Sunday, 4 November 2012

Who would make the perfect Rovers landlady?

Following on from my previous blog, I thought I would change course slightly and be a little more positive. If the powers-that-be decided to axe the current Rovers landlady (she of the back room), who would make a good replacement? In my mind the landlady of the Rovers Return should always be one of the most important characters in the show, and that's why the current lacklustre landlady is so disappointing. 


For me, there has only ever been one truly great Rovers boss - the fabulous Mrs Annie Walker. I loved how she had ideas above her station and always aspired to greater things, knowing deep down that the Rovers was her lot in life. There was so much mileage for the writers in her snobbish ways. For over twenty years we watched her lord it over her staff and customers alike. She believed herself to be in a different class compared to most of her regulars, although she did have a soft spot for Ken who she saw as an intellectual equal. Just proves everyone is allowed the odd error of judgement. Who can forget her rivalry with Nellie Harvey? Her love/hate relationship with Hilda Ogden? And remember how we all shared her shock and horror when she discovered Renee Roberts did not stock vichyssoise in the Corner Shop? I wonder if Dev does now?


Anyway, I digress. Who would be the best modern day landlady for the Rovers Return? I discount Bet Lynch/Gilroy/Lynch straight away as too much water has passed under the bridge. My three suggestions would be:


Lillian Spencer - As close to Annie Walker as we're ever likely to see, I adored Maureen Lipman's portrayal of the snooty temporary manager. I believe she was brought in at short notice after Julie Goodyear cut her contract short. Lillian stole every scene she was in and made a great double-act with Fred Elliott. I would love to see her return to the Rovers complete with her mynah bird and Austin Allegro. We could do without her offspring though.


Shelley Unwin - It took a while for me to warm to Shelley, however she made a great Rovers barmaid in the end. Sally Lindsay was terrific in the part and despite spending six years in her bedroom thanks to Charlie Stubbs, I never grew tired of her. If they ever do bring Shelley back, let's hope they don't do to her what they've done to her old pal Sunita.



Claudia Colby - I loved Rula Lenska's portrayal of Audrey's friend and rival. Audrey needs a best mate for adventures and fun - she hasn't had one since Alma's sad demise. I love Audrey as a matriarch but I long for the old floozy to make a reappearance. Claudia had great screen presence and would, I think, be perfect landlady material. The writers could have a lot of fun with a Claudia/Audrey lock-in at the Rovers.

So who would you love to see behind the bar at the Rovers Return? And while you're at it cock, mine's a large G&T.




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32 comments:

Mrs Barton said...

I have though Leanne Battersby/Barlow would be a great Rovers Landlady, she's got the aspirational ideals and the snobby demeanour,with the vulnerability and brittle-ness required. Stella needs to leave suddenly and leave Leanne in charge- perfect!

Frosty the Snowman said...

I reckon Sally when Kevin and Sophie are written out could aspire to a 21st Century Annie Walker.

Graeme N said...


That's a great idea! She has right qualities for that role - good call!

Humpty Dumpty said...

If we can include newcomers, I will continue to bang the drum for Lisa Tarbuck who has exactly the right presence for a Rovers landlady. Of the present crew, a snobby Sally would be wonderful (without Kevin); agree with Mrs Barton about Leanne but perhaps include Eva which would be interesting; changing genders, Lloyd would be full of bon homie and have great music night.

Graeme N said...


Newcomers can very much be included! Lisa Tarbuck would be a good choice, she's a good actress capable of both comedy and drama. Actually, I'm surprised she's not been in Corrie before.

Sunny Jim said...

I like the idea of Lillian, never Lily, making a return, though I'm not sure Maureen Lipman would be up for the heavy schedule that comes with being the landlady of the Rovers.

What about Liz MacDonald? I always liked her as the boss of the Rovers and she provides plenty of both comedy & drama. And anyway, Deirdre is in desperate need of a friend.

Graeme N said...


I'd love Maureen Lipman to come back, although I doubt she would. I think her husband wrote for the street in the early days too?

I liked Liz in the early days, but towards the end she was too panto for me, and I began to find her quite an unsympathetic character.

Anonymous said...

If only Bet had not cocked up her return then the door would have been left open, however she's knocking on a bit now anyway.

I think the rovers has been a bit lost since the duckies took over. I think it was a brave move for TPTB to bring in an outsider in St-Ella and had she been a stronger wittier character, as she was promoted to be, then it would have worked.

