In Coronation Street Gemma Winter’s ‘cable car quads’ have got everyone talking. Gemma and Chesney Brown have already chosen names for the two boys and two girls – Bryn, Cleo, Carys and Aled – but Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) and Abi Franklin (Sally Carman) had some thoughts of their own.
Over a pint in The Rovers Kevin and Abi pondered why names like Percy and Edna had gone out of fashion. Kevin told Abi, “There used to be a Percy who lived round here. Miserable as sin.”
That Percy was Percy Sugden, played by Bill Waddington, who died on September 9th 2000. Percy was a curmudgeon of the highest order who first appeared in Weatherfield in 1983 as Emily Bishop’s lodger at No 3 Coronation Street.
Percy had served in the Royal Army Catering Corps in the Second World War and was happy to point out to all and sundry that working as the new caretaker at the Weatherfield Community Centre was a doddle compared to cooking under enemy fire.
His battle-hardened temperament was eventually found wanting when the Battersby family moved in next door in 1997. Percy relocated with Phyllis Pearce (Jill Summers), who so memorably used to rasp his name, to the retirement complex Mayfield Court. His most trusted companion was his pet budgie, Randy.
‘Ednas’ have not fared so well on the Street. All three to have featured onscreen – Edna Gee, Edna Miller and Edna Hargreaves – perished. Edna Gee (Mavis Rogerson), potman Fred Gee’s first wife, died in a fire in 1975. Rovers cleaner Edna Miller (Joan Kempson) was found dead in a bed after a Rovers lock-in in 2001. And Audrey’s salon regular Edna Hargreaves (Benidorm and Inside No 9’s Elsie Kelly) died under the hairdryer in 2011.