Jennie McAlpine as Fiz Stape (2007)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Jennie McAlpine|
|First appearance||20 April 2001|
|Introduced by||Jane MacNaught|
|"Out of Africa" (2008)|
|Aliases||Fiz Stape (married name)|
Café Waitress (2012–13)
Café Co-owner (2014-)
|Home||9 Coronation Street|
Fiona "Fiz" Stape (née Brown) is a fictional character in the British soap opera Coronation Street, played by Jennie McAlpine. She made her first on-screen appearance on 20 April 2001. Initially appearing for five episodes, McAlpine's contract was soon extended and Fiz became a regular character. Fiz initially appeared as a troubled teenager briefly fostered by Roy (David Neilson) and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) at the age of 15. She left and then returned to Coronation Street, and starts work at the Underworld factory. Fiz was involved in a murder storyline in which her husband John Stape (Graeme Hawley), committed three murders and had Fiz help him bury the bodies. She had to implicate other people in order to cover for John. She gave birth to her daughter Hope prematurely, in the live 50th anniversary episode with McAlpine becoming the first actress to act out a birth live on a soap opera. In May 2014, it was announced that McAlpine was expecting her first child. McAlpine will take maternity leave in October 2014.
Fiz's first appearance was as a troubled sixteen year old fostered by Roy (David Neilson) and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh). Fiz made her interest in Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall) clear, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Maria (Samia Ghadie), so she introduced Fiz to her brother, Kirk Sutherland. As a distraction, this worked and Fiz dated Kirk for quite some time. Eventually Fiz is reacquainted with her first boyfriend, John Stape (Graeme Hawley), who is now working at Weatherfield High School. Fiz leaves Kirk, declining his proposal of marriage, and starts dating John.
Her mother, Cilla Battersby-Brown (Wendi Peters), leaves the Street to live in Las Vegas, leaving Fiz's younger brother Chesney (Sam Aston) with Kirk. When John begins an affair with student, Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan), Fiz thinks he is having an affair with Rosie's mother, Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor), whom he has been teaching. However, the truth is revealed on Christmas Day 2007, when John inadvertently mixes up Fiz and Rosie's presents. When Fiz returns, she is shocked to learn what has happened but bravely decides to move on with her life and applies to be Chesney's guardian. Chesney and his beloved Great Dane, Schmeichel are allowed to return home after Fiz moves into No. 5. Initially, she clashes with Kirk's girlfriend, Julie Carp (Katy Cavanagh). While she is happy that Kirk has moved on, she is unhappy with Julie's attempts to be Chesney's carer, feeling that it is her job. After a few months, they become friends.
Fiz receives numerous unknown phone calls. She discovers that it is ex-boyfriend, John, seeking a reconciliation, but declines his requests. He takes a job with Street Cars so he can be close to her, and buys Chesney a bike for his birthday. Fiz and John become friends again and she soon agrees to give him another chance. However, Fiz ends things when she realises that he wants them to move into his grandmother's house in the countryside. Fiz becomes worried when he constantly claims that he has to go to his grandmother's house to 'feed the cat' and eventually discovers that he is holding Rosie hostage there, supposedly for ruining his relationship with Fiz. Fiz releases Rosie, and John is arrested for kidnap and false imprisonment. John continues to send Fiz cards and letters while he is on remand, and is eventually sentenced to 2 years in prison. Soon after John's kidnapping of Rosie is revealed, Fiz receives some bad news about Chesney. He and Kirk are visiting Cilla in South Africa (their adventures are shown in Coronation Street: Out of Africa) and Cilla tells Fiz that Chesney has been in an accident. When Fiz arrives, she is very upset to see Chesney in a wheelchair. She is relieved, yet angry, when they tell her that it is a scam to win a Sunshine Families competition with a £500,000 prize. Fiz later returns to Weatherfield.
