A Polish national, Ivan emigrated to the United Kingdom as a child and married Linda in 1958. Their move from Warrington to Weatherfield occurred in 1961 as they became parents, though they stayed for only nine months as Ivan, concerned that the industrial town was not a healthy environment in which to raise a family, uprooted the family to Canada. Their second son, Martin, was born there in 1964.
In 1966, the Cheveskis moved back to the UK, living in Birmingham. He made several more visits to Coronation Street in the late 1960s alongside Linda, with the last being in 1967. The couple were together until 1984, when Linda left Ivan for Dave Burgess.
Born in Poland, Ivan and his family left their home during the war as Ivan's grandparents' shop was burned down by the Nazis when they were found to be harbouring a Jewish doctor. After the war, Ivan emigrated to the UK, and found a home in Warrington with his uncle Rizhard.
On 1st April 1958, Ivan married eighteen-year-old Linda Tanner and the pair settled in Warrington. Hard-working Ivan saw it as his duty to provide for his wife and preferred that Linda didn't work. Linda fled to her home town Weatherfield to stay with her mum Elsie Tanner, telling her she wasn't returning to Ivan, but when he followed her to get her back, she admitted she was pregnant. Ivan was thrilled and agreed to stay in Coronation Street - the couple moved into 9 Coronation Street, and Ivan bought it.
While Linda and Elsie prepared the house for the baby, Ivan concentrated on money. He worked in Warrington, and kept up the job while living in Weatherfield. For extra money, he took an evening job as potman at the Rovers Return Inn. Linda convinced Ivan to take a day job in Weatherfield, at an ironworks.
The new parents were worried when Paul developed a lingering chesty cough, and it made them realise how unhealthy living in the inner city was. When Ivan received a letter from one of his workmates in Canada, he became taken with the standard of living his friend had and when offered a job that would see him earn just as much as his friend, Ivan convinced Linda that they should emigrate. Linda agreed, for better or worse, and the family moved.
The Cheveskis made several return visits to Weatherfield, including once for Christmas in 1962 and again in 1966 when Ivan had set his mind on moving to Birmingham. The marriage was in crisis as Linda had had an affair with a Canadian and returned to Weatherfield. Ivan got a job in Birmingham and waited for Linda to come to her senses. It took an accident in which Paul fell into a canal to bring Ivan up to Weatherfield, and the Cheveskis got back together after all. Ivan was furious when he found out that councillor Len Fairclough had voted against the erection of a fence by the canal, and hit him when drunk, blaming him for what could easily have killed his son.
Ivan and Linda had a second son, Martin, in 1964 and stayed in Birmingham, next visiting for Elsie's wedding to Steve Tanner in 1967. Ivan never visited Coronation Street again following this, and wasn't back for Dennis's wedding to Jenny Sutton in 1968, although Linda attended. His son Martin stayed with Elsie for several months in 1980 following an argument with Ivan, although eventually returned home.
In 1984, Ivan and Linda had split up once and for all after she had an affair with a man named Dave Burgess, although the relationship wasn't long lasting due to her finding Dave suffocating and returning to Coronation Street to oversee the sale of Elsie's house following her departure near the start of that year. Despite her attempts to move onto new home owner Bill Webster, things didn't pan out for Linda and she left Coronation Street once again as a single woman, with Ivan no longer to fall back on.
Ivan was one of Coronation Street's original twenty-one characters in 1960. Actor Ernst Walder was born in Austria in 1927 and had been living in England since 1952, attending drama school in his spare time and made his film debut in The Safecracker in 1958. Although Austrian, Walder was frequently casted in roles of other European nationalities- German, Czech and Polish in the case of Ivan. The actor once recalled: "I had many times in Manchester when I walked about, Polish people came up to me talking in Polish and I couldn't speak a word of Polish."
According to Walder, Street creator Tony Warren based Ivan on the fact that there were a lot of Polish people still living in Manchester who had fled to England during the Second World War. Ivan's backstory was expanded on in spin-off book material, as settling in Warrington with his family after fleeing the Nazi occupation.
Ivan's storylines mostly focused on his rocky marriage to Linda and the birth of their son Paul. Ernst Walder remembered how after an episode was broadcast in which Ivan hit a pregnant Linda, he received a slap in retaliation from an elderly woman in a London department store. However, he also remembered being sent cigars, champagne and baby toys after the birth of Paul was screened.
He was written out of the programme in 1961 so that he would leave with wife Linda, as actress Anne Cunningham's contract was set to expire and she could not sign a new contract due to the Equity actors' strike. The character was recurring thereafter.
When Linda returned to Weatherfield in 1968, and again in 1984 (where she and Ivan were apparently separated) he had never appeared. The actor stated that he wasn't invited back to return to the show, but would have probably returned if asked.
According to the video The Life and Loves of Elsie Tanner released in 1987, Linda stated to Emily Bishop that she and Ivan were now divorced by that point. However, the video doesn't appear to be canon as some things in it don't match up with the series, such as Elsie apparently recently dying, whereas she actually died alongside Bill Gregory in 2004/5. It's unknown what the status of their relationship was after Linda left Weatherfield again in 1984, although in Episode 10000 in February 2020 it was revealed that an elderly Linda was living out her final years in Toronto, Canada.
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List of addresses
|Warrington||c.1945 to 12th April 1961|
|9 Coronation Street||12th April 1961 to 6th December 1961|
|Montreal, Canada||6th December 1961 to October 1966|
|Birmingham||October 1966 onwards|
|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|