The Bad Mum Olympics

Since I began watching Corrie back in 2002 (which is not that long), I’ve noticed a few recurring themes that appear throughout the main storylines: money, or lack thereof, as a key motivator for life decisions, class divisions, or a character whose trusting nature gets him/her taken advantage of, etc. etc.

But the one theme I want draw your attention here is that of negligent, or even abusive, mothers. To watch Coronation Street, you’d think millions of British children are being abandoned every day.

Let’s take a look at some of the worst offenders:

Gold Medal: Cilla Battersby-Brown

Cilla came to street as a barfly who called herself Lulu. Les picked her up and a half-decade of ruddy faced passion began. It was later learned that Cilla was, in fact, the negligent mother of Fizz Brown, who came to the street as a bit of a runaway (now we know why).

Cilla “raised” her children, Fizz, Chesney, and the rarely seen Billy, in an environment of emotional abuse, welfare scams, and an endless succession of mooching “uncles” until she hooked up with Les.

Her marriage to Les brought about a brief bit of stability in their lives, even going so far as seeing Les legally adopt Chesney. Alas, it was not to be. Eventually, Les took off to live his dream of being a roadie for an Irish ZZ Top cover band (ZZ Top o’ the Mornin’), never to be seen again. Cilla, too, began taking off for short periods in an ongoing effort to rid herself of her family. When she wasn’t taking Yana on holiday or jetting off to Florida in her cancer scam, she stayed at home to make Chesney’s life miserable by belittling his role in the school musical.

Finally, she got a job working as a caretaker for a rich, grouchy man named Frank. When he died, she pawned a neckless that fetched, to her shock, £45,000. Instead of using that money to invest or start a savings, she took off to the one place on Earth engineered to separate you from your money: Las Vegas.

Despite the fact that his adoptive father was long gone, Cilla abandoned her son with her now former lodger in a house that nobody seems to pay for (unless Les sends rent cheques).

Silver Medal: Tracy Barlow

Once up a time, Tracy had a drunken one-night stand with Steve Macdonald. Around the same time, Tracy drugged and led Roy Cropper to her bed, causing him to believe that they shared a night of passion and that he betrayed his Hayley. When Tracy discovered she was pregnant, she convinced Roy that the baby was his to the point of writing his name on the birth certificate, indentifying him as the father. She then sold “Patience Cropper” to Roy and Hayley before eventually telling the truth. After much agonizing, Patience was returned to Tracy, who re-named her Amy Barlow. Steve’s name was rightfully written on the birth certificate as the father. The affair nearly destoryed Roy and Hayley’s marriage and pretty much broke Roy for a while.

In the care of her birth parents, Amy was frequently shuffled off to whomever had a free arm so Tracy could go about doing … whatever it was Tracy did in her spare time. In the end, Tracy murdered Charlie Stubbs and went to jail, depriving Amy of her mother for the next couple of decades.

Bronze Medal: Teresa Morton

The rarely seen, often mentioned, ex-wife of Jerry Morton and mother to his four children. One day Kayleigh Morton got a call from her half-brother Finlay, who lives with Jerry’s ex, Teresa. It seems he had been abandoned by Teresa and her new fancyman. When Jerry confronted her about this, she wasn’t interested in her son’s well-being and so he came to live with the Mortons.

What do you think? Any other contenders for the bad mum crown from the past 48 years that I may have missed? How about dads? Do they seem to be off the hook, or is that just my perception?

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About shatnerian

Former Maritimer living in the suburbs of Montreal.
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30 Responses to The Bad Mum Olympics

  1. Michigander Fan says:

    Those are 3 pretty bad moms for sure – how was Liz McDonald as a mom? Or Deirdre? Steve seems OK (a little immature about some things), but as far as Traceh goes – is she a changeling, or does the apple not fall far from the tree?

    Gail has to count as a pretty bad mom in a lot of ways (although she has done some things right).

    MF

  2. geenee says:

    I think the silver should go to Jackie Dobbs! She was a thief who left Tyrone to fend for himself. He was sleeping rough until Jack and Vera took him in, if memory serves (it can be hazy).

    Then there was Ashley’s old friend Zoe who dragged her baby around, also sleeping rough in terrible places. The baby eventually died of meningitis or something similar; not as a result of sleeping outdoors, but it couldn’t have helped.

    There seem to have been a lot of dead babies on Corrie.

    It shouldn’t only be the mothers to blame either. What about our Terry, who sold his son?

  3. Marsha says:

    I pooped.

  4. fondue123 says:

    I’m not sure what to say, Marsha. Congratulations?

