* see 1976 for 3 & 5 January 1977 editions
Oh BTW did I mention that Dierdre was rushed to hospital at the end of last week? ;-)
The Omen: and this time it's female
Dierdre having been rushed to hospital is lying in bed suffering nothing worse than acute disappointment. The 'contractions' she thought she was having were nothing more than baby doing pre-birth gymnastics, and as we know limbering up for all the grief she will inflict on her mum in later life. Times have indeed changed in the maternity ward situation, here is a ward with flowery wall paper and about 4 beds. The centre of the ward is taken up by a small table at which sit 2 nurses, WHO DO NOT GET OFF THEIR BACKSIDES FOR THE WHOLE WEEK. All the walking around is given to Staff Nurse (a very glam Brenda Fricker in her youth, who bears such an uncanny resemblance to Lady Di before she married and discovered bulimia, later in the week she suddenly takes to wearing most unflattering dark rimmed specs). This amazing woman does not appear to have any time off duty, she was probably covering for those dozy so-and-sos sitting at the table doing s** all. ER this is not.
Dierdre's rosy view of motherhood is contrasted in some small manner by her wardmates. Firstly we have a lady who is mother to 4 and is using the bed rest as well earned rest from her family. She tries to tell Dierdre, who has stopped having 'contractions', that she shouldn't be so eager for the baby to be born. Later her ward mate is a young woman whose husband is mysteriously absent (I think we are supposed to assume he's inside). She is very miserable and not looking forward to the birth.
As she lies abed getting bored and anxious (although she is 5 weeks early) Dierdre is visited frequently by Ray, who has found out that the reason Dierdre has not been turned round and sent straight home is that the baby's heartbeat has disappeared. WonderNurse, however, has heard it through her magic ear trumpet but Ray is distraught. Dierdre is blithely unaware.
As well as Ray, Emily pops in, she gets round the family only stricture because she works in the hospital as a nurse auxiliary (though quite what help she can be to the 2 nurses sitting at the centre table was never explained). Also Ena Sharples comes, despite Renee Bradshaw assuring her that she will not be let in. She gives a great demonstration of assertiveness by telling Renee "They will let me in!" in such a way that if you listened long enough you would possibly be hypnotized, or terrorized.
At the hospital she comes face to face with SuperStaff who tells her only immediate family are allowed in. Ena having admitted to being only a neighbour. "OK," says Ena "what if I told you I was her mother". "You've got 5 minutes" says SuperStaff (so much for hospital rules!). Ena does not go straight to Deirdre's bed but goes round the 2 beds opposite where cots stand at the end of the beds with little bundles of joy which elicit a smile from her. She at last gets round to Dierdre and flourishes a parcel which is revealed to contain a huge yellow thing which she had said was a baby coat but baby what? There followed a discussion on the colour of baby clothes (yellow seemed neutral as the gender of Dierdre's offspring was as yet unknown, pre ultrasound days presumably). Ena expressed dismay at having seen some poor mite dressed all in black. Dear me, what is the world coming too? Her parting shot to the ladies in waiting is for them both to have girls as "we are much better than the other lot". ;-)
Meanwhile back at the Rovers, Eddie has set up a bet on the gender of the sproglet and the hour of its birth. The only topic of conversation for the whole Street is how is Dierdre and where is the baby?
After a couple of episodes Dierdre is discharged (its heartbeat having reappeared). But she is in such a state, weeping and wailing, that I would have kept her in for her own safety. Back at the flat she makes Ray open the house door so she can run in so no one can see her. She is mortally embarrassed that she has failed to give birth, as a result she keeps herself hidden, leading to poor Ray being accused of being heartless when she makes him go to the local dance at the Community Centre alone and at one point she hides in the kitchen when Betty Turpin visits Ray. Betty of course surmises that the someone, for which evidence exists in the room (extra tea cup, noises off), is another woman.
Of course while Ray is at the dance, Dierdre does at last go in to labour and has to call an ambulance for her self. Ray turns up, having failed to get on the phone at the Community Centre for a taxi, on foot and sees the ambulance pulling away.
We are told that it is 24th Jan 1977. The day of the birth at last. Mercifully off screen. It is a girl. 8lb4oz. Blanche, Dierdre's mother, with whom Ray is not on good terms, is there at the bedside to coo. Luckily the white hospital blanket hides the 3 sixes on her scalp :-)
Later Ray throws a party at the flat. The whole Street appears to be there. Blanche is drawn aside by Hilda who just happens to mention that Ray had been at the dance when Dierdre went into labour and she was on her own. Good one, Hilda.
If you knew Susie, like I know Susie .....
And so to the moment a certain person has been waiting for (sorry Mike) Susie Birchall turns up at Renee's shop looking for a job. Despite being assured that the factory is fully employed she sets off there where she insinuates herself into the office much to Ernie Bishop's distress. She is a very persistent person and impresses Mike who tells her he does have a job for her. He takes her round to the former Sylvia's Separates which he now owns. Gail just happens to be at lunch so the shop is locked up. Susie is unwilling to just wait around for Gail to come back and assures Mike that she can run the shop. He makes the mistake of telling her that she is "in charge". Gail comes back from an extended lunch break to find Susie serving. Susie mistakes her for a customer but is soon put right. Then the power struggle begins.
