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Margaret "Maggie" Cooke (née Preston, previously Clegg) was Betty Turpin's younger sister and owner of the Coronation Street Corner Shop from 1968 to 1976.

Maggie was born and raised in Tile Street, Weatherfield. She moved to Birmingham with her husband Les Clegg when they adopted their son Gordon, in order to protect their secret that he was Betty's illegitimate son. The Corner Shop was a fresh start for the Cleggs eighteen years later, intended to help Les beat the bottle. Les relapsed after a few weeks of sobriety and became abusive towards Maggie. After a two-year separation, the couple divorced.

Maggie stayed on at the Corner Shop, running it with the help of various assistants, including Irma Barlow who was Maggie's partner in the business from 1970 to 1972. She was close to Alf Roberts, but a romance never formed. In 1974, Maggie married Ron Cooke and emigrated to Zaire, leaving Gordon to look after the shop. She visited to the Street for the final time that Christmas, when she informed Gordon that Betty was his real mother.

BiographyEdit

1924-1950: Upbringing and marriageEdit

Margaret Preston was born on 12th June 1924. Maggie and her older sister Betty were raised at 6 Tile Street, Weatherfield by strict parents. Their father, Harold Preston, was an inspector on the trams and a devout Christian who would read a passage from the Bible to his daughters every night. He was prudish to the extent that he forbade their mother Margaret Preston from hanging the girls' undergarments outside on the washing line.

Maggie grew up to be the more reserved sister, and an eminently sensible young woman. She and Betty remained close save for the occasional falling out caused by Betty's bossiness. During the war, Harold found Maggie employment at the Food Office where she would be safe, but he couldn't stop her from going to Burtonwood and dating Sergeant Mike Ritchie of the US Air Force. By the end of the conflict, the sisters had both fallen for sailors; in Maggie's case it was Les Clegg. Their wedding in 1947 was marred by the sudden death of Maggie's father Harold who was hit by the Number 14 tram while the couple were on honeymoon.

The Cleggs tried to conceive a child but when Maggie had a miscarriage, the doctor informed her that she could never have children. Some time later, Betty fell pregnant by Ted Farrell, a former Corporal whose affair with her had been interrupted when he served time as a prisoner of war. When Betty told him she was having his child, Ted returned to his wife in Portsmouth. Betty then made a radical proposal to the Cleggs: that they adopt her baby son and bring him up as their own. Maggie and Les agreed and to help keep the truth hidden, they and Betty started afresh in Birmingham. Gordon was born on 20th May 1950 and raised as Maggie and Les's son and didn't learn that he was really Betty's until 1975.

1950-1968: Wife of an alcoholicEdit

Episode 761

1968: Maggie views the Corner Shop

Les held a diverse range of jobs over the years but never stuck at anything for long. He was a difficult man to live with as he would routinely get drunk and stay out late, giving Maggie many a restless night. On rare occasions, he would turn violent and hit Maggie. This was a far cry from the gentle man he was when sober, and his promise to beat the bottle was the only reason the marriage survived. By 1968, the Cleggs were back in Weatherfield, residing in Tacklers Lane. Through the bay window, Maggie could see down the street making it the best place to await Les's return from an evening of drinking. One day, Maggie was sitting in her usual spot when two neighbours walked past and laughed at the sight of Maggie "keeping death watch". Maggie decided at that moment that the family would start afresh in a place where nobody knew them.

On 1st April of that year, Maggie viewed the Corner Shop in Coronation Street, which had been put up for sale by David and Irma Barlow who were emigrating to Australia. Maggie hoped that a new challenge would energise her husband and the shop seemed the ideal vehicle as the shop's accommodation and upstairs flat were included in the sale and they could run the business together. The emporium meeting with her approval, Maggie returned afterwards with Les and they immediately put in an offer, which the Barlows accepted. They took over the shop two weeks later.

