As the new Coronation Street producer settles in to the all powerful hot seat he is bound to look at the current cast of Weatherfield characters and make some important decisions for the future. As with all Corrie fans he is sure to have some characters and actors that he prefers to others. It will be interesting to see the changes Stuart Blackburn will put into place over time.
I think we'll all agree that different producers have actors who become flavours of the month, and while Corrie has to evolve and move forward, let's hope the powers that be don't forget some of the old faces. While Bill Roache is always praised for his longevity and years of service as Street original Ken Barlow, and Philip Lowrie's return as Dennis Tanner was also a delight, I think it's time to salute the wonderful Emily Bishop as portrayed by Eileen Derbyshire.
Eileen has been part of Coronation Street for an amazing 52 years this month making her Corrie's longest serving female cast member. As the actress herself very rarely makes public appearances and never gives interviews I think it can sometimes be easy to overlook her wonderful contribution to the Street. Her character may not be the most dramatic, exciting or explosive the Street has ever known but she has featured in some terrific storylines, from her years with Leonard Swindley at Gamma Garments, her marriage to Ernie Bishop and classic partnerships with the likes of Curly Watts, Percy Sugden and now, Norris Cole.
I loved Emily's relationship with her nephew, Spider (and I know a certain someone on here who did too!) Sending a protesting Emily up a tree on the Red Rec was a masterstroke and gave the character new life back in the 1990s. However for me Emily was at her best when coping with her grief after her beloved husband Ernest was shot back in 1978. Eileen turned in some tremendous performances and was incredibly believable throughout.
I just wish the powers that be would give Emily a storyline of her own in 2013. Yes, I know the actress is now of a certain age but she is not really that much older than Bill Roache and his character is still fending off amorous advances from Wendy flamin' Crozier! All we've seen Emily do recently is baby sit Ruby and look disapprovingly at Norris and Mary. It was great to see her involved with Norris' long-lost brother Ramsay, but that was a few years ago now.
So what would be a good story for Emily? Maybe something involving her charity work at the hospital? We haven't seen anything of her relationship with Sophie Webster since she went down the lesbian route (Sophie, not Emily!) so perhaps that could be explored again. Emily does have a sister, Norah, who appeared at both her wedding and Ernest's funeral - maybe she could arrive for a visit? Also, wouldn't it be good if Spider came back to visit his aunty Em? I'm sure there is still the opportunity for one or two adventures there.
So do you agree that Eileen's contribution to Coronation Street is often overlooked? And would you like to see her carry her own storyline for a change instead of just popping up in other people's? If Emily was given a storyline, what would you like to see her get up to?
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