Zoe Tattersall was the young mother of Shannon Tattersall.
Turning up at 9 Coronation Street in July 1997, Zoe attempted to persuade Gary and Judy Mallett to adopt her daughter after she was abandoned by her partner Liam Shepherd. Despite reservations from Gary, the couple later agreed to buy the baby and named her Katie. However, not long after Zoe began living across the street from the Malletts at 4 Coronation Street, having started a relationship with Ashley Peacock. Living opposite her daughter, Zoe was unable to cope with the lack of contact and eventually took her back in December - renaming her Shannon.
In April 1998, Shannon passed away from meningitis and as a result Zoe suffered a mental breakdown and was later sectioned. When she was released from hospital she returned to live with Ashley, but soon befriended a couple; Ben Andrews and Ruth Morgan, who introduced her to the Etheric Foundation - which was in fact the religious "Cult of Nirab". The cult began to take advantage of Zoe's grief and forced her to believe that theirs was the road to salvation. Although Ashley attempted to help Zoe steer clear of the cult, he eventually realised the lengths to which she had been indoctrinated when she revealed her plan to have a baby for the Foundation.
1981-1997: Tearaway teen and unwanted pregnancy
Born in September 1981, Zoe seldom had a place to permanently call home in her early life; living in care, she was shifted from pillar to post. Eventually, she grew tired of it and ran away to live on the streets with her troublemaker boyfriend Liam Shepherd. However, whilst living rough Zoe discovered that she was pregnant and, fearing that she wouldn't be able to give her child a better life than she'd had, began to think about abortion.
In May 1997, Zoe and Liam began to frequently visit the arcade where Judy Mallett worked. During their visits Judy became increasingly distressed by Liam's threatening behaviour and, upon his attempt to steal cash from the till, her husband Gary stepped in and warned Liam to leave his wife alone. Having been humiliated, Liam concocted a story that he had been assaulted by Gary and Zoe pretended to have been a witness. In exchange for him not reporting the incident to the police, Liam requested that Judy pay him £200 and she agreed to find the money - despite the fact that Gary had protested his innocence. Unable to find all of the money, Judy offered to pay £150 but Liam ordered another £100.
As a result of Liam's blackmail Judy considered stealing from the Rovers till but was caught by Samantha Failsworth and forced to confess the truth. Samantha advised Judy to go to the police but Judy ignored her and attempted to plead with Liam instead. At this point Zoe began to feel sorry for Judy, but Liam was left unfazed and continued to demand payment. Judy confessed everything to Gary, who assured her that he would deal with Liam once and for all. When Judy spotted Zoe hanging around at the arcades she accused Zoe of wanting money for drugs, which she strenuously denied. After Judy lost her temper and slapped Zoe, she was left shocked when Zoe revealed that she was pregnant and planning to use the money for an abortion. Judy was devastated that her money was to be used in order to kill a child, as her and Gary had been trying in vain to have children, and began to feel even worse when Gary chastised her for not believing he didn't attack Liam in the first place. The incident eventually brought Gary and Judy closer together and the pair agreed to have fertility tests.
By July 1997, Zoe had been abandoned by Liam. Turning up on the Malletts' doorstep, Judy agreed to take her in, with thoughts of adopting the baby. Gary was well against this and instead sent her to the Social Services. However, Judy went against her husband, agreeing to buy the baby for £2,000. Eventually Gary was persuaded that the plan suited everyone; it meant the baby wouldn't have to go into care, Zoe could get on with her life, and Gary and Judy would have what they wanted more than anything - a child to call their own. Zoe stayed on at No.9 during this time, and the only other person to know about this plan was Zoe's friend Leanne Battersby, who she confided in.
The following month, Judy was furious to find Zoe drinking with Leanne. Her anger turned to concern when Zoe went into premature labour. Gary remained at Zoe's bedside during the birth, but Judy was too nervous to stay; however Zoe gave birth to a healthy baby daughter. The delighted Malletts named the baby Katie. Gary was named as the father on the birth certificate.
