Coronation Street Wiki

David "Dave" Smith was a fast-talking Cockney who owned the Betting Shop in Rosamund Street in the 1960s and early 1970s. He had a long-lasting on/off relationship with Elsie Tanner, despite having a wife, Lillian, back in London.

Apart from the betting shop, Dave had investments in Weatherfield County FC, The Pink Posy, Alan Howard's Salon, and a country club in Kenilworth. On his last visit to Weatherfield in 1976, he had plans to open a cash and carry but these fell through and he went off with his old flame Blanche Hunt instead.


1923-1970: Foray into Weatherfield

Dave was born in London. He went on to become a businessman and owner of several bookmaking properties. In the 1950s, he was friendly with Blanche Hunt, and a romance blossomed, although they parted ways in 1956 after a date in Blackpool. Dave later married Lillian, who kept house in London while Dave kept a close eye on his shops in the north.

By the 1960s, Dave had a shop in Weatherfield and was well known in the town for his Cockney charm and his womanising. With his wife away, he was open to the occasional affair. In 1962, he set his sights on divorcee Elsie Tanner after she had a win on the horses. In an attempt to charm her he delivered her winnings in person but offered a night out with him as an alternative. In the Rovers Return, Dave tried to warn off a jealous Len Fairclough but was knocked to the floor by Len. Dave at first refused to give up on Elsie but when she turned down the chance to go on holiday with him he backed off.

In 1966, Smith was keen to expand his business empire. He tried to buy the Coronation Street Corner Shop from Lionel Petty but Petty refused to sell.

When Dennis Tanner started working at Smith's betting shop in Rosamund Street, Dave saw it as an opportunity to pursue Elsie again. As Dennis was in trouble with some heavies, Dave offered to pay off his £94 debt, on the condition that Elsie became his mistress. Elsie's friend Len paid the money, thwarting Dave's plan. Later in the year, Elsie's grandson Paul Cheveski went missing, and Dave pulled him out of the water, although he remained anonymous until the following year when Percy Bridge took the credit for the heroic deed in an attempt to con Elsie. When the truth came out, Elsie finally succumbed to Dave's charms. The relationship didn't last however as a few months later Elsie was reunited with her wartime sweetheart, Steve Tanner. Smith was accused of assault when Steve was attacked outside the betting shop. Len Fairclough gave Dave an alibi, saying that couldn't have done it as he was in a gaming club at the time.

Local moral spokesperson Ena Sharples was never a fan of Dave, so when he applied to have his betting licence renewed, Ena started a petition to have his shop closed down. Smith was in conflict with Len, who had signed the petition despite a conflict of interest as he had long carried a torch for Elsie. Dave convinced Len to persuade Ena to drop the petition.

In 1968, by which time Elsie had married Steve and been widowed, Dave bought drapers shop Gamma Garments and turned it into a florists - "The Pink Posy" - and offered Elsie the position of manager. Elsie took on the position and the pair eventually rekindled their romance.

The following year, Smith came into conflict with Ena again when she got back the money Ray Langton owed him before he could deal with Ray himself. Dave warned Ena that her timid friend Minnie Caldwell owed him £12 in gambling debts. He was going to wipe the slate clean as a favour to Elsie, but when Ena gave him a telling off, accusing him of making children starve with his betting shops, he changed his mind and decided the debt still stood. Ena managed to reverse his decision when she found out that he hadn't told the taxman about the money stolen by Ray, and threatened to blackmail him. Dave paid Ena to keep quiet. However, shortly afterwards Ena discovered Minnie had disappeared due to her debts. Although Minnie soon turned up, everyone blamed Dave for her disappearance.

When Dave's wife Lilian travelled to Weatherfield from London asking for a divorce, citing Elsie. Dave persuaded her to stay married to him in exchange for more money a week that he was paying her. However, Elsie was furious to learn that he was married and ended their relationship for good.

1970-1976: Other business interests

In 1970 Dave added a further property to his empire when he bought a Salon from Alan Howard, although he quickly came into conflict with the staff for sacking Bernard Butler, resulting in most of his staff walking out. They only returned when he reinstated Bernard.

Later in the year, Dave loaned Stan Ogden £600 so that Hilda Ogden could travel to Australia to comfort her daughter Irma after the death of Irma's husband and son. The street residents gave Stan enough money to pay Dave back but Stan presented him to the deeds to his house instead, and used the money to invest in the Corner Shop in Irma's name to provide her with a job. Dave briefly dated the much younger Irma Barlow, taking advantage of the fact that the Ogdens had to approve of the liaison due to his power to evict them. Stan paid Dave back the following year when the Ogdens won £500 on Premium Bonds.

In 1971, Lucille Hewitt, an employee at the betting shop, was mugged and two thugs took the shop's takings. Lucille recognised one of them as Frank Bradley, who was dating Bet Lynch, and told Dave, who set upon Frank with a pair of heavies.

After his shop was demolished, Dave chose not to renew his licence and stayed away from Weatherfield for several years. He showed up again in 1976 with plans to open a cash and carry in the old Mark Brittain Warehouse. The residents protested against his plans, and he decided not to pursue the idea. He was however delighted to meet up with his old friend Blanche Hunt in the Street. After reminiscing, Dave asked Blanche to manage his country club in Kenilworth for him. Blanche left the Street with Dave, and returned a year later without him, telling the residents that they were no longer an item.

Background information

Reginald Marsh played Dave Smith, first appearing in Episode 184 on 17th September 1962. From 1966 to 1971, he appeared on a recurring basis. He made a brief return in 1976.

As the ruthless-but-charming Cockney employer of the Street, Dave Smith's role in the series is somewhat similar to the later Mike Baldwin. Mike first appeared in 1976, the same year Dave made his final appearance in the programme.

In his 1962 appearances, Dave did not have a moustache.

See also


"Come on, darlin' will you? Alf, I'll be in touch." (Final line).