‘We’re just us’
Coronation Street stars Jennie McAlpine and Alan Halsall, who play Fiz Stape and Tyrone Dobbs, say they don’t want their characters to be thought of as the new Jack and Vera Duckworth.
Next week on the soap, Fiz will find her partner asleep on the sofa in his vest, and will worry that they are “turning into” the nagging wife and henpecked husband duo, who previously occupied their stone-clad home, number nine.
But while both actors say this is “not a bad thing” given that the now late Jack and Vera made a success of their marriage – a rarity in soapland – they have rejected viewer comparisons between the couples; insisting that legendary Duckworths are a cut above.
Says Halsall: “I’ve heard it for years and years, but they’re out there on their own, and actually, I don’t want to be the new Jack and Vera; I want to Tyrone and Fiz.
“They were wonderful characters that I grew up on, and the first thing I associated with Corrie was Jack and Vera. But I’d like them to be out there on a pedestal, high above us. I’m alright with that.”
Adds McAlpine: “Exactly that. It’s lovely that we refer to them in stories like this, and they’re never forgotten, because they’re part of the history of the show. But to be the new Jack and Vera, no. We’re just us.”
She continues: “I just feel like a visitor in Jack and Vera’s house, and I think that’s the thing about Coronation Street; we’re all like that. Eileen is a visitor in Elsie’s house. We’re carrying that legacy on.”
Jack and Vera – played by Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn – remain one of the best-loved couples in TV history. The characters arrived on the cobbles in the late seventies, and were a fixture for over four decades.
Shortly after Tyrone’s arrival in 1998, the couple took him under their wing and gave him a home after he was abandoned by his errant mother, Jackie.
Vera passed away in her sleep in 2008, while Jack died two years later in a memorable scene in which Liz Dawn made a guest appearance as Vera “appeared” and danced with Jack during his final moments.
Off-screen, Bill Tarmey died in 2012, while Liz Dawn passed away in 2017.