  5. pip says:

    Though she can’t hold a candle to the three medal winners I think Frankie Baldwin deserves an honourable mention for sleeping with the lad she’d raised as her son since he was in short pants. What her actions have done to poor Warren, her natural son, we’ll probably never know, but they can’t have helped him to speak any more clearly.

    This is a little off topic, but I find it interesting that no-one on the Street behaves badly because they have an alcohol or drug problem. Have I not been watching long enough (not quite 4 years) or is this a taboo storyline?

  6. S. Poole says:

    pip,

    Leanne was using drugs supplied by the evil thug Jez Quigley years ago, a sex-for-cocaine arrangement near the end if I recall correctly.

    And of course Hilda Ogden was hooked on the little black “diet” pills Eddie Yates used to bring her. 😉

    Oh, btw, Jackie Dobbs was a monster, a mouth (and teeth) like Janice Battersby with twice the venom!

  7. geenee says:

    Frankie should definitely be on the podium! I’d forgotten about her.

  8. Michigander Fan says:

    Oh yeah – Frankie! How soon we forget! And actually, Jamie’s original mom wasn’t a prize either, but I don’t know how long she was an on-screen character.

    MF

  9. kay says:

    with all these ‘bad moms’… how come none are reported to Social Services?… remember Gail called them on Sarah and they did respond and she was NOT a bad mom .. it was just that Gail was taking a hissyfit and was not getting her own way when it came to Sarah and Beth..Gail should definitely be a contender for this award..she definitely loves her David but his doings have escalated from bad to worse cuz she has not made him accountable..What started out as wrong doings are now his evil doings..

  10. Gayle says:

    Pip, re your drug alcohol question. Carol, Jaumie’s birth mother was an alcoholic who behaved outrageously.

    Apparently, now though she has sobered up and remarried.

  11. debbie says:

    I think that Liz was a good mom, although seemed to have no regard for her own safety.

    Audrey Roberts was not the best mom in town either.

    As far as dads go, Martin Platt was good dad until he started an affair with a minor and then got a brand new family.

    Danny Baldwin had an affair with his son’s girlfriend.

  12. geenee says:

    Some of the moms aren’t the greatest because they try too hard, eg. Gail and Sally. I think Liz was a pretty good mom, though the twins were teenagers when they came to Corrie. She had them when she was quite young which was why she married Jim. I think she was about 17 so I give her credit for trying. She now seems to be making up for lost time since she married so young.

  13. eila says:

    What about Ken? His kids usually got shipped off to Scotland (and forgotten) within a few years of birth.

  14. CorrieLoverUSA says:

    Not sure if Corrie will make Carla a mother in her role…The actress Allison King just announced she is pregnant in real life. I wonder if it will be written into the storyline…I miss Corrie alot….Anyone know when it will be back?

  15. beanie says:

    eila….good point about Ken. His kids just vanished into the highlands. Terry Duckworth sold his kid and renegged on a kidney donation after taking the money for another one but we knew he was a baddy from the start. Ken on the other hand is held in such high esteem. Was his relationship with Daniel just a whim for a few weeks?

  16. missusmac says:

    Does it count for anything that Ken admitted he was a crap Dad? (Hence his guilt-ridden stalking of Daniel.) All other children were simply banished, or spent years in their room `listening to tapes.` i.e. Tracey.

    Audrey was a bad mom, apparently. (before my time, but on Youtube you can see her first appearance, I think, on the show when she comes in all boozy and blousy for Gail`s wedding to Brian.) But she`s a good one now.

    Sooo… is Blanche a bad mom? A critique of Deirdre might say Blanche was not the best bringer-upper-er. Can you IMAGINE Blanche as your mom?

  17. missusmac says:

    And btw, I adore Blanche. I just would never want her has my mom. As a great aunt, fine.
    I`d get all the good gossip at all the weddings just for the asking, no guilty responsibility when she makes a scene….

  18. geenee says:

    Yet again I come to Ken’s defence! He spent a lot of time driving back and forth to Scotland to see Daniel but there came a time when Daniel didn’t want to bother, since he was busy with friends. When the twins went to Scotland, it was felt that they were better off with the grandparents since he was teaching school at the time. I didn’t watch much back then – being busy myself – so don’t really remember how often he visited. I do remember him going there the odd time.

    Now if I had Tracy, I’d probably lock her in her room!

    I would hate to have Blanche as a mother! Everything she says about or to Dierdre was criticism for years. She did mellow a couple of times and almost show affection and I suppose there is real affection well hidden someplace.

