Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Monday 30 March 2020

Corrie Connections - Part Two

Guest blog post from Mark Llewllin
Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? 

Mark Llewellin is a friend of us all here on the Coronation Street Blog. He's a man who knows a thing or two about life behind the scenes at our favourite soap. You can find out more about him here.

Mark has very kindly offered to share some of those memories with us here on the Blog. We'll be running a blog post from Mark each day with some of Mark's memories.

And so, here we go with the second of many wonderful blogs from Mark!


Having started my career as an actor – after two years at drama school – and done a few appearances in panto and odd bits of telly (including – my proud boast – being on the final of the Krypton Factor … actually in the film the contestants answered questions on rather than taking part myself) I decided to get a proper job, by which I mean one which would allow me to qualify for a mortgage.  Anyway, after stints teaching, doing voice-overs for London Transport and as a tour guide in a cemetery (I know!) I ended up at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre as Marketing Director.

In the previous post I explained a little of the theatre’s history and its Corrie connections.  Well, I wrote a book all about it and that led to all kinds of opportunities – I started public speaking, did the odd bit of TV again including Mystery Hunters for Discovery Channel in which I talked about the theatre ghost (he’s called Harold and is said to be the spirit of actor Harold Norman who was stabbed accidentally during a performance of Macbeth in the 1940s and died later) and a couple of appearances coming through the famous doors on This Is Your Life.

Anyway, one day I got a call from Granada TV asking if I’d be willing to show a group of Canadian Corrie fans around the theatre and talk about the links to the show.  Of course, I would – and it was great fun.  The following year I got a similar call but this time – would I be able to show a group around Manchester, the Corrie set and filming locations for ten days?  Of course, I would.  They were arriving within days – the usual guide was ill and had to drop out.  Well, for over 20 years it became a regular gig – and apart from the year of SARS and probably this year (we don’t know for sure yet) I’ve enjoyed sharing a little of Weatherfield with fans from Canada, Ireland, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Now, quite a few fans come year after year so the challenge is to find new places to show them and so in between, when I’m putting the itinerary together, you’ll often find me driving from church to church or pub to pub on a Sunday morning with an A-Z and a few old Corrie photos trying to spot the doorway where Elsie Tanner was photographed or where Renee Roberts stood … I’ve startled a few early morning dog walkers!

Early in my (limited) acting career I got to know a number of the Corrie cast such as Sue Nicolls (Audrey) and her husband Mark Eden (Alan Bradley).  When I started work at the Coliseum I got to know even more, past and present – and future, as guest actors and directors and audience members.  So, that certainly helped when I had to take the fans to the street set or host ‘evenings with’.  I’ve also made lots of friends amongst the fans.  I often get asked whether it’s boring taking yet another group to visit the street set or church or whatever – and yes, I’ve been asked the same questions lot of times (although there’s always one to stump you!) – but no, it’s not boring.  The thrill comes from seeing their reactions when they walk onto Coronation Street for the first time or bump into one of the stars or when they walk onto the location of their favourite scene.  Who could be bored of that?

I’ve made a lot of friends amongst the cast too - here are a few of my favourites …

Liz Dawn and Bill Tarmey:  I was once on a weekend cruise with Liz and her husband Don and we were seated with Carol Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher’s daughter,  for all our meals.  They were politically opposed which led to a few lively discussions.  Anyway, the weather was dreadful, and we were confined to our cabins for most of the weekend. Carol was just about the only passenger on the whole ship who didn’t feel sick and made it to every meal.  Not long after, it was announced that Carol was going on ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and Liz rang me to say that she thought Carol would do well – especially after our encounters.  So, I put a bet on her to win - and she did.  She paid for my conservatory!  Bill and his wife Ali were lovely – so gracious and he was so different to Bill’s on-screen persona.

Roy Barraclough and Julie Goodyear: Both lovely and very funny.  I still see Julie most Sundays when we enjoy tea and cake from leopard print cups and saucers, and we put the world to rights.
Jill Summers: I’ll tell you more about this amazing lady in another article – but Jill was a one-off.  She loved a laugh and she pulled all kinds of stunts – but she was often bettered by Tom Mennard, who played Sam Tindall on the show.  Tom was a comedian who lived in a house called ‘Uppum Hall’ in Dorset.  He and Jill would stay in hotels when they came to Manchester to film the show - she at the Midland and he in a cheaper B&B.  He’d got hold of a gnarled old set of green dentures which he put into a clear plastic bag.  He paid a taxi driver to deliver them to Jill at the Midland (a very posh hotel) and to say that she’d left them under the pillow when she’d been visiting a friend at the B&B.  So the taxi driver does so and the concierge delivers them to Jill’s room – she answering the door without her teeth in!  You can imagine what she said to him the next day!

Stay tuned for more from Mark tomorrow!
Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
Facebook: GlendaYoungAuthor
Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  

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

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

1 comment:

Louby said...

Fascinating post, as was yesterday's. The tour sounds fantastic, hopefully something I can do one day when things are back to normal.


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