Tag Archives: Bill Tarmey

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 11/12)

Greek Night

Tuesday:  Roy looking through the debris of Greek Night, picks up a broken object.  It’s a Roy holding broken model train carmodel train car – a 5th anniversary gift from Hayley.  Mary says “I’ll replace it”.  He explodes that it can’t be replaced, that she violated his and Hayley’s home, their belongings and memories.  Mary says “I did it for you.”  Holding the broken model in his hand, he says “Or is it just a convenient excuse so you could Greek Night - Roy asking Mary to please leaveselfishly enact yet another bizarre fantasy of Mary the restaurant owner?”

Mary, much as I like her, does seem to embody some sort of passive-aggressive narcissism. What she wants to do takes precedence over any one else’s wishes. Indeed, it takes precedence over decent behaviour and common sense.  And it always ends up, somehow, with her blaming someone else for the fact that her plans for herself or for them didn’t quite work out.

Some on the street recognize this Roy challenging Mary's self-justificationin her.  Norris does and, after the past few weeks of working with her, so too does Anna.  Hayley knows it and, I predict, Nick soon will.  But no one has put it into words, especially in direct confrontation with her, any more astutely than did Roy.  And he is the man who doubts his ability to communicate.  He communicated the Mary leaving as Roy sits devastated at his tabledevastation he feels over her tromping over his café, his home and the trust that he placed in her.  He made it clear he won’t not buy into selfless ‘only wanted to help’ justification for selfish and deluded obsession.

If we could only turn Roy’s acuity on Michelle and Kylie

Michelle disbelieving of Ryan's excusesThanks to Kevin, Michelle realized that poor widdle upset Ryan was responsible for Sophie being hit because he was playing in traffic while stoned.  And for a split second, she lost her sympathy for his “I’m sorry” routine.

Michelle saying Tracy is to blameBut then she had a moment to think, and, in a justification of self and child worthy of Mary herself, she proclaimed that really it was all Tracy’s fault.  If Tracy hadn’t lied about a baby, hadn’t dumped him – whatever – then he wouldn’t have been so upset and Steve looks disbelievingly at Michelle blaming TracySophie wouldn’t be severely injured.   Yeah, Michelle, that works.  It can’t be Ryan’s fault, can it?  Even Steve, deluded as he is about both Michelle and Ryan, looked at her like “whah??”

And for our third denizen of de land of delusion, Kylie admitted to Nick that she had Roy apologizing to Nick and Kyliecalled the council on Mary selling liquor and that she had no evidence.  She had listened to Roy apologize for Mary’s dinner wars and his saying that he was liable if charges for selling liquor without a licence were upheld. If she didn’t realize the seriousness of that, Nick’s reaction to Roy’s words and later to her would make her realize this wasn’t petty neighbour squabbling.

Nick asks Kylie if she called CouncilBut still she was willing to let Roy be collateral damage – too bad, can’t do anything about it now.  Well actually there is, Nick pointed out to her.  He ordered her to get herself to council offices first thing on Monday and fix the mess.  And she gave her ‘poor maligned me’ pout and flounced off to wipe glasses or something.  Because like Mary, Michelle and Ryan, it can’t possibly ever ever be Kylie’s fault!

Bill Tarmey

Bill Tarmey in 2010 with his dog SaatchiOn Friday Nov. 9th, Bill Tarmey, our Jack, died.  He was on holiday in Tenerife and there’s something wonderfully Corrie about that.  I hope it’s ok with Mare’s Dad if I post his Oct. 3rd take on recent goings-on in Jack’s house on Coronation Street. “This entire situation with Tyrone, the Girlfriend From Hell, and Tommy would have been all straightened out in ten minutes if Jack were there”.  It’s a fitting tribute to Jack, and the character was very much the man Bill Tarmey.  Thank you, Bill, for the gift of your voice and the unforgettable character of Jack Duckworth.

Meeting Jack Duckworth

In 1992 I went to Manchester to research Coronation Street for a CBC Radio Ideas documentary on British and American soaps.

Vera and Jack Duckworth in RoversAt Granada, I watched the taping of a scene on the street and interviewed writers, production people and cast members. When I was told the names of two actors I was going to meet, I was struck dumb with awe and terror – Bill Tarmey and Elizabeth Dawn aka Jack and Vera Duckworth.  Like pretty much everyone who has watched during the past 30 odd years, for me, Jack and Vera were Coronation Street.

Elizabeth Dawn

Vera DuckworthI went first into Elizabeth Dawn’s dressing room.  She and Bill had just finished their scenes for the day and she had to leave soon for a family function.  She was sitting in front of the mirror taking off her makeup when I kind of stumbled my way in the door.  “Sit down, dear, and don’t mind me.  We can talk while I do this”.  Instantly, I felt at home, felt like I was with someone I’d known a long time.  And I was in a way.

Liz Dawn was wonderful – not Vera, yet Vera.  She took off Vera’s makeup and put on her own. Then Vera’s hair was gone and she brushed out her own.  She looked Elizabeth Dawn in real lifedifferent.  We talked a long time, then she said she had to run.  She told me where Bill’s dressing room was and just to go on there when I was ready, then with a ‘ta-ra’ she was out the door.  Before I got everything picked up, she was back in laughing.  “I’ve got Vera’s coat on”.  She shucked off the familiar looking black cloth coat, grabbed another more stylish one, laughed, waved and was gone again.

Bill Tarmey

Then to meet Jack.  My nerves came back.  Hand shaking, I knocked on his door and a familiar gruff voice told me to come in.  He too was Bill Tarmey 2010removing Jack and becoming Bill.  When he finished, he leaned back in his chair and just talked.  He asked me a lot of questions, where I lived, what I did, about my family.  He told me about his family, pointing out who was who in the photographs around his dressing room.  It was nice.  He was an easy man to talk to.  So much so I would forget why I was there – to get him on tape talking about being Jack.

Amazon link for Bill Tarmey cd Incurably Romantic
Click for Amazon link

So he told me about Jack and him – how he came to be on the show, first as a short-term bad guy, then brought back as Jack when the writers created the Duckworths.  He told me about his career as an actor and primarily as a singer.  He said when the writers had Jack sing once – badly – he, Bill, found his singing gigs drop off and even bookings cancelled.  If that’s how Bill Tarmey sings, he laughed, they didn’t want him performing.

He wasn’t likely telling me anything he hadn’t told hundreds of interviewers before, but he made it seem personal.  Just him and me talking about stuff.  It wasn’t slick, like a performance piece, just good conversation.  He talked straightforwardly and was engaged in the discussion, talking and listening.

He reminded me of my father, as Jack Duckworth always has.  “Rough, tough and hard to Bill Tarmey, outside Rovers, upon retirementbluff” as my dad would say about himself.  That’s what Jack is like, with a lovely soft heart.  That too is what Bill Tarmey is like.  And my dad.  I can think of no higher compliment to any one of them than being compared to each other.  Bill, if you are reading this, you and Jack will be greatly missed.  I hope you have a wonderful retirement.  Cheers!

Bill, and Jack, on Amazon

Amazon link for Bill Tarmey book on Jack DuckworthSee my Corrie Scene Sept. 4/11 for Bill’s final episode. Click the image to left for an Amazon link to Bill Tarmey’s book on being Jack and the ‘Incurably Romantic’ image above for link to his music.