After much bickering about who exactly is manageress of the store they seek out Mike who is not enamoured of being interrupted in the Rovers in the middle of a business meeting. He takes them back to the shop and makes them sit down on chairs in the middle of the shop like naughty school girls. When they beg him to make clear who is in charge he of course says HE IS. The compromise is at last reached that Gail is the manageress but Susie will be in charge when Gail is not in the shop. Susie is full of go-getting ideas about the shop which she pours out to Mike. He is very impressed and arranges for a workman (played by John Duttine, who I didn't realize had been in CS) to come and draw up some plans for redesigning the shop. The man, Alec Baker, is quite interested in Gail but she overplays her hard to get act and loses him to Susie who is not at all backwards in coming forward.
You shall go to the ball, Cinderella!
A dance has been arranged at the Community Centre and tickets are like gold dust. Hilda is overheard opining that Stan wanted to take her but she wasn't keen on going. We all know she is dying to go and that the opposite is true. Eddie wangles 2 tickets out of Ken and presents one to Hilda in the Rovers. She is over the moon. He then presents one to Stan as well, who is not so thrilled (he had resented spending 50p each on dance tickets!)
Meanwhile, another Cinders, Emily Bishop, has bought a new skirt and buys a blouse at Sylvia's to match it. She actually looks quite sophisticated and takes a lot of trouble with her hair, make up and jewellery. Ernest however, another Baron Hardup, does not want to go and damns Em's dress sense with extremely faint praise. Burning her boats Em decides not to go. And Ernest goes on his own!
Bet is working so can't get to the party till later. Vera taunts her that Marie Stanton is big game hunting at the party. That is, she has her sites on Mike and plans to get him. When Bet eventually turns up at the party Mike is smooching with Marie and when Bet tries to break them up a fight begins and she brawls with Marie, leading to a lovely black eye and much disapproval from Annie Walker.
Also at the Dance one of the factory women, Thelma, has been a wallflower all evening and ends up talking to Ernest who is miserable. (Mike had bought the factory women tickets to go). They dance together as they haven't had a dance all evening. They dance very close and he agrees to see her home as she is afraid of walking in the dark. It later transpires, again revealed by the waspish Hilda who has come round on the pretext of borrowing some tomato ketchup, that Ernest left the party early with Thelma but we know from what Emily has said that he had come home very late (she had pretended to be asleep when he came home). Has he been a naughty boy?
For future star spotters the DJ, Dave the Rave, was played by Paul Shane, who later went on to some fame as Ted Bovis in Hi De Hi (a comedy about a holiday camp set in the '50s). His portrayal of a rather morose DJ who hates pop music and carries music for the valeta among his LPs was actually quite good.
Odds and Ends: Mavis buys a hookey watch off Eddie for Derek (my poor heart pined). The watch of course stopped working, well Rita did warn her it was Eddie she was buying it from (£6.50). Bette, who also bought one of the watches, got her own back on Eddie by telling him a plain clothes policeman had been in the Rovers asking about a stolen consignment of watches. Eddie beat a hasty retreat.
Bye for now! - Di
The Drear, sorry Young Dierdre, has given birth to the long awaited bairn as I mentioned last week and is thus able to give advice to the young woman in the next bed, the one with the mysterious non-appearing husband, that the pain of childbirth is not much worse than a toothache. [Mothers can interject here - your reviewer having no experience of this :-) ] When the other child is born, a boy, Dierdre discovers that the young woman is NOT married - the pregnant pause when this was disclosed really dated this episode. (Drapes garlic around neck to ward off Mistress Pook). She is being pressurized by the social worker to have the child adopted, which she doesn't want to do, although she is despairing of being able to bring the child up herself alone. Disappointingly this issue was left unresolved as Dierdre is at last discharged into the care of her hubby and Mother In Law, Blanche.
Blanche, is still behaving badly towards Ray who has been falsely accused of abandoning his wife to the trials of childbirth to attend a dance. Dierdre of course had insisted he go. It is at last explained to Blanche by Dierdre herself and Ray and Blanche are able to shake hands and make up.
The issue of what the baby will be named chuntered on for a while with Ray favouring Tracy, mum favouring Lynette, and Blanche wanting the poor sprog to be called Maureen (now wouldn't that have been interesting, I wonder what the present Maureen would have been called) for an obscure aunt with pots of money. (I, of course, could not contain my excitement waiting to know what she would end up being called ... ahem). Ray preempts them all by going to register the birth on his own and officially naming the poor child Tracy Lynette Langton. Although very upset at first Dierdre comes round to his way of thinking, every other word Ray spoke was Tracy, and ended up quite liking it.
Eventually the novelty of having her mother's company began to wear off even for Dierdre and the last straw was Blanche inviting her boyfriend to stay (well it is her house). The big surprise is that the man is NOT Dave Smith, whom she points out she only works for, but Steve Barnet [?, played by Dennis Chinnery], a Warwickshire vet who met her at the club where she works.
Steve is a great hit with both Ray and Dierdre and they each manage to get Blanche and Steve alone to get the full story of the romance. The upshot is that when Steve and Blanche babysit for the new parents to have a pint at t'Rovers he pops the question and Blanche accepts. Ray and Dierdre are pleased and accept an invite to go home with Blanche for a holiday.
