Jerry arrived in the Street in 1962 and completed his apprenticeship with Len, the elder builder taking the naive youngster under his wing. A nervous but kind-hearted man, Jerry hoped to marry his sweetheart Sheila Birtles in 1963 but ended up marrying the imprudent Myra Dickinson in haste instead. The Booths had lived at 13 Coronation Street for six months when debt incurred from Myra's compulsive spending on Hire Purchase forced them to give up the house and move in with Myra's parents. They separated in 1964 after their daughter died when she was a few weeks old, and in 1965 Jerry returned to Coronation Street where he became Len's business partner.
In 1968, Jerry's divorce came through and he left the Street again. Three years later, he returned to find work and was taken on by Len, who was now in partnership with Ray Langton. Jerry was effectively Len and Ray's housekeeper at No.9, where he was given lodgings, but in 1973 after he rescued the business he was made a partner again. He died suddenly from a heart attack in 1975.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Hobbies and interests
- 5 Background information
- 6 First and last lines
- 7 Appendices
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
1941-1963: The apprentice
Gerald Booth was born on 23rd August 1941, the only child of Ernest and Nellie Booth of 62 Viaduct Street, Weatherfield. Jerry (as he was known) followed the traditional path, leaving school at fourteen and learning a trade. His aptitude for joinery led Jerry to builder Joe White, who took him on as an apprentice.
In July 1962, before Jerry had finished his apprenticeship, Joe suddenly passed away, and his widow had no choice but to fold the Bessie Street business and lay Jerry off. Luckily, another local builder by the name of Len Fairclough was advertising for an apprentice, having recently gone into business for himself after being sacked from Birtwistle's Construction for doing foreigners. Jerry applied for the job in person at the Builder's Yard, and was immediately taken on; Len had once been Joe White's apprentice himself, and on that basis he hired Jerry, no questions asked.
Shy and naive but with an honest nature, Jerry looked up to Len and under his tutelage, both in the trade and in life, he gained enough confidence to hold his own against the likes of Dennis Tanner and Jed Stone when they tried to take advantage of him. Despite a rocky beginning with Jed, Jerry ended up friends with both men. He also became friends with Sheila Birtles and Doreen Lostock, but only after Jerry laid into Doreen for treating him like a joke and the girls, impressed by his manliness, stopped teasing him (or at least, did so less than before).
In October, a smitten Jerry asked Sheila out on a date. Sheila didn't see Jerry as a potential romantic partner but, always up for a good time, she accepted. The evening was a washout as the tandem Jerry had borrowed to take Sheila out fell into a ditch and they had to walk ten miles back home. Sheila refused a follow-up date but Jerry continued to carry a torch for her, and the following May, she agreed to go steady with him. Their relationship wasn't serious, and Sheila struggled to see hapless Jerry as more than a friend. After two months, she fell for caddish Gamma Garments clothier Neil Crossley and threw herself at him. Jerry found out when he caught the pair together in the street, and Sheila dumped him when he thumped Neil for insulting her. After being badly treated and dumped by Neil, Sheila almost attempted suicide, and subsequently left Weatherfield to return to her parents in Rawtenstall.
Jerry completed his apprenticeship in September 1963 and continued working under Len as a labourer, with the understanding that he would eventually become a partner. That same month, Jerry went to see his musician friend Walter Potts's debut in concert, and met the secretary George Dickinson's daughter Myra, who immediately fell for him. On the day of Sheila's departure from the street, Jerry rebounded by going out with Myra.
1963-1965: An unhappy marriage
Myra didn't stir the same passion in Jerry as Sheila but she thought the world of him. Assertive and organised, Myra saw a life with Jerry and planned their future accordingly; a week after their first date, she considered them engaged and suggested they bought 13 Coronation Street when they were married. To please Myra, Jerry put in an offer of £525 for No.13, which was accepted by the landlord Alfred Wormold, and fixed the wedding date for 19th October at St. Paul's Church. At Myra's insistence, Dennis Tanner was his best man, instead of Jerry's friend Vincent, who had been his first choice. Under the ever-reliable Dennis's watch, Jerry's stag night turned rowdy and Jerry ended up falling in a drunken stupor in the Rovers Select, and on the big day, they nearly missed the wedding as, having arrived at the church too early and decided to kill time at the hotel where the reception was taking place, they failed to realise until the last minute that the clock in the bar had stopped, and had to race back to the church.
