Born and raised in Coronation Street, Lucille was a bright but impressionable young girl who followed all the latest hip fashion trends. She lost her mother in a road accident at age ten, which resulted in her being placed in an orphanage until Harry re-married in 1961 as he was unable to look after her. Extremely close to her dad, Lucille didn't get on so well with her stepmother Concepta, blocking her attempts to uproot the family to Ireland.
In 1964, Concepta got her way and the Hewitts emigrated, at which point the Walkers took in Lucille at the Rovers Return. After leaving school, Lucille worked in various places including the PVC Factory, Gamma Garments and Dave Smith's Betting Shop, but rarely applied herself and was often unemployed. With Harry's death in 1967, and Jack's in 1970, the main parental figure in Lucille's life was her "auntie Annie", who placed high expectations on her ward while displaying little understanding of her modern attitudes. Lucille longed to escape the strictly-run household, finally doing so in 1973 when she moved into lodgings.
Lucille's childhood sweetheart was Gordon Clegg. They were engaged to be married in 1969, until Gordon jilted Lucille at the eleventh hour. In 1974, after a string of bad relationships and dead-end jobs, Lucille joined Concepta and Christopher in Ireland and never returned to Weatherfield.
1949-1961: Early life
The daughter of bus driver Harry Hewitt and Lizzie Hewitt, Lucille was born in 1949. Raised in 7 Coronation Street, Lucille was brought up with affection and spoiled by her neighbours. For many years she was the only child in the Street.
In January 1959, Lizzie was killed in a road accident and Lucille was left without a mother. The residents of the Street tried to support Harry in raising Lucille but he felt obliged to have Lucille taken into care, feeling unable to properly raise her. Lucille was taken to stay in a council-run orphanage, where one of her contemporaries was the sadistic Margaret Lacey.
Not wanting to spend Christmas away from home, she ran away from the orphanage in December 1960 and walked back to Coronation Street. Harry gave way to her pleas and arranged for Lucille to stay at No.5 with Esther Hayes during the days when Harry was at work.
Lucille was permanently returned from the orphanage when her aunt, Alice Burgess agreed to move in with the Hewitts and help keep house. However, she and Lucille didn't get on and her stay was a brief one.
1961-1964: A new family
Harry found love in 1961 with Concepta Riley, the Irish barmaid of the Rovers Return Inn, and they married later in the year. The following year, on 6th August, Harry and Concepta had a baby boy, Christopher. Lucille was initially jealous of the baby because of the attention he got, and didn't like the adjustments she had to make to accommodate the new arrival. She felt second-best to Christopher, and that she was losing the father who adored her to his new family.
Lucille briefly ran away from home but was persuaded to return by Ena Sharples. When she returned, the Hewitts planned a party to celebrate Harry and Concepta's first anniversary. Christopher was in Lucille's care when she went away for a moment, asking schoolfriend Brenda Cowan to watch him, but when she returned they were gone. Lucille was suspected by the police of having an active part in Christopher's disappearance because of her jealousy of him. Christopher was later found, having been stolen by Joan Akers.
Concepta was always wanting Harry to move the family to Ireland, but in 1963 Harry conceded and for a moment the family looked set to leave Weatherfield. Lucille begged her father to change his mind. Only the issue of Lucille's schooling made him decide to stay. A year later, however, Concepta pressed Harry on the issue again, and this time he obliged. Lucille was adamant she was staying in Weatherfield to finish her exams. She moved in with Annie and Jack Walker in the Rovers Return and eventually passed five "O"-levels.
1964-1968: An independent young woman
The Walkers did not have an easy ride with Lucille. Now 15, Lucille was a young woman, and had ideas from the youth culture she inhabited which Jack and Annie were not accustomed to. An old-fashioned couple, the Walkers disapproved of many of Lucille's exploits. Without their knowledge, she got a job at Mason's Record Shop, but was seen by neighbour Emily Nugent. Lucille gave up the job but the Walkers found out anyway. When her father arrived in Weatherfield to escort Lucille to Ireland she refused to go, electing to maintain her independent life in Weatherfield.
After leaving school, Lucille went from job to job before starting work in the laboratories of Marshall's Cotton Mill. She was never happy there, as her workmates were jealous of her qualifications.
In 1966, after dumping boyfriend Kenny Stevens, Lucille developed a crush on Ray Langton and began dating him. When he stole £5 from the Barlows, Lucille was accused of taking it. Ray was selfish, and didn't confess, and when Lucille was supposed to visit her father in Ireland, Ray said he would leave her if she went. Captivated by Ray, Lucille wanted a permanent relationship with him, but Ray was non-committal, and asked her for sex even though she wasn't ready. After losing his job, Ray left Weatherfield.
