Mau­reen Lip­man

Julie Lor­dan catches up with Cor­rie’s lat­est in­cum­bent; a true vet­eran of the screen

RTÉ Guide - - Contents -

It seems like the pro­duc­ers of Corona­tion Street have de­cided on a re­newed fo­cus on what the soap has al­ways done best – the older char­ac­ters’ sto­ries. It’s a bit of a re­turn to plots with more gen­tle out­comes than the dark dra­mat­ics we’ve come to ex­pect from the soaps. Help­ing the new sil­ver surfers along is Mau­reen Lip­man, who has joined fel­low the­atri­cal vet­er­ans Rula Len­ska and Nigel Havers in Weather eld. We also ex­pect stal­warts like Au­drey,(Sue Ni­cholls) Rita Sul­li­van (Bar­bara Knox) and Nor­ris Cole (Mal­colm Heb­den) will have more prom­i­nent sto­ries than they’ve had re­cently.

Of course, it’s not the rst time Mau­reen Lip­man has been in Corona­tion Street. Back in 2002, she had a very short stint play­ing Rovers’ bar man­ager Lil­lian Spencer, but this new char­ac­ter is quite di er­ent. Ar­riv­ing with a tough-as-boots per­son­al­ity, Ty­rone Dobbs’ grand­mother is set to in­ter­fere in his re­la­tion­ship with Fiz, as well as pok­ing her nose into how they are rais­ing their two daugh­ters and their stand­ing in the Street – gen­er­ally mak­ing her­self un­pop­u­lar, by the sounds of it. Mau­reen Lip­man takes up the story.

How did the part of Eve­lyn Plum­mer come about?

I had a new agent a er many, many years and we had talked about how I would get back into main­stream TV with­out hav­ing to be a pre­sen­ter. She asked how I felt about a role in Corona­tion Street. For a while, I thought it would be di cult to leave London as I’ve got a part­ner in London, and I’ve got dogs and grand­chil­dren. I didn’t know what to do, but the light over my late hus­band Jack’s (Rosen­thal) pic­ture some­times comes on for no rea­son and while I was sit­ting there won­der­ing what to do, of course on it came! I thought it was a nice way to cir­cle 50 years be­cause I met Jack in 1969 when I came to Manch­ester to join a theatre group. It is a lit­tle bit of a sen­ti­men­tal ex­er­cise but also it is quite a ‘me’ part.

What at­tracted you to the role?

Eve­lyn is not fright­ened to say what she thinks and she is cer­tainly out­spo­ken, a bit mean and a bit em­bit­tered. I’m not say­ing that I am like that my­self, but she is funny, so that re­deems her un­pleas­ant qual­i­ties to some ex­tent.

Did the comic pos­si­bil­ity of her story in­ter­est you?

She is a gen­uine bat­tleaxe with­out a man to bat­tle, ex­cept maybe pick­ing ghts with Dev in the cor­ner shop and putting Ty­rone in his place reg­u­larly. A bat­tleaxe is some­one that the pub­lic seem to like. ere isn’t much com­edy in the ac­tual sto­ry­line, by the very na­ture of what it is, but her lines are dry; in a way you have to put your own per­son­al­ity into it and then the writ­ers start to re­spond to the way it is go­ing, so I can only wait and see.

Eve­lyn looks quite di er­ent from your usual ap­pear­ance – did you have much in­put into how she looks?

I didn’t have an aw­ful lot of time to get too in­volved at that stage. She is stuck very much in the past and her clothes are the clothes of some­one who is al­ways a er a bar­gain. She has put her hair into vic­tory rolls when that isn’t re­ally some­thing that peo­ple do any more. She is not batty and yaway – she is care­fully dressed but I try not to think about what she looks like as I would just get de­pressed!

Has Corona­tion Street changed since you were on it in 2002?

Yes, it is very di er­ent: when I was last here there were only three episodes a week and now there are six and you can have four or more di­rec­tors lm­ing their episodes at any one time. Ev­ery­one has been so friendly and help­ful that there is some­thing very com­fort­ing about com­ing back up north. My son says I am al­ready speak­ing with a north­ern ac­cent.

Will you watch the episodes you are in?

No, I don’t watch them. I will maybe watch things later on, long a er they have been on but I re­ally don’t en­joy watch­ing my­self. I can see me think­ing

and I get im­pa­tient with my­self. I think a lot of ac­tors feel that way, it is hard to be ob­jec­tive. I don’t read re­views and I am not on so­cial me­dia. I just get on with the job.

How does Eve­lyn end up mov­ing into Fiz and Ty­rone’s?

We haven’t seen her leave where she was liv­ing, so we don’t know what she did to get evicted. I as­sume that there comes a point where she has so few friends and has upset so many neigh­bours that she doesn’t mind leav­ing. You would think she would be a bit like a res­cue dog and be grate­ful when she gets to the new place, but far from it. She is just as bel­liger­ent as she was in the old place. It is go­ing to take some sort of a show­down, as she doesn’t like her­self, that is very ob­vi­ous and she is stuck in a pat­tern of be­hav­iour. She is head­ing for a come­up­pance! What sort of re­la­tion­ship does Eve­lyn have with Fiz? Fiz doesn’t stand a chance as no one was ever go­ing to be good enough for Ty­rone. Not that she thinks he is good enough ei­ther, but she has a grudg­ing lik­ing for this boy and she thinks that the woman he is with is bor­ing. She sets out to drive her away just by be­ing un­gra­cious and crit­i­cal and gen­er­ally driv­ing a wedge be­tween them, which is a hor­ri­ble thing to do but there are peo­ple like that.

Eve­lyn has a dog – how do you feel about work­ing with an an­i­mal?

I have two dogs at home. I love dogs and the one who plays Cer­berus is a lovely calm dog, so I am very happy that she has a dog and it is the one re­la­tion­ship where you see the so er side of her.

Have you based Eve­lyn on any­one?

ere is a lit­tle bit of some­one I know. She is very chal­leng­ing: even ‘Hello’ comes out as a chal­lenge. A lit­tle bit of that has gone in and most of my aunts and in­deed my fa­ther, who were all very dry in their hu­mour.

Do you like Eve­lyn?

You have to like the per­son you are play­ing, oth­er­wise you are judg­ing them too much and it shows!

Fiz doesn’t stand a chance as no one was ever go­ing to be good enough for Ty­rone

Fiz and Ty­rone are in for a shock with Eve­lyn’s ar­rival

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