Zoe stuck around for a while, mostly in order to keep up appearances, but left soon after receiving her money. But it didn't last, and when Leanne went to visit her friend in the December, she found her broke and at a hostel - essentially back where she started. Leanne came to see Zoe because she had tried to expose the truth back on Coronation Street but was called a liar. Leanne asked Zoe to return to make everyone see that was telling the truth and Zoe agreed.
Zoe's return to No.9 came unexpected to almost everyone. She arrived during baby Katie's christening party. Judy was terrified that she'd come to ask for more money, but Zoe asserted she just wanted to see her daughter.
Zoe struck up a friendship with Ashley Peacock and moved in with him at 4 Coronation Street. Ashley's devotion to catering for Zoe's needs caused his relationship with his girlfriend Maxine Heavey to break down. Zoe struggled with living opposite her daughter and eventually took her back when Gary's back was turned. The Malletts were left heartbroken, with no option but to let Zoe take her daughter, who Zoe renamed Shannon Jade. With the help of Ashley, Zoe returned to the squat to find Liam Shepherd. It soon became evident that Zoe couldn't give her daughter the upbringing the Malletts could became clear, however, when Shannon was left in the dank, candlelit squat during the night while she and Liam went to the pub.
Zoe was happy with this arrangement, seeing it as having her perfect family at last, but Liam wasn't and told the Malletts they could have Katie back - for £2,000. A disgusted Gary threw him out, but behind his back Judy promised to get him the money, obtaining it by sleeping with her boss Paul Fisher for an advance on her wages. Liam told Zoe they should take the money then flee with Shannon anyway, but Zoe refused as she couldn't betray the people who gave her a home when she had nothing. Furious, Liam threatened to hit her, and after Ashley saw him off he left the area for good.
With Liam gone, Zoe moved back into No.4. Ashley's uncle and owner of the house Fred Elliott severely disapproved of Zoe, threatening to evict the pair from No.4 if the relationship continued, but he eventually backed down. Not long after No.4 became a house of five when Leanne moved in with her new husband Nick Tilsley.
In April 1998, while Zoe and Ashley were out with Nick and Leanne babysitting, Shannon became seriously ill. An ambulance was called but it was too late; the baby died of meningitis. Zoe was grief-stricken, feeling she'd lost her one chance to get something right in life; to give Shannon a better upbringing than her own.
Zoe's loss severely impacted her mental health. She was disgusted to find her neighbours seemingly enjoying themselves at the funeral service, with snacks and drinks laid on by Fred. She lambasted them all for not being interested in helping her when Shannon was alive, but with free food and drink on the table it was a different story. Later on, when kindly Emily Bishop told Zoe she was praying for Shannon, she slapped her across the face. She also stole from the till of the Corner Shop, owned by Fred, when Ashley found her work there; she used the money to go clubbing with Leanne.
Events reached a head in May. When Ashley suggested Zoe donated some of Shannon's belongings to the Malletts, who had just found out they were expecting, Zoe felt they were simply moving on and forgetting about Shannon now they had a new baby on the way. In retaliation she poured petrol on Shannon's pram outside 9 Coronation Street, set fire to it and shoved it at Gary, all the while screaming abuse at the pair. Judy was terrified and a furious Gary threatened to phone the police, although Ashley managed to persuade him not to. The next day, Ashley came home to find Zoe chopping at her hair with a pair of scissors. At his wits' end, Ashley called in a doctor who sectioned Zoe. Feeling utterly betrayed, Zoe told a guilt-ridden Ashley she never wanted to see him again.
Zoe later softened, realising Ashley only had her best interests at heart. She was soon released and returned to Coronation Street. Ashley took her to Fiona Middleton's salon to try and sort out the mess that she'd made of her hair. While Fiona was out, and with Maxine Heavey chatting on the phone to Greg Kelly, she snatched Fiona's baby son Morgan and fled. Fiona was horrified to find her child gone and phoned the police. Ashley, Leanne and Gary quickly formed a search party to look for her. Zoe had no intention of harming Morgan, but when the two were found on a bridge the worst was assumed. Zoe was surrounded and had to give in. She handed over Morgan to a policeman, but in her despair attempted suicide by jumping into the water. Gary leapt in after her and dragged her out.