Fiz decides that she still loves John and wants to marry him. She proposes to him by writing a message so that she is allowed into the prison, after talking about him being on suicide watch. Fiz is allowed to see John briefly and as he is led away, Fiz asks him if he will marry her. John instantly agrees. John later sends Fiz his grandmother's engagement ring and a visiting order. She sees him and he places the engagement ring on her finger. Fiz and John marry on 28 September 2009. The wedding is held in the prison chapel but Fiz cannot go through with the ceremony without Chesney's support, revealing that all of their friends and neighbours are against the marriage. John does his best to persuade Fiz to go ahead regardless but she refuses, walking out and collapsing in tears outside the prison. Just as it seems that Fiz’s big day is doomed, Chesney arrives with Roy and Hayley. He apologises to Fiz and he is there when Fiz and John marry.
Fiz is shocked to hear of the letters that John has written to the Street residents, informing them that he will soon be released and asks for their backing to live there with Fiz. The street is split down the middle: for instance, the Croppers agree, but Eddie Windass (Steve Huison) (despite never having met John and baked his and Fiz's wedding cake) is against it. When Sally learns of the letters, she is left fuming and angrily organises a protest meeting in the Rovers for that evening. At the meeting, Sally gives a speech against John, wanting residents to write back and refuse his request, which Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) completely backs. However, Roy fights John's corner, with Ken Barlow (William Roache) pointing out that John is entitled to live wherever he wants and Graeme Proctor (Craig Gazey) outright supports him, to the disgust of Blanche Hunt (Maggie Jones). As Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) expresses his neutralness, Fiz gives an impassioned speech about how John is sorry and wants to set things right, pointing out how Sally and Rosie have been compensated for John's actions. Fiz's speech is applauded by the majority of residents, much to the disgust of Sally and Dev. The residents all write back, with the overwhelming majority agreeing to let him return to Weatherfield. In mid-November, John is released.
Sally, furious that John has moved back to the street, paints the windows of No. 5 black during the night. Fiz, furious, wants to phone the police - particularly after Sally admits what she has done in front of witnesses - but John refuses. He and Fiz spend the day scraping the paint off and accept Graeme's help in repainting the upstairs of the house to match. Rosie does not seem to care that he is living across the street until, swindled out of her compensation by Luke Strong (Craig Kelly), the acting owner of Underworld whom she had been having a fling with, she tells John that she has decided to return to college and study to be a doctor. She asks him for £50,000 to fund this and is stunned when he refuses so she tries blackmailing him, claiming that he had grabbed her and locked her in Roy's Rolls, where he is now working. Sally and Kevin call the police and John is arrested but released pending further inquiries. That night in the pub, he challenges Rosie about her version of events and, when unable to answer his questions, she reveals that she has lied. Furious, Kevin orders her to apologise the next day and withdraw her statement to the police. Sally also apologises to John and Fiz and asks them not to press charges. John agrees but Fiz is openly angry. The Stapes and the Websters both agree to stay out of each other's way.
John meets one of his ex-teacher colleagues, Colin Fishwick (David Crellin), in the café, who invites him and Fiz to his leaving party before he emigrates to Canada. Whilst at the party, Colin makes it clear to John that he wants to stop teaching. John thinks up a plan to start teaching again himself, by stealing Colin's identity as he has a clean CRB. Fiz is initially incredulous when John tells her about his plans but, because she loves John, she soon weakens and agrees to go along with his plan. They both agree to keep the truth from Chesney, who has not been particularly fond of John since his affair with Rosie. Eventually, Fiz sees what risk John is taking and they begin to row. Fiz later leaves to go on holiday, alone. Fiz returns from her holiday and announces that she is 12 weeks pregnant with their first child. The couple make up and John promises to never lie to her again. Fiz goes into labour only six months into her pregnancy following injury in the explosion of Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) and Leanne Battersby's (Jane Danson) bar, The Joinery, so she is sent to hospital and gives birth to a baby girl, whom she names Hope. Straight after her birth, Hope is transferred into an incubator as she is three months premature. Due to her prematurity, her immune system is failing and is diagnosed with an infection. Fiz is told that Hope will need a transfusion in order to fight the infection.
