In soaps, as in life, people have their sayings. In Coronation Street some are simple everyday interactions as folk go about their business at The Rovers, The Kabin or the butcher’s.
Others tell us more about the circumstances of the people who utter them.
That one chain-smoking in the ginnel is fretting over her nightmare of a daughter for the umpteenth time. Her at the bar is self-medicating thanks to the latest shedload that life has chucked at her.
These catchphrases aren’t just great for the characters and for us enjoying them at home. Where do you think the likes of Alistair McGowan, Rory Bremner and even Les Dennis would be without them?
1.”Ta-ra, chuck” – Hilda Ogden
There was nothing more comforting and everyday than a “ta-ra, chuck” from Hilda. It was the reason that millions were so happy to welcome the residents of the Street into their front rooms.
Her chief chuck was of course husband Stan. She was a lot less generous with the endearment around those who looked down their noses at the pair of them, like Annie Walker who could get all high and mighty.
In fact so furious was Hilda when Annie and son Billy Walker picked on her Stan that she stormed into The Rovers, called them all maggots and spat on the floor.
2. “So I am” – Jim McDonald
When Jim McDonald first arrived on the Street with wife Liz and sons Steve and Andy, no one had an idea quite what an embarrassment of riches he was packing.
With his unmistakable Northern Irish accent actor Charlie Lawson from Enniskillen gave Corrie fans many variations on his “So I am” and “So it is” with “Catch yourself on” being another favourite.
When he ended up in jail he expanded his repertoire with much talk of “The Big House”. Jim’s last return to the Street to make his ex-wife and youngest son’s lives a misery once more needed just one word to announce his presence.
It’s too short to call a phrase but just to hear “Elizabeth” was enough to make Liz shudder at what fresh heartbreak was likely to follow.
3.”I don’t really know!” – Mavis Wilton
No one got in more of a dither than Mavis so her catchphrase couldn’t have been more apt.
Only trouble is the person who actually said it most was not Thelma Barlow, who so perfectly played Mavis, but Les Dennis in his 1980s skits with Dustin Gee for BBC1’s Russ Abbot’s Madhouse.
Les, who later joined the show as the ill-fated Michael Rodwell, even reprised it as Mavis in 2014 when he and Sue Cleaver took part in a charity ice-bucket challenge.
With a soaked and freezing Les stood in a pink tabard outside The Kabin Sue asked him how he felt. There was of course only one answer.
4. “I say….I say…” – Fred Elliott
Weatherfield’s very own Foghorn Leghorn, master butcher Fred Elliott (John Savident) believed that if a thing was worth saying it was worth saying twice.
The most common recipient of his two-for-ones was his estranged lad Ashley Peacock but Fred also delivered plenty in The Rovers, usually as he was about to leave.
After he died, new apprentice butcher Graeme Proctor freaked Ashley out by also repeating things like Fred but it was just a wind-up.
Touchingly Fred’s final words, to on/off love Audrey, who he had finally decided to forsake for new fiancé Bev Unwin were: “Be happy, I say, be happy” before he collapsed.
5. “What can I do fer you, cock?” – Bet Gilroy
The tilt of her head and the lit cigarette in its holder were as arch as Bet’s catchphrase, delivered with magnificent aplomb by Julie Goodyear.
As barmaid then landlady of The Rovers it was a question she could ask sunnily or with menace. Often both.
In fact it wasn’t really a question at all. It was a statement. It said: “I’m in charge.”
If you had any business to conduct it would be through Bet, which is why husband Alec used to incur her wrath when he tried to get something past her.
6. “Oh, Tracy, love…” – Deirdre Barlow
The depth of disappointment you could hear in Deirdre Barlow’s voice as she tried to get her head round daughter Tracy’s latest wrongdoings, was profound.
As a single mum, raising Tracy was hard going for Deirdre. In the blink of an eye her little girl accelerated from sulky teen to cold-blooded murderer.
After Deirdre’s own wrongful imprisonment taking the stand to back up Tracy’s story at her murder trial of wife-beater Charlie Stubbs gave her panic attacks.
Most of all Deirdre could never forgive her daughter for surviving with the help of a kidney donated by husband no.3 Samir Rachid after he was murdered. You can’t really blame her.
7. “Glass of red” – Carla Connor
There are a multitude of reasons why Carla Connor has needed a glass or two – even a couple of bottles – of Malbec over the years.
She saw true love Liam Connor killed in a hit-and-run. She was raped by fiancé Frank Foster. And her long-running battle with Tracy Barlow almost tipped her over a literal cliff edge.
The fact that Carla at one stage acknowledged she had a drink problem has though been strangely circumnavigated.
Since half-brother Aidan donated a kidney to her she’s been merrily knocking it back in both The Rovers and the Bistro.
8. “Right, who’s for Hotpot?” – Betty Williams
What could be more reassuring than a plate of Betty’s hotpot delivered with no fuss and frills by the lady herself?
Betty first served it in The Rovers in 1973 when Billy Walker’s replacement manager Glyn Thomas decided food was needed to encourage folk to spend more money.
No other soap has managed to serve up a pub dish to rival it and the sound of actor Betty Driver shouting out orders for it still echoes round the show as her picture beams down from the wall by the jukebox.
What’s your favourite Corrie catchphrase? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.