After their honeymoon in Torquay, the Booths lodged with Jerry's parents for two weeks until No.13 was ready for them. Myra didn't work, as Jerry felt her place was at home and at one point turned down a job at the Corner Shop when she'd already agreed to help out Florrie Lindley. Myra would have preferred to work, but she didn't fight Jerry on the subject.
Having attained her perfect home, Myra filled it with furniture rented from Hire Purchase - despite Jerry planning to make most of it himself in due course. Jerry had left all the finances to Myra, and so was unaware of her compulsive spending until a rep from the HP company told him that she hadn't paid the last two months' installments. In a row with Myra, Jerry discovered that she also hadn't paid the mortgage for three months and she was pregnant. Establishing that they owed £85, Jerry did his best to sort out the mess, asking Jack Walker for a loan of £80 and Len for a rise, but both turned him down, and with no orders coming in Len regrettably sacked Jerry. Myra's father George Dickinson bailed out the couple, agreeing to pay their debts if they lived with him. Jerry swallowed his pride and agreed to his father-in-law's conditions, selling No.13 back to Wormold and leaving the Street on 20th May 1964.
After finishing at the yard, Jerry immediately started work at Roscoe & Pitts. Later in the year, Myra gave birth prematurely and their baby daughter passed away after a few weeks. Myra stopped being affectionate towards Jerry and moved into a separate bedroom while Jerry, in an effort to save his crumbling marriage, offered her a fresh start in a new home. Jerry thought they stood a better chance away from Myra's father but Myra had no faith in him and turned him down, and so on 17th October Jerry walked out on her. He attempted a reconciliation a few weeks later, when he went back to Myra and repeated his offer, only to be told that she would never get back with him.
In February 1965, an out of work Jerry re-appeared in Coronation Street, soon returning to work with Len and moving into the Corner Shop flat. Keen to give his friend a clean break, Len gave George Dickinson £30 to pay him off when he came looking for Jerry.
1965-1968: Fairclough and Booth
In April, businessman Willie Piggott tried to interest Len in converting six old houses into flats in Blackburn. When Len turned the job down, Piggott offered it to Jerry, giving him money to repay Len the money he owed him to sweeten the deal. Tempted due to the promise of big money, Jerry accepted, although it meant closing the yard as Len had gone to visit his son Stanley in Nottingham.
As it transpired, Len was wise to refuse the work, as the job folded after three months, leaving Jerry with nothing to show for it. Due to his betrayal, Len refused to have him back at the yard and threw him out when Jerry slept rough there. Given time to cool off, Len relented and gave Jerry his job back as well as lodgings at his house, 15 Mawdsley Street. Two weeks later, Len gave Jerry, as a birthday present, a partnership with the firm which was renamed "Fairclough and Booth".
Due to Len often playing fast and loose with the business, Jerry had a legal agreement drawn up. Len had been his mentor in the trade but their working practices differed greatly; Jerry was conscientious, hardworking, and a builder first, while Len prioritised the business and was often selfish in choosing work. However, the partnership was successful and the firm maintained a good reputation.
In May 1966, Jerry went on a blind date with who turned out to be Sheila Birtles. Thrilled at seeing her again, Jerry was keen to resume their relationship. Sheila made plans to stay in the area, moving in with Elsie Tanner and taking a job at the PVC Factory, but she hesitated over Jerry due to him still being married and, as Jerry discovered when Sheila took him to the home of Mrs Sankey, Sheila had a son, Danny Crossley, who was was in foster care. Jerry immediately resolved to get a divorce, but George Dickinson, handling Myra's affairs, told Jerry he would need grounds. Sheila agreed to marry Jerry and on his three-year anniversary in October, he was able to start divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, Sheila bumped into Neil Crossley on a train, and Neil's hold on her attentions resurfaced. Sheila resolved to tell Jerry that she was leaving him to marry Neil, but chickened out and left Jerry to realise it himself. Her departure left Jerry depressed and bitter, and he went out on a night out, planning to blow all of his savings. At a club, hostess Margot and a barman took advantage of Jerry and fleeced him of his £25.