When Elliston's Raincoat Factory across the Street was refurbished, Lucille got a job there as a welder. Annie wasn't happy, as she thought Lucille could do better. On Boxing Day that year, Lucille got engaged to Alistair Bradshaw on a whim, but called it off a few days later when she realised she wasn't in love with him, much to the relief of all involved.
The following year Lucille quit her job at the factory and became Emily Nugent's assistant at the revamped Gamma Garments. She worked alongside Dennis Tanner, and the pair attempted to persuade Emily to dress in a more modern style. When Harry and Concepta visited Weatherfield for Elsie Tanner's wedding to Steve Tanner, Concepta again asked Lucille to consider moving to Ireland until she turned 21, but Harry was fine with her staying behind. Unfortunately, later that day Harry was crushed to death while repairing a car. Lucille stayed in Ireland for a while with Concepta.Towards the end of 1967, Lucille persuaded Dennis Tanner to hold a New Year's Eve party at No. 11, which led to his invited guests attempting to turn the house into a hippy commune. Lucille was enamoured with the leader Robert Croft and moved in, even skipping work, much to Annie Walker's dismay. When the hippies left, Lucille returned to the Rovers.
1968-1971: Gordon and Ray
In 1968, Ray Langton returned after a period in jail, and Lucille competed with Shirley Walton for his attentions. Meanwhile, Gordon Clegg had fallen in love with Lucille, though she thought he was a mummy's boy. When he fought with G.I. Gary Strauss over her she changed her mind, bored of Ray's lack of interest in her, and accepted his proposal of marriage. Gordon's mother Maggie Clegg, owner of the corner shop, was against the relationship, preferring Gordon to focus on his studies, though Annie thought Maggie didn't think Lucille was good enough for her son. Annie tried to split the pair by warning Lucille about Gordon's father Les's alcoholism, thinking that it was hereditary.Tired of their parents' interference, the couple attempted to elope to Gretna Green but missed their train. The marriage was cancelled at the last minute when Gordon jilted Lucille and left to work in London as an accountant.
In 1969, Lucille started work as a cashier at Dave Smith's Betting Shop. Later in the year she went to Ireland to get away from her troubles, not returning until March 1970, by which time Ray was engaged to Sandra Butler. When she found out Ray was having an affair with Audrey Fleming, Lucille couldn't resist dropping hints to Sandra that she wasn't good enough for Ray. She was cautioned out of these actions by Jack, who told her she would turn everyone against her. Eventually Lucille told Audrey's husband Dickie Fleming about Ray and Audrey kissing, which caused the Flemings to split up and leave the Street.
In 1971, Lucille lost her job at the betting shop after being mugged by Frank Bradley whilst taking the day's money to the bank. Dave Smith offered her the job back after claiming on the insurance, but instead Lucille went on the dole. When she turned down a number of jobs, Annie called her lazy. Eventually the dole money stopped. Annie later found that Lucille had got a job as a go-go dancer at the Aquarius pub. She tried to make Lucille quit, but the disco club was owned by Newton & Ridley, the brewery that owned the Rovers, forcing Annie's hand.
1972-1974: Leaving the StreetIn 1972, Lucille got a job as wages clerk in the Mark Brittain Warehouse across the Street with a fake reference from Maggie Clegg. In July, she changed jobs again, working at Benny Lewis's Betting Shop for a wage increase. She never found anything to hold her interest, and drifted from job to job for the rest of her time in the Street.
In 1973, tired of Annie's stifling presence, Lucille moved into a bedsit, but was later taken in by Elsie Tanner at Number 11. Lucille was happy at Number 11 but Elsie's husband, Alan Howard, didn't like her living there.
In 1974, Lucille began dating Danny Burrows, and was keen on the relationship until she found out that he was married. When he explained that he was separated, the pair moved into a flat together, but when Danny's wife Sandra showed up to ask Danny for maintenance money, Lucille asked Danny to commit to their relationship. When he refused, she packed her bags and returned to the Rovers.
In July, Gordon Clegg returned for Maggie's wedding. To avoid seeing him, Lucille went to Ireland to visit her stepmother and half-brother. She never returned to Weatherfield.
An impressionable and impulsive girl at times, Lucille tended to act first and think later. Her decisions were often based on what she would gain in the here and now, with little thought given to the longer term consequences, or her life goals, if she had any. She was also quite fickle in her ambitions, changing her mind on a whim, with her interests frequently driven by what was fashionable at the time.
