Christine Appleby (née Hardman) was the daughter of George and May Hardman and a Coronation Street resident from birth. Upon her mother's death from a brain tumour in 1960, orphaned Christine stayed on at No.13 by herself.
Christine often felt trapped in the street and longed to escape. In 1962, she contemplated suicide by jumping off the roof of Elliston's Raincoat Factory, but was talked out of doing so by Ken Barlow. She then married her old flame Colin Appleby and settled in Leeds, returning four months later as a widow after Colin's death in a car crash.
Unsure what she wanted from life, Christine was briefly engaged to Ken's father Frank, but called it off when she realised she didn't love him. In 1963, she moved in with Esther Hayes and left the street.
1939-1960: Early life
Christine Hardman was born at 13 Coronation Street, Weatherfield on 19th April 1939, the only child of parents George and May Hardman. Christine attended Bessie Street School, where she was close friends with Kenneth Barlow.
Her dad George Hardman was a bank teller and by 1953, he had saved enough money to buy a grocery shop and a detached house in Oakhill. Christine was upset to be moving away from her friends, but the family returned to No.13 in 1955, as May was forced to sell the house and shop to pay off creditors following George's death from a massive heart attack. Christine coped with the move better than May, who was too ashamed to face the neighbours. Christine spent the next few years looking after her mother, who constantly dwelled on the past and eventually had a breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Christine got a job as a machinist as Elliston's Raincoat Factory but by 1960 her mother's health weighed heavily on her mind as well as the gossip in the street upon her release from the hospital. May died of a brain tumour at the end of the year.
1961-1963: Orphaned and widowed
May's death was a shock for Christine. Losing her mother was bad enough and she had to manage the house and finances on her own. The neighbours - especially Esther Hayes - went out of their way to help her, but help also came from an unexpected source; plumber Joe Makinson did her plumbing for free and asked her out. Christine was worried that he was taking advantage but agreed to date, and a relationship soon emerged that led to a proposal after only a short time. Christine dumped Joe as they weren't quite on the same level.
Later in 1961, Christine met Ken Barlow at the train station. He was intending to move to London to get away from the expectations of his family following Ida Barlow's death. Christine convinced him to stay.
Despite taking control of her life and coping well, Christine was very unhappy. The repetitive and dull work at Elliston's didn't help and in 1962 she started wondering how people could be happy living in Coronation Street. In June, she climbed up onto the roof of the factory, intending to jump, but Ken talked her down, who reminded her how she had stopped him from making a big mistake. He had sometimes wanted better things from life as well, but told her she shouldn't give up. After the rooftop incident, Christine quit the factory and tried to live life differently. An old flame of Christine's, Colin Appleby, read about Christine in the newspaper, and they met up. Christine seized the opportunity and decided to leave Weatherfield when the relationship got serious. The pair settled in Leeds and eloped two weeks later, but Colin was killed in a car crash in October. Christine returned to Coronation Street and took a job at Miami Modes with Elsie Tanner and Dot Greenhalgh.
The residents were shocked when Christine went out with Ken Barlow's father Frank Barlow in 1963 - Frank being twice her age and Christine having previously been interested in Ken. Frank was enthusiastic about the relationship and Christine went along with it, but she was confused about what she wanted now that Colin was dead. Frank was always one step ahead, already thinking about marriage, which almost alienated him from Ken. The news sent neighbourhood gossip into overdrive and Elsie enlisted the help of Ena Sharples to spread the news that Christine had another boyfriend so that she and Frank would have some peace. Frank popped the question to Christine but she didn't answer right away. Before she decided, Christine met up with Joe Makinson again and couldn't decide who to choose. She was going to reject Joe, but he dumped her first, leading her to accept Frank's proposal.
What mainly put Christine off was the gossip in the street. It was so bad that Christine wrote a letter to the landlord of No.11, where she was living with Elsie Tanner, informing him that she was living there illegally, meaning that she had to move out. Christine soon realised that she didn't love Frank and saw him as a way to leave the street for good. She decided to be honest with him and called off the engagement.
1963-1973: Leaving the street and later years
Christine eventually left when she was promoted at Miami Modes and butted heads with Elsie and Dot, who didn't like the way she used her newfound authority. Sharing a flat at 96 Moor Lane with old friend Esther Hayes, Christine was transferred to another department of Miami Modes and her visits back home dropped off. She kept in touch with her friends from the street as she sent a telegram to congratulate Elsie and Steve Tanner on their wedding in 1967.
When Esther returned for Val Barlow's funeral in 1971, she revealed that Christine was now residing in Southampton. In 1973, it was mentioned by Lucille Hewitt that Christine had re-married and had children and in 1979 while talking about May Hardmans death, Ena Sharples mentioned to Ken she had heard Christine was at least happy these days living down south.
Hobbies and interests
- Christine was one of the original characters of Coronation Street.
- As a result of the Equity actors' strike, actress Christine Hargreaves had to leave the programme when her contract expired in December 1961. She did not return until the strike was over, although the character was said to still be living in the street during the months she was off-screen.
First and last lines
"Mrs Sharples, I want to have a word with you." (First line)
"See you around." (Final line, to Dot Greenhalgh)
|Ken Barlow | Frank Barlow | Ida Barlow | David Barlow | Jack Walker | Annie Walker | Elsie Tanner | Dennis Tanner | Linda Cheveski | Ivan Cheveski | Harry Hewitt | Lucille Hewitt | Concepta Riley | Ena Sharples | Minnie Caldwell | Martha Longhurst | Albert Tatlock | Christine Hardman | Florrie Lindley | Esther Hayes | Leonard Swindley|