John has a breakdown following his involvement in three deaths, unbeknownst to Fiz. Fiz is left at home alone with baby Hope, who has now been allowed to leave the hospital. Joy Fishwick (Doreen Mantle), Colin's mother, asked her solicitor to track down her son before her death, and "Colin" is tracked at Number 5. Horrified, Fiz forces herself to pretend to be Mrs Fishwick. The solicitor informs Fiz of Joy's death and that she has left her fortune to Colin. John returns home in March 2011 and things seem to look up, but John realises all of the new things that Fiz has bought, which she dishonestly explains are from money she received when the factory girls had a whip-round for her. In April 2011, John decides to stop taking his medication, despite Dr. Matt Carter's (Oliver Mellor) objection. Joy's solicitor turns up at No. 5, with Fiz having to pose as Mrs Fishwick again. The solicitor reveals that Joy's house had been sold and the money is to be transferred into Fiz's (i.e. Mrs Fishwick's) bank account. John is furious with Fiz for what she has done, thinking it is all over for him. John suffers another breakdown, locking himself in the bookies, after which he runs away. Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) and Dr Carter suggest that they call the police, but Fiz, knowing the potential imprisonment of both she and John, decides to wait and see if he returns.
The police arrive at Fiz's home to notify herself and Chesney that John had been caught on CCTV boarding a ferry at Holyhead. Eventually, Fiz confesses her role in the crime and so the police arrest Fiz for the murder of Colin Fishwick. At the police station, Fiz is interviewed for the murder. She is taken into custody but is released and then attends Magistrates' Court. The incident is deemed too serious, so she is sent to Crown Court. Fiz is charged with three murders after John flees the country to Ireland. Fiz is remanded in custody and faces trial at Crown court. Fiz is denied bail and is sent straight to prison to await trial.
Fiz struggles with life in prison, and struggles to cope without Hope, who has been left in the care of Roy and Hayley. She is offered a place in the Mother and Baby unit, but refuses as she feels it is no place to bring her baby up. She becomes even more distressed when she is forced to do some cleaning in the mother and baby unit, as seeing other mums with their babies upsets her and reminds her of her daughter. Fiz soon changes her mind and requests a place in the unit, but is forced to wait. Horrified when she finds her cellmate, Ginny Portis (Ashley McGuire), unconscious from a drug overdose, Fiz is shocked to discover that her friend Ruth has supplied the drugs. When Fiz plans to reveal Ruth's drug supply to the governor, Ruth threatens to make her life a misery. Fiz eventually gets a place in the mother and baby unit, but is beaten up by Ruth and other girls when Ruth is removed from the unit for dealing drugs. Ruth and her friends continue to torment Fiz. After Ruth trashes her room, Fiz stands up to her and tells her to keep away from she and Hope.
Upon learning the date of Fiz's trial, it is revealed to the audience that John has returned. Spotting Rosie from his car, who is trying to sell her boyfriend Jason Grimshaw's (Ryan Thomas) flat, he poses as a potential buyer named Mr Chips. He turns up at the flat and ties Rosie up, insisting that it is all her fault that he and Fiz are so miserable and trying to force her to turn up at the court and tell them that it is John who is responsible for the deaths, allowing him to release Fiz but not go to prison himself. His plan fails, however, and he has to drive away at a high speed, and crashes his car.
Fiz's trial begins and she provides her evidence, before the jury leave to consider their verdicts. Fiz is found not guilty of the murders of Joy Fishwick and Charlotte Hoyle, but the jury find her guilty of Colin Fishwick's murder. Fiz later learns that John has returned, but is in a critical condition in hospital after his car crash. Fiz goes to the hospital and tells John that she forgives him for everything he has done. John gives the police his statement and he then dies from his injuries. Fiz then breaks down in tears and whispers to him that he will always be "her John".
