This week, being the opening week, has an introductory special, with several characters and a couple of 'backroom boys/girls' (one of which was the omnipresent Adele Rose) reliving old times.
The first Classic episode started with Mrs. Conroy buying something from Mavis in the Kabin (Mrs. Conroy is incidental). But this was the young(er), un-married Mavis in the old Kabin, which is still owned by Len Fairclough, and managed By Rita Littlewood. Bet Lynch is trying to give up smoking, but failing to do so.
Rita's first appearance has her hung-over, apparently after a night out (or, more accurately, a night *in*) with Len Fairclough. She only has the beginnings of a Big Red Wig, but it's there and no mistake.
Meanwhile, 'Councillor' Len Fairclough gets a phone call from an unknown person, and starts buzzing around trying to get his back bedroom cleaned up. He pays Hilda Ogden to clean and tidy it, and cajoles Deirdre Langton into drying the sheets that he's washed at the launderette (the dryers are not working there!) Apparently, this is the 'big return' of Elsie Howard, who went to live in Newcastle when she married Alan some years ago. Most of this episode now centres around the gossips, they being Little Red Wig, Hilda, Bet, Betty Turpin (who appears to own the Corner Shop at this time), Annie Walker and Deirdre trying to find out why Len is acting like this.
Bet passed on a rumour that Deirdre was 'expecting', although she isn't, and the other part of the episode is taken up with Ray Langton accepting drinks from everyone as congratulations. He gets found out though (being betrayed by Little Red, because Deirdre has found out who Len's visitor is going to be, but won't tell her), and has to buy a round himself. All this seemed a bit pointless really, but I suppose earlier episodes, which we won't see, may have had some explanation of what this was all about.
We also saw LRW (Little Red Wig) sat around a table in the Kabin, drinking tea and eating Penguins, with Mavis and a little stunner called Tricia, who works with Gail Potter (YES!!!) in the Corner Shop. I don't know how she's going to figure in all this, as I have no recollection of her from all those years ago. BTW, it transpires from various bits of the script that we are in 1976, at Easter (in fact, someone says in the last episode that it is Easter Monday). Tricia asks Mavis if she's ever been proposed to, and she says "Well, only by Carlos, and he didn't mean it". If you recall, from the photo that was "accidentally" posted to this non-binary group, Carlos was played by none other than Malcolm Hebden, the present Norris Cole.
The episode ends with Hilda going into her house, still wanting to know who Len is expecting, and as soon as the door closes, Elsie walks around the corner, and back into "The Street".
One thing I've noticed about these older episodes; some of the scenes seem to go on forever. They're a lot longer than the present ones - the actors would have needed to actually learn lines! The pace seems a little less hectic too, with the plot developing more slowly than we're used to.
Anyway, Elsie settles in. She explains to Len that she and Alan are having a 'trial separation', and she thinks it's unlikely she'll go back to him. She's soon in the Rovers (and by now, the gossips have found out who it is that's moved in with Len). For the first time, we see the old battleaxe Ena Sharples, struggling to keep her false teeth in synch with the rest of her mouth (that's one thing I *do* remember of her later years), but still battling with Elsie, albeit they now seem to have a healthy respect for each other!
Ray and Deirdre have a walk along the canal bank (quite a portent of Samir's fate!) and talk about this pregnancy thing. Deirdre says she'd rather have a chequebook than a baby (see! she *did* have sense once - and perhaps if Ray had given her one instead of giving her one, we might have been spared R Tracy!)
We get a quick slice of the LRW being awful to dear old Minnie Caldwell, just because she can't decide which 25p Easter Egg to buy (25P !!!). So you see, Cadbury's were in there a lot earlier than you thought! Anyway, it turns out LRW is in a bad mood because Elsie has returned, and she thinks that Elsie will snaffle up Len, who she set her own sights on. Well, we know she gets him in the end, so no worries there then.
The best scene for me is near the start of the third episode, when Gail is in the Kabin, asking LRW if she sells stockings. LRW says "What do you think them are?" "Tights," says Gail, "[I want] stockings, the sort you wear with a suspender belt. Sexy, they're dead 'in'," said with a hip wiggle. At this point I missed some of the story, as I had to lie down for a while.
We now see the 'betrayal' of Ken Barlow. He's mentioned the name Wendy as being his girlfriend, but it turns out that Wendy is married. Her husband Roger drops her off (at work, I guess) and as he walks to get a newspaper, a friend (Sheila) hints that Wendy might be having an affair. Well, more accurately, she says "Wendy's having an affair with Ken Barlow who lives in Coronation Street. Why don't you go round and give him a smack?" So he does (after seeing them meet, following them, and standing across the street for several cigarettes). He drags Wendy out and takes her home, leaving Ken to be found by Gail, who runs back to the shop screaming that he's lying there covered in blood. Meanwhile, Len sorts him out and has a heart-to-heart with him.
Poor Ken isn't having a good day. Shortly before the 'smack in the gob', Elsie calls round to tell him she wants her house back, as she's coming back to the Street to live. It would appear that when she left, she rented it to him. He tells her to get lost, as he's got other troubles (Mystic Meg has just forewarned him about the gobsmack).
It's not a problem though, as it looks like Betty (who, as I said, appears to own the corner shop, where Gail and Tricia work) is going to let Elsie live in the backroom, which was four times larger then than it is now. She gets Gail and Tricia to clean it up. Meanwhile, LRW takes a newspaper advert round to Elsie, who's looking for a job. It's in a dress shop - a manageress is required.
The fourth episode started with the widest pair of 70s flairs I have *ever* seen, worn by a kid playing cricket in the street! Gail was walking down to Ken's with his groceries. This was the bit where she found him covered in blood (it's so easy to get confused when your trying to summarise five episodes at once!)
Elsie goes for her interview with a real snob of a woman, and gets the job that day! Her first customer is a small, plump lady whose knicker elastic has 'gone', and wants to use a changing cubicle. I'll swear that she's played by none other than Mo Mowlam, Les Dawson's pal from 'The Roly-Polies'.
Wendy returns to Ken, and announces that she's left her husband. But unfortunately (for Ken), she's going to stay with a friend. He's a bit cut up about it, so much so that when Roger comes looking for her, Ken tells him that he doesn't know where she is, and asks him in for a cup of coffee. It looks like they could become good friends, so there's a nice ending!
Episode five starts with our first view of Stan Ogden, playing darts in the Rovers. He gets the better of Albert Tatlock on the question of when (Manchester) United first won the F.A. cup. This leads on to the idea that Mrs. Walker will hold a Mastermind-type competition, which she calls 'Superbrain'. It's a pity Roy Cropper won't be around for another twenty years yet!
The first of Mavis's whingings happens when her Aunt (who she seems to be living with) has to go away for a couple of days, leaving her to live alone. Emily says she can stay with her and Ernest. When Emily goes home to tell him, though, he doesn't like the idea, and calls Mavis 'the world's champion whinger'.
Ray is dressed up in overalls, and tells Deirdre that he has to brick up a furnace overnight. I wondered why he'd buttoned them right up to the neck - turns out he's off to a stag night with Alf (yes, I *did* say Alf), and when they meet up in the Rovers, they talk Ernest into going with them (he's gone to the pub out of Mavis's way). He goes home to tell Emily that he's been asked to play the piano at The Legion (little liar!) and then goes off to the stag night. Unfortunately, the stag night gets raided by the police ......
In the meantime, Annie Walker is trying to arrange the 'Superbrain' contest. Albert doesn't want to know when he finds out there's no prize, but it's during the conversation with him and Fred Gee that we get to see our first glance (as pointed out by another ratucs poster) of Jack Duckworth, being an extra in the background playing darts. He's also seen again a little later on, and this time it's a much better shot of him, with his 70s long hair.
And that's about it. I'm sorry that it's seems a little confused. It's mainly because it *is* a little confused. It's difficult to group the characters into handy little sets, like Paul B. does, when you're starting from scratch, and you're not sure how they will 'team up'. I'm sure that Mike Plowman and I (we're aiming to do alternate weeks of these updates#CLASSIC) will eventually get it sorted, given enough time!
I don't really want to start an awards section, as it's one of Paul's things, but I *would* just like to make two in this first week. They are for the world's widest flairs, as mentioned in the summary, (they were black, and they were *ENORMOUS*!!), and for the longest shirt collar, which actually should be the longest blouse collar, and is awarded to The Little Red Wig, whose collar points reached down to her ni**les! (I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to say 'nipples').
Monday (1593, 21 April 1976)
"The Boys" and spouses.
Ray Langton, Alf Roberts and Ernest Bishop have been caught drinking after-hours at a sleazy strip club (The Gatsby, which in later years was run by Alec Gilroy, IIRC). They think about giving false details, but the detective in charge walks up and says, "Hello there, Councillor Roberts. You've not much chance of a false name and address, have you?" Ray tries it, but Alf grasses on him! I think he learned to do that in "Get Carter".
Next day, Ray and Alf are having their lunch in the Rovers, thinking they've got away without anyone finding out, when Bet reveals all by reading a newspaper article about the raid. Emily must have also seen it, because she and Ernest have a major falling-out about it, and Ernest ends up by telling her that Mavis must go (which is rather unfair, as it wasn't Mavis's fault!) and storming out. So Emily throws Mavis out, then later locks Ernest out.
The next time we see Ray, he's got a big Elastoplast on his face, apparently from a falling-out with Dreary (always knew she had a temper). A solo scene in their house has her picking up bits of broken crockery, then deciding to go out herself to spite him.
The Rovers Mastermind-type contest is tonight. Hilda insists that all the lights are turned out, apart from the one above the contestants. The first specialist subject is "Pigeons". [Did you know that a young bird (pigeon, that is) is called a 'squawker'?] Surprising everyone, Stan wins with his specialist subject of 'Manchester United'.
Dreary turns up, ready to go out with Bet when she finishes work. When Ray asks what she's doing, she says "Sauce for the bloody goose, rat-face"! ('Language, Timothy!').
The episode ends with Ernest looking incredulous that Emily would have the gaul to lock him out! He wanders off into the dark black yonder ....
Tuesday (1594, 26 April 1976)
The day dawns with Ernest wrapping up his borrowed blankets at Len's house. He's *still* incredulous that Emily could do such a thing. (Ernie, you ain't seen nothin' yet!) Mind you, it's their fourth wedding anniversary today, so he's still a beginner, and has a lot to learn about women! (No flames please, that was a little quip !!!).
Ena pops in to chat with Emily, and among other things tells her that the Mission's "Circuit Superintendent" will no doubt want to see Ernest (as he's a lay-preacher there).
Elsie brings a sweater home for Len, but it's obviously too small, so as Ernie is still there, she gets him to try it on. He's struggling to put it over his head, so she gets to grips with the situation and tries to help. Naturally, Emily picks this exact moment to walk in. She dumps some clothes on the table, and walks out again!
Ernie eventually caves in, and goes home to apologise to Emily. She's less than understanding, and compounds it by telling him that a 'Mr. Mortlake' from the Mission wants to see him for an explanation ...... and we still don't know if he's been forgiven.
Elsie and "Sylvia's"
Elsie reveals to Gail and Tricia that her assistant at the dress shop (that's the "Sylvia's" bit) left on Friday, so she's looking for a new one. They both decide they want the job (but don't let on to each other), and turn up at the shop at the same time. Elsie tells them one of them can have it, but they must decide which one. Gail wins, apparently (we don't see it) on the toss of a coin. Turns out though, that Elsie would have preferred Tricia! (Just like that Plowman chap)
Mrs. Matthews, who owns the shop, keeps sending her "Merchandising Manager", Roy Thornley, round to the shop. Elsie can't quite work out what he's supposed to be doing, nor what 'relationship' he is (or has) to (or with) her boss. She treats him with caution.
To set the scene: he is the chap who will eventually "take the virginity" of Gail Potter (therefore I hate him above all others), then let his wife cite Gail in their divorce. [BTW, the actor playing Roy Thornley is none other than Sydney Livingstone. Some of you may remember me mentioning that he was a friend of mine when we were both at primary school]
In The Rovers ....
The winner of 'Superbrain', Stan, has to represent The Rovers in an inter-pub contest, so the regulars are putting him through his paces, and testing him on his next specialist subject, "The Western Desert". Apparently, he knows a lot about it "because he was there". He starts to feel dizzy when someone reminds him that The Rovers' reputation is at stake!
Alf tells Len that he got a bo**ocking from the Council over his stag night troubles. Len tells him to think himself lucky, as Ernest was thrown out by Emily, and Ray has been silent all day (they work together). Not only that, Deirdre hasn't turned in either (she does his book keeping).
Wednesday (1595, 28 April 1976)
Stan seems to be slipping somewhat, and can't remember simple facts about the 'Western Desert'. So the regulars decide that as the category of 'Crime Fiction' is available, and Bet reads a lot of it, then she should replace Stan. So Len gets Stan drunk, puts him into a taxi, and sends him off to 'The King's Head'. Meanwhile, Bet goes round to 'The Queen's Arms', which is where the contest is, and ends up winning it. She's now through to the semi-final.
