14 July 2009

Vince St Clair Helps Jack Duckworth Into Coronation Street....

Here we are, in the summer of 1983, and William Tarmey (Jack Duckworth) is still not a permanent Coronation Street regular...

Daily Mirror, June 15, 1983:

As Bill Tarmey walks towards the TV studios, an army of autograph-hunters surround him.

Surprisingly, they're not middle-age women, but teenagers and schoolkids.

And it's not the name of Bill Tarmey they want in their books. Or even Jack Duckworth. "Sign it from Vince," they scream.

For the past couple of years, Bill has had to get used to being called Jack Duckworth - the Jack-the-lad character he plays in Coronation Street. But since he got into trouble with his wife Vera for signing on at an escort agency as Vince St. Clair, the new name has suddenly caught on.

Bill says: "Everywhere I go, people call me Vince. It was all meant as a bit of fun in the scripts. But I'm not going to be able to live down Vince St. Clair in a hurry."

Tarmey has no long-term contract. But he pops up for a spell every few months in The Street - usually for a slanging match with wife Vera, Elsie Tanner's factory-mate.

"It's amazing the way the characters of Jack and Vera Duckworth have caught the public imagination," Bill says.

"The trouble is, every one thinks I really am like Jack Duckworth, who spends his life ducking and diving. And I'm quite the opposite."

Bill says: "I love the character. He's a bit of a head banger is Jack. I suppose you'd call him a lovable rascal."

So, no long-term contract for William Tarmey at the time of the Daily Mirror report on June 15th, although the viewers' interest in Jack Duckworth - and his 1983 alter ego Vince St Clair - appeared to be booming.

But, move on a few days and...

Exciting news - the Duckworths are going to be moving into Coronation Street!

Sunday People, June 19, 1983:

The move will arouse even more resentment against "the family the rest love to hate".

But for night-club singer Bill Tarmey, who plays Jack, it means a long-term contract in Britain's top soap opera - the chance of a lifetime.

That lifetime was almost cut short seven years ago when Bill, then 35, had a massive heart attack on the stage of a Manchester club.

"I thought it was the end, and that I'd never work again." he told me.

But helped by his wife Alma and showbiz friends, he returned to the club scene, and did some small walk-on parts in Coronation Street.

Then he played a tough-guy in The Strangers - the ITV thriller series - and really caught the eye of producers.

He was offered the part of dizzy Vera's husband and made an impact in the Street recently, posing as Vince St Clair at a video dating agency.

"Life has turned full circle for me, but that's showbiz," said Bill, who lives with Alma and their two children in Gorton, Manchester.

1 comment:

Obi said...

I remember Jack as Vince St Claire and Bet seeing him on tape at the video dating agency. So she set up a meeting between him and Vera Duckworth - Vera called herself Carole Munroe - she ended up giving Jacxk a good hiding and showing him up in the Rovers. Classic Corrie!