Jimmy Corkhill).
Yorkshire-based Emmerdale sees actors Peter Amory (Chris Tate), Steve Halliwell
(Zak Dingle) and John Middleton (Rev Ashley Thomas) nominated. Also on the list
are Crossroads actor Colin Wells (Jake Booth); Family Affairs' Jo Dow (Jim Webb)
and Australian soap Home and Away's Ryan Kwanten (Vinnie Patterson).
I'm no heart-throb, says
15 August 2002
Coronation Street star Jonathan Wrather, who plays Mike Baldwin's womanising side-kick Joe Carter, says he does not want to be a heart-throb.
Ex-convict Joe has already moved in on his first conquest, Rovers Return barmaid Geena Gregory (played by Jennifer James). But Jonathan told Hot Stars magazine: "I can't believe I've been tarnished with the brush of hunk and heart-throb!" Jonathan told the magazine: "Joe isn't evil through and through. He's the kind of bad guy some women find attractive." Asked if that makes him a womaniser, he said: "I hope so. As much of that as we can get in as possible please."
Fresh from Strangeways prison, Joe was immediately employed by Mike (Johnny Briggs) as his right hand man at the Underworld factory.
Off camera the pair have hit it off already. He said: "We're known as
the two Johnnys. "He was a bit upset that I didn't play golf. He was looking
for a golfing partner but I can't stand it."
Street killer based on real
14 August 2002
Actor Brian Capron says he based his portrayal of Coronation Street psychopath Richard Hillman on real-life killers he has met. Brian, whose character has just married Street veteran Gail (Helen Worth), shocked viewers when he murdered his ex-wife Patricia with a spade and buried her under several feet of concrete.
Early in his career he toured the country performing plays in prisons and was amazed by how easily he found he was taken in by hardened criminals. He told Soaplife magazine: "You'd meet these prisoners and think "he's a really nice bloke" - then somebody would tell you what they were in for and you'd be shocked. "You would be completely taken in by these people and almost didn't want to acknowledge the truth. "That's how I'm trying to play Richard, and it seems to have worked as people don't hate him although he's pretty evil. They seem to think he's not a bad guy really."
Richard first appeared on the soap at the funeral of his cousin Alma Halliwell (Amanda Barrie). As well as killing his ex-wife he left business partner Duggie Ferguson (John Bowe) for dead after an accident.
Brian says Richard's macabre reputation is already beginning to follow him.
"I went to buy a train ticket at the station the other day and the ticket
man shouted `Oh no, it's him! Get out of the way everyone, he's going to kill
Street's Karen hopes for
13 August 2002
Actress Suranne Jones, better known as Coronation Street loudmouth Karen McDonald thinks the best aspect of the role is throwing plates. Suranne told Soaplife magazine that her one hope for the role is that scriptwriters do not try to calm the character down. She said: "I hope she and Steve don't settle down as there's lots of mileage in them arguing. And, yes I enjoy throwing those plates."
Karen's stormy marriage to husband Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) got off to
an inauspicious start when she managed to get him to propose as part of a bet.
But, according to Suranne, Karen plans to stay with Steve. She said: "She
intends to keep her man and take him with her." She added: "Fans tell
me they've often felt like throwing a plate of food at their husbands - the
difference is Karen gets to do it."
Soap addicts wanted for magazine poll
12 August 2002
Soap fans are being asked to vote in this year's Inside Soap awards. Voters can choose from a shortlist in the categories available or make their own choices.
Categories including Sexiest Male, Best Bitch, Best Newcomer and Best Storyline. The Best Storyline category includes Jimmy Corkhill's mental illness in Brookside, Richard Hillman's murderous habits in Coronation Street and the Flick Scully, Steph Scully and Marc Lambert love triangle in Neighbours.
EastEnders' Phil Mitchell and Trevor Morgan are up for Best Bad Boy along with Emmerdale's Cain Dingle and Hollyoaks' Scott Anderson.
A full entry form is available in the latest edition of Inside Soap magazine.
The closing date for entries is Monday, August 26.
Coronation Street loses
12 August 2002 by Julia Day
Coronation Street, the backbone of ITV's schedule for the past 41 years, is losing its audience in a spectacular fashion with viewing figures down by two million viewers over the past year. On three days last month, the audience for the soap - which picked up more than 18 million viewers in its heyday - fell below 9 million.
On July 21, when a long-running storyline involving Gail and Martin Platt came to a head, the viewing figures dipped as low as 8.3 million. That night, the main competition for viewers was the Open Golf tournament in Muirfield, an event that is not a traditional audience puller. Coronation Street's fortunes have been affected by a general decline in audiences for ITV. July was one of the worst months on record for the network.
Last month the soap's ratings crashed below the 10 million barrier four times and it managed audiences of more than 11 million viewers on just two occasions. The performance stands in stark contrast with July 2001, when the soap's audience dipped below 10 million twice but rose above 11 million on eight occasions. It twice attracted more than 12 million viewers and once pulled an audience of 13 million. Last July the number of people tuning in hovered around the 12 million mark for most of the month, two million viewers more than the show's regular audience this July.
The BBC's coverage of the Commonwealth Games and the Open golf knocked Coronation Street below the 9 million mark last month but this cannot explain away the Street's current poor pulling power. Even efforts to boost Corrie's allure, such as the arrival of former Boyzone star Keith Duffy - which only pulled in 10.1 million viewers on Wednesday night - have proved unsuccessful.
No babies, no sacking, but I'm off...
11 August 2002
GEORGIA Taylor takes a long drag on her cigarette and fixes me with her fiercest Battersby stare. "Hey you, you've written some nasty things about me," she says.
"Nah, I'm sure I haven't," I lie.
"You have - you said I had a face like a smacked arse."
There's no getting out of it. Fortunately, Georgia has much more important business to occupy her time. Like finding a new job. After five years with Coronation Street she's only gone and quit. Without another job to go to. "It's just starting to hit me now," she says. "I've known that I'm definitely leaving for the last six weeks but now it's all out in the open I'm like, 'Oh-oh, no going back now'. "When I went to break the news to the show's producer I was so nervous," she says. "I was practising what I was going to say for weeks."
Truth is, Georgia, 22, has known she was leaving for a lot longer than six weeks. She actually decided last Christmas that she'd taken teenage tearaway Toyah Battersby far enough. "I didn't tell anyone," she says. "I didn't want to give anybody a chance to change my mind. "I've never had any other job apart from the Street and I was worried people would think I was mad to throw it all away."
She was so paranoid about it that she didn't tell her agent until the day she quit and couldn't bear to tell her parents in case it upset her mum Caroline. "The only person I told was my boyfriend Mark," she says. "He's very laid back and didn't try and influence me either way. He just listened and when my mind was made up he backed me all the way."
Although the news of her departure was only announced a few days ago, the rumour mill has already been grinding. She's been sacked. She's suffering from the same soap burnout as EastEnders' teenager Michelle Ryan. She's fallen out with the new Coronation Street boss, Kieran Roberts. She's leaving to have a family with her rock star boyfriend, guitarist Mark Eyden, even. "No way have I been sacked," she laughs. "And I'm not being killed off either. In fact they've asked me to stay an extra three months after my current contract ends so they can let Toyah go with a bang."
In Georgia's time on the show, Toyah has been raped, kidnapped and had under-age sex, so perhaps people would understand if she'd quit because she found the going tough. Not a bit of it. "I hate it when actresses do that," she says. "Say they've taken the character home with them and it's all become too much for them, left them emotionally drained. "Live in the real world, for God's sake, go home and have a cup of tea."
Hearing her talk like that you could easily imagine her falling out with her boss. But no, she gets on so well with him she even approached him with storyline ideas for Toyah's exit next February. So it must be the babies then. Georgia and her fella Mark, who is in Manchester-based band The Jackdaws, have been going steady for two years and they live together so surely they must be thinking of starting a family.
Georgia flashes me a "yeah, right" look."Me and Mark are pretty solid but we aren't planning a family just yet," she says. "He's busy with his band and it feels like I'm just starting out again."I'm not leaving Corrie because I hate anyone or I'm unhappy," she sighs. "I know people are always cynical but there's nothing negative in my decision at all."
It seems the reason Georgia is leaving is that she's had enough of being miserable. Which is pretty much what I meant with the smacked arse thing. "To be honest, I probably agreed with you," she admits. "People used to love Toyah because she was gobby and in your face, but now she can be a right miserable sod. "But when you've had a storyline like rape it's difficult to get any more dramatic, particularly in Corrie where they go for reality rather than sensationalism. I just felt like I didn't want to stay in a show where there was nowhere for the character to go. And I want to play a woman for once. I'm 22 now but Toyah is still a teenager."
That doesn't mean Georgia is going to follow the same route as other ex-soap stars, like Merseybeat newcomer Joanna Taylor, who walk straight into a role which relies more on their bodies than their acting skills. "I'm not gonna start getting my bits out. Don't get me wrong, as a viewer I love seeing sex on the telly. "But with soap stars being considered as celebrities rather than actresses they are sometimes taken advantage of in the ratings war. "They leave a soap and the first new show they're in they get their boobs out. And I hate it when young people leave soaps and say, 'I want to do films', as if it's the easiest thing in the world. "I'm realistic, I just want to do something good. Some young soap stars get taken in by the glamour of it all and end up doing rubbish. "I want to judge everything on its merits - assuming I get offered something, of course."And even if I don't get a flood of offers you won't catch me being a TV presenter or trying to make a pop record. That's a promise."
She's far too polite to name names, but you get the feeling Georgia doesn't think much of her fellow soap babes who think showing some flesh is the route to success. Though not a busty blonde bombshell, there's no denying she is a beautiful woman, far more so than the greasy spoon that Toyah works in allows her to be. "I look back at pictures of Toyah and think, 'What did I look like?' "I've lost about two stone since I joined the Street. I wasn't on a faddy diet. I swam 50 lengths every day for four months and it just dropped off. People say it was puppy fat dropping off, but I prefer to take the credit and say I worked my arse off."
Georgia is not exactly a media whore. Hating champagne, she tends to shun showbiz parties in favour of a night in with Corrie girls, Samia Ghadie (Maria), Jenny McAlpine (Fiz) and Angela Lonsdale (Emma). They are who she will miss most. Even so, she says she'd love it if Toyah was killed off. Put the poor cow out of her misery. "I'd love it if she was Richard Hillman's next victim," she says, referring to the show's serial killer. "I know what's going to happen but I can't say," she adds. "It's very dramatic."
Given that she leaves around Valentine's Day and she earlier let slip that Toyah's exit was to do with love, I reckon her old flame Spider might be involved. Talking about it, Georgia loses her train of thought and instinctively lights up a cigarette. Second thoughts? "Nah, I'm good at sticking to a decision when I've made up my mind," she says. "I know this is what I have to do. Even if I fall flat on my arse."