Ena calls in on Ernest to see if the Superintendent has been yet. He hasn't, and Ernest has a go at her for 'preaching' at him. Despite that, big-hearted Ena still does what she's actually come for, and suggest that he tells the 'Super' that he was doing a "Lord Longford", and 'partaking of the evil' so that he would be better-armed to fight it. Emily says, "Surely you wouldn't tell lies?". Ernest says, "Of course not, and don't call me Shirley!" When Ivor (Mortlake) arrives, Ernest tells lies. Ivor congratulates Ernest on his approach, and asks which night is 'Stag Night' at The Gatsby. He wants to be able to preach better too - honest!
BTW, Ivor Mortlake is played by none other than Frank Mills, who currently woos Betty as Billy Williams!
Gail. the little cutie, is drying her nails behind the Corner Shop counter, and won't serve Hilda her bacon, as she doesn't work there any longer, and is waiting for her employer, Elsie, before going off to "Sylvia's Separates". (Don't *do* it, Gail, it'll end in tears!). Later in the day, Hilda's back again, and sows the seeds of dissention with Tricia, telling her that Betty's getting two jobs done for the price of one..... (Hope that doesn't end in tears too).
At Sylvia's, a chap comes in to buy a present for a 'friend' - he wants a nightie. Gail holds up several for him to look at, in front of herself, and they get shorter and more diaphanous each time. Finally, after the very short, very see-through black number, I missed a bit because I had to lie down (again).
Roy Thornley turns up, yet again, on the pretext that he wants to check something for VAT purposes. While he watches, Gail makes a mess of a sale, which Elsie rescues. "A wrong way and a right way, Gail," he says,"yours was wrong, Mrs' Howard's was right". Supercilious git. I hate him. He even makes a play for Elsie, suggesting she'd "like the lunch at 'The Buck'", which is where he "always lunches...".
Thursday (1596, 3 May 1976)
Stan and Hilda
Stan is a little morose this morning because he didn't make it to the 'Superbrain' contest, and Hilda doesn't make him feel any better when she tells him the first prize at the final will be a week in the Isle of Man. (The second prize is *two* weeks!).
It's sales time and the customer is queueing outside. Mrs. Matthews arrives with some more stock - sub-standard nighties at £1.50 each. But she can't stay, and leaves Gail and Elsie to face the crowds.
Hilda turns up, looking for 'something different. She picks a 'broderie anglaise' smock top. Elsie looks amazed and mutters, under her breath, "Smock tops? You must be joking!". Relax, Elsie, no-one's been near her for years! When she tries it on, Gail says, without looking (because she's fed up trying to get a size 8 skirt round a customer's size 14 butt), simply says "Terrific". Hilda buys it.
At home, she shows Stan her top, and asks, "Is it OK?". "Smashing," he says, "but you always did make a good shepherd's pie". (He was eating his dinner at the time). When he realises what she means, and finds out it was half price, he says it's OK.
Later, in the Corner Shop, she shows it off in front of a shocked Annie Walker and a bewildered Emily, who hold back on opinions. Tricia, on the other hand, tells her what she thinks - "They're gonna say 'mutton dressed as lamb'!". After she has skulked away, Annie tells Tricia, "When somebody asks for your honest opinion, that's usually the *last* thing they want..."
A young man called Terry Bradshaw arrives on the scene. Actually, he's been around before, it's just that we haven't seen him in these reruns. He's Rene Bradshaw's younger brother, and is due to have a brief fling with Gail (yes, I hate *him* too!) Right now, though he's trying to chat up Tricia Hopkins (now Mike Plowman hates him as well).
At Len's yard
Dreary, Ray and Len are chatting. Dreary is also typing extremely fast. It looks very professional, except that her left hand is only pressing one key with one finger, repeatedly. Anne Kirkbride is obviously not a method actress. She's discussing with Ray whether to get a card table or a sun bed with their Green Shield Stamps (remember them?). BTW, by 'sun bed' she means a sun lounger.
The 'new face' turns up, asking for his job back (I told you he'd been here before). They decide between them that they'll offer him a part-time position, with a view to going full time if things improve. (From the bounce that Dreary showed when she skipped across the office, things are quite buoyant now! ) Anyway, Terry takes it.
In The Rovers, Elsie suggests to Stan that he might have been nobbled in the Superbrain contest (she didn't know that he *had*!). Stan dashes home to tell Hilda, so that she'll come round and verbally duff everyone up. Meanwhile, she's gone back to the dress shop to return the smock. But Gail won't hear of it (a little tyrant is R Gail!), so Hilda says she'll come back when Elsie's in, for 'full retribution'.
Friday (1597, 5 May 1976)
Stan And Hilda
They are still at each other's throats about not getting into the Superbrain contest. Hilda gets so annoyed that she singes the blouse she's ironing. Problem is, it's the top that she wants to take back to Sylvia's! Stan tells her it was 'too young' for her anyway. That really winds her up!
Elsie and Gail are still struggling with the sale. Hilda turns up, and gets short shrift from Elsie, who refuses to refund her money or swap it (unless she can find another garment with a scorch mark!) She threatens to come back to see the owner. She does, just after Elsie leaves (in fact, she's hiding round the corner, *until* Elsie leaves). She gets another dose of short shrift from her. She's pretty god at looking down her nose, is Mrs. Matthews, and keeps calling Hilda 'Dear'. Hilda drops a rather unsubtle hint about shop-owners employing ex-shop-lifters. Gail looks mystified, and assures Mrs. Matthews that it isn't *her*!
Terry Bradshaw is chatting to Ray and Deirdre in Len's office. When Terry starts talking about his sister Rene, Dreary remembers that she rang up while he was out. Terry looks 'Terry'-fied, as he doesn't appear to have told her he's back! When Ray asks if she's going to 'smack his bum', he says, "She'd eat you on a cream-cracker, R Reen!" Not a vegetarian, then ...
Terry goes into the Corner Shop, and is quizzing Tricia in what appears to be an attempt to find out how much 'she' (I assume that's Betty) wants for 'it' (I assume that's the shop). He's enquiring on behalf of his sister. Looks like we're due to meet R Reen for the first time, and that she's about to buy the shop.
While he's talking, Emily enters, and picks up a loaf. (It looks like the same one someone picked up earlier in the week. If it is, I'm glad she didn't put it down on the counter, because last time it was so hard it took a chip out of it!) Anyway, after some time, Tricia says to her, "Do you want that loaf?". Emily replies, with a very straight face, "No, I'm just cuddling it coz I've mistaken it for a cat ... and if it wouldn't distress you too much, I'd like half a pound of butter". What ever happened to that sense of humour?
At that point, Gail rushes through on her way to tell Elsie about the shop-lifting accusations.
The next round of the inter-pub 'Superbrain' contest is tonight, at The Rovers, and because Bet has 'bottomed' the bar, she won't let Len and Alf have a pint until she's inspected their hands to see if they're clean.
Alf has been moaning all week about problems at work (he works at the Post Office - this was in the days when we had such a thing!). I've not mentioned it before because it seemed pretty boring, but it now looks as though he might get made redundant, so I suppose I'd better.
Meanwhile, the man from the brewery arrives for the competition. He's (apparently) a hunk, because Bet throws herself at him. No-one that we know wins the quiz, so I guess we won't see any more rounds (thank goodness!), however, Bet's aim must have been OK, as 'Magnus' asks her to go out with him after closing time ..... oo-er!
After Gail's story, Elsie is having a drink with Len. She goes off with him in his van, and tells him that when she worked at 'Miami Modes", Dot Greenhalsh was nicking stuff, but she (Elsie) 'copped for it'. Now Hilda has told Mrs. Matthews. All Len can say is, "Elsie, you're back in the Street five minutes, and you've already got a fight on your hands!"
Folowing Wendy's request for more time to think about their relationship and 'some space' Ken is trying hard to resisit the urge to contact her. He stares resoloutely at the phone willing her to rig but, alas, his Geller like powers fail him and he phones her himself. He is given short shrift by her friend, Di, with whom she is staying who clearly thinks Wendy is making a mistake.
Wendy tells Ken she has missed him terribly in her very nice BBC accent and he whizzes round to pick her up. He knocks at the door of Di's very nice detached house to discover that Di is really none other than Mrs Mcluskey, the headmistress of Grange Hill moonlighting in a soap opera. She continues to carp at Ken but Wendy says her mind is made up and she's not going to go back to Roger.
Ken and Wendy drive back to Nº11. Hilda is sweeping her doorstep and sees him carrying Wendy's case in and immediately rushes to tell everyone in the Street, including Uncle Albert who is not best pleased. He storms into Ken;s house and informs him he is finished with him, never darken my door etc. One by one, various residents are told that Wendy and Ken are living "over t' brush" (a phrase not heard much these days, a shame IMO) until Wendy urges Ken to take her to the Rovers so everyone will know.
Alf remarks to Len Fairclough that Ken's relationship with Wendy could affect his job as Community Development Officer as certain council members may take a dim view of such goings on. (Alf hasn't had a bit in years and is probably just jealous.)
Over breakfast the next day Wendy bemoans the fact that their relationship isn't 'official and sanctioned' . Elsie calls later to tell Ken she wants her house back but when she finds wendy has moved in, hasn't the heart to do it, but during the conversation lets it slip that Ken is a bit of a loser and that if wendy couldn't make a go of it with her husband, why should it be any better with Ken? When Ken talks later to Wendy about their long term plans for marriage she tells him let's take it one day at a time. Contrary, our Wendy. (Thanks to Elsie)
Ken has a meeting with the council comitee, consisting of a Mrs Rankin, Cllr Chapman, Ernie Bishop and Alf Roberts, to discuss plans for the forthcoming Street Party and at the end is told by Cllr Chapman that it has been brought to his attention, (Both Ernest and Alf develop a keen interest in their shoes at this point) that Ken is living with a married woman etc and tells him that he either must give her up or his job.
Ken returns home to find Wendy much more chirpy, so much so that she has been out and bought a new lampshade for the standard lamp. Ken doesn't tell her about the comitee's ultimatum. Emily Bishop, hearing from Ernest about it, is furious and feels that she will appear two faced after welcoming Wendy earlier. Spotting Wendy leaving the shop, she rushes after her and tells her she's so sorry etc then realises that Wendy didn't know............
Fred is becoming rapidly besotted with Rita and seems to pop up in the Kabin every 30 seconds or so. (For newer viewers, this is not the Kabin as you know it but the dingy purple and green interiored hell-hole without a window that also doubled as coffee bar and lending library, it has to be seen to be beleived, it doesn't so much have sick building syndrome as terminal illness!). Fred tries to get Rita to go to the pictures with him but she tells him she's singing at The Gatsby and gives him two complimentary tickets telling him 'Tale a lady friend'. This goes well over Fred's thinning head.
The next morning it transpires that he had several dances with Rita and is now more enamoured than ever, much to Mavis's amusement. However she is quickly silenced with a kick to the shins. When Fred appears in the shop for the millionth time Rita decides it's time he was put out of his/her misery and pops up from the back of the shop to discover he has brought her a single red rose. She is quite taken aback and hasn't the heart to stick the stilletto in. Remember, she was only a Little Red in those days and had not honed her talents on Mavis for 25 years at that point.
Following Hilda gossiping in the shop about someone employed there having been up for shoplifting within earshot of Mrs Mathews, Gail is convinced that Mrs M thinks it's her and whines on at high speed and at a pitch which most bats could hear. Elsie tells Gail that it was , in fact, herself that Hilda was talking about and says she'll put Mrs Mathews straight. Mrs Mathews, as expected, goes all huffy and Elsie loses her temper and walks out.
Gail hears from Len that although Elsie was accused, someone else owned up to the crime so Elsie was innocent. However, he and Gail can't understand why Elsie failed to mention this to Mrs Mathews. Gail tells all to Mrs Mathews who gets Gail to persuade Elsie to come back in to see her. When she does, she gives her her job back and leaves the shop immediately to for home for 'a little lie down'. (I am fairly sure the early incarnation of Alma was based on Mrs Mathews).
A new character appears in the Street and turns out to be the older sister of Terry Bradsahw (who works for Fairclough and Langton) and she is interested in buying the shop. Terry, however, isn't quite so keen and seems to be quite keen for her not to. He persuades her to take a couple of weeks holiday from her current job in the supermarket to see how the shop trade is and to see if she likes it. Renee agrees.
Trisha, that little ray of sunshine, sinks even further into the dumps. As the fortnight progresses, and it seems more and more likely that Renne 'will' buy the shop, Trisha becomes increasingly worried about lodng her job and her home, especially after hearing Renee saying that the shop isn't making enough to support two staff. Tricia pours her heart out to Elsie, who promises to have a word with Renee. When she does, Renee tells her that Tricia's job will have to go but she can stay in the falt but that 'she (Elsie) will have to go as Renee wants to move in downstairs. (This is the storeroom in the back of the shop! Is she mental?)
Hence Elsie's abortive visit to Ken's to ask for her house back. She then asks Len if she can move back in with him for a bit bit he ploitley declines, what with him being a councillor etc though he really thinks that he doesn't want to be seen with a woman who has only got one outfit, a brown and beige one at that!
Renee tells Betty Turpin (who is selling the shop on behalf of 'her' 'Gordon) that she will make an offer for the shop but that her solicitor has advised her that it must be with vacant possesion. So Betty is left with the task of breaking the news to Tricia, Gail and Elsie. She doesn't seem to be looking forward to it at all. Where the hell can one find a black cloak, top hat and twirly black moustache at that time of night?