Although her parents, stepmother and guardians tried to keep close tabs on Lucille and guide her, she had little respect for authority, and in fact often rebelled against convention. As the only child in the Street, she was used to being centre of attention and as an adult this translated to Lucille being easily jealous. She could also be spiteful; when things didn't go her way, Lucille would usually not be satisfied until someone else suffered for it, even if it wasn't their fault. This was especially so in her love life.
Harry and Concepta Hewitt
As an only child whose mother had died when she was ten years old, Lucille was very dependent on her dad Harry Hewitt. She was wary of being separated from him, and hated the orphanage she had to stay in in 1960. Her relationship with him was further complicated when he married Concepta Riley, who wanted to start a family with Harry. Lucille felt that she was losing her dad and enjoyed forcing him to choose between her and Concepta, as he would always choose Lucille.
Lucille and Concepta were a thorn in each other's sides, as they competed for Harry's affections. Lucille did not object to Harry re-marrying but Concepta quickly became the target of blame when Harry let Lucille down. When Lucille persuaded Harry not to move the family to Ireland, as Concepta wanted, this deepened the rift between Lucille and Concepta. Concepta considered throwing Harry and Lucille out (an idea Lucille supported).
Although Harry usually went easy on Lucille, trying to be understanding when she misbehaved, he was occasionally firmer with her, such as when he hit Lucille when she tore up her English textbook after being accepted to Grammar School, as none of her friends had got in. He also belted her when she spent all her savings. Most of the time however when Lucille was up to no good she was able to hide it from Harry.
After Harry's death, Concepta and Lucille grew closer as they were united in their grief over Harry. Lucille often went to stay in Ireland to see Concepta - something she had never done when Harry was alive - and eventually went to live there. When she found out Concepta was getting remarried to Sean Regan, Lucille was resentful at first, but later agreed to be a bridesmaid.
Annie and Jack Walker
Rovers Return Inn landlords Jack and Annie Walker were Lucille's guardians when Harry and Concepta moved to Ireland. As Lucille was 15 when she moved into the Rovers, the Walkers had to cope with Lucille's later teenage years and Lucille, who was already adept at hiding her misdemeanours from Harry, did not give them an easy ride.
Annie made it clear that she had high expectations of Lucille, but did not actually give her much encouragement. When Lucille let her down, such as when she moved out to squat with hippies, Annie's disappointment saw her interfere, in this case seeing her contacting the landlord Alfred Wormold to have the hippies evicted. Annie was happy however to lend a helping hand in areas she considered herself an expert in, giving Lucille elocution lessons so she could apply for secretarial work.
Jack, by contrast, became Lucille's confidante, as he was less likely to criticise and quicker to come to an understanding and offer advice.
Lucille also pulled her weight by working behind the bar when she turned 18, although Annie preferred her to have her own job. In 1965, Lucille served Frank Turner as she was the only person in the bar at the time, even though she was underage. Frank realised Lucille was only 16 and used that information to blackmail Jack. Lucille was shocked when Jack couldn't cope with being blackmailed and broke down in front of her.
Hobbies and interests
During her teenage years Lucille showed an interest in performing, winning the Viaduct Sporting Club singing contest with a rendition of My Guy, and taking the lead in the pantomime Cinderella staged at the Mission of Glad Tidings. She also took part in a production of The Way of the World, falling for the male lead Roger Wain who briefly influenced her into becoming a vegetarian.
Lucille contributed to the school newspaper during this time, uncovering a secret from Annie's past that she'd rather have been forgotten - that she took part in a pageant as Lady Godiva.
In 1963 she set up a fan club for Walter Potts, who was starting a singing career. When Walter was making a personal appearance in London, Lucille went to London without telling Harry or Concepta. In 1964, Lucille saw a photograph of Jennifer Knott in the newspaper as President of Walter's fan club. Lucille was incenced, and later had 'Brett Falcon Fan Club President' tattooed on her arm.
On several occasions - such as the wedding of Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock, or the near marriage of Emily Nugent and Leonard Swindley - Lucille was pressed into action as a bridesmaid, usually disliking the outfits chosen for her.
Lucille was briefly a member of the Salvation Army in 1970, though she left after upsetting one of the people she was supposed to be helping, the cantankerous pensioner Arthur Noblett. Lucille continued her social crusading by standing up for a group of Gypsies who moved into the area.
- There was panic in 1961 when a missing box of prescription sleeping pills were discovered in Lucille's possession, with her admitting to swallowing one. She was cleared by Dr Graham.
- Before agreeing to live at the Rovers in 1964, Lucille was set to move into the Corner Shop flat with Irma Ogden.