It is a lot for a 22-year-old girl with a mortgage to give up. Georgia shares a two-bedroom flat with Mark and her two cats in Manchester. "I believe that everyone in this business should experience being a jobbing actor. I had to challenge myself," she says. "If I get no work I could handle tightening my belt." Besides, her dad Geoff, who is her financial adviser, has told her she's okay for money. "He has invested stuff for me, I don't really understand it."
Her hesitation prompts me to ask my cruellest question: So where do you see
yourself in five years' time? Her reply is possibly the funniest thing I've
heard a soap star say. "Doing panto!" she says. Somehow I doubt it.
It's wedding shells for the Street's Pete
11 August 2002
GET set for another Corrie wedding - I can reveal Peter Barlow will pop the question to busty barmaid Shelley Unwin this month. But he proposes only after DUMPING her and accusing her of SLEEPING with his mate Ciaran.
In a storyline described as "an emotional roller-coaster", Peter (CHRIS GASCOYNE) immediately regrets giving Shelley (SALLY LINDSAY) the elbow. The desperate bookie begs her to kiss and make up and goes to pieces when she refuses, turning to his dad Ken to heal the rift. And Ken, in his role as newspaper agony aunt Hermione Fairfax, persuades him to make a big dramatic gesture to convince Shelley he really loves and trusts her. My Weatherfield mole says: "Producers plan a Christmas wedding."
The couple's troubles began when Peter's naval pal Ciaran McCarthy (KEITH DUFFY) moved into their flat and got the hots for Shelley. Ex-Boyzone star Keith leaves the show soon, but would jump at the chance of doing more Corrie. He says: "I hope we've not seen the last of Ciaran. But I doubt he'll be returning as Peter's best man."
The Corrie barmaids make high-class cocktails
11 August 2002
As Corrie's barmaids, Geena and Shelley, Jennifer James and Sally Lindsay aren't expected to pour anything more adventurous than a whisky for Mike or a G&T for Audrey. 'The whisky's Vimto and apple juice, the G&T is lemonade,' stage-whispers Sally, 28. She and Jennifer, 24, are in Manchester's Vivienne Westwood boutique, choosing outfits that announce 'High Class Barwoman' - because tonight they're going to learn how to make sophisticated cocktails at the five-star Lowry Hotel. It's a cobble's throw from the Granada studios, but light years away from the Rovers. 'On set, we dress in New Look, and giant, Spice Girl trainers,' confides Jennnifer, struggling to balance on a pair of eight-inch stilettos. Sally is stuck in a microscopic top: 'That's never going to go over me knockers,' she shouts. You can take the girls out of Weatherfield...
With the transformation complete, now all they have to do is make Sex And The City-style cocktails - when the most either has ever done is pour a Bitter Shandy. 'I have drunk cocktails, though, at Jen's house,' admits Sally. 'Next morning, I thought me head had gone septic and I couldn't feel me legs.' Shrieking with laughter, the girls burst into the quiet opulence of The Lowry's River Bar - it's like letting two circus ponies loose in a library. Behind the bar, James the barman is waiting to instruct them in 'flaring'- the bottle flinging Tom Cruise did in Cocktail. The girls are nervous about spilling stuff down their Westwood gear, so they start with a simple Cosmopolitan. 'Pour your ingredients,' counsels James. 'Count to four... then two and a half with the next one.' 'One.. two... and... a... haaaaalf,' says Jennifer, making it last for a count of eight and causing her cocktail glass to overflow. Sally is cackling so hard she can barely shake hers, but James makes her go through the motions. 'How much does this cost?' she asks. '£7.50,' says James. Sally responds in a most er, unladylike fashion.
After the Cosmopolitan success they're straight on to Bloody Marys, flinging bottles of Tio Pepe sherry 'the secret ingredient' and Tabasco around as if they're always making them for Emily Bishop. Jennifer confidently throws her shaker from one hand to the other, yelling 'Hey!' like a bullfighter - and both cocktails look and taste exactly as they should. But B52s are more difficult. James demonstrates how to pour a layer of Kahlua, one of Baileys and one of Grand Marnier to create a lethal three-tier shot glass. Jennifer does hers first time. 'Right, so I pour Grand Marnier over a twirly thing with a bit on the end - that's the technical name for it,' mutters Sally. She forgets to rest the twirly thing on the Baileys, though, and the drink curdles. Unfortunately, James has now set fire to Jen's B52, so she picks it up to show it off, spills alcohol on her hand, and sets herself alight. A lot of cold water later, she's recovered enough from her Human Fireball stunt to attempt bottle throwing. 'Can we have plastic ones?' asks Sally. James laughs, but after a series of crashes the bar floor is a sea of broken glass and he recognises the error of his ways.
Sally and Jennifer may need more practice, but judging by their enthusiasm for the task in hand, the Rovers may soon be hosting a Cocktail Night. Jennifer's £250 goes to The Crocus Trust which works to fight bowel cancer. For info or to make a donation call 020 7386 9790 or see crocustrust.co.uk Sally is donating her money to The Alzheimer's Society, the UK's leading care and research charity for people with all forms of dementia and their carers. For info or to make a donation see alzheimers.org.uk or call 0845 306 0898
Street romeo Vik quits
9 August 2002
Coronation Street favourite Chris Bisson is quitting the show after four years as romeo Vik Desai. The star said it had been among the most difficult decisions of his life but he wanted to diversify and face "fresh challenges". Now producers are planning a dramatic exit for the actor, who also starred in film hit East Is East.
Bisson, 27, is lined up to leave the show in December when his current contract
runs out. He is currently working on a plot in which his character's gambling
debts are spiralling out of control. The storyline will lead to his departure.
The actor said: "To leave a family as warm and caring as Coronation Street
has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. "I
had four fantastic years as part of the most talented team in British television.
"I am very grateful to those who have made it so special and that includes,
most importantly, the viewers. "In a few months I will bid a fond farewell
to Vik and Streetcars as the time has come for me to diversify and meet fresh
challenges. "2003 will be a new adventure and I look forward to it."
Corrie firebrand "is
new Elsie Tanner"
9 August 2002
Weatherfield fans are starting to compare fiery character Karen McDonald to The Street's legendary vixen Elsie Tanner. Actress Suranne Jones, who plays loudmouth Karen, has received letters from older viewers saying she reminds them of the famous no-nonsense Elsie (Pat Phoenix), the Daily Mirror reports.
Suranne said: "It's lovely and it's exciting, but Elsie is such an icon and I'm only 23, so I go red even reading them. I want to do well, but I still get paranoid about losing my job because I know I'm not indispensable." She added: "When I joined, I didn't realise the part was going to be anything other than the average bit-part I'd done before. "It was only when they married me off to Steve McDonald that I thought: 'Hang on a minute - I wonder what they're going to have me doing?"'
Her role in Coronation Street is her first major role and when she was chosen
she was still living at home with her parents in Oldham, Lancs, earning £50
a week in a bar and regularly borrowing cash from her mum for cigarettes.The
raven-haired actress is enjoying dressing sharply on screen and yelling her
way through Weatherfield, causing mayhem. She has brawled in the factory with
Bobbi and had public rows with Rita, Eileen, Mike, Joe, Geena and Steve. Sometimes
she forgets to leave her character in the studio. "If I have been shouting
and fighting as Karen all day I can go back and still be like that at home,"
Corrie runs rings round
8 August 2002
Athletics is not the new football. The Commonwealth Games may have pulled in audiences of 10 million plus but now it seems the nation's love affair with track and field events and their new found familiarity with heros such as Jonathan Edwards and Paula Radcliffe is officially over.
BBC1's live coverage of European Championship athletics was no match for the arrival of Keith Duffy, the former Boyzone star, on Coronation Street last night, despite a gold medal-winning sprint from Dwain Chambers in the men's 100m.
Duffy's character, Ciaran McCarthy, immediately set female hearts fluttering in Weatherfield with his first denim-clad appearance. His debut attracted 10.1 million viewers and a 51% audience share - more than twice the 4.7 million audience BBC1's European athletics coverage could muster between 7pm and 7.55pm.
Rovers Return's 100 years
8 August 2002 by Hannah Wright
One of the most famous pubs in the UK is '100 years old' this month. The Rovers Return has had 11 landlords and landladies and 33 bar staff in that time. To celebrate its birthday, the cast of Coronation Street are gearing up for a huge party - with entertainment being laid on by drippy Norris.
The August 18 anniversary episode will see the party in full-swing with a good old-fashioned knees-up. Norris will bang out a tune on the piano and Fred should coin it in as the beer flows - although he's the victim of a Les and Kirk scam.
The Street may only be 42 years old, but Weatherfield has its own history - the Rovers dates back to 1902. Jack and Annie Walker were the first landlords, running the place for a record 33 years, including the time before Corrie started broadcasting.
The Rovers Return pub almost didn't make it to its 100th birthday because it was gutted by fire 16 years ago. Bet Lynch was manning the fort at the time and the storyline was probably one of the soap's best. It looked like the pub would be shut, but the brewery stepped forward and gave it a makeover.
Current landlady Eve Elliot was the 11th to take over after hubby Fred bought
the pub for £76,000.
Sal and Kev: it's back on
8 August 2002
Corrie fans will soon enjoy seeing Kevin Webster finally make a move on former wife Sally. Mechanic Kev (Michael Le Vell) will grab her and the couple lock lips over the kitchen sink as they finish the washing-up. He moved in a few weeks ago as a lodger. Kev had been hoping for a reconciliation, according to the Daily Mirror, which reports he will take Sally (Sally Whittaker) in his arms and say "I've wanted to hold you for so long". The passionate clinch will be screened on August 23 but whether it will lead to anything more long-term than a cuddle remains a mystery.
An insider said: "Kevin was devastated when he made a move on Sally before and she gave him the brush-off. But this time there is a real spark in the air. "And it soon becomes clear that they've spent the night together - although he does the decent thing and gets up before their daughters discover them in bed.
Michael threatened to quit if he didn't get better storylines. The source said:
"This is a great plot. It's not about issues, it's about real life and
emotion and the viewers are going to be gripped."
Boyzone boy's second round
7 August 2002 by TV Plus reporters
Corrie newcomer Keith Duffy originally tried out for the part of bad boy Joe Carter but was knocked back. The former pop star was screen tested for the part of Mike Baldwin's ex-con deputy but was told they needed an actor with more experience. "I was quite disappointed," he admitted. Weeks later, he was amazed when he got a call telling him he'd landed the role of Irish hunk Ciaran McCarthy, who charms his way on to the Street tonight.
Duffy reckoned acting in Corrie gave him the same buzz as being on stage with the band. "It gave me that hair-raising feeling," he said. "But it's going to be an uphill battle before people take me seriously. "There will be people who say 'Who does this guy think he is? He was in a band and now he thinks he can act'. It's going to be difficult for people to look at me in a new light but I think we will pull this off."
Keith said his TV career took off after Celebrity Big Brother. "I was in Boyzone but I wasn't the most well-known one," he said. "This job (in Corrie) has come at just the right time for me. If people like the character, I would love to continue. "The only downside is that I am living apart from my wife, Lisa, and two kids."
