There have been several spin-offs over the years, including:
- Pardon the Expression, a sitcom featuring Arthur Lowe as Leonard Swindley, a clothing store manager who left the parent show in 1965, but appeared in two series and 36 episodes of this spin-off between June 1965 and June 1966. Pardon the Expression itself had its own spin-off, Turn Out the Lights, which ran for one series and six episodes between January and February 1967, also featuring Lowe as Swindley.
- Albion Market was intended as a sister soap to Coronation Street, set in Weatherfield's undercover market, but only ran for one year (between August 1985 and August 1986) and 100 episodes.
- The Brothers McGregor, a sitcom set in Liverpool featuring two characters who had appeared in one episode of Coronation Street (Eddie Yeats and Marion Willis's engagement, May 1982). The sitcom ran for four series and 26 episodes between September 1985 and August 1988, but the two leads were not the same actors who's played the wheeler-dealer brothers in the parent show. In Coronation Street, Wesley and Cyril were played by Carl Chase and Tony Osoba, whereas in the spin-off, they were played by Philip Whitchurch and Paul Barber.
Please note: This series of blogs will look at what became of cast members who appeared in more than 500 episodes, and have now passed away (obviously!). However, there will be an additional blog looking at well-remembered actors/ characters who deserve honourable mentions, but were in fewer than 500 editions.
|Jill, aged 47, in a publicity photo for|
her ITV series Summers Here
Into the 1990s, Jill suffered increasingly from angina, but although she was ill more and more, refused to let Phyllis be written out, and made occasional, fleeting appearances until her final scene, at the age of 85, on May 1st, 1996 (her 509th episode). Phyllis moved into a retirement complex at Mayfield Court, and the last we heard of her was in 1998, when she was reportedly living happily in retirement with old sparring partners Percy Sugden and Maud Grimes. Her final line on the programme (to Maud) was: "There's three wheelie bins under my window, and I've never turned my gas low."
|Jill as a young music hall star|
A little-known fact is that Jill shared part of her family tree with UK Prime Minister John Major - although there's no blood-link, Jill's mother Marie Santoi once had offspring with the politician's father, Tom Major-Ball.
|Coronation Street stars at Jill Summers's funeral, 11 days after she died.|
|Geoffrey as Eddie Yeats with Veronica|
Doran as Marion in Coronation Street
|Geoffrey on his Coronation Street return|
in December 1987, aged 43
|Geoffrey in early 2009, aged 64|
Geoffrey was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, at the age of 52, but he recovered. However, while attending a charity event in 2010 he suffered from extreme back pains, and soon discovered that the cancer had returned. He was forced to retire from acting, until he finally succumbed to the disease on July 27th, 2012, aged just 68, dying peacefully in his sleep.
|Fred with Meg Johnson as Eunice Gee|
In 1983, Fred took time off sick without any notice to his bosses, and the scriptwriters were forced to hastily rewrite six weeks of storylines, Fred claimed to be depressed, unable to learn his lines, and prone to uncontrollable bouts of crying. Fred eventually returned to work, but in 1984 he took time off again, and this time never returned. Fred refused to sign a new contract, telling newspapers that he didn't want to become "another Coronation Street cabbage".
|Fred in 1984, aged 55|
|Fred in Liz Dawn's House Party|
Fred's career after leaving the Street was short. Between 1988-89 he played knackerman Jeff Mallock in five episodes of the veterinary series All Creatures Great and Small. There was then a nine year gap until he played the character of pigeon fancier Arthur in the film Little Voice (1998), and finally played Wilson in an episode of 1960s-set police series Heartbeat, fittingly called Hello, Goodbye (broadcast on October 25th, 1998).
However, he did make a number of appearances as himself on TV after leaving the soap, including the quiz show Blankety Blank (1985), Esther Rantzen's series Life After Soap (1995) and the 1996 VHS release Liz Dawn's House Party, which featured a wealth of stars to celebrate the actress's birthday. Fred appeared behind Liz's bar as a party guest.
|Fred in his last acting role,|
Fred left a wife, three daughters and three grandchildren. His funeral took place on July 1st, 1999.
|Peter as Mr Simms in Within|
These Walls (1978)
He appeared in 283 episodes of the soap in total, over a 21-year period, until the character of Derek Wilton was killed off by producer Brian Park - Derek suffered a fatal heart attack after a road rage incident on Mavis's 60th birthday, on April 7th, 1997. There was some displeasure at Park's decision at the time, with Baldwin unhappy about leaving, and it was reported that Thelma Barlow (who played Mavis) decided to leave as a result of Peter's departure (in 2010 she denied this, claiming she'd already decided to leave). However, after Peter's death, Thelma wrote a tribute in the Radio Times, saying: "It was a total shock when they decided to kill off Derek. I had been intending to leave for a couple of years as I wanted to do more theatre, so they could easily have killed off Mavis instead. It was a cruel blow to Peter, and to me and the Street really, as Derek was such a popular character. Now, with Peter's death, a chunk has been taken out of my life. I loved him dearly and I shall miss him such a lot."
