Lionel Hipkis was the author of the romance novel, Hard Grinding (under the pseudonym Mel Hutchwright). The local Coronation Street Book Club read and reviewed the book and, aside from Ken Barlow, seemed to enjoy it. Blanche Hunt especially thought it was a great read and wrote to the author via the agent, or ex-agent as it turns out. A few weeks later, "Mel" turned up at a book club meeting at Roy's Rolls, much to the excitement of Blanche and Norris Cole in particular. Norris invited him to stay with him and Emily Bishop but it soon became clear that Mel was a freeloading con-man with writer's block. He managed to cadge free drinks and lodging and although Ken was suspicious, it took a little longer for the rest to twig to his motives.
Mel schmoozed the book club members, winning them over and tried to scam them into giving him money "to help publish his book", telling them they'd get a share of the profits. Eventually, Ken discovered that Mel's real name was Lionel Hipkis and he'd pulled the same monetary scam at other book clubs all over the country. People invested and never did see a book published! He was revealed to be a con artist who had also spent time in the nick in the past. Mel/Lionel blasted them all, insulted them and left. Nobody called the police due to not wanting undue publicity as well as showing themselves up as fools. Mel/Lionel left the Street, leaving shamefaced readers behind him.
- Lionel was credited as "Mel Hutchwright" in all of his appearances.
List of appearances