Hello and welcome to the first edition of A Slice Of Soap for 2009. Every once in a while, a story surfaces in the papers that Coronation Street bosses are going to axe their older stars. Guess what? That story is doing the rounds again.
If you believe the reports, Eileen Derbyshire (Emily Bishop), Betty Driver (Betty Williams) and Barbara Knox (Rita Sullivan) were in line for the boot however, a spokesperson for the soap told DigitalSpy that the actresses are: "absolute Coronation Street gold" and that the people behind the soap would never seek to lose them. Apparently, Barbara Knox and Eileen Derbyshire will be leading some big storylines in 2009, while Betty Driver, the spokesperson said: "always provides gravitas behind the bar at the Rovers and we will continue to seek to use her where we can."
Check out how long these women have been on’t cobbles: Eileen Derbyshire is 78 and recently celebrated her 48th year in the soap. Can you imagine working for the same employer for 48 years? That’s a thing of the past now. Barbara Knox is 75 and has 36 years of service under her belt. But the one that never ceases to amaze me is 88-year-old Betty Driver. How brilliant does she look for someone who’s pushing 90?!? She will mark her 40th year on the Street in June.
My favourite oldie is 74-year-old Maggie Jones who plays acerbic Blanche Hunt. Noticeably in poorer health than 88-year-old dynamo Betty Driver, she adds so much to Coronation Street and it was a stroke of genius to have her in the soap permanently. Maybe the oldies present a challenge to the writers because you can’t really pen them bed-hopping, for example (unless you want to make the watching viewers spew) but if you’re a good writer, you should be able to write for any character. Take Blanche Hunt: she’s as much a favourite with younger viewers as Becky Granger, for example, because she’s so outrageous. Age doesn’t have to be a barrier when it comes to soap characters, especially as there have been some disastrous younger characters (sorry, but I couldn’t stand Steven Beale in EastEnders). The oldies have to stay in Coronation Street because it just wouldn’t be the same without them.
That’s it for me, I’m out of here. Join me on Monday for a full preview of your favourite soaps. Got a comment about your favourite soap, this blog or anything else? Share it with me.
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