Mum’s The Word for soap ladies

They became known to millions of viewers across the UK for their roles in soap, but now Gillian Taylforth, Tracy Shaw and Sally Ann Matthews are united in motherhood with the stage play Mum’s The Word – currently touring the UK.


“They met regularly on Saturday mornings with their children. They talked, they laughed, they whined, they complained and they laughed some more. Suddenly their first performance was just three weeks away. Although they had nothing on paper, they felt enormously better about their children, their skills as mothers and their lives in general. They had reinvented group therapy. Luckily, in the ancient tradition of oral history, they remembered each other’s stories and Mum’s the Word was born.” – Robert C Kelly Limited, the company behind the production.

The play was written in 1993 by six former professional actresses – who had left the profession to become full time mothers – and together they devised the performance about the joys, woes, love and hates of motherhood.

The show, wherever performed has received rave reviews, including:

“Roars of delighted recognition” – The London Times

“Mum’s The Word is a no-holds barred laugh-a-minute outpouring of all it is to be a mother.” – The Evening Chronicle, Newcastle

“Mum’s The Word is a beautifully crafted show, full of the warm, tragic-comic rhythm of life; and absolutely impossible to dislike.” – The Scotsman

“Funny and brilliantly executed…a theatrical first” – Vancouver Sun, Canada

“The mother of all shows! is a great night out – away from the kids” – The Herald Sun, Australia.

Gillian Taylforth

Gillian is the true soap survivor of the current cast having appeared the longest in the genre as Kathy Beale in BBC One’s EastEnders.

EastEnders isn’t known for its humour, so it isn’t any surprise to note Kathy went through trials and tribulations during her time at Albert Square. Pub landlord Wilmot Brown raped her, her un-wanted daughter Donna turned up (a creation of an earlier rape) – who died after being rejected by her mother, when she took an overdose, her estranged husband Pete was killed by a gangster family, she married Phil Mitchell only to become a victim of domestic violence.

She was in the early years a great knitter, and ran a stall selling her warm woolies, she later took ownership of the Bridge Street Cafe but tragically in 2006 was killed in a car crash (off screen.)

Tracy Shaw

As the chirpy hairdresser Maxine Heavey she walked into Weatherfield back in May 1995 when she started working for her friend Fiona Middleton in the Coronation Street hair salon. It wasn’t too long before she attracted the attention of the men folk –serial womaniser Des Barnes made a move for her, but it wasn’t to last. Maxine even had a drunken romp with ‘minging’ supermarket boss, and former binman, Curly Watts!

After an on-off relationship she finally found happiness with butcher Ashley Peacock and they married in 1999. The hair salon also changed hands and she formed a friendship with new owner Audrey Roberts. It was therefore quite tragic, when in 2003, Maxine met her maker after being whacked over the head with a crowbar by Audrey’s son-in-law, serial killer, Richard Hillman.

Sally Ann Matthews

Another Coronation Street regular Sally first appeared as Jenny Bradley back in 1986 as one of Rita Fairclough’s papergirls. It wasn’t long before she was thrown into the lead plots when her mother Pat died in a car incident and Rita took the young girl under her wig and became her foster mother.

Her father, who she hadn’t seen for years, turned up in Weatherfield to make-amends although it wasn’t an overnight success. Eventually however Jenny and Alan Bradley formed a daughter-father relationship.

Rita and Alan also became close, and romance bloomed. However his financial issues lead to ultimately him trying to kill Rita with her sofa cushion. Jenny caught him in the act and the newsagent owner was saved. After the court case (he pleaded guilty) and Jenny being torn between her loyalty to her dad or Rita, Alan returned to Weatherfield to torment his former lover. Rita suddenly disappeared and the residents of Coronation Street suspected fowl play. Rovers Return Landlady Bet Lynch found Rita hiding out in Blackpool – but Alan also caught wind of this and wasn’t too far behind.

He later chased Rita across the coastal town’s promenade, where he was killed in a traffic accident. Jenny had lost both parents to vehicles. Tragic.

Mum’s The Word remaining Tour Dates are as follows:

  • Today to 26 June Theatre Royal, Windsor
  • 28-30 June Connaught Theatre, Worthing
  • 1-2 July Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
  • 3 July Grimsby Auditorium
  • 5-7 July The Sunderland Empire
  • 8-10 July Palace Theatre, Manchester
  • 12-14 July Derby Playhouse, Derby
  • 15-17 July New Victoria Theatre, Woking
  • 19-24 July Richmond Theatre, Surrey
  •  26-31 July Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
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