A faintly amusing running joke through the week was Annie Walker's attempt to buy the baby a present. Her first attempt was a pram blanket which had also been bought by Bet. The second attempt was a pink baby-gro-like garment which she presented to Dierdre only for Blanche to trump with the exact same garment "£2 at Cottals". Annie kept smiling but her mortification was clear.
An interesting aside was a crack from Rita to Mavis that she was jealous of Dierdre and an attempt to humiliate her because of her naivete. Which was eerily followed up in a present-day episode this week when Mavis makes a comment about childless couples filling their lives with pets and hobbies, prompted by Gary buying a bike magazine (wide-eyed from looking bleakly into a childless future). She was of course completely unaware of her and Derek's obsessions. We were left to ponder this. A further parallel with Gary's desperation that he may be to blame for Judy's not conceiving is a sad aside from Fred Gee in the Classic episode who admits that if he had a screaming baby to look after he would be ecstatic. Who says the street does not deal with real issues?
Unlucky for some ...
Horoscopes and tealeaves featured strongly this week. Hilda and Stan sit at the breakfast table, she perusing her teacup and Stan the newspaper's horoscopes. He derides her and when she challenges his reading the horoscopes he answers that if he didn't read them himself she would insist on reading them to him. In her cup she sees a bear which presages disaster and a dagger, which has a similar connotation. She is convinced that they are under some unlucky spell, perhaps an owl on their chimney that they cannot see which is bringing them such ill fortune. Later she asks Renee if she knows whether the number 13, her house number, could be to blame. Renee remembers quite a lot that she had read about it in a book on superstitions so Hilda is convinced the house number must be changed.
Stan is charged with this task but luckily in the Rovers he discovers that the person he needs to see is right there, Alf, who is on the Highways Committee. Alf makes the mistake of telling Stan that he would vote for him to change his house number. Stan takes this as meaning he can go straight out to Woolworths and buy the numbers 12A to replace the 13. Hilda is very pleased but her pleasure turns to anger and resignation when she discovers they have locked themselves out when they shut the door to admire Stan's handiwork. To make matters worse her leg of lamb (so expensive it is like "eating gold") is locked in side and will be burnt. They eventually get in with the help of a friendly policeman. The lamb is ruined. Furthermore Alf, astounded to find Stan has gone ahead and changed the number, warns him that he could face prosecution and a fine for doing it without proper ratification first.
Their luck fared no better when Hilda overheard that Eddie had dumped his stock of watches down the drain in the street. Eddie believed, thanks to the evil machinations of Bet, that the police were after him. On being assured by his mate Monkey and by Alf who knew Bet was having Eddie on that the watches were not stolen he went to retrieve them and found Stan with his hand very reluctanlty down the drain being egged on by Hilda. Eddie told them they were looking down the wrong drain. Unfortunately, at the right drain the council cleaners were using a machine to suck up the debris, plus watches. So some of the Ogden's bad luck had rubbed off on him too.
Emily, suspicious that Ernest is having an affair with the mousey Thelma, finds it hard to be reassured by Ernest that there is nothing in it. She can see that if Ernest is telling the truth and there is nothing going on as far as he is concerned it is not the case with Thelma. It is obvious that his kindness to her has drawn her to him. Thelma goes into the Kabin and buys a very chocolate-boxy Valentine's card, which Rita suspects is for Ernest (the gossip about the dance is spreading well). At last Emily makes Ernest see that Thelma has a crush on him and asks him to make it plain to Thelma that she must desist. The talk he has with her is less than convincing however, the gist of which is that they must be a little less friendly towards each other as there is a lot of gossip. Not exactly off putting.
Bits and Pieces:
A woman is phoning the Rovers in an attempt to contact Ken. It transpires it is Janet, his wife.
Mike discovers that his idea of a housekeeper is not quite the same as Bet's. At breakfast she is in curlers with a cigarette hanging from her lip, not at all glamourous. Also the house is in a terrible mess,with dirty dishes and unironed shirts everywhere. He is very angry with her. She explains she has another job to do and that if he thinks she is going to come home after closing time at the Rovers and start cleaning the house he has another think coming.
They later make up and she relents and makes the place a palace. Mike has invited a very important business client to dinner. Bet has to dress less tarty [her blouse at this point is open so far down it is a wonder the episode wasn't shown after the 9 oclock watershed] and invite a lady friend to make up the foursome. Rita, perhaps? Bet, startled at being accused of being tarty, gets her own back by inviting Betty Turpin to make up the party.
Betty is horrified to arrive and find out what Bet has done but is unable to leave because Mike and client, Jack Broadley [played by Edwin Richfield], arrive. Mike is none too pleased but of course Betty and Jack get on like a house on fire and he admits to Mike that he would not have been at all happy to have been presented with a young woman. He says he would enjoy coming up north to do business with Mike provided he could meet up with Betty every time. Betty is thrilled.
That's all for now. Cheerio. Di
A life half lived ...
Whereas the past week's worth of episodes dealt with new life this week's dealt with the end of life, or at least one life.