Keith's character is Peter Baldwin's pal who tries it on with barmaid Shelley.
Royal encounter for Street's
6 August 2002
Actor Bill Roache, better known as veteran Coronation Street star Ken Barlow, welcomed the Queen to his home city of Preston, Lancashire. Roache, who has been in the soap for more than 40 years, greeted the monarch as she carried out a walkabout through the city on the last day of her marathon Golden Jubilee tour of Britain and the Commonwealth. Roache, 70, is the only remaining member of the original cast of the soap which started in 1960 - making him the world's longest-serving soap star.
The Queen, dressed in lime green, also unveiled the letters patent confirming
Preston's recently-granted city status. She told an estimated 30,000 people:
"I would like to take the opportunity of this last day of my final Jubilee
summer tour to express my gratitude not just to you here in Preston and Lancashire,
but to everybody throughout the United Kingdom for the warmth of the welcome
I have been given by you all during these memorable past three months. "I
have been profoundly moved by the affection shown and by the warmth of the response
to my Golden Jubilee."
Curly wants 10 more years
6 August 2002
Actor Kevin Kennedy, who plays Curly Watts in Coronation Street, hopes to stay in the cast for at least another decade, reports say. Curly first joined the soap as a brainy binman and is now a councillor and house husband.
Kevin is hoping for a long-term contract, according to the Daily Star. An insider said: "Kevin is happy to stay for as long as the powers-that-be want him. He sees plenty of challenges ahead in the next decade. He wants to see Curly enter middle age as a vital part of Coronation Street."
Curly's character faces a tough few months, the paper says. His screen policewoman
wife Emma (Angela Lonsdale) is about to start an affair with a colleague. The
insider said: "Curly will be devastated. Some blistering scenes are on
Soap stars join games ceremony
5 August 2002
Two soap stars have joined in the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Coronation Street actors Tracy Shaw and Steven Arnold arrived at the stadium after the formalities had been completed.
The pair - who play Maxine and Ashley Peacock in the ITV series
- danced together to the theme of Coronation Street, which is
set in the northwest, before witnessing a procession of 40 Morris
over gay storyline
5 August 2002
Gay rights campaigners have hit out at Coronation Street scriptwriters over a planned storyline in which Les Battersby pretends to come out. In a stunt to fool council officials into letting him keep his house Les (Bruce Jones) pretends lodger Kirk Sutherland (Andrew Whyment) is his partner and fills the house with flowers, pastel shades and Village People music.
But David Allison, a spokesman for Gay rights group OutRage, accused scriptwriters of promoting stereotypes of homosexuals. Mr Allison told the Daily Star newspaper: "This stereotyping is inaccurate and offensive to gay men, portraying them as limp-wristed, handbag-swinging poofs."
Les hits on the ruse after Curly Watts (Kevin Kennedy) suggests the council would not dare evict him if Kirk was his lover rather than his lodger. Les sends a letter to the council making the claim but when the authority sends an inspector around to check his story Les is forced to decorate the place as a love nest.
Corrie boobed with my outfits!
21 July 2002
SEXY Corrie star SALLY LINDSAY - who plays busty Rovers barmaid Shelley Unwin - tells me she is not too keen on her "tarty" outfits. Sally says: "Shelley looks like a bimbo and I wouldn't be seen dead in the clothes she has to wear. They're a bit cheap. "I wouldn't say no if the Corrie bosses suggested a sophisticated makeover for Shelley - but I'm not sure if that would go down too well with the Rovers regulars."
There's quite a few male viewers who might be disappointed
as well, Sally.
WILL life imitate soap? SAMIA GHADIE - Maria in Corrie - tells me there is an "off-screen chemistry" between her and naughty Nick Tilsley star ADAM RICKITT. Watch this space for developments...
JENNIFER JAMES (Geena Gregory) hates watching herself kiss on Coronation Street. She says: "I always think: 'That is so disgusting'."
4 August 2002
CORRIE star Denise Welch is looking for a ghost writer for her tell-all autobiography. She has been offered £75,000 for the supposedly warts-and-all tale. Probably a better read will be an unofficial biography that the actress has no idea about, appropriately called Soap Diva.
Samia Ghadie: My favourite things
4 August 2002
I absolutely adore Madonna. Ever since I can remember I've danced to her music. The first single I actually bought was La Isla Bonita and I loved the video for it so much. Madonna's album The Immaculate Collection is a treasured possession of mine. I'd never part with it for any price. When I was a kid I bought a pair of lacy black gloves, just like Madonna's. I thought I was the bee's knees as I impersonated the Material Girl round the bedroom. Madonna is such a great role model to women of my generation. She teaches you that, if you believe in yourself and work hard, then your dreams can come true. Last year I went to see her in the Drowned World Tour with some of the girls from Corrie - Suranne Jones, Naomi Russell and Jenny James. Honestly, I was like some excited kid. As she came on I was screaming: "There she is, oh my God!" I thought I was going to burst a blood vessel. I must confess I prefer her earlier music, but I'm still a massive fan of her current work.
I think it's important for women to keep fit and learn self defence at the same time. Once a week, my trainer and I practise Thai boxing. Historically, the red gloves would be filled with glass and sharp instruments, which were meant to cause maximum damage. But these days it's much tamer! I like it because the whole workout burns up hundreds of calories, tones the hips and bum and gives you the discipline to focus and concentrate. Also, the ability to box makes me feel safe walking down the road. I'm quite petite and being in Britain's best TV soap can sometimes bring unwanted attention. So far I've not had to use the skill. And let's hope it stays that way...
The beach is a great place for me to relax. I'm lucky I've inherited my Lebanese dad's olive skin so I can go golden brown within a few days. I think everyone looks better with a tan, but I'm careful to slap on a sunscreen no less than Factor 15. If I've not been on holiday, I use St Tropez fake tan to give me the sun-kissed look. I cover my hair when I'm on the beach, though, as my hairdresser, Lindsey, has been putting red highlights in my hair for the past two years. Most of my holidays have included the beach - the first time I went away with the family was to Rhodes in Greece, which was truly wonderful. Then, when I was 19, I went to Majorca with my girlfriends. I have to say I thought it would be all lager and chips, but Majorca is a truly marvellous place with some of the most beautiful beaches and blue waters. At the moment, I'm trying to have weekends away in Britain - it's a really brilliant country and sometimes it just gets taken for granted.
I've just bought myself a laptop computer and I don't know how I got by without one. It's great for organising my life. I keep phone numbers and addresses on it, and it's much better than a diary - they're too easy to lose when you're out. I also use it to calculate work out my finances and keep a record of my bills. But the best thing about my computer is e-mail. I can write to my aunt Samia in Africa every day for the price of a local call. They're a great way to contact people without interrupting them when they're busy. You just send off an e-mail and when they have time they can reply. I've just started surfing the web and it's like having access to an international library. But I won't be using the chat rooms. I haven't got time to speak to my friends let alone strangers!
My dad, Joseph, is originally from Lebanon. My mother Patsy is English and they met when my dad was working on an oil rig in Abu Dhabi. My father taught my mum how to cook Lebanese food. My aunt Samia lives in West Africa and she's an amazing cook. When she comes to visit, the whole house smells like we're having a Lebanese banquet.
As a family, we like to go out and eat. My favourite dishes are tabboleh - a salad with parsley, tomatoes and crushed wheat which is just amazing, and kibbel, which is crushed wheat paste stuffed with minced lamb and onions. And the shish taouk, a chicken dish with meat cubes marinated in garlic and lemon juice, with pilau rice is to die for.
I'm lucky that I don't really have to diet, what with all the exercise I do, so I never feel too guilty if I indulge in a large slice of delicious chocolate cake. I remember when I was a little girl, I'd go to my nanna's and help her bake. My favourite bit was licking the bowl after she'd finished with the chocolate mixture. My favourite treat these days is to go to the Trafford Centre in Manchester with my girlfriends. Once we're there, we go to a cafe and order a cappuccino and a large slice of cake. That gives us all the energy to go shopping afterwards.
Clothes from Fabric
Over the years I've got friendly with Leigh, who runs this shop called Fabric in Manchester. It's an amazing place to pick up fantastic and unusual clothes. Although Leigh is 38 and I'm 20, we're really like sisters. I rely on her to tell me what to wear for big parties because she has a brilliant eye. Her shop is not good for my bank balance though - every time I go in there something catches my eye and I can't wait to try it on and take it home. I love all the outfits and can't wait to buy them. Only once have I made a mistake with a dress from there and that's because I took someone else's advice. I knew the minute I got into the car to go to this party that I'd made a mistake. Sure enough, the papers were less than flattering about it. Leigh did make me laugh though. She was so diplomatic about the whole thing, telling me "You have to try these things". Yeah, right!
bad guy role for Street's Jim
2 August 2002
Charlie Lawson, best known as Coronation Street wife-beater Jim McDonald, is to return to the limelight as a kidnapper in ITV1's police drama The Bill.
The Irish-born star plays gangster Alan Simpson who abducts Pc Reg Hollis and strings him up in an abattoir, according to the Daily Star. "Charlie's character Alan Simpson is a real nasty piece of work, a real baddie," the paper quotes a show spokeswoman as saying. "Charlie was brilliant and really played the part of the horrible kidnapper superbly."
No stranger to controversy, Lawson's storylines in Coronation
Street included bedding his son's ex-girlfriend, attacking wife
Liz and being jailed for the manslaughter of a drug dealer.
Corrie babe in bikini photoshoot
2 August 2002
New Rovers Return barmaid Danielle Spencer (Kelly Wenham) has reportedly posed in a skimpy bikini for a six-page spread for men's magazine FHM. According to The Sun newspaper, the Weatherfield bombshell flew out to Marakesh for the photoshoot. But she told the magazine: "I don't think I look that good. I'm quite self critical."
Kelly made her stage debut in a production of Daisy Pulls It Off at her old school, Bramhall High in Stockport. After drama college she landed her first television role when she was just 16 in A&E, followed by a regular role in Hollyoaks, as well as appearing in Cold Feet She also stars as Jess Buckley in ITV1 drama Where the Heart is.
No stranger to revealing photographs, she recently caused a
tabloid sensation by accidentally revealing more cleavage than
intended at the premiere of Spider-Man.
to stay south of Weatherfield
2 August 2002
Maureen Lipman has ruled out a full-time return to Coronation Street after her brief stint behind the bar at the Rovers Return.
The actress says she does not want a full-time role on the ITV1 soap because she does not want to live in Manchester, where she met her husband Jack Rosenthal - a former Coronation Street writer. "I've been there, done that, because I've already lived in Manchester and came away with him - I wouldn't want to make that mistake again," she jokes.
But Lipman says she is pleased that her character Lillian Spencer
has been written out in a way which allows her to make an occasional
return. "It would be brilliant if the script-writers could
come up with something where Lillian just turns up every few weeks,
delivers a cutting insult, and then disappears again - but I don't
think that will happen," she tells the Daily Express.
