Alan Bradley (Coronation Street)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Mark Eden|
|First appearance||Episode 2587|
15 January 1986
|Last appearance||Episode 3002|
8 December 1989
|Introduced by||John G. Temple|
Alan is one of the most famous villains in the history of the Street. He made his first appearance in 1986 when his ex-wife Pat was killed in a road accident. Because of his absence, working away from home, his daughter Jenny (Sally Ann Matthews) was temporarily fostered by Rita Fairclough (Barbara Knox).
Alan soon began relationships with both Rita and the Rovers' barmaid Gloria Todd (Sue Jenkins). When both women found out he was two-timing them, Rita told him he had had to choose, but Gloria finished with him, and he returned to Rita after learning the extent of her financial assets, but at first he appeared to be genuinely in love with her. He tried unsuccessfully to persuade her to marry him in August 1987. He also confessed to her that he had a conviction for assault. In 1988, Alan left Rita for Carole Burns (Irene Skillington), but she coaxed him back to live with her; he was motivated by the fact that his business was in trouble. Carole warned Rita that Alan was only interested in her money. In fact, Alan had already "borrowed" the deeds to Rita's house, and had impersonated her dead husband, Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson), in order to get a mortgage to support his business.
In March 1989, when Rita discovered Alan's deception, he assaulted her and almost killed her. At the conclusion of his trial, his plea bargain meant he walked free. He then returned to the Street and conducted a campaign of harassment against Rita, who had a breakdown and moved to Blackpool, having lost her memory. Many residents believed that Alan had murdered her, and he became the object of widespread hatred and suspicion. Having tracked her down, Alan famously met his end after being hit and killed by a Blackpool tram while chasing a distressed Rita across the tracks. The episode that aired on 13 March 1989, where Alan tried to kill Rita by suffocating her, attracted over 25 million viewers when combining the original broadcast with the omnibus, while the following episode on 15 March 1989 with Rita in hospital and Alan hiding from the police, attracted 26.93 million viewers, which is the highest combined rating in the shows history. This rating is sometimes incorrectly credited to the 8 December 1989 episode where the character meets his untimely demise, which attracted over 21 million viewers. The episode that aired on 20 March 1989, attracted an audience of 19.01 million for its original Monday night broadcast and was the shows highest-rated single broadcast of the year.
The first episode of series 2 of Phoenix Nights contains a visual reference to the death of Alan Bradley, where flowers with a sign 'In Memory of Alan, 8th Dec 89', RIP' are tied to a lamp-post beside the tram line.
On 8 December 2009, Mark Eden unveiled a blue plaque to mark the 20 year anniversary of the screening of the famous Coronation Street episode. The plaque is located outside The Strand Hotel, North Promenade, Blackpool which was the venue chosen for the filming of much of the footage.
In further episodes of Coronation Street references to Alan occur, most recently in the episode aired April 2015 when Jenny called into Rita's shop The Kabin, in which Norris Cole asked her if she was travelling to the shops by tram; intended as a cutting quip referencing the way Alan died. In June 2016, Alan's daughter Jenny would save her ex-boyfriend Kevin Webster's (Michael Le Vell) little son Jack (Kyran Bowes) from a tram, once again referring to Alan's famous demise.
- "1980s Television". Nostalgia Central. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
- Tapper, James (1 May 2005). "The biggest TV audience ever ... it is now". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
- "Top 10 programmes 1989". BARB. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- Helen Steel (5 April 2010). "Blackpool: A love affair with the nation's favourite street". Blackpool Gazette. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010.