This Coronation Street icon says soap has lost its sense of humour

Coronation Street
(Image credit: ITV)

Thelma Barlow thinks Corrie needs more laughs and less murders!

Coronation Street icon Thelma Barlow has said it’s a “shame” there’s not much to laugh about on the soap anymore.

The 91-year-old actress became one of soapland’s true legends as Mavis Wilton, who was a hugely comedic character. She played Mavis for a whopping 26 years between 1971 and 1997.

Derek and Mavis Coronation Street

Derek and Mavis provided lots of laughs on Corrie (Credit: PA) (Image credit: PA)

Mavis and her husband Derek were at the heart of one of Corrie’s funniest ever storylines when their neighbour Des Barnes kept hiding Derek’s garden gnomes!

But when Thelma tunes in to catch up with Corrie thesedays, she feels there’s not enough light-hearted moments to enjoy.

“I think the Street when I was in it had this wonderful thing of comedy, the comedy characters,” she told the Distinct Nostalgia podcast.

“I don’t watch it regularly now. I occasionally have a look but I don’t see much to laugh at now. I think it’s a shame.

“We used to get scripts where you’d talk about nothing important at all, nothing to do with the plot, but they could be so real and so funny. It was normal conversation without having great meaning and drama.”

Thelma reckons Corrie could do with a few less murderers like Pat Phelan (credit: ITV)

Thelma reckons Corrie could do with a few less murderers like Pat Phelan (credit: ITV) (Image credit: ITV)

Thelma added that she didn’t see why all these “terrible things” happen to characters the fans love.

“I’d think, ‘Who wants to buy a house on a street with so many murders?’ I just think it is such a pity.”

Thelma has spoken to us before about her time on Coronation Street and how much she enjoyed it.

“Overall it was a wonderful experience on Coronation Street. I never thought I could stay for that length of time, as I’d loved the differences in theatre. But it was perfect for me at that time.

“I have good friends in the cast and the crew, too. I’m still in touch with the make-up artists. It was divine – good friends from it and work.”

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!