Roland Coburn remembers meeting the stars of Coronation Street

She (his mother) was also involved quite heavily, in the early days, on Coronation Street. She was very good friends with Violet Carson, Ena Sharples, Elsie Tanner, Pat Phoenix and Doris Speed, who was Annie Walker. They were always at our house, and I was always wandering round with mother to their houses, because Pat Phoenix lived in Sale. She actually had a swimming pool, which was quite big. I always used to go over there and used to go swimming in the swimming pool. Mother and her would be sat there having a large gin and tonic or something. You’d go round and you’d meet Doris Speed and you’d meet her mother. The mother would always try and give me a Dubonnet and things like that, which didn’t go down particularly well, but it was great to meet these people.

There was one particular time we had to move to Ansdell, which is just near Blackpool — which was one of the reasons why I was at boarding school — and all the Coronation Street people had come round to Mother’s for a party. It was great. They were all there. They’d had a few lemonades and were quite happy with life. I think Elsie, or Pat Phoenix said, ‘Why don’t we go to the pleasure beach?’ So Mother duly volunteered me to take this bunch to the pleasure beach. So off we trundled; there was Elsie, Pat and all the others. They used to have this ride called the Helter Skelter — which I’m not so sure if it’s there any more — and it literally was. You’d walk up quite a long ladder, you’d sit in a sack and they’d just push you down this thing.

Pat said, ‘I’ll have a go at it!’ and up she went. And the expression of her face as she came straight down on this slide; I thought the whole of Blackpool was just going to collapse in laughter as she went head over heels and into this bale of hay. But that’s the way it was: everybody was friendly, everybody knew each other and they were nice to each other. You could always sit and talk, and it was a fabulous time. It really was.


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