Mary Taylor (Coronation Street)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Patti Clare|
|First appearance||Episode 6955
26 November 2008
|Introduced by||Kim Crowther|
|Coronation Street: A Knights Tale (2010)|
Mary Taylor is a fictional character in the UK television ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, portrayed by actress Patti Clare. The character first appeared on screen during the episode airing on 26 November 2008. Mary was brought in for a specific plot as part of a storyline in which Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) developed an obsession with competitions, following the conclusion of that storyline Mary departed on 15 May 2009. She returned as a regular character from 8 January 2010 onwards.
Mary became familiar with Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) after repeatedly beating him at competitions. They met up in November 2008 and Mary was instantly taken with Norris. As they starting spending time together, Mary told Norris that she cared for her invalid mother and used the competitions as a way of escape. Although shy around most people, Mary was happier in Norris's company, although her boundless enthusiasm was often met with bemusement by the more cynical Norris. Mary also spent Christmas with him and Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire).
Mary and Norris won a holiday in the Bronte Country, and Norris agreed to go with Mary when Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) offered to look after The Kabin. When they arrived at their house, Mary began to enjoy herself, spending most of the days entering competitions, but Norris rebuffed her attempts to get cozy and soon made plans to spend time away from the cottage and phoned Rita to complain about Mary. To keep Norris under control, Mary cut the phone lines and told Norris the motor home wouldn't start, so they couldn't go anywhere. Mary found Norris had run off and went looking for him in the motor home. He sprained his ankle while running away, and was forced to return so that Mary could take care of him. Upon their return, Mary suggested that they get married, and was relieved when Norris didn't immediately say no. The next day, Norris overheard Mary talking to her mother and phoned the police, as he was convinced that Mary was mad and that Mary was going to kill him like she killed her mother. The police arrived and brought them both to the station, but Mary was released without charge as there was no evidence of foul play at the cottage, and Mary's mother was actually still alive, as Mary confessed to Norris after visiting him. Norris refused to listen to Mary and rejected her attempts to speak to him thereafter, having been deeply disturbed by his ordeal at the cottage.
In the weeks following, Mary persisted with her attempts to stay in Norris's life, and went along to Weatherfield Crown Court to watch the trial of Gail McIntyre (Helen Worth) for the murder of her late-husband Joe (Reece Dinsdale), which Norris was also attending. Mary made a bet with Norris that Gail would get sent down, but lost the bet as Gail was found "not guilty".
After the death of Sunita Alahan (Shobna Gulati), Mary became the full-time nanny to her children Aadi and Asha and took care of the domestic duties, after widower Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) struggled to cope single-handed with the children and his business. She began to have feelings towards Dev and she and Julie Carp (Katy Cavanagh) fought for Dev's affections.
Mary is usually used as a comedic purposes in episodes and for her strange and erratic behaviour. Although on occasions she can be used as a tragic character, especially as it is implied that she had been bullied in the past and even the subject of mockery in some stories.
In May 2009, it was announced that Patti Clare had been axed from the soap. A spokesperson for Coronation Street 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." It was then rumored that Clare would be returning; Malcolm Hebden revealed these rumors were true. Hebden praised Mary and Norris, he said: "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." Hebden also revealed that Mary should stay in the soap for good. 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." On 18 February 2010, it was announced that Norris would be held captive by Mary in a Misery style storyline, speaking of the storyline a Coronation Street source told The Mirror: "Mary convinces herself they are reincarnations of Heathcliffe and Cathy and keeps trying to share his bed. Norris escapes to a phone box. When Mary arrives he tries to run and hide but falls and sprains his ankle. Mary refuses to take him to hospital and returns him to the cottage telling him, 'The more helpless you are the stronger I get'.
Clare has been recognised for her comic scenes and storylines on Coronation Street. She was nominated for 'Funniest Performance' at the 2011 Inside Soap Awards and won 'Best Comedy Performance' at the 2013 British Soap Awards.
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