Monday, 17 January 2011

Helene Palmer

Helene Palmer as Ida Clough in 1985.

I was saddened to hear of the recent death of Helene Palmer, Baldwin's factory machinist Ida Clough from 1978 to 1988, and for a brief stint in the 1990s. Ida was a great favourite of mine - she said things like "pound to a pig puddin'" and was very believable. Below, I've reposted a Back On The Street article about Ida from last year.

My sympathy to all Helene Palmer's family and friends.

From Back On The Street, 3/10/2010

Ida Clough - Unsung Heroine Of The Street

Looking through my newspaper collection this morning, I was very happy to find the above photograph of Helene Palmer - the Street's Ida Clough from 1978 to 1988 - and for several years in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Ida was one of my favourite Street characters "back in the day". She didn't follow the route of her two colleagues at Baldwin's sweat shop, Ivy Tilsley (Lynne Perrie) and Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn) by eventually moving into the Street, which I thought was a shame, but nevertheless Ida was excellent.

And so real. I could just imagine her in the queue at my local pork butcher's, or popping into my local to meet her pals before going on to bingo.

Ida was the mother of Bernard (Jeffrey Longmore) - something of a gormless puddin' - and the beautifully cartoonish Muriel (Angela Catherall), I'm sure the Cloughs would have made their mark as Street residents.

Ida/Helene newspaper and magazine articles are few and far between, so I was especially pleased to find the one featured here, in the Sunday People, September 4, 1983.

Helene Palmer had been successfully dieting, and so the People decided to give her a glam makeover to celebrate.

"Even Mike Baldwin wouldn't recognise me now!" said Helene.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Recommended Reading - Jean Alexander - The Other Side Of The Street

Hilda Ogden finally took down her famous flying ducks from the "muriel" at No 13 as actress Jean Alexander left Coronation Street in late 1987.

Miss Alexander told us that her career was not over - a fact she quickly proved - moving on to a film appearance and the BBC comedy series Last Of The Summer Wine, amongst other things. In 1989, she looked back on her life so far in her autobiography, The Other Side Of The Street, and this book is one I can heartily recommend.

There's no thrills, no starry nonsense here, as Miss Alexander takes readers on a steady canter through her life, beginning with her Liverpool childhood and early work in a public library, on to rep and several early TV appearances, and then to Coronation Street.

From a rat in the theatre dressing room to a highly talkative landlady, an (almost) explosive water heater to a haunted flat, Jean took life in her stride - and this is a lovely read. Perfect to end the day on.

The book also contains insights into the real-life characters of some of the cast of Coronation Street from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Copies of the book sometimes turn up on eBay and I say: "Give yourself a treat, luvvie - grab one!"