The following year, the firm lost £300 when Len - now a councillor - invested the money in a property deal, only for the council to refuse planning permission. By threatening to leave the business, Jerry forced through plans for them to become a limited company, with equal shares.
With Jerry's divorce going through, Minnie Caldwell and Albert Tatlock tried to bring some excitement into their lives by setting Jerry up with someone. Minnie found the right woman in librarian Sally Frost, and planted a letter to Sally asking her to take pity on lonely Jerry in a book which she asked Jerry to return for her. At first, Minnie's instincts seemed to be spot on, as Sally and Jerry hit it off and arranged a cinema date. However, a problem arose when Peter, Sally's boyfriend, who turned up to fight Jerry off. Luckily for Jerry, Peter was a pacifist and the men worked out their differences diplomatically, with Jerry pretending to Sally that Peter had hit him.
In January 1968, Jerry went to court and was granted his decree nisi. Curious about how Jerry was getting on, Myra returned to the area and caught up with Jerry and Irma Barlow at the ice rink. Jerry was also keen for a catch up, and met with her platonically, ignoring Len's warning that they could be accused of collusion. Lonely, Myra soon revealed her true intentions to Jerry, begging to stay the night and then, staying for the weekend but sleeping apart, trying to get him into bed. Normally able to find her way around Jerry, Myra was given her marching orders when she tried to seduce him. Afterwards, she tried to contest the divorce by claiming that they'd had sex, citing Jack Walker as a witness as he knew that Myra had stayed the night. Jerry asked Jack to commit perjury, but the guilt caused him to retract his request and change his own statement, being honest about Myra asking for sex. Myra also came clean to the courts, and left Jerry's life for the last time.
When the factory and mission were demolished and the council unveiled plans to build maisonettes on the site, Jerry submitted a tender of £180 a unit for Fairclough and Booth to plumb the new flats - an amount which wouldn't earn the men much profit, but make future council contracts likely. After completing the job, Jerry decided to end the partnership and leave Weatherfield for a job in London, keen to prove himself somewhere fresh. His last public appearance was at Dennis and Jenny Tanner's wedding reception, where he surprised everyone with his unsentimental best man speech, urging the bride and bridegroom to work at their marriage and not be selfish. Typical of Jerry, he slipped away from the reception unnoticed just after giving his speech.
1968-1972: Bottoming out
In June 1971, Jerry was made redundant from a job in Birmingham and, a few months later, returned to Weatherfield to find work there, living temporarily at a working man's hostel. Out of embarrassment, Jerry didn't look up any of his friends from the old days but in October Lucille Hewitt saw him at the Labour Exchange and spread the word. When Len heard, he immediately telegrammed the Labour to send Jerry for a job at the yard. Unfortunately, Len wasn't able to make good on his offer, as between Len, his business partner Ray Langton, and labourer Stan Ogden, there wasn't enough work available to take Jerry on, but he was able to offer him lodgings at 9 Coronation Street for £3 a week - an amount which was increased to £4 at Jerry's insistence.
While Jerry looked for work, his friends helped him out by giving him odd jobs to do and Len and Ray paid him to do all the housekeeping at No.9. Worried that Len would sack him to replace him with his old partner, Stan riled Jerry in the Rovers, trying to get a rise out of him by calling him a layabout. Stan's drinking buddy Jim Stoker joined in, mocking Jerry for doing "woman's work", causing Jerry to lose his temper and go for Jim, knocking him unconscious. Pleading guilty to assault, Jerry was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Stan's resignation from the yard to return to lorries in April 1972 allowed Len to re-hire Jerry. Jerry was happy to be back but hated not being in the partnership, as he was the hardest worker of the three, and to make his circumstances hurt all the more, he frequently had to correct customers who thought the business was still named Fairclough and Booth. He was often taken for granted by Len and Ray, who would frequently neglect the business to chase women, and through routine he continued to do most of the chores at No.9.
1972-1975: A partner again
Also that April, Jerry met shy Mark Brittain Warehouse secretary Mavis Riley at Emily and Ernest Bishop's wedding reception at the Community Centre. The couple struck an instant chord and danced with each other. Afterwards, they stayed friends but, despite their obvious suitability, never became an item. In October, he became romantically interested in Corner Shop assistant Norma Ford and joined Ken Barlow's English Literature lessons with her. He packed them in after a few weeks when it became obvious that Norma was really after Ken.
