Phil jennings
Phil Jennings
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Valerie Jennings
First appearance 19th September 1990
Last appearance 29th July 1991
Duration 1990-1991
Number of appearances 64
Played by Tommy Boyle

Philip "Phil" Jennings (previously Smith) was a businessman who dated Deirdre Barlow after her separation from Ken.

At the centre of Phil's empire was PJ Leisure, owner of a chain of amusement arcades. In 1991, he bought Unit 14 in Coronation Street and started up PJ Promotions, which Deirdre ran as an equal partner. A run of bad luck followed leading Phil and his wife Valerie to flee the country to escape debtors.


Philip Smith was a man with big ideas. He was a businessman who enjoyed the lifestyle of money, women and risk-taking. Alec Gilroy knew him during this period, and knew of his reputation for tax dodging. Some time later, with a prison sentence behind him, Phil changed his surname to Jennings and started building a legitimate empire.

One of his projects was PJ Leisure, a sportswear distributor. In September 1990, Mike Baldwin tried to interest him in using Ingram's Textiles as a manufacturer, and invited him to a party at his flat along with Jackie Ingram, Alma Sedgewick, Deirdre Barlow and Ralph and Enid Dobson. Phil took Mike up on his offer and spent the evening chatting to Deirdre.

Phil crossed paths with Deirdre again a month later, this time in her role as Councillor, when she campaigned against his amusement arcades on grounds that they were corrupting children. Phil was interested in Deirdre and readily agreed to refuse entry to the arcades for Under 16s. Deirdre reciprocated his interest but when he took her to a high class restaurant she made it clear to him that he couldn't buy her.

Their relationship quickly caught Ken Barlow's eye as he spotted Phil's Mercedes parked outside No.1 on occasion. Ken tried fruitlessly to block his donation of sports equipment to Weatherfield Comprehensive, and the promotion of PJ Leisure through its supplying of strips for all the school teams. Ken learned from Alec that Phil lived under an assumed name and warned Deirdre about him, assuming he was a crook, but Phil then told Deirdre all about his time in prison and she forgave him. One morning, Ken noticed Phil's car was still parked outside the house from the night before and barged in, intending to confront the couple, only to discover Phil had only left it there as he'd got drunk while spending Bonfire Night with Deirdre and Tracy. Phil and Deirdre later spent New Year together in Paris.

In February 1991, Phil lodged at the Rovers Return for £20 a night, telling Deirdre it was because the police asked him to disappear for a bit in case he was called as a character witness at a trial. While staying at the pub, he started planning a club venture with Alec Gilroy. The new club was to be called the AlPhiBet Club and operated in the old Graffiti Club premises, but Phil then dropped Alec and Bet as partners and then dropped the idea altogether. Instead, he bought the new Unit 14 Coronation Street factory unit from Maurice Jones and used it as a repair and storage shop for his arcade machines.

The following month, Phil warned Andy McDonald about selling unofficial posters at a gig. Phil protected Andy when he was threatened by an official, Jimmy Charlton, and offered him a job with him but Andy turned him down and stayed at school instead.

Phil later helped Deirdre with her campaign when she stood again during the Council elections. To pursue his grievance with Phil, Alec persuaded Alf Roberts to stand against Deirdre and organised him campaign, promoting him as a family man - a backhanded slur against Deirdre, a divorcee. When Phil's reporter friend Jeff Longton found out Alf had a bit on the side, Phil urged Deirdre to use it against him but she refused. Phil got the message out anyway (even though it wasn't true) by phoning into a radio talk show which was interviewing Alf and asking him about his relationship with Vivian Barford (putting on an accent so Alf wouldn't recognise him). Deirdre lost the election to Alf but she accepted Phil's offer of fronting his new business, PJ Promotions. They were supposed to be partners but Deirdre did most of the work, to her annoyance.

In June, Phil agreed to be best man at Mike Baldwin and Jackie Ingram's wedding. At the same time, Deirdre discovered that Phil was in debt and hadn't paid his arcade managers. Phil made a show of being Mike's friend before asking him for a £6,000, which Mike refused, even when he lowered his request to £500. In revenge, Phil told Jackie about how Mike had scammed her to win control of her late husband Peter's factory, causing the couple to separate after two weeks of marriage. In a last ditch attempt to raise capital, Phil organised a card school with Don Brennan, Des Barnes, Jack Duckworth and Jim McDonald, but ended up losing all he had left - £200 which Deirdre had given him to get his car repaired. He still owed Don £450 and instructed a heavy, Scotch Tommy, to get him off his back, but Tommy went for Phil instead as he owed him money too. Phil then disappeared but was eventually traced by Deirdre to a council flat where his wife Valerie lived. Deirdre discovered a badly beaten Phil about to leave the country with his wife. She faced the realisation that she was just one of his many mistresses and his flash lifestyle was all show. Phil and Valerie left the country as they planned, beginning new lives abroad.

Background informationEdit

Phil Jennings was Tommy Boyle's second role in Coronation Street, after Frank Bradley in the 1970s.

First and last linesEdit

"Deirdre, pleased to meet you. Is that Weatherfield Council or Manchester City Council?"
"Deirdre! Deirdre!"


Residential historyEdit

Address Duration
Valerie Jennings's flatIntermittently until July 1991
Rovers Return Inn18th February to 1st March 1991

Employment historyEdit

Role Institution Duration
OwnerPJ LeisureUnknown
Co-ownerPJ Promotions1991

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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