There is nobody in the current cast who I would envisage running the rovers. They need to bring in a new character but one who is thought through and can go the distance.

If they had to bring someone back then forget Liz, Lillian etc- bring back Tina. All these years later she would be a great landlady. The other problem they have is that there is no comedy behind the bar. Eva has potential but Tina, Lewis, Gloria (and now Mandy if the spoilers are to be believed) are all pretty unlikeable characters- the whole place needs an overhaul!- Micky

Flaming Nora said...

Ooh, Graeme, you are good. I would also love Lilian (never, ever Lily) Spencer to return but I did read some years ago that Maureen Lipman would never return to Corrie. Sadly.

Graeme N said...


Why thank you :) I agree, and I think it's a shame. I also remember reading that Celia Imrie always wanted to appear in Corrie. I think she'd be great in a similar kind of role...

Anonymous said...

Gail.

Graeme N said...


Could she see above the pumps?

Janice said...

I would like to see Mary take over at the helm of the Rovers. Lots of theme nights, and pretensions aplenty. She is comedic we know but we have seen a nastier, edgier side to her as well.

Anonymous said...

In my experience it wasn't exactly snobby, egotistical acting with Lilian, she was just like that when I worked with her a couple of years ago.

A reappearance of Meg Johnson (Eunice Gee) would be my choice. AB

ChiaGwen said...

LOL Graeme! - could Gail see above the pumps? I'd like to see Jim McD run the Rovers - takes no guff from the punters but there could be lots of punch ups and 'so it is' could become extremely annoying after a while.

Graeme N said...


Jim would make a great landlord but he'd be back in the big house before last orders

Graeme N said...


And I'm afraid Mary behind the bar of the Rovers would put me off my gin and tonic!

Anonymous said...

Judging from your first two contributions, you are a fantastic addition to this blog, Graeme. I like your comments on the comments too...

Conversation Street said...

Lilian was a brilliant landlady - such a shame she was only in it for a short while. I can't think of any of the current cast that would make a truly great landlady, although it might be fun to see Sally give it a go, to see her try to lord it over the regulars in an attempted Annie/Lillian style. I'd definitely be happy if Claudia came back to do it too. Julie or Sylvia could be quite fun to have as landladies, too.

Chris said...

I've always thought Maxine Peake would be an amazing landlady!

Blossom said...

Roy and Hayley.
Lots of potential for quirky stories.

abbyk said...

For quite a while, my pick to run the Rovers has been Lloyd. He has that easy going personality coupled with good business sense that would make it work.

Mrs Miniver said...

Eunice Gee is now Pearl Ladderbanks in Emmerdale so would not come back and is knocking on bit now to be a barmaid. How about Kirky and Beth? It could be the making of them.

Graeme N said...


Maxine Peake would be great but I shouldn't think she'd have time to take this on long term. Roy and Hayley would be interesting but all they'd sell would be pineapple juice!

njblas said...

Maxine Peake played a character called Belinda Peach in a one-off appearance in 1999. Fred Elliott tried to pair her up with Ashley but he only had eyes for Maxine Heavey!
I can see a lot of potential in having Sally run the Rovers. Her character needs a new direction, and she could combine the best/worst traits of Annie Walker and Lilian Spencer. She would provide a lot more spark behind the bar than the beige swizzlestick who is currently wafting around there.

Graeme N said...


I didn't realise she'd been in it before! I guess that was while she was doing Dinnerladies.

Sally would be terrific I think although I'm not sure how long she would last with her attitude! Fun to watch though. "Beige swizzlestick" - I love it!

Anonymous said...

Why does it have to be a woman? Get Lloyd behind the bar!

Graeme N said...


No reason why it has to be a lady...just so far all the best ones have been :) I think Lloyd would be a good choice

RichJH said...

The original Tina (from the late 80's/90's would be great, I think she went on to be in Emmerdale and Goodnight Sweetheart

Graeme N said...


Yes! And wasn't she in The Road to Coronation Street?

Martin S. said...

Graeme N asked...

Could she see above the pumps?


If Betty could manage I'm sure Gail can.

IMDb says Betty Driver was 5'7" and Helen Worth is 5'5". I think they're both way off, even taking into account Gail's wig.

Graeme N said...


Well Betty managed even when she was sitting down. I still wouldn't want Gail behind the bar. She suits a tabard too much. Unless, the Rovers wants a new cleaner...

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