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Wednesday 23 May 2012

From Wearside to Weatherfield, Sunderland's Corrie connections

Corrie fans might have heard my home city of Sunderland mentioned on Coronation Street in the last few months when Peter Barlow was planning a naughty night away with Carla Connor.

Peter lied to wife Leanne, saying he had to stay overnight in Sunderland "to see a man about a greyhound".

But it’s not the first time that Sunderland’s been mentioned on Coronation Street. 
Back in 2006, factory girl Jessie Jackson left the cobbles for a bumpy landing thanks to some out-of-date research in the scriptwriting department.  Jessie told the Corrie factory girls she’d landed a job as a trolley dolly with Majestic Airlines flying “from Sunderland”.  I bet Nissan, whose factory is located on the long-gone Sunderland airstrip, were a bit surprised.

But hang on, there are even more connections between Corrie and Sunderland, with some of the Street’s leading men being born and bred in the city.

Alan Browning
Born in Sunderland, he played Elsie Tanner’s on-screen husband Alan Howard and in real-life was married to the actress who played Elsie, Pat Phoenix.

William Russell

Born in Sunderland, he played Rita’s second husband, Ted Sullivan, who died of a brain tumour. Russell was also one of the four original cast members of Doctor Who in 1963, starring opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor for the first two seasons of the legendary series.

Malcolm Terris

Born in Sunderland, he played Eric Firman, owner and head of Firman’s Freezers. In real life before going to drama school, Malcolm started out as a reporter on the Sunderland Echo.

Ian Embleton

Ian, who played Des Barnes’ brother Colin, was born in Jarrow and grew up in Boldon.

But we're not finished yet, there are even more connections between Salford and Sunderland.

The Coronation Street spin-off DVD Romanian Holiday was a Corrie caper set in Transylvania and released in 2009. Both Sunderland football club and FA Cup winning Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe get a warm and friendly mention in the DVD so you do start to wonder if Corrie has recruited some Mackems to the writing team.

Back in 2008, Michael Le Vell, who plays Corrie garage owner Kevin Webster, also donated one of Kevin’s outfits from the soap to raise funds for a charity for young, homeless people in Sunderland. The outfit was auctioned off to raise money for the charity at the Black Bull pub.

And there’s been a recent saucy Street revelation when the tabloids reported that Coronation Street actor Jimmi Harkishin, who plays corner shop owner Dev Alahan, had been spotted out on the town in London with Sunderland porn star Kat Lee.

Meanwhile Bruce Jones, who played Corrie layabout Les Battersby, swapped the Rovers Return for Agadoo in Vine Place when he opened up his own Sunderland bar with Black Lace singer Dene Michael.

And Sunderland band The Toy Dolls released a song about Coronation Street’s Miss Sexy Specs herself, Deirde Barlow. The song was called, “Deirdre’s a Slag” and released in 1984. The song takes a pop at Deirdre Barlow and the blokes in her life – Ray, Mike and Ken.

And finally, I’m indebted to Colin Randall, editor of SAFC fanzine Salut! Sunderland for this wonderful snippet about Coronation Street actor Joe Simpson who was once booed by 47,000 Mackems at Sunderland AFC's Stadium of Light. Why did Joe deserve all that grief?

The poor fella had only been invited onto the pitch at half-time in a match against Ipswich in the 2001-2 season, to make the lottery draw. But he was introduced to the crowd by his Corrie character persona “the evil Alex Swinton” and the crowd rose to the bait with a chorus of pantomime booing. He didn’t mind though – Joe is a Sunderland fan and took it all in good fun.

See also: Sandra at Saunders of Sunderland gets a mention by Carla in a stolen silk storyline, week of May 31 20130.

See also: Exclusive pictures of Corrie cast in Sunderland Bistro 

Check out: Sunderland R&R Life Magazine

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1 comment:

Cobblestone said...

Thanks for that, Nora; I went to school in Sunderland myself, so it's fascinating to discover they are so many connections.
Widening the focus slightly, I've been struck by how many connections has to the North East of England in general. Natalie Horrocks, Des Barnes, Alan McKenna were from Newcastle, Middlesborough & Durham respectively & I'm sure there must be more. And I think Curley & Emma Watts moves to Newcastle.


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