November 27, 2012
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The stars of Coronation Street have been paying a fitting farewell to their old colleague Bill Tarmey, who played Jack Duckworth, in the long-running soap for more than 30 years.
Tarmey, 71, who died earlier this month at his holiday home in Tenerife made his name as the endlessly hen-pecked husband of Weatherfield battleaxe Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn.
Dawn joined famous Corrie actors past and present including William Roache, Julie Goodyear, Kevin kennedy and Nigel Pivaro for the service at the Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton-under-Lyne.
Tarmey, who worked as a nightclub singer before joining the Coronation Street cast in 1979, made the character of pigeon-fancying, work-shy chancer Jack Duckworth a household name. Always on the run from Vera but utterly devoted to her, he was a mainstay of the programme, an iconic figure with his hangdog air and broken spectacles held together with an old plaster.
November 19, 2012
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From Zero to Hero screamed the headlines after terrified jungle celebrity Helen ‘Flapagain’ Flanagan put on a brave face and brought home the metaphorical bacon for her starving I’m a Celebrity… campmates.
Almost from the moment she arrived in the Australian jungle, the former Corrie actress had established herself as a panic-stricken drama queen prone to throwing in the towel at the first sign of a creep-crawly.
Having spent days earning precisely no meals for her desperate chums, last night something extraordinary happened. Helen finally found the courage to win some food for the camp, sticking her hands into a box of cockroaches and tackling tasks involving snakes and rats without flinching.
OK she did go into a classic flap when they showered her with gunk and bugs but basically she has now baffled everyone. What was going on before? Was she acting? Was she attention seeking? Has she undergone a personality change?
Or perhaps it’s just gamesmanship. Who knows? It certainly makes for an intriguing if rather cruel spectator sport though. Rather like the kind of programmes Clive James used to ridicule on Japanese TV 20 years ago. I might actually get quite annoyed about it if it wasn’t for fact that Helen volunteered for the job, is being paid handsomely for it and can walk out anytime she wants…and no one has to watch any of it except perhaps all those MPs from all parties who are probably on a three line whip to keep the Right Honourable Nadine Dorries, Member of Parliament from Mid Bedfordshire, well and truly in the jungle.
The row about her abandoning both her constituents and her Commons duties has taken an intriguing turn with her daughter claiming that she was given permission to join the programme by none other than former Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.
He denies this. Although one wonders whether it would have been unreasonable if he had reached the conclusion that Dorries, who famously accused David Cameron and George Osborne of being “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk”, might enjoy slumming it for a while with the jungle plebs.
Back to Helen though. So far she has admitted that she’s afraid of the dark and can’t go to sleep at home unless Harry Potter is playing in the background. She’s even became hysterical after finding a twig in her hair. If you reckon the great outdoors really isn’t her thing then you are not wrong. Even her granddad has told the press: “She’s never really been in the garden, so taking on the Australian jungle is a huge challenge for her.”