List of Coronation Street characters (1996)

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The following is a list of characters that first appeared in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street in 1996, by order of first appearance.

Stephen Reid[edit]

Stephen Reid
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Todd Boyce
Duration 1996, 1997, 2007
First appearance 29 January 1996
Last appearance 26 December 2007
Introduced by Sue Pritchard (1996, 1997)
Steve Frost (2007)
Classification Former; recurring
Home Milan

Stephen Reid (also Potter) is the son of Audrey Roberts, whom her father insisted she gave up for adoption after she gave birth to him at 16. Malcolm Reid, a neighbour and old boyfriend of Audrey, adopted Stephen and later emigrated to Canada.

In January 1996, Stephen arrived in Weatherfield to get to know his biological mother and carry out some business for his firm KBec with local tycoon Mike Baldwin. During his stay, Alma Baldwin, Mike's wife and Audrey's best friend, became besotted by him and made her feelings clear but Stephen was not interested and returned to Canada once his work was completed. Stephen's nephew, Nick Tilsley, later went to stay with his uncle in Canada for several months when he started to become troublesome towards his mother Gail and stepfather Martin Platt. In 1999, following the break-up of his marriage to Leanne Battersby, Nick again turned to Stephen, who offered him a job in Canada. Over the years Audrey has maintained regular contact with Stephen and has even visited him a number of times. Gail's third husband Richard Hillman also took her to Canada for an impromptu visit at Christmas 2001.

On 10 December 2007, Stephen returned to Weatherfield to spend Christmas with Audrey en route to Italy, from where he intended to expand his business empire into Europe. On 14 December, Stephen invited his youngest nephew David Platt to join him in his Italian home and he accepted, to the disappointment of his niece and David's half-sister Sarah. On 21 December David's ambitions were ruined when Sarah bought some ecstasy tablets from a drug dealer in Leanne's restaurant Valandros and put them in David's drawer in Audreys salon. Audrey opened the drawer and discovered the pills. After deciding that David was too much of a troublemaker, Stephen left Weatherfield on Boxing Day and was joined by Sarah and her daughter Bethany four days later. Gail visited them in June 2008.

Kelly Thomson[edit]

Kelly Thomson
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Sarah Moffett
Duration 1996
First appearance 9 February 1996
Last appearance 20 December 1996
Introduced by Sue Pritchard
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Childminder

Kelly Thomson was played by Sarah Moffett. Kelly first appears on 9 February 1996 when Ken Barlow hires her as a child minder for his son Daniel Osbourne. She later moves in with the family, and begins a relationship with Ashley Peacock which ends later in the year when she agrees to follow Daniel and his mother Denise up to Scotland to continue with her job but now working for Denise instead of Ken.

Joyce Smedley[edit]

Joyce Smedley
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Anita Carey
Duration 1996–97
First appearance 23 February 1996
Last appearance 21 February 1997
Introduced by Sue Pritchard
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Cleaner

Joyce Smedley was played by Anita Carey. Joyce is introduced in February as the mother of Judy Mallett (Gaynor Faye). Joyce takes a job as a cleaner at the Rovers Return and becomes a love interest to both Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough) and Percy Sugden (Bill Waddington), although she did not encourage Percy. In February 1997, whilst walking her dog, Scamper, Joyce was run over and killed by a car driven by Tony Horrocks.

Claire Palmer[edit]

Claire Palmer
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Maggie Norris
Duration 1996–97
First appearance 8 May 1996
Last appearance 14 April 1997
Introduced by Sue Pritchard
Classification Former; regular

Claire Palmer is the girlfriend of Des Barnes, who first appeared on 8 May 1996 played by Maggie Norris. Des and Claire have a whirlwind romance, and she moves in with him two months later, despite still claiming her dead husband's army pension. The Palmers are forced to move out again to avoid being found out, but by the end of the year, Claire gives up the pension for Des. A few months later however, Claire sees Des make a pass at Samantha Failsworth and immediately packs her bags and leaves.

