Popping the question in Coronation Street

Will they or won’t they?

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 27 August 1961

THERE is a rumour going round that the wedding between Harry Hewitt and Concepta Riley isn’t coming off. All over the country people have been arguing about it and ringing Granada at all hours for the facts.

I have been down to Coronation Street to ask them. I made for “The Rover’s Return.”

Harry Hewitt (Ivan Beavis) was as usual propping up the bar. Concepta (Doreen Keogh) was polishing glasses I asked: “Ivan, is the wedding coming off?”

Concepta suddenly stopped polishing and Harry cocked an aggressive eyebrow.

Two people hold hands romantically while beaming off to the side of the camera
The happy (?) couple – Harry Hewitt (Ivan Beavis) and Concepta Riley (Doreen Keogh)

“People never call us by our real names any more” said Ivan.

To save further confusion I decided to fall in with the majority — even though the career facts I gathered refer to their real-life careers.

“Did I ever tell you how I got started in this acting game?” he said. “I was convalescing at the time. I’d been ill for about 20 months.

“I wanted something to do. My brother and sister in Liverpool were winning prizes for elocution, but I didn’t fancy my chances at elocuting. so I decided to try acting …”

I interrupted. “About this wedding…” Harry grasped my shoulder. “Ask Concepta when she started acting.” he said.

“My mother told me I started the day I was born.” said Concepta.

“Yes. I was born in Dublin and studied at the Abbey Theatre school. Later I acted at The Gate Theatre.”

I nodded. “Yes,” I said. “we’ve had a lot of telephone calls about your wedding…

“Ask Harry how he turned professional,” said Concepta.

“I was an accountant,” said Harry. “Had been for years. But I didn’t like auditing. It always seemed like you were succeeding by finding other people’s mistakes.”

Harry got his break with Coronation Street after he played a northern part in Knight Errant Limited.

“Very interesting,” I said. “Now about this…”

“Ask Concepta how she got her break,” said Harry, serenely.

“I was playing the part of an Irish wife in The Citadel,” said Concepta. “It was a serial, you know. I started off with five children and ended up with about nine.”

“Never got over it,” said Harry. “There we both were at the first rehearsal we attended. I was supposed to be in love with her, and she with me, and we couldn’t even recognise each other.”

The bar of the Rovers
Harry and Concepta have a laugh with “The Rover’s Return” landlord Jack Walker and his wife Annie (Doris Speed)

I cut in quickly. “I’m glad you mentioned that…” and prepared weakly for another attempt.

“Tell him about the wedding present,” said Harry.

“We’ve had our first wedding present, you know,” said Concepta. “A little girl gave us a tiny china figure. It was lovely.”

Harry cut in again. “There’s even a rumour that the wedding isn’t going to come off, ” he said. “Fancy spreading a rumour like that.”

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