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Between and , Dr Lowther died, leaving his house to Hilda. As of , Hilda still lived in Derbyshire , where she occasionally received a visit from Betty Williams.
On one such visit, Hilda and Betty reminisced about their old friends and neighbours in Coronation Street.
As Betty reported the latest goings-on, Hilda listened eagerly; over ten years and many miles removed from her old life, she was still the same old Hilda Ogden of number thirteen.
Hilda was a tough working-class Northern woman. A loyal wife, she spent four decades working herself to the bone to make up for Stan 's shortcomings.
Hilda's life was about somehow making ends meet in a world which seemed to have it in for the Ogdens. She was a naturally boisterous woman; fun and outgoing, she spent all her spare pennies on brightening up her life.
She was also wistful, talking constantly about her hopes and dreams with genuine enthusiasm - until she looked at Stan and was brought back to grim reality.
Though immensely unlucky, the Ogdens' misfortunes couldn't be wholly blamed on that; more often, it was Stan's idiocy or Hilda's gossiping that was to blame.
The local busybody, Hilda knew everything about everyone, and spread the latest news with relish, particularly to those who would not enjoy hearing it.
Hilda used gossip to pour scorn on people such as Elsie Tanner , reminding people of the more scandalous moments from their past at the least opportune moments in order to judge and hurt.
She also delivered news like a brick; for example, when the police were about to inform Emily Bishop that her husband Ernie had been seriously injured by a shotgun blast, Hilda insensitively but innocently blurted out "she's the wife!
Hilda's attempts to stir things up were always seen for what they were, earning her little to no friends in the Street and making her the object of ridicule.
However, Hilda herself denied being a gossip and claimed to be the soul of discretion. She knew her limits, and chose her battles.
When she had a beef with someone, Hilda was similarly unsubtle, hurling accusations with a voice that could shatter glass, but was always easily put in her place with a quip from her more restrained opponent.
Even so, she managed to avoid being completely alienated from her neighbours, as her pettiness was seen as non-threatening and many felt sorry for her and Stan.
Hilda's judgementalism hid a deep envy of her neighbours, and she was desperate to be seen as just as good as the rest. She took any opportunity to show off, and would often fake an understanding of art or culture in a transparent attempt to earn their admiration, and in a similar vein, she often made malapropisms resulting in much hilarity.
She also had an old-fashioned moral code, believing strongly that only married couples should have sex. Hilda was a short woman with a thin, sparrow-like frame.
For most of the day, she totted about Coronation Street in her old red later blue mackintosh, clad in the same pinny and green headscarf she worked in, with her hair in rollers.
For evenings, she took her rollers out, with just a dab of lipstick. Norman Crabtree with his sister Hilda.
Hilda had great affection for her family and upbringing, and would sometimes refer to herself as a Crabtree. However, references and visits to individual family members were rarer.
As adults, Hilda and her brothers Norman and Archie lived a stone's throw from each other in Weatherfield but all led separate and very different lives.
With his own chip shop in Oakhill , Norman was the most successful. His only interaction with Hilda during her time in Coronation Street was in , when Stan took root in the shop after a row with Hilda.
Annoyed at being involved, Norman tried to get Stan and Hilda back together - but more for his own sake than theirs.
Hilda seemed closer to Archie. His only visit to 13 Coronation Street was in May , while Stan was in hospital. With his beer belly and laziness, Archie could more easily pass as Stan's brother than Hilda's, and for three weeks, Archie filled Stan's void in Hilda's life.
Archie built a porch for Hilda but it was only when they were admiring the completed porch that Jerry Booth reminded them that they would need planning permission.
The debacle ended with the mysterious disappearance of the porch, after Hilda was told by Councillor Warburton to take it down.
When news came through that Stan was due to come home, Hilda told Archie to leave, none too impressed with his suggestion that she take on another job and look after both of them.
Hilda occasionally went to visit Archie, particularly when his circumstances improved in the early s , with Archie marrying Doris and becoming the owner of Crabtree's Chip Shop.
After his death in , Hilda inherited the shop, his money, and also, sadly, his considerable debts.
