FORMER Coronation Street star Bruce Jones describes Hartlepool as “his second home” during his regular visits to the town.
But the 60-year-old, who made his name as the Street’s loveable rogue Les Battersby, has a new temporary home in the Big Brother house having signed up for Channel 5’s celebrity version of the hit show.
Mail news editor Ian Willis looks back on his first week in the house.
I WAS introduced to Bruce by town media man Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough, and even though he had a deep-rooted dislike of journalists, he eventually agreed to to an interview for the Mail when he spoke candidly about his much-publicised battle with depresion.
Bruce was honest about his problems when we spoke privately during his regular trips north, and it was sad to see someone who had become a household name on TV’s biggest show having plummeted to rock bottom after a succession of knockbacks.
He always vowed to get back in the limelight, though having left Corrie in controversial circumstances it was hard to see who would give him a chance.
But as we enjoyed many nights out in Hartlepool, it was clear to see that he had lost none of his popularity and was always willing to pose for a photograph or sign an autograph.
I remember one lad asking Bruce how long he planned staying at the Marina for one Saturday night before racing home and returning with his mam about half an hour later! It turned out the lad had forgotton about Mother’s Day the next day, and as the shops were closed he guessed that a face-to-face meeting with Les Battersby would probably mean more to his mam than a card from the all-night garage!
He’ll now be hoping many of his Hartlepool fans back him in the house after he came through the first week of the show unscathed and avoided being put up for eviction.
I must admit to fearing how he would cope in the house. It’s no secret he likes a drink and a cigarette, and I did wonder how he would get on when he was thrown in with such a diverse group of housemates.
But from what I’ve seen so far, he appears to have got over the opening night nerves and has settled in quite well.
He’s laughed, he’s cried, he’s been funny at the right times and known when to stay serious.
Bruce being Bruce, I know he could blow up at any moment if something - or someone - rubs him up the wrong way.
But so far, so good. He is getting decent reviews on social media sites, and he has managed to avoid any negative headlines unlike some of his housemates.
It would be nice to see him make further progress, and if he can garner public support and extend his stay in the BB house, then maybe he will get back in the limelight after all.