Maria Connor – palyed by Samia Ghadie – first appeared in ‘Coronation Street’ in May 2000, when Tyrone Dobbs visited the kennels where she worked to enquire about breeding from his greyhound, Monica. Maria is the brother of Tyrone’s ‘nice but dim’ friend Kirk Sutherland, and as Tyrone saw more of her, he fell for her obvious charms.
Character wise, Maria falls somewhere between the strong northern women ‘Coronation Street’ is well known for and the ‘tart with a heart.’ Although she has more intelligence than her brother Kirk – it would be difficult not to – she’s not that good a judge of character, and she’s always being taken in by the men who gravitate to her like moths around a flame. Always believing the best of people, even when presented with damning evidence to the contrary, she allows her heart to rule her head, and flits from one love interest to another.
Tyrone is instantly smitten, and she moves in with him, but soon runs off to Canada with Nick Tilsley, only to return after six weeks, slightly older but not much wiser. Nick comes back for her, and they gets engaged, although Maria breaks it off when she surprises Nick with his ex wife, Leanne. There’s a brief reunion with Tyrone, but then she cheats on him with a footballer, and has an affair with romeo builder and Street bad boy Charlie Stubbs.
Maria marries Liam Connor in 2008, but there’s no happy ever after. She loses the baby she was expecting with Liam, then Liam begins an affair with his sister-in-law, Carla. Carla’s fiance Tony Gordon has Liam killed, and Maria is sure of his guilt, but later changes her mind when he manages to befriend her. She shows further evidence of her staggering lack of judgement when she becomes engaged to Tony after he helps deliver Liam’s baby when she goes into labour during a walk on the cliffs.
When Maria finds out the truth from Carla, she flees to Ireland, to live with Liam’s parents. She’s just not strong enough to cope with what life throws at her, and needs someone to care for her and make everything okay again. When Maria returns to Weatherfield, she’s kidnapped and held hostage by Tony, who has escaped from prison.
After a showdown which results in Tony’s death, she tries to make a new life for herself and son Liam. Her next love interest is builder Chris Gray, who only goes out with Maria to make his ex wife Cheryl jealous. He breaks up with Maria when he suspects he has a brain tumor and goes back to Cheryl, after wrecking her relationship with Lloyd Mullaney.
At the moment, Maria fancies herself in love with gay midwife Marcus. Marcus has become a good friend, and he’s a father figure to Maria’s son Liam, but this – like most of Maria’s relationships – is going nowhere. There are several single mothers in ‘Coronation Street,’ but Maria can’t do life on her own. She needs support – even if it comes from a gay man.
Die-hard Street fans are hoping Maria and Tyrone will get back together, and it would be a fitting solution to Maria’s man troubles. However, Maria is a girl who, although she often says she longs for a quiet life, also loves the thrill of being chased by unsuitable men. Life with Tyrone would prove too safe and predictable for the main ‘Coronation Street’ eye candy.