Unfortunately, John was too late. Fiz is sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 15 years. Fiz and Chesney are devastated. Fiz asks Chesney to organise John's funeral. He initially refuses, but after his girlfriend Katy Armstrong (Georgia May Foote) convinces him, he agrees. Chesney later receives a phonecall from Fiz saying that she has been granted bail before her review. Fiz later begins a feud with Kirsty Soames (Natalie Gumede) after she nearly slices Fiz's fingers off at work using a sowing machine. When Kirsty later attacks Fiz in her own home, Fiz realises that Kirsty is beating up her fiancé Tyrone. Fiz helps Tyrone through his dilemma with Kirsty, but ends up developing feelings for him and they begin an affair. When Kirsty beats up Tyrone again, Fiz advises Tyrone to marry Kirsty so he can gain custody of his daughter Ruby. Kirsty accepts Tyrone's proposal, but discovers Fiz and Tyrone's affair the day before the wedding. She humiliates the pair at the church, as many of the residents watch as Kirsty reveals Fiz is Tyrone's mystery lover. During an argument at the top of the stairs, Kirsty attempts to hit Tyrone again, but ends up falling down the stairs. Fiz, Tommy Duckworth (Chris Fountain), Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver), Sean Tully (Antony Cotton) and Paul Kershaw (Tony Hirst) race round to the house to see what has happened, and Kirsty tells the police that Tyrone has been abusing her for months. Tyrone is arrested, which devastates Fiz. Tyrone's court hearing arrives, and Kirsty's mother Alison (Dawn Hope) tries to persuade Kirsty to tell the truth, but she refuses. After Kirsty assaults Julie, Kirsty confesses to the jury that she has been beating Tyrone. Tyrone is freed and Kirsty is sent to prison.
Fiz is later distraught to hear that Hayley has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There is further devastation when Fiz is told that Hayley's tumour is terminal, and only has six to twelve months to live. Fiz promises Hayley that she will take care of Roy after she has died. Fiz and Tyrone are present at Roy's birthday party in The Rovers on 20 September 2013, and Fiz asks Hayley and Roy whether they would like to spend more time with Hope and Ruby, which they both accept gladly. Fiz is puzzled when Hayley walks out on Roy and moves in with her and Tyrone. Unknown to Fiz, Hayley has recently told Roy that when her cancer spreads, she intends on ending her own life. While Fiz and Tyrone are at work, Hayley collapses at home and when Fiz returns, she calls for an ambulance. She accompanies Roy to the hospital and is told that Hayley has an infection. Following the incident, Hayley moves back in with Roy.
In January 2014, Fiz is devastated when she learns that Hayley has died from Anna Windass (Debbie Rush). Fiz is unaware, however, that Hayley committed suicide after drinking a lethal cocktail. She and Tyrone rush over to the café flat, where Fiz finds Hayley's corpse on the bed with Roy's arm around her. Chesney later arrives, and he, Fiz, Tyrone, Anna and Carla Connor (Alison King) all try and help Roy through his grief. A few days later, Roy is struggling to come to terms with Hayley's death, but Fiz learns that Hayley killed herself, and angrily confronts Roy and shouts at him. Anna tries to get through to Fiz that it is what Hayley wanted and that it was not assisted suicide, but Fiz only listens to Carla. On the day of Hayley's funeral, Fiz, Carla and Anna try and persuade Roy to attend, as he is refusing. He eventually attends, but in the middle of Fiz's eulogy, Roy stands up and interrupts her speech. He tells the upset residents that Hayley was the love of his life and that he will miss her dearly, which relieves Fiz, Carla and Anna, as they all thought he was going to tell them about Hayley's suicide. Following the funeral, Roy leaves Fiz and Anna a note explaining that he has gone to visit his mother Sylvia (Stephanie Cole) for a while. The pair start to panic, however, when a pipe bursts at the café and realize that Roy has been away for 10 days. They call Sylvia, but her sister Jean answers the phone, and explains that she hasn't heard from Roy is six months and that Sylvia is in Tenerife. Fiz calls the police, and they explain Roy's situation, without revealing Hayley's suicide. When the police leave, Fiz and Anna have many arguments about his whereabouts, as Tyrone tries to calm the bickering women down. When they get home, Fiz reveals to a stunned Tyrone that she believes that Roy is dead. In mid-February, Roy returns with no explanation of his whereabouts. He later explains that he has been stopping in a hotel by a steam museum. Fiz is later concerned when Roy doesn't come out of his flat, and that he keeps making continuous trips to the toy shop. It is revealed that he is building a model railway track, which puzzles Fiz, but fascinates Tyrone and Chesney.
