||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (June 2010)|
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (June 2010)|
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Christine Hargreaves|
|First appearance||14 December 1960
|Last appearance||3 July 1963
|Created by||Tony Warren|
|Book appearances||Coronation Street:
The Complete Saga
Salford-born 21-year-old Christine Hargreaves was one of the very first actors to read for creator Tony Warren's new script 'Florizel Street' (later renamed Coronation Street), and even played the part of Christine in the dry runs, before the show was commissioned for broadcast, alongside, among others, Patricia Phoenix and Doris Speed.
Christine was born in 1939 to parents George and May Hardman. George had quit his job as a bank manager in 1949 in order to buy a grocery shop and the family moved away from Coronation Street when the business venture proved successful. However, when George died from a massive heart attack at the age of just 50 in 1955, he left May and Christine in debt and they were forced to move back to their old home at No.13, which they had lived at since 1927.
Christine was born in 1939. Her family had lived in 13 Coronation Street, Weatherfield since 1930, and Christine attended Bessie Street School, where she was close friends with Ken Barlow (William Roache). Her father, George Hardman, was a bank teller but by 1953 he had saved enough money to buy a grocery shop and a detached house in Oakhill. Christine was upset to be moving away from her friends, but although the family returned to live at No.13 in 1955, it was under unpleasant circumstances as her mum May had had to sell the house and shop to pay off creditors following George's death. Christine coped with the move better than May, who was too ashamed to face the neighbours. Christine spent the next few years looking after her mother, who constantly dwelled on the past and eventually suffered a breakdown. Christine got a job as a machinist as Elliston's Raincoat Factory but by 1960 her mother's health weighed heavily on her mind as well as the gossip in the street. May died of a brain tumour at the end of the year.
May's death was a shock for Christine. As if having her mother die wasn't enough, she now had to manage the house and money on her own. The neighbours - especially Esther Hayes - went out of their way to help her, but help also came from an unexpected source; plumber Joe Makinson did her plumbing for free and asked her out. Christine was worried that he was taking advantage, but agreed to date, and a relationship soon emerged that led to a proposal after only a short time. Christine dumped Joe as they weren't quite on the same level. Later in 1961, Christine met Ken Barlow at the train station. He was intending to move to London to get away from the expectations of his family in the wake of Ida Barlow's death. Christine convinced him to stay.
Despite taking control of her life and coping well, Christine was very unhappy. The repetitive and dull work at Elliston's did her no favours, and in 1962 she started wondering how people could be happy with their lives living in Coronation Street. In June, she climbed up onto the roof of the factory, intending to jump off, but she was talked down by Ken, who reminded her how she had stopped him from making a big mistake. He had sometimes wanted better things from life as well, but told her she shouldn't give up. After the rooftop incident, Christine quit the factory and tried to live life differently. An old flame of Christine's, Colin Appleby, read about Christine in the newspaper, and met up with her. Christine seized the opportunity and decided to move out of Weatherfield when the relationship got serious. The pair settled in Leeds and eloped only two weeks later, but Colin was killed in a car crash in October. Christine returned to Coronation Street and took a job at Miami Modes with Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) and Dot Greenhalgh (Joan Francis).
The residents were shocked when Christine went out with Ken's father Frank Barlow (Frank Pemberton) in 1963 - Frank being twice her age and Christine having previously been interested in Ken. Frank was enthusiastic about the relationship, and Christine went along with it, but she was still confused about what she wanted now that Colin was dead. Frank was always one step ahead, already thinking about marriage, which almost alienated him from Ken. The news sent neighbourhood gossip into overdrive, and Elsie decided to spread the news that Christine had another boyfriend so that Christine and Frank would have peace. Frank popped the question to Christine but she didn't answer him right away. Before she decided, Christine met up with Joe Makinson again and couldn't decide who to choose. She was going to reject Joe, but he dumped her first, leading her to accept Frank's proposal.
What mainly put Christine off was the gossip in the street. It was so bad that Christine wrote a letter to the landlord of No.11, where she was living with Elsie, informing him that she was living there illegally, resulting in her having to move out. Christine soon realised that she didn't love Frank and only saw him as a possible means to get out of the street for good. She decided to be honest with him and called off the engagement.
Christine eventually got out of the street when she was promoted at Miami Modes and butted heads with Elsie and Dot, who didn't like the way she used her newfound authority. Christine was transferred and after briefly sharing a flat with old friend Esther Hayes, she left Weatherfield for good.
Christine sent a telegram to congratulate Elsie and Steve Tanner (Paul Maxwell) on their wedding day in 1967. When Esther returned for Valerie Barlow's (Anne Reid) funeral in 1971, she revealed that Christine now lived in Southampton. In 1973, Lucille Hewitt (Jennifer Moss) mentioned that she had since re-married and had children.