Friday, 24 July 2009

Ena Sharples - 1960 To 1980, First To Last...

The first episode: "I'm Mrs Sharples..." Ena (Violet Carson) introduces herself to Florrie Lindley (Betty Alberge), the new owner of the Corner Shop. 1980 - Ena departs: "I never was one to stay anywhere where I wasn't wanted. I'm off first thing in't morning!"

I had a question in the blog comments today:

Has anyone seen Ena's final appearance on the street?

Yes, I have a copy of the episode. No great farewell for Ena, I'm afraid, as nobody suspected that Violet Carson was making her final appearance - not even Miss Carson.

Ena returned to the Street after a short spell away to find that the Council had not finished redecorating her flat at the Community Centre.

After a brief stay with Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix), and facing the prospect of a stay at No 1, much to the chagrin of Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth), Ena announced to Albert and Ken Barlow (William Roache): "I've been on the phone to Mr Foster. He says he'd be very glad to see me."

"Oh, I see!" said Ken, "Yes, perhaps you would be better off in St Anne's and happier there, wouldn't you? I'll let you know the minute the decorators move out!"

"You've no need to bother," said Ena.

"Sorry, I don't follow you?" Ken was totally puzzled.

"I've been mucked up by you and your committee for long enough. I'll be the one to say when I come back, if I come back!"

"What do you mean - 'if' you come back?!" asked Albert.

"I'm fast coming to the conclusion, Albert Tatlock, that the air up there is much more to my liking than it is round 'ere these days. And you can take that any way you like! I don't suppose either of you thought of puttin' the kettle on, did yer?" and she disappeared into the kitchen. And into Street history.

Albert had seen her leave the Street in high dudgeon before and didn't take her seriously. He actually laughed in response! Ena had been absent from the Street for lengthy periods several times during the previous decade. But she had always returned.

And in fact Violet Carson would wear that famous hairnet one last time. She appeared on the cover and within the pages of a TV Times magazine - Coronation Street 2000 - which celebrated the screening of the show's 2000th episode in June 1980.

1960s glory days: Ena, a poor, vulnerable old woman (!) in hospital, suspects that her friend Martha Longhurst (Lynne Carol) is a snake in the grass: "You, you, you, Martha Longhurst, you snake - I know what you're after, you're after me vestry!"

Ena was a howling harridan in the early episodes!

When Ena announced that she may not be coming back in 1980, Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth) actually laughed! He'd heard it all before.

Ena's glower was a trademark of the character in the 1960s, but rarely glimpsed after that. During her final episode in 1980, she bestowed the famous look on Fred Gee (Fred Feast).

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