Former Coronation Street star Bev Callard is celebrating the ITV soap’s 60th anniversary in December with a little crystal ball-gazing: she doesn’t see any reason why Tony Warren’s classic soap won’t still be in production when it turns 100 in 2060.
Callard has played Liz McDonald since 1989 and if I weren’t for a dodgy hip she might still be on the cobblestones. She told The Sun that she left last year for a minor hip operation, then lockdown closed down production and after it she needed a major hip operation.
She thought the idea of Coronation Street turning 100 was “amazing”.
“I don’t see any reason why [it won’t happen]…. It depends on the accountants, but the show should be put before anything. If I were in control, that’s what I would try to do. I think it will continue.
“Today, people not tuning in on Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7.30pm can watch it when they feel like watching. These days, the show’s aims are different. It has to evolve but it will keep going for a very long time.”
Callard retold the classic story that when Warren first created the soap it was only expected to run for a series.
“But the secret, and what they have to keep going, more than anything, is that it’s a matriarchal show — and that’s what Tony Warren captured. Tony knew women, he really got that. They were sirens who would literally kill. They were like lionesses, they would kill for their families.”
Callard cast her mind back to 1989 when she won a role in Coronation Street, which started the 22-year storyline opposite her volatile, criminal husband Jim McDonald (Charlie Lawson).
She said: “I knew on our first day that Charlie and I had a year to make it work or not. So that was scary. The producer, Mervyn Watson, who was amazing, said to us: ‘Every time we’ve cast a new family, it’s not worked. Bringing a family in is really, really difficult. So, you’ve got a year to make it work or not’.”
Callard has seen it all with Big Jim, including abuse, a baby daughter’s death, prison, divorce (twice) and yet, she was still hopeful of more drama with him.
She said: “I would love it if Liz and Jim reunited and disappeared off into the sunset.
“Somebody called them the Burton and Taylor of Weatherfield. They have this fiery passion that makes them fall out and hate each other. But they love each other so much. I would love Liz to have a happy ending. Because she’s never had one before.”
One thing is certain: Callard will be returning to Corrie.
“I have to go back to do Liz’s exit,” she said. “Everything sort of happened at once — I had to have a minor hip operation, then the lockdown came so everything stopped, then I had to have a massive hip operation. So I’ve not been able to go back.”
She felt she owed fans Liz’s exit.
“I will be going back. Exactly when, I don’t know yet — sort of beginning of next year, maybe in the spring. [The producers] did say to me, ‘We will never kill off Liz’.”