Saturday, 30 January 2016

Exclusive! VIP Blog Post - BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Chris Hawkins

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

BBC6 Music DJ,  presenter and Coronation Street fan Chris Hawkins has very kindly taken up our challenge for a celebrity to write about their love of Coronation Street.  Chris recently appeared on Celebrity MasterMind where his specialist subject was Coronation Street from 2005. 

In return we've donated £25 to Chris' charity of choice which is
the Christie Hospital in Manchester

And now, it's over to Chris...

"My parents watched three programmes religiously when I was a kid. My mum loved Dallas, my dad loved Magnum and we all watched Corrie. From the age of five, I was one of the 15 million viewers who regularly tuned into the soap. The big stars back then were Annie Walker, Len Fairclough, Hilda Ogden, Elsie Tanner and Ivy Tilsley. 
One of my earliest memories is watching Fred Gee’s Rover 2000 roll into the lake at Tatton Park. I was harrowed by Brian’s stabbing and sad when Phyllis Pearce left to join her beloved Percy at his retirement home. But the beauty of Corrie is that the characters have always been incredibly strong. From Mike Baldwin to David Platt and Norris Cole to Carla Connor, the show has always been a perfect blend of kitchen sink drama, humour and folk you feel like you know.
As a devotee of the show, it was a special day when my grandparents took me on the old Granada Studios tour. I remember excitedly getting an autograph from Alf Roberts (Brian Mosley) and there was this thing where you could be superimposed into the Rovers Return. It was green screen technology at it’s most basic but thirty years later I still have a VHS tape, in a blue Granada sleeve, of me asking Betty Turpin for a pint. 
In recent years I’ve become a massive fan of Steve McDonald. In fact, I’d sort of like to be him.

In advance of my Celebrity Mastermind appearance my lovely friend Samia Ghadie (who plays Corrie's Maria) helped me swot up. It was an obvious choice of subject for me. Corrie, Shrewsbury Town FC and music have been three constants in my life. Interest in Shrewsbury Town is (sadly) limited and lots of people have done music subjects, so I went for the TV programme I never miss. 
Mastermind is as nerve racking and tense to film as it is to watch. It’s just how you expect it to be. I was first up with my Corrie questions and managed to correctly answer ten out of eleven. Right on the buzzer, what did I fall down on? Despite being able to picture him, I couldn’t for the life of me remember that John Thomson played the part of General Custard. Would you have known that?"

Chris Hawkins is a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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