The episode opens with a woman, smartly dressed in a light-blue wool coat sitting alone on a park bench. She looks sad and pensive. She is waiting. At last she looks at her watch and gets up and walks away. Yes this is Ken Barlow's second wife, Janet. A plain, middle-aged, middle-class woman with a rather unwelcoming face.
Len has at last caught up with Ken at home at breakfast time and has passed on the message that Janet has phoned the Rovers asking for him. Of course she doesn't know that Ken has moved out of the house now occupied by Elsie and Gail but had obviously not been able to get any answer at that number any way. Ken is unconcerned that she wants to see him. His marriage is well and truly over and he has other things on his mind. Getting Uncle Albert up and out of the house to catch a train to Glasgow for a start and then he will be out all day himself so he won't see Janet till this evening. He has no feelings for the woman at all.
Janet at last arrives at the street and of course knocks on Elsie's door. Elsie is in a rush to leave for work so only has time to tell Janet that Ken has moved back to No1 with Uncle Albert.
While knocking at the now empty No1 Hilda Ogden tells Janet that Ken and Uncle Albert have left for the day but that she could see him at the Community Centre. Hilda is all agog, and desperate to be first in on the gossip so asks her in for a cup of tea. Janet declines.
Elsie meanwhile tells Gail who Janet is and how she had tried to seduce her husband, following him to London, but he would have none of her, or so he said! She tells Gail that Ken was not ambitious enough for Janet so that is why they split up. Gail is rather sweet on Ken but is philosophical on her own choice of men. (A rather prophetic quote from Gail at this point was: "I'll end up with a good-looking pauper")
Janet, still in search of Ken, later knocks on Emily's door and as Ernest lets her in walks in on Emily in full throttle ranting at Ernest about the Thelma affair [see below]. Emily is mortified and is not as welcoming of her old friend as she should be. Janet goes off again.
At the Rovers the news of Janet's appearance is common knowledge. Ena knows that Ken won't be back until the evening and Hilda, still earwigging and desperate to get her snout in the gossip trough first, suggests that she go and find her and tell her this. Everyone is sick of Hilda's meddling and tell her so.
The Wanderer has fetched up at the Kabin. She is probably exhausted by now. The whittering Mavis offers her something to eat with her coffee but then thinks she is being too pushy but Janet agrees to some beans on toast. Rita comes through the shop on her way to the dentist, she is in a hurry so has only a few moments to acknowledge Janet.
At last, at night fall, Ken returns to the Street and as he walks down to his front door he comes across Janet, again on a bench, this time in the empty plot of No5. He invites her in. As they go indoors Hilda pops out of her house (she must have been watching for Ken's return at her own window) and watches them. She calls out that he must be happy to have his wife back again. She then rushes to the Rovers where she tells all and sundry that Janet is back with Ken. (An architectural note: at this point in time there is definitely NO ginnel between No1 and the Rovers)
Ken and Janet have a cup of tea together. He tells her he is now a Community Development Officer and he enjoys it more than anything he has ever done. Janet lights a cigarette. She seems just the cold fish that Elsie has described her - "Castor oil". She resists Ken's asking why she has come. Was it to ask for a divorce? She denies that there is anything wrong with her relationship with Vince with whom she now lives, although they have "their own lives". Ken tells her he has not had a serious relationship since her. He is obviously losing his patience with her and makes an excuse about going to a meeting and escapes to the Rovers.
While he is gone Hilda forces her way in on the pretext of borrowing sugar but Janet can see right through her and gives her short shrift. After Hilda leaves with a flea in her ear, Janet picks up the phone as if to dial but puts the receiver down again. After a while she does dial and it is Vince she has phoned. She tries to apologise to him for having quarrelled with him. It is made clear that she has been thrown out and he tells her that it is over between them and nothing she says will change his mind.
Later, Ken arrives home and Janet tries the little wifey routine, offering to cook a meal for him but he just wants to know why she is there. She says that she has left Vince. That she was a fool to have left Ken for him in the first place. Ken points out that she had left the marriage before she had physically left him. He hadn't been ambitious enough for her. She tries some major sycophancy but it is lost on Ken. She admits that she can't be happy but perhaps she can learn to be happy with Ken. He tells her that if Vince were to arrive and offer to take her away she'd go like a shot. She denies this vehemently. They dissect their disastrous marriage and he denies that people can change themselves permanently. She plays her last card - she will even be willing to be a mother to the twins! Ken is not for turning. He doesn't want her back EVER. She has nowhere to go and begs to stay. At his wit's end, Ken snaps and shouts at her "YOU ARE NO LONGER MY BLOODY PROBLEM!" However, the outburst has calmed him and he relents enough to let her stay the night. She can have his bed, he will sleep on the (extremely hard) chaise longue.
Surprisingly, as I don't remember her having any luggage with her during the day, she is dressed in a blue frilly nylon nightie in bed. We see her looking wistfully at a bottle of pills on the bedside cabinet.
In the morning we see her apparently fast asleep. Ken is rising. He has had a bad night of it on the sofa. He calls to Janet but gets no response. After dressing (fashion note: mustard yellow underpants) he makes a cup of tea and calls Janet from the bottom of the stairs. Still getting no reply he walks up and finds her unrousable. On the bedroom floor is the pill bottle, EMPTY. He immediately rushes and dials 999 for an ambulance. The ambulance men arrive and having assessed the situation tell Ken that it doesn't look very hopeful. She has killed herself.