Hilda and Stan get ready to take on the world. Hilda's entire life with Stan was encapsulated in their first week together in In a story she would often repeat, she fell over an inebriated Stan in a blackout, and six days later he married her - but not, as she hoped, out of romantic gallantry, but because he was on the run from the military police for being AWOL.
Hilda was raised with traditional beliefs about marriage and a wife's duty to her husband. While her total responsibility for the house and children wasn't unusual, Hilda also tried to be a loyal and obedient wife to Stan, particularly in the early years of their marriage where Stan dominated Hilda with his abusiveness and drunken rages, which Hilda once told a shocked Concepta Hewitt she didn't mind.
When a terrified Hilda told him the truth, Stan went berserk and chased her round the house. Stan was a man of simple pleasures, sending little money to Hilda and drinking the rest away.
For the family to survive, Hilda had to become everything he wasn't: When they moved to Coronation Street , it was up to Hilda to motivate her oaf of a husband out to work, and her nagging, piercing voice was enough to drive anyone out the door.
Hilda constantly criticised Stan, attributing most of their financial woes to his uselessness. However, when he showed ambition, even for something bizarre such as scrap art September or songwriting February , Hilda beamed with pride, believing in her husband's hidden talents.
Another drawback to being married to Stan was his inattentiveness. He was incapable of making a romantic gesture off his own back; the first time he sent Hilda a Valentine's card was in , when they'd been married for 38 years, and he only did so out of guilt over forgetting Hilda's birthday.
Hilda was so flabbergasted that she refused to believe it was from Stan, preferring the notion that she had a secret admirer.
Stan was poor at predicting his wife's needs, particularly her need to be treated like a woman, and he often showed her up in public.
His understanding of his wife was so lacking that in , they came last place in a "Mr and Mrs" competition in the Rovers, with Stan giving three embarrassing and, to the audience, hilarious answers.
To avoid bother, Stan would often risk making matters even worse, such as in May when he burned Hilda's London cup final ticket so he wouldn't have to admit he'd sold his and couldn't get it back.
To keep up the pretext, he spent the day on a park bench, but of course Hilda found out anyway and made him paint the house as a penance. Their lowest moments came whenever Hilda caught him dipping into her hard-earned money; in December , he put all the money in the house into a previously empty fruit machine, and then unthinkingly let Eddie Yeats take it the machine away with their TV plug attached.
Just as the realisation set in, the house was plunged into darkness as the electricity meter ran out - all in all, a typical day at the Ogdens'.
However, Stan genuinely wanted to make Hilda happy, and his gestures which did work were all the more touching for their rarity.
He scored a definite hit with the serving hatch in , and in October he secretly joined Fatties Anonymous with Betty Turpin , telling the people at the meeting that he was doing it for his wife.
In spite of her problems with Stan, Hilda couldn't imagine life without him and was lost whenever he wasn't around; when he vanished one night in March , she scoured the streets for him before she found out he and Albert Tatlock had accidentally been locked in the Rovers cellar.
After spending the night getting merry and singing war songs down in the cellar, they were found by Hilda and Annie Walker , and Hilda was furious when Stan grinned and asked if she'd missed him.
Stan had his faults but Hilda knew his limits. In August , he was caught in the backing where a peeping tom had been seen spying on the women of the Street.
The mere accusation was enough to defeat Stan, but Hilda wanted to fight back and told the residents what she thought of them in the Rovers, referencing Billy's dirty magazines, and spat on the floor.
The residents had to swallow their pride and apologise when the true culprit was caught. Hilda and Stan's affection for each other was strengthened by the fact that they were both life's victims.
Despite being the neighbourhood joke, for most of their time at No. In public, Hilda would defend Stan from the very accusations she threw at him at home.
Her image of Stan was so idealised that she was paranoid about other women plotting to get their hands on him, from Freda Woods at the British Legion to Mary Bonnetti , Stan's ice-cream vendor partner.
The latter got Hilda so worried that she reported Stan to the Town Hall for trading without a licence, ending the partnership.
A continuing thorn in Hilda's side was Clara Regan of 19 Inkerman Street , or rather the rumours of her affair with Stan which were all over Weatherfield.
Hilda didn't believe them - finding out in January that Clara was co-habiting with Tommy McAllistair was enough to satisfy her - but she hated everyone sending them up about it and refused to dignify Clara with a name, referring to her only as "19 Inkerman Street".