  19. corrierules says:

    Very interesting post! And well-themed to current events. Forget China… we have our own Corrie Olympics going on in our little corner of t’internet. I knew we could count on the corriecanuckers to keep us entertained as we go thru corrie-withdrawl in canada. Thank you John.

    PS. For what it’s worth I think Tracey deserves the gold medal, not Cilla. She exposed Amy to a lot of horrific stuff and even left her in the care of the vile Charlie Stubbs.

  20. the pink lady says:

    What about Sarah-Louise? She actually thinks she is a good mum, which in fact, makes it far worse, in my opinion.

  21. Michigander Fan says:

    You know what I realized at 4 am when I couldn’t sleep?

    1. Sarah’s rabbit fur coat seems to have disappeared. We haven’t seen it on her this fall.

    2. Before the Olympics started, we were a solid 9 months behind the UK in episodes (i.e. August 7th was our last air date, and we were dealing with the fallout from the Guy Fawkes bonfire – which I think is November 5th). Once we get back on the air from the Olympics, we will be nearly 10 months behind! They ought to run doubles to catch us back up, at least a little, don’t you think???

    MF

  22. geenee says:

    LOL. Anyone who thinks about Sarah’s coat at 4 a.m. is really obsessed! I don’t think Sarah is such a bad mom considering her age when she had Bethany. She always leaves her with people she considers reliable.

    Yes, we should get some double episodes and sometimes CBC has mercy and does that.

    Good point about Tracy winning gold. She did put Amy upstairs while she murdered Charlie, though. Whereas Cilla often abandoned her kids while she took off with different “uncles,” leaving them with not much to eat in the house. Cilla was so bad they were placed in foster care at times. On the other hand, Tracy left Amy alone while she slept with Charlie at his place, sneaking back in the morning before she woke up (hopefully).

    Tracy would win for extreme behaviour, but Cilla had the stamina and staying power to carry on the bad mothering for many years – and with 3 kids as opposed to Tracy’s 1.

  23. John says:

    I take the points about Liz, Deirdre, and Gail but I don’t think they fall into the truly horrid category. I guess my criteria for bad mums was this: Did they do something truly heinous to their children or are they merely ineffectual or disinterested?

    Frequently abandoning your kids, or trying to sell them, is heinous and pretty damned illegal. Liz, Deirdre, and Gail may have made some bad decisions in their parenting but I think they all love their children and only want what’s best for them.

    With the men, it seems to me that they’re not held up to the same kind of scrutiny. Ray Langton walked out on his family 30 years ago but it was he who took Ken Barlow to task over his own scattered progeny. Ken is still considered a good man, just one who’s made a lot of mistakes with his children. He just isn’t held up to the same kind of judgement that the women are.

    Maybe it’s a bit of sexism on the part of the writers (or our society). It’s just something I’ve noticed.

  24. Gayle says:

    Here’s a laugh for you…I dreamt last night that I was dating Dev and he took me to Paris (I’m the age of Diedre). I don’t even fancy Dev!

  25. mayfairgirl says:

    I seem to remember a ‘bad’ mum Trish/Trisha that lived with Curly Watts for a bit. She was horrid!

  26. debbie says:

    John, I think nothing fires up a soap audience like a bad mother. Women are held to much higher standards than men where children are concerned. Moreover, are are supposed be “naturally” attuned to children or some BS. Therefore bad moms are doubly bad because they endanger children and go against their nature.

    Also, since soaps are geared to women, the characters with the most complex story lines are about women. So motherhood will be huge.

  27. geenee says:

    Martin suddenly became a bad father. He was pretty good until he met the last live-in girlfriend – well – other than having an affair with a teenager; then he seemed to drop his first family like a hot potato. This is pretty common among people and I’ve known a few dads that took off with other women when there was a new baby in the house. But we were talking about bad moms. Maybe we should do one on bad dads.

  28. kunzie says:

    All interesting comments…I find that I keep checking in to see new posts or threads here…I for one would certainly welcome a discussion-of-the-day, similar to this topic…or do our hosts want a bit of an All-Star break?

  29. blueheadlights says:

    Many of the mothers mentioned do suck but has there been a storyline of a physically or emotionally abusive parent. I mean beyond the serious neglect.

  30. geenee says:

    Maude Grimes and Blanche probably meant well but they were always critical of everything their daughters did. Mind you, Maude was right about a couple of the men Maureen married. I remember her putting the dead fish in the store counter when it was being renovated. Some of these mothers just don’t have a clue how to talk to their offspring, and I can relate to that. Always being a critic could be called emotional abuse but I don’t remember anything physical.

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