Soap expert predicts extra episode of Corrie and EastEnders
1 August 2002
A TV soaps expert predicts Coronation Street and EastEnders could expand to five nights a week very soon. Inside Soap editor Steven Murphy says the British public will be able to stomach another episode per week, because both shows have improved. He says the key soaps have turned a corner, and are more consistent than they used to be.
Murphy told Ananova: "I think Corrie is consistently entertaining. It's definitely on the up. "I think the show is reaping the benefits of all the changes and 'back to basics' approach it instigated months ago. "The Gail and Richard storyline is particularly good. We can expect to see Gail hanging over a cliff by Christmas. And new factory boss Joe Carter is a good blend of looks and charisma - he's like a young Mike Baldwin."
But Murphy says plausible love stories are the key to a popular soap. "I think producers have learned that explosions and big, dramatic storylines don't always bring people in. It's love stories and always has been - the mechanism of building relationships up and then destroying them. "But if everyone on Coronation Street slept with each other, the stories would have no impact. "I wouldn't be surprised to see Corrie and EastEnders moved to five nights a week. But they've got to be careful not to reach saturation point."
hails singer's soap role
1 August 2002
Former Boyzone heart-throb Keith Duffy has revealed that his forthcoming role in Coronation Street is already a hit with his grandmother.
Duffy who is set to play Ciaran McCarthy - a flirtatious sailor on shore leave - has told the Daily Star: "For once my gran's not telling me to get a proper job." Duffy believes his short appearance on the Street could boost his profile in his native Ireland more than topping the charts with Boyzone because of the soap's popularity there. He said: "I'll probably be more famous at home for being in the Street than being in Boyzone."
Ciaran turns up on Coronation Street during four weeks shore
leave to visit his old friend Peter Barlow (Chris Gasgoyne) but
soon tries his luck with Peter's girlfriend barmaid Shelly Unwin
star helps tackle famine
1 August 2002
Coronation Street star Chris Bisson is lending a hand to a charity appeal aimed at fighting the famine threatening part of southern Africa. The actor, who plays cab firm boss Vik Dessi, is joining volunteers at Bootle on Merseyside to help open donations which have been flooding in from members of the public.
So far the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC's) Southern Africa Crisis Appeal has raised more than £4 million to help tackle the humanitarian disaster, which could devastate parts of the continent. The appeal was launched on July 25 by DEC - an organisation set up to unite the UK's humanitarian agencies - to raise funds for urgently needed food, medical supplies, seeds and tools.
Charities say more than 14 million people, half of them children,
are facing starvation across southern Africa as impending famine
threatens the area. Street star Chris visited Orissa, in India,
with Oxfam following the 1999 cyclone and this year ran the London
Marathon to raise cash for Save the Children.
Les to come out
31 July 2002
Loudmouth Les Battersby is about to stun Corrie's army of devoted fans by coming out as gay in forthcoming episodes of the top ITV soap.
Loutish Les (Bruce Jones) tells the whole of Weatherfield he is having a relationship with lodger Kirk Sutherland (Andrew Whyment) and the "couple" decorate their home in pastel shades, scatter vases of flowers around and play Village People CDs, the Daily Star reports.
But fans needn't worry that Les has changed for good - it's a cheeky ploy to
earn himself some cash. When the council threatens to evict him for having a
lodger, Curly Watts (Kevin Kennedy) suggests that the council wouldn't dare
evict him if Kirk was his partner instead of a house-guest. Les thinks its a
brilliant idea and dashes off a letter to the council, thinking he'll hear no
more - but then council man turns up at his home to check on the story.
Toyah Battersby to leave Coronation Street
30 July 2002
Coronation Street actress Georgia Taylor is quitting the soap. The 22-year-old has played Toyah Battersby for five years. She will leave the series in January next year. Taylor's current contract ends in October but she has agreed to extend it by three months to give scriptwriters time to devise "an explosive storyline" for her departure, said a Corrie spokeswoman.
Taylor said: "I have had the most amazing time working on Coronation Street but the time has come to move on and try my hand at other things. "I have made some wonderful friends that I know I will have for life. I will be sad to leave but I am very excited about the future."
Wigan-born Georgia scooped the best dramatic performance award in the 2001 Soap Awards for her portrayal of teenage rape victim Toyah. She is now keen to pursue new acting roles.
Coronation Street producer Kieran Roberts said: "Georgia Taylor has been
a huge asset to the show during her five years here. "She is a talented
young actress and we will be sorry to see her go but we totally understand her
decision to move on and we wish her every success for the future."
"must send positive messages"
30 July 2002
Soap operas and television adverts that glorify selfish and bad behaviour send "dangerous messages" to children, teachers are warning. Instead broadcasters should consider incorporating storylines showing unselfish behaviour brought its own rewards, a conference was being told.
Schools do a "brilliant job" of giving children moral values when their parents had failed to do so, said senior members of the Professional Association of Teachers (Pat). But they are up against the "adverse influences" that television has brought into children's lives, Pat delegates at the union's annual conference in Telford, Shropshire, will be told.
Janet Martin, Pat's regional officer for the South East of England, said there are "very few" greedy and selfish children as most jump at the chance to help others when it comes along. Greedy children are the ones "whose parents really need parenting lessons" and had not passed any moral values on to their sons and daughters, she claimed. "As responsible educators it is our duty to ensure that our children have the tools with which to live as grown ups."
She continued: "We are, however, working against a background of adverse influences. The adverts that tell us, "You are worth it', or `You owe it to yourself" do everyone a great disservice. "Soaps and dramas telling of the ease with which some characters get their own way, trick others in order to gain an advantage, enjoy tormenting people lacking the ability or toughness to defend themselves. "All of these are sending dangerous messages to our young people." Ms Martin said she could not recall any recent examples of soap storylines that had glorified cruelty and selfishness and refused to single one programme out for particular criticism. "I wouldn't like to name any one in particular. It's a characteristic of a number of soaps and dramas. I do think it's important that some of the stories going out show that there's value to being selfless."
causes royal rumpus
30 July 2002
Hairdresser Maxine Peacock, played by Tracy Shaw, is set to cause a right royal row in the Street when she names her house Balmoral. Her neighbours can't believe she has developed such delusions of grandeur, the Daily Star reports.
Maxine's long-suffering husband Ashley, played by Stephen Arnold,
has grave doubts about the plan, but goes along with it for a
quiet life. The change is all part of snobby Maxine's desire to
move herself and her butcher spouse up in the world.
flock to Gail's wedding
29 July 2002 by John Plunkett
Wedding bells signalled ratings joy for Coronation Street when Gail's and Richard's nuptials helped the soap to an extra 2 million viewers. An average of 10.6 million people - more than half the audience - watched last night's hour-long special on ITV1. The audience peaked at 11.3 million in the last quarter hour. In contrast, last Sunday's episode was watched by 8.3 million.
The Wedding Album, the one-off Coronation Street documentary that preceded last night's episode and celebrated the soap's 60 marriages so far, was watched by 7.5 million.
The Commonwealth Games showed no sign of losing its momentum. The 400m final and the climax of the decathlon attracted a peak audience of 7 million at 9.30pm. Last night's three-hour coverage averaged 5.1 million, just over one in four viewers.
Apart from the two Coronation Street specials, Sunday's most
popular programme was an eight-year-old repeat of The Vicar Of
Dibley. The BBC1 comedy scored 6.1 million viewers at 9.45pm,
the same audience as the BBC news that followed it.
Street barmaid no push-over for Boyzone's Keith
30 July 2002
Ex-Boyzone star Keith Duffy finds the going gets tough when he tries to pull Corrie barmaid Shelley Unwin. The Irish pop star joins the cast of ITV1's Coronation Street next month as Ciaran McCarthy and wastes no time in making a move on Shelley - played by Sally Unwin. But his antics soon lead to trouble when she gives him the brush off and the pair tussle on a sofa.
His hopes of pairing off with Shelley also cause problems with her boyfriend Peter Barlow (played by Chris Gascoyne), who is Ciaran's old Navy pal. Duffy will first be seen on August 7 when viewers see his character arrive to spend a few days in Weatherfield.
A spokeswoman for the show said: "She's horrified by his
advances and a struggle breaks out." Duffy, whose Boyzone
hits include When The Going Gets Tough, has also starred in Celebrity
Big Brother and has presented ITV1 show Celebrity.
of a bad lot?
30 July 2002 by Jonathan Donald
Gail Platt's diminutive chin is soon to plummet earthwards as she learns the awful truth about her new husband Richard Hillman. Weatherfield police are getting closer to uncovering his catalogue of terrible crimes.
Hillman, played by Brian Capron, is the Street's first serial killer. In true psycho fashion, he can be extremely charming. But leave him alone with a difficult ex-wife and a shovel - and it's murder most horrid.
The way he left businessman Duggie for dead and swiped his £70,000 savings was also pure evil. But how does he compare with Corrie's other lost souls over the years, like Terry Duckworth and Alan Bradley? We select 10 of the best and ask you to decide.
Terry Duckworth keeps rolling back to the Street like some bad penny. Selling his son Tommy and breaking his mother Vera's heart in the process, ranks among his most despicable deeds.
But can Terry, played by Nigel Pivaro, compete with the villainy of Alan Bradley (Mark Eden). He cheated, lied and stole from Rita then tried to kill her. But a tram finally ended his reign of terror.
Coronation Street's reprobates face fierce competition from EastEnders. Dirty Den (Leslie Grantham) is now a legend. Arson and cheating on Ange, including siring a kid with Michelle, rank among his worst transgressions. But his dirty dealings have been eclipsed by Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass) and Nick Cotton (John Altman). And how could we forget the devil incarnate Trevor Morgan (Alex Ferns)?
Nick Cotton's crimes include murder and trying to poison his mother Dot - but he's more a pantomime villain. Dan Sullivan and Steve Owen have both outdone him. Dan cheated with Bianca and kidnapped Mel, while Owen bludgeoned Saskia with an ashtray and abducted Phil's child. But upstaging them all has been wife-beater Trevor. The mental and physical torture he has exacted has made for disturbing viewing - and it's been a ratings winner.
A rogue's gallery of soap villains would not be complete without mention of Trevor Jordache of Brookside. Dublin-born actor Bryan Murray unleashed a monster on the Close who beat his wife Mandy to a pulp and sexually abused his two daughters. His reign of terror finally ended when he was stabbed and buried under the patio. EastEnder Trevor could have modelled himself on this scary individual.
While men dominate any list of soap villains, one woman deserves
a mention - Emmerdale's Kim Tate. This farm fatale, played by
Claire King, ran stiletto-shod over the hearts of many men. Her
finest moment was her departure, when she left Frank to die as
he lay writhing on the shagpile after suffering a heart attack.
tells of pace on Street
29 July 2002
Actress Maureen Lipman says the pace on the set of Coronation Street is faster than anything she has experienced in 30 years. Lipman recently stepped in to hold the fort at the Rovers Return after Julie Goodyear, who plays Britain's favourite barmaid Bet Gilroy, fell ill.