Best scene: Emily and Ernest arguing about foreign holidays vs camping. If only thay could give Emily a little of the spark she had then.
Both the Kabin and the shop. The shop, army surplus green everywhere, not a single surface uncovered. The same green is used in the Kabin, with purple making it look rather like Jack Nicholson, playing The Joker, might be living there.
NB: You may recall that Paul Calter mentioned how the old episodes don't slot easily into seperate storylines quite like the ones of today and boy, he;s right. There is a great deal more interaction between storylines that I've missed by trying to use the 'Paul Baker' format. Future updates#CLASSIC will be written in the order scenes are played which, I feel, will give a better impression of how the storylines interweave.
Monday (1603, 26 May 1976)
Mrs. Walker seems to be away, and Fred's doing a bit of 'empire building', as Bet puts it. It's Sunday, and he's got her and Betty to make some sandwiches to be out on the bar, because in his opinion, no-one "bothers to put th'oven on for Sunday dinner these days." Wrong! As one would expect, he doesn't sell a single one.
The Bank Holiday Street Party is looming ahead, and Ken has organised it. He sees Emily in the Rovers, and she apologises for letting the cat out of the bag to Wendy about his threatened sacking, because of his 'domestic arrangements' with her. The great problem is, Weary (that's my new name for Wendy, as it's just how she makes me feel!) hadn't told Ken that she knew, and he'd been acting as if nothing had happened. So he blows his top about it and shouts at Emily. It also starts the rot between him and Weary. I'm quite glad, really, as I've never really taken to her - she speaks too plum-in-the-mouth for The Street.
Emily calls to apologise (that seems to be the story of Emily's life, apologising) to Weary, but just as she's about to get a cup of tea, Weary's pal Di turns up, so she leaves. Di has a letter from Roger (Weary's husband) to deliver - he's paid Weary's car insurance. Is he romantic or what?
There was a lot of dialogue between several characters, but not much 'meat' to it. About the only things of interest were the fact that Gail and Tricia are about to be evicted from their flat (but they don't know yet), and preparations are still under way for the Street Party. The episode ends with a magnificent shot of Gail, bunting in hand, climbing a ladder. Yet again, I had to lie down .....
Tuesday (1604, 31 May 1976)
It's Spring Bank Holiday, and tables are being laid in the street. Everybody seems to be doing something to help, including making food, like sandwiches and the like. Weary has done her bit - two small plates with tiny hors d'oeuvre on them (and this is for several hundred people!). Stan has invited a pal of his to entertain - he's an escapologist. He arrives in the Rovers, and is an extremely loud little chap called Wally. It turns out he'd got a lift to Weatherfield from a man who was a brewery rep - so now we know why he's so loud!
The local MP arrives, and while Ken is introducing him to everyone, Ena appears to be assaulting a small boy who won't behave (at least, I *assume* that's why she was haranguing him - he looked quite well-behaved to me, though). The MP is a real bore (very true to life).
There are Morris dancers, kiddies' rides, and Wally does his escaping bit with the chains. He also challenges anyone to try it for a fiver. Stan rises to the challenge, and needless to say, is left tied up when the drunken Wally disappears with the key.
The only real plot development is the Weary gets a call from Di, and shortly after takes one of her two plates out to the waiting throng (I don't think the two things were linked, though!) The great mystery is what happened to the other plate. When Ken goes to fetch her to meet the MP, he finds her in her coat, and she's "going to see Di". But she's lying, and she meets Roger in a restaurant. That car insurance certainly seems to have had an effect.
Wednesday (1605, 2 June 1976)
It's still the same day, and the street party is winding up. A lost Morris dancer is asking Hilda if she's seen any others. "Other what?" she asks. "There should be seven others like me." "Oo eck," she replies, "I pity yer poor mother!" They eventually find Wally locked in the ladies' in the Rovers, and after Len removes the lock, Wally releases Stan.
Weary and Roger are chatting in the restaurant. Roger's meal isn't very good, and he wants to complain, but Weary doesn't want him to. From the rest of the conversation, it seems that they don't really see eye to eye, so there's only one thing for it - she goes back to him.
She tries to do it by leaving Ken a note, but just as she places it on the table, she's disturbed - by Emily, who gets told off again because she didn't knock! Anyway, because of this delay, Ken arrives before she can escape, and Ken, sensing she's about to go, gives her a good staring-at until she actually tells him she's off. As she walks down the street, case in hand, she passes Bet, who appears to ignore her, but it's a pound to a penny she'll be spreading the word soon!
Thursday (1606, 7 June 1976)
Now that the Ken and Weary affair is over, Ken is distraught, and gets home from a walk just as the milk is being delivered. Later, in the Corner shop, Bet asks Uncle Albert how Ken is, now that Weary has gone. Now *he's* upset because he didn't know. He goes round to see Ken, and tells him that he's thinking of growing some capsicums on his allotment. This is Albert-speak for "Why didn't you tell me? I'm glad she's gone, it wasn't right living o'er t'brush like that".
Gail and Tricia finally find out that they are going to be evicted. "I bet we've got rights - I bet we've got all sorts of rights!" pleads Gail. You're correct Gail, and you've some nice lefts too, but it won't help. Elsie, of course, is also trying to find somewhere else to live, so when she finds out about Weary, she goes round to see Ken about her house (which he lives in), but on the pretext of giving sympathy. To give her her due, she does this, and is surprised when Kens says, without being asked, that she can have her house back, as he's decided to leave anyway!
In the Kabin, Li'l Red is also distraught, but at the thought of going out with Fred Gee, who's been chasing her for some time. When Emily tells her she's just seen him 'heading this way', she hides until he's gone - he brings her a present of a small pot plant. When she thanks him, later in the Rovers, he asks her to go to a Big Band concert with him. Rita explains that she's already going out tonight with a rich boyfriend (which she isn't, of course).
In the meantime, Mavis's boyfriend turns up, and it's none other than Derek Wilton. (If I'm not mistaken, this is Peter Baldwin's debut in Coronation Street.) Derek returns later to the Kabin when, by coincidence, Mavis isn't in. It happens at just the right time for Li'l Red, because Fred is *still* chasing her. As Derek enters, she kisses him, and convinces Fred that Derek (who Fred doesn't know) is her boyfriend.
Friday (1607, 9 June 1976)
Li'l Red explains to Derek why she did what she did. "You see, that feller that were in here, Fred Gee, well he fancies me." "Is there something wrong with him?" asks Derek. "Thanks very much!" says Rita.
In the Rovers, Fred tells Bet about Rita's boyfriend. From the description, Bet (and Mavis, who's also there) guesses who it is. Mavis dashes out. Fred works out what Rita is up to, and next time he sees her, tells her so. "You could have told me. You could have just said. There was no need to make me look a fool." (There's only one fool-maker that I can see!). Meantime, Mavis kicks Derek into touch, saying she doesn't want to see him again.
She feels awful when she finds out exactly what happened, and she's also annoyed at L'il Red - "You treated him just like a play-thing. I'm a lot closer to him than you are, and *I* don't treat him like a play-thing!" "Oo, the mind boggles!", quips Rita. Mavis can't bring herself to call Derek to apologise, so after she leaves the Kabin, Rita secretly calls him. Derek turns up in the Rovers (where neither he nor Mavis can bring themselves to say 'Bloody Mary'), and they get back together. I'm glad, because I wouldn't have slept otherwise! ;~)
Tricia is still flat-hunting, and is so preoccupied that when she's delivering an order for someone, she stops off at the Rovers to have a drink with Gail. Rene finds her there, and tears a strip off her. When she gets back to the shop, she has a row with Rene and packs in the job. She tells Gail and Dreary (who are playing table-tennis !!??), and says she's thinking of going home to her Mam, who lives about six miles away.
Ken attends a meeting of his Social Services Committee, to report on the street party. Of course, they ask about his 'domestic arrangements', and he tells them they no longer have a problem. They register their 'vote of confidence' in him, but he says he doesn't have confidence in *them*. He intends to take two weeks' holiday in order to decide if he should resign or not.
When Uncle Albert calls round to see Ken, he's is packing to leave. He admits he hasn't decided where he's going, so Albert offers to let him live with him. Ken accepts, but still says he's going away for some time.
The episode closes with Ken and Tricia passing each other in the Street (where have I seen this before?), both off into the vast unknown .....
Apologies for this being a very brief update for this week, I am very pushed for time and only just managed to see the omnibus.
Mavis is mooning around pining for Derek when he appears in the shop and invites her for sandwiches in the park at lunchtime. Mavis bemoans to Rita that she has no privacy as she lives with her Aunt/Mother (I forget which). Rita, showing a rare glimpse of kindness, tells Mavis that she has a singing engagement that night, (she hasn't, of course) so why doesn't Mavis use the flat above the Kabin to cook a meal for Derek. Mavis jumps at the opportunity. Later, in the park, Mavis invites Derek for the meal and he readily agrees, 'as long as she doesn't make too much pudding, I'm not a puddings man!'. (Pity, as Mavis is hoping he will take her 'cherry' later on!)
That night Rita is in the Rovers and tells Bet and Elsie about Mavis and the flat, Bet persuades Rita to phone Mavis up and tell her she can't get home so Mavis can stay the night in the flat. Rita phones Mavis and tells her to stay the night so she can do the papers in the morning. As the evening wears on, Derek and Mavis have had a fair bit to drink and, while Mavis is obviosly keen for Derek to spend the night with her, he is too obtuse to see this and, because he's had too much to drink, gets a cab home, leaving poor Mavis sobbing into the remainder of the fruit salad! (The cad!) (This was a superbly acted scene and both humourous and touching, it was quite apparent that Peter Baldwin and Thelma Barlow worked very well together, what a shame the producers took so many more years to bring him back.)
The following morning Rita and Bet are pleased to see that Derek's car is outside the Kabin and rib Mavis about her night of passion, Mavis, still bitterly disspointed (and she doesn't even know, unlike us, how many years it's going to be until she 'does' get him into bed) is not amused. Mavis is now worried that Derek doesn't fancy her and is being 'cool' towards her. Once again Fairy Godmother Rita gets Derek to taker Mavis out to the pics so all is well again, for now!
Renee is now the proud owner of the Corner Shop and to celebrate, she evicts Gail. (Always a good start to any day, evicting a peasant or two). Renee reveals that she is going to apply for an off-licence licence(?) and Hilda races to the Rovers to break the news to Annie Walker but is beaten to it by Ray Langton. Mrs W is NOT amused. Renee is now well into her stride and sets about upsetting as many people as possible, winding Annie up in the pub and refusing Hilda credit. Within days, she is visited by a trading standards officer who tells her that 'acting on information received' they have been watching her and she has been trading after hours and on Sundays. (A heinous crime in the 70's apparently). Now, Renee wants to know who shopped her, Hilda or Annie! Hilda later tells Renee that it definitely wasn't her so it looks like Mrs W is in the frame!
Gail, hours away from eviction can't find anywhere to live, so Elsie, now installed back at No11, takes her in as a lodger. Meanwhile in the Rovers, who should appear fresh from prison, none other than Eddie Yates, accompanied by 'Monkey' Gibbons. They are in search of work, money, food and shelter and get short shrift from all of the Street residents. In the pub that wag Ray Langton tells them, knowing full well that Ken is now back living with Albert Tatlock and that Elsie is in No11, that Ken is away from No11 for a while and won't mind them dossing down there for a while. Eddie and Monkey break in and climb into the double bed, only to be discovered by Elsie and Gail on their return later. Elsie goes mental and throws them out. They promptly break back in and sleep in the living room, where they are discovered by Gail. Elsie goes mental again and throws them out, again! (This scene was most notable for ELSIE IN FULL FLIGHT CLAD ONLY IN A BLACK NEGLIGEE! Ooo-er! Goodness, women were women in the 70's, not dressed up pipe-cleaners.
Possibly unconnected to Eddie and Monkey's return, but probably not, Hilda's milk money is stolen from her doorstep.
Ken Barlow returns and resigns immediately as Community Officer, then tells Uncle Albert that he is moving on to pastures new. (With Ken this probably means just down the road.) He is about to leave when he discovers that Albert's electricity is cut off and has been for two weeks. This may explain why Albert has been such a miseable b***ard through the preceding scenes. And his blue nose!
1970's archetypal wardrobe award. Alf Roberts for the hugest collar on a shirt I've ever seen. F1-11 wing proportions at least.
Best acting: Thelma Barlow was quite, quite brilliant!
Monday (1613, 30 June 1976)
Uncle Albert is depressed because he has had his electricity cut off (a rare social comment from Coronation Street?), and takes a walk along the canal. Unfortunately (for us) he doesn't jump in. Discussing it in the pub, everyone agrees that Albert is not the 'nicest' bloke to know. Dierdre comes in and tells Ken about Uncle Albert and the canal, so he goes off to find him. He's at his allotment, and discloses that he's also depressed because the Council are taking his allotment off him, because he's neglected it. He harvests a lettuce, the size of which proves that the Council are probably correct! Anyway Ken has paid the electricity bill, but is disappointed to find that Albert still says "No-one cares a toss." (For him, that's true!)