Janet's death causes much wringing of hand and smiting of breast from all her so-called old friends who had not had time to invite her in and talk to her. Perhaps they could have discerned her inner grief and saved her life? Emily is particularly hard hit. She used to be a good friend of hers. Hilda of course is crowing! She had at least invited the woman in for a cup of tea and a chat. OK so it was refused but she had asked.
After a rather ineffectual investigation by the police - Fred Gee had heard raised voices from No1 while cleaning the toilets after closing (definitely no ginnel then) - the inquest verdict is suicide. Ken is comforted by Len and Rita and Rita has to help him undress as he has drunk rather too much of Len's scotch. Outside Len tells Rita how impressed he was at the way she handled Ken. They kiss.
My funny Valentine
Janet had arrived on Valentine's Day and so had the frilly card sent by Thelma. Causing the above-mentioned row between Emily and Ernest. Ernest can't see what the problem is but Emily is convinced the woman is more like a venus fly trap than the wallflower Ernest thinks she is. She manages to speak firmly to Thelma in the Kabin and makes it clear that contrary to what she may believe she understands her husband very well and if Thelma doesn't leave Ernest alone she will speak to her again and not so politely next time. Later in the Rovers Betty, who can also see what Thelma is up to, warns her off.
How to win friends and influence people
Suzie is looking for a place to stay. She has seen an advert for a bedsit in Abattoir St but Bet tells her a horror story about bulls getting loose from the abattoir and terrorizing the street and about a landlord in that street who had a fixation with Lord Haw-Haw (a WWII radio broadcaster who broadcast in English from Germany with pro-Nazi propaganda, AFAIK). The landlord would shout through her keyhole "Germany calling! Germany calling!" (Lord Haw-Haw's "catchphrase"). This story is too good to miss and Suzie uses it, with a bit more embroidery, on Elsie so that she can stay there with Gail. Elsie has tried to resist having her to stay, despite Suzie's attempts to butter her up by buying her marmalade for breakfast (charging it to Elsie's bill though). Elsie only has coffee for breakfast anyway. At the Rovers Bet recounts her Lord Haw-Haw story to Elsie and Suzie is undone. However, Elsie was obviously highly amused as Bet told the story so her purported anger at Suzie is short lived and she capitulates. The story may not have been true but with recent events, ie Janet's death, alone and unloved, she couldn't turn the girl away.
A house is not a home ...
Mike receives a phone call at work. It is Ann (curiously she is listed in the credits as just Ann and not Ann Baldwin), his wife. She has come up to see him, she is at Piccadilly. Which Piccadilly says Mike, hoping against hope that it is Piccadilly Circus, London, but it is Piccadilly station, Manchester. He has to rush to speak to Bet to tell her to clear out her things as quickly as she can because his wife is coming to see the house. He will try and stall her by taking her to lunch and showing her the factory until 2 o'clock. Bet is horrified. This is her home he is talking about in such a cavalier way. But like the trouper she is she just manages to clear away her things in time. Ann is suspicious at how clean and tidy it all is. He says he has a woman in to clean but she wonders if that's all the woman does. She knows he is no monk and that they both live their own lives when apart. He is reticent. Ann has noticed the Rovers and wants to see what it is like. Mike, fair play, does try to put her off and tells her she will miss her train home but she is adamant. Any way she will stay the night and go in the morning!
When Mike arrives in the Rovers with Ann, Annie Walker in one of her moments of tact and compassion tells Betty to go and warn Bet to stay on her tea break but Bet will not be done down. Her heart is obviously broken in little pieces but she comes out, puts her smile in place and goes about her business. Mike comes over to buy a drink and, sotto voce, tells Bet that Ann is staying the night. Her cheerfulness is one of the best performances of her life.The others look on in pity and amazement.
STAR SPOTTING: The Detective Sergeant was played by John Challis who went on to play Boycey in Only Fools and Horses.
INTERESTING ASIDE: Ivy buys 6 lemon chews for her lunch at the Kabin. She is trying to lose weight because her husband has threatened to run off with that "skinny bitch" next door. After she has gone Rita tells Mavis that she thinks Ivy is pathetic and that she has noticed that she chews her nails. Cynically Rita thinks that the husband would probably run off with the Skinny Bitch anyway.
With apologies for the length. And I thought this week was a rather slow one - Di
After moving Bet into No5 as his 'housekeeper' and then telling her he was married, Mike Baldwin appears with his wife Anne. A slim and quite attractive brunette.
In the Rovers, he tells Bet that she had better hurry up and move her stuff out. Shortly later, Mike tells Anne that he has got to make a phone call over the road in the factory, and leaves her alone in the Rovers. In fact, he rushes round to No5 and sprays air freshener around like a man posessed, trying to eliminate any tract of Bet before bringing Anne home. Bet pops down to the shop to see Renee to ask if she can stay in the flat for the night.
Anne assumes that Bet has gone to see Mike and when she returns they have a bit of a bitch-fest with Anne telling Bet that she knew he's got a bit on the side up north. She then tells Bet that she and Mike aren't married and the kids he told Bet were his are in fact Anne's from an earlier relationship. Bet realises that Mike had only told her he was married to keep her from getting any ideas about trying to tie him down.