She said: "Scene followed scene. Rehearse, record, rehearse, record. I hadn't filmed at this rate since Thriller, live, in 1971." She told Now magazine: "At the end of day one, we'd recorded eight scenes. I lay in my hotel bath feeling as if I'd been kicked by Shrek's mule. "Next day, more of the same."
She also hit out at claims that the cast could be unfriendly
to new actors. She told the magazine: "I had heard newcomers
to the Street were sometimes made to feel like outsiders. Times
must have changed." She added: "The cast enveloped me
in a blanket of care, warmth and just a little relief."
of the dead
29 July 2002 by Nancy Banks-Smith
"Oh, happy, happy wedding day"
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gail, whose first husband was murdered, married a murderer last night. Husbands are murdered on a regular basis in Coronation Street (ITV1). Emily's Ernest for one. Deirdre's Samir for two. I think it may be a primitive fertility rite. But only Gail, radiant in cappuccino it says here, has achieved such a dubious double. You would say "Chin up, girl" if it wasn't, in Gail's case, inappropriate.
The wedding was lavish but somehow peculiar. The limousines were provided by the local undertaker, the lilies outnumbered the guests and nobody seemed to get a bite to eat. The marriage vows, made up on the spot by the sound of it, tactfully avoided all mention of death. "Till death us do part" is a succession of stunning hammer-blows. "A relationship of permanent and continuing commitment" is expanded polystyrene speak. Don't you think?
For those of you who are dog-paddling desperately in the deep end, this is the position. The rest of you talk among yourselves. Richard, a financial adviser who adds little lustre to his profession, wangles old ladies out of their houses. He has gambled everything on converting one such house into flash flats for discerning executives. Using, of course, his clients' money. His ex-wife, whose financial demands were inconveniently insistent, is buried in the basement. Little does he know - you will like this bit - that a hostel for old lags is to be built next door, rendering his investment worthless.
What a surprise for the happy honeymooners on their suntanned
return. Your gaze now swivels nervously to Gail's mother, Audrey,
flibbertigibbet of this parish, who has recently made a will leaving
everything to her daughter. You do sense that Richard may see
Audrey as a decrepit house in need of instant demolition. Nothing
dramatic, rest assured, will happen in August. It is a widely
held assumption in TV that no one watches during the summer. You
may have worked that out for yourself.
star keeps six-pack off TV
29 July 2002
Coronation Street star Adam Rickitt has refused to give female fans a glimpse of his famed six-pack chest in his return to the show. The 24-year-old who plays Nicky Tilsley says he is keen to shake off his old "pretty boy" image and has vetoed attempts by TV bosses to get him to take his shirt off during his five-week return to the street. He said: "I felt we'd all gone past that. But I still have the six-pack."
The actor and singer has revealed that he was once banned from having his hair cut. He told Now magazine: "I looked like a girl, especially with all that long hair - I hated that! "But both Coronation Street and my record company liked it, so I got stuck with it for four years."
Adam, who has just returned from Los Angeles, is glad to be back on the famous cobbles. He said: "Corrie's such good fun. They're a nice bunch and it's great to be back with old friends."
returns with confidence
25 July 2002
Returning Coronation Street star Adam Rickett says the criticism his acting skills attracted when he joined the show no longer bothers him. The actor, who plays Gail Platt's son Nicky Tildsley, first appeared in Weatherfield when he was just 18, having had no previous showbusiness experience.
Rickett left three years ago when his character moved to America - but this month Nicky returned to Weatherfield for his mother's wedding and the actor hopes his new-found confidence will shine through.
"I know I'm a lot better this time around," he tells Now magazine. "(When I joined) it was the equivalent of someone being plucked off the street and asked to do it. That's how green I was. "I'd never done a play or any acting at school. I was just plucked out of nowhere and put in front of a camera. "I was so grateful for the work but I was so awful - and so nervous. I knew there were people who'd been to RADA who would have killed for that job and I was always conscious of that."
During his break from the Street, Rickett started a pop career
and toured with the stage musical Rent. "Doing Coronation
Street, having a pop career and probably even the first six months
of touring with Rent are what I'd consider my training,"
he adds. "It's got to the point where I enjoy the challenge
of work now and don't worry what the critics say."
Curly upsets Corrie psycho
25 July 2002
When Councillor Curly Watts rejects a bribe from Tricky Dickie Hillman, he has no way of knowing he is antagonising a mad killer.
Dickie (Brian Capron) offers the cash after finding out a bail hostel is to be built next to his trendy apartments. Curly stands firm and the blood drains from Hillman's face. Curly (Kevin Kennedy) is unaware of Tricky's dodgy past. He bumped off his ex-wife and buried her beneath a block of flats and left former Rovers landlord Duggie Ferguson to die in agony after a staircase fall. The Daily Star says Hillman flies into a panic when Steve McDonald pulls out of a deal to buy one of his apartments when news breaks of the hostel. His only way out is to ask Curly to talk fellow councillors out of approving the plan.
A Street source said: "Curly has no idea to what lengths
he will go to get his own way. Hillman will happily murder if
he sees an obstacle he can't work round. "Viewers will see
some real violent aggression in Hillman's face when Curly tells
him where to get off on the bail hostel issue."
get chance to win Gail's tiara
24 July 2002
Coronation Street fans have been given the chance to win the glittering tiara which Gail Platt wears on-screen during her wedding this week. Gail and bridegroom Richard Hillman have planned their ceremony carefully and Gail - played by Helen Worth - wears a formal white gown for the occasion.
Fans can win the tiara at www.itv.com/coronationstreet, where
they must sign up for membership of the site and will then be
asked to answer a question. The competition for the pearl and
crystal headgear, which was designed by exclusive jewellers Butler
And Wilson, closes on August 12.
Adam back in Corrie
24 July 2002 by Hannah Wright
Adam Rickitt's never been one for keeping his clothes on - and his comeback to Corrie this week proves nothing has changed.
The 24-year-old actor-cum-singer, who plays boy-next-door type Nick Tilsley, embarks on a steamy affair with crimper Maria (Samia Ghadie). "There's a harder way to make your living than sitting with her naked all day," he tells TV Plus. "Our attitude was, if we're going to do the kissing scenes, don't do them all teenagery and sweet."
The actor wanted to make the scenes scenes as realistic as possible. "We've filmed them all now, it was great," he laughs. "We wanted to make it quite in your face and adult. So we kept doing all these ad libs with me throwing Maria up on the counter and taking her top off. It was really good!"
Despite wanting to make the scenes as raunchy as possible, Adam wasn't keen on showing off his infamous bare chest. "When we did get the scripts, they did say 'Nick topless'," he says. "But I said I wasn't doing that. "I told the scriptwriters they milked every single penny's worth out of it last time and I didn't particularly enjoy doing it. I wanted a bit more control this time and said I'd wear a - -shirt or a vest or something."
Adam is home for the first time in three years after living out in the States. This week, viewers will see him turn up on the Street to surprise mum Gail on her wedding day to dodgy Richard. "I'd been asked before to come back full time but I couldn't because of other commitments," he says. "But I was really keen to do this five-week storyline. I have loads of good friends here and some really good memories."
Modest Adam Rickitt says he "can't see why" his last stint on Coronation Street made him a national pin-up. "I suppose it's a compliment, but I just try not to think about anything to do with that superficial side of the business," he says. "It's the same with the gay icon thing, it's just nice that people support you." He also admits that he hates watching himself on TV. "You end up studiosly watching your performance - it's hard to enjoy it."
The star left Corrie in 1999 to launch a pop career - three hit singles and an album later, he jacked it in. "I hated it," he says. "It was a big let-down. I knew it would be publicity-orientated, but I assumed at the same time I'd be doing gigs. "But you don't - 99.99% of the time you are saying the same things to the same questions. You get stuck in a radio booth or a studio or on a phoneline and that's all you do. I found it really boring."
Since we last saw him in Corrie, Adam has found huge success touring with hit musical Rent. "It was amazing, out of everything I've done it's been the biggest learning experience," He says. "I did a year's tour and then three months in the West End. Playing the lead in a West End show was scary. It was such hard work that I got really ill with laryngitis, but it was an amazing experience despite that."
The best part about being back on Corrie after a three-year break is seeing everybody, says Adam. "It's been really nice just to hang out and catch up with old friends and stuff," he adds.
One big change about his character is that Adam has finally
been allowed to lop off Nick's "poncey" hairstyle. "I
loathed long hair," he laughs. "I got stuck with it
for four years or something ridiculous - it was awful!"
fly over busty barmaid
24 July 2002
Former Boyzone star Keith Duffy will prove a smash hit in Coronation Street - when he is smacked in the gob for chasing his mate's girlfriend.
Keith plays Ciaran McCarthy who arrives in Weatherfield to visit his old Navy chum Peter Barlow. Peter is going out with blonde barmaid stunner Shelley Unwin - but Ciaran fancies her rotten. When Peter (Chris Gascoyne) unwittingly invites Ciaran to move i
n with him and Shelley, the love-rat makes a pass at Shelley (Sally Lindsay). But his move backfires, she tells Peter everything and he lays into his ex-buddy.
A Street insider told the Daily Star: Ciaran thinks Shelley is gorgeous and
doesn't care that she's going out with Peter. Ciaran tells her that he'll tell
Pete she led him on if she says anything. "But she bites the bullet and
tells Peter everything."
keeping 'em on, says Adam
22 July 2002
Adoring female Corrie fans may feel they've been shortchanged after Adam Rickitt's much-vaunted return to the ITV soap.
The actor - who plays Nicky Tilsley - famously shed his inhibitions to strip off before leaving the show in 1998, but he says this time he'll remain fully clothed when he returns for screen mother Gail's wedding. Adam tells the Daily Star: "I didn't want to do any of that topless stuff in the Street. I just didn't have the strength of mind to say no."
Although scenes calling for him to strip down to his boxers have been written for his return, he has turned them down, the paper says. Adam has also told a magazine that Nicky has a romance with Maria (played by Samia Ghadie) during his latest stint in the Street. "It's typical Nicky," he says. "Turning up and falling in love in five seconds."
When his spell back in Wetherfield comes to an end, Adam is
due to return to Hollywood to finish filming a movie, Blanket
Tracy tries two wheels
22 July 2002
Corrie babe Tracy Shaw, who plays bubbly hairdresser Maxine Peacock, has joined her bike-mad hubby on two wheels. Dressed in sexy leathers the actress tried out her brand-new Vespa scooter over the weekend. And, in keeping with her fashion icon image, she made sure helmet was the same lime green colour as the £1,700 runabout. Husband Robert Ashworth took care of the road tax and insurance to get her started, the Daily Star claims.
