Mary Taylor (Coronation Street)
Patti Clare as Mary Taylor in 2011
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Patti Clare|
|First appearance||26 November 2008|
|Introduced by||Kim Crowther (2008, 2010)|
|Coronation Street: A Knight's Tale|
|Occupation||Newsagent (2009, 2011–)
Café worker (2012)
Kitchen hand (2012–13)
|Home||3 Coronation Street|
Mary Taylor (previously Gibbs), is a fictional character from the British soap opera, Coronation Street played by Patti Clare, who made her first onscreen appearance on 26 November 2008 and departed on 15 May 2009 but returned in March 2010 and has appeared on the show ever since. The character of Mary was originally a guest character who appeared in November 2008, as a love interest for Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden). The character proved popular and was brought back in 2009 for another short stint. She was brought back full-time in 2010.
Mary was bullied at school by a girl named Tracy O'Connor. She was physically and mentally bullied, with Tracy chanting, "Hairy Mary, Fat and Scary" while holding Mary by her hair. This left Mary emotionally scarred for life, as she regularly explains to the residents of Coronation Street about her bullying days. Her mother, Maureen, brought Mary up unusually, telling her always to have fish suppers on the last Friday of every month.
In 2008, Mary begins to visit Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) regularly after initially being his rival in a series of competitions. Norris's fellow lodger, Jed Stone (Kenneth Cope), enjoys flirting with her, but Mary only has eyes for Norris. Norris invites her to his home for Christmas. Near the end of January 2009, Mary returns, telling Norris they have won a motor home. Norris is pleased, but begins to be concerned about how far she wants to take their relationship. On 13 February, in the Rovers, they say an awkward goodbye to each other, Mary is expecting a kiss or a hug from Norris, but gets nothing, leaving her devastated.
In March, she returns and she asks Norris if he would like to go travelling. This leaves his friends Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) and Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) unsure how they'd feel if he left. In April, Mary tells Norris that her mother has died but she admits that she feels a sense of relief as she had been a very domineering woman. On 15 May, she and Norris say goodbye, as she sets off to travel around the world. She drives off in the motor home, but not before promising to keep in touch with Norris via postcards.
Norris begins doing competitions with Emily's niece Freda (Ali Briggs), and they both win £1,000. They get a picture taken before splitting the money and Freda leaves the street. However, Mary reads it and returns to Weatherfield and surprises Norris. After briefly meeting him, she goes up to Scotland, but returns a few days later. When Norris begins getting tired and needing a break, Mary suggests that she does some work in The Kabin so he can take a break. Mary enters a competition for them and if they win, they would win a week at a cottage in the countryside. She manages to win it and persuades Norris to attend, which he agrees to. Norris is delighted when Rita returns to Weatherfield and offers her a job at The Kabin. She volunteers to look after the shop when he goes away with Mary. During a night at the cottage, Norris thinks that she is trying to ensure that he cannot escape, like Paul in the Stephen King novel Misery. He even witnesses Mary saying that the two of them are married - a horrific thought for Norris. He becomes even more scared of Mary's antics when he hears her talking to her "dead" mother who it later transpires is alive. Norris then calls the police and Mary is taken to the station for holding Norris against his will. However, just when Norris thinks he has evaded Mary, she is released from the police station and returns to Weatherfield to try to make amends with Norris who wants nothing more to do with her. She also has made several attempts to try to talk to Norris since the event but he refuses to listen.
On 10 May 2010, she attends Blanche Hunt's (Maggie Jones) funeral and also tries to talk to Norris. However, he leaves to go to The Kabin. On 31 May, she turns up at Gail Platt's (Helen Worth) trial for the murder of Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale), and sits behind Norris in the court and again tries to talk to him. Mary and Norris quickly begin gossiping about the trial and are present for the duration, much to the annoyance of the Platts and Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). On the day of the verdict she bets Norris £5 that Gail would be found guilty. She then forms a friendship with Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and offers her assistance with the preparations for her forthcoming marriage to Roy Cropper (David Neilson). Mary quickly begins to hijack the situation - picking very expensive venues and dresses. Hayley tries to tell her to back down but finds it very difficult, much to Roy's annoyance. On 30 August, Mary, upset at not being invited to Roy and Hayley's wedding, unbuckles the bolt keeping Hayley's carriage on the steam train that they were travelling to the church in. Later, Mary's motor home was stolen, and she launches her own investigation, believing Gary Windass (Mikey North) is responsible. Kylie Turner (Paula Lane) turns out to be the one responsible for the theft but the motor home is returned the following morning to Mary's delight.
Realising there is no possible romance with Norris, in the summer of 2012, Mary begins playing chess with Roy but her feelings run deeper than the game. She develops feelings for him but he does not notice. Anna Windass (Debbie Rush) does and she warns Mary to stay away from Roy. However Mary later realises that Roy deeply and truly loves Hayley and so Mary decides to stop pursuing Roy. When Mary sends Roy and Hayley away on a holiday, she manages the café. Mary attempts to get more customers in by doing a Spanish-themed evening, which is a success. As Mary starts doing more themed nights, this angers Nick Tilsley (Ben Price), Gail Platt (Helen Worth), David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) and Kylie Platt (Paula Lane) as they lose customers at their Bistro. When Kylie calls Mary a 'greasy spoon', she decides to do her themed nights daily which angers Anna. When Mary decides to do seating upstairs in Roy and Hayley's flat, Anna walks out on her, so Mary employs Norris for 'French Night'. As Mary bosses Norris around, he mocks her and walks out on Mary, much to the delight of David and Kylie.
