Last weeks episodes of Coronation Street, (that were broadcast every night at 9pm after a brilliant ‘Britain’s Got Talent’) saw the end for Lesley in Coronation Street.
But it came to a shock to many people, that her character was written out of Coronation Street so abruptly.
We first saw Lesley (played by the excellent Judy Holt) appear in the ITV show back in October 2011. We watched Eileen (Sue Cleaver) and Lesley’s fireman husband Paul (Tony Hirst) start dating, even though Paul was still married to Lesley.
It soon became apparent though that Lesley was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Time For Lesley in Coronation Street was Short
We have watched Lesley in Coronation Street in many episodes that involve the love triangle between Eileen, Paul and Lesley, In particularly, scenes exploring what its like to live and care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. There have been scenes where Lesley has gone missing and scenes where Lesley has shown signs of aggression towards Eileen.
In the very short time that Lesley’s character has been in the soap the writers have explored a lot of situations that a person with dementia and a carer might find themselves in when dealing with a person with Alzheimer’s. With most of the story lines giving a realistic reflection of what its like to live or care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Many of the story lines have involved other characters on the street and we have watched as the other residents on Coronation Street have voiced their opinion about how Lesley should be treated. One such memorable comment came from Tracy Barlow after her daughter had gone to the park with Lesley. “She should be locked up” shouts Tracy.
The comments made by the Streets other residents give us a taste of how many people in today’s society view dementia and often the ignorance or misinformed judgement that other people might have towards a person with the disease. The show’s writers seemed to get this spot on when writing some scenes involving other characters on the street and how someone might perceive someone with dementia.
The story lines have also ignited the flames on the subject on whether it is right or wrong for somebody who is married to a person who is suffering from a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s, to have an affair or relationship, outside of the marriage whilst the person with the dementia is still living. Does the saying “till death us do part” count when living with a person with advanced Alzheimer’s. Some say the person you married is no longer there. I don’t know myself. It’s a tricky subject.
How Lesley’s time on the street came to an end
If you have yet to watch the last episodes of Judy Holt playing Lesley in Coronation street and you don’t want to know how Lesley’s character was killed off then you may want to miss out reading the next paragraph.
Paul proposes to Eileen and leaves to see a solicitor to get a divorce, leaving Lesley in the care of Eileen. After Lesley attacked Eileen, leaving her with a bloody nose, Eileen runs out of the house leaving Lesley alone in the Grimshaw’s house on Coronation Street. We then watch as a confused Lesley tries to make some cheese on toast. Lesley then gets confused and believes the electric toaster is dirty and tries to wash the toaster whilst the toaster is still plugged into the socket, leading to a fatal consequence. She gets electrocuted and dies.
Eileen later returned to find Lesley dead on the kitchen floor.
Even though Lesley’s character came to an abrupt end there was still a message to be learnt in the way Lesley was killed. Whether the script writers meant it this way or not there are serious points that the writers make.
Leaving a seriously confused person who has advanced dementia alone in a situation where they could cause harm to themselves is one that has to be remembered by any carer, although in this situation Eileen can be excused because she was physically attacked, so no blame could be put on her for leaving Lesley in the house alone.
The dreadful accident where Lesley dies of electrocution could be repeated even if Eileen was present. It draws attention to the fact that a carer needs to have eyes in the back of their head in order to keep an eye on a person who suffers from memory loss. It’s a situation that any carer can find themselves in.
What We Think of Lesley in Coronation Street
The story lines will no doubt continue for a while about Lesley. There will be analysis as to who was to blame for Lesley’s death, what could have been done and how the situation could have been prevented, but eventually things will come to an end and new story lines will overtake those involving Eileen, Paul and Lesley.
We believe the scriptwriter’s have shown great understanding and empathy towards all involved in the story on Alzheimer’s in Coronation Street and given the time constraints and quest for viewing figures, they have done a very good job of giving a true reality of what its like to live, care and love a person who has the dreadful disease that is Alzheimer’s.
I hope that the writers keep Tony Hirst in the programme. He is a good actor and has played the part of Lesley’s husband and Eileen’s lover brilliantly. My mother also wants to see more of the hunky fireman because as she says, “He can rescue me at any time”
– Have you been following the love triangle on Coronation Street between Eileen Grimshaw, fireman Paul and his Alzheimer’s suffering wife Lesley. What do you think? Let us know below.
You can catch up with Coronation Street on the ITV player. Most of the episodes of Coronation Street shown on ITV are available to watch for up to 28 days after being shown on ITV.