All of this makes Ken decide to stay in the Street, and tells Ernest and Alf. They pretend that there is someone else in line for the job, but they will still let him back. He finds out later that they were desperate, and *hadn't* anyone in line for it. What a plot twist, eh?
Meantime, Rene has been reported to the Council for selling things on Sundays, and is trying to find out who did it. Gail looks a bit shifty, but I cannot bring myself to believe that the goddessette could have done such a thing! Rene gives Emily a real mouthful, as she believes it was her, and verbally throws her out of the shop.
Gail and Dreary are playing table-tennis (again), when Emily comes in and says "I may not agree with people breaking the law, but I've *never* been a stool-pigeon." She tells them about Rene accusing her. Gail looks shifty again .... and Dreary notices. Gail admits that it wasn't her (I told you so!!), but she knows who it was. She decides to tell Rene. It turns out that it was ... it was .... (this is an old Hitchcock trick to build up suspense) ... it was Tricia! Just shows the sort of person that Plowman bloke falls for. Rene rushes round to apologise to Emily, who (unlike the modern Emily) forgives her immediately, and gives her lots of really good advice on how to run a shop. Thanks, Emily.
Ken now tries (successfully, would you believe?) to recruit the rest of the male cast to help tidy Uncle Albert's allotment, so he won't lose it. (Here's a chance for some good storylines, I'll wager.) Hilda volunteers Stan for it (he's not there, of course). Then we find that she has done it because she expects a share of the produce afterwards. However, when Ken tells Albert the good news, he just moans that they'll all expect to share the produce. Looks like he and Hilda have like minds!
Ray Langton gives Annie Walker a £25 deposit on a party booking, because Dreary's 21st. birthday is upcoming, on the same day as their wedding anniversary. But when Dreary finds out, they have a barney about it, as she thinks the money could be better spent!
Tuesday (1614, 5 July 1976)
The argument about the party continues, and Dreary suggests that Ray gets the deposit back. He refuses. Unknown to Ray, Dreary goes to the Rovers, and gets Betty to give her the deposit back. She decides to have the party, but at her house rather than the Rovers. It's actually her mother's house, and they live upstairs in a 'granny' flat, but her mum lives elsewhere at the moment. She phones and says the party will be OK, and she'll even pay for it.
Hilda is reading a magazine, and falls in love with a wallpaper. She decides, against Stan's better judgement, to redecorate their living room. She gives Stan £10 to get the materials (first mistake). Eddie Yeats is looking for work, and hears Stan ask Ken if he knows where a certain decorating shop is. Eddy tells Stan he can get the paper for half price, so Stan gives him the money (second mistake). Hilda blows her top when she finds out, and bemoans the loss of the money. Surprisingly, though, Eddie turns up, and has the right wall paper with him! He cadges some dinner, and talks Hilda into letting him do the decorating. Immediately, even before he starts work, Hilda offers him board and lodging.
After half the room is decorated, Hilda finds that the last few rolls are faded, so they haven't enough paper to finish the job. She gives Eddie the hard word, and he goes off to get some more.
Wednesday (1615, 7 July 1976)
Preparations are under way for the party. Dreary is chopping tomatoes (chopping being the operative word - they looked rather mangled afterwards!), and Ray reads the label on a box - "What's 'lasag-knee'?" he asks. Philistine.
Later, Dreary pays a mysterious visit to - the Doctor's!
A lighthearted moment: Ena is in the shop, and tells Rene that she's been invited to the Langton's party, but won't be going. When Rene points to a tray of goodies ordered for the party, Ena says, "Well, if I had have gone, I would have had one of those, two of these and some of this." She then proceeds to wrap them up and take them home!
Eddie visits the shop, and offers to take the stuff round to the Langton household. He then uses this as an excuse to gatecrash the party. While he's there, someone tells him there's someone asking for him in the Rovers. It's the pal who supplied the wallpaper. He goes off see him. Meanwhile, Dierdre tells Ray that she's been to the Doctor's, and why - she's pregnant. She decides to call the baby 'Tracyluv'.
Other party events:
Terry is dancing/smooching with Gail (I really, really despise him now, especially as he tries to get her to 'go upstairs' with him.)
Ken and Rita are also dancing/smooching, and Rita is heard to say to him, "Course, we could always go back to my place, have one for the road." Hussy!
The Ogdens are still waiting for Eddie to return. He does, but with a non-matching paper. Hilda sends him away with a flea in his ear yet again. When he returns, we witness a momentous occurrence in Street history - THE BIRTH OF MURIEL !!! Yes, Eddie has brought Hilda her 'muriel', which she immediately falls in love with.
Thursday (1616, 12 July 1976)
The muriel is about to be created. Stan says it is his turn to go down to Uncle Albert's allotment. Needless to say, he doesn't get there. And also needless to say, Eddie leaves the job before he starts it, as he claims he's allergic to wallpaper paste. Ray and Alf make it to the allotment, and Albert moans at them for eating their lunch when they should be working. (I'd forgotten how miserable and ornery he was!) Hilda arrives, looking for Stan. There's trouble afoot there!
Ernest Bishop meets Arnold Pettifer in the Rovers. Arnols works for Ernie's accountant, and brings the new lease for Ernie's shop (Ernie runs a photography business). The new lease is three times the price of the old one, and Ernie can't afford it, so he considers closing the business. Over lunch with Emily, Uncle Albert comes in complaining that Ernest hasn't turned up for work (you'd think he was *paying* for help!!). In an uncharacteristic moment, Ernest shouts at him, and tells him to "get off my back, will you!". Wow!
Two shifty types show up in the Rovers, and bandy Mrs. Sharples name around (between themselves). "Tonight then, do you think?" says one. "I reckon so," replies the other. Mysterious or what? Hilda, of course, is still looking for Stan. Stan arrives, and is about to take a mouthful of his pint when Hilda appears out of the ladies, and sends him home to attend to the muriel.
One of the shifties visits Ena. To save any unneccesary suspense, he's trying to sell her a fitted shower, but I think the story will be that he's going to take the money and run. Ena asks him to come back on Monday, and she'll have the deposit ready for him.
Friday (1617, 14 July 1976)
But Ena isn't as green as she is cabbage-looking. She goes round to ask Len about showers, and invites him and Eddie, who happens to be there, to her house at the time the shower man will be there. They hide in the kitchen while the man does his tricks. Ena gives him an envelope with a £20 deposit in it. As he tries to leave, Len comes out and starts asking technical shower questions, making sure he's blocking the door. The man tries sliding out of the back door, but Eddie's there. Eddie pushes him around a bit then gets him in a neck-hold. They cart him off to the police station, after Len tells Eddie he has just performed a 'citzen's arrest', at which Eddie is rather dismayed. Oh and by the way, the envelope contained only newspaper 'banknotes', and the reason that Ena was suspicious in the first place was that the man had said he'd put in a shower for Hetty Boothroyd. Later Ena told Len that she went to Hetty Boothroyd's funeral five months ago!
The muriel 'comes right into the room', as Hilda puts it. She can't wait to invite one or two people round to see it, like Bet amd Mrs.Walker.
The Bishops are still agonising over unpaid bills. (It's surprising how quickly the situation has turned from them not suspecting that there was anything wrong with their photography business, to having scores of unpaid bills!). Hilda turns up on the pretext of borrowing a cup of rice, but really she wants to invite Emily round for a cup of tea and a muriel. But there's more than rice for the Bishops to worry about. The business has definitely crashed ....
Bet takes Hilda up on the invite. Her comment - "Well, it takes a bit of adjusting to. What do you do if there's an avalanche?". When Annie walks in, she visibly rocks when Bet tells her to turn round and look at it (an excellent piece of acting from Doris Speed). "Do you know dear, I feel just a little giddy. Would you mind if I sat facing the other way until I'm acclimatised?" was her response.
Meanwhile, back at the allotment, joker Langton has carved "Albert rules OK" into Albert's prize marrow. There be trouble !!!
Monday (1618, 19 July 1976)
Albert is enraged about his marrow, and is accusing everyone of carving "ALBERT RULES OK" into it. He doesn't accuse Ken, but he's still pretty short with him. Still, Ken helps him by looking in the timetable to see who was working at the time, and the conclusion is - Ray Langton. Albert dashes over to the Rovers to have a go at him.
Later, Ray goes round to Albert's house to apologise. When Albert tells him he was entering the marrow into a show, Ray gives him the prize money of £2. Only then does Albert reveal that it wouldn't have won anyway!
Emily and Ernest are clearing out the shop, after the photography business has crashed. It would appear that, as yet, they haven't told anyone, because Hilda bursts into the Rovers to 'spread the good word'. The way she does it, even Annie Walker tells her off about it. Ernie comes in and sends her away with a flea in her ear. Annie suggests he gets himself on the "Professional and Executive Register" at the Job Centre, as a friend of hers got a good job through it. So off he goes. The Job Centre lady is more than helpful, but despite Ernie describing himself as a 'professional' photographer, he finds that he doesn't qualify - not by a long chalk. There's a job going at a well-known photographic firm, but when she calls them about it, it's already gone. Disappointments all round for Ernie!
A couple of brassy women come into the Rovers. One of them speaks to Len, and introduces her friend as 'Mrs. Walton' (who quips "It's Joyce, if you don't mind. I'm a divorcee!"), and herself as Vera Duckworth. She's looking for Fred Gee.
Albert and Hilda are in the Rovers, but go off to Bingo together. Albert offers to share any winnings they might have between them, but Hilda refuses. Bad move, Hilda .....
At the bingo (where the chap who checks the numbers is no less than a very young Tim Healy, of 'Aufwiedersehn Pet' and 'Common As Muck' fame, among others), Hilda embarrasses herself with a false call. Meanwhile, Albert has found a sharer in Bertha Lumley, who 'mauls' him ("Geddoff, will yer!") when he wins the jackpot of £100.
Tuesday (1619, 21 July 1976)
Next morning, Bertha is round Albert's house looking for him. Apparently, they don't pay out big wins on the night, to prevent the winner being mugged on the way home, so she's come to escort him there to collect it. Off they go. Later that day, she comes round again, being overly friendly, which Albert doesn't like. Suddenly, her daughter turns up, looking for her. Apparently, Bertha "keeps getting off wi' fellers at t'bingo, and me dad's said he'll kill the next one!"
Vera Duckworth is in the Rovers again. This time she's being chatted up by Fred, who invites her to some 'after time' in the evening. I think that usually means drinking, but Fred has other ideas. At Bet's suggestion, he asks Mrs. Walker if he can bring a lady friend back 'for supper'. She says yes, surprisingly.
That evening, as Vera comes in, Ray and Len tell Eddie Yeats that "she's anyone's for the price of a gin". So Eddie buys her one, and another, etc. You can see what's going to happen, so to save time, let's just say that the only thing Eddie gets is a disappointment.
When Mrs. Walker sees Vera sat with Fred, she's dismayed to find out who his 'lady friend' is. When the bar closes, Fred takes Vera through 'to the back'. "It's OK," he says, "she'll be asleep by now". But when they open the door, there's Annie, with the tea brewed and the table laid for supper. "Tea, Miss Duckworth?" says Annie. "Mrs. actually. Mind you, I am parted...."
The depressed (and depressing) Ernest and his closing the shop/finding a job goes on ... and on ....and on.
Wednesday (1620, 26 July 1976)
Albert keeps a low profile ... but a booming voice in the hallway frightens him to death. Luckily it's Eddie Yeats, who has found out about Albert's predicament, pretending to be Bertha's husband Nat. Bertha comes round and tells Albert that he's her "lucky little charm", and there's no-one else with his lucky streak.(He's only won once, surely?) But Nat turns up in the Rovers, looking for him. Oh dear!
The depressed (and depressing) Ernest goes on ... and on ....and on. Even Emily can't get a job - at which Ernie is relieved, or so Emily thinks. So an argument starts. They're both such a couple of whingers that it's getting tiring listening to them!
Roy Thornley is still sniffing around Gail, who is wearing a low-cut, thin top with no bra. The term 'Scammell wheelnuts' springs to mind for some reason. Thornley (the swine) asks her to lunch, which they take at a very posh establishment. He's just trying to impress, and unfortunately she falls for it. Elsie doesn't, however, and lets Gail know what she thinks. Listen to her Gail, or it will end in tears .... (How often have I told her that, but will she listen?) Obviously not, as she goes out with him in the evening, too.
Thursday (1621, 28 July 1976)
Bills and more bills are arriving at the Bishop residence, and still no sign of a job. They've now got a tax demand for £300. Ernie says he'll have to sell his cameras, so to save him having to do that, Emily goes out and pawns her engagement ring.
Gail and Elsie are still arguing about Roy Thornley. Elsie is trying to protect Gail from herself, but Gail thinks she's just jealous. Elsie goes out to lunch to stop Gail going out again with Thornley, so he brings lunch in. He's a real smoothie, and I hate him. (Have I told you that before?) He gets her drunk on cheap wine (at lunchtime!!) Despite all this, Elsie lends Gail a pair of earrings to wear tonight. She also gives Thornley a piece of her mind, when he turns up to pick up Gail. But it makes no difference.
