Albert Tatlock - remember him ?
Actor Jack Howarth
Albert Tatlock is a fictional character on the British television soap opera Coronation Street. Albert was played by actor Jack Howarth from 1960 to 1984. The character became something of an institution, so much so that grumpy old men were sometimes nicknamed "Albert Tatlock".
John Aubrey Conway Howarth, MBE (19 February 1896 – 31 March 1984) was an English stage, radio and television actor, best remembered for his role as grumpy but likeable elderly war veteran Albert Tatlock in the TV series Coronation Street between 1960 and 1984, in which he was an original cast member. Prior to his work with Coronation Street, he had a lengthy career in theatre, and in the radio soap opera Mrs. Dale's Diary.
Early and personal life
As a child, Howarth sold theatre programmes at the Theatre Royal, Rochdale, and in 1908 at the age of twelve he began playing juvenile roles on stage. He joined the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1914 and served in France and Belgium in World War I.
He married Sarah E. "Betty" Murgatroyd at St Mary and St Peter Parish Church, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, on 25 July 1929. The couple were married for 55 years, until Howarth's death and had a son, John Jr., in 1930. It was reported that Howarth bought his wife so much jewellery, she had to keep it in the bank.
His interests included travel and paintings.
Howarth ran a small cinema after the outbreak of the First World War, having been a member of the Lancashire Fusiliers during that war. From 1935, he also ran his own theatre in Colwyn Bay, taking most of the male roles himself, due to the lack of men available to play the parts.
He toured the country in theatre performances where he met and married his wife Betty in Hull in July 1929. He also appeared in a number of films including The Man in the White Suit (1951) and Hobson's Choice (1954).
Howarth made his Coronation Street debut in the first episode in December 1960 and appeared in over 1,300 episodes until his final appearance on 23 January 1984, which was recorded in December 1983
Howarth spent his final years living in Deganwy, North Wales, with his wife. On 31 March 1984, he died in Llandudno General Hospital from kidney failure and pneumonia, with his wife and son at his bedside. Howarth was cremated six days later at a private funeral in Colwyn Bay. He left his wife £60,000 in his will.
Howarth was Britain's oldest working actor at the time of his death. His death meant that William Roache, who played Albert Tatlock's nephew-in-law, Ken Barlow, was the only original actor left on Coronation Street at that time. The decision to kill off the Albert Tatlock character was made shortly after Howarth's real life death, and Tatlock's death was aired in the episode dated 14 May 1984
Albert was delighted when his niece Valerie (Anne Reid), daughter of his brother Alfred, came to stay with him, and began seeing neighbour Ken Barlow (William Roache); and even more so when the pair got married in 1962. Albert was pleased to have family ties in the street and he was a frequent visitor at No. 9.
Not idle in his retirement, Albert got a job as a school crossing warden and hired an allotment from the Council to grow his own vegetables. In 1965, Albert asked Clara Midgeley (Betty Hardy) to look after his house while he went for an extended visit to his daughter Beattie Pearson's (Gabrielle Daye), and upon his return he soon realised Clara was interested in him. Clara proposed to Albert but he turned her down, saying he was too set in his ways.
Money was always a great concern of Albert's. In 1967, he briefly bought items in bulk with Ena Sharples (Violet Carson) to cut costs and later took a live-in assistant job at the Fusiliers' Museum, working for his old friend Harry Dunscombe. Effie Spicer (Anne Dyson) looked after No. 1 while Albert was living elsewhere. Effie left the house abruptly upon Albert's return as he had increased her rent because he hated the decorating she had done as a surprise for him.
In 1969, Albert found himself warming to the idea of remarrying, so he would have someone to spend his old age with. He proposed to Alice Pickins (Doris Hare), who had been pursuing him for nearly a year, however as the guests assembled for the wedding, the vicar was delayed, and Alice thought it was a bad sign and decided not to marry Albert after all. Further upset came for Albert in 1971 when Ken and Valerie decided to emigrate. Just as he was coming to terms with their departure, Valerie died in an accident in the Barlows' maisonette, and a distraught Ken decided to stay in the country. Even though Ken was not a blood relative, Albert had come to accept him as part of his family and eventually let him lodge at No. 1 although he made clear his disapproval that Ken had decided to send his and Val's twins Peter and Susan (Robert and Katie Heaneu) to live in Scotland with Val's parents, Alfred and Edith Tatlock (Clare Kelly).
In the meantime, Albert's financial woes continued. He took a job as co-caretaker at the local Community Centre and in 1973 suggested to friend Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant) that they marry for financial reasons (Minnie was also struggling with money). After months of being engaged, Minnie pressed Albert to set a date for the wedding. However, when her friend Ena pointed out that as a couple they would earn less than they would separately, Minnie called off the engagement. Both were relieved, as they were starting to get on each other's nerves.
Albert celebrated his 80th birthday in August 1975. To his surprise, the neighbours threw a surprise party for him. They had contacted his old regiment who sent along a bugler. In 1976, Albert had a dispute when he won money at the bingo with Bertha Lumley (Madoline Thomas), as she did not share her winnings with him despite their agreement. Albert was threatened by Bertha's husband Nat (Eric Longworth), so he decided to leave well alone.
Albert was very proud of his war record, and took a dim view of Minnie's friend Handel Gartside (Harry Markham) when he found out he was a conscientious objector, and even at one point refused to let Handel in his house. In 1980, Albert sold his Military Medal to go to London for Remembrance Day, to pay tribute to his war friend Monty Shawcross. When Ken saw how upset Albert was that he had sold his medal, he bought it back for him.
In the late 1970s, Albert spent his days taking care of his allotment, though he feared the Council would take it off him because of his age. Ken had married again but was now back at No. 1 after being widowed. However, in 1981, Ken married for a third time, to Deirdre Langton (Anne Kirkbride). Ken and Deirdre planned to move although Ken felt an obligation to take care of Albert, as Albert's daughter Beattie continued to visit him only a few times a year. Albert wanted to stay in No. 1 but knew that if he left the house to Ken and Deirdre in his will it would upset Beattie, so the Barlows decided to buy it from him instead (although Beattie was still upset by the news). Albert agreed to move into the front parlour so that Deirdre's daughter Tracy (Holly Chamarette) could take his room.
Albert Tatlock died of a heart attack whilst sat in his chair at 11am on 14 May 1984, aged 88, while visiting Beattie. His death mirrored the real life death of the actor who played him, Jack Howarth, who had died in hospital six weeks earlier. In 2014, Albert's medal featured in a further storyline, when Tracy sold it. Deirdre was furious and demanded she get it back or else she would kick her out of No. 1.
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