john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Stars of Norris Green 3:
    Jean Alexander

    BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 25/1/2006

    Perhaps one of the most gifted and talented people to have emerged from Norris Green over the years, is Jean Alexander, the actress best known as Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street. Strictly speaking Jean's not from Norris Green, but for a number of years before she started acting she worked in Norris Green Library.

    Hilda, the cleaner at the Rovers Return, is most remembered for her curlers which she almost always wore, and her 'muriel'' in her living room, with three duck ornaments flying over an Alpine mountain scene.

    It was the way she talked which made her special. She'd talk broad Lancashire, saying things like "eh, chuck". Once while she was out shopping, a fan asked Jean if she was Hilda. The actress responded in her normal accent, "] beg your pardon?" Taken aback, the fan said, "Oh, don't you talk funny?"

    Hilda was always getting her words mixed up or using the wrong word, but it never stopped her talking. It wasn't a muriel, it was a mural, but there would be no point in trying to correct her. And anyway, everyone knew what she meant.

    Because of that Hilda taught us all a good Lesson in life: to keep talking. Don't worry if the words come out wrong, don't worry if you can't think of the right words to say, don't be put off by people who seem to sound cleverer than you, just keep talking, because what you say is valid and valuable whatever it sounds like.

    Wrong words can harm us. But wrong words can be righted. It's when we stop talking to each other altogether that our problems really begin.