Sunday, 3 November 2013

Come back Maureen, the Rovers needs you!

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2013.)

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?

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