Anne tells Mike that he has had his fling and Bet will have to go. The next day, Bet goes to see Mike in the factory, she tells him he's a rat, he tells her she's a desperate bit of rough etc. She leaves and into tears outside.
Later she calls round to No5, Anne scuttles upstairs while Mike deals with Bet. The row, she slaps Mike round the chops (accompanied by some very shoddy camerawork). Mike tells her that he and Anne are going to London for a few days and she had better be out when he gets back. Mike returns alone a few days later, but Bet refuses to vacate No5. She gets Ray Langton to change the locks on the front door and as Ray is finishing, Len turns up to change the locks for Mike! Ray persuades Len not to change them and leaves Bet still in posession. Later, while talking to Ray, Mike says that he might sell the place as it's to much trouble. Ray and Deidrie make him an immediate offer which he accepts. Later, they go round to No5 and tell Bet they are buying it and Bet agrees to move out.
It's Elsie's birthday and Gail and Suzie present her with a card and Suzie ingratiates herself in order to stay at Elsies a little longer. Suzie buys Elsie a mudpack in celebration, but while they are applying it, the fireplace is smoking so badly that they can hardly see across the room. Elsie bemoans the fact that it's hard to get a chimney sweep these days and tells them that her dad used to drop a brick, tied to a piece of rope down the chimney to sweep it.
On the Sunday morning, Gail and Suzie are sat in the Rovers bored to tears and hit upon the idea of sweeping the chimney using the 'Elsie' method. Within minutes they have taped up the fireplace, 'borrowed' Stan's ladders, tied a brick to a rope and Suzie (in five inch platform heels!) is climbing onto the roof, and lets the brick go!
Cut to inside The Ogden's, Stan is busy demolishing his dinner and notices his a small sootfall in the hearth. He gets up, dinner in hand to investigate when, whoosh, there is a massive fall of soot and he, dinner and most of the room are covered in the stuff.
Cut to Gail shouting up at Suzi, 'Well, I doesn't look to have done anything, untie the rope and just drop the brick down!'
Cut to Ogdens. Hilda is having a fit, telling Stanley that the chimney has needed sweeping for ages and it's all his fault. She kneels by the hearth to begin cleaning up when the brick plummetts into the hearth along with half a ton of soot, the entire room is blackened. Hilda is beside herself, as her Muiriel is damaged. "Me mountains look like a slagheap and me snowy tops are like a coalman's hat!"
Later, she tells Elsie of the sootfall and Elsie tells her that her chimney needs doing as well and relates how she had told Suzie and Gail about her dad using a brick! Hilda storms round to see Gail and Suzie who reluctantly confess to having dropped the brick dowm the wrong chimney. Hilda threatens police action but Gail and Suzie soften her up with a box of chocs, though Hilda gets the last laugh by making them wash her and Stan's bedclothes by hand! Urghh!
The other minor occurences were
Albert returns from Glasgow and is told of Janet's suicide by Ena, he refuses to go back to No1 saying there is death in the house. So Ena says he can stay with her till Ken returns. There is wonderful interplay between Albert, Ena. Eddie and Elsie which, though not of much consequence,were a joy to watch. Perhaps today's producers would do well to take a look at this!
Deidrie is showing new born Tracy off to Renee in the shop and says that Ray had been reading about how South Sea Islanders throw their babies into the sea to teach then to swin and is keen on the idea but she won't let him. Just think, if Ray had slung Tracy into the Manchester Ship Canal, we could have been spared all that whingeing and a whining!
Len received an invite to son Stanley's wedding but, despite assuring Rita he was going, didn't go. He told Rita that the invite was from Stanley's fiancee and only out of politeness. Rita had been dropping hints about weddings for ages it seems but to no avail. Later, she calls on Len and tells him that she has received a call from her agent offering her a summer season in Tenerife, she is taking it and gives him a weeks notice that she will be leaving the Kabin.
Will she or Won't she?
Just as this week in the UK we were treated to the heartrending scene in ER of Mark Green begging Susan Lewis to stay because he loved her, winding back the clock to 1977 and Len Fairclough tries the same with Rita Littlewood.
Rita has been offered a chance of a lifetime as a star cabaret at a 1st class hotel on Tenerife in the Canary Islands (Rio Rita the Canary of the Canaries). Despite Mavis's tales of black sand, chilly mornings, and impoverished local men (her Auntie reads a lot and Mavis's hobby is reading travel brochures), Rita will not be dissuaded.
Len is distraught. He cannot bear the thought of her going away and perhaps never coming back, although the contract is only for 4 months. Getting her alone he makes her a "better" offer, that is marry him. He cannot accept that she will come back to him and his emotional blackmail is intense. Either marry him or go, no compromise.
Rita is torn. She really wants to take the job but on the other hand really wants Len. In the Kabin later she tells Mavis that she has been offered another 'contract'. Mavis, being Mavis, doesn't get it at first so Rita has to tell her it's a matrimonial not singing contract.
