Read Jack Duckworth and Me by Bill Tarmey Free Online
Book Title: Jack Duckworth and Me|
The author of the book: Bill Tarmey
ISBN 13: 9781849833745
Edition: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Date of issue: 2010
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.54 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.4
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About a quarter of this bio is a really good, super interesting read. Unfortunately once Bill Tarmey’s life catches up to when he takes the role of Jack Duckworth on Coronation Street it becomes Jack’s biography and hardly includes anything else from the rest of Bill’s life.
Instead we get a complete breakdown of Jack’s adventures and follies on The Street. How many episodes he was in per year based on appearance charts, which cast members, left the show or died or were added. How he and Vera’s volatile on screen marriage was holding out. Basically it’s a rundown of Coronation Street for the past 31 years. I will admit that these behind the scenes moments and story synopsis became way more interesting once it got to the point that I started watching the show and knew the characters and storylines. But still, I wanted to read more about Bill Tarmey not the character Jack. I guess I should have surmised from the title “JACK DUCKWORTH and me (the “and me” is written in tiny letters) that this was going to be a bio about a fictional character. Shouldn’t I? Anyways.
Born in 1941 in a rented terrace house in Manchester England, Bill’s early life was one of poverty, food rationing, tragedy and a close knit family that all lived a stone’s throw from each other. His biological father was killed in 1944 while serving as an ambulance driver in the Second World War and Bill has no memories of him. What I found interesting here is that despite the adversity of his childhood, he only has happy memories of the time. Everyone was in the same boat. Young widowed mothers, air raid sirens and playing in bombed out buildings were the norm. You were often hungry and there was no time to be idle, everyone worked at what they could which often included factories. He admits to being hopeless in the classroom but gifted when it came to music. This entire early section really took me into postwar England and the struggles the country faced.
“There was never a turkey for Christmas lunch. It would be a chicken and most of the breast would go to my dad because he was a working man and needed to keep up his strength. For me, whose only experience of meat was corned beef or Prem (a cheap version of Spam) a chicken wing was a real treat.”
Bill met Alice, the woman he would spend the rest of his life with at the age of 14 and married her at 18. At the time of their marriage in 1962 he was working as an asphalter and had .37p in his pocket. There is very little insight into his marriage or personal life, except for his children being born, but it seems to me like theirs is a real love story.
Bill talks a lot about his singing career which started in the church, and continued into the pubs and club scene. It’s my opinion that this is the career path he would have preferred and his true passion. His real life eerily mirrored that of his alter ego he played on screen, with lurches into fortune and fame and just plain luck. “I feared that some new producer would recognise my failings and wonder what Bill Tarmey was doing pretending to be an actor. I could never relax because I always thought the bubble was going to burst at any moment. I’ve had a wonderful time playing him it’s just that for a long time I felt a bit of a fraud.”
Sadly The Cobbles lost Bill Tarmey (Nov 10/12) and with his passing Coronation Street loses a true legend. I will miss Jack Duckworth; his last Corrie episode still brings tears to my eyes, as he dances with his Vera. Cheers Jack!
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