Creation and development
Fiz initially appeared as a troubled teenager briefly fostered by Roy (David Neilson) and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) at the age of 15. She leaves and then returns to Coronation Street, and starts work at the Underworld factory. Her name is presumably due to her distinctive afro-like hair, however she was born as Fiona. Her mother, Cilla (Wendi Peters) and her brother, Chesney (Sam Aston) are introduced when they come to live on the street with Les Battersby (Bruce Jones). Fiz has a bad history with her mother, who has often left her in care and never put her children first.
The character first appears onscreen during the episode airing on 22 April 2001.
The character of Fiz is a good hearted young woman who has made many puzzling decisions and is often unlucky in love. Actress Jennie McAlpine stated that she would prefer the character to stay unlucky in love because she enjoys portraying the rowing and screaming that comes with it rather than seeing her character living happily ever after. Fiz's personality has taken some rapid transformations over the years. Starting out as a dopey teenage tearaway, she is now responsible for her younger brother, constantly trying to do the right thing by him and sometimes failing. When interviewed about this on the soap opera's official website, McAlpine stated: "I like Fiz, I think she is a good person. I know she does get it wrong sometimes, but she is just trying, she's just trying to get it all right, she doesn't always but she does try." During the same interview she then said: "Oh, Fiz has changed over the years. Luckily she's changed because I don't think I'd be here if she hadn't because she started off being a pretty, pretty bad girl actually, causing loads of trouble for Roy and Hayley."
McAlpine said that her emotional scenes with Hawley (John Stape) were very draining and very hard work. She told The Mirror: "It's been very draining. Not emotionally, because I never take my work home with me, but genuinely physically exhausting. It's tiring having to cry continuously and I take a long time to recover from that. My face goes all red and my eyes sting for ages afterwards. I'm not a good crier!". She added: "I've always been a huge Corrie fan. Being a Northern girl it was always on in my living room. And even today, I love sitting down and catching up with what's going on. This is my dream job."
McAlpine admitted that her wedding plans caused her to receive a mixed reaction from viewers. On This Morning, McAlpine revealed: "It has divided the nation - some people think she's absolutely mad. But it's funny, before I proposed and did that big thing with the banner, everyone was saying, 'Oh, I think you should marry him', and now I've taken the decision into my own hands I don't think they like it now. I think people aren't happy about it now. They liked the idea but now they are worried." McAlpine added: "He didn't mean to do it for five weeks - he didn't mean to lock her up for that long, I know that. I do believe him."
- Kris Green (13 July 2009). "Coronation Street - Spoiler - John gives Fiz an engagement ring". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- Webmaster (2007). "Coronation Street - Cast & Characters - Fiz Brown". ITV.com. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- Kris Green & Simon Reynolds (28 October 2008). "Jennie McAlpine (Fiz Brown, Corrie)". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
- Kilkelly, Daniel. "McAlpine: 'Corrie storyline is draining'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- Kilkelly, Daniel. "McAlpine: 'Corrie plot is dividing fans'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 5 September 2011.