Saturday, 8 August 2009

Meet Canada's Number One Corrie Fan

I thought I was a pretty major Coronation Street fan, and, indeed, I'm certainly up there at the top of the fan fanatics but there's one woman that beats me by a mile and CBC agreed. CBC held a contest to find the Number One Coronation Street fan this spring. There were over 1000 fans that submitted photos and told CBC why they should win the contest. The winner is Deborah Cyr, from Oshawa, Ontario and though I have never met her face to face, I've "known" her from the online Coronation Street communities for awhile now and she agreed to answer some questions for me.

Deborah! You won!!! How does it feel!?
Very exciting. I'm still on cloud nine!!! I can't believe all of the posts, messages and emails I've received from other Corrie fans. Its been amazing.

When CBC announced the contest, why did you decide to enter? Did you think you had a pretty good shot at winning or did someone talk you into entering?
I was on the CBC website and happened to see the ad 'are you Canada's # 1 Corrie fan?' I said yes to myself, then clicked on the link. In 1000 characters, I had to tell them why it was me. I read the judges were looking for 3 things- passion, creativity and personal relationship/history with the show. I knew I had a lot of history and passion. I was hoping my photo would be creative enough. I figured I had a good chance, but also knew there are a lot of other big fans out there.

I was happy when I read the winner would be announced the week of July 27th. My birthday was the 26th and last year I had been very lucky on my bday. I thought that was a good sign. I did have a few friends tell me I had to enter or when I told them about the contest they'd say 'that's you!'

You won a trip to Manchester to see Granada Studios, didn't you? Are you going to get a chance to meet any of the actors?
I did which I am very excited about!!! WOOHOOO I haven't heard about meeting any of the cast, but I'm hoping I will..

I know you've been on the set before, as have I. What was that first step onto the cobbles like for you?
The first time I stepped on the cobbles was in 1995. I'd only watched the show for two weeks so didn't appreciate it like I should have. It wasn't till a few years later when the public tours closed and I was a die hard fan that I realized how huge of a deal it had been to walk on those cobbles. I just hoped that somehow I would be given another chance to experience it as a huge fan. When I did, it was amazing!!!

I know you've met a lot of the actors in the past and have quite a few autographs. You've written to the actors and you've also visited Manchester and waited outside the studio parking lot gates and have met some of the actors that way as well. What are your favourite memories of actor encounters?
I've been lucky and met 46 of the actors now. Most of the times it is just a quick hello,autograph photo etc. The majority of them are down to earth people that love their job and appreciate their fans. I did have a wonderful day in 2007 where I met Jayne Tunnicliffe who played Yana. We spent an hour with her. She is such a lovely lady, very talented too.

I'll never forget the first time I saw William Roache walking towards me, I was shaking. All I could think of was 'it's Ken, he's been on the show from day one.' Next thing we were talking about his dentist appointment he was off to. I loved meeting David Neilson who plays Roy Cropper. He is a wonderful man, he took the time to listen to what we had to say and took a real interest, was very chatty. I've met Steven Arnold, 'my Ashley' three times now. I still remember that first time he was driving into the studios and said 'hiya love'. I instantly became his number one fan.

Here's a funny story. One year I was at the British Isles show and a number of people had thought I was Janice Battersby. I didn't see it, but they did. So did a few more fans the year after. Last year I met Vicky Entwistle. I told her how people had thought I was Janice. She looked at me and replied 'I can see the resemblance'. I think she was just being nice.

Usually when I write to the actors, I get an autographed cast card back.
Occassionally I've had letters with the photo. The first letter I ever
received was a few years back from Jack P Shepherd who plays David Platt. I was very impressed by what he said and found him to be very mature for his age. Even from when he was little I've always thought he was a great actor- remember when he was little, those scenes in the garden with Barney. (Whatever happened to that young boy?) Since the letter I've always wanted to meet him. I had been in Manchester in 2007, but didn't see him. Next time a friend of mine was at the studios he saw him and told him about me. Jack did a video message to me saying hello. It was only 11 seconds long, but made my day!! I've had a video message from Rob James-Collier, Liam saying hello and Merry Christmas!

Who was the first actor from Corrie that you've met?
I met Denise Black at the British Isles show in Toronto. I think it was
1997. I remember telling her we had been to the studios in 95. She told me she had done the tour too before she got the job and who knows, maybe one day I'd end up on the show. How I'd love one scene just sitting in the Rovers or Roy's Rolls!

