Edward Jeremy Timothy "Eddie" Yeats was an ex-convict-turned-binman who socialised with the residents of Coronation Street in the 1970s and lodged at No.13 with Stan and Hilda Ogden from 1980 to 1983.
Born in Liverpool, Eddie was a jack of all trades, but never had a steady job; he made money from opportunistic thieving and selling on stolen or faulty goods, procured for him by any of his criminal friends, who like Eddie were in and out of prison. In 1974, he appeared in Coronation Street in parole from Walton Jail and convinced Minnie Caldwell, ex-landlady of his cellmate Jed Stone, to give him lodgings. He returned some months later a free man and made the Street his new home, give or take another stint in prison for handling stolen goods.
In 1976, Eddie found lodgings at No.13 with the Ogdens after getting Hilda's mural made for her. Eddie became the son the Ogdens never had, and beer-swilling Stan's partner in crime, although Hilda didn't let him live at No.13 permanently until he had a full-time job, which didn't happen until he started working as a binman in 1980. In 1982, he met Marion Willis and they got married in 1983 before moving to Bury to care for Marion's sick mother. He last visited the Street in 1987, to see Hilda when she was attacked by burglars.
1941-1975: Early lifeEdit
Edward Yeats was born in Liverpool on 22nd August 1941. He reached adulthood with few skills, and accepted his position at the bottom of the job ladder, usually being engaged in short-term work and supplementing his income by getting involved in burglaries or by selling stolen goods. Many of his friends had been in prison and in 1973 Eddie too was given a custodial sentence after one of his schemes was rumbled by the police. Eddie spent eighteen months in Walton Jail, where his cellmate was Jed Stone. When he was paroled, Eddie turned up on ther doorstep of Jed's former landlady Minnie Caldwell in Coronation Street, Weatherfield, having heard stories from Jed about how kind she was and talked her into letting him a room until he had to go back to Walton.
Far from rehabilitated, Eddie lied and cheated during his brief stay in Coronation Street, telling barmaid Bet Lynch that he was on leave from the army to impress her, but their date was interrupted by a police officer who showed up to escort Eddie back to prison.
After serving his sentence, Eddie returned to the Street and ingratiated himself with the neighbours, hoping someone would let him stay with them, but he soon found that nobody trusted him. Fortunately, Minnie agreed to house him for a short time and Stan Ogden agreed to go into a window cleaning partnership with him. He later lodged at No.9 with Len Fairclough, Jerry Booth and Ray Langton. True to form, Eddie was soon doing favours for friends which involved criminality - in September 1975 he hid a suitcase containing the spoils of his friend Monkey Gibbons' burglary in No.5, where it was found by the police. Eddie turned himself in (to the surprise of the neighbours) and was charged with dishonest handling, which led to another year in jail.
1976-1979: Making goodEdit
Eddie returned to Coronation Street again when he was released from prison in 1976. No one was happy to see him back, but he impressed Hilda Ogden when he got a special wallpaper for her mural and helped her decorate No.13, and Hilda let him move in. He then tried to build bridges with his neighbours by building a playground for the kids at the back of the Community Centre, providing much help for Community Development Officer Ken Barlow, although he was treated with mistrust by the children's parents because of his history and was forcibly removed from the project, over Ken's objections.
After his brief stay with the Ogdens, Eddie lived at Monkey Gibbons's house and became the Street's resident scoundrel. He still couldn't find work and the only way to make money was from get-rich-quick schemes, which even if legal often abused people's trust or cheated them in some way. For example, in 1977 he sold Rovers landlady Annie Walker a carpet with her initials on it - which was the case as it came from the Alhambra Weatherfield Bingo Hall, much to Annie's fury when she found out, too late to turn away friends who had been invited to a private party at the pub so Annie could show the new carpet off. To most, Eddie never shook off his reputation, although to the Ogdens, he was the son they never had; he was sympathetic to Stan and Hilda for having to put up with each other, and tried to keep lazy Stan in line on Hilda's behalf.
