Friday, 29 April 2016

Battleaxe Wanted - Who Can Match Ena Sharples?

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

A true battleaxe must be no younger than late middle age. She must be forceful, even fearsome. She must speak her mind and not be in any way hesitant in doing so. She must be fiercely judgemental and willing to share those judgements, irrespective of the damage they might cause. She must also gossip fulsomely, even though there may be no foundation at all to the content of the gossip.

A true battleaxe will tell people to their face exactly what their wrongdoings are and will not care who hears, nor will she be concerned about how this might affect her own reputation. She will believe that what she is doing is right, absolutely right - and that everyone else is wrong. She will also suggest that she knows more about her neighbours than she actually does.

The archetypal, original battleaxe is of course the inimitable Ena Sharples. Since Ena, there has not yet been any one to match her. What's more I would go as far as to say that there never will be.

It is important to recognise that Ena, despite her bluster and her gossip, stirred affection in her audience. Maybe that is because she was vulnerable. She did not have a good relationship with her daughter Vera, largely because she was only too quick to inform Vera of her faults. The rift began to heal when Vera was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was in debt. Ena was reduced to stealing two tins of salmon and nursed her daughter until she died in Ena's bed. Who can not have some feelings for a woman such as this?.

Those who have attempted to take the battle axe crown don't really pass muster. Ivy Tilsley, though she had battle axe credentials, was too young. Blanche Hunt was close and Maud Grimes was also close. Sylvia, Roy's mum was another possibility but maybe we blame her too much for some of the difficulties Roy may have experienced, especially when growing up.

So what about potential battle axes? At one point. Gail might have been a contender but has become a bit too simpering of late. Yasmeen is a possibility but on second thoughts, she is not sufficiently gossipy. Sally? Well, she is a battle axe in the making, but has a way to go to achieve full battleaxe status. As yet, she's too young to take the on the battleaxe mantle, but in a couple of decades, she'll be there. We only have to wait until 2036.

Ruth - twitter @ruth1722

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