The next day Rita has stayed in bed as she has hardly had a wink of sleep. Elsie, enquiring about Rita, wheedles out of Mavis the truth. She is flabbergasted and storms round to see Len. She tells him that he is bonkers to want to marry Rita and that she is just playing him along. She admits that she doesn't like Rita very much and she doesn't think she's right for him. He tells Elsie that he doesn't want just any bird, he wants Rita. He didn't want to take the chance of her never coming back. At that Elsie concurs that she, herself, would rather been really needed by someone that she cared about than anything else in the whole wide world. What a romantic
Mavis meanwhile begins whining on to Len about being manageress when Rita goes. Of course this is the last thing on Len's mind and anyway he doesn't really want her to have the job. Mavis is so upset she resigns from her job and leaves (although later she grovels and gets it back). Alf arrives and Len tells him about his proposal. Alf tends to agree with Elsie that Rita is just stringing him along but Len believes she is giving it serious consideration.
Rita comes to see Len again and he gives her the ring that she threw back at him last time they were engaged and she called it off. She gives it back to him and tells him he's 3 years too late. She is petrified of marriage and wants to go to Tenerife and think it over. He tells her that if she really cared for him she wouldn't go. She leaves hurriedly.
Everyone is quite excited about Rita's Big Adventure, Ernest has even transposed some of her numbers into guitar arrangements for her. She has arranged a party for an invited few (to which Hilda gatecrashes of course, wearing a huge sombrero and carrying a fan she brought back from her last Caribbean cruise). Mavis brings a paella she has made. Also at the party Dierdre, let off the leash from screaming baby Tracy at last, goes a bit overboard on the cheap plonk brought by Elsie and has to be helped home.
Rita and Len dance slowly together at the party and admit that they will miss each other. He appears to accept that she is going. At the airport at last they sit together past the call of her flight until she is being paged by name to come to the gate. They get up and walk away.
The next morning Mavis, who has got the manageress job, is startled in the Kabin by noises from the flat upstairs. The paper boy refuses to go up stairs and check things out so Mavis, armed with a feather duster!, pulls open the door just as Rita tumbles through. Of course, she didn't go <unlike Susan Lewis in ER who left the distraught Mark Green alone on the platform, sob>. Mavis is thrilled, but it hasn't yet dawned on her that she is no longer manageress. We cut to Len cooking himself breakfast and singing I'm Getting Married in the Morning (from My Fair Lady).
Later he and Rita smooching together on the sofa discuss getting married and realize that they both would like a proper church wedding. He admits to being like a love-sick teenager. Aaaah
Their joy is spoiled somewhat at the last by a phone call that Rita receives from her agent. He'll see her in court!
The best of the rest
A stranger turns up on the Street looking for Ken (this is becoming a habit). He turns out to be Vince Denton (a name no less strange than the actor's: Constantin de Goguel), the man Janet was living with. He has come with her building society pass book which contains over £7000 which he claims is his, put in her name as tax - ahem- avoidance. Ken is sceptical but Denton returns with receipts to prove the money was from him. Ken insists on getting further info and calls Janet's mean-minded sister who turns out to be even more money-grabbing than Denton. But Ken sticks to his principles and agrees when he is able to give the money, less what he has proved was Janet's in the first place, back to Vince. He will give the rest to her sister. Albert tells Ken he's not doing things right and that the Twins could certainly do with the money.
Suzie finds a stray mutt in the back yard and takes him in, much to Elsie's dismay as she has been trying to get rid of Suzie as there wasn't room for 3 of them!
Bet has to leave No3 and is dismayed at what is on offer in her price range. Eddie helps by driving her around to look at places. She had been unable to afford the rent Renee had asked for the flat over the shop. Mike hears of this and secretly goes to Renee and offers to make up the difference that Bet can't afford and for her to tell Bet she has agreed to let her have the flat at the lower rent after all, which she does in the Rovers. Mike comes in and Bet takes great pleasure in telling him she has moved out of no3 and is moving into Renee's. She calls him a 'money-grabbing pig'. Renee just looks down at the bar. A consequence is musical accommodation. Hilda tries to get a mortgage to try and gazump Ray and Dierdre who are moving into no3. Ray and family however move in, where Dierdre enjoys getting Ray to move around the furniture and moans a bit because it is ready furnished as she would have enjoyed getting it herself even if they would have had to wait a while for some things. A poignant scene was Len leaning over baby Tracy's cot like a fairy godmother telling her she could come to him in later years and tell him her troubles what might have been, eh?
Bet's first night in the flat is not without incident. Mike visits and is scorned and she accidentally unplugs the freezer in the shop leading to £120 worth of uninsured damage. Eddie does manage to sell some of the defrosting chickens in the Rovers.
Well, I think that is more than enough for now!
One Wedding and not a Funeral in Sight
Well not a lot happened this week ... What? ... Oh yes, Len and Rita got married, but you don't want to hear about that. ... Oh, alright then.
As the big day approaches Rita is so happy she sings "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story, much to Mavis's annoyance as she is still miffed at being "passed over" for the manageress's job. Rita tries to pacify her with how she will not have to cope with the responsibility of managership but she wont be told. Eventually she takes herself off to the Yard and sees Len. After listening to her jabbering on about her supposed injustice he surprises her by agreeing, but then craftily talking her round but offering her a 50% pay rise. She settles for this but she still wants to be equal partners with Rita.
