Saturday 21 April 2012

The Rovers calls Time on Betty

It's always so much more difficult when you know a television death reflects reality. When Gordon was talking to Rita, Emily, Dennis and Ken, My eyes were filling up, too. These are the most senior cast members of the show and I count Dennis as one of those because he, too, was in the first episode of Coronation Street even if he's been absent for many years.

Dear Betty. The "wake" in the Rovers was lovely wasn't it? We were teased that we might see some familiar old faces but that didn't happen. Shame on you ITV! It would have made it even more special if some of Betty's dear old friends had made the effort to return or even to be mentioned as contacted someone. Surely Bet would have returned? I realize it's all based on actor's availability but it's not as if they didn't have adequate notice.

There were some sticking points, though. There is outrage echoing all over the internet about Annie Walker bequeathing Betty a pub that she didn't even own (the brewery did!). How could Betty see Bet Gilroy in such a state when she could have put her mind at ease? How could Betty, who really didn't like Alec very much, see him run the pub with his name over the door? How could she stand to have Vera lording it over her? No, ITV really lost the plot on this one.

Having said that, Betty Turpin Williams really was the spiritual landlady of the Rovers Return Inn all these years, as the mainstay. It's a nice tribute, having her photo on the wall though the dates should have been 1969 to 2012.

Would Betty really have left her hotpot recipe to Sean? Seems doubtful. Stella kept making remarks about how much help Betty was to her but we never saw them in the same scene, did we? That can't be helped, though, because the actor herself had been ill so the viewer had to presume she was just in the kitchen or having a cuppa in the back room.

I do think ITV let us down, promising all these old familiar faces to return for Betty's funeral. Where were they? Gordon was the only one that came back. 
The reactions of those that knew her longest, Rita, Emily, Deirdre, and her son Gordon, really felt genuine of course, because it's a real good bye to Ms. Driver as well. I thought several times poor old Bill Kenwright was going to break down on screen especially when he read out Betty's letter.

Overall, though, aside from the jarring rewrite of history, I thought the tribute to the character and actor was very nice. And the quote of the week must be:

"Steve, me duck, Who would I be if I wasn't cookin' hotpots for me friends?"

Here are some pictures from Betty's life in the Rovers.

Betty and Bet Lynch, circa early 1980s.

Betty chiding Chesney over the bar when he tried to be served.

Betty comforting Claire Peacock after her beloved Ashley died in the tram crash.

Betty with Bet Lynch, early 1970s, looking very disapproving

Betty and Audrey with Alf when he received his OBE. Betty was his Mayoress for a time.

Betty having fun with Becky at a hen do.

Betty, the panto Fairy Godmother

And Betty's final send off.

Good night Betty

There's a profile of Betty up to 1995 on and one on Wikipedia.

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