Corrie Len left just £5,000 in his will
21 July 2002
FALLEN Coronation Street legend Peter Adamson left just £5,000 in his will, the Sunday People can reveal. Adamson - who played romeo builder Len Fairclough - had once been worth millions. But top lawyers' fees and the loss of his Street role ate up most of his money after he was cleared of indecently assaulting two eight-year-old girls in 1983. And he was living as a recluse when he died of stomach cancer last January, aged 72. At the peak of his fame in the '60s and '70s, Adamson had been worth £250,000 - millions in today's terms - with a fleet of cars, homes including a villa in Majorca and taking jet-set holidays.
The will was issued through the High Court in Leeds last week.
Widower Adamson, who had a flat in Welton, Lincs, left his last
few thousand to eldest son Michael, 48. He told the Sunday People:
"Dad lived life to the full but the court cases bled him
dry." Adamson asked for his ashes to be left to another son
Greg, 39. Neighbour Fred Baldwin, 69, who witnessed the will,
said: "It was a very sad end.
scores lover No 25!
21 July 2002
Corrie Casanova Mike Baldwin is about to bed his 25th lover in 26 years on the Street, according to the News of the World. The factory boss's latest conquest will be Maxine Peacock's mum, Doreen, according to the Sunday tabloid.
Love blossoms for the unlikely pair over a posh dinner party
Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) only invited Doreen to because he didn't
have an escort. But over dinner he warms to her and the next day
the pair embark on a steamy affair, the paper says.
I don't need the money !
21 July 2002
ADAM RICKITT is spitting blood about cynics who say he's only coming back to Corrie for the money. Adam, who returns as pin-up Nick Tilsley this week, insists: "I'm not short of a few bob."
And the heart-throb who had a brief fling as a pop star and whose dad is a merchant banker adds: "People are wrong to say I'm only playing Nick again for the money, I don't need it. "My dad drilled his 'save and invest' motto into me from the moment I could talk. "And I've been lucky as well. I joined Corrie when I was 18 and invested most of my earnings. "Then my album went gold around the world, so I'm doing all right thank you."
We didn't doubt you, Adam, honest...
BRIAN CAPRON, Corrie killer Richard Hillman, could irritate you to death in real life. Flatmate Jimmi "Dev" Harkishin says: "He has funny habits like going walkabout while brushing his teeth."
Michael le Vell
MICHAEL LE VELL has decided to stop eating out. Michael, Corrie's Kevin Webster, says: "Noisy eaters in restaurants drive me nuts. There's nothing worse than hearing slurp, slurp, chomp, chomp. From now on I'll be eating at home."
opens for Adam's return
19 July 2002
Adam Rickitt has refused to reveal whether the affections of Corrie's female contingent will be enough to keep Nick Tilsley in Weatherfield. But the 24-year-old has left the door open for a long-term spell on the Street at the end of his initial month-long spell, which starts on Monday. "Would I consider going back? Who can say. Certainly the opportunity would probably be there - the storyline is left open and I know the producers really like the character," Adam says.
This time around the arrival of Nicky Tilsley won't be quite as shocking for viewers as his amazing return - and transformation - in 1997. Gail's little boy left for a break abroad and came back a year later - in the shape of Adam - better built, better looking and better able to attract the Street's young ladies. And it seems more romance is on the cards for Nick with Tyrone's ex-girlfriend Maria Sutherland, played by Samia Ghadie, who immediately catches his eye on his mother Gail's wedding day.
Adam reveals: "Meeting her comes as a bit of a shock to him. He's been in Canada and detached from life in Weatherfield so he doesn't expect to meet such a stunning girl. "He tries to fight it at first because he's made such an effort to get away from his life in Coronation Street, but she's a beautiful girl and he definitely feels something for her."
Meanwhile, Adam has just revealed on his website that he is
single again. No one else was involved in the split with girlfriend
"Jane", according to the website, which explained the
relationship had just "run its course".
has sex with her ex
19 July 2002
Hard-up Coronation Street mum Sally Webster's next conquest is none other than her ex-hubby Kevin, the Daily Star is claiming in an exclusive report. Corrie bosses have been hinting that the couple who have been estranged for years - since Kevin had a fling - are going to get back together and when Kevin becomes Sally's lodger the scene is set for a romantic coupling.
A source at the top ITV soap tells the tabloid newspaper: "Sally
lets Kevin move in as her lodger, sleeping on the sofa-bed ...
after a meal and a night out one thing leads to another and they
sleep together. "Next day Kevin is really happy, but Sally's
not so sure she hasn't made a big mistake."
get caught up in soap
18 July 2002
Real-life holidaymakers at Manchester Airport were stunned when they got caught up in filming for Coronation Street. The Daily Star says that Corrie's cameras rolled for a three-way tug-of-love scene featuring mechanic Tyrone Dobbs, Nick Tilsey and crimper Maria Sutherland.
Nick (Adam Rickitt) is trying to whisk his old flame off to Canada when her new love Tyrone (Alan Halsall) follows them to the airport to beg her not to leave, the newspaper says. Viewers will be left on tenterhooks at the end of the episode - wondering whether Maria (Samie Ghadie) chooses Nick or Tyrone.
One holidaymaker told the Daily Star: "Pour Tyrone really poured his heart
out but it looked as if Maria wasn't for turning. "Nick appeared on set
right at the end and the pair seemed to walk off into the sunset together. Tyrone
looked in a right state."
rise and rise of Jane Danson
16 July 2002 by Jonathan Donald
Jane Danson has come a long way since her small screen debut as Corrie's wild child Leanne Battersby. The coy actress with the girl-next-door looks is soon to be inescapable during prime time on ITV1, with parts in two major shows. Not only is she in A&E as foxy nurse Sam Docherty, but she is about to debut as a gay copper in The Bill.
Danson, 23, admits she is ambitious and could be a workaholic. A&E's fourth series sees feisty nurse Sam Docherty at the centre of the action. "She puts her job on the line by stealing drugs for her brother Michael," explains Danson. "Sam is such a great character and I've had a wonderful time playing her. "I have learnt quite a lot about hospital from filming, but some medical jargon still baffles me."
A clandestine clinch with dashing new doc James Da Costa (Benedict Taylor) is among her risque scenes "We had a giggle shooting that," laughs the actress. "It was on the first day of the shooting schedule and we were so nervous about it. "It is nerve-wracking because the crew are always jeering at you and making jokes. But we'd got to know each other and had a laugh doing it."
Danson says of her new character in The Bill: "She's gay and so what - her sexuality isn't an issue," explains the actress. "She's just a fun, kind of happy character which is nice because she is different to other roles I've had." She adds, laughing: "They've all been a bit stroppy or scowly." Danson is in talks to combine The Bill with working on a fifth series of A&E.
While Danson's career goes from strength to strength, little has been seen recently of boyfriend Robert Beck. "He's been doing a lot of theatre," says the actress, who met the former Brookside and Emmerdale star at the Soap Awards in 1999. In 2001, they bought a £500,000 house in Twickenham, West London. "We've been doing some work on it recently, so it feels more like home now. Robert does the work and I clean - I'm a bit of a neat freak."
The couple are happily cohabiting but marriage plans are still a long way off. "I'd love to some day," she says, earnestly. Danson's young man will have to witness her in some carnal clinches in A&E and also playing a lesbian in The Bill. She laughs: "He doesn't have a problem with it, he just laughs. He's more interested in football - he watches every game going."
It's two years since Danson bowed out of Corrie - after almost
four years of bruising storylines including abortion and cocaine
addiction. She's proved there is life after soap, but it's still
the job she's best remembered for. "I wouldn't be where I
am now without Corrie and I'll never forget that," she says.
"I did have a good time but I have no plans to go back. "It's
frightening," she admits. "I've never been out of work
for long. I am ambitious and really love working, but I am realistic
about it. "I dream of going to the Oscars but I won't be
sad if it doesn't happen because the chances are so slim. "But
I'm not a workaholic - well, maybe I am."
day Tracy got the hump
16 July 2002
Corrie babe Tracy Shaw has told of the day a mega-rich Arab offered 100 camels for her. "I went to a market in Marrakesh and there were no women there - only men wearing big monk-like coats with hoods. I was petrified," she says. "I like to show flesh and drink, which is unheard of for women there, so everyone kept staring. Someone offered 100 camels for me, which I thought was pretty good."
Tracy plays mum Maxine Peacock in the ITV soap.
mugged by girls after stag do
15 July 2002
Nick Tilsley is about to return to Coronation Street - but
there is a rude awakening in store. Nick, played by Adam Rickitt,
24, will be picked on by two girl street robbers hours after flying
back from Canada for mum Gail's wedding to Richard Hillman.
And it will be "Trick Dicky" who comes to his aid as the blood-splattered step-son reels from the attack after Hillman's stag party. Richard (Brian Capron) will find Nick injured with his clothes torn and mobile phone stolen.
An insider told the Sunday People: "It doesn't take long
for Nick to be in the thick of the action - a few hours to be
precise. There's no doubt it's a pretty dramatic comeback."
Actor Adam had a short pop star career after quitting Corrie in
1999. He is pencilled in for a five-week return but hopes his
contract will be extended.
Les better watch out
14 July 2002
New girl REBECCA RITTERS, who enters his life next month, was known as The Jinx of Neighbours after two stars she had storylines with were killed off.
Rebecca, who plays Aussie backpacker Jules Robinson, will lodge
with Les. She said: "I warned Bruce Jones, who plays Les,
and we had a laugh."
Mild maria turns into man-eating monster
14 July 2002
CORRIE'S Maria Sutherland is about to turn into a man-eater after losing her girl-next-door image, I can reveal. The pretty hairdresser, played by SAMIA GHADIE, changes when two-timing Nick Tilsley (ADAM RICKITT) breaks her heart.
My Street mole tells me: "The effect on Maria is traumatic. She was hurt before by fiance Tyrone Dobbs but she's never been betrayed like this. "Afterwards she turns into a monster out to 'get' every man she can find."
The explosive plot develops after Nick returns from Canada for mum Gail's wedding to Richard. He whisks Maria off her feet and even talks about starting a new life together. But after a few weeks he dumps her for another woman. And furious Maria is determined to make men pay for what she's been through.
Actress Samia, who was 20 yesterday, told me she was
looking forward to Maria's transformation. She said: "She
has got some terrific storylines coming up. As well as turning
heads she'll be breaking plenty of hearts herself.
star's baby joy
12 July 2002
Former Coronation Street star Gaynor Faye has spoken of her joy at becoming a mother for the first time. The past 15 months have been incredibly hectic for the former soap star and have included moving house, having a baby and filming two prime-time TV series back to back.
Life has changed beyond all recognition for Gaynor - who played Judy Mallet - and her fiance Mark Pickering with the premature arrival of their baby son Oliver in April last year. They had moved house just a couple of weeks before and were completely unprepared for the chaos that was to come.