Hilda's happiest moment came when the Ogdens won third prize in a "Loving Cup Shandies" competition - a second honeymoon night in a five-star hotel with her winning slogan "Be a mistress as well as a wife and your husband'll still be a boyfriend".
Hilda was determined to enjoy herself in luxury for once, forcing Stan to give her the romantic evening she craved, when he just wanted to watch TV and raid the drinks cabinet.
After Stan's death, all past rows were forgotten and Hilda would always remember Stan as the perfect husband. Mother and daughter exchange words over a morning cuppa.
What Irma got from her parents could be written on the back of a playing card. Irma was fun-loving, didn't take life too seriously, and even a little reckless.
Where her parents were concerned, Irma couldn't wait to get away, even though she loved them. She frequently put Stan and Hilda down, often without them realising it.
Hilda liked having Irma close by as the Ogdens had so few friends in the Street. She approved of her wedding to David Barlow , and also of their decision to buy the Corner Shop - Irma allowed the Ogdens a generous amount on tick.
Irma helped her parents out whenever she could, and in May , when she got a job at the PVC Factory , she sent in Hilda to fill her shoes at the shop, much to David's horror.
That August , the couples went on a caravan holiday, where Hilda and Irma bonded and threw water over their husbands when they stayed out all night. When Irma and David decided to move to Australia , Hilda was so distraught that she sent drayman Vince Boyle to share his terrible experiences of the country with Irma, a move which nearly caused them to part on a sour note.
Out of loyalty to Irma, Hilda took in Irma and David's foster daughter Jill Morris when she turned up at the shop looking for them as her mum was in hospital.
As Irma hadn't left her precise instructions for replenishing the stock, Hilda decided to try something different and ordered large quantities of specialised stock from Walter Gilfeather , surprising even him.
When she got back, Irma got Hilda to clean the shop to make it up to her. When Irma suddenly fled to Llandudno that December , Hilda looked after her interests at the shop, although Betty Turpin opined that she had really left to get away from Stan and Hilda.
Irma then gradually faded out of the Ogdens' lives, and eventually moved to Canada , where she was living when Stan passed away in Hilda excused her daughter's non-appearance at the funeral, telling Trevor that she was starting a new life abroad.
Elsie Tanner of No. Hilda looked down on Elsie for having so many men in her life, in some ways taking up the mantle from Ena Sharples , but unlike her previous nemesis who could get Elsie really riled up with her vicious tongue, Hilda wasn't taken seriously and was treated mainly as an irritant.
In June , Hilda and Elsie had a row in the Street where Hilda accused Elsie of having an affair with Stan, as they'd been AWOL for hours after Stan gave Elsie a driving lesson the explanation being that they'd run out of petrol on the moors.
Elsie laughed at Hilda's allegations, saying she'd never go for Stan as she had eyes. On two occasions, Hilda nearly caused Elsie to lose her job by informing her employers about Elsie being in court for stealing from Miami Modes , and in Elsie's disappearance led to all kinds of rumours, most of them started by Hilda, leading to a confrontation in the Rovers in which Alan Howard punched Stan, who had stood up to defend his wife.
If not their biggest, then certainly their pettiest battle occurred in , when Suzie Birchall accidentally put her foot through No. Elsie refused to pay the repairs as the pigeons had got in through a missing slate in Hilda's roof, and so Hilda poked holes in Elsie's ceiling with her broom to get even.
The households then went to war, doing everything from blaring music through the wall to dirtying their neighbours' washing.
It was resolved in court, where Hilda and Elsie were ordered to pay for their own repairs - a resolution which satisfied Elsie, but not Hilda.
In July , Hilda called round to No. With Stan's help, she dragged Elsie away to safety. Proclaimed a heroine, Hilda made the most of it by getting Elsie to buy her drinks and over-dramatising her heroics.
Eventually Elsie got so sick of Hilda going on about it that she told Hilda to walk past the next time her house was on fire! In possibly her only act of kindness towards her neighbour, Hilda donated some clothes to Elsie when hers were cut up by Muriel Fielding in May Annie Walker was Hilda's pretentious employer at the Rovers.
