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Friday 20 April 2012

Does Betty really own the Rovers Return?

I don't usually find myself getting annoyed at fantastical story lines in Coronation Street, but the latest story about Betty and the Rovers is making no sense for a number of reasons. The storyline contradicts the show's own history.

In 1984, when Annie Walker supposedly wrote Betty into her will, the Rovers Return was still owned by Newton and Ridley, the local brewery. Furthermore, in 1983, Annie signed the Rovers over to her son, Billy Walker, Billy Walker then sold the tenancy to pay off his debts, and the brewery appointed Bet Lynch as the manager of the Rovers. Annie Walker died before 1995, in that year, the Duckworth's purchased the Rovers from Newton & Ridley.

This would have meant that if Betty indeed had owned the Rovers in 1995 would have stood by and watched Bet struggling to try and find the money to buy the Rovers. Betty would not have done this, the two were good friends and Betty would not have stood by and watched her suffer.

I see no possible way that Annie Walker still owned the tenancy to the Rovers and she never owned the whole pub. Unless there is a side to the storyline that has not yet been revealed, I will be disappointed by the lack of research in that was put into this storyline, rewriting the street's history is just one of those rules that cannot be broken.

Though, I am no legal expert myself, if there are any people with expertise reading, it'd be great to hear if this sort of thing might be possible in the real world.

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MrsBarton said...

Those that take over a programme like Corrie need to be hyper aware of the responsibility that comes with it. This show is about more than the ratings for the week, if TPTB are not to just turn it into an uglier-Hollyoaks rip off the history needs to be respected. The arrogance of this re write is breath taking. No doubt the producer thought he was respecting Betty with this tribute but in doing so has disrespected all the past characters and the show's long history. And Betty would not thank him for that.

bbhilda said...

Where is Daran Little when you need him? He would never have allowed this to happen when he was archivist, he had far too much respect for past history.

It does annoy me when they do this, they assume nobody is old enough to remember, and we all know what assume did - it makes an ass of u and me!

Anonymous said...

Not to mention Betty would've not let all these other characters think they were buying the pub when in fact they weren't legally

bbhilda said...

That episode was annoying on another count too. You can't tell me that Tommy would never have seen any baby pictures of himself. The Hortons would have taken some of him at that age, and I know Vera did because we saw them, and I could easily tell the difference between that one and the baby they used back then, so I am sure Tommy would have too.

Sloppy sloppy writing - I hate it! If they can't be bothered to research the past, don't write about it!

Adsm said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post! The brewery owned the pub so it wasn't Annie's to sell. Betty would not have kept quiet all those years and certainly would have come forward when bet needed help to buy the pub. Also, why was Stella involved when she barely knew Betty? Her character is over exposed.

Also, surely Mavis, Bet, Hilda and Curly would have returned, not to mention her sister Maggie, who hasnt even had a mention!!! Corrie used to be so much better at doing these things. Betty deserved better.

fran jones said...

I agree with all these views . Scripts now have no respect fo r. The heritage of the street. And storines are fantastical and so rapid. It will all be changed by next week when what used to be good wad the slow steady build up of events wittily written and woven into the past weeks months and years. Aretodays scriptwriters. Freelance temps.
? It shows in the product.

Sunny Jim said...

I can just imagine the production meeting:

"Quick, quick there's a storyline here that St. Ella of somewhere vaguely northern isn't involved in. Somebody do something."

And we end up with this load of bal ... derdash.

Frosty the Snowman said...

WTF was Stella doing muscling in yesterday? Gordon had Rita and Emily, her two old friends and colleges of Betty Driver. Why did that insipid expressionless bitch barge in as well - sorry for language but Frosty is really mad about this, then we get the stupidity of Annie Walker being the OWNER of the Rovers. She and Jack were tenants and Newton and Ridley were the owners, the flaming writers need to be sacked. Our best loved soap is turning into a farce.

Anonymous said...

This is akin to "mysterious person turns up from the past and claims to be someone's mum,dad,brother,son,daughter" sloppy storyline stuff. The Street has a history just like any of us have and the moving finger writes and having writ moves on.... Look up the rest if you don't know it.

