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John Stape is a fictional character in the UK television ITV soap opera, Coronation Streetmarker. Portrayed by actor Graeme Hawley, the character first appeared on-screen during the episode airing on 6 May 2007.

Character creation

Background

The character of John was created as a new love interest for established character Fiz Brown who was to split from her long term love interest Kirk Sutherland with whom most of her romance storylines were centered around. It shortly revealed there after the character would feature in an affair plot with the character Rosie Webster, who was just over the legal age limit for sexual intercourse.

Personality and identity

The characteristics of John are of a caring nature and the tendency to be charming to females. The actor said of his character's personality and success with the female characters of the show is because of his charm: "He's a bit of a charmer and finds it easy to relax with them and be in their company. He has this disarming charm about him. He's a good listener and talks a lot. That's what they like about him, and he has this 'everyman' quality about him."

Storylines

2007-2008

Since the character's inception he has been involved in a number of high profile plots such as sexual intercourse with a pupil, and abduction.

The character of John Stape was first introduced in May 2007 as a Drama teacher at Weatherfield High. To give him a link to residents of the show it transpired that he was Fiz Brown's ex lover. In a storyline that saw romance blossom between the pair again, Fiz left her then, current partner Kirk Sutherland to be with him. In November that year, he moved in with Fiz and Maria Sutherland on the Street.

John began tutoring Sally Webster for her A-Level in English Literature and she developed a crush on him. Sally eventually told John that she had feelings for him but John made it clear Sally's feelings weren't reciprocated.

Affair with Rosie

In an episode airing on 19 October 2007 he entered into an affair with Rosie Webster, Sally's oldest daughter, who was at the time 16 years old. Based on the relationship with John, she decided to return to Weatherfield High. They were nearly caught several times and they also had sex. In October 2007 The Sun reported that the soap opera would air more 'saucy' scenes between the two characters. When the character's girlfriend Fiz became suspicious of him when she walked into the local knicker factory with John in a compromising position with Sally, Fiz slapped Sally and told Kevin about what had happened. Fiz got it all wrong though, because John was actually getting something out of Sally's eye at the time. Actor Graeme Hawley was quick to jump to his characters defence stating that there are some instances in real life where teachers take advantage of girls but John isn't an evil predator who has groomed Rosie.

The relationship between John and Rosie lasted until Christmas Day, when due to a present mix-up Rosie's family found out about the affair. As Fiz Brown confronted Sally, believing her to be the culprit, Rosie entered the house carrying the present intended for Fiz. Outside, John was beaten to the floor by an outraged Kevin, who was arrested and kept in custody after the Christmas period. After being released from hospital John decided to go and stay with a mate, which Rosie didn't seem that bothered about. Rosie suggested they stop seeing each other, to which John responded angrily thus ensuring that they were obviously through.

John returned several days after Christmas to try and reconcile with Fiz on 6 January 2008. As John leaned in to kiss Fiz, she responded, but when Rosie walked in the pain of John's betrayal came flooding back to her.

Rosie's abduction

British Tabloids were first to pick up on the story that the character would be returning to the soap opera in July 2008.

When the character eventually returned on July 2008 he tried to rekindle his romance with Fiz, she responded by slapping him. In the same episode, character Lloyd Mullaney gave him a job working at Streetcars as a new driver, a job which John had been doing since quitting teaching. In an episode on 23 July 2008, John waited outside the Underworld for Fiz again, when Rosie Webster saw them, wearing a more revealing dress than usual. When Kevin heard about John taking a job with Streetcars, Kevin went shouting at Lloyd and Eileen. Chesney confronted John, who was talking with Lloyd at the time. Chesney kicked John's taxi and smashed the wing mirror. John then went to confront Rosie and told her to keep out of his life.

John bought Chesney a bike for his birthday, Chesney and Fiz immediately suspected it to be from Cilla, but when Chesney discovered who the extravagant gift was from, he dumped the bike on the street, only for it to be found by Fiz, who told John to never go near her or Chesney again, and told him if he did she would call the police. He and Fiz are now close friends. Their friendship has continued smoothly and John has fixed Fiz's DVD player, but after Chesney had returned from Las Vegasmarker John saw him getting a pasting from criminal-bully Kenzie Judd, John saved Ches from Kenzie and his bullies, but Chesney, instead of being grateful for John saving him told Fiz that John had hit him. When Fiz found John she attacked him before going to ask Kayleigh about what really happened, and forgave John after going out for a drink with him, but when Kevin became wound up they went back to Fiz's where they shared a short kiss, but John left immediately, feeling shaken.

On 5 September 2008, John revealed that his grandmother had only just died. Fiz attended the funeral with John. after a few days, Fiz agreed to give John another chance, however she broke up with him once more after she discovered that he was planning on moving her away to his grandmother's house in the country. On 19 September 2008, John was tipped over the edge when he spotted Rosie kissing her new boyfriend outside a nightclub. Angrily reminded that she was the cause of his misfortune, he bundled her into the back of his cab, driving at high-speed through the streets of Weatherfield. He condemned her for destroying his relationship and his career; he was later questioned by the police when Rosie went missing a week later.

In October 2008, John was involved in a car smash. Fiz immediately rushed to his bedside and confessed that she couldn't be apart from him and the couple reconciled.Also in October 2008, it was revealed that John was holding Rosie Webster prisoner in his deceased grandmother's attic.