Maggie les drunk

1968: Les falls off the wagon, spelling the end of the Cleggs' marriage

Les knew that the success of the move would come down to him, and for a few weeks he didn't drink at all. Maggie joined her husband in never going into the Rovers Return, causing the neighbours to think them peculiar. In May, Les succumbed to the bottle and smashed the shop window while drunk, although the misdemeanour ended up being blamed on Stan Ogden. After a month of sobriety, Maggie trusted Les enough to let him go on his own to celebrate a bowls victory. He didn't return, and Maggie sat downstairs all night waiting for him. She was kept company by Ena Sharples, the local gossip who had heard about the Cleggs from their neighbours in Tacklers Lane. Les came home at Midday, blind drunk and clutching a bottle in his hand. When Maggie and Gordon attempted to wrest the flask from Les, Les fell over, hitting a shop display which knocked him out cold.

Les was not seriously hurt but he saw a psychiatrist for his drinking problem and spent two months in hospital. When he discharged himself in August, he went to live with his brother in Birmingham. Maggie was at her wit's end, but still considered herself a married woman. She stayed on at the Corner Shop and waited for Les to make the next move.

1968-1972: Help at the shopEdit

As a thank-you for Ena's kindness when Les went missing, Maggie hired the pensioner as her assistant at the shop. Harsh words were exchanged three months later when Ena returned from holiday to find herself replaced by Valerie Barlow.

Gordon had matured into a bright and thoughtful lad who was very close to his mother and had total disdain for his father, having had to defend Maggie from him during a drunken rage. When they moved to Coronation Street, he was studying accountancy at college with one year to go. Maggie had high hopes for Gordon and disapproved of his budding romance with Lucille Hewitt, fearing that she'd distract him from his exams. In December, Gordon and Lucille ran away together with the plan of eloping to Gretna Green the day before Gordon's exams on Merchantile Law. At the train station, Lucille got cold feet about letting Gordon risk his future for her and they returned home. Gordon passed his exams and in April 1969 he left Weatherfield to work for an accountancy firm in London, breaking his engagement to Lucille.

In June, Betty and her policeman husband Cyril Turpin moved into the shop flat. Maggie was glad of the company, but Betty crossed a line by giving herself the job of assisting her at the shop. Hearing that Jack Walker needed a hand at the Rovers, Maggie fixed Betty up with a barmaid's job and stood up to Betty, refusing to sack Val to make room for her.

Meanwhile, Maggie had been going out with Len Fairclough, but she didn't allow them to become more than friends while her future with Les was still uncertain. At the New Year, Maggie visited Les in Birmingham to settle the issue. In the end, they mutually agreed to start divorce proceedings. Maggie was now free to see Len romantically, but when Len went off with Anita Reynolds, a Flying Horse barmaid twenty years his junior, and introduced Maggie to Anita as his neighbour, Maggie realised that she'd always be second choice to Len and backed off. They remained friends.

Maggie Irma

1971: Maggie with business partner Irma Barlow

In May 1970, Irma Barlow lost her husband David and son Darren in a car crash in Australia and returned to her parents in Weatherfield. Stan, trying to do his daughter a good turn, bought a minority share of the Corner Shop for Irma for £600 which Maggie gave to Gordon to enrol in an accountancy course. Irma hated the arrangement but it was too late to pull out so she made the best of it and took her place behind the counter. To make it worth her while, Irma increased her share to 50% that November.

Maggie still held Les in affection and when she received a telegram saying that he was critically ill in hospital, she went to Birmingham to see him and spent two months there, leaving Bet Lynch to run the shop. Les had recently fallen off the wagon and Maggie waited until he was on the mend before going home. Now a single woman, Maggie had a brief flirtation with American soldier Gregg Flint in December 1970, and went out to the pictures with Alf Roberts in August 1971 when the councillor was painting Maggie's ceiling for her. They were well suited but as Alf was married, Maggie kept him at a distance.