In 1978, Eddie was in trouble when he was suspected of stealing Stan's handcart and filling it with lead stolen from Farraday Street, even though it was actually lent to Eddie's friend Tiny Hargreaves. The cart was impounded by the police when Hilda saw Tiny and took it back, and Eddie and Stan claimed it was stolen. However, the police found Eddie's fingerprints on the cart and Stan ruined his alibi by claiming not to know him. Eddie forgave Stan when he told the police the turth, but to clear themselves they had to admit who the real culprit was, which conflicted with Eddie's strict policy not to shop his own friends to the police.
Still struggling to make ends meet, Eddie started working for Len at the Builder's Yard in 1979, and was mainly given roof fixing jobs. One such job saw him insulate Betty Turpin's loft, but Eddie made the mistake of giving his friend Herbie Cook access to Betty's house, and when Herbie stole a clock under Eddie's nose, suspicion fell on Eddie, who had a key to the house. When Herbie wouldn't admit to having taken the clock, Eddie had to appeal to Betty's kind nature and convinced her not to tell the police.
1980-1987: Settling downEdit
In 1980, now nearing forty, Eddie was keen to settle down and marry. He first dated Lorna Ferguson and then Pat Marshall. Life wasn't easy - Eddie lost his job at the yard when Len took on Martin Cheveski then sacked Eddie as there wasn't enough work for the three of them. He thought about starting his own business, but the neighbours scoffed at the idea, so he eventually took a job as a binman. Hilda let him live at No.13 again after hearing he was making a decent wage on the bins and would be able to hand in money regularly.
With a legitimate job, Eddie could finally lead a normal life, although his job still occasionally brought him into conflict with the neighbours. On one shift, Eddie picked up a half-full can of hair dye from the Rovers' bins, belonging to Mrs. Walker, and returned it to her, thinking she might not have realised she had discarded it. Annie was angry and embarrassed at being shown up in front of customers and forbade Eddie to touch her bins again, going as far as to ask the cleansing department for new bin men. A rebuffed Eddie told Annie that his men were boycotting the Rovers, although the decision hurt his popularity as the smell permeated his regular haunt. The situation wasn't resolved until Annie apologised to him.
1982 was a new start for Eddie as he met Marion Willis after chatting with her on CB radio, using the handle "Slim Jim". To impress "Stardust Lil", Eddie told her over the radio that he was a businessman, not expecting to meet her, so when the situation came, he borrowed the key to Mike Baldwin's flat from Hilda, who worked for Mike as a housekeeper, and told Marion the flat was his. Fortunately Hilda found out before Mike did, but Eddie, who didn't know how to tell Marion the truth, had copied the keys and starting meeting Marion there regularly. Mike cottoned on when he found post and phone messages for Eddie, but surprisingly he let Eddie meet Marion there one last time to tell her the truth. To Eddie's relief, the truth made Marion keener on him, as she had been having doubts that they were right for each other given his supposed wealth.
When he realised he was in love, Eddie told Marion about being in prison, and when she was fine with it he suggested they get married. They got engaged but Marion wanted to wait a while before marrying. After a few months, Marion's ex-boyfriend Phil Moss turned up to try and win her back. Thinking he might not be good enough for Marion, and feeling massively jealous, Eddie told her the engagement was off. Marion left but returned to tell Eddie that she didn't love Phil anymore and wanted him. After reconciling with Marion, Eddie started thinking about raising capital to buy a house for them and invested £1,000 in Elsie Tanner's boyfriend Geoff Siddall's car business. When it turned out Eddie had been conned and Geoff had fled with the money, Marion left Eddie and told him to stay away from her. Eddie didn't take the incident well and disappeared, eventually turning up in his native Liverpool. When Marion followed Eddie there, they got back together again, and the engagement was back on.
