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Monday 22 July 2013

Corrie A-Z: M is for Mother Figures

Many Corrie women have become mother figures to various residents over the years. While some are childless, others take individuals under their wing because their children aren’t around or they’re estranged from them or they want to make up from neglecting their own children by mothering others.
Timid widow Minnie Caldwell often took in lodgers as a way to pay the bills and debts she had. And as well as putting a roof over their head at No.5, she also took them under her wing and she looked at them as the sons she never had. Lodgers included Charlie Moffitt, Joe Donnelli and Eddie Yeats but her favourite was Scouser Jed Stone. An ex-con, Jed was the son Minnie never had and she often defended him when Ena Sharples badmouthed him. Jed made a living of working on market stalls and selling various goods like washbasins that rarely lasted in the long term. But loveable Jed was the apple of Minnie’s eye despite his many flaws. Many of the residents saw him as a petty criminal, but he was the sunshine of Minnie’s life and he affectionately called her ‘Ma’ to which she called him ‘Sunny Jim’. He left for Liverpool in 1963 without saying goodbye to Minnie, as he couldn’t bear to break her heart.

He returned in 1966, but after a few months, it transpired that he was on the run from the police for possessing stolen blankets. How crime has changed on the cobbles since then! Worried about devastating Minnie, Jed asked the police to pretend to be his friends. But, deep down Minnie knew and cried. Jed was jailed and later released but although he kept in touch with Minnie, we never saw him on screen with Minnie ever again. When Jed returned briefly to the street in 2008 and lodged with Emily Bishop, he reminisced about Minnie. He had a cat called Sunny Jim, a reminder to older viewers of what Minnie used to call him.
Matronly barmaid Betty Turpin is also remembered for being a mother figure to many– Bet Lynch being the most obvious. Many a time Betty was on hand to comfort Bet when a man let her down. As well as being a comfort, Betty also warned Bet about certain relationships and told her some home truths. Even after marrying Alec Gilroy, it was Betty who Bet turned to for advice and guidance in her marriage. Although Betty had son Gordon, he lived in London, and so Betty took others under her maternal wing. She also took in Bet if she was evicted from her bedsit and when she was robbed in 1980. In 1982, she took in Alec Hobson as a lodger. He lifted her spirits as she hadn’t been invited to Gordon’s wedding to Caroline Wilson. Due to her longevity and experience as a barmaid, Betty took many Rovers barmaids under her wing like Raquel Wolstenhulme, Maria Sutherland and Shelley Unwin. In Maria’s case, Betty told her of her experience of giving Gordon away to her sister Maggie when Maria confided in Betty about her pregnancy.
Like Minnie Caldwell, Emily Bishop has been a mother figure to many by taking them in. Also childless, in 1978 she took in Deirdre Langton and her baby Tracy after hubby Ray left them for Holland. And with the absence of her mother Blanche for many years, Deirdre looked at Emily as a mother figure for many years. As Tracy’s godmother, Emily felt it her duty to look out for her. It’s true to say that Emily played a big part in Tracy’s upbringing unlike her other godmother Betty who rarely had contact with her. Another one who Emily took under her wing was Curly Watts, or as she called him: Norman. He moved in as a lodger in No.3 and although she was initially worried that because of his youth he would bring noise and worry, but Emily found Curly a reliable and considerate young man and a long friendship developed. Even though after moving out, Curly and Emily remained close friends and Emily was always there to help Curly in times of trial. In recent times, Emily has been maternal to young Sophie Webster as she found her Christian faith.
Rita Tanner is another who’s a maternal figure on the cobbles. Also childless, Rita was a foster mother to many children in the 1980s. We first saw her as a mother in 1972 when she looked after Terry and Gail Bates, the children of her common-law husband Harry. She left Harry that year and fell for Len Fairclough. They married in 1977 and they fostered John Spencer in 1981 and Sharon Gaskell in 1982. The Faircloughs formed a stronger relationship with Sharon and they cared deeply for her. Although Sharon left for Sheffield in 1982, she returned in 1999 and yet again Rita, now alone, was on hand to help Sharon and console her when she had relationship problems before Sharon left again.

During Sharon’s hiatus, Rita fostered Jenny Bradley. Although they got off to a rocky start, they formed a strong relationship, cemented by Rita embarking on a relationship with Jenny’s dad Alan. Like with Sharon, Rita shared her experiences with Jenny and helped her on her singing career – although that didn’t last! But their relationship soured when Alan conned Rita and ruined her life and then Jenny left the street in 1991. She returned in 1993 but it seemed she was only after Rita’s inheritance from her recently deceased hubby Ted and she left again, her relationship with Rita damaged. During the 1990s, Rita helped out the Webster family and became a mother figure to Sally and a surrogate grandmother to Rosie and Sophie and since then Sally has confided in Rita with her marital problems and her family sagas. Currently, Rita has taken Tina McIntyre  under her wing, and although Tina caused Rita to be kidnapped on her wedding day to Dennis Tanner, they remain firm friends.
While Audrey Roberts has a somewhat strained relationship with daughter Gail and her grandchildren, she has been a maternal figure to many young women who’ve worked at her salon over the years that include Maria Connor, Candice Stowe, Maxine Peacock and Natasha Blakeman.
Kind-hearted Hayley Cropper has also been a shoulder to cry on for many of her colleagues at the factory like Janice, Sean, Julie, Karen and Kelly. She also took in Fiz and Chesney but her strongest relationship was with wayward Becky who returned the favour of Hayley and Roy’s kindness by defending them when they were belittled. Like many mother figures, Hayley has made a cup of tea or coffee for various street residents in a darkened Roy’s Rolls.
Although known for being a femme fatale, Elsie Tanner in her later years was known for taking young girls under her roof. With both Linda and Dennis absent from her life, Elsie took in Gail Potter and Suzie Birchall as lodgers and they kept her on her toes. In the early 1980s, Elsie took in Marion Willis, Eddie Yeats’ wife-to-be and was her confidante when she revealed she was pregnant out of wedlock.
Can you think of any other Corrie mother figures? Vote for your favourite mother figure below. And if you haven't yet, you can vote for your favourite Corrie Lothario here.


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The.HR.Doctor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The.HR.Doctor said...

What!? No Tracy Barlow? Can't see Tracy turning anyone away from her door...

Anonymous said...

Sally let Ryan move in when he had nowhere to go. Eileen has been mothering Sean for years. Michelle let Katy and babe move in for a short time also. My favorite is Emily though and I'm glad to see she's had more screen time lately.

Anonymous said...

Surprised Gail doesnt have more interaction with Dennis if Elsie acted as her second mother but I dont think they have even been in a scene together.

Anonymous said...

Emily babysits Norris too :)

Phil Collinson said...

I am appalled that you have not mentioned the greatest mother figure Corrie has ever seen---Miss Stella Price. For two full years she has selflessly devoted herself to the problems of those less fortunate (of which there are many). Her exclusion is yet another attempt to disrespect this Corrie legend.

Anonymous said...

Eileen has certainly been quite the Den Mother over the years, hasn't she?


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