Nat Lumley finally catches up with Albert in the Rovers. Everyone watches to see Albert get thumped, but it turns out that Nat wants Albert to keep taking Bertha to the bingo, because when she's on a winning streak, he gets some peace at home. When he offers to pay for the bingo, Albert readily agrees. Albert's lucky for Bertha this time - she wins £20. But when he asks her for his share, she says that they hadn't specifically said that they were sharing this time, and she won't divi up. I can see a long, boring storyline developing here.
By the way, Little Red and Mavis have been in some of this week's episodes, but there didn't seem to be any storyline in their chat - it was just filling time.
Friday (1622, 2 August 1976)
Albert bemoans his £10, and sets about getting it out of Bertha. He even tells Ken he's ready to go to court over it. He's next seen shouting through Bertha's letterbox. She appears at an upstairs window, and tells him to go away. Ken arrives, and takes him home.
Emily tells Ernest about the engagement ring, when he sees that it's missing from her finger. He says "Oh Emily, you fool!" What a nasty piece of work he's turning out to be. Someone should shoot him....
Nellie Harvey, an old friend (if 'friend' is the right word) of Annie Walker, comes round to boast to Annie that she has passed her driving test. Nellie is played by none other than Mollie Sugden (Mrs. Slocombe of 'Are You Being Served'). When she tells Mrs. Walker about her test, Annie's face looks like a dried prune!
Joy of joys, Emily gets herself a job at the hospital. But misery-guts Ernest poo-poos it when he finds that it isn't secretarial, but as an orderly. He needs a good talking to, that guy. She tells him that they are also looking for porters, but he refuses to do it. Give him a slap, Emily!
Monday (1623, 4 August 1976)
Emily is starting her new job at the hospital this morning - she's quite an orderly person, so that's the job they've given her. But when she gets home, she finds she has to make tea, as Ernest isn't at home. When he gets home, he smells of drink !! They have a minor argument which doesn't develop the storyline at all, so I'll not document it.
Uncle Albert is still complaining about not getting his share from Bertha (share of bingo winnings, that is ...). After all, it was £10! Ken digs deep and gives him £2 to make up for it, which Albert pockets quickly, before moaning "But it's not ten quid, is it?" Unexpectedly, Bertha turns up and apologises for being so mean. She gives Albert his £10, which he immediately counts. (He still keeps Ken's £2!) As she leaves, she gives Albert a friendly peck on the cheek, which is witnessed by some passers-by. Later that afternoon, while Ena is talking to Albert, Nat turns up and chastises him for "taking liberties". They threaten to come to blows, but are quite relieved when Ena separates them. After Nat has gone, Albert says, "It's a good job you stopped me. I'd 'ave crippled 'im!"
Annie Walker is waiting for the bus whilst returning from a shopping expedition, when Nellie Harvey stops to give her a lift. She refuses, with one of her brilliant put-downs: "It isn't that I'm reluctant to be your passenger; no-one who knows me will question my courage. But I do have one or two more errands." She later discovers that although Nellie passed her test on the first attempt, she had had 86 lessons! She immediately invites Nellie round for tea. Needless to say, when faced with it, Nellie falls out with Annie. It won't end here ...
Roy Thornley is still mauling Gail. When Elsie asks Gail for the return of the earrings she lent her, Gail has to admit she lost one of them last night. Elsie later finds it - on the stockroom floor! She puts two and two together and works out that they came back last night for nookie. When Len turns up to give her a lift home, he adds another two (that's six now) by saying that if Thornley had to use the stockroom, there must be a reason why he couldn't use his own home. Perhaps the swine is married?
Tuesday (1624, 9 August 1976)
I wish Ernie would find a job. He's depressing me. Rita cheers him up by offering to go to the South Seas with him, but he can't - he has to go to the launderette today. Annie comes while they're talking, and asks (here we go .....!) for a copy of 'The Highway Code'. She later asks Alf for the name of a good driving school. He tries to talk her out of it, but she'll hear none of it. She *must* be serious, as she goes round to Elsie's shop to buy the scourge of the seventies - a trouser suit.
Elsie tells Gail that she found her earring, and where. Gail doesn't deny the nookie (I like to think she wouldn't deny me nookie - still, I can dream) and says she isn't a daft kid any more, she's "nineteen and having fun". She goes round to Dreary's for a break. Meanwhile, Thornley turns up, so Elsie gives him a piece of her mind (she can't have much left now!) He gives her a bit back, so they agree to disagree on the matter.
Deirdre has been told by Elsie who Gail is messing around with. So Deirdre agrees that it's not a good thing, especially if he is married, and says she'll talk to Gail. She tells Gail that she thinks Thornley is "a bit flash", so Gail retorts that Deirdre's judgment isn't all that good, as she "married the first yobbo that came along"! Ouch!
After Gail leaves work that evening (with Thornley, again), the phone rings. When Elsie answers it, it's (wait for this) Mrs. Thornley, who wants her husband to pick up her and the children from Piccadilly Station in the morning, when they return from her mother's .....
Wednesday (1625, 11 August 1976)
Annie is telling Alf, Ray and Eddie about her first lesson, and how well she coped with several emergency situations. They are totally incredulous, until Ena explains that it was a driving simulator, not the real thing. Eddie vows to get his own back.
That afternoon, a young chap is standing at the bar, drinking his pint. He asks for another, even before he's finished it. When Bet engages him in conversation, he says, "If you had a job like mine, you'd need a bit of Dutch courage." He then asks if Mrs. Walker is "ready yet?" When Bet asks why he wants to know, he says, "Tell her it's her driving instructor!" Just then Annie appears, and just as Bet is telling her about him, and the amount of drink he's had, he puts on a pair of bottle-bottom spectacles, and says to her, "If you're in no hurry, I could use another pint!" At this, Eddie Yeats, who has been looking on, cracks up with laughter - it's a pal of his who was put up to do it .... Annie is not amused.
Elsie tries to tell Gail about Thornley being married, but Gail won't believe her. She thinks Elsie is just jealous. So Elsie rings him, and gets him to come round to the shop, on the pretext that she needs to discuss some business. It only takes the length of the commercial break for him to arrive. (By the way, have those of you who watch these episodes noticed that, despite them not being sponsored by Cadbury's, there is always a Cadbury's ad. in the break?) Elsie announces immediately, within Gail's earshot, that there is a message, and proceeds to give it to him. Gail is taken aback when he just says, "OK, thanks." Elsie goes into the stockroom to let them discuss things. He says it was just a game, and he thought that Gail knew that. "It's just a bit of fun," he says. "I give you a little present, you give me a little present." When she gives him back the 'little present' he gave her (a bracelet), he says, "You don't have to do that. I mean, I can't do the same for you, can I?" [The swine! I loathe and despise him!!!! The cherry is no more .....!] She leaves. He leaves. I go and lie down.
Dreary and Gail have obviously made up, as Gail goes round for tea and sympathy. Dreary is more help than usual, and tells her to buck up, and get on with life. She does.
Thursday (1626, 16 August 1976)
Hilda tells Little Red that there's something funny about the way Mrs. Walker rushed off to 'their Joanie's' immediately after her first real driving lesson, and that during it, she nearly knocked Eddie Yeats down. When Bet answers the phone in the Rovers, it's Nellie Harvey asking how Annie went on in her lesson. Bet spins a yarn about how the teacher had said how brilliant Annie was, but Nellie has a shock in store for Bet - there's talk of a crash, and a driving-school car being towed away after being wrapped round a lamp-post!
Ernie goes into the shop, to be told by Rita that he can have a job playing piano at 'The Gatsby'. Unfortunately, one of the nights is a "stag" night, with strippers. He says he'll let her know. Emily, of course, won't let him take it, but Ernest, being the strong, silent type.... doesn't take it. At least, not until a lot of script has gone by. At the end of the episode, he tells Little Red that he will take it.
Deirdre answers the phone in Len's office and tells the caller that they can't do anything for at least two weeks. When Len finds out, he's furious, because it was MacDonalds (the fictitious building contractors, not the real burger people). He shouts at her, and she cries. He calls MacDonalds and gets the job, then makes Deirdre call all the other customers to put them off - but not before Ray makes him say sorry to Deirdre.
Len, Ray and Terry go round to the building site to weigh up the job. They meet up with some labourers (with southern accents, so they must be bad 'uns) who seem a bit strange, as though they want trouble. I think they probably want trouble ..... especially as the ringleader says, when Len has gone, "It's funny, ain't it, the way some faces make yer want to put yer feet in 'em?" I must say that, looking at Len, I tend to agree!
Friday (1627, 18 August 1976)
Emily is still haranguing Ernest about playing at the Gatsby. Don't bother, Emily - the storyline says he'll do it, so he'll have to do it!
The boys have started on the building site. A lot of the gear that was ordered and delivered is no longer there, and Ray's membership of MENSA comes in handy as he works out that it's been 'nicked'. Len tackles the ringleader of the labourers about it, and of course, he denies all knowledge - "You're the plumber, pal. You sowt it aht!" (I did say he was a southerner). Deirdre arrives (with Ray's butties, I assume) to a barrage of builder-type quips. This annoys Ray, but the others hold him back from having a go.
The contractor's son arrives. He's in charge of the site, so Len tells him about the missing gear. Meanwhile, we see the southerners putting some gear in a car boot - so it was them all along! [BTW, the son's car is the spitting image of the Rover that Annie had in later episodes - let's see if it turns up in the weeks to come. STJ 297 M is the reg.] The ringleader later passes a remark about there being more than tools in Len's van, which convinces our hero that they may be trying to shift the blame for the stealing onto him and his merry men ...
Annie calls from 'their Joanie's', and Betty tells her that Nellie Harvey was asking about the lesson. Annie denies all knowledge of anything out of the ordinary. While the 'girls' are talking about it, a flash blonde piece comes into the Rovers, asking for Ernie Bishop. After she leaves, Hilda says "Course, you know what she is, don't you?". They are amazed when Hilda announces that she's a stripper, and is probably going to Ernie's to practice!
And she does, too. Ernest is shocked when she tells him that she 'takes everything off'. "Everything?" he says, trembling. "Ooh yes, luv, the days of the G-string have gone, thank goodness!". It's her first really big booking, and she wants to practice the music. Naturally, Emily walks in, right in the middle of the rehearsal (before she takes off any clothes, unfortunately). Emily is enraged, as she was hoping she could strip for Ernest tonight. She has yet another go at him about the job. But it makes no difference to the rock-like Ernest!
Emily has other ideas, and goes round to tell off Rita for getting Ernest the job - "I'd rather scrub floors than let him prostitute himself like this!" she wails. Rita, of course, with her convent-school education, has a witty phrase ready for every situation. "Get out, yer snotty cow!" she quips. This exchange seems to have exorcised Emily's evil spirit, because she and Ernest suddenly make up, and she gives him her blessing to do the job.
Meanwhile, Rita tells Mavis that Derek Wilton has rung, and is coming round to see her .......
In real life:
According to an article in today's Observer the real 90s Salford is terrorized by violent teenage street gangs and families that move from house to house wrecking them as they go.
Back in 70s Coronation Street:
The corner shop is terrorized by Jimmy and Kevin 'aggerty, 2 tykes who shop lift sweets under Renee, Alf and Albert's very noses. But at least they carry nothing more sinister than water pistols and an insult. Alf is at pains to explain that these little monsters are the way they are because their dad is in prison (aaaah). Back in those blue remembered hills shop keepers could give the backs of sneaky grubby little hands a slap without fear of assault charges. Renee does so with impunity.
Their part in the proceedings throughout the week include soaking Bet with the afformentioned water pistols, filled from a pint mug of water cadged from Fred at the Rovers under the pretext of thirst. She came in to the Rovers and pulling down the shoulders of her top proceeded to wipe her .. ah hem... ample chest with a bar towel to the oglement of Stan and Fred Gee. Mrs Walker immediately offers her a dress to change into "For decency's sake". However, when we see Bet later in the dress it is even more revealing than the discarded top. Even after Mrs Walker rebuttons it for her a sizable chink of cleavage shows in the gaping fabric. A scene for Bet lovers everywhere!
Building a better future:
The storyline at the building site reaches its dramatic conclusion. Len manages to find evidence that he produced to the site owner that the Manson-look-alike, Barker, is the filcher of all the missing materials. Barker swears revenge and gets his chance when Len, working up a scaffold, is called away. Before he can come back The Evil One, for it is He, climbs the scaffold and removes vital brackets and poles. Unfortunately Ray is sent to the scaffold by Len and in a remarkable bit of stunt work falls through the loose planks to the ground where a plank lands end first in his face. This looked really painful and quite realistic. Ray is taken unconscious to hospital. Later Terry and Len are talking in the portacabin on the site and Cassius (! not Brutus) expresses sincere concern that Ray has been badly injured and him with a pregnant wife so he reveals that Barker warned everyone to stay away from that part of the scaffold so they have the evidence to trap him. However, Barker and Len come head to head ... and fist to b...ll..cks and fight it out (sorry, I think Len probably won but I had to go and make the gravy for dinner :-) so missed it). Any way despite Dierdre being very concerned, Ray is not so badly hurt. Both arms are in bandages but his face is unmarked (very strange, also later in the week the bandages on his right arm which initially was in a sling,completely disappeared) and he discharges himself so he doesnt miss any drinking time at the Rovers. Fred had been taking a collection for him but had only raised 37p. Mrs Walker offered to make it up to 2 pints but Albert took his contribution back.
