EyeSpy: Remembering Bill Tarmey as Jack Duckworth

In an EyeSpy picture special we pay tribute to the Coronation Street legend Bill Tarmey who played Jack Duckworth in the long running soap for three decades.

Tarmey began on the street as a background extra before being cast as the hard-done-to hubby of previously established character Vera Duckworth in 1979. In 1983 the Duckworths moved into Coronation Street, with their wayward son Terry, becoming one of the much-loved residents of the terrace with viewers.

Jack and Vera were often the light relief within the show, although suffered heartache and heavy drama along the way too…

Vera was first seen in 1976 as one of the factory workers at Mike Baldwin’s clothing empire opposite the Rovers. Jack was to be seen for the first time in 1979, although previously talked about. Tarmey had been a background extra, mainly seen in the pub, before landing the speaking part.

In 1983 Jack and Vera, with their son Terry, moved into Coronation Street. It was the double act between Liz Dawn (Vera) and Bill that made the couple hugely popular with the Corrie audience.

Terry stood for trouble. He often left Weatherfield for long periods of time, but upon every return heartache for Jack and Vera wasn’t far behind. While Jack could see through Terry and his lies, Vera more often than not stood up for her son.

Jack was employed in the Rovers Return as cellar-man, and only a few years into the job he managed to burn the place down with his ‘quick fix’ electrical skills. There was also jealousy when Vera believed Jack to be having a fling with barmaid Bet.

Vera improved the look of the street when she had their house cladded with fake stonework. It proved unpopular with the neighbours, but it remains part of the street to this day.

Vera may have often thought Jack had an eye for the ladies, so much so when he joined a video dating site she caught him out in disguise, but often he was all chase and no action. The only other birds he had any real interest in were his beloved pigeons.

Goodness knows how many children Terry is the father of, but on-screen we’ve seen two sons of the troublesome Duckworth. Tommy was for a short time ‘adopted’ by Jack and Vera after the death of his mother Lisa. Terry eventually sold his son to her parents to look after and then did one of his many runners.


Following a windfall of money the Duckworths moved up in the social ranking when they became the first owners of the Rovers Return Inn when the brewery sold off the pub in the mid-1990s. It wasn’t long before the pair were in too deep and eventually were forced out. They ran a B&B for a short while before finally returning to their previous home on the street.

Romance wasn’t a common theme to be seen with Jack and Vera, they were more often than not to be seen rowing about something or another. But they of course did love each other, they just rarely showed it. When Vera offered sex Jack often was to run the other way… a typical marriage then…

Jack was a great bowls player, so when the Knicker factory ladies needed a great player for their team to beat a rival group in a contest Jack was persuaded to drag himself along. Just one of the many, many comedy moments from the Duckworths.

In the money – again – but short-lived again as Terry made sure he got his hands on it with another scam.

Joan Collins makes a guest-appearance in a special Coronation Street spin-off video which saw Jack and Vera living it up in Las Vegas.

In 2008 Jack and Vera celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Vera died in the same year.

In retirement Jack tried his hand at a couple of part-time jobs, none proving popular with wife Vera…

…especially the ‘nude model’ era!


Happier times, with lodger Tyrone Dobbs, and later his wife Molly, the Duckworths found the ‘good son’ they’d never had with Terry.

In 2010 Vera returned to Jack in a vision on the night he died at home, two years after Vera departed Weatherfield in the same place.

The cast of the ITV Granada produced soap have paid tribute to the actor who for 31-years made Jack Duckworth a colourful character in the fictional world of Salford’s Weatherfield.

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