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Tuesday 5 December 2023

Maureen Lipman interview: Working with RPSCA for Corrie's puppy farm story


How does Evelyn find herself caught up in this whole situation with the dog owner?

She is at the precinct and she sees this dodgy looking chap with a van and he’s shouting at the dog, clearly the dog is frightened. She is never one to stand by and let someone get away with something she perceives as injustice, and of course she is a dog lover so she is determined to rescue the dog.

What does she do next?

First of all, she lets the dog out, she finds a way to get the dog out of the van, and takes it home and tries to persuade Tyrone that he should have a dog, I mean that’s not entirely sensible really, the house is crammed full anyway and she has come home with a stolen dog! Cassie and Tyrone are a bit incredulous at what she has done and decide that the dog needs to go to the rescue centre.

Does she plan to report the dog owner?

She wants to track him down. People keep saying, you can’t just go in and say to the police, ‘He’s got an illegal puppy farm’ because you need proper evidence so she borrows a camcorder and she’s in the charity shop when she spots him. She follows him. He knows she’s following him, and he turns on her.

Is she putting herself in danger by making it her mission to get the puppy farm closed down?

All the people who care about her are trying to stop her from following him because he threatens Evelyn twice and he is pretty dangerous and thuggish. The actor who plays him is very good.  We have a couple of scenes where we had a fight arranger standing by.  Evelyn’s obviously scared to her boots but she’s not admitting that. But when he threatens to hurt Tyrone if she continues it is a real dilemma as she is so fond of Tyrone. She realises she has to take a step back to protect her family.

You are a real dog lover. Have you enjoyed working with more dogs?

I like that Evelyn is a dog lover, there is something about dogs that show a different side to her and that is always a good thing as an actor. We do enjoy having the dogs on set but sadly I didn't get to go and film with the puppies out on location. Cassie is the one who will eventually find the puppy farm. Claire said it was absolutely wonderful just to have all these puppies and that they were absolutely adorable. I would’ve been completely potty and putty in their hands. 

Corrie has been working with the RSPCA - did you know much about puppy farms before this storyline?

I know they have been involved with advising and that they were out filming the puppy farm scenes. I did some research of my own and was shocked by what I discovered. I had not realised that these puppies are sold for £2000 a throw and these people are not registered and they’re earning billions with puppy farms springing up all over the place. There’s something called Lucy’s law which means anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. A lot of people are still unaware of this especially with covid when everyone was wanting dogs. It's good that we are making more people aware.

We see Evelyn and Cassie join forces a bit with this storyline. Is this the start of a new phase of their relationship?

I can tell you that that does not last because Cassie is a chip off the old block but to some degree an extended version of Evelyn and she goes too far and that endangers Evelyn’s life and gets her into more trouble. Blood is thicker than water in Coronation Street but they do fall out over this, even though they are in it together, simply because she goes farther than Evelyn would have done. 

Glenda Young
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