Irma was becoming less and less reliable. When she started dating footballer Eddie Duncan, she effectively became a sleeping partner and in December 1971 she disappeared without notice or promise of a return. The following February, she sent word that she was remaining in Llandudno and offered Maggie first refusal on her half of the business. While she considered her options, Maggie received equally unappealing offers from the Turpins and Annie Walker; Annie planned to buy into the shop for Lucille Hewitt until Lucille told her she wasn't interested, while Betty and Cyril wanted to do so to consolidate the "family" business. Having fought to get the Turpins off her back once before, Maggie refused to entertain the idea of working with them. In the face of emotional blackmail from Cyril, Maggie stood her ground and declared that she was selling up and moving to London, before making the more reasonable decision to take out a bank loan and buying Irma's share. She still needed help behind the counter and in May Maggie hired a new assistant, Norma Ford, who became a surrogate daughter to her.

1972-1974: Alf Roberts and Ron CookeEdit

By August 1972, Maggie was becoming depressed over her non-existent love life. When she started receiving strange letters from men, Norma admitted to putting an advert in the Weatherfield Gazette's personal column in a misguided attempt to lift her spirits. Norma went through the letters and read out one from a draughtsman named Ron Cooke in which he told Maggie how much he admired her for taking the initiative. Moved by his words, Maggie gave Ron a call and they spent a few days getting to know each other. All was going well until Ron disclosed the fact that he was a recovering alcoholic, and asked Maggie for help staying sober. Having been through it all with Les, Maggie said no to Ron and he left the area.

Alf's wife Phyllis Roberts was gravely ill with cancer and in September she passed away. Maggie heard the news from Jerry Booth as Alf was avoiding her, feeling guilty over their friendship. They were now both single and open to seeing more of each other but Alf never plucked up the courage to take things further with Maggie.

In April 1973, Maggie received a telegram saying that "lover boy" was arriving. This turned out to be Mike Ritchie, her American boyfriend from the war who was looking up old friends in the UK prior to quitting the Air Force. Maggie was delighted to see him again and was pleased when he dropped hints that he was considering staying behind for her. However, the woman on his mind was a widow in Wichita, the wife of his late friend Buck, who had written to him saying that she wanted him back. When Mike announced that he was returning to the States alone, without saying why, Maggie blamed Alf for influencing him out of jealousy. Alf had been so rude to Mike that even after Elsie Howard told Maggie about the widow in Wichita, exonerating the councillor, Maggie carried on snubbing him.

Early the following year, Maggie decided to make the Corner Shop self-service and expand the shopping space by knocking into the storeroom. Gordon's old school friend Peter Shields, now a trainee architect, drew up plans for the new shop at a cost of £45. Maggie then sounded out Len about Fairclough, Langton and Booth taking on the building work, but Len advised her to forget the whole thing. As a precaution, Maggie delayed the project and a week later realised what Len had meant when Rita Littlewood blew the whistle on a re-development scheme which included Coronation Street. Although the scheme was voted down at the Town Hall, Maggie didn't go ahead with the modernisation and was angry with Alf for letting her waste the £45.

Norma left the shop in December 1973 to nurse her sick father Jacko, leaving Maggie on her own once again. In February 1974, Cyril suffered a fatal heart attack and Maggie had to break the news to Betty. Betty moved in with Maggie and helped out at the shop until she was ready to return home.

Maggie ron

1974: Maggie marries Ron Cooke

In June, Ron Cooke looked up Maggie while passing through Weatherfield on business. Maggie had always wondered if she'd done the right by turning Ron down and was impressed when he told her that he'd been dry since they last met. Ron was awaiting news of a job in Zaire and when he discovered that he'd got it, he invited Maggie to accompany him there as his wife. It was the second proposal Maggie had received that week, as Alf had finally popped the question, independently of Ron. Maggie accepted Ron's offer without giving Alf an answer, causing Alf to bitterly inform Gordon, in town for the wedding, that Ron was an alcoholic. Gordon then confronted Ron, who won him over with his love for Maggie. Ron and Maggie were married at St. Mary's Church on 10th July and left for Zaire immediately.

1974-2003: Gordon learns the truthEdit

Maggie retained ownership of the Corner Shop, with Gordon acting as her agent. The new tenants were the Hopkins family, who planned to buy the shop in the long run.