After Sunita Alahan (Shobna Gulati) dies suddenly, Mary helps out at the Alahan household by babysitting Sunita's children, Aadi (Zennon Ditchett) and Asha (Tanisha Gorey). Mary also helps Sunita's husband Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) through grief and the children take a shine to her. Mary also helps out when Norris' lodger Emily falls off a ladder and badly injures her leg. Mary catches Faye Windass (Ellie Leach) stealing from Dev's corner shop and stops her with the aid of Dev's colleague and friend, Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent). Mary cooks her some noodles and tries to get Faye to talk, but she leaves the shop quickly. In November 2013, Faye and her friend Grace Piper (Ella-Grace Gregoire) plot revenge on Mary after she lectures them about not eating enough fruit and vegetables. Faye and Grace then start throwing stones at Mary's motorhome, so she confides in Norris and Emily. The trio catch Grace and Faye graffiting on the motorhome, so Grace runs off, and Faye is caught. Faye's guardian Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies) apologises to Mary, so she confides in him about the days when she enduring both physical and mental bullying from children at school. She then orders for an apology from Faye.
Creation and development
The character was introduced for a specific storyline as both herself and Norris have an obsession with entering competitions. Mary lives with and takes care of her disabled mother and uses the competitions as a way to enjoy life. Norris initially resents Mary, as she often beats him in competitions, but when they meet, they quickly become close, and Mary offers Norris one of the tickets she has won for a Cliff Richard concert.
In May 2009, it was reported that Mary had been axed form Coronation Street due to cost cuts but executives have denied reports that characters have been axed from the show in order to cut back on costs. Corrie producers this afternoon insisted that the departing characters were only ever intended to remain with the show for the duration of their ongoing storylines, which all happen to come to an end within the next few weeks. A show spokesperson said: "The affected actors were all involved in storylines that were due to run for a finite time. If every new character stayed in the show, the Street would be a little crowded to say the least." In September 2009, it was announced Patti Clare was to reprise her role as Mary Taylor. A spokesperson confirmed: "Mary will be back to rekindle her relationship with Norris."
Malcolm Hebden (Norris Cole) said in an interview with the soap's official website, the star claimed that his friendship with Clare makes it easier to create chemistry and humorous moments when they film scenes together. Hebden commented, "I think when Patti and I get together it's comedy all the way. We love working together which is a good start for comedy. Oddly enough, you can play a love relationship with someone you hate - I've done it - but comedy you can't do. So I love her to death and it helps with the comedy."
Pattie Clare revealed that she was obsessed with joining the cast of Coronation Street. She said, "I used to write and write to the casting director asking for a job and he'd write back saying, 'Nothing doing at the moment'. I could really see myself in Corrie and was very persistent." She confessed that she had been so desperate to land a role that she had created a new character and written a scene for her. "So I wrote him a scene making up a character for myself called Cherise, who was to be Raquel's half-sister," she said. "She sat in the bar and didn't say anything and wore glasses and was quite dowdy and then Raquel gives her a make-over. I thought it was brilliant, but he wrote back and said, 'No, no, no, no, no, it's not going to happen'." "I had a lot of theatre experience, but I'd wanted to go into television for a while. I was told I had to take a gamble for a year and turn theatre work down and sit it out," she explained. "It was terrible. I didn't do any acting for nine months so I worked in an office and the job came in the September."
For her portrayal of Mary, Clare was nominated for Funniest Performance at the 2010 and 2011 Inside Soap Awards. She lost out to Tameka Empson who plays Kim Fox in EastEnders in 2011 Clare won Best Comedy Performance at the British Soap Awards in 2011. Of Mary, the Daily Mail's Jaci Stephen stated "Every time she opens her mouth, a gem pours forth. The writers do a great job with this character, but it is also Patti Clare's exquisite delivery that induces side-splitting hilarity – and, brilliantly, hilarity laced with a sense of the sinister."
- [dead link]
- Published Wednesday, 9 Sep 2009, 15:11 BST (2009-09-09). "Patti Clare to make Corrie comeback - Coronation Street News - Soaps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Published Wednesday, 6 May 2009, 14:26 BST (2009-05-06). "Corrie bosses deny character cost cuts - Coronation Street News - Soaps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Published Monday, 4 Jan 2010, 15:53 GMT (2010-01-04). "Corrie's Hebden praises co-star Clare - Coronation Street News - Soaps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Published Thursday, 26 Aug 2010, 11:26 BST (2010-08-26). "Patti Clare: 'I begged for a Corrie role' - Coronation Street News - Soaps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Published Monday, 11 Jul 2011, 18:00 BST (2011-07-11). "In Full: Inside Soap Awards 2011 Nominees - EastEnders News - Soaps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Published Monday, 26 Sep 2011, 17:50 BST (2011-09-26). "Inside Soap Awards 2011: The Full Winners' List - EastEnders News - Soaps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Published Sunday, 15 May 2011, 00:01 BST (2011-05-15). "British Soap Awards 2011: The Winners - Soaps News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Stephen, Jaci (27 April 2012). "Soap watch: The ultimate insight into the week's soaps". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 5 May 2012.