- After her parents left the Street, Lucille would often sit in No.7 to remind her of the times she'd shared with her father. As a result of this, a frantic search took place when the house collapsed in 1965. It was feared that Lucille may have sneaked in and been trapped in the rubble. She turned up unharmed whilst the men of the Street assisted the police in moving the rubble.
- Lucille was a bright girl, but she was always more interested in things other than school. In 1964, Ena Sharples caught Lucille skipping school. Ena told Harry, who told Lucille she wasn't allowed to go to the school party.
- Following the death of barmaid Betty Williams in 2012, the last will and testament of Annie Walker was discovered among her possessions. Dated 1984 (The year of Annie's retirement), the document cited Lucille as one of the beneficiaries.
Creation and casting
Lucille Hewitt was one of Coronation Street's original characters conceived by Tony Warren. She existed as far back as Warren's memo introducing the denizens of Florizel Street, then named Janice. By the time the dry runs were scripted, Janice had become Lucille. The character made her debut in the second dry run alongside her father, Harry. She was the youngest character featured in the programme, and the only child, at eleven years old.
Jennifer Moss was the Wigan-born actress who was eventually cast as Lucille. Moss was a reluctant star, as she had been pushed into acting by her mother (50 Years of Coronation Street: The (very) Unofficial Story, JR Books, 2010). Her career started with radio Children's Hour in 1957, in which she performed alongside Tony Warren. Three years later, she made her television debut on BBC Manchester's Sunday Night Play; a production of June Evening which also starred Violet Carson. Within hours of her audition, the part of Lucille was hers: "Tony asked me to take off my shoes and I kicked them off.. The scene I had to read was Lucille running away from the orphanage and she was supposed to cry. And I was so nervous I did cry; it was very, very easy. By the time I got home Granada had telephoned and I was in it." (The Coronation Street Story, Boxtree, 1995)
As she had limited experience of working in a TV studio, Moss was given two small speaking parts ahead of Lucille's debut in Episode 4, playing other children. These were Christine Farrar in Episode 1 and Sandra Haddon, granddaughter of Martha Longhurst, in Episode 2. Both were uncredited with Moss delivering her lines from off-camera.
As a minor when the programme first started, Moss's appearances were restricted in its first few months. This was explained by Lucille living in an orphanage following the death of her mother Lizzie. She made 29 appearances in 1961, up to November of that year when the Equity actors' strike began, leaving Moss unable to sign a new contract until industrial action ended the following April. During this absence, Lucille was still living at 7 Coronation Street and would be mentioned occasionally to keep her alive in viewers' minds. Lucille was the first regular character to return after the strike was over, re-appearing in Episode 142 on 23rd April 1962.
In her early years, Lucille was portrayed as an impressionable young schoolgirl who had a thorny relationship with her stepmother, Concepta. Four years older than her character, Moss related to the troubles Lucille went through as she got older: "If you're a teenager, a teenage rebel is quite easy to play because we've all gone through sort of the stroppy bit." (The Corrie Years - The Kids, ITV, 2012). As a result of the age difference between Lucille and Moss, the wardrobe department initially binded the actress with bandages under her outfit to give her a flat chest (50 Years of Coronation Street). Moss also had some input into the clothes Lucille wore: "I was very careful that not much money should he spent on her clothes, things like that." (Life After the Street, ITV, 2001)
In 1964, Lucille and the other Hewitts were axed by newly-arrived producer Tim Aspinall. According to Jennifer Moss, Aspinall "walked into the Green Room and said, 'When a growth gets cancerous, it must be cut out.' He then announced that the Hewitts would go - the whole family..." (The Coronation Street Story). Lucille was retained on the orders of Granada senior management, but Harry, Concepta and Lucille's half-brother Christopher were not so lucky. Moss: "Cecil [Bernstein] intervened to keep me. I was told that he had said it was ridiculous to have a street with no children." (The Coronation Street Story)
Coming of age
As Lucille's parents were being written out, she transitioned to become the ward of Annie and Jack Walker at the Rovers Return, living above the pub. The generation gap between Lucille and the Walkers was frequently exploited by writers. Moss: "I think it broadened her, opened her up to new situations." (The Coronation Street Story) However, she remained bitter at the way her co-stars had been treated, remarking on Ivan Beavis's short-term - and final - return in 1967: "I didn't see why he couldn't come back for good. To bring him back to finish him off was just a reminder of what had gone on in 1964." (The Coronation Street Story)
In 1967, Lucille turned eighteen, which was a long time coming for actress Jennifer Moss. In the past, she had been warned about being seen doing adult things in public. However, the perception of her as a child often meant that she couldn't do so anyway. Archivist Daran Little: "When Jennifer Moss was wanting to go out and party with the rest of the cast, she was not being served alcohol, she was being told to go home; it was her bedtime. She was a young woman yet the viewers saw her as a child." (The Corrie Years: The Kids)