|Peter's last ever appearance on|
screen, as the ghost of Derek,
in December 2012, aged 79
Well, it wasn't quite his final role, because Peter actually reprised the part of Derek Wilton on December 21st, 2012 as part of a sketch for ITV's annual charity telethon Text Santa. A Christmas Corrie was a spoof of Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Derek Wilton appeared as the Ghost of Christmas Present to Norris Cole's Ebenezer Scrooge.
|Peter in July 2012, being interviewed|
about his time on the soap
A memorial service was held on April 14th, 2016 at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden. You can watch an interview with Peter - reunited with screen wife and off-screen friend Thelma Barlow - from July 2012 here.
|Jack and Annie in the Rover's Return|
His character, Jack Walker, was the first to be written out of the programme following the death of the actor, and it was decided that Jack should die by the same means as Arthur - a heart attack. The producers did not show Jack's funeral on screen, in respect of Arthur's grieving family, and the character's passing was presented as an already established fact in the episode shown on July 8th, 1970 (in other words, no character found out about Jack's death on screen).
|Arthur with Doris Speed and Jean Alexander pictured in 1967|
|Arthur's son Tony Broughton in a 2011|
episode of Scott and Bailey, aged 79.
The episode was broadcast in June,
and Tony died in July 2011
Long after Arthur Leslie's passing, his birth name continued to be associated with the Street, not just through his son Tony, but also Tony's wife, June Broughton, who played three parts in the soap, the most memorable being Joan Lowther, for whom Hilda Ogden was employed as a cleaner in the 1980s.
|Maggie as shoplifter Maggie Monks|
in December, 1967, aged 33
Blanche was hastily recast and Maggie Jones made her first appearance on September 30th, 1974, and appeared in approximately 600 episodes as Blanche over the following 35 years. At first the character appeared only periodically (1974-76, then brief returns in 1977, 1978 and 1981) but from 1996 onwards, she became more regular, finally moving in with the Barlows at Number 1 in 1999.
When Maggie wasn't being Blanche, her career took in roles in regular roles in series such as The Forsyte Saga (1967), Sam (1973-75), Rosie (1977-79), Sharon and Elsie (1984-85) and South of the Border (1985). Her final non-Blanche role before joining the Street full-time was in a 1998 episode of Picking Up the Pieces.
|Maggie as the recast Blanche in 1974,|
aged 40, with "daughter" Anne Kirkbride
On April 18th, 2008, the then 73-year-old Maggie fell while at the Manchester hotel she used during filming, and injured her knee and shoulder. She took a fortnight off work, and was written out of the soap again when she fell ill a second time in October 2009. She was admitted to hospital for major surgery (the nature of which was never disclosed), and was thought to be making a steady recovery, but sadly died in her sleep on December 2nd, aged 75.
Maggie's last appearance as Blanche aired nine days later, and the character died of a heart attack while on an extended holiday in Portugal with her friend May Penn, on May 3rd, 2010. Maggie's funeral took place in Clerkenwell, London, on December 15th, 2009. A memorial service was held at Salford Cathedral on February 25th, 2010, for which filming was suspended so the cast could attend. William Roache and Anne Kirkbride both gave emotional tributes, while Sue Nicholls read out a poem by comedienne Joyce Grenfell, a favourite of Maggie's.
|William Roache and Anne Kirkbride at Maggie Jones's|
memorial service in February 2010
|With Rita and Vera|
Alec Gilroy's last ever appearance in the show was on December 30th, 1998, after he sold the Rovers to Natalie Barnes and left Weatherfield for good with granddaughter Vicky McDonald. The two characters reportedly opened a restaurant in Brighton, and in 2002, when Bet returned to the Street, she said that the two had divorced.
Never completely happy as a long-term regular of the cast, Roy Barraclough was also very well-known for his comedy partnership with Les Dawson, playing Cissie Braithwaite to Dawson's Ada Shufflebottom. He was a natural comedian, with sparkling comic timing, and towards the end of his career played Mr Grainger (previously played by the late Arthur Brough) in a one-off reboot of sitcom Are You Being Served? Roy also received an MBE for services to drama and charity in 2006.
Roy Barraclough died in a hospice in Ashton-Under-Lyne after a short illness, on June 1st, 2017, aged 81. Coronation Street cast members attended his funeral in Oldham, including screen wife Julie Goodyear, who said: "I have no words to describe how devastated I feel. We kept in close touch and spoke to each other at least two or three times every week. I will treasure all the happy times we had working and laughing together. we were just like a married couple. Crazy, I know, but true!"
|Roy Barraclough pictured in March 2016|