Before working at the Rovers Return, Tina Fowler had working experience as a model, a waitress and a telephonist (which she quit after a week as it was no good for her posture). She once came first in a Miss Lovely Legs competition, causing the runner-up, Lyn, to claim that the result was fixed.
In 1989, Tina was living in digs with her gay mate Andy. That March, she saw an advert for a barmaid at the Rovers and applied. She was interviewed by landlady Bet Gilroy in the pub during opening hours. Though she was the sort of young, bubbly woman that Bet didn't normally employ lest they steal the limelight from her, she outshone fellow candidates Veronica Marchant and Maureen Talbot and was taken on.
Footloose and fancy free, once settled into the job Tina's thoughts turned towards men. Curly Watts set his cap at her only to be curtly rejected, but Tina went out with him to go see Mark Casey compete at banger racing, taking a fancy to the young mechanic. She went off Mark when he told her that she was too old for him, and Martin Platt too spurned an invitation to go off somewhere with her. Then there was Rovers cellarman Jack Duckworth, who was dazzled by the presence of a glamorous young woman behind the bar and made a play for her daily. Tina kept Jack at bay with ease until one day when, for a laugh, she agreed to go out with him. Scarcely believing his luck, Jack got carried away by taking Tina to an expensive restaurant and ordering champagne to impress her. Tina was happy to spend Jack's money but when he tried to get frisky with her she demanded he drive her home. Hoping for a second date, Jack started leering at Tina at work and bragged about their date to Vera when she told him that no other woman would be interested in him. Getting the truth from Tina, Vera fumed at her when she revealed that she had gone out with Jack as a joke, and threw a pint at her (although Alec Gilroy stepped into the fray at the wrong moment and got drenched instead).
In September, the Community Centre and Baldwin's Casuals across the street were demolished and work began on the new Maurice Jones development, bringing with it a horde of young builders who drank at the Rovers during their off-hours. Many of them, including Les Smith and Eddie Ramsden, fancied their chances with Tina but although she enjoyed their attention she initially rebuffed them, finding them too rowdy. On one occasion when Eddie didn't take no for an answer, Kevin Webster stepped in and threw Eddie out. The next day, Eddie returned to the Rovers with his mates and a fight started in which Kevin was thrown across a table and Curly was thumped in the eye - an incident for which Alec blamed Tina.
After some pestering, Tina gave Eddie a chance and agreed to a date only to be stood up. Eddie blamed his absence on his mother being ill, requiring him to look after his baby brother Jamie. Impressed by Eddie being responsible, Tina forgave him but soured again when she learned from Mrs Ramsden that Eddie had lied and that Jamie was actually his son. Thinking was secretly married, Tina confronted him at the building site and heard the truth - that he'd been afraid of scaring her off by admitting he had a son, and that there was no chance of him getting back with Jamie's mother Marie Lancaster as she'd rejected Jamie soon after he was born. Mollified, Tina decided to stand by Eddie.
In January 1990, Eddie invited Tina to France for the week. Dreaming of a romantic getaway, Tina was deflated when it turned out to be a football trip to Charleville by coach, with her simply tagging along. After the match, Eddie and his friends became raucous and were arrested for football hooliganism. With Eddie detained in France, Tina came home alone, with the former arriving back a few days later after hitch-hiking his way to Weatherfield.
Soon afterwards, Marie returned to the scene demanding Jamie back. Determined to help Eddie, Tina hid Jamie at the Rovers, but Marie learned the truth when she called at the pub to speak to Eddie and overheard Alec complaining about Jamie crying. Bet managed to force Marie and her brother Carl Lancaster to abandon an attempt to snatch Jamie from the Rovers by making Marie see that it would look bad in court. In order to strengthen his case for custody of Jamie should the matter go to the courts, Eddie proposed to Tina and she immediately accepted. Tina had no doubts about her future with Eddie, holding firm when Marie revealed to her that she had suffered postnatal depression and wasn't herself when she gave up Jamie. However, Marie wore Eddie down and he interrupted Tina's hen night at the Rovers to tell Tina that he was marrying Marie instead. Visiting Eddie at work the next day, Tina called him a louse and threw his engagement ring at him. She bounced back by cutting her wedding cake in the Rovers and going on holiday to Cyprus with her flatmate Natalie.
That summer, Tina won Newton & Ridley's Barmaid of the Month competition. Tina almost didn't receive the award she got into a row with Alec when he made her skivvy before breaking the news to her. She got revenge by arriving late, making Alec worry that she wouldn't turn up and embarrass the Rovers. The award was presented by Nigel Ridley, who was impressed by the young barmaid and starting seeing her in secret. As Nigel was a top brewery director, Tina thought she'd struck gold and started taking liberties at work by not turning up for shifts and demanding a raise. Alec wanted to sack her for that alone, but Bet stopped him after seeing Nigel and Tina kissing. However, when Tina, bored of Percy Sugden's war stories, told the pensioner that he was barred, Bet sacked her on the spot herself.
Attempting to reach out to Tina, Bet warned her that Nigel would drop her if she made a nuisance of herself. Disbelieving, Tina got Nigel to force the Gilroys to reinstate her, but upon seeing Tina back behind the bar Bet fired her again. Tina prepared to give up on the Rovers, swearing never to end up like Bet, but Bet's words proved prescient as when Tina saw Nigel at a wine bar to complain about the Gilroys, she found him with a girlfriend and, realising she meant nothing to Nigel, threw a glass of wine over him. She never troubled the Rovers again.
- "D'you know what I am? I'm you twenty odd years ago." - Tina to Bet Gilroy
Tina possessed a vigorous and exuberant nature. Young, attractive and outgoing, she was the archetypal barmaid. She knew the right amount to flirt with the punters but lacked the experience to distinguish the harmless from the oddball who might take her seriously, as Bet Gilroy pointed out to her after Eddie Ramsden made a play for her. Bet became something of a mother figure to Tina and looked out for her throughout her time at the Rovers.
Tina showed hints of a dark side. She didn't take rejection well, and any power granted to her went to her head. When dumping Nigel Ridley, she threw a glass of wine over him and smashed the glass against the table, and when Martin Platt refused to go out with her, she labelled him a twerp. Having previously helped Bet and Alec fight against Nigel's plans to turn the Rovers into Yankees, upon becoming Nigel's girlfriend she treated them like dirt and threatened to have them fired, as well as dropping her bubbly facade behind the bar and showing a much more dismissive and rude side to her.
Tina was the first regular introduced in 1989 under producers Mervyn Watson and David Liddiment, making her debut in Episode 2917 (13th March 1989) which featured the larger plot of Alan Bradley assaulting Rita Fairclough before fleeing the street. The following episode, in which Tina starts work at the Rovers, had an audience of 26.93 million viewers (combined figure, including repeat), making it the most-watched episode of Coronation Street of all time.
First and last linesEdit
"Aye, I like a change an' all." (First line, to Bet Gilroy)
"Don't worry, I'm goin'. It was a waste of time comin' 'ere in the first place. But I wouldn't like you to forget me in an 'urry. I'd like you to 'av a little something' to remember me by. You rat!" (Final line, to Nigel Ridley)