Zoe was taken to hospital, then handed over to the police, deemed to be a danger to herself and society. As part of her rehabilitation she attended a support group, talking openly about her loss. Another man there, Paul Fisher, spoke about how he slept with an employee - a married woman - in exchange for a £2,000 advance on her wages, which she was desperate for. Zoe realised the employee was Judy, and that was how she obtained the money for Shannon. When released, Zoe told Judy that her secret was safe but Judy was angry with her for bringing it up at all, seeing it as a threat. Worried sick that Zoe would let it slip one day after a drink or an argument, she decided to tell Gary herself and the couple briefly split, although he soon returned to her.
Zoe returned to live with Ashley once more. She also attempted to apologise to Fiona, but she wasn't interested and told her in no uncertain terms to stay away from her and her baby.
Later in the year, Zoe became involved with the Etheric Foundation, which was actually the religious "Cult of Nirab". The cult's leaders, Ben Andrews and Ruth Morgan, convinced Zoe that, by following their path to salvation, she would be reunited with Shannon. Zoe's friends became concerned when she started talking about the Foundation all the time, and even announced her plans to have a baby for them, having been selected by Ben to be his sexual partner. Ashley went as far as kidnapping Zoe to get her away from the cult and try to make her see sense. It was all in vain, and in December 1998 Zoe departed Weatherfield for good to start a new life in America with the Foundation.
Zoe was an impressionable young girl who often found herself influenced by a bad crowd. Often feisty and bad-tempered, she had a softer side hidden underneath and although she initially got involved with boyfriend Liam's blackmail of Judy, she began to feel sorry for her and encouraged Liam to stop. Coming from a troubled childhood, Zoe was not integrated well into the community and was frustrated when the neighbours turned out for Shannon's wake, not recognising it as a chance for them to grieve together. Zoe wanted to give Shannon a better upbringing than she had but her immaturity often led her to make bad decisions, even leaving the baby alone in a dingy squat to go to the pub after been pressured to by Liam.
Zoe was one of the earliest creations of new producer Brian Park who had been introduced with the brief of making drastic changes to Coronation Street in an effort to combat poor ratings in comparison to EastEnders. Zoe was introduced as a "pregnant tearaway" who would cause problems for Gary and Judy Mallett. Joanne Froggatt was born in Littlebeck near Whitby in 1980 and studied at the Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead from the age of 13. Her TV debut came in an episode of The Bill in 1996 after which she struggled to find more acting work and took a job in WHSmith, until eight months later she auditioned for the role of Zoe. Describing her audition, Froggatt said: "I was so nervous that I had to repeat the script over and over again. I was so convinced I'd messed up, when they called to offer me the part I couldn't believe it." Both Jane Danson and Georgia Taylor also auditioned for the role of Zoe before being cast as the Battersby sisters Leanne and Toyah.
Zoe was initially cast for six episodes before it was decided to bring her back to play a story in which she sold her baby to the Malletts. Joanne Froggatt felt uncomfortable with the limelight that came associated with a regular role in Coronation Street saying: "I felt like the little mousey outsider. I was not the most confident 16-year-old and all of a sudden people recognise you and you’re working with all these actors that you’ve seen all your life." However she was also grateful for the experience the show gave her explaining, "I learnt so much on that that job and the older more experienced actors took me under their wing."
First and last lines
"Leave it alone, Liam." (First line)
"Goodbye." (Final line, while hugging Ashley Peacock)
List of addresses
|9 Coronation Street||18th July 1997 to 8th September 1997|
|Unnamed hostel||8th September 1997 to 24th November 1997|
|5 Coronation Street||24th November 1997 to 10th December 1997|
|4 Coronation Street||10th December 1997 to 14th January 1998|
|St. Agnes House||14th January 1998 to 18th January 1998|
|4 Coronation Street||18th January 1998 to 16th December 1998|
|America||16th December 1998 onwards|
|Shop Assistant||Corner Shop||May 1998|