The Serial Lover: An Annie March Novel

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As landlady of the Rovers Return , Annie tried to bring some of the Beaumont excellence to the backstreets of Weatherfield. Staff and customers became accustomed, with some amusement, to her fanciful ideas and delusions of grandeur. However, not all customers were welcome, and the more common element of the riffraff could expect service with a scowl, Annie barely disguising her disdain.

Neighbours and even staff were frequently offended by Annie's attitude, and her rush to judgement resulted in several boycotts of the Rovers in favour of The Flying Horse. After Jack's death, Annie continued to run the Rovers with her usual high standards.

A select few people saw a more vulnerable side to Annie - notably Billy and Lucille - as Annie contemplated retirement, but she always continued on as Jack would have wanted her to do. If age and the strain of her job was taking their toll, it never showed as Annie remained in full control of her faculties until she stepped down from her role, and her staff knew not to treat her like an invalid as Annie could and did crack the whip when required.

Annie was obsessed with social status and judged people according to their education and position in the community. Authority figures could expect a personal welcome at the Rovers, or even an invitation through to the back for a sherry.

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Among her own kind at the Weatherfield Ladies Licenced Victuallers , the domain of insecure women and bitter rivalries dressed up as friendships, Annie would take any opportunity to show off. Annie had charm and a way with words and could usually find a way to get what she wanted from people, but when the outcome wasn't in her favour in those situations, of course, Annie was entirely blameless , a "migraine" would come on, forcing Annie to retire to bed.

Although her airs and graces came from her mother, it was the Beaumonts who could do no wrong in Annie's eyes. They had continental roots, and a long history in Clitheroe as one of its elite, at least according to Annie. Her overly romantic references to her family history were humoured - though scarcely believed - by staff and customers alike. Annie's delusions of grandeur were aided by the fact that, with one exception, none of her family ever appeared in Weatherfield to shatter her illusions.

In , Annie received a visit from a mystery guest, who she recognised as her cousin Charles Beaumont. They hadn't seen each other since Clitheroe, and each had an entire life story to tell the other. Although Charles gave the impression of being wealthy, he borrowed money without the intention of paying it back, and news quickly reached Annie that he was doing the same in Coronation Street , using his connection to her to borrow from her staff and friends. Annie made sure he paid his debts and then told him to leave.

Born in , Jack Walker was eight years older than Annie. During the Depression, he took what work he could, but he was most at home behind the bar of his brother Arthur 's locale, The Nag's Head. They first met when Jack "saved" Annie from jumping off a bridge, only to find she'd been admiring the water below. Annie had always screened her potential suitors, and a working man like Jack would normally be dismissed out of hand, but she couldn't help herself in wanting to see more of this tall, kind stranger.

Unlike Annie, there was nothing pretentious about Jack - he was a kindly man, with a genial but firm manner, and he was completely down to earth. Behind the bar, they were a couple much loved and respected by the neighbours, and their stewardship passed without any major scandals. On a smaller scale, however, their marriage was a battle of personalities, in particular Annie's whims against Jack's salt-of-the-earth pragmatism.

Jack knew that Annie's flash-in-the-pan ideas were only that, and so he would usually humour her - however, Annie could easily pick up on this and she enjoyed leading her brow-beaten husband a merry dance, leaving him unsure if she was serious or not. On the other hand, Jack was the only person who made Annie feel the need to justify herself and one look from him was often enough to knock her off her high horse.

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This was not the case for the customers, and it usually fell to Jack to smooth relations with whoever Annie had offended. Sometimes, during minor spats, Annie's pride would prevent her from making up with him. In , she went on holiday without him, and the following year went to the theatre with her friend Arthur Forsythe-Jones to make Jack jealous. In , however, Annie was distraught when she thought Jack had died in a viaduct crash, and was overcome with relief when he entered the Rovers having just heard about the incident.

After Jack's death, Annie never re-married. She kept a photograph of Jack on the mantelpiece in the Rovers living room, a reminder of the husband she loved so dearly. Annie tried to give her children the best possible start in life.


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Initially, her efforts were concentrated on Joan , or 'Joanie'. With a grammar school education, and a teaching qualification, Joan was the apple of her mother's eye, and Annie beamed with pride when she married Gordon Davies in , however once the Davies settled in Derby , Joan put in only two appearances in Weatherfield. Annie's plan had worked too well; she considered Annie part and parcel of Weatherfield, no different than the riffraff she served. Joan's home did however serve as a place of respite for Annie whenever she needed a break from the tiring routine of tending bar.

Annie had occasionally considered retiring to Derby but didn't think the Davies' wanted her, however that was where she ultimately did retire in Billy was a bad penny; he never settled long in one place or job, returning to Weatherfield more for the security of his home turf than to visit Annie. He never wanted to follow in his parents' footsteps, and ducked out of working at the Rovers, but circumstances - mainly Jack's death and his sense of responsibility towards Annie - kept putting him back behind the bar. Annie held out hope that he'd make something of himself, and did her best to push him in the right direction, but wasn't as honest or hardworking as his father, preferring the simple pleasures such as women and gambling.