"It's been harder than I expected," Gaynor, 30, told
Hello! magazine. The actress, who has starred in Playing the Field
and Fat Friends - both created by her mother Kay Mellor - since
leaving the cobbles of Weatherfield, added: "I wouldn't change
it for the world. "Oliver brings us a lot of pleasure but
we do find it hard. No one can tell you how hard parenthood is
until you are there. If they did, the population would stop."
may make return to Rovers
11 July 2002
Actress Maureen Lipman would consider returning to Coronation Street after she enjoyed a short but "fabulous" stint behind the bar of the Rovers Return. The star, who played troublesome relief manager Lillian Spencer, was brought in to cover for actress Julie Goodyear who is currently on sick leave.
Within days of her arrival on the soap her character had already barred pub regulars and wound up the staff. But the veteran actress loved every minute of it. "It's been fabulous," she told Inside Soap magazine. "When I arrived, Bill Roach - who I'd met the day before when we'd both been on a float for the jubilee parade - made sure I knew where everything was and was a real gentleman. "The girls behind the bar were great too, we haven't stopped laughing. Everyone cracks jokes and tells funny stories."
But while the atmosphere may have been relaxed, the work was
hard and pressurised. "I was absolutely shell-shocked when
I arrived. I was on a cruise when they called me about the part,
then I was shopping for Lillian's clothes on the Saturday and
on a float at the Jubilee on Tuesday, and by 8.30am the following
day I'd recorded my first scene in the Rovers. "Baptism of
fire doesn't come into it really."
Barlow in sex-swap shocker
11 July 2002
Corrie veteran Ken Barlow is to turn into an agony aunt called Hermione.
Ken (Bill Roache) changes sex when he joins the Weatherfield Gazette to help answer readers' problems after the normal column writer falls ill. One of his first jobs will be to advise mother-in-law Blanche Hunt over her concerns about former fella Archie Shuttleworth.
A Coronation Street mole told the Daily Star: "This is
his first big test as an agony aunt and Blanche could be his downfall."
get new Neighbour
10 July 2002
Former Neighbours star Rebecca Ritters has studied hard since leaving Erinsborough and has now decided to broaden her horizons - in Wetherfield. Rebecca, who played schoolgirl Hannah Martin in the Australian hit soap, is set to star in a two-week stint on Coronation Street, to be shown at the end of July, as Commonwealth Games grips the nation. Rebecca is set to play Jules Robinson, an Australian backpacker who comes to lodge on the cobbles of Coronation Street.
Street bride Gail unaware of husband's killer instincts
9 July 2002
Coronation Street's Gail Platt looks a picture of happiness as she marries fiance Richard Hillman - unaware that he is a double killer.Gail Platt's wedding to fiance Richard Hillman is to feature in a one-hour Coronation Street special on July 28. Adam Rickitt returns for the occasion as Gail's son Nicky Platt, who has been living with relatives in Canada. The lavish wedding ceremony was filmed over three days at Knowsley Hall on Merseyside.
Richard, played by Brian Capron, has splashed out on a dream wedding for his new bride, who is unaware that he has embezzled money from her family and friends to pay for the bash. And Gail (Helen Worth) is also in the dark about Richard's violent past. He murdered his ex-wife Patricia and buried her in concrete at the luxury flats he is renovating. And he also left business partner Duggie Ferguson to die after falling from a balcony at the same flats. Richard then stole £70,000 from Duggie's safety deposit box. The soap villain does get a shock, however, on the morning of the wedding when police turn up asking questions about his missing ex-wife.
The couple tie the knot in a flower-decked marquee in the grounds of the Hall followed by a lavish reception in the grand ballroom. For the wedding, Gail wears a pale coffee-coloured dress by Cheshire designer Sharon Bowen, shoes by Jimmy Choo and a Butler and Wilson tiara. Bridesmaids are daughter Sarah and granddaughter Bethany.
A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "It is undoubtedly the soap wedding
of the year. Not many soap weddings are so lavish but Richard has got a bob
or two and he is determined to show the world how successful he is. "This
is a must-see episode. Like any soap wedding it is full of tension and drama
and of course Gail has no idea that she is marrying a serial killer. How long
is it before she finds out?"
lines up next victim
9 July 2002
Serial killer Richard "Tricky Dicky" Hillman is about to claim his third victim, according to reports. The Corrie nutter is likely to select someone loaded with cash so he can pay off his debts after returning from honeymoon with Gail, the Daily Star says. Tricky (Brian Capron) is turning Weatherfield into the murder capital of the North West - he has already bumped off ex-wife Patricia and left Duggie Ferguson to die after a staircase fall.
Favourite for the Dicky treatment is useless Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) who has grown increasingly suspicious of the psycho financial consultant killer. But insiders say soap bosses could be lining up a big name for the kill - possibly Audrey.
A source said: "Richard returns from honeymoon with Gail
to discover he's got real money problems. It means he has to try
and look at other ways of getting his hands on some cash. "That
can only mean death for one of the Street's popular residents.
Audrey is awash with cash and is a more likely target."
'It's great to be home after heart op'
8 July 2002
Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey says he is "absolutely delighted" to be recovering back at home after suffering a minor heart attack and undergoing a by-pass operation. The actor, who plays Jack Duckworth, underwent a heart by-pass operation on June 26 at the private Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle, Greater Manchester. He then suffered a minor heart attack and was moved back to intensive care. He had a pacemaker fitted after doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat.
Speaking from his home in Greater Manchester, the 61-year-old actor said: "I am absolutely delighted to be home and now look forward to getting stronger day by day. "I must give praise to the amazing skills of an absolutely wonderful surgeon and medical team for finding the right solutions to the one or two problems which I caused them - thanks guys. "My deepest thanks also to the whole of the nursing, theatre and caring staff of the Alexandra Hospital. Without them I would not have made the progress I have. "Over the past weeks I have been genuinely uplifted by the many, many cards, letters, flowers and the prayers of fans, friends, colleagues and of course my family. "My sincere thanks to everyone, but above all to God for listening to them."
Tarmey, a life-long heavy smoker, had a quadruple heart by-pass
15 years ago. He has been written out of the soap until he recovers.
8 July 2002
THE wife of Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey has told how medics used electric shocks to bring her husband back to life when his heart stopped after bypass surgery.
Alma Tarmey said the 61-year-old, known to millions as lovable rogue Jack Duckworth in the ITV soap, has now had a pacemaker fitted. He seemed to be making good progress after eight-hour open-heart surgery to tackle cardiac problems which have plagued him for more than 20 years.
Alma said she had been visiting Bill two days after his operation in the Alexandra Hospital, in Cheadle, Stockport, when the drama happened. She added: "I'd been to see him with our daughter, Sara, and we'd just got to the car park to head home when my mobile phone rang to tell me there had been an emergency. "It seems Bill had started eating his meal when he suffered a cardiac arrest. The medical team used defibrillators to bring him back to life." Alma, his childhood sweetheart and wife of 40 years, added: "
He knows how close he came to death - but I suppose he's getting
used to it by now." The actor, who also has a son, Carl,
36, and six grandchildren, had a 90-minute operation to install
a pacemaker the size of a two-pound coin in his chest.
stars slammed for lighting up
8 July 2002
Some of the biggest names in Coronation Street have been criticised for smoking while raising money for cancer charities. Actors Steve Arnold, who plays butcher Ashley Peacock in the ITV soap, Suranne Jones (Karen McDonald) and Alan Halsall (Tyrone) lit up at a charity cricket match in Knutsford, Cheshire, the Daily Mirror reports.
Arnold was spotted smoking while strolling to the wicket to
take part in the game, while Jones and Halsall puffed away while
watching the match, a spectator tells the newspaper. "They
weren't a great advert for health," the spectator added.
Fans' chance to explore Coronation Street
7 July 2002
Coronation Street fans are being given the chance to wander through Weatherfield as the soap opens its doors to the public. For one day only, Corrie devotees will be able to take a stroll down the famous cobbles and stop off at the Rovers Return. They can take a peek inside Mike Baldwin's Underworld factory and visit Audrey's hair salon, Ashley's butcher's shop and local cafe Roy's Rolls.
Street bosses are laying on four 90-minute tours after being deluged with calls from fans keen to visit the set. They are opening up the Granada studios in Manchester on August 3 but only the first 160 people to apply will be lucky enough to get a place.
A spokeswoman for the ITV1 show, said: "It's great to open up the set to real fans. In recent months we've had hundreds of requests for visits and wherever possible we've tried to set up brief tours of the set. "This arrangement will allow for a proper organised tour lasting 60-90 minutes and hopefully people will appreciate a glimpse of the real set."
The tours will be conducted by members of the Coronation Street
production team who will be able to share their insider knowledge.
Fans can book a place, priced £6 per adult and £4
for children (aged 5 to 12) through the website - www.coronationstreet.co.uk
Curly missus has affair with copper
7 July 2002
CORRIE'S Curly Watts is facing fresh heartbreak - when his cop wife leaps into bed with a colleague, I can reveal. Hen-pecked Curly, played by KEVIN KENNEDY, is already getting on missus Emma's nerves by moaning about her erratic hours and the time she spends in the pub with police pals.
But next month he discovers that his nagging has driven Emma - ANGELA LONSDALE - into having a fling. "Poor old Curly is devastated when he finds out," an insider tells me. "Emma thinks he is unreasonable about her socialising to get ahead. She gets disenchanted with him and finds another man more interesting."
Emma's affair leaves her hubby "on the edge of a complete breakdown", says my source. Curly has already been betrayed by first wife Raquel (SARAH LANCASHIRE) and dumped by girlfriends galore. But he will get back with Emma. My source says: "He goes through hell but there is a happy ending."
SCOTT WRIGHT - who played Corrie's stripping mechanic Sam Kingston - is to star as a streetwise cop in a new ITV police drama. Scott says: "It will make a nice change to play a tough guy for a while."
Soap saddo of the week
CORRIE'S JONATHAN WRATHER says: "I can't understand why men lust over Kylie. I much prefer older women like Joan Collins."
Fiery Lillian is a much better Bet
7 July 2002 by Ian Hyland
LILLIAN Spencer arrived in Coronation Street (ITV1, Mon) to provide some relief for Fred Elliott. Relief management, that is. And what an impression she made on the regulars. She said "yer barred" so often I thought Shakespeare had shown up.
Think about it. It's a pity Maureen Lipman's only in a few more episodes because Lillian is a breath of fresh air after Julie Goodyear visited her foul stench on Weatherfield. She even brought a mynah bird with her and as she and Fred sat chatting, the old bird was squawking in the background, which brought back fond memories of Betty. But then the bird crapped all over the sofa. Don't think Betty ever did that.
Elsewhere, Karen proved Norris's Commonwealth Games motto could easily apply to her - "share it, show it, you've got it." She was in trouble when Richard caught her and Steve "at it" in the show flat. "I've got a bone to pick with you two," said Richard. Hardly the time for a threesome, Richard.
