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John Edward "Jed" Stone was a Liverpool-born Coronation Street resident in the 1960s, and lodger of Minnie Caldwell. While living in the street he tried to make a living from a variety of get-rich-quick schemes. Jed left the street in 1966 when he received a nine-month prison sentence for handling stolen blankets.

After release he moved to 23 Nightingale Terrace, where he lived until the area was redeveloped in 2008 and he was forced out of his home by Tony Gordon. Jed briefly lived in Coronation Street again until he was nearly murdered by Tony and agreed to move to a flat in Wigan to stay out of his way.

Biography

1940-1966: Life of crime

John Edward Stone was born in Liverpool on 6th March 1940. He had a brother, Ronnie Stone. Jed, as everyone called him, grew into a rogue who wasn't adverse to breaking the law; in 1960 he and Dennis Tanner were arrested for breaking into a newsagent. They spent six months in a borstal, but while Dennis returned to his home life and struggled to find work, Jed continued his life of petty crime. In 1961, he showed up in Weatherfield and asked Dennis if he would help him out on a job - of dubious legality - but Dennis had gone clean and turned him down.

Jed returned in the September, reformed but unemployed, to find legitimate work with Dennis's help. Dennis was promoted at the Orinoco Club and managed to get Jed his old job as a doorman. Jed was a regular fixture in the Street from then on and became fast friends with Dennis, Christine Hardman and Jean Stark, who he briefly dated.

Jed in 1962

After some time away, Jed reappeared in November 1962. He was promised a room at No.11 by Dennis, even though Dennis was living in London, but Dennis's mother Elsie refused to let Jed lodge with her, leaving him on the street with nowhere to live. Fortunately, sympathetic pensioner Minnie Caldwell felt sorry for Jed and let him live at No.5 with her. Having finished at the Orinoco, Jed made money by doing odd jobs for friends and trying out the occasional business idea of his, including selling wash-basins, waxwork dummies, operating a market stall and working in an auction room. Whatever the job, it was always short-term and he rarely made any money from it.

Jed fought to gain the trust of the residents of the street, many of whom saw him as a petty criminal. Among them was Ena Sharples, a friend of Minnie's who thought Jed would only bring his all-too-trusting and naive landlady trouble. Before long, his charm and incomparable wit earned him a few friends, namely Sheila Birtles, Jerry Booth and Doreen Lostock. Despite Ena's worries, he became a ray of sunshine in Minnie's life, who didn't have children of her own. When Sunny Jim, as Minnie called him, decided to leave Weatherfield in 1963 and live with some friends in his native Liverpool, he ended up leaving without telling Minnie, as he couldn't bear to break her heart.

1966: Jed says goodbye to Minnie before being arrested

Jed unexpectedly showed up at Number 5 in January 1966 and paid a few months rent in advance, telling Minnie he would be staying for a while. He was soon conjuring up more get-rich-quick schemes, and opened the Viaduct Bargain Boutique with Dennis, hoping to make money by holding auctions there. He stayed until September, when the police were after him for possessing stolen blankets, and caught up with him in Coronation Street before he had a chance to scarper. He was worried about leaving Minnie feeling devastated again on her birthday and asked the police to pretend to be friends of his, which they kindly did. He was sent to Walton Jail for nine months.

1967-2008: Going straight

After his release, Jed swore he'd never end up in prison again. By 1969 back in his native Liverpool, he went into double-glazing business with a Pakistani plumber who then absconded with all the glass. Jed moved to Birmingham and, later on, he moved to 23 Nightingale Terrace in Weatherfield and kept in touch with Minnie, starting a double-glazing business shortly after leaving prison. In 1974, Jed was supposed to return for a visit but sent his friend Eddie Yeats, whom he had met in Walton, in his place.

Jed lived in Nightingale Terrace for 40 years. He never married or had children, but stayed out of trouble.

2008-2009: Entanglement with Tony Gordon

Jed in 2008.

In 2008, businessman Tony Gordon bought out the owners of the properties in Nightingale Terrance, now a slum area. Tony hoped to redevelop it, but Jed refused to be moved and turned down Tony's compensation money. In spite of health problems, Jed stood up to Tony, saying he was still more of a man than him.

Ten days later, Tony returned, barging into Jed's house, in an attempt to buy Jed out of the property. When a stressed Jed collapsed from a mild stroke, Tony delayed calling the ambulance, instead calling Jason Grimshaw who was helping to develop the flats. He then told the paramedics that Jed had been ready to sign the papers before he collapsed. He left Jed's cat Sonny Jim on the streets to fend for itself. Jed spent several months at Weatherfield General, and was visited by Tony, who informed him that the house had been cleared out.

2008: Jed thinks he can prove Tony Gordon is a murderer

In November, Emily Bishop, a former neighbour of Jed, was working in the canteen at the hospital and met up with Jed, and they talked about past times. Jed was thrilled to see a familiar face and jumped at the chance to move in with Emily and Norris Cole at 3 Coronation Street - next door to Minnie's old house.

As he settled back into Coronation Street, Jed was surprised to find Tony Gordon was co-owner of Underworld, a factory also located in the street. Jed started following Tony around, demanding money for Tony taking away his cat and home. When Jed found out that neighbour Maria Connor had accused Tony of murdering her husband Liam, Jed let Maria know that he believed her, even though nobody else did. Liam had been killed in a hit-and-run arranged by Tony and carried out by Tony's associate Jimmy Dockerson, who Jed had seen at Nightingale Terrace and after witnessing him meeting with Tony before Christmas, he thought he could blackmail Tony.

Jed visited Tony at the factory on Christmas Eve and wanted more cash for his silence. In a rage, Tony strangled Jed, apparently to death, and in a panic stuffed Jed's body in a big wicker basket until he could find a chance to move the body. Jed was badly hurt, but still alive, as Tony discovered the following morning. Tony offered Jed a chance for life - if he accepted Tony's offer of a flat in Wigan and agreed not to tell the police about him or even tell anyone about his departure. Jed left the street that same day.

In Jed's absence, Maria continued to accuse Tony of Liam's murder. To make Maria look foolish, Tony confessed to killing Jed, then after Maria had told the neighbours and the police about the confession, Tony brought Jed back to Weatherfield for a brief visit. Jed was reunited with his cap and cat Sonny Jim, and told Maria he'd settled his differences with Tony, but Jed's reunion was cut short when Tony ushered him into a taxi to take him back to Wigan. A few days later, Jed was visited by Tony's wife Carla who wanted to confirm Tony's story that rehoming Jed was a way to alleviate his guilt after finding him trying to kill himself. When Carla noticed the marks on his neck, Jed ran off, terrified of the repercussions of the news of Carla's visit getting back to Tony. Shortly after receiving another visit from Jimmy, Jed had a heart attack and was admitted to hospital.

Personality

In his youth, Jed was a spirited, witty person. He didn't take life very seriously and initially this led him to take advantage of others without caring about the consequences - if they were taken in by his schemes, shame on them. Unpretentious and unsentimental, Jed lived life in the moment, enjoying his bachelorhood and freedom to do what he wanted. His style of humour was somewhat in-your-face and was almost always in a light-hearted mood, which led some neighbours who took life more seriously to dislike him.

Jed's landlady Minnie Caldwell saw him as the son she never had, and he usually went out of his way to make her life more comfortable. In 2008, reflecting on "Ma", Jed wondered why Minnie had put up with him given all the trouble he caused her.

In his later years, Jed was no less enthusiastic, but had long since given up his nefarious schemes. Having never got tied down along the years by marriage or children, Jed had remained somewhat aloof, and determined not to let failing health get the better of him.

Traits

Jed almost always wore a flat cap. He never took it off, not even in bed. However, on Christmas Day 2008 Jed wore a Santa hat instead.

Relationships

Dennis Tanner

Two years older than Dennis, Jed was the main instigator of their crimes and he and Dennis were arrested for breaking into a newsagent, resulting in them spending six months in Borstal. Jed tracked Dennis down to Coronation Street the following year and attempted to get the young man to do another job with him, although by this point Dennis had gone straight and got a proper job, which Jed scoffed at. Jed was scared away after Dennis introduced him to his mother Elsie's police boyfriend, Arthur Dewhurst. Jed returned a few months later and his attitude had mellowed and he tried to go straight as well. His friendship with Dennis was far friendlier and Jed kept Dennis out of his dodgy schemes.

When Jed was arrested in September 1966 for possession of stolen items, Dennis showed sadness as his friend was taken away by a police officer. Jed never returned following his prison release, although he didn't forget Dennis and sent him a telegram in 1968 on Dennis's wedding day to Jenny Sutton. By the time Jed returned to Coronation Street in 2008, Dennis had long since gone from the area.

Minnie Caldwell

Jed and Minnie rarely had much to do with each other during his short visits to the street in 1961, with Jed even cracking a joke about her when the street went on a trip to Blackpool. The following year after Jed returned to the street but was refused a room by Dennis's mother Elsie, a soft hearted Minnie took the young man in. Although initially playing on her sympathies for a roof over his head, Jed developed a close bond with Minnie and affectionately referred to her as "ma".

Jed felt bad when he left behind Minnie when returning to his native Liverpool in 1963, although returned to her almost three years later in January 1966. After spending several months with Minnie Jed was facing arrest for possession of stolen items. Wanting to spare Minnie's feelings, Jed convinced the arresting officer to pretend to be a friend of his, with the sympathetic man complying. Despite the act Minnie knew the true reason Jed was leaving, but held back the tears long enough to see him off. This would be the final time they met, although they kept in contact with Minnie and sent her birthday and Christmas cards up until her departure in 1976. He kept a box of mementos in memory of Minnie such as photographs of her and him, and also kept a photo of the pair of them on his mantelpiece at 23 Nightingale Terrace.

Emily Bishop

Jed knew Emily during his on-off visits to the street from 1961 to 1963. In 1963 when Emily wasn't up for looking after the Mission for Leonard Swindley, Jed instead volunteered.

Jed and Emily eventually reunited in November 2008 when she was volunteering at the same hospital that he was kept in following his stroke earlier in the year. Jed instantly recognised Emily despite it being over 42 years since they last saw each other, and he managed to jog her memory to his identity. Emily and Jed caught up over old times and upon learning that Jed was evicted from his home following his stroke, a sympathetic Emily took him in at her home at 3 Coronation Street, much to the dismay of her nosy lodger Norris Cole.

When Jed disappeared on Christmas Day after being secretly moved to Wigan by Tony, Emily held no hard feelings to Jed even though it looked like he did a bunk on her. When Tony brought Jed back to the street in January 2009 to prove he hadn't killed him, Emily was relieved and reunited Jed with his mission cat Sonny Jim. Jed was allowed a catch up drink with Emily in the Rovers before Tony booked him a taxi and sent him away. Before his final departure from the street Emily urged Jed to keep in touch with her. Emily was distraught after Jed suffered a heart attack a few days later, and visited him in the hospital.

Others

Due to his criminal lifestyle, Jed initially found it hard to integrate himself into the community on Coronation Street due to being under suspicion from some residents, although managed to fit in. Jed was friends with Jean Stark and Christine Hardman, the former of whom he briefly dated. He also became associated with fellow young Weatherfield residents Jerry Booth, Sheila Birtles and Doreen Fenwick, with the four of them using Jed's position at the Mission Hall to have a dance in March 1963.

In 1974 Jed met with young criminal Eddie Yeats whilst spending another stint in prison. When Jed was unable to make his parole and meet Minnie for Christmas, he sent a newly released Eddie in his place, whom Minnie happily took in. Eddie would become part of the community of Coronation Street until leaving the street in 1983, although Jed didn't have any contact with his former cellmate.

Upon his return to the street in 2008, he became friendly with Emily's friend Rita Sullivan. But Emily and Rita's friend Norris Cole didn't take well to Jed and wasn't keen to have him staying with him and Emily, and got tired of Jed's jokes at his expense. Norris was relieved when Jed "fled" the household on Christmas, unaware that Jed had been kidnapped and forced away by Tony Gordon.

Background information

Original stints

Publicity photo of Kenneth Cope as Jed in the 1960s (without his trademark cap)

Jed Stone was first seen in 1961. As with Philip Lowrie as Dennis Tanner (and later Geoffrey Hughes as Eddie Yeats), actor Kenneth Cope's performances turned Jed from a petty criminal into a loveable rogue, for example during an argument with Ena Sharples, Cope thought the cameras had stopped rolling and said, "Give us a kiss!" The character returned with what was intended to be a full-time stint in September that year, and during this time Jed was courting Jean Stark, who was played by Kenneth Cope's wife Renny Lister.

Because of the Equity actors' strike (see article for more information), Jed was absent from November 1961 to November 1962, although the character briefly reappeared earlier that year. Upon his second return to the show Jed became the lodger of street resident Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant) and the pair shared a mother-son bond, with her affectionally calling him Sunny Jim and Jed referring to Minnie as "Ma". He departed again in March 1963 after four months, with the intention of it being his last appearance as the character.

Cope returned for a slightly longer stint from January to September 1966, and made his departure in Episode 605 on 28th September. Before his return he did an interview with the TV Times magazine and commented on his reasoning for returning: "I swore I wouldn't do it. But two years after I left I'm still getting letters from fans asking 'When are you coming back?' In the end I just had to go back."

2008 return

Cope reprising the role of Jed in 2008.

In 2008 a storyline was planned which involved ruthless businessman Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) hassling an elderly victim named Mr. Gamble and forcing him out of his home. However the show's casting director June West suggested that Kenneth Cope should be reintroduced instead in the role of Jed Stone, following an absence of nearly 42 years. Cope returned to filming in June 2008 for an initially four episode stint, which aired two months later in August. Shortly after, it was announced Cope was returning to filming for the show, and resumed appearances in November.[1]

Whereas Jed was comedy relief in his original 1960s stints, his 2008 return saw him characterized as a drunken blackmailer, fueled by his desire to get back at Tony Gordon for evicting him. It was planned for Jed's time on the show to conclude with him being murdered by Tony on Christmas, but Cope voiced disapproval at the idea which led to the producers and writing team to change it to Jed surviving. This allowed Cope to return for a final three episodes which aired in January and February 2009, confirming to viewers that Jed survived his ordeal with Tony Gordon the previous month. Cope made his final appearance as the character (and his final appearance on television or film overall) on 2nd February in Episode 7004. Although mentioned that Jed suffered an off-screen heart attack after being threatened by Jimmy Dockerson (Robert Beck), his fate afterwards was not properly disclosed to the viewers.

Outside the main show

Kenneth Cope as Jed in Minnie Caldwell Remembered - A Tribute to Margot Bryant in 1988.

In 1988 Kenneth presented the programme Minnie Caldwell Remembered - A Tribute to Margot Bryant which paid tribute to Margot Bryant who had died on the 1st January 1988. During this he was dressed in Jed's flat cap and at the beginning of the programme was briefly in-character as he knocked on Minnie's door at 5 Coronation Street.

First and last lines

"A bit less of your 'my lad' routine, for a kick-off". (First line, after being greeted by Jack Walker in the Rovers Return Inn)

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"It, it won't happen again" (Final line, to Tony Gordon's henchman Jimmy Dockerson after being threatened to stay away)

Appendices

(To be completed)

List of addresses

Address Duration
Liverpool Upbringing
Weatherfield c.1960 to November 1962
5 Coronation Street 19th November 1962 to 27th March 1963
Brownlow Road, Liverpool 27th March 1963 to January 1966
5 Coronation Street 31st January to 28th September 1966
Birmingham Around 1969
London Around 1971
23 Nightingale Terrace c.1971 to 18th August 2008
3 Coronation Street 21st November to 24th December 2008
Square Apartments, Wigan 25th December 2008 onwards

Employment history

Role Institution Duration
Doorman Orinoco Club 1961
Market Trader 1963
Auctioneer 1966
Caretaker Glad Tidings Mission Hall
Double-glazing salesman 1969

See also

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