Annie was generally kind to Hilda, although she often had to remind her that she was there to clean and not to chit-chat.
Hilda first discovered Annie's iron fist a month after arriving in the Street; when Annie caught Hilda and Irma shifting onions Trevor had secretly stored in the Rovers' cellar, Annie sacked them both on the spot, although Hilda managed to get her job back.
Hilda confronts Annie when she underpays Stan, who is subbing for Hilda. Hilda admired Annie but envied her standing in the community and greatly wanted to out-do her.
In , before Hilda left Weatherfield to board cruise ship the Monte Umber for a six-week cleaning job, Annie coached Hilda on etiquette, advising her to step aside to let a first class passenger past.
When she got back, Hilda showed off by ordering a "Planeter's Punch" cocktail to try and catch Annie out. Annie easily made the drink but charged 98p for that and a pint for Stan, reminding Hilda that the ship was duty free and the Rovers wasn't.
In , when Hilda put up her beloved mural, part of its appeal was that Annie didn't have one, but when Hilda invited her over to the house to show it off, Annie barely gave it a second glance, although she couldn't help noticing that Hilda had copied her bedroom wallpaper.
In direct confrontations, however, Annie's way with words easily outmatched Hilda's all-guns-blazing approach.
Bet was another rival of Hilda's; in , they had a catfight over a cabinet and had to be pulled apart in the street by Jerry Booth and Ray Langton.
Bet also disapproved of Hilda's singing, warning her once that she was "spoiling her image". However, despite their disagreements, Bet and Hilda valued each other; Bet kept Hilda on as cleaner when she took over management of the Rovers' from Billy Walker in , and Hilda told Betty Turpin and Gloria Todd several times that she thought Bet was doing a good job of running the pub, and even quit when Bet disappeared and Alec Gilroy took over - although this was mainly due to his prickly, critical nature.
Eddie spends Christmas with the Ogdens. Edward Yeats entered the Ogdens' lives in December In March , when his fellow 5 Coronation Street houseguest Ena Sharples proved to be less of a soft touch than his landlady Minnie Caldwell , he partnered up with Hilda on Stan's window round.
He and Hilda were a good team, bringing in more money than Stan had. Released from Walton for the last time in July , Eddie soon fell in with the Ogdens.
Hilda didn't trust him because of his shady past and dodgy mates, and his laziness and flannel did nothing to endear him to her. She treated him like a bad penny whenever he darkened No.
Over time, Eddie demonstrated that he had a good heart and an affinity for the Ogdens, who were all the 'family' he had, and Hilda became fond of him.
Both moronic and bone-idle, Eddie and Stan were kindred spirits. They would often get up to things behind Hilda's back, knowing she would not approve.
In October , Eddie's friend Tiny Hargreaves paid Stan for the use of his cart to shift stolen lead, but Hilda saw Tiny using the cart and took it when he wasn't looking, thinking he'd stolen it.
Hilda was then stopped by the police and the cart impounded because of the stolen lead. Fearing repercussions, Eddie refused to shop Tiny, but Hilda refused to have Stan arrested and made him tell the police the truth.
The following April , with Hilda away, Eddie took possession of six hens and talked Stan into letting him store them in No. After returning home to find a chicken on her table, Hilda told Eddie to get rid of the hens, but was talked round when Eddie said they faced the slaughter.
To keep Hilda on side, Eddie bought eggs from the Corner Shop and planted them in the chicken coop. Getting wind of the scheme, Suzie mischievously put some hard-boiled eggs in the coop, which Hilda gave to Ena, resulting in much embarrassment in the Rovers when Ena cut an egg open in front of Hilda.
From to Eddie was the Ogdens' lodger, taken in due to his full-time job on the bins. In March , Eddie caused the Ogdens to lose all their washing when he accidentally took a black bag containing their laundry to the tip instead of a bag of rubbish.
Determined to recover it, Hilda made Stan and Eddie help her scour the tip for the bag, but surrounded by so many identical black bags, they didn't find their washing.
A guilty Eddie organised a whip-round for the Ogdens and managed to earn their forgiveness, the whole debacle treated like just another Ogden misadventure.