1973 was a difficult year for Fairclough and Langton. In February, Jerry fitted Albert Tatlock's new electric cooker, leaving the gas pipes in place until after the weekend as they registered empty. However, as Albert still had a meter in the house, when he put money in to start the fire, he was gassed in his kitchen and nearly died. As Jerry wasn't informed about the gas meter, he was absolved of any culpability, but he felt responsible anyway and let Albert's daughter Beattie Pearson get £5 a week out of him in compensation until a recovered Albert put a stop to it. As Jerry had made no secret of his error (he'd guiltily told everything to reporter Clive Shawcross), Fairclough and Langton risked being struck off the CORGI list of approved installers of gas appliances, but fortunately they weren't.
The firm's future was put on the line again in October when Weatherfield Plastics went into liquidation, owing the yard £2,000. Out of principle, Len and Ray refused to pay the £204.60 in VAT until they were paid, and went to court. Fearing the loss of his livelihood, Jerry paid the outstanding sum behind his friends' back, using his life savings to meet the amount. Afterwards, both Len and Ray absconded, leaving Jerry and secretary Deirdre Hunt to fire themselves. As Jerry prepared to throw in the towel, Mavis and Deirdre encouraged him to keep going by himself, and he decided to remain. Weeks later, with business booming again, Len and Ray returned, but Jerry refused to let them simply carry on like nothing had happened; backed by Deirdre, Jerry demanded a partnership with Len, cutting Ray out. Ultimately, the men agreed that the partnership would be Fairclough, Langton and Booth.
In the New Year, on a date with Jerry Mavis told him that she was considering moving to Grange-over-Sands with her parents, using it to prise a firm commitment from Jerry. Oblivious to her tactics, Jerry encouraged her to go. Mavis was absent from Weatherfield for three months and by July was back in her former position of Rita Littlewood's assistant at the Kabin, the rekindling of their relationship seeming likely, but in September Sheila Birtles returned to the area for a visit, staying with the Bishops. Now married to Neil Crossley, Sheila enjoyed talking over old times with Jerry and threw a party for her old friends. Ruminating over past hurts, Jerry got drunk and gave a speech telling everyone how much Sheila meant to him. His moment of weakness severely upset Mavis, and despite making up they were never as close afterwards.
On 10th November 1975, Jerry had a sudden heart attack and passed away. Len broke the news to the stunned drinkers at the Rovers Return, and two days later Len, Mavis, Emily, Deirdre and Ray attended his funeral, paying tribute to a thoroughly decent chap taken well before his time.
- "He's honest, upright, anybody'd tell you that. Nice lad, big act. That is his number because he's desperate for folk to like 'im. They give 'im a pat on the 'ead. A pat on his 'ead and a load on 'is back." - Ray Langton on Jerry
Jerry was a kind, soft-spoken man, shy around people he didn't know. When he arrived in Coronation Street, he was a young and naive 20-year-old, and tended to be led around by others. Eager to please, he let himself be bullied into marriage by Myra Dickinson, and later be strongarmed by Myra's father George Dickinson into accepting blame for incurring a debt of £85 that had been entirely Myra's. In 1964, Jerry found the courage to leave Myra, and returned to the Street more assured and willing to speak his mind.
In the main, Jerry was one of the lads, enjoying a pint and a laugh at the Rovers with business partners Len Fairclough and Ray Langton. He thought about life more deeply than his friends (much to their amusement), and had a greater sense of responsibility, although he often had trouble putting his thoughts into words and would speak up for others more easily than he would for himself. He also had a stammer which surfaced when angry. To many people, Jerry seemed, as Len put it, a bit backwards in coming forwards.
Jerry was by-the-book in his working practices, and committed to his craft. His dedication outstripped that of his co-workers, although they had better heads for business. His code of conduct extended beyond carpentry; when he and Myra were broke, Jerry refused to do foreigners to supplement their income, and he wouldn't let Myra work as he believed her job was to look after her husband and home.
