BRUCE JONES: (our Les Battersby)
Born: January 24, 1953 in Collyhurst, Manchester
“I hope I am just a normal guy. That's all I’m trying to be. I am not a superstar; I’m a human being who got his dream to be an actor.”
Excerpt from an interview with The Mirror:
Nearly every day, Bruce Jones would walk round the corner from his home, and saunter 10 minutes down the road to the studios that had become home to Coronation Street.
They would never let him in, of course. So he'd grab hold of the railings, pull himself up and peer through them, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars.
Pat Phoenix was his favourite. If he was lucky, they would wave his way, or even come over to sign his makeshift autograph book.
It all seemed so glamorous.
"One day, I'm going to be in Coronation Street," he would rush home to tell his grandmother. She would just smile, and tell him that daydreams never put food on the table.
We love Les Battersby
Excerpt from an interview in the Daily Record…
BRUCE'S life before he made the big time on Britain's most famous street could have come straight from the pages of a soap script.
In 1977, he famously discovered the body of Jean Jordan, the Yorkshire Ripper's sixth victim.
It later emerged that he had looked Ripper Peter Sutcliffe in the eye as he stumbled across the body while working on an allotment.
For a short time, the police suspected Bruce was the killer, but the investigation quickly proved his innocence.
Then, when he started work as a fireman, his first job involved a fatal car crash. The actor admits the experience left him devastated.
He reveals: "I saw three bodies. Afterwards, the rest of the firemen all got back in the appliance and were cracking jokes.
"I was really p***** off with them - it really got me - but the station officer took me to one side and said that's how you cope with it. Now when I'm playing Les and I'm getting depressed, I come off set and have a little bit of fun."
Bruce grew up in Collyhurst, Manchester, the oldest of six kids. His Welsh dad was a steel erector and his mum worked in a factory.
When he was nine, he was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and spent most of his childhood in hospital
He says: "I remember being in and out of hospital. It lasted a long time, until I was 15, which meant that a lot of my childhood was taken up seeing doctors and feeling quite poorly."
Before he left school at 16, he admits he was bullied because of his illness - until his Glasgow-born grandfather, George Campbell, stepped in and taught him to fight.
Bruce recalls: "He was 6ft 6ins and built like a house ... a very hard man."
Soon he began working as a pipefitter then worked as a boilerman, a fireman and a milkman.
He broke into showbusiness almost by accident, when a friend pulled out of a compering gig at a club and Bruce stepped in. He was a great success.
It was while he was working in clubs in the north of England that he met gritty movie director Ken Loach.
After landing two television commercials with him, Bruce was cast in Loach's acclaimed movie Raining Stones, which won the Jury Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Bruce became a jobbing actor working on Scots oil rig drama Roughnecks for two years with James Cosmo as well as appearances in popular ITV dramas Heartbeat, Frost, Band Of Gold and Hillsborough.
Bruce’s film credits include The Full Monty and Twentyfourseven and in 1995 he made Bob's Weekend, Brian Glover's last film.
Bruce joined Coronation Street in 1997 as neighbour from hell Les Battersby.
Join us in wishing Bruce Jones a happy birthday.
Raise your glass and sing along with Vancouver Island’s Dan LaRocque to THE BALLAD OF LES BATTERSBY. (link includes mp3 and lyrics)
Give us Les Battersby that's what this country needs
Handsomest man in all Weatherfield
Give us more Les Battersby, mad as a Hatter
Les is a scoundrel for good
Give us more Les