Danny-K said...

And there you have it - why Corrie and its ilk will always be a soap and never a 'continuing drama'.

- And what's wrong with that?

Nothing - except when you are encouraged and constantly bombarded to upgrade your expectations that you are watching a drama instead of a melodramatic soap. (William Roach [Ken] was bleating on about Corrie being true drama in an interview on TV the other night, said he got quite angry when others called Corrie just a soap).

Soaps, if they last long enough, have so many incredible melodramatic plots that it can at times beggar belief. You can suspend belief, in a soap, but buy into the 'continuing drama' bill-of-sale and expectations are of a different order and if not adhered to, the 'not realistic' complaints come flooding in - as above.

It's said that politicians who succeed at becoming become Prime Minister, in the long run, must all, ultimately, fail at the job. And so it is with soaps - that they ultimately disappear up their own backsides in a complete lack of credibility - it's in the nature of the beast.

To me Corrie is a soap, so I can quite happily accept a convoluted storyline whereby it appears Betty is suddenly, out-of-the-blue, the 'true owner' of the Rovers, and can also accept that Stella empathises with the emotions of the other characters upon learning of Betty's death because magically, she instantly 'knows' Betty as a person. I can tsk! Tsk! whilst still enjoying. You can't do that watching a 'drama'.

But then again, I don't believe Corrie reflects life in a British northern street at all. Truth be told, neither do you. If it did, it would be much more boring. It's just an entertaining and successful soap.

Maybe it's not the producers who need to raise their expectations, maybe it's us, the viewers who need to lower ours, and remind ourselves - it's just a soap, not credible drama. Unfortunately, as we all personally know, long term fans of favourite soaps steadily increase theirs. This feeds the ego of the producers who then award themselves lofty titles of working on 'continuing drama'.

MrsBarton said...

Danny-K: The only (well, main) expectation I have of a producer is that they respect the history of the show. No other show in the world has history like that, so rich and colourful. So why trample all over it? It's an asset not a hindrance!!!

Tvor said...

Very very true. Annie Walker never owned the pub therefore could not will it to someone.

And yes, i thought that about Tommy as well. He would surely have been able to recognize that the baby in the photo was not him. I know i would recognize myself from my own baby photos.

Danny makes a good point about soaps but when a show has been around as long as Corrie, there's a lot of history there. Sometimes rewriting history in a soap can make sense for the dramatic results as long as it isn't too jarring. There are still a lot of long time corrie watchers that know the error of ITV's ways and this most definitely is jarring.

Dolly Tubb said...

Danny K - brave man! But this is not just about the difference between a drama or a soap; it's about treating your audience, and the actors who have to deliver, with respect, and understanding that they aren't just pathetically grateful masses who will accept any old drivel so long as it has been wiped down with a Newton and Ridley bar towel and served up in a Coronation Street souvenir wrapper.

Anonymous said...

I am beyond caring anymore. The dire storylines that are running parallel to EE is enough for me to tune out after 12 years. You sure know who the mgmt favouries are because they are shoved into each and every scene (Stella et al) What is the point? Another bad buy shows up on the street...all dark and smarmy...I think his name is Derrick Mitcell..oops..sorry..that's EE, but who can really tell the difference nowadays. There is not one person left on the street with any redeemming qualities. Name one. Oh ... there's Hayley..who they've relegated to wandering around with a clipboard or Fiz...what's the point with her anymore. This show sucks the big one and is too embarassing to I won't.
Rant ended.

Adam Rekitt said...

This story is utter nonsense. Even if Annie Walker did own the Rovers, her will would have had Executor(s) and if Betty refused the bequest, the Executors would have had to agree what would happen to it and draw up a Deed of Variation.

Supposing the Executors were negligent and just didn't bother to carry out their legal duties, then so were Newton and Ridley's Solicitors. It is preposterous that they (or anyone's Solicitors) would have bought the Rovers without checking who the legal owner was and if she was deceased, checking her will. Has anyone ever heard of a case where someone was sitting at home watching Corrie, when someone knocked on the door and said: "You have to leave. I own this house because it was bequeathed to me 30 years ago"?

