At last a model Ena – in wax!

Madame Tussaud’s makes a model of Violet Carson

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 3 September 1961

IF they should put you in Tussaud’s Blackpool Waxworks, you can safely tell your friends you’re famous. And if Marlene Dietrich has to be moved to make room for you in the top position between Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra you can describe yourself as fabulous.

That is the position allotted to that terror of Coronation Street, Ena Sharpies.

“She’s been a name on people’s lips ever since her part was created last December,” said the firm’s “personality gauge,” Bill Cartnell, when I spoke to him about Ena.

“And in my view,” he said, “she’s likely to be the biggest draw we’ve had here since Mae West ”

Violet Carson and the head of her waxwork
“Me and my model head. Yes, luv, it’s me all right”

Wondering what Violet Carson, who plays Ena, would have to say about this comparison. I went to her home in Fleetwood-road, Bispham.

She had just got home from judging a local beauty contest. Such is the price of her new fame.

“Gercha!” was her Ena-ish comment about the Mae West comparison. She was much more excited by her first view of the photos you see here, which I had with me.

“It’s me father!” she exclaimed — “without the hair on it is, anyway. Look, mother” (and her 80 year-old mother came into the room): “What have I always said? I’m just like Daddy, aren’t I?

“Look there! I’ve even got that bald look that Daddy had.

“And to think it’s only been done from a picture. It’s marvellous. It really is!”

After a cup of tea had revived her from the shock of seeing herself in bits and pieces, she could only say: “God bless Ena Sharples.” And she said it over and over again for a few seconds.

Then she expanded.

“I’ve always been lucky.” she said. “I was lucky to get my first job playing the piano in Manchester’s Market-street cinema at the age of 13.

“And when the talkies came.” she continued. “I was able to switch to radio as a pianist and singer without much of a struggle. I was lucky, too, to be a part of that howling success Have a Go for six years.

“But as radio began to die I began to think of retirement and growing roses. I was getting on. I’m 56, you know.

“Anyway, the next peak in my life, with two peaks in it, grew up suddenly one day last November.

“I had just arrived home from London after playing a Shakespearian role for TV. The phone rang and the part of Ena was offered to me.

“I didn’t hear anything about it being a serial part. So in spite of the fact that it was a bit of a social comedown playing such an old fire-eater, I accepted.”

Now Violet Carson is too much of an actress not to enjoy playing a rich, rewarding part like Ena — even if it has meant neglecting her roses.

And when she made complaints about the penalties of being a national character, I couldn’t detect any lowering of her high-spirited nature.

“Those people who say Lancashire women don’t wear hairnets don’t know ’em like I do. You see, I was born in Coronation Street.

“It was really called Corporation terrace, in Ancoats, Manchester. But I couldn’t make Ena live like she does if I hadn’t lived near such Enas all my life.

“But I must get some gardening done, luv. Do you mind?”

And off she went to work in a garden that is likely to suffer a lot of neglect in future.

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