Monday, February 27, 2006

Leonard Swindley

Leonard Swindley (played by Arthur Lowe)

Corrie Canuck reader Vicus left a comment yesterday mentioning former Corrie character Leonard Swindley. For those new to Coronation Street, here’s a little background on our Leonard and his relationship with Emily.

When viewers first met Emily Nugent (now Emily Bishop) she spent her days running her own shop on Rosamund Street, selling baby linen, and her evenings and Sundays helping out at the Mission of Glad Tidings.

Leonard Swindley was a draper and lay preacher at the Mission.

By the end of 1961 Emily and Swindley had merged their shops and had been taken over then by the chainstore Gamma Garments, owned by Greek Niklos Papagopolous.

Leonard Swindley took Emily for granted. Emily stuck to her job because she believed that Swindley would one day ask for her hand in marriage.

He never did, so in the spring of 1964, a Leap Year, Emily fed him on Parma ham, veal escalopes with broccoli spears, and proposed: “I suppose it’s a fact of womankind…I look for permanence…We have each other but will we always? We share so much, I wonder that we don’t share it all. Share our lives. Why don’t we join our interests in nuptial agreement?”

After Swindley had had a chance to weigh up the pros and cons he decided that Emily would make a sound wife. “Her loyalty and consistency have always been a mainstay of her character. I wonder if I have the right to spurn, the right to withhold what is within my power to give.”

The jeweller offered friend Swindley some aid in picking an engagement ring for Emily: “Shall I tell ‘er it’s £10 more and then knock it off? It generally impresses them.”

No one was particularly surprised when, as they waited at the Mission hall to witness the union, Emily calmly told Jack Walker that she couldn’t go through with it.

“I always wanted Mr. Swindley. I used to look at him in the shop and imagine doing things for him … laughing at who should have the broken egg at breakfast and shouting at him – only joking sort of – for forgetting to take his library books back. Things like that. He doesn’t want to get married, Mr. Walker. Not to me. Not to anybody. It was just me. He probably wouldn’t admit it, but we both know. There’s got to be affection, you see. If there isn’t … I’m right aren’t I, Mr. Walker?”

Emily gets cold feet

It was a dignified non-wedding, with no passionate outbursts. Emily jilted Swindley. Swindley went on the honeymoon weekend alone, telling Emily he’d see her in the shop on Monday, business as usual.

Emily Nugent: always a bridesmaid, never a bride?

Emily eventually wed - first to Ernest Bishop in 1972, then to Arnold Swain in 1980. The marriage to Arnold Swain was annulled due to bigamy.

And for those who haven’t read about Emily’s torrid affair with Hungarian Miklos Zadic, read my previous posting - Emily Bishop: The 39-Year-Old-Virgin.

Sources: The Women of Coronation Street by Daran Little and The Coronation Street Story by Daran Little

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