Connie Rathbone was a friend of Jack Duckworth and also a pigeon lover.
A widow, Connie turned up at 9 Coronation Street to give Jack back his lost pigeon which had ended up in her garden. They struck up a friendship, although Jack's good friend Tyrone Dobbs was suspicious, believing Connie was after Jack's money, although was proven wrong when it was revealed that she was the wealthy one.
A few months after meeting, Jack moved in with her to give Tyrone and wife Molly their privacy at No.9 without him being in the way. Jack and Connie continued to visit the Street, but Connie ended up alone in late-2010 when Jack passed away.
Although she now lives in Middleton with her sister and her husband, Connie originally came from Wigan, and has fond memories of her childhood there. Her father was a ‘pigeon fancier’ and she described starting pigeon races as a particular highlight of her childhood weekends. Her dad's pigeon loft was destroyed in the war by a doodlebug.
When describing her working life, Connie said: “I used to take peoples washing in – up to my elbows in mucky water that were me!” Connie had been known to philosiphise. For example she once said that: "We stand still, and time moves past us, taking with it all kinds of things we'd like to keep". Like Jack, she also thought at their time of life friendship was more important than romance.
After returning Jack's pigeon, they quickly struck up a friendship and she soon offered him a holiday at a three-bedroom apartment in Spain, complete with its own pool, which she said belonged to a friend. Reassuring him that they would have separate bedrooms and bathrooms, Jack's only remaining concern was local gossip – and particularly how ‘old-fashioned’ Tyrone would react. Nonetheless he was pleased to join Connie as her companion, and they stayed at the apartment for about a month.
On their return on Saturday 20th June, Connie took Jack's clothes round to her house to wash them for him. Tyrone discovered Jack's suitcase full of souvenirs from Spain, when Jack had told him he was going away to Blackpool. When Jack returned home with Connie, Tyrone, angry at being lied to, said he was rethinking everything - even letting Jack continue living at No.9. He described Connie as the "first old dear that flashes her bus pass" at Jack. Jack was very angry, and Connie visibly hurt, by the things Tyrone was saying. She maintained her dignity and said to Tyrone: "I'm sorry you think ill of me son, but I hope in time you'll come to feel different." Molly went with Jack as he walked Connie to the bus stop, and, hoping bridges could be built, invited her to dinner on the Monday night. Although she enjoyed the meal, Tyrone continued sniping, believing her to be after Jack's money. She explained to him that she liked Jack because he was good company, kind and funny and was hurt that Tyrone couldn't imagine anyone liking Jack without having an ulterior motive.
In mid-July, Scarlett disappeared again. Jack suggested going round with Connie to see if she was at her house again. She blustered that she managed to catch her on her own last time but Jack put her on the spot as he asked: "Connie! What's the problem? I've never been to your house. I don't even know where it is." It turned out that she had inherited a fortune from her successful husband and lived in a big house.
When Jack decided it was time he moved out of No. 9 so that Tyrone and Molly could make the place their own, Jack accepted Connie's offer to move in with him. Tyrone had to eat a lot of humble pie when he was shown round Connie's house and realised she couldn't be a gold-digger, after all. Jack later moved in with Connie in September 2009 when he decided to give Tyrone and Molly some space together.
In late-2010, Jack revealed to Connie that he was going to die from cancer, and moved back home with Molly and Tyrone, but didn't intend to tell them. Connie turned back up and persuaded Jack to tell them as it was for the best, which he did. In November, Connie, Molly and Tyrone returned home from Jack's party to find he has passed away in his chair (Jack left the party early to head home), which left them all devastated. She attended the funeral to support Tyrone.
When Molly died after a tram crashed into Coronation Street, Connie attended the funeral and tried to support Tyrone when it was revealed his best friend Kevin Webster had an affair with Molly and that he was the biological father of baby Jack. Tyrone let his emotions get the better of him and a tearful Connie left the house.
The following year, Tyrone planned to take his new girlfriend Kirsty Soames to visit Connie, presumably meaning they had patched things up. In 2012, Tyrone told Kirsty he was visiting Connie on Christmas Eve, when it was just a coverup so he could see Fiz Stape. In February 2013 when Tyrone ran off with his daughter Ruby, the police went to question Connie but she'd told them that she had not had any contact with Tyrone for a while and had no knowledge of his whereabouts.
Family and friends
Connie was married to Eric, a miner, who died shortly after retiring, some considerable time before reaching the age of seventy. We know they celebrated ten years of marriage - he bought Connie a brooch made from cubic zirconia for their wedding anniversary.
The name of Connie's sister is unknown, but she is married to a man called Jim and he has a dog called Patch. Jim got on very well with Eric, and Connie has known him some twenty years. He worked all his life on the railways. Connie and Jack have joked that he has only one topic of conversation – the re-nationalisation of the railways. He likes going bowling and drinking stout. Jack says he likes him because he is “relentless”.
Connie didn't make many friends on Coronation Street. Besides Jack, who described Connie as a "decent, kindly type", she knew Molly and Tyrone, and had also shared a drink with Kevin and Sally Webster. Despite a difficult start with Tyrone, they finally got on and she was invited to share drinks at the Rovers for Molly's birthday.
Hobbies and interests
As well as pigeons, Connie also liked bingo, and Jack has accompanied her - despite it reminding him of Vera. She says "you can't fault" a sherry trifle.
- Connie's character was introduced to provide a storyline to move Jack Duckworth into the background due to actor William Tarmey's ill health. After Tarmey quit Coronation Street for good in 2010 and departed later in the year, Connie made her final appearance in December 2010, a month after Jack's departure.
"Oh, er, excuse me you don't know if anyone's in at No. 9 do ya?" (First Line)
"I miss Jack like you wouldn't believe, he'd hate to see you struggling like this. If he were here now..." (Final Line before being interrupted by Tyrone)
List of appearances