Still, he and Annie managed to sustain a good relationship even through the most difficult times. Later in life, Annie sometimes regretted the fact that her children had flown the nest. At Christmas , she reminisced with Bet about the large family Christmases they enjoyed when the children were young with her parents and Jack's sisters and dwelled on the fact that they were all now gone. Lucille Hewitt was born in Coronation Street and lived at No.

The Walkers were close friends of the Hewitts, with Concepta being a former live-in barmaid at the establishment and Harry a frequent patron. When Lucille refused to move with her parents to Ireland in , Annie offered to let her live at the Rovers and all parties agreed. Annie found Lucille somewhat rebellious; an example of modern youth which Annie knew little about.

She didn't like Lucille's tendency to make impulsive decisions, such as leaving a promising job for better paid factory work at the local PVC factory , and getting engaged to Alistair Bradshaw despite only just meeting him. Annie occasionally extended an olive branch to Lucille, and gave her elocution lessons when she didn't get a secretarial job in For the most part, Lucille found Annie cold and difficult to talk to, finding more sympathy and understanding from Jack.

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Most of the time, Lucille didn't tell Annie what she was up to as she knew she would try to put a stop to it. In , Lucille left the Rovers to squat at a hippie commune, which Annie sorted out by contacting the landlord who evicted them.

Sometimes Annie went too far, such as when she read Lucille's post when Lucille wouldn't tell her the contents. Despite their rows, Annie cared a great deal for Lucille and when Lucille moved out of the Rovers for good, Annie looked out for her as she would if she were her own daughter.

When she saw the state of the bedsit Lucille was sharing with her boyfriend Danny Burrows , Annie offered to let them live at the Rovers, despite her disapproval of them living together, but Lucille refused. When Lucille fled to Ireland to avoid seeing Gordon Clegg in , she never returned. Nellie Harvey was Annie's counterpart from the Laughing Donkey. In , Nellie paved the way for Annie to become a chairperson within the Weatherfield Ladies Licenced Victuallers, thus beginning a friendship of sorts.

Essentially, Nellie was Annie's social nemesis, although their relationship was dressed up as a friendship. In November , when Nellie recognised Annie's ward Lucille Hewitt go-go-dancing on the bar of her friend Kitty Stonely 's pub, the Aquarius , she delighted in luring Annie there to see the shock on her face when she saw what her ward was up to. Determined not to let Annie know about it, they were annoyed when she did find out and invited herself, and were livid when the eligible Lt Commander Gerald Prince monopolised Annie for the night.

Though she was unable to get one, Nellie told Ethne confidently that if she couldn't get her a ticket, no one could, however Annie then interjected to suggest that one of them give up their ticket, deciding by coin toss.

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Nellie concurred, but little did Annie know - and Nellie was only too happy to tell her - that as Nellie was due to give a speech at the luncheon, it would have to be Annie who gave up her ticket. On occasion, Nellie dropped the mask of friendship. In , when Annie beat Nellie to the punch when the Lady Victuallers asked for someone to open the Brookside Motel , Nellie told her 'friend' disdainfully: "You should be put out - every night - like the bloody cat you are! After catching Arthur at the Rovers in his pyjamas, Nellie announced she was going to divorce Arthur and sue Annie for enticement.

Annie did nothing to encourage Arthur, and forced him to return to Nellie by threatening never to speak to him again. Nellie then took him back, and the state of affairs returned to much the same as before. Annie had already convinced herself she'd be the perfect Mayoress, and did not need asking twice. After their year in office, Alf remained a friend to his former Mayoress and he was one of the few people permitted to call her by her first name.

Annie sometimes confided in him, such as in when she told him she was installing a temporary manager at the Rovers while she was on a winter cruise as she didn't trust her staff.


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  4. She also acted as his friend, such as later in the same year when she warned Alf that people were talking about him and Audrey Potter. Betty Turpin was hired as bar staff by Jack in while Annie was in Majorca. On her return, Annie took a dislike to Betty and tried to sack her on the grounds of incompatibility, but Betty stayed at her post with Jack's support and eventually Annie was won round.

    Betty was Annie's longest-serving employee, but they were never friends as Annie didn't believe in fraternizing with staff. Likewise, Betty's length of service did not change Annie's untrusting nature; when in-house brewery decorator Gary Hankins copied Annie's key and stole from her, Annie insinuated to Betty that she thought she was the thief, and complained about her to Nellie Harvey. Betty hit back by threatening to sue Annie for defamation of character. Annie infuriated her further by, after grudgingly apologising, expecting her to leave her new job at the Corner Shop and take her place behind the bar, though she did eventually return.

    Annie and Betty did share many warmer moments. When Cyril Turpin died, Annie took charge of Betty and offered her some words of comfort, having been through the death of a husband herself. The women also shared jokes on occasion, and Annie confided private feelings in Betty, which she never did with Bet Lynch. In , with many more years of service at the Rovers behind her, Betty counted Annie as her favourite landlady.