Inside Corrie Elaine stars life – famous husbands, tragedy and sex symbol role

Inside Corrie Elaine stars life – famous husbands, tragedy and sex symbol role

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    She first appeared on Coronation Street in 1969, but Paula Wilcox thrilled fans when she returned to the soap decades later in 2020, playing Tim Metcalfe's biological mother Elaine Jones.

    The 72-year-old actress has paved a long and successful career as an actress, having launched herself into the spotlight in her 20s when she starred as Chrissy Plummer in Man About The House in the 70s.

    She was instantly recognized as a sex symbol and went on to appear in a string of well-known TV shows and films.

    READ MORE:Corrie Elaine star Paula Wilcox still gets recognised 45 years after Man About The House

    Elaine is facing danger in upcoming Corrie scenes as she's set to marry serial killer Stephen Reid, and her son Tim is fuming about it.

    And Paula recently teased that her character isn't safe either, revealing: "It is going to be a very interesting time. Hopefully, she has people watching out for her because she is completely unaware of what she is taking on."

    From the death of her husband aged just 29 and recalling her days a sexy symbol, let’s take a look inside the action-packed life of Paula.

    Sex symbol

    Her breakthrough role on 70s sitcom Man About The House launched Paula’s career as a sex symbol during her early 20s.

    The star has recalled admirers fawning over her in their droves when she appeared on the show alongside. Richard O’Sullivan and Sally Thomsett.

    Paula was cast as flirtatious Chrissy Plummer on the show at just 24.

    "I definitely still get recognised from Man About the House," she told Woman's Weekly magazine.

    "I get taxi drivers saying they used to be in love with me, and I say, 'What do you mean, used to be?'"

    Paula added: "It's very flattering after all this time. It was a lovely programme and it's nice to be recognised for something that was dear to people's hearts.

    "It's difficult to believe it nowadays, but it was quite cheeky for its time.

    "Two young girls sharing a flat with a man was quite titillating and both the girls could be flirty.

    "There was something for everybody and lots of generations watched it."

    Tragic loss

    Paula was hit with an enormous tragedy when her husband sadly died just ten years into their marriage.

    She was married to fellow actor Derek Seaton from 1969 until his death in 1979.

    Derek was producing a play at the National Youth Theatre – and they were married a year later.

    Despite his early age, Derek died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of just 35 when Paula was just 29.

    "I didn't particularly notice the eyes," Derek told a magazine in the early Seventies. "Paula, to me, is the complete person."

    Speaking of the tragedy to The Telegraph, Paula said: "It was bloody young. I was thinking about this the other day, and I realised that at the time I had spent a third of my life with him. It was a shock.

    “But I think with any kind of tragedy or setback – and you know, we've all had them – it's really [about] how you deal with it. Any tragedy, it becomes part of you. It becomes part of who you are."

    She went on to say the tragedy made her a “different person when asked if the death had changed her.

    "Oh yeah, definitely. It makes you a different person. You grow. And you learn to cope."

    Famous husbands

    Many may not know that before his death, Paula’s first husband Derek Seaton had a very successful acting career of his own.

    He played Commander Hilred in the Doctor Who story The Deadly Assassin.

    Fans many also remember him from his appearance in Coronation Street in June 1975 as crooked salesman Les Buckley.

    His character was a smooth-talking salesman who conned Mavis Riley when she was left in charge of The Kabin for several days while Rita Littlewood was away visiting friends.

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    He also made a name for himself in radio. He took over the airwaves in Radio 4's 1970 dramatisation of War and Peace, and held a regular role in the Radio 2 soap Waggoners' Walk, Four Days to Kill.

    Wilcox went on to marry Nelson "Skip" Riddle 12 years later in 1991.

    Skip himself has a claim to fame – the American businessman is the eldest son of the composer, bandleader and arranger Nelson Smock Riddle.

    Nelson worked with many world-famous vocalists at Capitol Records, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland and Dean Martin.

    Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV at 8pm

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