The lettuce, the radish and the old grouse:
Old Albert really could grouse for England. He was seen complaining throughout the week about Ena's watching him play,and lose, a game of dominoes with Eddie Yates, the 'aggerty kids (who did call him something in the corner shop which sounded like it was rather insulting but I couldnt make out what it was), and Eddie and Stan, who were planning to sell his allotment vegetables for him. All the hard work apparently having paid off and huge crops were ready for harvest. The old curmudgeon even wanted to charge Ena for a lettuce when he was sharing them out in the Rovers (all be it at 3 p less than she could buy it in a local shop, a right John Lewis he was!). He eventually settled for Ena's suggestion that he sell his produce to the members of the Derby and Joan club so he would make some money from the veg and the old-age pensioners would benefit but Stan and Eddie would not.
The path of true love:
Derek invites Mavis to meet his mother. She lives in Ormskirk (sp?). Mavis is distraught at the thought and tries by various head gestures to get Rita to say that she cant give her the afternoon off to go but Rita, getting in practice for her future roll as Mavis tormenter extraordinaire, does not play along and lets her go. Tea with Derek's mum is as nightmarish as Mavis imagined. First Mrs Wilton (for yes at this time she is the only one! BTW Mr Wilton Senior, aka Lionel, had died after only 3 years in the house, but he never liked it any way so that's alright then) gets Mavis on her own and tries to pump her for information about herself then gets Derek on his own while Mavis is off looking at Mrs Wilton's vine (!) and tells him that she will not do as they are too alike (see Awards below). Derek however seems to stick up for Mavis. We'll see won't we!
The storyline you have been waiting for:
Gail comes into the Rovers with a letter that had come by the second post. It was a writ. She has been named as co-respondent in the divorce of Roy Thornley and his wife, Mrs Flaming Thornley. The next morning Gail is in a total panic (see Swoon award below) and doesn't want to go to work in case she had to face Roy. Elsie at first tries to talk her into going then changes her mind and says she'll handle him. What a woman! However, Elsie makes Gail admit the truth to her about the shoproom floor but denies knowing he was married. Later in the shop The Cad comes in looking for Gail. He is blissfully unaware either that his wife knows of his fling with Gail or that he is about to be divorced by his wife. Elsie puts him straight and argues for him to keep Gail out of it. However, to cut a long story short Thornley turns up to see Gail and tries to make her lie for him (makes a change from lying down ....) but she shows that stoic terrier nature which is to stand her in good stead for the tribulation of her as yet unforseen later life and she is terrific telling him she will tell the truth in court. Elsie tries to speak to Mrs Thornley who comes over to the house.She has evidence from a private detective that proves Gail is her husband's lover but does not deny that Gail will be the scapegoat in a long line of such. She calls Gail a trollop which Gail hears as she is sitting on the stairs listening and is really upset. Mrs T leaves and Elsie tries to comfort Gail. Later Gail tries to run away to London but is shepherded to the cafe in the paper shop by Rita who gives her a cup of tea and a bed so she can catch up on some sleep. Meanwhile Elsie is frantically trying to find her. The final hurdle for Gail is meeting with Mrs Matthew's the shop's owner who is also having a fling with Thornley. But when she come's to the shop on the pretext of bringing skirts for sale she doesn't seem to know anything. Gail is so releaved she suggests another vanilla slice with their tea. (She is falling heavily off her diet!) But all is not as it seems and later, after Elsie has left early (for an appointment with a double gin and tonic) Mrs M returns and fronts Gail who pleads that she did not know that Thornley was married but of course that isn't what Mrs M is on about at all. Gail comes in to the Rovers later and meets Elsie and Rita who feel that they have done a really good job of work for her only to be told that she has been sacked.
The hills are alive.....:
To the strains of the Sound of Music being mangled by the Hilda vocal cords the famous ducks are hung on the muriel in this episode. I almost genuflected. Stan and Hilda's storyline this week revolved round Hilda's washing disappearing from the line. The suspicions naturally fell on that bad lot in Rosamund St, yes the 'aggertys. Stan set off after the 2 boys and took some washing off the 'aggerty's line, as hostage to Hilda's. Unfortunately it transpired that Renee had taken in Hilda's wash with her own when it had threatened to rain. Stan spent most of the week trying to avoid taking the washing back because Big Jim 'aggerty would give him what for. But buoyed by the news that Big Jim were back in t'nick he took it back, running the gauntlet of Eddie who rambled on about a friend inside, Washing-line Walter, who had just such a problem and couldn't pass a washing line without stealing some knickers. At last, pegs in hand, he was reattaching the contraband clothes just as Hilda was learning from Ken in the Rovers that Big Jim had recently been released. Cut back to Stan peering over the washing line saying, "Hello Big Jim". We don't actually get to see the Big Man himself but later Stan has a lovely black (and red and blue) eye which, as miraculously as Ray's arm, heals without trace by the next scene. (If only the NHS had such healing powers today!).
Nothing much else happened. Although a lovely throwaway scene was Terry, Alf and Fred leaning on the Rover's bar like the 3 Wise Monkeys (Terry had his hands over his mouth, Alf near his ears, and Fred shading his eyes). Brilliant. The boys later made an abortive attempt to go to the dogs, after a scathing remark from Bet, but the track was closed :-) Also a spooky scene, in hindsite, was Ken standing next to Dierdre in the Rover's bar. Quite made my spine tingle. Another spooky scene was Dierdre and Ray discussing whether their child would be a plumber and a joiner like its dad, or a queen. RTraythee?? Awards: Quote of the week: Mrs Wilton to Derek about him and Mavis: "Neither of you could decide on the time in a room full of clocks", which just won over "Mavis is you in a tweed skirt!" (which was a bit below the belt as it was polyester from what I could see). Swoon award: (probably awardable for Paul Calter's benefit only) Gail in a purple frothy negligee at the breakfast table and later in a yellow cheesecloth blouse (I remember them, by gum!). And Pat Phoenix with the most gloriously shining and bouncy hair supposedly straight out of bed first thing in the morning. Oh yeah!
Toodle pip! Di Fishman (standing in for the dishythingy decoder-less Mike)
Monday (1633, 8 September 1976)
Ray sees an advert for a pram in The Kabin and buys it to renovate it for Deirdre's baby.
Terry, Fred and Alf have a successful night at the dogs, winning £64 - until they meet Irishman Joe Mooney, who gets them drunk and persuades them to buy his greyhound - Fred's Folly.
Elsie Howard warns Sylvia Mathews that if Gail goes to an Industrial Tribunal for unfair dismissal, Sylvia's affair with Roy Thornley will become public.
Tuesday (1634, 13 September 1976)
Fred hides Fred's Folly in the Rovers cellar, but his howling keeps Annie awake all night and brings on a migrane. Annie finds the greyhound next day, assumes it's a stray and turfs it out into the street.
Renee goes to solicitor and applies for an off-licence. Hilda scuttles off to Annie to tell her the 'good news'.
Deirdre finds an 'old pram' in Len's yard and gives it to a lad collecting bommie wood.
Sylvia Mathews gives Gail her job back
Wednesday (1635, 15 September 1976)
Fred's Folly still hasn't been found. Albert suggests offering a reward - and promptly claims it himself. Alf takes Fred's Folly home - where it runs off again.
Renee starts a petition in favour of the off-licence. Hilda signs it in her maiden name - "so it doesn't really count". Annie starts a petition opposing the off-licence - but finds that too often, Renee has got in first.
Ray tries to get the pram back - but fails
Gail still hasn't told her dad she is cited as co-respondent, fearful of his response.
An articled clerk from Renee's solicitor goes into the Rovers and tries to buy a glass of wine - but fails. Annie finds out and accuses Renee of "spying". She bars Renee from the Rovers. Renee promptly retaliates and bars Annie from the Corner Shop.
Thursday (1636, 20 September 1976)
Fred's Folly turns up at Albert's again. Albert wangles £1 out of the lads for looking after it for a day.
Deirdre can't ride her bike because she's pregnant. She sells it to Mavis for £5.
Eddie helps out at a playgroup at the Community Centre, and is a great success. Later he suggests starting an adventure playground.
Len, Alf, Terry and Fred turn Deirdre's bike into a greyhound trainer. Fred's Folly isn't interested.
Friday (1637, 22 September 1976)
Eddie starts collecting old stuff for the adventure playground. he borrows Stan's handcart to transport some planks.
Albert gets another £1.50 for looking after Fred's Folly.
A temperance campaigner gets signitures against Renee's off-licence - including an unknowing Annie Walker.
Deirdre makes Ray rebuild her bike for Mavis - only to find that Eddie has already taken it for the Adventure Playground.
Annie dispenses with her driving instructor, saying she only needs more practice. Alf is conned into helping her. Turning into The Street, Annie swerves to avoid Fred's Folly and demolishes both Stan's handcart and Alf's car.
Pride and Prejudice
After having weathered the accusation that she had damaged the driving instructor's car (it was the vicar all the time) Annie Call me Penelope Pitstop Walker was caught banged to rights and banged against Stan's window cleaning cart, having also totalled Alf's car in the process. It transpires that the crash was caused by Fred's Folly, a dog on whose future racing career many hopes were pinned, dashing out in front of her. The shock of the crash, as well as scaring off the dog, never to be seen again, also sent Albert Tatlock off to Glasgow (shocks have that effect, the streets of Glasgow are filled with shocked people narrowly missed by elderly widows in borrowed cars).
However, Annie's regal dignity was undinted and she allowed her loyal subject, Len de FitzClough to hand her from her damaged mount and lead her into her palace, for a nice cup of tea and a sit down.
The consequences of the crash rippled out like a stone tossed carelessly into a pool. Not only was Stan unable to work (good grief and him such a hard grafter, too!) because the tools of his trade were totalled, but Alf's car was well damaged to the tune of £60, and on no account did he want to lose his no-claims-bonus. Fred, Terry and Ray were put out because their dog had gone missing. Everyone blamed Annie but she, in her typical haughty manner, could and would not take the blame.
Hilda like a terrier with a bone set about making a list of Stan's real and actual damages. Stan of course was making the most of his unemployment to catch up on some much needed sleep. It came to £92. A real fortune. After much argy bargy a summit meeting was called for all injured parties to meet and put their case, chaired by none other than the impartial Sir Len of FitzClough. But still she stuck to her guns.
In the bar Mavis tells Annie that she can't understand her taking such a stance and walks out in a huff, leaving Bet, the luscious serving wench, to tell Queen Anne some home truths. Annie is mortified and to cap it all Bet points out that she needs the good will of her subjects if she is to fight the evil, firebreathing dragon in its corner cave, yes, Renee the Pretender who has dared to apply for an off license. Annie goes back to the summit meeting and offers a compromise. She will pay half the cost of Alf's damage, while not accepting full responsibility for the crash, and she suggests that the dog owner's pay £10 (between them!!!) to Hilda and Stan. Later Hilda opines that they have "been ravished again" in only been thought to be worth £10. Stan of course is over the moon with the money and later drinks it all away.
But pride has not yet fallen from our heroine and it takes the protracted legal proceedings over the offy with Ken siding for Renee and Bet and a Welsh anti-drinks campaigner (more negative stereotyping!) for Annie to further dent her armour. Bet's testimony came unstuck when the argument over whether the Rover sold fine wines was being battled out. Bet let slip that when someone wanted something better than the £1 a bottle stuff they usually carried she went out and got it from an off-license. Case dismissed! Renee whooped with glee as the application was granted. Annie was right miffed with Bet but the level headed wench pointed out that she was only telling the truth and that Annie only contested the application because of spite. Annie denied being spiteful and defended the Rovers as being "a social hub and a home to some people".
Sense and Sensibility
Eddie Yates has taken to the Adventure Playground with great gusto and Ken witnesses his great way of handling the rougher element of kids with humour and fair play. Eddie has lots of wonderful ideas for building a fort and has even asked Len and Ray for help in this. However, the mean-minded, not to say -spirited, parents of some of the kids have come to hear of Eddie's sojourns at the pleasure of our Gracious Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, and are not impressed. They fear he will lead their kids astray (having glimpsed these layabout monster children I'd say I'd doubt that). A deputation of 2 parents (1 of either gender) visit Ken and voice their concern. He sticks up for Eddie and leads them to the hall where Eddie can be heard reading a fairy story to the littlies. Nothing will unharden their hearts or unstiffen their resolves and it's Eddie's job or no children's group. Ken has the awful job of dampening Eddie's flow of chatter about his future plans for the Playground to tell him he has to go.
True to his marvelous angelic nature, Eddie accepts it philosophically. What a mensch! Later our hero secretly harangues Len and Ray into rebuilding a cart for Stan because Hilda is so depressed. A point proved by her demeanour in the Rovers. Ray even goes around to Hilda and buys the old cart wheels off her (this is a really touching gesture). At last the cart is left outside the door and the doorbell rung. Hilda can hardly believe it and neither can Stan. But yes the cart is his, his name has been lovingly painted on its flanks (by none other than Terry). Stan recognizes his old wheels and Hilda, beaming from ear to ear, puts 2 and 2 together and rushes to the Rovers and unmasks the builders over their pints.
