A random selection of canine characters from Soapland

The anorak behind East of the M60 is also a Coronation Street fan, though blogging interests and the like have got in the way of catching up with his five times a week Corrie fix. Schmeichel is one of a few dogs to have graced the cobbles of Coronation Street. As an opportunist way of grabbing more traffic on the back of this storyline, he hastily constructed this cheap and cheerful rundown of other canine characters besides the excellent Schmeichel. Barking? Yes, if you refer to our intrepid popular culture fiend, dog lover and part-owner of a Jack Russell Terrier (who sometimes adds the odd bit of creative output to this blog).

Our Canine Combination:

  1. Boomer (Alsatian, Coronation Street);
  2. Roly (Standard Poodle, EastEnders);
  3. Eccles (Border Terrier, Coronation Street);
  4. Bouncer (Golden Labrador Retriever, Neighbours);
  5. Moses (Heinz 57/unknown, Crossroads);
  6. Batley (Yorkshire Terrier, Emmerdale);
  7. Cracker (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Brookside);

1. Boomer (Coronation Street, 1990):

21 years ago, Jack Duckworth’s mate Bert Latham led a fox-hunt with Boomer, an Alsatian which took up temporary residence at 9, Coronation Street in December 1990. The dog got into some scrapes during his brief stay. This was the first Coronation Street canine I could recall.

2. Roly (EastEnders, 1985 – 1993):

Even newly launched soap operas needed a canine character, and EastEnders was no exception. Roly was Sharon Watts’ dog, given to her by Dirty Den, as Angie Watts wasn’t too keen on the mutt. Off-screen, breathing problems led to the dog’s retirement from its days in Walford.

3. Eccles (Coronation Street, 2007 – to date):

Besides Schmeichel, one of Coronation Street’s recent canine companions came in the form of Ken Barlow’s dog, Eccles. Unbeknown to the untrained eye or casual Corriephile, three different dogs have played Eccles with different ones drafted for each scene. Also worthy of local interest is the fact he was born in Dinting – one of two Corrie dogs bred and nurtured east of the M60 motorway.

4. Bouncer (Neighbours):

Some Neighbours detractors may say that Bouncer was the best actor in the Victorian soap set in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough. Bouncer also clocked a few years and made his debut in February 1987 (or for us UK viewers, late 1988). He has survived road accidents, a house fire, being poisoned by mushrooms, and a preposterous storyline (where he dreamt of marrying a Sheepdog next door).

In quieter times, he was Toby Mangel’s favourite dog and Mrs Mangel’s long time companion. He left Erinsborough in 1993 and, off-screen, died of cancer thirteen weeks after his last scenes. He was inundated with tributes from around the world.

5. Moses (Crossroads, 1980s):

Everyone’s favourite woolly hat wearing male character [Benny] adopted a stray dog by the name of Moses.

6. Batley (Emmerdale, 2000 – 2002):

Batley was one of Edna Birch’s dogs. The Yorkshire Terrier had a brief sojourn in Beckindale with his stay ended by cancer in 2002. Off screen, Batley was Bracken, the real life female canine companion of Shirley Stelfox who plays Edna Birch on screen. Once more, there’s another connection east of the M60; this time Shirley Stelfox herself, who was born and brought up in Dukinfield.

7. Cracker (Brookside, 1994):

Jimmy Corkhill’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier hold the record for the most canine appearance on Brookside (68 episodes). He received the dog as a part-payment from a drugs deal. He ended his on-screen role being run over by a van.

Any More Additions?

If you could think of any more fictitious canines to add to our septet of soapland canines, feel free to do so. Of course, there are several more dogs in Soapland worthy of inclusion, but I thought against adding the most obvious ones.

S.V., 14 November 2011.

Edited on the 26 August 2019 for International Dog Day.

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