Charlie Stubbs (Coronation Street)

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Charlie Stubbs
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Bill Ward
Duration 2003–2007
First appearance Episode 5623
10 November 2003
Last appearance Episode 6471
15 January 2007
Book appearances Coronation Street: The Complete Saga
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Builder

Charles "Charlie" Stubbs is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, played by Bill Ward. He made his first appearance during the episode broadcast on 10 November 2003 and last appearance on 15 January 2007.


Charlie first appeared, along with another builder, when Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) refused to move his car to allow them to park. In retaliation, they used a bulldozer to move Mike’s car and it was narrowly saved from being smashed up. Charlie later began dating Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay), which further escalated into a relationship. However, Charlie was unfaithful. When arsonist Maya Sharma (Sasha Behar) set fire to the Corner Shop on Coronation Street, Charlie and Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy) broke in and rescued Dev (Jimmi Harkishin) and Sunita Alahan (Shobna Gulati).

Charlie eventually began harassing Shelley at every opportunity. At one point, he tried to make her choose between him and her mother, Bev (Susie Blake). On one occasion he ripped out Shelley’s earrings in a fit of rage. When he asked his colleague Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas) for a sealent gun, Betty Williams (Betty Driver) overheard their conversation on the phone and thought Charlie wanted a genuine firearm. She phoned the police and he was arrested. When he was released, however, he became less violent. He accidentally opened a door which hit Shelley in the face. This caused him to lock her in her bedroom to stop people seeing her face as he knew people would think he was abusing her. Charlie later began to abuse Shelley mentally rather than physically, which caused her to develop agoraphobia. However, she received treatment and Charlie proposed to her, but she jilted him on their wedding day. Despite begging for forgiveness, Shelley refused reconciliation.

In 2005, Charlie began a relationship with Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford). He convinced her to move in with him and later in February 2006, manipulated her into having her daughter Amy (Amber Chadwick) move in with her parents. In turn, Tracy began to manipulate Charlie. She pretended to be pregnant and used the money he gave her for an abortion to buy expensive shoes and used her "grief" to have him allow Amy to move back in. When Shelley visited before her mother’s marriage to Fred Elliott (John Savident), she and Charlie had a one-night stand. She told Tracy about their night of passion, who accused her of lying. Shelley later revealed that she was pregnant with Charlie’s baby but didn’t allow Charlie to have anything to do with the baby, and left. He and Tracy briefly split but reconciled. Charlie later began an affair with Maria Sutherland (Samia Smith), who was renting his flat. When David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) discovered the affair he tried to blackmail Charlie, threatening to reveal the affair to Tracy. Charlie retaliated by trying to drown David in the bath. When Tracy eventually found out about the affair, they split once more. Tracy began to plot revenge against Charlie and pretended to make amends with Charlie. She pretended he was abusing her to the point of burning herself with an iron to make it look like Charlie was responsible for her injuries. Charlie eventually realized his partner was seeking revenge and when he was about to tell her their relationship was over, she insisted on performing a lap dance for him. She hit him round the head with a heavy ornament, and he later died in hospital. She claimed she’d killed him in self-defence but the court found her guilty and she was given a life sentence.

Creation and development[edit]

Actor Bill Ward was cast in the role of Charlie, who was originally to be introduced as a "hunky builder" who would "get pulses racing among female fans." The producers hoped that the character would "have the same impact as womanising builder Len Fairclough". Upon the announcement of the character's arrival, an insider claimed that "Charlie is a real Jack-the-lad type, very gruff and sexy...a rogue who will be very popular with the ladies." Bill Ward revealed that he was "thrilled and delighted to be joining Corrie." [1]

Bill Ward's signed a new contract with the British soap opera in early 2005 because the producers planned "to build Charlie's sadistic behavior towards Shelley (Sally Lindsay)" throughout the year. The producers decided to renew the actor's contract because "so many viewers identify with the plot." [2]

Upon the announcement that the character would begin a romance with Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford), a Coronation Street insider revealed that it was "a piece of genius by the writers pairing the show's biggest bitch with the vilest villain", and that "the antics they will get up to will obviously cause misery and heartache for many people." It was also revealed that "it was decided that the two characters of Charlie and Tracy were very much part of the programmes long-term future", and that it "therefore made sense to cement them together as a couple and to give them storylines guaranteed to make them two of Weatherfield's 'most hated'."[3]