In December 1974, while clearing out Maggie's old furniture, Megan "Granny" Hopkins found Gordon's birth certificate stuck at the back of a drawer and after doing some detective work she and her daughter-in-law Vera worked out that Gordon's birth mother, Elizabeth Preston, was Betty. The Hopkins assured Betty that her secret was safe with them, but Granny Hopkins was a vindictive woman and Betty feared that she would attempt to blackmail her.

Episode 1459

1975: Gordon reels from the news that Maggie isn't his real mother

That Christmas, Maggie and Gordon visited Betty and Betty informed Maggie of their predicament. Betty was prepared to risk the Hopkins telling Gordon, but Maggie wanted the truth to come from her and told Gordon herself the night before she went home to Zaire. Gordon learned the circumstances of his birth and adoption, but Maggie left his questions about his real father unanswered, as it wasn't her story to tell. Gordon reacted by going out and getting drunk to celebrate the fact that he wasn't Les's son and taunting Betty and Maggie, causing Maggie to break down. The following day, 13th January 1975, Maggie paid her final visit to the Corner Shop to ask the Hopkins to keep what they knew to themselves for Betty's sake.

A year later, Renee Bradshaw bought the shop from Maggie via Gordon. Maggie's last remaining tie to Coronation Street was Betty, whose long service at the Rovers continued until 2012 when the barmaid passed away aged 92. As Betty's sister, Maggie was mentioned occasionally, and in 2003 was said to be a widow still living in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

PersonalityEdit

“She's funny, Maggie, she can be walking on air and still have her feet firmly on the ground.” - Norma Ford

From an inauspicious start, Maggie became a popular member of the community. Customers at the Corner Shop could rely on a friendly chat across the counter and Maggie allowed credit at the shop when times were hard, such as in November 1969 when many residents were unable to work due to their injuries from the coach crash. Her generosity extended to scrapping the shop slate as a New Year's resolution in 1972 and giving Stan Ogden her pearl necklace on his and Hilda's pearl anniversary out of sympathy when he couldn't afford her a present. However, she was no pushover and when Stan kept Tommy Deakin's donkey Dolores in his back yard next door to the shop in 1974, Maggie reported him to the health inspectors.

Although the shop was a hub of gossip, Maggie herself was an honest, straight-talking woman who had no appetite for scandal. She was also demure and guarded her privacy with a strength which was expressed quietly but firmly. Often this was mistaken for weakness, leading her sister Betty Turpin and Alf Roberts to think that she needed their help and Maggie being pushed into making a stand. Maggie was less decisive in matters involving her love life; she blew hot and cold with Len Fairclough and Alf Roberts and, as pointed out by Norma Ford, she put the shutters up any time a man showed interest in her. Maggie was determined to relax her defences around men and was pleased when Ron Cooke, a man she'd turned away in the past, came back into her life and proposed.

Maggie was fiercely devoted to her family and always tried to be there for them. She often put her families wishes above her own, a particular example occurring in 1969 when she put her dislike towards Lucille Hewitt to one side and let Gordon marry her if he wanted. Despite her friendly nature Maggie was a very lonely person with her husband and son leaving Weatherfield in the space of a year. Maggie told Emily Nugent in 1970 that she envied her never been married as she had no memories to miss.

RelationshipsEdit

Betty TurpinEdit

Episode 985

1970: Maggie lends Betty and Cyril a sympathetic ear

As the older sister, Betty Turpin looked out for Maggie and would do anything for her. Their closeness was exemplified by Betty allowing the childless Maggie and Les to adopt her bastard son Gordon. In June 1969, she and her husband Cyril moved into the Corner Shop flat so that Betty could help Maggie at the shop. Betty assumed that Maggie would appreciate their company as she'd been left on her own after Gordon went to live in London. However, Maggie was an independent and strong-willed woman who didn't need Betty around to run her life. Though she was unable to dislodge the Turpins from the shop flat, she secured Betty a job as a barmaid at the Rovers Return at the earliest opportunity.