Hilda took a somewhat motherly role in Eddie's love life. In , she approved of advised Lorna Ferguson to go steady with Eddie. Two years later, she made the effort to get to know Marion Willis , but nearly had a falling out with Eddie when he copied her key to Mike Baldwin 's flat to court Marion there, pretending he was a businessman.
Eddie left the Ogdens' lives in December when he and Marion, now a married couple, moved to Bury , but the following year Eddie phoned the Rovers to pass onto Hilda the news that Marion had had a baby girl, Dawn , and in he paid a visit to Weatherfield to see Hilda when she was hospitalised after she and Joan Lowther were attacked by burglars.
In May , Kevin Webster decided he'd had enough of his landlady Emily Bishop 's stuffiness and fellow lodger Curly Watts 's 5am wake-up calls, and with Hilda's approval moved into No.
Kevin found Hilda a friendly, easygoing landlady, and would refer to her affectionately as "Mrs. He gave Hilda no trouble in his two years at No.
Hilda hopes Kevin and Sally won't last long. Hilda's relationship with Sally Seddon wasn't so smooth-sailing.
Introduced to Kevin's new girlfriend early in , Hilda was cold to her due to her being from the roughneck Seddon family, and decided she wasn't good enough for Kevin.
In March , she warned Kevin she'd seen Sally with another man, but he didn't believe her and stayed with Sally.
Two months later, after accepting that Sally wasn't like her parents, Hilda agreed to let Sally live at No. While Hilda was out of work with a sprained ankle, Sally stood in for her at the Lowthers' house and the Baldwins ' flat , where she did such a bad job that Susan Baldwin nearly sacked her.
Hilda's derogatory comments about her work upset Sally so much that she returned to live with her parents.
Kevin and Sally were married by the end of the year. On their wedding day, Hilda gave Sally marriage advice, telling her not to blame Kevin in times of trouble.
The following year, Hilda helped them get the Corner Shop flat by pretending to Alf Roberts that Sally would be leaving her job at the shop immediately and the Websters moving to Partington.
As he was in the middle of a council election campaign, Alf needed Sally behind the counter and offered the Websters the flat without hesitation.
When she left Weatherfield a few months later, Hilda sold No. Hilda's one-fingered performance of Beautiful Dreamer garners a less than stellar reception Hilda frequently showed an interest in art and culture to have something to show off about.
She would always exaggerate how well she knew the subject, but then give the game away with her malapropisms or basic misunderstandings, with comic results.
Her forays into art and culture were numerous and short-lived. She once wrote a play about a gas leak which led to nothing, and in February , she joined an art class at the Community Centre.
In January , while painting the skirting boards at No. That August , she taught herself to play the piano and actually showed promise, beaming with pride when Ena - a seasoned harmonium player - applauded her after a performance.
Others, however, were not complimentary; walking in on Hilda practicing Beautiful Dreamer on the Rovers piano, Annie accused her of turning it into an ugly nightmare.
In June , Hilda joined a ballroom dancing class at the centre, agreeing to be Ted Loftus 's partner with Stan's permission. She also partook in the football grudge match between the Rovers and The Flying Horse , where she scored an equaliser much to her worn out team-mates's fury as they then had to play on to extra time , and at the Pub Olympics between the two pubs she won the egg-and-spoon race when she came in second behind Vera Duckworth who was disqualified due to cheating.
Hilda also took to the stage during the Street's Christmas panto productions, filling out the cast in bit parts including Wishee Washee in Aladdin in and one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella in In , tricked by Bet Lynch into thinking it was fancy dress, Hilda turned up at the factory Christmas party dressed as Charlie Chaplin.
She ended up having a good time, blacking up and singing an Al Jolson song to the OAPs next door at the centre when the booked act never turned up.
Hilda loved to sing, especially her old s favourites. With a trilling singing voice compared to Mick Jagger stuck up the plumbing, and a piano going down a flight of stairs, Hilda could most often be heard as she went about her cleaning, hanging out the washing, or admiring her mural.
Hilda had "the gift" since before she moved to Coronation Street. In December , she read the cards of several residents, including Valerie Barlow , where she correctly predicted that Val would have twins.
In early , Hilda took it up again and considered reading tea leaves professionally. While he didn't believe in her gift, Stan was keen on the idea as, charging half a guinea a time, they'd be quids in if Hilda could pull it off.
