Monday, October 15, 2007

Charlie Stubbs November 17, 1971 – January 15, 2007

'Poor Chuck is daid, poor chuck stubbs is daid.'

I was planning to sit shiva all week, but I realize now that throwing a wake for Charlie Stubbs would probably be more appropriate. Yeah, it’s me Jason and Maria who will be attending the funeral, so with that, I’d like to offer my own 'eugoogly' for bad boy Charlie.

‘Oh, Glacia, oooooooooooh Glacia – why waste your time and your obvious god given talent as a semi-pro fan/blog blogger on a scum like Charlie?’, you may ask. Well, the simple answer is, I just really liked him as a character – and not just for his obvious hotness.

One of the joys of Coronation Street is that even though there are obvious good guys and bad guys on the show, they’ve never made them completely black and white. Even more cartoonish one dimensional characters like Cilla are occasionally shown with deeper emotions.

Charlie certainly was a ‘baddie’ pretty much from the time he landed on the show as builder in 2003. A litany of his bad boy activities would include, trying to seduce every over 45 woman on the street, keeping a girlfriend locked in a bedroom for months on end, sleeping with the mother of said girlfriend, ripping earrings from girlfriend’s ear, bullying a pensioner out of his flat, half drowning a teenage boy, and oh yes, hiding half a pair of sexy designer shoes.

But there was certain mystery about his character that I really loved. First of all his biography is sketchy. We don’t know really where he came from, there was some talk of an ex-wife and a son, but nothing really concrete. We found that his mom had left when he was young and maybe there’s a half brother somewhere. Still, this is all vague and made me want to know more. Was it his mom’s absence that gave him this obvious hatred of women or did daddy just raise him wrong? Unlike Tracey or David, we never get to find out if there was a troubled childhood in his past that molded him into the magic that is Charlie Stubbs.

However, more that the mysterious past, I really dug those Charlie moments where he would shock us all and do something good. I don’t think anyone ever thought, aaaaaaaah, this is where he turns over a new leaf, but I still think we enjoyed the fact that he wasn’t a bastard through and through.

For me though, these good moments intrigued me and made me wonder about the different layers to this man and showed him as a very realistic character.

The obvious example is the ‘Save Sunita’ storyline when both he and Ciaran ran into a burning building to save Sunita and Dev. Ciaran was able to get out with Dev quick enough, but there was a bit of a scare when the shop exploded with Charlie and Sunita still in. In the end, he managed to emerge from the building with her and enjoyed a short period of grace and admiration from the community.

The second example I can think of was when a stranger, Vince, showed up in town and decided that it was his job to harass and bully Roy. He would show up at the café when no one else was around and just menace and terrorize Roy. During one particularly bad night when Vince had Roy cowering on the floor, it’s Charlie who walks in and saves the day. He roughs up Vince, tells him to get lost and warns him about ever harassing Roy again.

I was a little gobsmacked at the time and my actual comment on the update was, ‘He is complex non? Or maybe he just has serious alpha male issues. Defender of the village, abuser of wife.’?

However, when I reflect upon these two incidents I do think that’s a pretty good analysis. I really think he just saw himself as alpha male on the street – that he was above the law of the street, that he should have access to any woman that pleased him, and that no one should question his supreme alpha maleness. If he needed to rescue a few damsels and weak males in the process, that was just part of the job thankyouverymuch.

Certainly you’ll get no argument from me that the man was a complete bastard – but for my money he was one of the best characters they ever had on the show. As much as I thought his relationship with Tracey and demise through her own self destructive behavior was poetic (for both characters), I will really miss his presence on the show.

For all of you who will be screaming, ‘Are you out of your mind Glacia?’ you have to admit, he gave us a hell of a lot of great storylines. (Note: prepare yourselves though, the Stubbs legacy will take an interesting turn in coming episodes.)

Finally, a word to Corrie writers and producers - you owe me, big time. I better be seeing Sean Bean or some other equally worthy totty on the screen, very, very soon.


Anonymous said...

"here here" Glacia...I raise my glass with you in a toast to Charlie. I agree, he will be missed. On a side note, while grocery shopping the other day, I looked up and saw a man at the end of the isle wearing a plaid shirt over a white t-shirt. I seriously thought "charlie??" and took a second look. Too much corrie for me ya think??

Anonymous said...

Wait. I'm almost the same age as Charlie?

Mind? Blown.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked to learn my dear old dad (who has taken to watching Corrie in his retirement) is a Stubbs fan. Watching with him a few weeks back he smiled after Charlie left the screen and said he was "a real character". High praise indeed!

I liked the character from the start, goofy schoolboy bangs and all, even if the Shelly hostage storyline went on a little too long. Well acted to the very end, R.I.P. Stubbsie. (will miss Jason calling him that)


S. Poole

Jacqueline said...

As usual the writers are 'generous' with the actor's ages.