Betty's bossiness caused many a spat between the sisters, and Maggie was often blunt with her even when she didn't deserve it. Later in 1969, Betty saw that Maggie liked Len Fairclough and tried to match-make them, despite the fact that Maggie still considered herself a married woman. To throw her sister off, Maggie staged a row with Elsie Tanner over Len. A few days later, Maggie found out that Betty had absentmindedly withheld a card from Gordon and went mad at her, reducing Betty to tears. In 1971, after the death of Valerie Barlow Betty set her heart on being Peter and Susan's nanny. Prompted by Irma Barlow, Maggie told Betty that Ken wouldn't want her as she'd smother the twins. Betty was short with Maggie when Ken hired Margaret Lacey instead.

Betty became Maggie's house-guest again after Cyril passed away in 1974. As Betty was confused, Maggie decided that she wasn't fit to attend the funeral, but when the procession set off she appeared downstairs dressed for her husband's send-off. Maggie didn't have the heart to ask Betty to move out and was nearly stuck with her permanently when Betty made plans to sell her house, but after receiving an offer for the property, Betty had a change of heart and moved back home.

Gordon CleggEdit

Maggie was devoted to Gordon and treated him no differently than if her were her own son. When they moved to Coronation Street, he fell for Lucille Hewitt, and nearly missed his college exams to elope to run off and marry her. Maggie was opposed to the relationship from the outset, feeling that Gordon could do better than a shop girl. She made an enemy of Annie Walker, Lucille's guardian, by asking her to keep the young lovers apart. Annie in turn accused Maggie of smothering Gordon. When Len made the same allegation, Maggie realised that she was doing more harm than good and backed off, letting Gordon make his own mistakes.

Maggie's softer approach was tested in November 1971 when she received a visit from Gordon's fiancée Jennifer Swann, who was employed as a secretary at his accountancy firm. Jennifer had come from a working class background and was proud of the life she'd made for herself in London. Maggie was offended by Jennifer's comments about her "terrible" life, but remained polite to her out of respect to Gordon. When Ray Langton, who knew the Jennifer of old, warned Maggie that she was a gold digger, Maggie decided to write to Gordon before changing her mind, considering her Jennifer's drive and ambition could be good for him. Gordon and Jennifer ended up breaking it off anyway.

Len FaircloughEdit

Maggie Len

1968: Maggie receives advice from Len on how to socialise with her neighbours

Builder and councillor Len Fairclough was a good friend to Maggie, bringing her out of herself after Les went into hospital and helping her integrate into the community by taking her into the Rovers, an establishment she'd avoided when Les was around due to him being an alcoholic.

Maggie was beginning to fall for Len but was careful not to betray her marriage vows while she and Les were separated. However, this didn't stop the neighbours from speculating. In September 1969, when Len went on an all-night job he gave Maggie the key to 9 Coronation Street to give her a break from Betty. Unaware of Len's absence, Ena Sharples caught Maggie having her breakfast there and stormed out in disapproval. Maggie feared the worst when Cyril later told her that someone had asked for Les's address, until it transpired that it was only Albert Tatlock asking Les for his allotment back. Len stopped any gossip by announcing to everyone that Maggie was staying at his house by herself.

In January 1970, Maggie started divorce proceedings and bought a new coat to wear to the Flying Horse where she planned to tell Len the news. Unfortunately, Len had just started dating barmaid Anita Reynolds and when Maggie came in Len introduced her to Anita as his neighbour. Maggie didn't think she stood a chance against Anita who was twenty years younger than her but was worried about Len making a fool of himself and met with Anita to give her the once-over. Anita mistook Maggie's feelings for jealousy, and the women ended up sniping at each other in the Rovers. After a few weeks, Len broke it off as he was uncomfortable with the age gap. However, the saga had put Maggie off the idea of going out with Len and they were never more than friends.

Maggie and Len almost fell out the following year when the Mark Brittain Warehouse was built in Coronation Street, against the residents' wishes. Upset by Maggie's lack of faith in him in his role as councillor, Len gave Emily Nugent information about Ernest Bishop which Maggie had told him in confidence.