Normally a gentle man, Jerry could land a strong blow when pushed. He knocked Jim Stoker unconscious when Jim demeaned him in the Rovers, taunting Jerry by saying that he was only good for skivvying. In 1966, he started to fight with a colleague when his workmates made digs at him for not drinking while working, with Len joining in. After hitting Stoker, Jerry was plagued with guilt, disappointed in himself for losing his cool. He was also behind an attack on Frank Turner in December 1965, after learning that Frank had been blackmailing Jack Walker. Len and Stan Ogden had decided to give him a seeing to, and were shocked when Jerry owned up to it, showing no hint of remorse.
Jerry wasn't a music buff but enjoyed the occasional orchestral piece.
Len Fairclough was Jerry's mentor in the trade, and eventual business partner. They'd both trained under Joe White, so Len expected a good standard of work from Jerry, and he wasn't disappointed. Len also gave his naive young apprentice a nudge in the right direction in life when needed, while never interfering directly. In exchange, Jerry worked behind the scenes to get Len and Elsie Tanner together, getting Len to invite her to the Federation Dance in 1963 and informing Len that Elsie had gone on holiday with Dave Smith in 1967.
Len and Jerry had a good working relationship, with a few notable rough moments, usually caused by Jerry's inexperience. In 1965, he closed the yard to earn money for himself converting some old houses into flats for Willie Piggott - a job Len had previously turned down. Len considered Jerry's actions a betrayal, but soon forgave him. That October, Jerry gave a young lad, Alan Platt, secret woodwork lessons after catching him stealing wood from the yard for a bonfire. When Len found out that Alan had dropped Len's treasured model plane which Jerry had taken responsibility for, Len rowed with Jerry and called him an idiot. On the other hand, Jerry often felt that Len didn't take the work seriously enough, such as in February 1966 when Len drank his way through the job when working on a brewery contract. Len came to his senses when Jerry fell off some scaffolding while Len played cards with some other contractors, although Jerry wasn't seriously hurt.
On a personal level, Jerry looked up to Len although despite a significant age gap, their relationship was that of friends rather than father/son. Len helped Jerry out financially during his and Myra's marriage troubles and, later, to pay off George Dickinson to free him of Myra. Initially deferring to Len, Jerry grew in confidence over the years; in 1964, he threw a walking race with Len so that they would tie, pretending to tear a ligament. Two years later, he had the brass neck to hire a homeless Ena Sharples as their live-in housekeeper and then clear off for a few days, leaving Len to deal with Ena alone. By the 1970s, Jerry didn't hesitate to give Len honest advice about his personal life, such as in 1972 when Jerry told him that Rita Littlewood deserved better than the way he treated her.
Len found Jerry a nag at times, once calling him an old woman, but respected him and was saddened when he died.
Sheila Birtles was the biggest love of Jerry's life. They met on Jerry's first day in the Street, when Len brought Jerry in for his inaugural drink at the Rovers Return. Sheila and Doreen Lostock had been led to believe that Len had employed someone they knew - a Gregory Peck lookalike who they fancied - and they were decidedly unimpressed when they were introduced to gormless Jerry in his cycling shorts.
The girls befriended Jerry and often teased him. When they moved into the Corner Shop flat, they threw a flat-warming party and got Jerry and Emily Nugent drunk. After their disastrous first date on the tandem, Jerry had to settle for being friends with Sheila but hoped for more. In April 1963, at Dennis Tanner's suggestion he tried to make Sheila jealous by going off with Rita Spears, leading to much embarrassment when he discovered that she was fourteen and had dressed older to impress her teacher Ken Barlow.
When he and Sheila finally went steady with each other, thoughts of marriage soon preoccupied Jerry. Fond of but not in love with Jerry, Sheila started seeing Neil Crossley behind his back. Under Neil's spell, Sheila acted out of character, skipping work and getting behind with the rent. When Jerry caught them together in the street, Neil suggested they share Sheila, to which Jerry responded by knocking him unconscious. Neil's subsequent rejection of Sheila led her to leave the street, ignoring Jerry and Doreen's pleas for her to stay.