Bill Roache was right. For years, Corrie was a high quality comedy drama and I despair at the greed of ITV bosses which has turned it into this rubbish. Don’t get me started about the involvement of St Ella, but I know that when my mother died, the last thing I would have wanted was a complete stranger rooting through her things. I agree wholeheartedly with Mrs Barton. I don't think Betty Driver would have wanted a tribute that re-wrote the show's history and undermined her character. It's like someone travelling back in time and killing your Grandfather.

Anonymous said...

i think everyone should write their protests to corrie via email to This will go straight to the corrie production office. maybe then can re-write it in a few weeks to say Annie was not of sound mind when she wrote her ill and did not own the rovers etc etc

Hilda's Murial said...

Let us assume, for argument's sake, that there was some right to the pub ... to the building and/or improvements, to the name "Rover's Return," to the land, perhaps a right of first refusal, that might have been owned by Mrs. Walker and could have been distributed in her will. By 1994 and 1995, Mrs. Walker was mentioned on the street as having, at some prior but not specified date, died. [ ]

Thus by 2007, at least twelve years have passed since Mrs. Walker's death.

Now, let's look at the statute of limitations for claiming an interest in a British estate or succession:

Section 21--21 Time limit for actions in respect of trust property.(1)No period of limitation prescribed by this Act shall apply to an action by a beneficiary under a trust, being an action—
(a)in respect of any fraud or fraudulent breach of trust to which the trustee was a party or privy; or
(b)to recover from the trustee trust property or the proceeds of trust property in the possession of the trustee, or previously received by the trustee and converted to his use.
(2)Where a trustee who is also a beneficiary under the trust receives or retains trust property or its proceeds as his share on a distribution of trust property under the trust, his liability in any action brought by virtue of subsection (1)(b) above to recover that property or its proceeds after the expiration of the period of limitation prescribed by this Act for bringing an action to recover trust property shall be limited to the excess over his proper share.
This subsection only applies if the trustee acted honestly and reasonably in making the distribution.


Section 22-- Time limit for actions claiming personal estate of a deceased person.Subject to section 21(1) and (2) of this Act—
(a)no action in respect of any claim to the personal estate of a deceased person or to any share or interest in any such estate (whether under a will or on intestacy) shall be brought after the expiration of twelve years from the date on which the right to receive the share or interest accrued; and
(b)no action to recover arrears of interest in respect of any legacy, or damages in respect of such arrears, shall be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the interest became due.

Now what I believe this tells us is, the normal time limit to claim an inheritance is twelve years. However, if the estate has been put into a formal trust (administered by a solicitor subject to court approvals), there can be more time to make a claim.

It would not be credible for the Corrie writers to suddenly add some "trust" loophole. Newton & Ridley, and the subsequent owners, would have been forced to deal with that and clear it years ago.

I hope that these legal realities are incorporated into the storyline, for two reasons... A) It's the law, and B) I kind of like Stella.

Thank you,

Hilda's Murial

Anonymous said...

I keep reading comments suggesting that Annie had dementia when she made the will but wills usually have to be signed by a witness even more so when a person is not of sound mind, otherwise they are not legal. This storyline is disrespecting the histroy of Annie, Betty and Bet.

Anonymous said...

dimenta takes years to get so bad she'd lose her marbles that much she still thought she owned the pub

ChiaGwen said...

LOL! Frosty - love that salty language and how apt regarding Stella!...that was the last straw for me, Stella rooting through Betty's things and of course now we will see even more of Stella because her Mom is showing up. She's just in every single storyline, no matter what. I half expected her to butt into the fracas of David, Audrey and Mary's motorhome - she should be under that motorhome.

Anonymous said...

The pub has been bought and sold many times since Annie's departure, are we really expected to believe several solicitors did not notice an oversight with the ownership?

Anonymous said...

Annie signed the tenancy over to Billy in 1984. The writers coped with Doris Speed's absence by at first just keeping Annie off-screen but referred to (at Eddie and Marion's wedding reception, she's poorly but has left strict instructions so that the reception party doesn't get out of hand). It was only in 1984, when Doris showed no signs of returning, that the scriptwriters put Billy in charge.


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