Rita has 2 tickets for the Gatsby going for nowt, Ken snaps them up and invites Elsie to go to the ball. When they arrive, with Diedre (the foetal Tracy) and Ray, Rita, in a fetching white evening dress for her singing set, steps up and lets out that the tickets were free. Elsie is a bit put out but sees the funny side when Rita goes on stage and sings Hey Big Spender looking straight at Len. Later while Elsie is waxing philosophical to Dreary about her 3 husbands, Rita asks to speak to Len and tells him she is going away to Torquay with a balding chap, that looks like Alec Gilroy (but isn't). Len is insensed and wont listen to her telling him the guy's an agent and the gig would be an important move in her singing career. Len is obviously as jealous as hell but covers it by saying that as Rita works for him she can't have the time off. Rita pulls a face and Len tells her to go on and take a poke at him if she likes but her job will not be there when she got back nor any of her knicknacks (?). Taking him at face value she clocks him one and knocks him off his bar stool on to the floor where he lays unconscious. Ray rushes forward and calls for someone to get a doctor as the credits roll.
Elsewhere in the week Ernest is interviewed by the "young tycoon" Mike Balwin. Fresh faced and as wide as a boy can get he comes to Ernest and Emily's house as Ernest is vacuuming the carpet (he just remembers to remove the pinny before opening the door). The interview had been set for the following day but Baldwin had free time and was in a hurry to get a wages clerk. Baldwin was shown waving his true colours by putting an end to a card school and telling off a van driver for not unloading quickly enough, so no change there then. He warns Ernest that he will have to put his religious sensitivities on hold as the machine girls are tough cookies. On going over his unexpected interview with Emily Ernest expresses doubt that he will be good enough for this go getter but somehow he felt a rapport with him. Emily gave the opinion that "it is a mistake to feel you can only be happy with your own kind".
Gail meanwhile has persuaded herself that she is going to be happy and that being named as a co-respondent is something special. Although her mam still hasn't heard about it. OO-er!
Ta-ra for now,chucks!
Toodle pip! Di Fishman (standing in for the dishythingy decoder-less Mike)
Monday (1643, 13 October 1976)
Len ends up with a cut head. Next morning the doctor diagnoses concussion and recommends rest. len gets Elsie, Rita and Bet running after him.
Mavis gets tiddly in the Rovers and has a hangover the next morning.
Ernest gets the job at the factory
Roy Thornley moves in with Sylvia Mathews - Mrs Thornley names Sylvia as co-respondent in retaliation, letting Gail off the hook. Roy and Sylvia decide to sell the shop.
Tuesday (1644, 18 October 1976)
With a little help form Alf Roberts, Renee's Off-licence opens. The she's suprised and delighted as fianceé harry turns up.
Rita's still running round after Len - and even turns down a series of lucrative bookings in Torquay to look after him. Meanwhile, Ray finds out that Len has only been signed off work for a couple of days.
Wednesday (1645, 20 October 1976)
Rita's STILL looking after Len - in fact she's now washing his underpants. he gets Rita to get him a pint from The Rovers - where she finds out from Ray and Terry that len his swinging the lead. He gets the beer - all over his head, and the underpants are thrown into the street.
Harry helps out in the Corner Shop when Renee's out. He shamelessly flirts with Bet Lynch. Later, over a romantic dinner (in the back of the shop !), he tells Renee that he can't leave the sea, and that after six years of engagement, she shouldn't wait for him any more, because he can't settle down. He leaves for a midnight boat...
Thursday (1646, 25 October 1976)
A 'For Sale' sign goes up at No5 - Wormold, the landlord has put it up for sale. Minnie Caldwell was housekeeping for Handel Gartside - but no one knows if she knows about this.
Hilda's mac goes missing - she blames anyone and everyone, but has actually left it on the bench next to No5. it turns up that evening - dressing up a bonfire guy !
Friday (1647, 27 October 1976)
Handel Gartside appears and lets Ena and Albert know that Minnie Caldwell won't be moving back. Aremoval takes away Minnie's belongings.
Hilda bemoans the loss of the mac - and Stan buys it back, only for Hilda to reject it - after all, it had been dressing a guy ! Hilda then berates Stan over the state of the Ogden's life, and lays the blame firmly at the feet (beer belly ?) of Stan. Dejected, Stan walks out of No13 at lunchtime. He still hasn't re-appeared by 1:30am the next morning.
Ray is keen to buy No5 - a bargin at £2,500 - but Dierdre isn't at all interested - "It's a scruffy little house in a tatty little backstreet"
The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there, so said L P Hartley a the start of the Go Between. This week's story lines reflected the foreign country of pay rises people were expecting to actually get and also go between's in plenty ....
"In a happy marriage it is the wife who provides the climate, the husband the landscape." (Thoughts in a Dry Season, `Marriage' Gerald Brenan, 1894-1987).
Well in the case of the Ogden's the landscape is still bare as Stanley is still missing. Every sound and door closing has Hilda jumping to her feet in the hope the 'er Stan has returned to her. The poor woman even washes and irons all his shirts but is hard put to do the mending as she cannot see through her tears to thread a needle. By now it is difficult for her to go out as people are accosting her and complaining that Stan has not been to clean their windows. Even the back yard isn't sacred as Gail pops her head over the wall (luckily it was still attached to her neck) and complains that if Stan doesn't turn up to clean the clothes shop windows soon they will be forced to get another cleaner. Hilda's pride forbids her from revealing the truth and she has to make several excuses to people about why Stan is even less visible than usual in the work environment.
Eventually, after 3 days, and fruitless visits to the police and phone calls to the hospital in search of Stan she goes into the Rovers. She is all dressed up (for her you understand, ie no curlers, a hat and her best purple coat) as she has been to number 19 Inkerman St after being told to "cherchez la femme" by the local bobby (yes, he did have to translate it as well). As she rounded the corner into Inkerman St, a surprisingly normal looking street for a den of vice, she was rounded on by her at number 19's irate husband who, on recognizing Hilda, warned her that Stan was never to show his face again at No19 or else. Needless to say, Stan was not at his love nest after all. Now, standing defenceless at the bar of the Rovers all and sundry harangue her about how lazy and drunk Stan is and she breaks down. Annie takes her in hand and steers her into the back room for a cup of tea and comfort.
Later in the street Ken is cleaning Uncle Albert's windows. Hilda asks him, for a friend, how to go about finding a missing person. He suggests the Salvation Army. Hilda is sure that Stan doesn't like singing hymns much so doesn't think they'd have seen him. He explains that they also look for missing persons.Hilda is buoyed with the hope that she can do something positive. On ringing the Sally Army, with Annie Walker's help, and gushing on about her missing handsome husband (love is blind) they tell her she must fill in their form which they will send to her. More delay but at least something is being done. Annie swears that she will not divulge the truth about Stan.
When the form arrives Hilda has to swallow her pride enough to ask Len to help her fill it in. Among the questions that had stumped her were whether he owed maintenance or whether he was likely to be with anyone else. She was able to answer categorically no to both.
Meanwhile on the grass verge of a road somewhere is Stan, carrying his worldly goods in a brown paper parcel tied up with string, trying to thumb a lift. All is not well with him as he sits on the curb stone and tries in vain to light a ciggie with the wind blowing out his last match. Later he arrives at a fish and chip shop, ably manned by Stan Stennet and Avis Bunnage playing Norman Crabtree, no less than Hilda's brother, and Edie his assistant. Stan points out that Hilda has chucked him out and he has been walking around. He got to Carlisle and Penrith, neither of which were to his liking. Now he was tired and very very hungry, oh, and penniless. Being a kind hearted bloke, family, and a bit gullible, Norman takes him in for the night, which somehow becomes a few days, during which Stan becomes quite "friendly" with Edie who treats him the way he expects from a woman, ie plenty of food on hand and no nagging. Norman tells Stan to ring Hilda and tell her he is alright which he does, phoning the Rovers (no phone at home) and only getting Bet. He doesn't say where he is. At least Hilda is somewhat relieved at getting the news.
His welcome well and truly outstayed Norman is itching to get rid of Stan, brother in law or no. So he goes to see Hilda himself and tries to negotiate a return. Hilda is eager for Stan to come back but wants him to apologise to her. By now Stan has his feet well under Edie's table and has been invited home that evening so Norman's telling him that Hilda wants him to come straight home is greeted by much prevarication.
Eddie on returning from the 'Pool is also inveigled into being a go-between and tries to talk Stan back. Stan is adamant that he won't come back without a public apology from Hilda. When Eddie tries to get some things from Hilda from Stan (he had been missing his pools coupons and some socks, what a husband!) she refused. Stan would have to fetch them himself.
The rest of the story lines, weaving around the Stan and Hilda love duel, involved several diatribes about how the country was going to the dogs, what with the selling of booze at all hours from the corner shop, the enforced pay rise of £4 a week, and the lot of women who were married to shiftless, violent men. In the Rovers Annie Walker called a summit meeting to give her address on the State of the Nation (or Rovers in this case). As she was being forced to up the wages by £4 a week she could not afford to keep both Bet and Betty on unless they both took a pay DROP of £2. She told them the story of the wisdom of Solomon which it took Gail to explain to them (and her with a progressive education, an' all). They realize that Annie was angling for one of them to resign. Bet visits the factory where Mike has dumped Ernie Bishop in it by asking him to interview for machinists (hence the speeches about the hard lot of women). She asks for jobs for herself and Betty. Of course Ernie can't give Betty a job because she has had no experience of machining and won't give Bet the job (even though she has the experience) because she can't give one without the other (my there was some convoluted logic in this episode). Although he does refuse Annie Walker's attempt to prevent both of them getting jobs there. Bet and Betty's little bit of blackmail fails to work as on telling Annie Walker that they might be leaving to get factory jobs she tells them that she has taken on Gail for evenings and can manage OK with just Fred. Eventually, Bet manages to humiliate Gail by asking for a snowball (2 of which make a snowman, apparently) and a screwdriver and Fred goes off on his afternoon job so Annie asks them back and doesn't cut their wages (so they are £2 better off! more crazy logic, but the 2 Elizabeths are ecstatic to be back behind the bar).
During the week Ray, with the combined help of Len and various people in the Rovers, at last convinces the pregnant Dierdrie that they should buy and renovate Minnie Caldwell's old house. As she at last capitulates Ray rushes out to get the money sorted (£2,500 - them were the days) and to get to the estate agents. As he walked down Coronation St with large brown envelope, presumably stuffed with spondulix, under his arm he is horrified to see a workman putting a SOLD sticker on the for sale sign. So who has beaten them to it?
Side lines: Mike flirts with both Rita and Bet and reveals that he is only in Weatherfield from Monday to Friday. Bet assumes he spends the weekends with his wife. He doesn't disabuse her. Emily is rather jealous that Ernie has to interview young nubile nymphs. Albert Tatlock smuggles in a half of rum he bought at Renee's and shares it with Ena (disguised in milk stouts). Ena and he get drunk. It is revealed that Stan is 54 and that he and Hilda have been married for 33 years.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Hilda to her brother Norman: "You were always soft. Crying your heart out when I dropped me clog on your pet toad."
Bye for now! Di
Monday (1653, 17 November 1976)
Eddie turns up at the chippie, without any of Stan's stuff and lets him know that Hilda demands he comes and gets it. Eddie is now lodging with Monkey Gibbon - where "even the fleas have fleas, if you know what I mean", and is desperate to get back to lodging at No13. He lets on to Hilda that Edie lets Stan watch the racing on her colour TV, but the clincher is that she is washng his underpants !
This spurs Hilda into action, and she storms off to Norman's, and starts a slanging match during serving time. Stan soon turns up - it develops into Stan & Hilda versus Norman & Edie, and before Stan really knows what's happened, he's on his way home.
Sadly for Eddie, Hilda's feeling amourous and thinks they need some time alone - so he still doesn't get his digs back.
Ken gets Mavis to recite some of her Lancashire peoms for the Old Folks Christmas party.
Mike Baldwin asks Len to draw up some plans and costings for some work at No5. Ray only finds out when they are outside the house, and he refuses to have anything to do with the job. He later relents, and draws up an estimate and gives it to Baldwin.
In the evening, Mike goes out with a very glamorous Bet.
Tuesday (1654, 22 November 1976)
Deirdre lets Baldwin see Ray's plans for No5 - and Mike realises he's been overcharged. Later, Len, who finds out Ray has deliberately overcharged, re-submits the quote 20% cheaper, but Mike's not interested.
A bookseller brings in a new book display. mavis asks how a writer would get published. it transpires she has written a bodice-ripper - Song of a Scarlet Summer - based on thinly-disguised Coronation Street residents.
Mike Baldwin goes round to Bet's flat for a meal. She knows that he's married and has two children, and doesn't seem bothered.
Wednesay (1655, 24 November 1976)
Bet persuades Mike to accept Len's revised quote. Later, Mike asks Bet to move into No5 as his "housekeeper".
Eddie tries, and fails, to sell some cheap plastic Christmas trees
Annie Walker puts on a suprise 77th birthday party for Ena Sharples in The Rovers
Mavis reluctantly posts Song of a Scarlet Summer off to the publishers - with a little accidental help from Eddie Yeats. She later tries to get it back from the postman as he empties the letterbox, by he keeps hold of it.
