In praise of Rosie Webster – why she’s a modern Coronation Street heroine

David Brown champions Helen Flanagan's return to the ITV soap


Coronation Street’s Helen Flanagan is a “dreadful actress”? Rosie Webster is “as annoying as thrush”? Honestly, if you could see me now, I’m pouting like an outraged pre-schooler and staring wild-eyed at my screen. Something akin to this, actually:


Because what exactly were you expecting of Rosie’s return, people of Twitter? Sombre introspection? A half-hour monologue in the style of one of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads?

This is Rosie Webster, for crying out loud – a character who couldn’t walk down the street without getting kidnapped. Someone unable to enter a classroom without having an affair with a teacher. A woman who once spent weeks in roller skates and a cheerleader’s outfit flogging cherry vodka.

Rosie is not a girl to sit on the sofa in traccies and moccasins ruminating on life’s misfortunes. Not when she could be on Facebook Live taking up two thirds of the screen with her cleavage.

So, of course, she’s going to resurface drinking coconut water and offering up a manscaping kit for Tim. It was inevitable that she would have inadvertently smuggled cocaine into the country. No doubt she’ll have tweeted a picture of the stash by Wednesday using the hashtags #DrugsBust #OMG.

And, I’m sorry, but those who despair of Rosie’s antics are kind of missing the point. She’s actually a brilliantly satirical creation. Within minutes of her arriving home, we could see it all: this deluded backstreet beauty queen, dreaming big and living her life based on the mantras of online makeup tutorials. Far more glam than everyone in Weatherfield and yet lagging miles behind those who’ve truly found success. Celebrity obsessed, but destined to stay on the wrong side of a VIP rope barrier.

And OK, so she can tip over into caricature, but blimey, Coronation Street’s most iconic characters were always lit more brightly than Blackpool’s illuminations.  And maybe Helen Flanagan isn’t set for a sell-out run as Medea at the National Theatre, but when it comes to capturing the vanities of a very modern Corrie heroine, then it’s surely obvious that she’s exactly the right person for the job?

So bring on those Dallas-style cliffhanger faces. Let’s have more talk of juice detoxes. She may be shallow, superficial and frivolous by nature, but – when you think about it – there’s something quite special about the character of Rosie Webster. 

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.