Corrie Connections: Sunderland’s links with Coronation Street

Melanie Hill
Melanie Hill
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AS Sunderland actress Melanie Hill prepares to hit the cobbles, we discovered Wearside has more than just one link to Weatherfield.

The Echo reported yesterday how Melanie has landed a role in Coronation Street playing Cathy, a recent widow.
But it seems the show has long had links with Sunderland.

Here are eight connections between Wearside and Weatherfield:

•Former Sunderland Echo reporter Malcolm Terris played Eric Firman, owner and head of Firman’s Freezers.

•Sunderland Airport was miraculously resurrected in 2006 when factory girl Jessie Jackson left Weatherfield to take a job as an air stewardess for Majestic Airlines flying “from Sunderland”. The airport closed in 1984 and the site was used to build the Nissan plant.

•Sunderland-born actor Alan Browning played Elsie Tanner’s on-screen husband Alan Howard and in real-life was married to the actress who played Elsie, Pat Phoenix

•William Russell, also from Sunderland, played Rita’s second husband, Ted Sullivan, who died of a brain tumour.

•Sunderland punk band The Toy Dolls (them of Nelly the Elephant fame) released an unflatteringly-titled song about Deirde Barlow, taking in the men in her life.

•Ian Embleton, who played Des Barnes’ brother Colin, grew up in Boldon.

•Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby, opened the Agadoo bar in Vine Place, Sunderland, in 2010. It was named after the cheesy 1980s pop hit by Black Lace, with whom his business partner Dene Michael performed.

Jones returned to Sunderland in 2012 to perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Flossy Shop at Park Lane Market.

You can read more about Sunderland’s connections with Corrie on the Coronation Street Blog fan site.