Coronation Street's Thelma Barlow says the soap has lost its humour

‘I don’t see much to laugh at now’: Coronation Street legend Thelma Barlow says the soap has lost its humour and admits it’s a ‘pity’ that there are too many gruesome plots

Coronation Street legend Thelma Barlow has told how the soap has lost its humour over the years, admitting ‘I don’t see much to laugh at now.’

The 91-year-old actress played lovable Mavis Wilton in the ITV soap for 26 years, before the character left the cobbles for a new life in the Lake District in 1997.

And Thelma admitted that it’s a ‘pity’ that Coronation Street has many dark storylines with ‘so many murders’ these days and that it’s lacking in warmth and humour. 

Having her say: Coronation Street legend Thelma Barlow has told how the soap has lost its humour over the years, admitting ‘I don’t see much to laugh at now’ (pictured in  2005)

Thelma was known for her comic portrayal of shop worker Mavis with the character sharing many light-hearted moments with pal Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) in The Kabin. 

However, in a new interview, the TV star has spoken out against the soap for lacking in the gentle comedy she had in her days on the show.

Speaking on the Distinct Nostalgia podcast, she said: ‘The Street, when I was in it, had this wonderful thing of comedy, the comedy characters. It was held in such high regard when I was in it. And the warmth of the public was so noticeable.

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

They way there were: Thelma admitted that it’s a ‘pity’ that Coronation Street has many dark storylines with ‘so many murders’ these days and that it’s lacking in warmth and humour (pictured in character as Mavis with Barbara Knox as Rita Sullivan)

‘We used to get scripts where you’d talk about nothing important, but they could be so real and so funny. It was normal conversation without having great meaning and drama to it.’

Thelma, who went on to appear in Dinnerladies and Doctor Who, went on to share her opinion of the more gruesome and violent plots that have unfolded on screen in recent years.

She said: ‘[Viewers] have seen people being born on the Street and growing up and then becoming married and then have these terrible things happen which they seem to have to write into the Street, and into all these series.

‘I don’t see why they should. I’m sure people would watch without the huge dramas that go on. I’d think, “Who wants to buy a house on a street with so many murders?” I just think it is such a pity.’

Fan favourite: The 91-year-old actress played lovable Mavis Wilton in the ITV soap for 26 years, before the character left the cobbles for a new life in the Lake District in 1997 (pictured in 1994)

Thoughts: ‘The Street, when I was in it, had this wonderful thing of comedy, the comedy characters… I don’t watch it regularly now. I occasionally will have a look but I don’t see much to laugh at now. I think it is a shame’ (pictured in 2006)

Meanwhile Thelma went on to question the amount of episodes of the soap and the amount of cast members involved.

She added: ‘They had so many more episodes to do and instead of taking it more slowly and filling the gaps they got more and more storylines and more and more characters and you just got confused.

‘I think it was Helen [Worth, who plays Gail Platt] I was talking to or somebody and I said there were only about 25 in the cast when I joined but now there are like 50, 60 or 70.

Drama: I’m sure people would watch without the huge dramas that go on. I’d think, “Who wants to buy a house on a street with so many murders?” I just think it is such a pity’ (pictured, murderer Pat Phelan)

‘So people have to keep track of their lives and what is happening to them.’ 

Despite being a hugely popular character that wasn’t killed off, Thelma ruled out ever returning to the cobbles.

‘They’ve asked me back two or three times’, she explained. ‘But I’ve said no because I feel I’ve packed Mavis away in a box now.

‘I don’t think I’d know how to do her anyway. Maybe a good script would make me realise how I’d played the part.’

No going back: Despite being a hugely popular character that wasn’t killed off, Thelma ruled out ever returning to the cobbles (pictured front row, second right in 1974)

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