Saturday, 19 October 2013

Come back Maureen, the Rovers needs you!


The subject of the Rovers landlady, or landlord, is often hotly debated. After many years of stability with the likes of Annie Walker and Bet Lynch at the helm, recent times have seen so many different faces behind the bar, you'd think they had installed a revolving door.

Recent episodes have seen Steve and Liz McDonald back in charge. While Steve is pretty universally popular, despite his voracious appetites for stupidity where women are concerned, Liz splits opinion right down the middle. I do think Liz is much more suited to being behind the Rovers bar than some other recent incumbents - she has a long screen history at the Rovers, dating back to the early 90s when Bet, Betty, Jack and Raquel formed that most perfect of teams. I don't know though, something with the current set up just isn't right.

In the past decade or so we've enjoyed or endured Natalie Barnes, Fred Elliot, Duggie Ferguson, Eve Sykes, Shelley Unwin and of course, Stella and Gloria Price. None of them quite fitted in the same way as Annie or Bet. No, for me we need someone in the classic Annie Walker style. While there will never be another, one actress did come pretty close back in 2002. 

Had it not been for Bet Lynch's sudden disappearing act, we'd never have glimpsed the magnificent, regal, Lillian Spencer. Maureen Lipman was an absolute joy throughout her brief stint. In a few short appearances she managed to offend everyone, put noses out of joint with aplomb and bar several characters from their second home. Lillian's descriptions of the likes of Kevin, Rita and Audrey were superb. 

I know it's highly unlikely that Maureen Lipman could ever be tempted back to Corrie, despite her family connections to the show. Way back in the 1960s, Lipman's late husband Jack Rosenthal wrote for the programme and even became the show's producer in 1967. If we ever saw Lillian again, the character would need to be toned down if she was to stay for any period of time, but I reckon she could still put the cat amongst the pigeons.

So what do the weeks and months ahead have in store for us at the Rovers? More of Liz and Michelle ganging up on daft Steve? Michelle lording it behind the bar? Another flurry of Liz McDonald's love life? Barry Connor lingering longer than he should?

Could somebody please get on the phone to Ms Lipman's agent?

Relive the magic via the wonders of YouTube

You can follow us on Twitter @CoroStreetBlog and Facebook: CoronationStreetBlog

Creative Commons Licence
All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lovely piece! I'll send that to our Maureen! G x

Humpty Dumpty said...

Yet again, I will champion the cause for Liza Tarbuck. I don't know if she's interested or has ever been considered but she'd be terrific as the Rovers landlady.

Frosty the Snowman said...

Although I am one of those happy to see Liz back behind the bar camp, I destest the shrewish Michelle who is always on someones back, arm folder pointless character Sean and Tina the barmaid who has rowed with and lamped more customers than she has pulled pints. I think it needs an overhaul with some new blood.

Anonymous said...

Me too - new blood needed behind the bar and not another face slapper, pint thrower. If Liz is going to stay, they need to fix her character - mellow her out a bit. She doesn't have to come on like gangbusters in every scene. They did this with Stella and look what happened there - instant dislike by the viewers. I don't understand why producers insist on bringing back old characters - they do it in EE constantly and it is really annoying.

Conversation Street said...

Totally agree - Lillian Spencer was fantastic during her short time in the show, and I'd certainly welcome her back again. Won't happen, though. :(
Shame that Patricia Routledge no longer works in TV, as she'd do a great job playing a Hyacinth Bucket-esque landlady too.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest, tone Liz down, make Steve less of a buffoon, get rid of Michelle and Barry. I could live with that.

Janice said...

For my money Sean would make a great landlord. He can be as cheeky as Bet ever was, he is certainly as camp. Rather than trying to recreate the old tart barmaid, Sean could be a new classic. Sean has been written and acted as a stereotype so make full use. Let him be fussy about the decor and be catty about the dress sense of punters. A twist on Annie Walker's snobbery. It is not as if Sean has much else to do storywise.

Stephen said...

Barry has already overstayed his welcome, I reckon.

abbyk said...

I don't mind Steve. I don't mind Liz. I don't even mind Michelle. As a trio, however, they are a nightmare. Why does Steve get inexplicably stupid anytime a woman besides Eileen is involved? Why would a grown man want to open a business with his mommy? Why would Michelle, who was miraculously competent at the faktry put up with Steve's nonsense time and time again? Or consider pulling pints anything else but a stop gap until she found a better job, like with the Underworld suppliers and customers she dealt with daily?

Lilian was too hoity toity to fit in unless she had a major personality adjustment. Janice's Sean idea is intriguing, but my dream landlord will always be Lloyd (and Sean could be his right hand man). Friendly, sensible and a good businessman, I wish he were the one who made Stella the offer.

Graeme N said...

Sorry but I really don't think I could cope with Sean being in charge!

John McE said...

I totally agree. No-one could equal the peerless Annie Walker, but Lillian really was the next best thing - an absolute joy. What a pity she didn't stay for longer.

70sStreetFan said...

I'm a big fan of Maureen,but didn't feel that Lillian worked at all. I know that the character was hastily written when Julie Goodyear quit. So,perhaps,it was because of this that the writers and Maureen didn't quite hit the right note with the character. She seemed too broadly comic and almost seemed to be playing in a different show to the rest of the characters. I can see why people might see a link with Annie Walker,but Annie was always a believable character,rooted in the show.Even if Lillian was toned down I'm not sure such a character would be believable in today's Street or the Rovers which is a brasher more in yer face place than in Annie's time.

Graeme N said...

I take your point but considering it was a hasty rewrite, I still thought it was magic! If the character was fleshed out a bit she could be amazing

Graeme N said...

Liza Tarbuck would be good I agree Humpty - I can see her as an older Shelley Unwin type manager

You might also like...