Whenever Sheila returned to the Street, Jerry's previous heartbreaks were always foremost on his mind but immediately forgiven. In 1966, they got as far as getting engaged, with Sheila prepared to give up her son Danny to give them a fresh start, before Neil Crossley appeared back on the scene and Sheila dumped him again. In 1974, when a happily married Sheila visited the Street, she and Jerry had a good time visiting their old haunts. Their last meeting ended on a tragic note, with Jerry stopping a party Sheila had thrown for her old friends to drunkenly tell everyone how much she meant to him. The incident was yet another setback in Jerry and Mavis Riley's relationship, with Mavis accusing Jerry of living on memories of a woman he couldn't have.
In February 1966, Jerry took on borstal boy Ray Langton to look after the yard while Jerry and Len worked on a brewery contract. Two months later, after Ray threatened Brenda Riley and tried to get Lucille Hewitt into bed, Len sacked him and sent him on his way. In 1968, Ray returned and went for a plumber's job at the yard, and Jerry took him on again. Less forgiving than his business partner, Len tried to see see Ray off with his fists, but Jerry stopped them fighting and made Len see that Ray's skills as a plumber were worth giving him a second chance.
Where Jerry normally put himself last, Ray was the opposite, with Len occupying the middle ground. Hot-headed, brash, and rude, Ray was in business for himself, whatever the terms of the partnership. He, Jerry and Len were ultimately friends, but Ray often demeaned Jerry for being so eager to please and allowing others to take advantage of his good nature. Jerry struggled to handle Ray's digs, often getting himself worked up into a tizzy. They butted heads a few times over the years, such as in December 1973 when Jerry urged Len to cut an absent Ray out of the business, and a year later when Ray conned Jerry's friend Mavis Riley into going to meet her Spanish love Pedro Diaz, who had supposedly flown over to see her.
Mavis Riley was Jerry's last love. They met at Emily and Ernest Bishop's wedding in April 1972, where they danced and chatted. Afterwards, they remained friends, and it was Jerry who in June 1973 suggested that she apply to be Rita Littlewood's assistant at the Kabin when she complained about her current job at the Mark Brittain Warehouse.
At that point, Jerry and Mavis had had tea together a few times, but no formal dates. Mavis was shy and nervous around Jerry but eager to become a proper couple, while Jerry for the most part failed to notice this and - not the most self-assured person himself - was concerned mainly with putting Mavis at ease and not rushing her. In January 1974, Jerry booked them a table at Mario's Italian restaurant, where Mavis asked him for advice over returning to Grange-over-Sands with her parents, attempting to push him into making a move, but Jerry chickened out and advised her to go.
After Mavis's return to Weatherfield in April, their friendship carried on as before, with no proper relationship ever forming. Jerry cared deeply for Mavis, and often tried to boost her self-confidence; he volunteered her for a sponsored swim, and in October 1974 when Len reversed Mavis and Rita's roles at the Kabin to spite Rita, Jerry refused Mavis's request to convince Len to reinstate the status quo, urging her to push herself. However, these gestures of support only infuriated Mavis, and she felt that Jerry did not understand her.
Rita wasn't altogether fond of Jerry, and especially disliked the way he took Mavis for granted. On Rita's advice, Mavis made herself less available to him, and when Mavis started seeing Spaniard Carlos in December 1974, Rita alleviated her guilt over Jerry, telling her it was nothing to do with him. Jerry was put out when Mavis dropped out of having Christmas lunch at the Claremont Hotel with him, resulting in him spending the day alone. Much to Mavis's disappointment, he remained decent about it, even when he thought she was seeing two Spanish men as Ray Langton and Bet Lynch had tricked her into thinking she was meeting her holiday flame Pedro Diaz. While nursing a broken heart, he remained protective of Mavis; in September 1975, at Mavis's request he warned off Brian Collett, who had scared her with his odd behaviour on a date arranged through a computer dating agency.
A month later, Mavis was one of the mourners at Jerry's funeral. The following year, Jerry's role in her life would be filled by salesman Derek Wilton, whose relationship with Mavis was just as fraught with dithering and deliberation.
Jerry's other friends in Coronation Street were Jed Stone and Dennis Tanner. No stranger to trouble, both men saw Jerry as a soft touch. In November 1962, Jed fleeced Jerry £25 for 24 washbasins. Not one to hold a grudge, Jerry invited Jed along on a double date with Sheila and Doreen in February 1963 to see the strippers at the Orinoco Club.