As Lucille got older, Moss hoped that she would have more adult-oriented storylines. One of her ideas was for Lucille to have a boyfriend of colour, but this was deemed "out of the question" by executive producer H.V. Kershaw (The Coronation Street Story). Another suggestion, from story consultant Stan Barstow, was for Lucille to become a drug user, but this also didn't happen (50 Years of Coronation Street). Writers were worried that the programme would be seen as condoning Lucille's behaviour, and adopted a more conservative approach. One result of this was that Lucille remained a virgin into her twenties. Journalist Ann Leslie: "Fear of being accused of provoking anti-social or immoral behaviour has continually hampered producers. Should they allow nineteen-year-old Lucille to lose her virginity before marriage? Or will that make thousands of parents think that the programme is telling their children 'If Lucille can do it so can you'?" (The Coronation Street Story) Little: "[Moss] always felt right from the start that she wasn't allowed to grow up." (The Corrie Years: The Kids)
One of Lucille's principal storylines was her blossoming relationship with Gordon Clegg, and their plan to elope to Gretna Green despite stiff opposition from their guardians. The initial plan was that the pair would marry, but Bill Kenwright, who played Gordon, left at the end of his one-year contract and the planned wedding became a jilting instead. Moss believed that this was ultimately for the best: "I thought they should have married her off, but not to Gordon. I don't think that would have been the right marriage. I think marriage to Ray Langton would have had the fire in it. It wouldn't have lasted but there could have been a lot of mileage in it." (The Coronation Street Story)
During the course of the storyline, Moss had a miscarriage which resulted in a minor script rewrite, as explained by then-producer John Finch: "Two episodes were coming up the following week in which [Lucille] was the main character and I went to the hospital to see if she would be fit enough to come back, but she said her doctor had said that she couldn't. We got the Granada doctor to investigate and she came up with the opposite opinion. So I had a brainwave and I decided to rewrite the story slightly so that she would be in a wheelchair all the way through, and that's what we did." (50 Years of Coronation Street)
Jennifer Moss's firing
In 1974, Jennifer Moss was dismissed by producer Susi Hush over her ongoing alcoholism. At the point of her sacking, Hush had brought back Gordon Clegg for Maggie's wedding, with the intention that he would remain and rekindle his relationship with Lucille. However, Moss's personal problems resulted in the entire storyline having to be shelved, with the pair only having one scene together before Lucille disappeared from the programme.
Moss's personal problems had been going on for several years, with a string of bad life decisions, misfortunes, and heavy drinking affecting her work. Some commentators have traced her issues back to her early years in Coronation Street when she was thrust into the spotlight as a child TV star. Bill Kenwright: "Apart from The Appleyards and The Grove Family, I think Jenny really was the first kid to become a television star. She was a major part of Coronation Street and I think coping with that, it wasn't good for her." (50 Years of Coronation Street) Writer Adele Rose is more specific: "She was a child when she came into The Street and in those days people didn't realise that they needed looking after and mentoring and it all went to her head. She was fifteen, sixteen, going out for dinner and saying "I'll have a Hine's brandy please." I remember being quite shocked at this." (50 Years of Coronation Street) Moss herself cited the lack of support in a 2001 interview: "I started drinking heavily, and it got in the way of my work, and of course nobody said to me, 'look here, y'know, you're going to end up in a mess. I wish there had been somebody there." (Life After the Street, ITV, 2001)
As regards Moss's behaviour in 1974, Kenwright had been forewarned about possible problems with the actress when he re-joined the programme: "I'd heard rumours she was drinking very heavily and she was unactable with." About her sacking: "It was inevitable and I think Susi waited and waited and waited. The storyline just had to be totally turned round. She came to me in the dressing room and she said, 'Listen, I'm so sorry about this but I've got to do something.'" (50 Years of Coronation Street) Adele Rose also admits that Hush "had to do what they had to do" (50 Years of Coronation Street)
Lucille was seen for the last time in Episode 1404 on 1st July 1974. This was recorded the day before Episode 1405, in which Moss is credited but doesn't appear. As the episodes were part of the same studio session, this infers that the actress's firing was sudden and took place between the recording of them. Lucille's disappearance to Ireland was then relayed by Annie in Episode 1406. Moss never returned to the programme and passed away in 2006.
First and last lines
"See ya'" (Final line, to Gordon Clegg)
|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|