Alf RobertsEdit

Episode1219

1972: Alf finally faces Maggie after Phyllis's death

The next man in Maggie's life was councillor Alf Roberts, a friend and colleague of Len's. He and Maggie were a good match, as they were both somewhat lonely and reserved people.

For the first few years that they knew each other, Alf was a married man. He and his wife Phyllis were not in love but Alf took his marriage vows seriously and was so it was only after Phyllis passed away from cancer in 1972 that he contemplated acting on his feelings for Maggie. However, Alf felt guilty about the fact that he'd been thinking about Maggie when Phyllis died and avoided her in the wake of his wife's death, letting her hear the news from Jerry Booth instead. As they'd only been on a few clandestine dates, Maggie was annoyed by Alf's behaviour and refused to have a collection box in the shop.

Alf was another who stood up for Maggie due to her being on her own. In February 1972, when Betty and Cyril were considering buying Irma's share of the shop and going into partnership with Maggie, against her wishes, Alf leaped to Maggie's defence and he and Cyril would have come to blows if Len and Billy Walker hadn't pulled them apart.

In 1973, Alf was selected as the new Mayor of Weatherfield and offered Maggie the honour of being his Mayoress. Maggie turned him down as she didn't think she was suited to the job. By now, they were back on good terms but it was only when Alf thought he was going to lose Maggie to another man that he acted; he was unduly hostile to her American boyfriend Mike Ritchie and let the cat out of the bag about Maggie's fiancé Ron Cooke being a recovering alcoholic. Although they avoided a major falling out, his actions counted against him when Alf and Ron proposed to Maggie at the same time, leading her to choose Ron instead. Alf spent Maggie's wedding day drowning his sorrows in the Rovers, and never said goodbye to her before she and Ron left for their new lives in Zaire. When she visited over Christmas 1974, Alf took the opportunity to rectify his past behaviour and assured Maggie that there was no bitterness on his part over how things had turned out.

FriendsEdit

Maggie's closest friends in Coronation Street were Elsie Tanner, Alf Roberts, Len Fairclough, and her assistants Valerie Barlow, Irma Barlow and Norma Ford.

In 1971, Elsie lost a job offer from the Mark Brittain Warehouse after Hilda Ogden told personnel manager Edward Pollard half a tale about Elsie being sacked from Miami Modes for stealing. Maggie joined forces with Annie Walker to plead Elsie's case to Dennis Maxwell, Pollard's replacement, telling him that Hilda wasn't the most reliable source. Elsie was then taken on as supervisor at the warehouse.

Elsie and Maggie had a rocky moment when Elsie saw Maggie being secretive with her husband Alan Howard at the Canal Garage and thought they were having an affair. Maggie was actually warning Alan off Janet Reid but her words had no effect on either party. Elsie eventually found out from Betty after Maggie confided in her sister, leading Elsie to storm round to the shop and demand to see Janet.

Episode1211

1972: Maggie nearly sacks Norma after she puts an ad in the Gazette's personal column

Norma was Maggie's assistant at the shop between May 1972 and December 1973 and became something of a surrogate daughter to shopkeeper. Maggie hired Norma when she posed as her niece to get rid of another candidate, Ellen Page, who was on a trial and clearly unsuitable for the role.

Maggie started having doubts about Norma when she noticed that her stories about her father Jacko Ford were full of inconsistencies. Norma then confessed that Jacko wasn't in a miners home as she'd claimed but in Strangeways. When Jacko was released from prison, Maggie felt that he should be given a chance to prove himself and let him stay at the shop for a while, even overruling Norma.

Norma set Maggie up with her future husband Ron Cooke by putting an ad in the Weatherfield Gazette's personal column in 1972, although when she found out what Norma had done Maggie was furious and nearly fired her. Norma had acted with the best of intentions, having seen how lonely Maggie was.

Hobbies and interestsEdit

Maggie maintained an interest in herbalism. Never one to sit on her laurels, she enrolled at the Open University in 1971 studying Social Sciences.

