Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Coronation Street - the first residents

In the run up to the 50th anniversary, I thought I would share some of the articles about Coronation Street that I've written over the years.  To get it started, I'll post, over a few days, biographies of the original cast. 

Ivan Beavis – played Harry Hewitt:

The character lasted seven years – eventually being crushed under his drinking pal Len Fairclough’s van. After serving with the Royal Navy, Ivan was working in Northern Ireland when he contracted TB. Whilst resting, in the early 50s, he joined the local amateur dramatics society and decided to turn professional. He landed several jobs at Granada before the part of Harry came along. After leaving the show he said that he found it hard to find work – producers claimed that the public identified him too strongly with the popular Harry. He did however tour New Zealand with Pat Phoenix in Gaslight and he worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He died in 1997.

Jack Howarth – played Albert Tatlock:

Uncle Albert, Valerie Barlow’s uncle, lived in the Street for 24 years until his death. During his time there he acted as a lollypop-man and Ena Sharples’ assistant at the Mission. He almost married twice – to Alice Pickens and Minnie Caldwell but the plans fell through. Jack was born in Rochdale (he went to school with Gracie Fields) and had a long repertory career, even staging his own shows in Wales. He found fame as Mr Maggs in the radio series Mrs Dale’s Diary before joining the Street. He died in his sleep in 1984, he was 88.

Ernst Walder – played Ivan Cheveski:

Ivan was the Polish son-in-law of Elsie Tanner. He worked in the Rovers as pot man before emigrating to Canada with his family. He returned briefly when his marriage broke down and moved to Birmingham in 1967. Ernst, born in Austria, arrived in the UK in 1952 as a domestic servant. In his spare time he trained as an actor and carved out a good line in German soldiers – appearing in such films as Carve Her Name with Pride. He was one of the original cast of Castle Haven, the fore-runner to Emmerdale, alongside Jill Summers, Kathy Staff and Roy Barraclough. He now lives in Austria.

Philip Lowrie – played Dennis Tanner:

Dennis’ eight years in the Street caused nothing but trouble for mum, Elsie. He had already served time and the last we heard of him was when Elsie visited him in prison where he was incarcerated for swindling pensioners. Coronation Street’s creator Tony Warren admits to having had a yearning to play this role himself – but two actors got down to the final casting decision – Philip and Ken Farrington (he lost it – but landed the later role of Billy Walker!). Philip had a great CV and indeed, continues to act and write.

To be continued -
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