Judging from the photo, you have an extensive memorabilia collection. What was your first item? Where do you get most of your items? What is your favourite piece?
The very first items I got were a tea towel and a half pint glass from the gift shop at the studios. The majority of my items have been gifts. The rest were brought at British shops in Ontario and a few purchases on ebay. My favourite Corrie item is a tshirt I made up with a photo of Al and I at the Rovers which I get the actors to sign when I meet them. It has 43 signatures now. I'm trying to decide whether to squeeze more signatures on or start a new shirt. There are a lot of new cast members I'm hoping to meet! After that it would be my alarm clock that plays the theme and my teapots. Oh I love my Corrie monopoly too. We play, I don't believe in keeping it wrapped in the packaging.

Now a bit about you. How long have you been watching and what got you started?
I started watching about 15 years ago. Al and I had just got married and we were going to the UK so Al could meet my relatives. I was born there, but he'd never been. Two weeks before going, Al was flicking the channels on TV and stopped at Coronation Street. He wanted to see what England was like so kept it on. The week after we watched again. When we landed in the UK my uncle asked what we wanted to do during our holiday and Al jokingly said 'go to Coronation Street'. We didn't know they did tours, but the next day we were there. Al's first pub and pint in the UK was at the Rovers. After walking on those cobbles we were hooked and haven't missed a show since.

I keep watching because of the stories, characters, the writing and the history. These characters could be your neighbours. It isn't like the American soaps. They don't all wake up with perfect hair and make-up. They aren't all size 2's and rich. Corrie characters have a history and you become involved with their lives. You find yourselves wanting to know what they'll get up to next.

The show has a good combination of drama and comedy. One minute you
can be upset and the next your laughing. The show has been around for almost 50 years, they are doing something right. I hope it is around for many years to come!!

Who are your top three favourite characters ever?
Oh that is a tough question. They all bring something to the street. Since I can only pick 3, I'd say:
Steve McDonald- gotta love Steve!
Blanche- I just love the lines she gets and the way she delivers them
Jack & Vera- my favourite Corrie couple
Honorable mentions to Becky, Danny, Karen, Curly, Sally, Tony, David and Ashley.

What are your top three storylines ever?
Another tough question as there have been so many. I'd say the Hillman storyline, the Carla/Tony/Maria/Liam storyline (especially after reading some of the spoilers) and the free Deirdre storyline. I want to add nobody does weddings or funerals like Coronation Street.

Since Canada is about 9 months behind the UK, do you follow the UK storyline and check out the spoilers? Do you download episodes or do you read the written episode, weekly or ITV updates (or all three!)
I love spoilers!!! On Weatherfieldweb I post a lot of the spoilers, so go looking for them. Years ago I used to phone my UK relatives on Christmas day, say hello and Merry Christmas to 14 of them, then the last person I'd say 'what's happening on Corrie?" Now they ask me online what's coming up.

I don't download the episodes. I can wait 9 months to watch them. I do read the official ITV spoilers, so know what's coming up. If it's an extra special episode, I'll go to the ITV updates so I can see photos too.

Aside from yours and Susan's Corrie site, Weatherfield Web, and the Guestbook where you are a regular contributor, where else on the internet do you go for Corrie news or to have cyber chats with fans?
I love Glenda's blog, Corriespace and facebook. I do check out the official ITV site, plus digitalspy. On Sundays I always read your weekly Canadian update. I also love Christine's Corrie fun page. If I find a new Corrie site, I'll join and check it out.

And finally, Has Coronation Street changed your life and if so, how?
Most definitely!! When I attended my very first ping, (Corrie get togethers) I was a very shy, quiet person. For 5 years now, I've been organinizing pings. Newer fans often find it hard to believe I was shy. The regulars have seen the change. I can stand in front of a large group chat away, make jokes and am much more confidant.

I have met a lot of fans over the years, some from online Corrie sites,
British shows and of course the pings I organize. A lot of these 'Corrie friends' have become very special and I'm positive they will be lifetime friends. We meet for bbq's, meals, go to hockey games (go Oshawa Generals), shopping, trips to the zoo or baseball games. You start off with Corrie in common, but find you have so many more common interests. I treasure these friendships.

It often amazes me how one TV show that started almost 50 years ago can affect my life so much, but it has. The Corrie community is a special one. Corrie fans are the best!

Deborah, you really do deserve the title of Canada's Number One Coronation Street Fan. Thanks so much for answering my questions! Congratulations and I know you'll have a fabulous trip!

You can see all Deborah's photos of her trips to Manchester and photos of her with various Corrie stars here. Read about her surprise VIP trip by clicking on the first photo in this collection.

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