On 3 November 2008, Fiz went to feed "John's gran's cat", after he'd lost his keys. When she arrived the cat was nowhere to be found, and on seeing a woman's underwear she guessed that John was cheating on her again. When John arrived having rushed with customers in his cab, he told Fiz everything and when he and Fiz went to confront Rosie she sprang out and hit John with a wooden towel rail leaving him unconscious and ran out past Fiz. John was arrested on 7 November 2008. That same day, Fiz went to see him. Fiz admitted - she loves him, really loves him. But Fiz does not believe that is possible - she said she needs to take care of herself and to be sure that he will never hurt her again - he begged for another chance but she departed in tears.

2009—

On 19 January 2009, John's court case took place. When Fiz turned up, John was touched. Though he was sentenced to 2 years prison(1 year probation). Kevin Webster was more than pleased, celebrating in the Rovers pub.

John then reappeared on 6 April 2009, when Fiz visited him asking for help with Chesney's homeschooling.A few weeks later Fiz received a phone call that John had been beaten up in prison and was taken to hospital. Fiz was full of worry as they would not tell her anything about John.

On May 20, 2009, Fiz got a call from the prison telling her that she could go visit John. On May 22, Fiz was shocked to see the state of John, breaking down in tears, Fiz admitted to John the she still loved him.That same day, Chesney followed Fiz and found out she was seeing John Stape. He then accused her of using an excuse to see John and didn't really want to help him with his homeschooling. Chesney then went onto telling Sophie Webster, who told her mother. Sally attacked Fiz, accusing her of helping John kidnap Rosie. Chesney then gave Fiz a choice, choose over him or John Stape. Fiz went to visit John again in prison on the 25th May, Fiz told John about what happened and he told her that they should breakup for her and Chesney's sake. John told Fiz to say goodbye, leave and never to contact him or visit him again, and to tell everyone back on Coronation Street.

He later invited Rosie to visit him in prison to say sorry for what he did and to give her £150,000, that he got from selling his gran's house. Rosie was delighted and celebrated with Minnie by going out shopping. Later Fiz found out from the prison that John has been put on suicide watch and that he's been diagnosed with depression.

On October 5, 2009, John wrote to all the residents of Coronation Street saying that Fiz and him plan to live on the street when he is released from prison. Roy and Hayley Cropper and Ken and Deirdre Barlow were supportive, while Chesney wasn't keen on the idea, but eventually gave his approval. Sally on the other hand called a "Anti Stape" meeting in the Rovers Return, which Fiz stood up for John and won. Much to Sally's dismay.

Engagement and the Wedding

On June 22, 2009, Fiz decided that she loved John and wanted to marry him. She help up a large sheet with "JOHN STAPE MARRY ME" on it. She was allowed inside the prison, after talking about him being on suicide watch Fiz and John's meeting came to a end, pulling Fiz and John apart the guards took John away. As he is dragged away, Fiz asks him if he will marry her or not. John says " Of course I will!" and shouts, "I love you Fiz Brown!" as he is dragged to his cell. On July 13, 2009, John sent Fiz his grandmother's engagement ring in the post, complete with a visiting order. She sees him and he placed the engagement ring on her finger.

John and Fiz married September 28, 2009. The wedding was held inside the prison chapel. Fiz refused to marry John when her brother Chesney fails to turn up. Fiz is just about to marry John when she broked down in tears. She finally comes clean and says most people in Coronation Street is against them marrying. And she tells a stunned John she can’t go through with the wedding without Chesney’s support. John tried his best to persuade Fiz to go ahead regardless. But her mind’s made up and she walks out on him before collapsing in tears outside the prison gates. Just when it seems Fiz’s big day is doomed, Chesney turns up with Hayley Cropper to help pick his big sister off the pavement. Chesney turns up to tell Fiz he’s sorry and still loves her.. John and Fiz ended up getting married when Chesney arrived.

Release From Prison

John will be released from prison on November 11, 2009. Fiz goes to collect him and they decide to go on a picnic to celebrate his freedom. They back to the scene of his crimes and facing the wrath of Rosie's enraged mum Sally. "Don't you dare set foot in that house!" she yells as John prepares to lift Fiz across the threshold. "We don't want you here, you weirdo. Or you for that matter," she bawls turning on Fiz. Things are even darker for them the next day because Sally paints their windows black overnight. But with Weatherfield so overcast, it's a few hours before they even noticed.

Reception

Some of the viewing public became annoyed at one of the character's main storylines. Actor Graeme Hawley was blasted for his portrayal of the character stating that he gave the teaching profession a bad name. Hawley explained that: "I have bumped into a few [teachers] who haven't been happy with me," Graeme told the Daily Record. "They say, 'You know, we are not all like that.' And my answer to that is, 'I know at least three teachers who had affairs with their students when I was at school. You might not have done it, but don't tell me it doesn't happen.' "

The actor was asked if he was heckled a lot in real life by the viewing public during an interview with British Entertainment and Media website Digitalspy on which Graeme had to say: "There's been a lot of friendly banter really. It happens a lot in the street wherever I go. It's all good-natured, though. People are very complimentary about the storyline and character and asking when John was returning, so that's been lovely. It was nice to hear that people wanted to see more of John Stape back on the Cobbles."

References

  1. http://www.dailystar.co.uk/gameon/view/99584/CORRIE-Big-day-in-jail-s-lost-all-its-Fiz-/
  2. http://www.in2town.co.uk/Soap-Gossip-/Coronation-Street-Does-Fiz-Get-Married-Find-out-here-/menu-id-4615
  3. http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/soapland/2009/11/coronation-street-black-bawled.html


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