7 July 2002 by Garry Bushell
LILLIAN Spencer isn't the new Annie Walker - she's a cheap imitation, like her pearls. Annie, played by Doris Speed, was a wonderful three-dimensional creation. Lily The Stink could have stepped straight out of a third-rate sitcom (like for example Maureen Lipman's own accurately- titled Agony.) And her ponce of a son is even worse.
If a new landlady treated regulars like this, she'd get the old Miriam Karlin Rag Trade treatment: "Everybody out!" Although in fairness, banning one-G&T-a-night Rita won't exactly dent Fat Fred's profit margin.
ITV boss David Liddiment quit on Wednesday. What a terrible decision - he should have gone four years ago. Lemon-lips Lidders was a disaster from day one. He let his own tastes and prejudices dominate the schedules. He ruined Millionaire, his first major hit, by flogging it to death, and nobbled Coronation Street too.
Yes, Pop Idol was a smash, but Lidders axed Jonathan Ross's talent show which got 10.5 million viewers with none of the hype. He made ITV a camp, shallow laugh-free zone. He won't be missed.
DIDN'T Norris look a prat in his Commonwealth Games shell-suit? Still, at least he'll give the javelin throwers something to aim at.
5 July 2002
Former Coronation Street favourite Amanda Barrie is set to join the cast of ITV1 drama series Bad Girls - as an evil fraudster. The 66-year-old actress, who played the Street's loveable character Alma for 20 years, will be locked up with all the other jailbirds after she is caught conning rich ex-pats in Portugal out of their savings. The star left the cobbles of Coronation Street two years ago when millions turned in to watch her character lose a battle against cancer.
Producers have written her into the next 16 episodes which
are set to be screened early next year. Bad Girls' executive producer
Brian Park, who worked with Amanda on Coronation Street, said
she was always one of the "brightest stars" of the ITV1
soap. "Alma died a saint and we're delighted to be making
her into a sinner," he added.
star pleased to be back
5 July 2002
Street star Adam Rickitt has told of how he came to his decision to return to the cobbles of Weatherfield. The actor, once a big hit with music fans on the pop scene, is set to return to the hit ITV1 soap as Nick Tilsley at the end of the month. "I'm really pleased to be back in Corrie," he tells All About Soap magazine. "I've had the idea put to me a couple of times before but I couldn't do it because of other commitments.
"Then when I came back from the States recently, I had a meeting with one of the shows producers, and they suggested returning for a four week stint. "I jumped at the chance. Corrie is the best soap on television, plus I get to work with some fantastic people who I haven't had a chance to see for a while. "It wasn't a difficult decision to make in the end."
And although his character has changed over the years he is
still capable of attracting trouble. And he would love nothing
more than to have a fight with the Battersbys in the Rovers. "I'd
like to see Nick come face to face with the rest of the Battersbys,
as I'm sure they bear a grudge against him for what he did to
Leanne," he said.
Corrie killer to kidnap interfering Norris
5 July 2002
Coronation Street killer Richard Hillman is to imprison and threaten Norris Cole in his converted house.
Norris has been getting increasingly suspicious of Hillman's business dealings, and has advised Rita to forego her investment plans with him. Hillman will capture Norris and take him to the property he's converting, telling him he's going to shut him up "once and for all."
The ITV1 episodes will be broadcast on July 14 and 15. The infamous building
has already staged the death of barman Duggie Ferguson and Hillman's ex-wife
Shelley to become youngest ever Rovers boss
2 July 2002
Coronation Street barmaid Shelley Unwin is set to become the youngest ever boss at the Rovers Return. The 28-year-old will take over as temporary manageress after show bosses revamped scripts while Julie Goodyear was off sick.
Shelley, who is played by Sally Lindsay, will take over in the coming months. Her short-term promotion has sparked speculation that she may be lined up as a more long-term replacement. Goodyear, who plays Bet Lynch, has been signed off work for a further period after suffering exhaustion. She has filmed only a handful of episodes since her highly-publicised return to the Rovers.
Corrie bosses have now completed plots for the show up until October. Shelley will take over when temporary landlady Lillian Spencer (Maureen Lipman) leaves after alienating many of the regulars and leaving the pub in disarray.
A spokeswoman for the ITV1 soap said: "Shelley is a very popular character. With her as Fred Elliott's right hand woman it opens the flood gates for back biting between Shelley and Gina, who will not be happy that she has been promoted above her. "We are still hopeful that Julie will come back but the show has now been storylined up until October."
The previous youngest manageress is thought to have been Natalie,
played by Denise Welch, who was in her late 30s when she took
Former Corrie actress says UK soaps are 'crap'
2 July 2002
Former Coronation Street actress Naomi Russell says British soaps are crap. Russell was written out of the soap earlier in the year.
She tells The Sun she doesn't care: "Our soaps are awful.
The scripts are crap, no one believes the storylines and that
is why ratings are going down. I'm better off out." Russell
played factory girl Bobbie.
to her own tune
2 July 2002
Actress Jane Danson, who made her name as Corrie's wild-child Leanne Battersby, is to return to our screens as the emergency services sweetheart. The 23-year-old actress plays practitioner Samantha Docherty in ITV1's medical drama A&E, beginning on Thursday, July 4, before beating the street as PC Gemma Osbourne in The Bill.
Nurse Docherty caused a stir when she joined the popular series last year and she shows no sign of altering her wild ways in the coming weeks. Danson says: "This time around she really puts her job on the line by stealing drugs which are being used in trials at the hospital."
Despite all her medical dealings Danson admits she is sometimes left baffled by all the jargon spoken in the show. She also confesses that in real life she is a little squeamish. When the cast recently went along to donate blood in Manchester, Danson fainted - twice. "It was really busy and I think everybody recognised me when I fell to the floor," she laughs sounding slightly embarrassed at her recollection. "It was my own fault. I was fine when they were taking the blood but you are supposed to lie down for 20 minutes afterwards but I got up after 15 minutes. I felt a bit daft when I fainted, then came round and fainted again."
Danson will soon be swapping her nurse's uniform for a police
uniform when she starts pounding the beat as PC Gemma Osbourne
in ITV1's The Bill. She is one of a number of new characters being
introduced by new executive producer Paul Marquess as part of
his revamp of the long-running show. "I had a meeting with
them just before Christmas. They asked me what I thought about
coming into the show. It's a totally different character to Sam
as she is gay, good fun and a bit more happy. Sam is a bit narky.
"I've just started filming The Bill. It was a bit like first
day at school getting to know everybody and their way of working."
Street star Tarmey on his feet after heart op
1 July 2002
Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey is up on his feet, despite suffering a complication in his recovery from a heart by-pass operation. The 61-year-old actor, who plays Jack Duckworth, had the op on Wednesday afternoon.
His recovery was initially thought to be better than anticipated and he was taken out of intensive care on Friday. But later that day, he was moved back into intensive care after suffering a complication, which was reported to be a minor heart attack.
A Granada spokeswoman says the actor walked himself from intensive care into a progressive care unit. She said: "Bill did suffer a complication on Friday and was moved back into intensive care as a precaution. "But he is doing really well and today he was allowed out of intensive care and into what is called a progressive care unit, which is one step along from intensive care. "He is making good progress and even managed to walk to the progressive care unit himself, which is obviously a good sign."
The actor, a life-long heavy smoker who had a quadruple heart bypass 15 years
ago, is expected to stay in hospital for at least 10 days. He has been written
out of the soap's script while he recovers.
1 July 2002 by Hannah Wright
Her name may not yet ring a bell but she can at least rest assured that her face does. Actress Joanne Froggatt has already made a huge impact in the TV world despite having just turned 21. Viewers will remember her as drug addict single-mum Zoe in Corrie, or Victoria Wood fans may have spotted her in Dinnerladies. The familiar face also turned up in A Touch Of Frost with David Jason - and now she's in the BBC's Paradise Heights.
Froggatt joins an all-star cast in new BBC1 drama Paradise Heights - her first role where she doesn't play a troubled teenager. She is Julia Sawyer, a confident lawyer with three protective older brothers - ex-Corrie actor Charles Dale, Ralf Little and Neil Morrissey. "Pam Ferris plays our mum and it's centred around a family business," Froggatt, 21, tells TV Plus. "It's been great to prove to people that I can do something different."
The drama is like nothing else ever seen on TV, says the young star. "I'm not just saying this but honestly the script is amazing," she says. "It really is such an interesting, diverse thing. "It's funny, it's scary, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry. There are some really heart-warming things in it. It's something I can imagine both men and women will really enjoy watching, it has everything."
Froggatt shot to fame at the tender age of 16, playing Ashley Peacock's girlfriend Zoe in Corrie. "It seems like ages ago now," she says. "It was amazing. I think if they'd told me when I started everything I would be doing in it, I would have said I couldn't do it. "I was only supposed to be in it for four episodes but it turned into 18 months. They kept giving me these amazing storylines, I can't explain how much I learnt there."
During her stint on Coronation Street five years ago, Froggatt shared a flat with actress Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah Battersby. "We lived together for about a year, we're still in touch and got together when I was last in Manchester," she says. "She's a lovely girl." Froggatt acts alongside another ex-Corrie star Charles Dale, who played Dennis Stringer. "We know a few of the same people," adds Frogatt.
Despite her age, Froggatt has already worked with the likes of David Jason and Victoria Wood. Does she get nervous acting alongside such big names? "On Paradise Heights, it was fantastic to meet people like Pam Ferris and Neil Morrissey. "It's always good to work with people who have more experience - you can learn so much from them. But when it's somebody that you've grown up watching on TV, it can be a bit surreal and nerve-racking."
Like her character on BBC1's Paradise Heights, actress Joanne Froggatt is engaged to be married. "We've been engaged for three years, we're not in a rush," she tells TV Plus. "I want a big wedding with all the trimmings, it won't be cheap!" She says her meeting with fiancee, DJ Phil Vane, was complicated. "I was best friends with his step-brother when I was in drama school in Berks and I met Phil through him." She is not planning a star-studded wedding.
With an impressive CV, listing acting roles on Corrie, Lorna
Doone, Bad Girls and The Stretford Wives, Froggatt considers herself
very lucky. "All I ever set out to do was act," says
the star, who lives in Derbyshire. "I love my job and I'd
like to have a long career. "So far everything's gone okay,
last year I was out of work for four months and was really worried
that I'd had my flash in the pan, but luckily I started working
Ashley chops mother-in-law
1 July 2002
Coronation Street meat seller Ashley Peacock is to give his dreadful mother-in-law the chop. Ashley, played by Steven Arnold, cannot take any more of the old bat and sends her packing so he and wife Max (Tracy Shaw) can concentrate on looking after their baby.
There's a twist though - when battleaxe Doreen (Prunella Gee)
returns home, she finds long-suffering husband Derek shacked up
with new lover Donna. So she faces having to ask Ashley and Max
if she can move back in. Actor Steven said: "Doreen's a real
Hyacinth Bucket - everything has to be perfect. Now, with Derek
not budging, Ash faces a bleak future ..."