To encourage her, he went around trying to make her predictions come true without her knowledge, but confessed to Hilda out of fear that a reporter would find out and accuse her of fraud.
To avert suspicion, Hilda publicly announced her gift had gone. Hilda continued to believe that she had the sight, and often gave impromptu readings.
In August , after two predictions came true, her clairvoyancy attracted some attention. Hilda's long-held desire to get away from everything was apparent to every visitor to No.
In , her beloved mural of the Canadian Rockies was ruined when Stan left the taps running in the bathroom and flooded the house.
Hilda bought a replacement herself, this time depicting a seascape. Hilda and Stan's getaways were few and far between, and when they did plan a holiday, catastrophe would always strike.
In September , when Stan got a week off work, Hilda insisted on going to Llandudno, but Stan "accidentally" tripped over a roller-skate left on the street and they spent the day sat outside the Rovers under Annie's umbrellas instead.
Hilda particularly longed to visit France. In January , the Ogdens got as far as booking a day trip to Paris and getting to the airport, but Stan panicked in the terminal and went to get fresh air, causing them to miss the plane.
To keep up appearances, they spent the day in the airport bar and staggered into the Rovers later, pretending they'd been on the trip. Hilda finally got to go to France in , when she won an exchange visit to Charleville , Weatherfield's twin town, where she went to a rave-up with Vera and Ivy Tilsley.
Hilda excitedly planned a trip to Morecambe , but when the time came, the Ogdens found the tandem too difficult to ride and left the bike with railway porter Syd Greaves , who gave it to Ray Langton.
When they came back naturally, pretending to everyone that they'd used the tandem , Ray tried to set them up by painting the tandem white and claiming it was his, but, on Hilda's instructions, Stan painted it black again, making Ray look like an idiot when he said it was his; for once, the Ogdens came out on top.
In the s , as the nation switched to colour television, Hilda was determined that No. Hilda saved her pennies and for nine glorious days in after which it was repossessed , the Ogdens' back room was graced with a colour set.
Hilda battled on, trying to get one on approval, but the Ogdens were turned down as they were on a credit blacklist.
Over the next few years, one-by-one the neighbours bought colour sets. After spending the night in the company of a meths-drinking tramp called Ozzie , Hilda lost her place in the queue as she was in the middle of being interviewed by a local radio reporter, Ted Thomas , when the shop opened its doors, and someone else bought the TV.
Hilda took out her curlers for the occasion. After years of having a telly and no licence, the Ogdens have a licence and no telly On one occasion, the Ogdens didn't have a TV at all.
As she walked into the house to tell Stan, she surprised him when he was moving the TV to hide it away, causing him to drop and break it. Meanwhile, Hilda was getting caught up in entering competitions and won a trolley dash at a delicatessen.
In the spring of , producer Tim Aspinall initiated Coronation Street ' s first major cast shake-up, axing six characters in total. To fill the void, a new family was planned around the character of Irma Ogden , a recent addition to the programme played by Sandra Gough.
The family would be more vulgar than viewers were used to seeing, headed up by layabout lorry driver Stan and his nagging wife Hilda, and supported by their four children - Irma, Trevor , Tony and Sylvia.
Jean Alexander was born in Liverpool in She began her career as a library assistant before transferring her talents to repertory theatre, firstly as a wardrobe mistress and then as a stage mistress, in various places in the North West including Oldham , York , and the Adelphi Guild Theatre in Macclesfield.
She then realised her ambition of becoming an actress, spending seven years with Southport rep. She had an early TV role as Mrs. Webb , landlady of baby kidnapper Joan Akers , in two episodes of Coronation Street in , which paved the way for her subsequent casting as Hilda two years later.
Betty Driver also auditioned for the part, but was rejected as casting directors wanted a more slender actress for Hilda. Stan made his debut in Episode but viewers had to wait to be introduced to his wife as transmission of the following episode was delayed by a week by strike action by the ACTT Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians.
An additional result of the strike was that the following week's episodes, which were at the rehearsal stage when the strike occurred, went unrecorded, with production picking up with Episode the week after.
The unmade episodes would have seen the Ogdens move into No. During this period, plans for the Ogdens were revised, cutting the number of children from four to two.