Background informationEdit

Creation and castingEdit

Clegg family

The Clegg family - Maggie, Gordon and Les. Irene Sutcliffe, John Sharp and Bill Kenwright met for the first time at the TV Times photoshoot where this was taken

Maggie, Les and Gordon Clegg were the brainchild of story consultant Stan Barstow, who was hired in late 1967 to pitch ideas which would lift Coronation Street out of a perceived slump. The programme had nearly been cancelled by executives at Granada who saw the demolition of terraced streets taking place all over Manchester and Salford and concluded that Coronation Street was nearing its natural end. Ultimately the axe was avoided and new producers were appointed instead - Michael Cox and executive producer Richard Everitt - who were ordered to update the programme.

The departures of David and Irma Barlow left room for new characters to take over the Corner Shop. Barstow was on a mission to inject social issues into the programme and the new family were central to this: "The Corner Shop at that time was a bit moribund and I put that onto a character I read about in the newspaper, a sort of recovering alcoholic who came in and took over a shop." (50 Years of Coronation Street: The (very) Unofficial Story, JR Books, 2010) This character became Les Clegg, husband of the long-suffering Maggie.

The part of Maggie went to LAMDA-trained actress Irene Sutcliffe. At 37, Sutcliffe was six years younger than her character, and only 15 years older than her screen son Bill Kenwright. Sutcliffe had acted extensively in film and theatre, including a year in The Mousetrap on London's West End stage and tours of Europe, America and the Middle East with the Old Vic Theatre Company, but was no less daunted by Coronation Street: "I remember my heart thumping, waiting for my first entrance outside the shop, and Pat [Phoenix] saying 'Oh, you'll be all right chuck'." (The Coronation Street Story, Boxtree Limited, 1995) Maggie was initially credited by her full name of "Margaret Clegg".

DevelopmentEdit

The Cleggs' initial storyline explored alcoholism and domestic violence, ending with Les being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. After one year, Bill Kenwright left the programme, leaving Maggie with no family around; her overbearing sister Betty Turpin and Betty's policeman husband Cyril were created in order to rectify this.

Most of Maggie's scenes were set in the Corner Shop, which Irene Sutcliffe enjoyed as it varied the people with whom she got to act. One of the characters who became important to Maggie was Alf Roberts. Writers planned for Maggie and Alf to marry but Sutcliffe quit the programme in 1974 before these plans could come to fruition. Instead, Maggie married her old flame Ron Cooke and emigrated to Zaire.

Sutcliffe returned for five episodes over the Christmas period that year in order for Maggie to reveal to Gordon that he was really Betty's illegitimate son and had been adopted by the Cleggs, her hand being forced when the Hopkins family found Gordon's birth certificate. The storyline surprised all actors concerned, including Bill Kenwright: "I was shocked, really really shocked, but not nearly as shocked as Irene, because she was not only shocked she was angry." Writer John Stevenson: "She felt it just undermined all the work she'd done that created a believable mother-son relationship over the years." (The Corrie Years, Series 2 Episode 1 "The Scandals")

Maggie last appeared in Episode 1459 on 13th January 1975, although she was occasionally mentioned by Betty in later years, such as in 1995 when Betty said that she was still living in Zaire and 2003 when she told Shelley Unwin that Maggie was now a widow.

First and last linesEdit

"Well, erm, I wanted to speak to the proprieter." (First line, to David Barlow)

---

"It doesn't matter very much to me what you say, or to Gordon. We shan't be here - but Betty will be. So remember it's her business and leave it alone... please." (Final line, to the Hopkins family, icily)

AppendicesEdit

List of addressesEdit

Address Duration
6 Tile Street12th June 1924 to 1940s
Birmingham1950 to Unknown
Tacklers LaneUnknown to April 1968
Corner Shop10th April 1968 to July 1974
ZaireJuly 1974 onwards


Employment historyEdit

Role Institution Duration
UnknownFood office1940s
OwnerCorner Shop10th April 1968 to May 1976

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit