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.
1940-1966: Life of crime
Jed was born in Liverpool on 6th March 1940. He soon grew into a rogue who wasn't averse 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 front of house. Jed was a regular fixture in the Street from then on and became fast friends with Dennis, Christine Hardman and Jean Stark, whom he briefly dated.
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.
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
In 2008, businessman Tony Gordon bought out the owners of the properties in Nightingale Terrance, by which time was a slum area. Tony hoped to redevelop the area, 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.
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 rage, Tony strangled Jed, apparently to death, and in 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 Sunny 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.
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 lighthearted 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 was somewhat aloof, and determined not to let failing health get the better of him.
- Jed's cat Sunny Jim was named after himself - it was Minnie Caldwell's nickname for Jed. After Jed's disappearance on Christmas Day, Sunny Jim was found and taken to No.3, where Emily and Norris took care of him.
- In Episode 88 (16th October 1961) Jed mentioned having a brother called Ronnie Stone.
- 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.
- Jed can ride a motorbike.
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!"
In 2008 a storyline was planned which involved ruthless businessman Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) hassling an elderly victim named Mr. Gamble and force 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.
Throughout Jed's 2008 stint saw his feud with Tony after being forced out of his home and his attempts to extort money. This led to Jed nearly being strangled to death on Christmas Eve, with the Christmas Day episode seeing Tony move Jed away from Weatherfield and relocating him to Wigan. It was originally intended to kill off Jed, however Cope was against the idea so the producers changed it and spared the characters life.
Cope continued to film for a further three episodes which aired from January to February 2009, with his final appearance as the character airing on 2nd February in Episode 7004. Although it was mentioned the character had a heart attack near the end of the episode, his fate afterwards wasn't properly disclosed nor was he mentioned outside a passing referenced by Emily Bishop a few months later.
This stint marked Cope's final contribution to television as a whole.
Outside the main show
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.
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