Jerry and Dennis ran in different circles but they had the occasional dealing. Jerry was landed with disaster-prone Dennis as his best man at his and Myra's wedding, when Myra fixed it up behind Jerry's back. Jerry returned the favour when Dennis married Jenny Sutton five years later, but had to be persuaded as he had mixed feelings on marriage at that time, having recently divorced. One less happy encounter occurred in January 1966, when Dennis conducted a secret photography study of Jerry, taking pictures of him half-naked. When Emily Nugent found the pictures, Dennis was forced to apologise.
Hobbies and interests
To make up for a quiet love life, Jerry had a multitude of hobbies. He enjoyed cycling, and as a youth was a member of the Weatherfield Harriers. On his first date with Sheila Birtles, he took her out on a tandem, which fell into a ditch resulting in them having to walk ten miles back home. In August 1975, he arranged for Gail Potter and Tricia Hopkins to borrow the Ogdens' tandem and went on a picnic with them. With Jerry cramping the girls' style, Gail and Tricia got bored and Tricia returned home on Jerry's bike. Jerry was stranded when Gail went off with a Porsche driver, and returned on a milk float with the wrecked tandem.
Jerry also enjoyed hiking, at least until April 1973 when he went walking the Pennine Way with only Albert Tatlock for company. They didn't complete the walk as Albert tired Jerry out and they ended up bickering. His swimming pursuit met with greater success; in March 1967, he gave Emily Nugent lessons, helping her get over her fear of water.
His most ambitious project was the building of an eleven-foot sailing dinghy called "Shangri-La" in March 1972. Jerry took the endeavour seriously, getting advice about sailing from Freddie Baxter, secretary of the Weatherfield Sailing Club, and going to a sea cadets class at the Community Centre for tips. Baxter was dismissive of Jerry's efforts, but the cadets were impressed and went to view the vessel which he'd made a point of stating had been built by him alone. He was then angered to find that Ray had finished it off. The boat was christened with brown ale, and taken to the Burmer Reservoir for its maiden voyage. Unfortunately, Jerry made the mistake of allowing Stan Ogden aboard, and disaster inevitably befell the craft when Stan leaned over too far and overturned it, resulting in Jerry, Ray and Stan having to stumble ashore.
Jerry shared more common interests with his friends, such as football and bowls. In 1966, he went with the men to Liverpool to see Brazil play Portugal in a World Cup match. In 1963, he was part of a large consignment of Coronation Street men who went to New Brighton for a darts picnic, and in 1973, he took part in a bowls match, and at Ruth Winter's invitation, he joined a pub quiz team in 1966.
He also partook in the occasional community stage play, such as The Importance of Being Earnest at the Community Centre in 1974, at which he played Jack. On Christmas Day 1972, at the Rovers' 40s night he sang Underneath the Arches with Ray, as Flanagan and Allen, and at the Boxing Day fancy dress party at the Glad Tidings Mission Hall in 1966, he won best dressed male for his Robin superhero costume (with Len as Batman).
Creation and casting
In April 1962, Coronation Street 's script editor H.V. Kershaw succeeded Derek Granger as producer. At that point, the programme was running with only thirteen cast members and no extras due to the lengthy Equity actors' strike, which finally ended after five months on 3rd April. Only then could storylines involving other characters be planned, and throughout June and July, many strikebound actors returned to the programme. With the cast almost at full strength, the first (and only) new addition of the year was created in the form of Jerry Booth, shy apprentice of Len Fairclough.
Jerry was the first character cast by Kershaw, who recalled Graham Haberfield's audition in his autobiography: "I met Graham Haberfield as one of three candidates for the part in my office at Granada. Graham was playing out his last few weeks at Bristol Old Vic Drama School and was seeking his first professional job; I was looking for an apprentice for Len Fairclough. We chatted for a while. I described the shy, gauche but fanatically conscientious character we were seeking; he told me what he had been doing at Bristol. I had doubts. Whilst physically he was perfect for the role, his accent was disturbing. In fact he didn't seem to have one. I asked him why. 'They tried to knock it out of me at Drama School', he explained apologetically. 'Did they succeed?' I asked. He shook his head and smiled and when I dug out a couple of copies of the first script in which the character appeared and read 'Len Fairclough' to his 'Jerry Booth' the natural Derbyshire accent complemented his physical appearance and it was patently obvious that there was no point in looking further." (The Street Where I Live, Book Club Associates, 1981)
Jerry Booth was Graham Haberfield's first professional acting role. Shortly after being cast, Haberfield told TV Times: "I couldn't believe my luck when I heard I had got the part. I didn't sleep for several nights after hearing the news."
