Maggie Cooke

Full name: Margaret Cooke (née Preston, previously Clegg)

June 12th 1924

  1. Les Clegg
  2. Ron Cooke (10 July 1974)

Played by:
Irene Sutcliffe
First appeared:

Maggie and Les Clegg bought the cornershop off David and Irma Barlow, and their 'son' Gordon moved into the bedsit upstairs. The shop represented a new start for the family, in a last ditched attempt to save a marriage that had left Maggie black and blue and an emotional wreck at the hands of her alcoholic husband. At first things went well as Les stayed sober, the customers found him a friendly and genial proprietor and he regained Maggie's trust. So, when his bowls team were going out to celebrate a special win, Maggie was happy for him to go on his own. Les returned after a 2 day binge and started to wreck the shop. Maggie tried to wrestle his bottle from his clutches and he punched her in the face. Gordon took a swipe at him and sent him crashing into a stack of tins and knocked him out. When he came to in the hospital, Les was full of remorse for his actions and sought help from a psychiatrist, who admitted him to a psychiatric hospital.

With Les away receiving treatment, a huge weight was lifted off Maggie's shoulders and as a result she started to sleep and eat properly. She refused to allow Gordon to help her with the shop, as he was supposed to be studying for his accountancy exams and so she employed Valerie Barlow as an assistant. When Gordon declared his intention to marry Lucille Hewitt, Maggie refused to allow him to get engaged since she believed that he would be throwing away his future in accountancy. She had become very friendly with Len Fairclough and on his advice she told Gordon that she wasn't going to mother him anymore and he was free to follow his heart if that was what he really wanted. With less than a month to go before the wedding, Gordon called the whole thing off but Maggie's joy over the broken engagement was short lived as Gordon announced that he was taking a job with an accountancy firm in London.

With Gordon away in London, Maggie was looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet, however this was not to be as her sister Betty and her husband Cyril arrived in Weatherfield. Maggie was managing fine on her own and feared that pretty soon, her domineering elder sister would take over everything and start trying to run both the shop and her life, which she very soon did. Undeterred, she refused to get rid of Valerie and bided her time until she saw an opportunity when Annie Walker went on holiday and she recommended Betty to Jack Walker, to help out at the Rovers, where she has been ever since.

After staying dry for over a year, Les left hospital in 1970 but Maggie didn't believe that he would remain sober and so he moved back to Birmingham and they started divorce proceedings. Gordon was making a success of his career in London and when he got the chance to buy into a partnership, Maggie sold a share of the business to Stan Ogden, who wanted it as a gift for his daughter Irma, who had returned to Weatherfield after the death of her husband and their son in a car crash in Australia. Irma moved into the bedsit with her friend Bet Lynch, but after getting involved with Joe Donelli, she felt she had too many ghosts on the Street and moved away to Llandudno.

Faced with having to buy her share back off Irma, Maggie refused to borrow money off Betty, preferring to borrow off the now successful Gordon instead and employed Norma Ford as a live-in assistant. With her divorce from Les finalised, she started to see Councillor Alf Roberts and twice turned down the opportunity to be his Mayoress, when Alf beat Len in the battle to be the last Mayor of Weatherfield as Weatherfield moved from Lancashire into Greater Manchester. Alf was completely smitten with Maggie, but she felt that whilst he was solid and reliable, there would be little romance or passion in such a relationship and turned him down when he proposed to her. Following the death of Cyril, Maggie could feel Alf and Betty closing in on her and then she met reformed alcoholic Ron Cooke. She had been out with him before, a year previously, but had been wary of getting involved with another drinker. However, after a year on the wagon and with the prospect of a new life together in Zaire, Maggie took the opportunity of a fresh start and the couple got married and flew off to Africa.

Maggie returned briefly to the Street, when the truth about Gordon came out after Megan Hopkins found his birth certificate stuck behind a drawer in the back room of the shop. The certificate showed that Gordon's mother was actually Betty and his father was unknown and when Megan told Betty she knew this, Maggie returned to tell Gordon the truth.

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