Thursday (1656, 29 November 1976)
Mavis is worried that residents of the Street will recognise themselves in her book and will sue. Even Stan Ogden realises he has the same initials as 'Santos Olivier'.
Len and Ray knock through No5 to form one downstairs room
Everyone expresses reservations about Bet living with Mike Baldwin, but she agrees to go ahead anyway.
Friday (1657, 1 December 1976)
After hearing of Terry's Army experiences in Hamburg, Mavis decides that she won't take Ken Barlow's advice and write about true-life.
Elsie finds out that Sylvia's Separates is to hold a clearance sale.
This weeks sees beginnings and endings. So let's begin with an ending.
The sale at Sylvia's Separates is a clearance and Elsie senses it is the end of the road for her and Gail in the boutique business, although Gail is more sanguine. A phone call in the middle of the sales rush confirms her worst fears. The shop and contents, which BTW includes Elsie and Gail, is "in the hands of the agents". Elsie, however, is a fighter and an idea soon springs to mind.
Leaving Gail to fend for herself, well it was supposed to be Elsie's day off anyway, she takes herself off to Baldwin's factory where she pips Mavis to the post by getting in to see Mike first. I don't remember what Mavis wanted. She suggests to Mike that he takes the shop as a retail outlet for the garments he is making at the factory. He is very impressed with the idea and listens to her plans.
Later he visits the shop where Gail introduces herself to him. Elsie has not returned. He is impressed with her and tells her that he would like the boutique to be for teenagers and run by teenagers. So that leaves Elsie where exactly?
On returning home to Elsie's Gail has to steal herself to tell Elsie that she may be surplus to requirements. Elsie is incensed that her idea has backfired so spectacularly so marches to the factory where she gets the idea that Bet will be offered her job at the shop. She then goes to the Rovers to lay in wait for Bet. When Bet appears she tells Elsie that she has no idea about the shop so Elsie goes back to the factory and finds Mike who listens to her tirade before telling her that she is the wrong age and wrong shape to wear his jeans (no she is all woman). She is furious and walks out.
Mike goes round to the Rovers where Bet puts in her 2 penneth worth and he tells her that she is too old and the wrong shape too.
The evening meal that Gail has cooked her is scrambled eggs on toast which neither of them enjoy. Elsie is feeling very maudlin. A knock at the door reveals Mike who has something to say. He offers Elsie a job as supervisor to his factory girls, a job that requires experience and maturity. Elsie is somewhat buoyed at the news.
And so one era ends ... Elsie as shop manager, and a new one dawns. The factory. The machine room is revealed with Ivy and Vera sitting chatting. Elsie arrives for her first day as supervisor somewhat late but warns them that they should be working hard no matter if she is late. She is tough with them which is only what they deserve because Ivy is a real troublemaker and before the day is out has arranged a strike on the basis that they need their wages on Thursdays not Fridays. To cut a long story short, Ernie is left to deal with the situation and tries not to back down but in the end Baldwin preempts him (he already recognizes Ivy as being a "pain in the b....") and goes over his head to settle. He wants the women working not on strike.
Ernie's humiliation is capped at the Xmas party, where Len, who has gatecrashed with Elsie, manages a quickie in a back office with Marie Stanton (Lois Baxter) and Gail pulls Terry who she has rounded up on Ivy's instructions to get some men in. When Ernie tries to give a speech the girls descend on him and his trousers are removed, they carry on but we don't see any more apparel thrown out.
Eddie the Entrepreneur
Eddie's flare for entrepreneurship is proved by his acquisition of a new mac for Hilda who initially says she wouldn't want anything he might get but changes her tune and refuses to leave the house until it is produced. He does in fact get a rather nice, if pedestrian, airforce blue mac, lined, for a tenner. He tells her its an exclusive. She has to take it round for a second opinion from Elsie but Gail is alone in the house but tries it on and thinks it is good and great value for money at the price. Hilda is really chuffed and her ego is boosted after having her nose put out of joint by Bet going on about her new coat that Baldwin paid for (unbeknowst to him, he gave her money for decorating the house). Of course its exclusivity was dashed in the Rovers where, dressed to the nines and wearing the mac, she comes across Eddie offering to get macs for all and sundry and comes face to face with an extra wearing the self same mac. Poor Hilda. But she is philosophical as ever and buys herself a port and lemon using Stan's window money (Mavis gave her 75 p that she owed Stan).
Eddie feeling on a winning streak opens a book that Mrs Walker will pass her driving test (which has been brought forward against the instructor's wishes to the next day). Annie herself overhears and places a bet herself. Of course she passes and Eddie is left with enormous debts to everyone but Ken (!) suggests he find her a car so he can recoup his losses. The Eddie brain cells go into overdrive and with a friend briefed and armed with a false name, Paul Abernethy, Annie is conned into buying The Rover. BTW she refused an offer from Alf to buy his car because it had been in an accident (that she caused!).
It's a man's life
Terry is well fed up with having nothing to do at Len's so he confronts Len who was looking to give him the elbow anyway so he accepts being made redundant and tells Renee he want to go back into the Army, even if it might mean going to Northern Ireland. However, he has now met Gail and they have admitted they like each other a lot. So may be he'll stay ...
Well that's it for this week. Except for:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Stan to Hilda: "You're like false teeth and toffee. Yer can't let go."
HISTORICAL MOMENT: Renee realizing that £1 notes are becoming redundant. The slippery slope for sterling had begun.
Bye for now! Di
The Rover Returns
Annie Walker's test drive of the Rover was much to her satisfaction, she did 53 mph on the by-pass, but the price is high so she prevaricates. Eddie is anxious that a sale goes ahead while keeping secret the fact that he is behind it. However, Alf does clock Eddie's concern. The clincher comes when Kitty Stoneley, a fellow Lady Victualler, drops in on Mrs Walker crowing about how she is going on holiday to Eagles in Austria with Nellie Harvey, her of the Flying Horse. A very exclusive ski resort! Annie hides her chagrin very well and offers Kitty a lift to the Lady Victuallers' lunch in her Rover. Nellie only has a mini. Kitty accepts.
Now Annie has to act swiftly. On Kitty's departure she asks Alf if he knows where she can get hold of Mr Abernethy, who of course is completely fictitious. Alf doesn't have a clue, and is really miffed that Mrs W wont buy his own car. Luckily Eddie is in the bar and overhears. He offers to ask around and find Mr Abernethy's show room and get him to come round. Annie is of course very grateful.
Later Mr Abernethy comes round and tells Annie that unfortunately the Rover has been promised to someone else who has matched the asking price. Annie offers him £40 more and they do a little light bartering and settle on £30 extra and a full tank of petrol. He just happens to have driven over in the Rover and is able to hand her the keys right there and then.
In the street Eddie, Len and Ken look at the car and ponder at its being too big and too powerful for Mrs W. At that moment out steps Mrs W, resplendent in a fur coat (although it would have looked better on the poor creatures who died to make it) with Mr Abernethy. Assuring Len that she has been promised an insurance cover note by a friend of Mr Abernethy's, she gets into the car and sets off to pick up Kitty for the lunch. Mr Abernethy palms Eddie a sizeable wedge of dosh, which is clocked by Betty Turpin.
Betty has rumbled Eddie and he admits that it was a friend of his but the car was OK it was just that there was no way Annie would have bought a car off someone called Lanky somethingorother. Annie and Kitty return from the lunch with Kitty rather the worse for drink. Annie is very pleased with the affect the Rover had on Nellie Harvey when she parked next to her mini. Annie has only had one glass of punch so decides to give Kitty a lift home.
In the street the men's prophesies about her ability to handle such a large car appear to be fulfilled as she cannot keep it straight and lands up across the street. As it happened a policeman was checking a car in front of her and made her halt and get out of the car. Much to her horror and anger he wants to breathalize her, which is noted with evil glee by Hilda Ogden. At first Annie refuses but is goaded into it by the policeman. The test is positive! Kitty admits that Nellie Harvey's punch is pretty lethal.
Annie is mortified and spends a couple of very distressed days hiding out in the back room and waiting for the post to arrive. What does arrive is a young bobby who asks to see her. Alone in the back room he tells her that her blood test (and not indelicate tests as Hilda thinks), taken at the station was well below the limit. She is in the clear!
It's Party Time #1
The party at the factory continued in full swing and Ernest is stripped to his underpants and string vest by the girls instigated by Poison Ivy. An ironic aside is given by Len and Mike who spot she is a likely trouble maker and Mike wishes he had never taken her on.
Never a truer word .... Ivy even threatens to debag him but he counter-threatens that if she laid a finger on him she would lose her job. Eventually one of the girls takes pity on Ernest who by now is hiding in the loos and gets him a new denim shirt and jeans. They are hideously too small for him and to cap it all when he makes his escape he ends up in the Rovers as Emily is out and he doesn't have a key. Emily is furious at Ernest's "cavorting naked" at the factory, and is not really pacified by his protests that he did not join in the spirit of the thing and planned to sack the lot of them when they were all back at work.
Another casualty of the party is Terry. He and Gail decamp to an office where Gail sits on his knee and snogs him and wishes he wasn't leaving. He tells her that he has always fancied her and he could settle down with her now that he knows she fancies him. She leaps up horrified and makes it clear that he is sorely mistaken. She only fetched him to the party as a "last resort". He is mortified and slaps her face (fear not it wasn't very hard).
Terry leaves and is next seen at his sister's. He has packed and despite begging and pleading from Renee he goes, to his mum's first and then back to the Army. Renee is despondent.
The next day the demon drink has taken its toll. Gail is feeling dreadful. In the Rovers later Renee has a go at Gail about Terry's departure. Gail refused to take the blame but Renee tells her like it is "girls like you make me sick" and to cap it all Gail is no "blushing maiden". Later Elsie tells her she needs to find someone of her own age. Rather prophetic in that she later marries a toy boy (Martin).
It's Party Time #2
At the denouement of the factory party Bet, who has missed it, hears from Elsie that Mike is still there and that the party is still going on. Bet goes charging across only to find that Mike is quite alone. She has a go at him for not inviting her but he defuses her by handing her a key on a key ring. It is the key to his house for her. She is over the moon and kisses him them hugs him with such tenderness it was brilliant.
At last Bet can go into the house. She savours the moment and is very impressed by the finished work. (Here at last, transformed from Minnie Caldwell's hovel into the open plan set we all know and despise as Don and Ivy's haunted house of hell.) Mike tells her that he has to go to London but she must take delivery of a set of units. When they arrive they are flat-packed so she uses her feminine wiles on Len, Ken (?) and Eddie to put them up.
With her own home at last she invites everyone to a house warming, in which Hilda spends 25 minutes going to the bathroom (really clocking all the rooms, including the black sheets on Bet's bed) and later shows Mavis around. Mavis has misread the situation as usual and turned up in a long dress. Gail dances with Ken (if you can call hanging from his neck dancing), having overcome her fear of Renee to attend the party. Mike suddenly comes in and is surprised to say the least that a party is in full swing. It is a very tricky situation but he defuses it by asking for a drink. Bet is very relieved and very happy. She has even weathered a visit by Ena who had refused her invite to the party as she disapproved of Bet living with a married man and was not taken in by the housekeeper ruse. Underneath you know that she is really worried for Bet, as it can only end in tears. She tells Bet that "doing the right thing comes first and being happy comes a very poor second".
The next day Hilda is hung over and can't go into the Rovers. On threat of losing her job she sends Stan round to do the work. He is sent packing by Annie for terrorizing the customers and smearing the tables with a floor cloth. But she does pay him. Stan of course cheats Hilda out of some of the money which she finds out when, making a miraculous recovery, she rushes round asking for the rest of her pay.
The Son also Rises
A sad note was the appearance of Len's son, Stanley, and his fiancee, Liz. He hadn't seen his son for 10 years and readily admits he wouldn't recognize him in the street. The son has not forgiven Len for his behaviour to his mother, who left Len and eventually married someone called Harry Bailey. It is soon clear that Stan is only there because of Liz who is very sweet and conciliatory and wants Len to come to the wedding. Stan does not want his father there at any cost. Over the couple of nights the pair are around Len convinces himself that perhaps Stan was coming round to forgiving and forgetting, but he is disabused of this at the last, when Liz makes an excuse and leaves them alone together Stan makes it clear that the wedding invite will be from Liz and not him and that Len is on no account to accept it.
The only other story line was Uncle Albert's great chocolate fraud (this must have made Cadbury's blush a bit). Having discovered on returning a mouldy bar (he had to eat most of it before he decided it was definitely mouldy) that great riches were forthcoming from the chocolate companies he took to buying up old stock (on the pretext that as an old age pensioner he couldn't afford to pay full prices) and sending it back with a complaint. However, Rita got a visit from a man from the chocolate company to examine her stock and advise her on stock management. She is incensed and tracks Albert down and tells him to put an end to his shenanigans. He had even been using aliases.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
Bet, leaning provocatively on the bar: "That Vera. She shoves it all in't front window, don't she"
Stan who can't remember what it was Hilda told him to tell Annie Walker: "She told me to tell you she can't come in because .... she's a parasite" (what Hilda actually said was that she was "prostrated").