Tuesday, 15 March 2011

About Elsie Tanner

With the upcoming return of Dennis Tanner to the cobbles - here's a little about his mother Elsie:

Elsie Tanner marries Steve Tanner
 One of the original cast of Corrie residents, Elsie had lived at number 11 from the day she married, aged just 16, local thug and enforcer Arnold Tanner. Just days after moving in together he announced that he was joining the Royal Navy and he would visit her just once during the war years – this resulted in the birth (in the Rovers living room) of Linda and then Dennis. At the age of 19 attractive Elsie found herself a mother of two, sewing army uniforms by day and hanging about with American servicemen by night. She fell in love with handsome GI Steve Tanner but fearing Arnold’s reaction, gave him the push.

Arnold returned for a short while only to leave for the merchant navy. Later Dennis was sent to borstal and Linda married Polish Ivan Cheveski and left for Canada. Eventually Arnold returned once more, this time demanding a divorce so that he could marry his new love. At first Elsie refused but then he produced letters written to him by Ena Sharples which revealed Elsie’s other relationships and graphic details of her life. Elsie and Ena would always have a tempestuous relationship as a result.

Then she met and fell for Chief Petty Officer Bill Gregory but he proved to be already married. Elsie drifted from one job to the next – she worked for a while at Weatherfield’s department store Miami Modes (in the better dressed department) then at Ellison’s raincoat factory opposite her house. Dennis came and went, working as a theatrical agent then a hairstylist and she rarely heard from daughter Linda. Elsie lacked the roots, family and love that she so needed.

In 1966 Linda and her son Paul returned from their new life in Canada and Elsie found herself playing mother all over again – albeit temporarily. In 1967 the Americans returned to nearby Burtonwood and Elsie was thrilled to be reunited with old flame Steve Tanner whom she married and moved to Boston with. But things didn’t work out and she sold her engagement ring to buy an air ticket back to Manchester. Dennis had moved a commune of hippies into the house but Elsie quickly had them moved on and Dennis married one, Jenny, and left. Steve followed Elsie back but he fell down number 11’s stairs and fatally broke his neck. There was always much conjecture over who killed him with Elsie believing Len Fairclough had done it to protect her. However, it later transpired that fellow serviceman Joe Donnelli was the guilty party.

Elsie took a job at a hairdressing salon and fell for the owner Alan Howard whom she wed in 1970 but his business failed and he took to drink. Elsie left Weatherfield for Newcastle, trying to escape Alan and she only returned after her marriage had failed. She landed a job running a lingerie shop and employed young Gail Potter as her assistant and also took her in as a lodger. Mike Baldwin then offered Elsie a job as supervisor at his new denim factory but her meddling (or offering of advice) towards the factory girls and her lodgers Gail and Suzie Birchall didn’t win her any friends and she soon found herself alone once more.

She was forced to take a job in the café, which she felt was beneath her, and one night she almost died when she fell asleep on the sofa, a glass in one hand and a smouldering cigarette in the other.

In 1983 Elsie left Weatherfield for the last time having been reunited with Bill Gregory who was now alone and the proud owner of a bar in Portugal – they agreed on a ‘no strings’ deal to give life together one last shot. Daughter Linda, who was newly divorced, returned to sell the house. New owner Bill Webster turned down her advances and Linda left the Street.

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