Vera Duckworth was as common as muck – and what fun she had | Barbara Ellen
It was sad to see that Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street, has died. I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn with her on-screen husband, Jack (the late Bill Tarmey) at the Corrie set and they were both good humoured and warm, exactly as you’d imagine.
Our soaps can be much underrated, yet when done right, they celebrate a slice of British life and people that would otherwise be lost. But the magic can’t happen without the right casting.
As Vera, Dawn brilliantly encapsulated a type that was both quintessentially northern and working class – salt of the earth and common as muck with it. And I mean “common as muck” entirely positively, in a way that reclaims the phrase.
It was Dawn’s gift for encapsulating this “fag in the gob, tights drying on the radiator” prole warrior spirit that made her such a popular Corrie character, and, since her retirement, a much-missed one. Part of the reason that Vera and Jack endured was because they told the truth, the big dirty secret, about being common as muck – it’s loads of fun.
Indeed, it’s beautifully drawn, deceptively nuanced characters such as Vera Duckworth who give the working classes their cultural rocket fuel. RIP, Liz Dawn.