In 1983, the couple were thrilled by the news that Marion was pregnant, and brought forward the date of the wedding. Eddie wasn't happy with having Marion's mother, Winifred Willis, as a mother-in-law, as she constantly complained about Eddie and wanted Marion to live in Bury with her. At his stag night, Eddie got a black eye when he tried to stop Fred Gee from announcing Marion's pregnancy to the entire pub. Fellow binman Curly Watts was almost the best man when Eddie's old Liverpool friend was late and almost missed the wedding, finally showing up at the last minute. Hilda stood in for his mother as he married Marion at All Saints Church. After the wedding, Winifred decided that she liked Eddie after all!
The Yeatses returned from their honeymoon to the news that Winifred had had a stroke and was seriously ill. Eddie was thinking about buying a new house, but Marion persuaded him to move to Bury so that she could give her mother full-time care. Eddie got a transfer on the bins and the couple left Weatherfield to start a new life in Bury, with Eddie telling the Ogdens that they had been like parents to him.
The following year, Eddie's and Marion's daughter Dawn Yeats was born, and Eddie phoned Hilda to ask her to tell everybody at the Rovers.
When Hilda was attacked in a break-in and admitted to Weatherfield General in November 1987, Eddie turned up to see her. He cheered her up and apologised for not keeping in touch. He visited her again the following day, and told her to "keep smiling". Hilda left the Street a few weeks later, and Eddie has never returned since.
Eddie was kind-hearted but roguish. He had a good understanding of people and used that to push the boundaries of what he could get away with; usually this meant abusing their trust or swindling them but he never set out to hurt anyone, only help himself at their expense. Despite his dubious track record, he hated being blamed for anything, even things for which he was responsible, and often bemoaned the fact that people didn't trust him.
Having tried his hand at sales, Eddie was a skilled conversationalist and was adept at appealing to people to persuade them or talk his way out of problems, and while his history and reputation were well known in the Street, Eddie was at least usually able to convince neighbours to give him the benefit of the doubt. He showed a different side to his friends, to whom he was very loyal. When someone did him a good turn, he liked to reciprocate (in his own way), and as he settled in Coronation Street and became familiar with the residents, being accepted meant a lot to him as he liked the area. He was always up for a laugh and enjoyed the misfortunes of others.
Stan and Hilda OgdenEdit
Despite their low income, Stan and Hilda Ogden rarely took lodgers (since they moved into the house in 1964, they only had one lodger - Jim Mount). Eddie was an exception as he had done a favour for Hilda by helping her decorate the parlour, and gave her something to brag to the neighbours about by creating the mural for her.
Even though he wasn't living there from late 1976 to 1980, Eddie was a near-permanent fixture at No.13. He was sympathetic to oafish Stan, who liked nothing better than a good dinner (cooked by Hilda) followed by an evening in the pub, but Stan was lazy even by Eddie's standards, and it was usually up to Eddie to act as an ally to Hilda in motivating Stan or warning him when his actions threatened to put him on Hilda's bad side, as Eddie was all to aware that Hilda was a force to be reckoned with when she was angry.
Eddie often went out of his way to help the Ogdens, or (more often) to pawn his friends' cast-offs onto them. In 1979, he took possession of six hens, and made a coop for them in No.13's garden. He even convinced Hilda to keep them by promising they would be lucrative, but when the Ogdens were made a laughing stock because of the hens, Hilda made Eddie roast them for food. His promise to get a colour television for the Ogdens was even less successful - he only got them a colour tinted screen. In 1977, he started a short-lived curtain-making business with Hilda, cut short when Mike Baldwin wouldn't let Hilda use his factory. In 1979, he gave Hilda cause to laugh when he sold one of Hilda's own paintings to Annie Walker, with Annie thinking an undiscovered talent was behind it. Hilda was able to milk the situation by encouraging Annie to compliment the work (although Annie had the last laugh as she sold it for a profit after finding out that Hilda was the artist).
Perhaps Eddie's kindest gesture to the Ogdens was in "buying" Stan's window cleaning round from him, and employing Stan to clean the bottom floor windows of his customers, as Stan was nearly infirm and couldn't climb his ladder. He didn't make any money from it, and only accepted half of the money back when Hilda tried to pay back what she considered a loan.