In real life, Bill Ward is 40.

Anonymous said...

I think it will be telling to see just who shows up at the funeral. Friends? Family? I have a feeling we won't see much of the latter as they may not even be aware that he's dead.

Anonymous said...

I wondered at the time when Charlie defended Roy if it wasn't also to leverage a little good will in the form of free food or something. Nothing of the sort happened, but it could have been written that way.

After he saved Sunita and work began on the new shop, Charlie took advantage and started ordering supplies not needed for that particular job. Although it would all be covered by Dev's insurance, Dev felt taken advantage of and it led to a fight between him and Charlie.

So even he appears selfless, sometimes there is another motivation at work.

Jacqueline said...

I think he just didnt' want anyone to usurp him as town bully.

One other favorite Charlie moment of mine - just before I forget - was during the Shelly Shut In storyline.

There was that moment, when all of us were fed up with her dependancy on Charlie, that you could see even he was tired of it. (Her sitting in the room/womb watching telly all day.)

There was this wonderful confused look on his face as he realized that his plan to have her 'under my thumb' kind of backfired and bit him in the ass.

Debbie said...

In all fairness, I think Shelly was locked in her room because she was suffereing from agriphobia. Having a crap boyfriend may have aided in her imprisonment, but it wasn't the cause. He was a bastard, but I don't think Charlie actually prevented Shelly from leaving her room. In fact, if I remember correctly, Charlie was against her cosmetic surgery but paid for it thinking it would get some confidence and actually leave her bedroom.

While he did like her under his thumb, he didn't bar her exit from that bedroom.

Anonymous said...


I agree that Charlie is a great character, in the same way that JR Ewing was a great character. You wouldn't want to meet him in real life, but characters like that make shows worth watching. (Imagine if all the characters were like Clurr...)

Of course, the actor deserves so much of the credit - he really is terrific as Charlie (just like Norris is fabulous as Norris).

I will miss him, but I'm sure there will be another bad guy on the show soon... otherwise how would Weatherfield survive?

Michigander Fan

PS: You think Mr. Bean is hot???

Jacqueline said...

No I didn't think his original plan was to have her locked in her room. I think his aim was to have her dependant on him, starting with the weight loss bullshit (I truly hated his ass then). The shut in thing was just the 'biting him in the ass' part.

pip said...

Great summary, Jacqueline.

I was also wondering last night who would come to the funeral. For sure Norris will be there, lurking in the back, making disparaging comments under his breath. But other than Maria and Jason, who else?

I agree that Charlie's saving Sunita and Roy were expressions of his 'alpha maleness'. I don't believe he is calculating or quick thinking enough to formulate a plan to rip off Dev's insurer before deciding to go in after Sunita. Though afterwards he must have identified this as a nice perq.

So what is going to happen now with Shelley's baby? Is that even going to be a storyline. Maybe Shelley will go to the funeral, heavy with child. If Charlie had no will, then this baby stands to inherit his estate, including the flat on Coronation Street and his construction company. Could be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Great summary Jacquie!

I'm a little confused by Maria's reaction to all of this though... She eventually figured out he was an asshole and watched him almost drown David... Her grief seems a little overblown.... Imre

Anonymous said...

Anon: I completely agree with you and Maria's grief. I too thought it was overblown.

Shelley turning up to claim Charlie's estate would be awesome I really like Shelley. That would certainly screw up Tracey's plans for the house!

Rob Swizzle said...

Maria is immature, lonely, not too bright, has her suspicions about Tracey, and just saw the most callous ER team ever pronounce her ex-lover dead.
She gonna cry.

Anonymous said...

The writers did not know what to do with Maria and how to portray the character's emotions about Charlie. Maybe she is in shock...first time anyone she knew died...She is a sad, silly, naive girl. Oh yeah...Why is no one talking about a funeral for nasty old Charlie??? Jason, Maria said nothing today! (Monday)
He needs a proper sendoff!!!


Anonymous said...

Re: Maria. It's possible she's thinking Charlie did love her, and they could have had a future together if only Tracy hadn't been in the picture.


Anonymous said...

I will miss Charlie Stubbs the actor that is for sure, and it is true the writers tried to give him very few good qualities.

Corrie Camper

AMAI said...

Great summary, Jacqueline.

re Maria: I totally bought her reaction. It's very easy to do when you're the sort who falls in love with bad boys. You soon forget their sins, including how poorly they treated you. All you remember are the good times, especially since it's impossible for there to be any more good times. That there was never going to be a happily ever after for Maria with Charlie no matter what happened to Tracy, won't prevent Maria from fantasizing.

Jason's info is quite intriguing, especially that Charlie told him about the faux row.

Charlie's legacy going to take a change of direction, eh??? I wonder if it will turn out that Holly is Charlie's baby after all, and there'll be a fight in court over who is entitled, between Holly & her litigation guardian, and Shelley and her little mite. That would be fun.