After two years playing Jerry, Haberfield asked for a break from the programme. Jerry's exit was one of the many which occurred under Tim Aspinall - although contrary to some sources, Haberfield wasn't axed by the new producer. In Episode 359, Jerry and wife Myra left the Street in a bid to save their marriage by moving in with Myra's father George Dickinson. Kershaw stated in his memoirs that Haberfield returned "weeks later" however Jerry didn't re-appear on-screen until Episode 432 on 1st February 1965.
In 1968, in a bid to combat falling ratings, executive producer Richard Everitt decided to bring more social issues into the programme and, along with writing team consultant Stan Barstow, devised a number of storylines, including a homosexuality story for Jerry. The idea was quickly vetoed. (50 Years of Coronation Street: The (very) Unofficial Story, JR Books, 2010)
Haberfield decided to depart the programme again early in 1968. Jerry was given a low-key exit, slipping away unnoticed from Dennis Tanner and Jenny Sutton's wedding after surprising the guests with a brutally honest best man's speech. Kershaw: "In the early summer of 1968 however the itch began again and this time it was more serious. It was always difficult for a young actor to be content playing the same character year after year. After all, variety was what it was all about and insecurity was no stranger. He knew that he could never really prove himself as an actor unless he cut loose from 'Jerry Booth' and when he asked that his contract should not be renewed we could only fall in with his request and wish him well." Haberfield's first post-Street role was the Jack Rosenthal-penned comedy There's a Hole in Your Dustbin, Delilah!. (The Street Where I Live)
Haberfield returned to the role again in 1971. A year later, a new comedy-drama spin-off from Coronation Street entitled Rest Assured was planned, starring Haberfield and Neville Buswell. It got as far as the recording of a pilot programme which, to date, has not been transmitted.
On 17th October 1975, Haberfield suffered a fatal heart attack owing to a liver condition and passed away at 33. Jerry's final two appearances were transmitted posthumously. Granada offered to edit out his scenes, although they were left intact at the insistence of his wife Valerie. Out of respect to his loved ones, Jerry was killed off without fanfare in Episode 1546. Kershaw: "His premature death was a great shock and a loss not only to his friends and colleagues in television but to a wide audience who were denied his considerable talent." (The Street Where I Live)
First and last lines
"Well yeah I was, missus." (First line, to Florrie Lindley)
"Hello, Mr Tatlock." (Final line)
List of addresses
|62 Viaduct Street||2nd August 1941 to 25th November 1963|
|13 Coronation Street||25th November 1963 to 20th May 1964|
|Flat in St George's Court||20th May to October 1964|
|Men's hostel||Until 8th February 1965|
|15a Coronation Street||8th February to 21st April 1965|
|Blackburn||April to mid-1965|
|15 Mawdsley Street||11th August 1965 to 29th May 1968|
|London||May 1968 to unknown date|
|Working man's hostel||Until 11th October 1971|
|9 Coronation Street||11th October 1971 to 29th October 1975|
|Apprentice joiner||Joe White's building firm||Until July 1962|
|Apprentice joiner||Len Fairclough's building firm||23rd July 1962 to Episode 290 (23rd September 1963)|
|Labourer||Len Fairclough's building firm||23rd September 1963 to 13th May 1964|
|Labourer||Roscoe & Pitts||May 1964 to unknown date|
|Labourer||Len Fairclough's building firm||1st February to 21st April 1965|
|Self-employed builder||April to mid-1965|
|Labourer||Len Fairclough's building firm||11th to 23rd August 1965|
|Co-owner||Fairclough and Booth||23rd August 1965 to 15th May 1968|
|Housekeeper||9 Coronation Street||October 1971|
|Labourer||Fairclough and Langton||1st November 1971 to 24th December 1973|
|Co-owner||Fairclough, Langton and Booth||24th December 1973 to 29th October 1975|