When he first arrived in Coronation Street, Eddie took a fancy to barmaid Bet Lynch and immediately set about arranging a date with her, even though he was due back in Walton in a few days. He continued to pursue her on his release even though he had embarrassed her when their date was interrupted by a policeman. While Eddie was only after sex at first, he ultimately played a different role in Bet's life as his return coincided when Bet finding out that her son Martin Downes, who she had given up for adoption at sixteen, was dead. Eddie became worried about Bet as she had recently been treated badly by Len Fairclough so was already at her lowest ebb when receiving the news about Martin. Forcing his way into her bedsit, Eddie saw that Bet was about to take aspirin tablets and took the tablets away. Bet told Eddie that she wasn't really grieving for Martin but herself. Eddie later helped Bet get back to work.
Eddie and Bet were never particularly close but Bet did agree to meet a friend of his, Vinny Morris, on his release from prison, after Eddie had moved away in 1984. She put up with his crass behaviour as a favour to Eddie, little realising that the man she had met was an impostor!
After much soul-searching, Eddie met flower shop assistant Marion Willis and knew right away that she was the one for him. Instead of relying on his usual charms, Eddie set about trying to impress Marion and her acceptance of him meant a lot to Eddie; for this reason he lied about his job at first, and didn't tell her about his criminal record until they had been dating for a while. In both cases, he was convinced that telling her would put her off him but to his relief she was fine with the truth as at least he had the decency to tell her himself rather than wait for her to find out. Eddie saw it as his responsibility to provide for Marion and their child but was insecure about his ability to do so on his wages. It was only after much discussion that Eddie agreed to move to Bury with Marion so that they could care for her mother, instead of buying their own house locally as Eddie had planned.
- Like Jed Stone, Eddie called Minnie Caldwell "Ma". When telling Minnie about being in prison, he told her he'd been inside three times but hadn't done a thing - hoping naive Minnie would believe he'd been wrongly convicted.
- Eddie was embarrassed to perform a citizen's arrest of con man Frank Holmes, who tried to sell Ena Sharples a shower, in 1976.
- Near the end of the episode that aired on 3rd October 1983, Eddie indicated his name was not as stated at the beginning of this article when he said that Marion could become "Mrs. George Edward Yeats."
- Geoffrey Hughes played the thuggish Phil Ferguson in Coronation Street in 1967 before playing Eddie starting in 1974.
- The character of Eddie Yeats was created by Producer Susi Hush and was originally a three-episode role. After recording his scenes, Hughes took a six-month contract with the programme. He returned again in June 1976, shortly after Bill Podmore became Producer, and stayed full-time until 1983.
- Eddie was a popular character and Hughes particularly enjoyed acting opposite Jean Alexander and Bernard Youens. When a love interest was introduced for Eddie in the shape of Marion Willis in 1982, Hughes had misgivings as he saw Eddie as a bachelor, and was worried that he would change into a more serious character. As the characters' relationship continued, Hughes found himself increasingly in demand, recalling: "The character was becoming so popular and he was being used more and more. I just found it harder and harder to do. I was unable to concentrate and I was really tired." This, coupled with his reservations over Eddie's storylines, led to him resigning from the programme. Veronica Doran was written out so that Eddie and Marion would leave together. Bill Podmore had hoped that Hughes would remain in the show should Bernard Youens's health force his departure, so Eddie could continue as Hilda's lodger.
- Geoffrey Hughes made a two-episode return to Coronation Street in November 1987, one month before Jean Alexander's final appearance as Hilda. Hughes had wanted to act with Alexander one last time, upon learning that she had quit the series.
- In Coronation Street - The Epic Novel, Eddie comes to visit Hilda after the passing of Stan, an event which doesn't occur in the actual series as Eddie was unaware of Stan's passing and wasn't present at the funeral (due to Geoffrey Hughes being unavailable to film any scenes).
First and last linesEdit
"Or you can drop us off at the bus station. See you soon Hilda, and keep smiling eh?" (Final line)