Imagining TV series from the past, and in a different way can be a fun way of seeing an alternative view of life - Coronation Street in the 1980s and 1990s for example; what if I did a "Podmore" and reimagined characters in slightly different roles, or even observed similarities between the series and real life? Characters are indeed played by actors (and indeed actresses, or as some would say these days, "female actors" [sic]), hence its inclusion here. I am certain that I am not the only one who has done this in the past. Changing it in ones mind more dramatically than Maurice Jones could ever do to the even side of the Street back in 1989 can be interesting just like some of these observations. For example, If Michael Barrymore had played the cook in the Rovers Return, would his new catchphrase now be: "what is a Hot Pot not?"

Funny things in connection with real life can happen as well: West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin had never played a politician in Coronation Street which seemed to be a pity; her final episode as single mother and TV Licence refuser Tricia Armstrong was on Friday 2nd May 1997 which just happened to be the same date as very first episode transmitted under Tony Blair's premiership, and as we know, Nicholas Cochrane would not be the only Andy McDonald that Brabin would have worked with in her joint career between acting and politics for he had a Labour Party namesake in the House of Commons as well. The very first Granada Plus episode just happened to be the also the first episode to be transmitted under Jim Callaghan's Premiership on Monday 5th April 1976; Patricia Phoenix had returned after her two year sabbatical to the Street just in time for the Granada Plus episodes, and Producer Bill Podmore had said that this was his favourite era of the series to join into for the classic episodes. It is a truism that Tony Blair was Phoenix's stepson in law; Phoenix married fellow actor Tony Booth who was the father of Cherie Booth QC and had married the future Prime Minister Blair.

No two regular characters are allowed to have exactly the same first name, unless one is a guest character. There were, however, two Elsies in the very first episode, and Elsie Tanner had the privilege of being the first character on screen to have the same name as someone else, although Elsie Lappin was to retire to Knott End after 30 years running the Corner Shop, and through the viewers' eyes, Lappin was a guest character who had just appeared in the first two episodes for the handover ceremony, although she was the very first character to speak and not sing like those schoolgirls seen were. If Margaret Thatcher's father was called Alfred Roberts was also a grocer, then would he had probably taken legal action against the other Alf Roberts who indeed was a grocer and had his own corner shop? And as a Reds supporter, how many Coronation Street characters have actually had namesakes with former Nottingham Forest managers? I have counted three so far: Billy Walker, Frank Barlow and David Platt. In which case, it was a real travesty that it was actually Ivy Tilsley who had a son called Brian and not her Baldwin's Casuals colleague Ida Clough.

And the Tilsleys were dark horses as well: Brian's father was called Jack in the mid 1970s (and I think that he was even called something else in around 1972, albeit played by different actors on both occasions), but he must have done a Deed Poll when he realised that Vera Duckworth's husband had already taken his first name, and so he became Bert in order to avoid confusion; the world may be full of Johns in real life, but not in soap operas; one would get an incidental character with that name, one at a time. Brian Roscoe had tormented Councillor Deirdre Barlow in the run up to Christmas 1988, keeping her hostage in his dingy flat until she managed to escape by threatening to throw his TV set out of the window; Roscoe was another guest character, and I suppose that there would be no confusion with Brian Tilsley either had Tilsley was due to leave in a month and a half's time thanks to his nightclub visit. I believe that Roscoe was referred to by surname most of the time in order to avoid confusion with Brian Tilsey.

At school, if every teacher was called Mr Smith then so be it - no first name would be revealed to disambiguate everyone having the same surname. But what would it have been like if characters had done occupations other than what they are associated with? Think of a Noel Edmonds Gotcha or doing a You Bet! forfeit. It can be nice and satisfying to see familiar people, be it characters or real people, pushed out of their comfort zone in an "I've Never Seen Star Wars" sort of way, and be almost forced to do things that they would never otherwise be associated with. One would thought that Bet Lynch or Gilroy, hence her name, would have worked with Des Barnes in the bookmakers around the corner. Was Mr Cropper really "Roy of the Rovers" when he went into his local for a bitter lemon? If Connie Clayton was so good on a sewing machine, then why didn't she work at Mike Baldwin's factory? Probably because: A) she and her family were short term characters who were only in the series for a few months back in 1985; and: B) three Coronation Street neighbours had already worked for Baldwin at the time already.

If Jim McDonald had gone into catering and opened his very own cafe or restaurant business on Coronation Street or elsewhere in the local wilderness of Weatherfield, and was brave enough to have named his business as: "Jim McDonald's Cafe", or something like that, would he had been threatened with legal action at the same time by the proprietors of both Jim's Cafe and the McDonald's fast food restaurant chain in one fell swoop? In true Ulster twang: What about yer? So, it is... I won't mention Liz McDonald or a lot of Rovers barmaids going into "Band of Gold" territory as that is too obvious, even if "you are what you dress like" can often be true. One could imagine Liz being a Primary School teacher, or even a parent helper at least, sitting down and reading the kids a story sitting on a carpet in the corner of the classroom towards the end of the day, I could imagine. Likewise, I could imagine Liz being something like a shop assistant in a clothes shop, on duty in store, wearing a name badge with "Liz" written on it, as in: "Liz speaking" as being the telephone version, or even: "hi, I'm Liz - can I help you?". Ditto Gail and Sally to a certain degree, but Liz would have been my choice...

What about a Shakin' Stevens-alike denim-clad Kevin Webster circa 1985-1986, working in Jim's Cafe? Cue Kevin sorting out the cutlery in front of a teenage Jenny Bradley, Tracy Barlow, or better still, future wife Sally Seddon who was, also sitting behind Kevin with a good view to his derriere, and one of them deliberately drops a spoon on the floor, a la the 2007 Kinder Bueno "waiter" advert. I could almost imagine it happening. Martin Platt, Curly Watts, Terry Duckworth, or some of the other 20-something 1983 intake could have been one of obvious choices as, certainly Martin Platt had already worked there, but I would have chosen Kevin to do that - and he should have got rid of that moustache back then and not wait until 1990 for Stephanie Barnes to shave it off at their housewarming party.

Deirdre Barlow working as a optician is a completely too obvious one, considering she looked like a model that one would see in the walls of Dolland and Aitchison in the late 1980s (no coincidence that opticians wore glasses, funnily enough)..One would never think of this when it came to Curly Watts; Alec Gilroy; Percy Sugden (1988 onwards, although he did wear reading glasses before that); Betty Turpin (also 1988 onwards) and so on. Oh, and Jack Duckworth as well from 1989 onwards, although technically that would almost not count unless it has got an Elastoplast on one of the corner either. And as Ken Barlow has done everything which modern humanity can possibly provide and has lived at practically every residential address in Weatherfield since December 1960, it is almost impossible to put him within that sort of scenario. Sometimes I do feel that characters were doing the wrong jobs and that some Role Reversal was in order. As the series is fictional from the word "go", I suppose that it doesn't matter if one puts an alternative spin and make what you want out of it.

And has Roy Cropper ever been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, I wonder? I must have missed that episode if he has...