Becky Palmer[edit]

Becky Palmer
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Emily Aston
Duration 1996–97
First appearance 20 May 1996
Last appearance 16 March 1997
Introduced by Sue Pritchard
Classification Former; regular

Rebecca "Becky" Palmer is the daughter of Claire Palmer, and first appears on 20 May 1996 played by Emily Aston. Becky moves to the Street when her mother meets Des Barnes at the market and they begin a relationship. When Des and Claire split up the following year, Becky moves away with her mother.

Samantha Failsworth[edit]

Samantha Failsworth
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Tina Hobley
Duration 1996–98
First appearance 17 July 1996
Last appearance 15 June 1998
Introduced by Sue Pritchard
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Barmaid

Samantha Failsworth (previously Fitzgerald) is played by Tina Hobley. Samantha makes her first appearance on 17 July 1996 when she asks landlord Jack Duckworth for a job in the Rovers Return. Jack likes the look of her, and without his wife Vera's approval, he takes her on. When Vera returns she is furious, but Samantha wins her over referring to Vera as the boss rather than Jack. Samantha later moves into the Street, house-sharing with newly-single Curly Watts and after ending Des Barnes's relationship with Claire Palmer, she begins dating Des.

In late 1997, Samantha's estranged husband Ritchie Fitzgerald turned up hoping for a reconciliation. Instead he faced months of Samantha claiming their marriage is dead, before spending the night together behind Des's back. Nevertheless, Samantha went ahead with divorce proceedings until Des found out and Samantha was again undecided of which man to choose. Ritchie gave up on his marriage and Des forgave her until she again cheated on him with mechanic Chris Collins in 1998.

Following their split, Des became close to Natalie Horrocks and Samantha was envious. She told them that she was pregnant with Des's child, then said she had an abortion. It was eventually revealed that there had been no baby to begin with, but Samantha went back on her lies and maintained she had suffered a miscarriage. In the end, Samantha told Des she was still pregnant with his child and left Weatherfield in June 1998. Although Natalie firmly believed she was lying, Des was never sure, and Samantha was never heard from again.

Robert Preston[edit]

Robert Preston
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Julian Kay (1996–2003)
Tristan Gemmill (2015–)
Duration 1996, 1999, 2003, 2015–
First appearance 11 November 1996
Introduced by Brian Park (1996)
David Hanson (1999)
Kieran Roberts (2003)
Stuart Blackburn (2015)
Classification Present; regular
Occupation Carpet Fitter (1996–2003)
Chef (as of 2015)

Robert Preston, played by Tristan Gemmill, made his first screen appearance on 11 November 1996. The character was originally played by Julian Kay from his introduction until 2003.

On 6 April 2015, it was announced that Robert would be returning to Coronation Street later in the year. According to The Sun an actor had yet to be cast but producers are looking for someone around the age of 35.[1] On 10 May, it was confirmed that Tristan Gemmill had been cast in the role.[2] Gemmill has been contracted for a year and he commented, "I'm excited to be joining such an iconic show. Coronation Street is a great British institution and it will be a huge challenge to meet the expectations of its devoted audience. But it is a challenge I am really looking forward to."[2] Robert returned for the funeral of Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride).[2]

Robert is the fiancé of Tracy Barlow (Dawn Acton). They had planned going to get married in London, and not tell Ken (William Roache) and Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) but Tracy decides to marry in Weatherfield instead as it is cheaper. After their wedding, they leave the street and move to London. Robert and Tracy return for Ken's 60th birthday in 1999 but it soon becomes clear all is not well when Robert reveals he had caught Tracy kissing another man. They decide to end the marriage but after words with both Ken and Deirdre, the two reconcile and leave the street once again. Tracy (now played by Kate Ford) returns a few years later and claims that Robert has cheated on her, although Robert returns a week later and tells her family the truth and that it was in fact Tracy who has been on him. Despite Robert wanting to have another go at the marriage, Tracy is unrepentant and Robert leaves the street alone.

In 2015, Deirdre dies and Robert returns in 2015 for her funeral and is kicked out of the house by Ken after he sees Robert and Tracy in a passionate embrace.