Thursday, 23 January 2014

Time to see the Lady Victuallers return to Corrie?

I think Liz McDonald needs a rival pub landlady to lock horns with. I love Liz and I'm glad Stuart Blackburn brought Beverley Callard back. The Rovers Return is a much better place under the McDonalds. I can't help but think something is missing though.


Yes, Liz has her strong, longstanding friendship with Deirdre Barlow, although I'd like more than the occasional glimpse of this please writers! However we don't see her interact with any other local landladies and that for me is a shame. Back in the day there were regular Lady Victuallers storylines when Annie Walker was at the helm. Who can forget the sherry parties and the famous incident with the monogrammed carpet which turned out to be an off-cut from the Alhambra Weatherfield Bingo Hall?


I'm not saying it could be the same now as Liz is completely different from the snobbish, imperious Mrs Walker. I love watching the scenes between Annie and Nellie Harvey, landlady of The Laughing Donkey. Nellie was played by the wonderful Mollie Sugden, later to find fame as Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served? Nellie was a regular visitor to the Rovers for over a decade and the one upmanship between the rivals provided plenty of comedy.


Another Lady Vic that Annie clashed with was the impressively named Olive Taylor Brown. Mrs Taylor Brown appeared for only a couple of episodes in 1980, however the sparring between the two licencees was super to watch. Olive naturally thought herself above Annie as she ran a "restaurant" in Derbyshire, as opposed to a pokey back street public house in Weatherfield. Mrs Taylor Brown was played by Paula Tilbrook, who went on to appear as WARTS member Vivian Barford alongside Alf Roberts, before taking her most famous role as Emmerdale's Betty Eagleton.


Bet Gilroy had her own friend and rival in Stella Rigby during the 1980s and 90s.Stella ran The White Horse and viewers enjoyed Bet and Stella's exploits on several occasions. At one time there were rumours of an affair between Bet and Stella's husband, which caused much upset between Bet and Alec. Bet and Stella famously went off to a health farm together, couldn't stick it and swiftly moved on to a posh hotel, without their husbands' knowledge. Alec Gilroy thoroughly enjoyed his revenge for being left in the dark.


The point I'm making is that the role of Rovers landlady is so front of house, so public and based on appearances, that it has been and would be great territory for the writers to explore. Corrie is often based on the rivalries, feuds and friendships of strong, middle-aged women, so where better to play that out than in the Rovers Return? Stella Price briefly came up against Carole Evans, landlady of the Weatherfield Arms back in 2012, but sadly nothing came of it. Perhaps Carole could make a return and do battle with Liz?


Would you like to see Liz McDonald interact with another pub landlady? Who would you cast in that role? I think it's time to return to the glory days of the Lady Victuallers!


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great to have more stories that don't revolve around affairs or murders.

Anonymous said...

Good idea.

The landlady at the rival pub should be an Annie Walker snooty type who looks down her nose at Liz.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a variance in relationships; am not looking forward to sordid, torrid affairs, sensationalism, explosive episodes, angry outbursts, aggravation, murder.
How about more witty comedy for balance?
Corrie's writers used to excel in this.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Definitely, there should be some storylines that don't concentrate on one family at a time. I really don't like these family sagas: the Platts, the Barlows etc. Please give us some comedy with Liz and her friends/rivals in the trade. I've always banged on about Liza Tarbuck and she could be a friend and ally in the Victuallers. Together, they take on the snobs at the other pubs.

Rosie said...

Yes please, let's go beyond the family sagas that we seem to get all the time now. Helen Frazer, who played the wife of Gloria's boyfriend, would be a perfect choice to play against Liz.

Graeme N said...


Good idea Rosie! I would love to see Doris Babbage again!

Graeme N said...


I agree with you Humpty Dumpty. I think the mistake Corrie has made in recent times is moving to some extent from character driven plots to issue led stories and constant drama and chaos

John McE said...

I would love to see more of the Annie Walker/Nellie Harvey scenes. I've seen a few on of the various video releases but there are lots more I know.

Do you know of a source for some of the unreleased ones, Graeme?

Graeme N said...

YouTube is a great resource for old episodes. Someone under the name of Auntie Corrie has uploaded hundreds of episodes I've never seen before

John McE said...

Really? I must look. Thanks.

John McE said...

Just checked - they are all the Granada Plus episodes, which I've seen. Amazing for any fans that haven't seen them, but it's the years 1961 - 1976 that I've never seen in full, and I think most of Nellie Harvey's appearances were over by 1976.

God knows why ITV can't make these earlier episodes available, via pay per view, I'll never understand. Leave it much longer and all those who did seem them first time around will be dead!

Graeme N said...

I agree - they could re-run old episodes on one of their many channels quite cheaply and easily

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