Stan and Hilda rose in popularity throughout the s. Amid the controversy over Aspinall's cast cull, the Ogdens stood out as a bright spot to writer H.
Kershaw , who returned to his role as producer when Aspinall stepped down in September. Praising the chemistry between the actors, he remarked in his book The Street Where I Live Initially, Hilda was characterised as a tough working class woman who stood at her uncouth husband's side, blind to his flaws.
This was subtly changed as writers realised the comic potential of Hilda being more of a fishwife - all the while defending him vehemently when anyone else dared take a potshot, as remarked upon by Kershaw: Hilda, thin and defiant, defending the fat, lazy Stan against an unkind world," and Jean Alexander: She lets fly at people in a way I'd like to myself and never do.
When I'm being Hilda, I can get it all out of my system. Their relationship was tinkered with again when Bill Podmore took over as producer in , with Stan becoming more hen-pecked and Geoffrey Hughes entering the fray as Eddie Yeats , the Ogdens' prodigal son with Irma and Trevor long having left the programme.
In my book they rivalled Morecambe and Wise. The Inside Story, At the peak of Hilda's popularity, character and actress gained a number of accolades, including being named as the fourth most recognisable woman in the UK after the Queen , Queen Mother and Diana in a poll and, more oddly, prompting Michael Parkinson , Russell Harty and Sir John Betjeman to form the British League for Hilda Ogden, with Laurence Olivier as it's president.
Olivier was such a fan of the character that he requested a part in the programme. A part was written for him - a meths-drinking tramp called Ozzie who camped outside a shop next to Hilda while she queued overnight for a discounted colour TV - however a scheduling conflict resulted in Olivier being unable to take the role.
Universities wanted to make her their rector; a Welsh rugby team hailed her as their mascot; even the Falklands Fleet urgently called for a picture of their pin-up complete with curlers, to inspire the troops for battle.
Jean Alexander as Hilda in the s. Hilda's famous look - with her curlers, headscarf and pinny - was developed over time by Jean Alexander and the wardrobe department.
Alexander felt that the curlers said something about the character: All the girls in the factories had to have their heads covered because of the machinery.
They used to wear these scarves, like pudding clothes, tied up and the curlers would be in.. I thought Hilda would have worked on munitions and would have had her hair tied up She was always ready to go out - only she never went out.
The curlers were always in, just in case she happened to be going out in the evening. One bonus of Hilda sporting such a different look from Alexander's day clothes was that she wasn't recognised all that often - a fact appreciated by an actress who guarded her privacy.
A touch of lipstick, a headscarf, an old mackintosh and a curler or two, and there stood Hilda Ogden in all her pinched-mouth glory.
At the end of the day the cloak of Hilda was discarded as quickly as it was created and left behind in the studio.
Jean Alexander could stand on Salford station and catch her train home safe in the knowledge that none of her fellow passengers would give the elegant lady a second glance.
Another trait of Hilda's worked out early on was her famously shrill singing voice. Viewers were introduced to Hilda's "talent" soon after she arrived in the street, as Jean Alexander recalls: They all thought it was hysterical, so after that whenever they wrote in "Hilda sings".
The Oggies with Eddie and the "muriel". When Bill Podmore became Coronation Street' s producer in , one of his goals was to increase the amount of comedy in the scripts.
One of the first stories devised for the Ogdens was the re-decoration of No. According to Alexander, the scenes inside No.
It was so fast! We'd do one scene and then the prop men would come on and strip a bit more wallpaper off. You couldn't enjoy it because nobody dared dry.
Each time Hilda went past she would try to push it up straight, but it always fell down again. Which summed up her life really. They did live at Number 13 after all.
In , Bernard Youens suffered a minor stroke, the first in a series of health problems which plagued the actor for the rest of his life.
By the early s , his speech and mobility were affected, and as a result Hilda and Eddie took on most of the dialogue in their scenes to ease the burden on the actor, who wished to continue on in the programme.
He died aged sixty-nine on 27th August , much to the sadness of the cast and crew, particularly his screen wife of twenty years.
We never had to discuss a scene or go over a piece of dialogue together. He always turned up word-perfect, just as I did, and we knew exactly how we were going to play it.
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