Charlie’s character was expected to become "the most hated man on telly" when it was announced that he would embark on an affair and manipulate Maria Sutherland (Samia Smith).[4]

Bill Ward "shocked" Coronation Street producers by deciding to leave the serial a few months into his then-current contract, since they had "expected him to stay on after giving him another top storyline". The producers claimed that Bill was "an asset to the show", and that they "would have been developing further storylines for the character." [5]

Several months after it had been announced in 2006 that the character would be killed off in 2007, Bill Ward revealed that he was eager to film his character being killed off. He claimed that it would be "an emotional day" as he was "very attached to Charlie". He also opined that he was "probably the only person in the country who really likes him!" The actor said that "wasn’t sure how much life there was left in Charlie as he has done things that are so extreme", and that he hoped that he would go "before people can get sick of him." [6]


In 2005, actor Bill Ward claimed that people approached him regarding the abuse his character gave to Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay). He said that "every now and then, after a couple of beers, somebody will come up and say 'She deserves it, doesn't she?'", and that "they think Charlie is a hero and that it's all legitimate and acceptable behavior, which it isn't." He also revealed that he "had to be more wary" about where he went since his character started his "reign of terror", and that he’d had notes left on his car, which he found "worrying and unnerving". Despite claiming some people condoned his behavior, he also said that some people told him to "be nicer to that Shelley". Bill thought that his character was "a shocking man who behaves abysmally", but that as an actor he had to "justify everything he does".[7]

Grace Dent, an editor of The Guardian, described the character of Charlie as "a brilliant soap baddie", as a "philanderer and a mysoginist [sic]", and a "violent bully and a relentless liar." She opined that Charlie "ended almost every scene with a solitary moment spent smirking to himself about his latest huge fib", and that "by the time Charlie died, he was having so many smirks behind so many backs he spent many scenes pulling a face like he had a raspberry pip stuck in his dentures." [8] Charlie has also been described as "a bona fide Coronation Street villain" [9] and as "Greater Manchester's very own JR Ewing".[10] The character has been opined to be "arguably the most graphic soap death".[11]

The episode which featured the character's murder was listed as the second-most watched for any programme on TV in 2007, having been watched by 13.1 million viewers.[12]

Bill Ward received the "Best Exit" award in British Soap Awards 2007 for his role in the character of Charlie. The same year, the storyline which saw Charlie murdered by Tracy Barlow received the "Best Storyline" award.[13] He was also nominated for the Inside Soap "Best Bad Boy" award.[14]


  1. ^ "Corrie building sight". The Sun. (News International). 21 October 2003. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Evil Charlie's hell for Shell". The Sun. (News International). 27 January 2005. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  3. ^ MR NASTY LOVES SUPERBITCH - Mirror Online
  4. ^ Roberts, Brian (14 June 2006). "EXCLUSIVE: CHARLIE'S ANGEL". Daily Mirror. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Roberts, Brian (20 June 2006). "CHARLIE TO QUIT STREET SHOCKER". Daily Mirror. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Charlie's Corrie death wish". The Sun. (News International). 16 November 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Crawford, Sue (17 September 2005). "IT SCARES ME WHEN BLOKES SAY SHELLEY DESERVES THE ABUSE I GIVE HER". Daily Mirror. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Dent, Grace (27 January 2007). "Grace Dent on 'murder week' in soap opera world". The Guardian. (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "Gareth McLean on soapland's scheming, vengeful women". The Guardian. (Guardian Media Group). 30 March 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Winwood, Ian (3 April 2007). "Good riddance to Tracy Barlow". The Guardian. (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Raeside, Julia (25 April 2007). "Julia Raeside on violence in soap opera". The Guardian. (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Revealed: the most watched TV programmes of 2007". The Guardian. (Guardian Media Group). 13 December 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Street sweeps awards". The Sun. (News International). 27 May 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Green, Kris (3 July 2007). "Inside Soap Awards 2007: The Nominations". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 

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