Monday, 12 August 2013

Corrie A-Z: P is for Pensioners

Since its inception, Corrie has mostly made use of its senior-aged characters for comic purpose. From the comedy gold of the snug trio in the early 60s to the antics of Percy and Phyllis in the 80s and 90s to recent classics involving Norris, Blanche, Rita and Sylvia, the Corrie oldies have been an integral part of Corrie’s success.
In the early years cronies Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst provided many humorous scenes in the Rovers snug, often gossiping about the goings-on of the street, mainly Elsie Tanner’s romances. Although they had their own little dramas, their scenes were usually in the snug. Martha’s death in 1964 ended the wonderful magic of the trio that defined the early years of Corrie. Ena and Minnie remained the senior residents of the street for many years, with Minnie leaving in 1976 and Ena in 1980.
Taking Martha’s place at the snug table was grumpy Albert Tatlock who bored both Ena and Minnie with his wartime stories. Albert’s other pastime was growing vegetables in his allotment and he took pride in his veg. He was also often seen complaining about his lack of money and complaining how dear things were in the Corner Shop or the Kabin. Minnie also suffered money problems from time to time and struggled to find ends meet. That’s one thing that differentiates the early OAPs to today – the likes of Rita, Audrey and Emily never complain of money problems.
By the 1980s, there was a need to fill the void left by Minnie, Ena and Albert (who died in 1984). Phyllis Pearce first appeared in 1982 before becoming a regular in 1984. She was intended to replace Ena Sharples, but soon softened and became more of an old dear. The man who soon became Phyllis’ object of affection was Community Centre caretaker Percy Sugden. They soon formed a wonderful double act, as Percy tried his best to put Phyllis off. But she did manage to make him jealous when she started courting Sam Tindall, Percy’s bowling sparring partner. For the next few years, the unlikely love triangle of Phyllis, Percy and Sam continued until Sam ceased to visit Jim Café’s in 1989.
In 1993, Percy and Phyllis were joined by wheelchair-bound Maud Grimes. Their scenes echoed those of the snug trio, when they commented about the trials and tribulations of their neighbours and tut-tutting. Percy and Maud did get engaged briefly but Percy broke it off when he learned that Maud had an affair with an American which resulted in her having daughter Maureen. But they remained good friends. Phyllis left to live in Mayfield Court in 1996 and was followed by Percy in 1997 and Maud in 1999. As for jobs, Phyllis did work at Jim’s Café during the 1980s and as Des Barnes’ char during the 1990s; Percy was briefly a lollypop man after retiring; while Maud worked at the Corner Shop during the 1990s.
Since the millennium, Corrie has had more pensioners in its cast than just the usual trio. As well as their financial situation, another thing that’s different about them to past pensioners is the fact that many are still working full time despite way passing retirement age. Both Rita and Norris still work full time at the Kabin – they’re 81 and 73 respectively. Rita did retire in 2009 and sold the Kabin to Norris, but soon returned behind the counter when she found retirement lonely and boring. Rita’s hubby Dennis also helps out and he’s 71 – plus he works as a lollypop man, a job Albert Tatlock, Percy Sugden and Jack Duckworth have done. It’s baffling that Dennis felt he needed to find a job when he was a pensioner!

Audrey, at 73, still owns the hair salon and although she’s contemplated retirement, she’s still shampooing and perming the residents of the cobbles. Another working pensioner is Sylvia Goodwin. At 78, she still works long hours at Roy’s Rolls, dishing out insults with egg and chips. Betty also worked as a Rovers barmaid until she was 92, although it had been part-time for a number of years. Vera Duckworth also worked until she was 70. The only exceptions in recent years who’ve actually retired when they should’ve are Emily Bishop (although still works voluntary at the hospital and has filled-in at the Kabin), Blanche Hunt, Jack Duckworth and Ken Barlow (although he’s also done fill-in jobs at the Kabin and Roy’s Rolls).
Who’s your favourite Corrie oldie? Vote in the poll below. And if you haven't yet, you can vote for your favourite 2000s Corrie moment here. Voting closes tonight at midnight.

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Anonymous said...

Emily has been letting it be known that she can't afford to keep up the bills on her house and Audrey has been complaining about the cost of repairs to her house and the flat above the salon. Sylvia was in a small room in a retirement home, with no funds, before coming to live with Roy and Hayley. Those sound like money concerns to me, even if they're not quite as desperate as the oldies of earlier times.

Anonymous said...

The one niggle I have with corrie when it comes to its older characters is that eventually they just ship them off to an old peoples home, Mayfield Court, never to be mentioned again. Percy, Phyllis and Maud were all key characters with links to the street who realistically would have passed away by now like the actors who played them. Why no mention from Emily that Percy has passed on and that shes going to his funeral. Its always bugged me as it seems disrespectful somehow.

Anonymous said...

Dennis needed to find a job because he didn't qualify for a state pension. He had spent most of his life unemployed or being paid cash-in-hand. By the time he reached retirement age he hadn't clocked up enough national insurance contributions to enable him to retire.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the hardest poll yet! I'm not even going to try and figure out who to vote for.

Anonymous said...

This is very difficult to choose from, I love them all ! haha

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