Get well Ena!

The viewers are having trouble telling fact from fiction

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 22 April 1962

EYES that have launched a thousand glares widened in disbelief. The most famous hair-net in Britain shook in amazement.

“l just can’t understand it,” said Violet Carson, who plays fire-eating Ena Sharpies in Granada’s Coronation Street.

“I wouldn’t have believed that so many people could be so concerned about what happened to a bad-tempered, vindictive old woman like Ena.”

Violet’s surprise is perhaps understandable.

After more than a year with one of Britain’s top television programmes, she has come to accept fan-mail as routine. But even she has been taken aback by the reaction there has been to the collapse of Ena Sharpies in the Mission Hall a few weeks ago.

“There have been letters, get-well cards, flowers,” said Violet.

“People have telephoned from all parts of the country inquiring about Ena. I’ve been stopped in the street dozens of times and asked how I was.

“Two little girls even wrote to tell me that they were praying for my recovery!”

But Violet is not the only member of the cast who has found herself in this sort of situation.

One woman in a hospital bed, clutching a bottle of stout, with two visitors
Martha, Minnie and, of course, Ena

The programme has taken such a hold of the national imagination that thousands of people all over the country absolutely refuse to disassociate the actors and actresses from the characters they play.

You couldn’t meet a more amiable chap than Peter Adamson, who plays Len Fairclough, for instance. “But I can’t walk down a street in Manchester now without finding people glaring at me with hatred in their eyes,” said Peter.

“It started when I thumped Kenneth Barlow in the snug of the Rover’s Return,” he explained.

“And it’s got even worse since I had a fight with Harry Hewitt about Concepta.

“Threatening letters arrive for me every day. I’ve been called everything from a beer-swilling moron to a thug. To tell you the truth, I love it. If people are reacting as violently as this, my performance must be doing something to them.”

After his skirmish with Len in the Rover’s Return, Bill Roache, who plays Kenneth Barlow, was flooded with letters.

“Two hundred schoolgirls signed one letter, telling me that they agreed with everything that I said about Len Fairclough and the people in the street,” said Bill.

“One frantic father wrote to tell me that his little girl hadn’t stopped crying since seeing me knocked down.

“She refused to be convinced that Peter and I were only acting, and the father begged me to write her a letter telling her that I was, in fact, all right.”

Bill wrote the letter.

Frank Pemberton, who plays Kenneth’s father, still receives sympathetic inquiries from all over Britain. “And many of them now want to know when I’m getting married again,” said Frank.

Ena opens the bottle of stout
A picture that needs no words!

Wherever they go, Ivan Beavis and Doreen Keogh, who play Harry and Concepta Hewitt, can’t get away from the fact that Concepta is expecting a baby.

“People have sent us presents for the child — bootees, a matinee jacket, a lovely model of a stork with a baby hanging from its beak,” said Doreen.

“A midwife rang the studios to offer her advice and services when the time came.

“And wherever I go, I’m offered a seat for the sake of the baby.”

Minnie Caldwell’s love of cats brings in regular invitations for Margot Bryant to visit cats and cats’ homes.

“I accept as many invitations as I can,” she said.

Arthur Leslie, who plays landlord Jack Walker, could get a job as a licensee any time he wants.

And Doris Speed, who plays his wife, is constantly being asked by people to stop nagging her easy-going husband.

“I’ve given up trying to convince them that it isn’t me who’s nagging him but Annie Walker,” said Doris.

Elsie Tanner, of course, has half the country agog at present over her relationship with Len Fairclough.

“There’s nothing in it,” said Pat Phoenix, treating me to a Tanner-sized wink.

“We’re just good friends.”

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