Young Dierdre berates Ray for not asking Len why he hasn't asked him to be Best Man. Ray doesn't want to be BM and tells her so but she feels that it will reflect badly on him if he isn't asked. As this conversation takes place in the Yard while Ray is using a circular saw (!) they fail to hear Len in the office asking Alf to be BM.
The problem with Rita's agent, Benny Stone, comes to a head when he turns up on the Street looking for her. Having heard from Stan in the Kabin cafe that she is likely to be at Len's he turns up there. Luckily Len turns up too and puts on his Councillor persona and having read Benny Stone's demand for £400 compensation is able to point out various inconsistencies (he lost me at this point) in his calculations. He offers £200 to Stone who eventually, seeing he's on a losing wicket, agrees to it.
On the subject of BM. Rita tells Len that she would like Ken to be it, but he tells her he has already asked Alf, causing her to storm out because he had not consulted her. She later apologises for flaring up and warns him that being married to her could get a "bit hairy" (Big Red Wiggy?) In the Rovers later Alf overhears Dierdre still moaning to Ray about asking Len about being BM and doesn't know how to tell them that he is. Stan agrees to help him out and for the price of a pint goes over and tells Ray straight out that Alf is BM. Len and Rita come in and diffuse the situation and announce that the wedding will be in 2 weeks time on 20th April.
Time flies by. Annie Walker, who has had her nose put out of joint by the Reception being held at the Green Vale hotel instead of the Rovers, takes it on herself to accompany Rita to the hotel to sort out the arrangements where she is supersilious to the manager and orders more champagne and fresh flowers for the tables. Rita is mortified.
Hilda has received an invite but she hasn't read it properly, it is only for the evening and not the church and reception (although I thought marriages are by law public events so anyone can attend them, invited or not). When this is pointed out to her she is mortified and vows not to go. Another person who hasn't been invited is Len's son, Stanley, and Len won't be moved on this point.
Elsie has bought a new outfit (£30) for the wedding, a powder blue suit with a hat. She tells Gail and Susie that it is going to be hanging up in her wardrobe and they weren't to touch it. Of course this is a red rag to a bull and when Elsie goes out Susie goes up and puts the dress on. As she is using the kitchen as a catwalk the sound of Albert, the dog, whining in the back yard is heard and she goes to let it in. Of course the dog jumps up on her and his paws are extremely dirty and leave a terrible mark on the dress. (Presaging Liz in her undies we are treated to Susie in her undies, dark blue if I remember correctly, as she tries in vain to get the mark out). The girls try everything but have to resort to just putting the dress back and waiting for the inevitable consequences.
Len and Rita visit the Vicar who is very amenable to their marriage despite the fact that they have never set foot inside his church previously. His only advice to married couples to keep happy was to take a walk around the garden every day together. Len pointed out that this might be a bit difficult on Coronation Street as they only had tiny back yards. On their return to the Rovers Ena makes a point of asking Len if the Vicar had asked them about their not having attended his church and is surprised that he did not. Ken, Ray and Mike mention a Stag Nite to Len and he agrees but Rita insists that it wont be the night before the wedding but the night before that.
At the Stag Nite Fred has got hold of Nelly Harvey's recipe for punch (the one that got Annie breathalysed) and has made some. Also Rita's Uncle Sam has turned up and doesn't stop drinking. The do is in the Snug. Mike has unbeknownst to the others invited Vera, Marie and a couple of other girls from the factory as a surprise. They have to wait in the main bar for his signal but when Mike tells Len about them he will have none of it. He tells Mike that he doesn't know how they do Stag Do's down south but up North they are for men only and he would have enough to blush about on the wedding day without that as well. Mike is magnanimous and just tells the girls it not on. Marie is disappointed as she had set her heart on a bit of rumpeh-pumpeh with Len.
Meanwhile Bet, Elsie, Mavis, Renee, Emily and Hilda in tow decide to go and see Rita as a surprise party. They surprise Rita in a cosmetic face mask but she is nevertheless pleased. The presents they bring include a Lowry print from Emily and Ernest and an ornament from Hilda. Later when they are all mellowed out with wine they discuss what makes the ideal husband. Bet says "money", Mavis "a kind nature", Renee "generous" and Hilda "what Stan's got", which she said was hard to describe (everyone agreed to that), it was "pan ache" (like toothache, a marvellous Hildapropism). After a moment's stunned disbelief someone pointed out that it was panache (pr. panash). Rita goes along with Bet's suggestion but added the proviso that they turn up at the church.
The Stag Nite has ended with them all very drunk indeed. Rita phones to see if they are alright just as Alf is trying to manoeuvre Len up the stairs. He leaves him at the top from where Len falls and thinks he's broken his ankle. Fortunately the ankle is only twisted and he gets away with just a limp (what you may ask!)
Hilda believes there is a curse on the wedding and that it has been "ordinated".
The Wedding Day dawns and Len is still hung over, as the drinking continued the second night. Alf is even worse and needs to have his head put under the tap to wake up. Rita has had her hair done up in a startling bouffant. She is having some misgivings but Mavis tells her that a woman has wasted her life if she doesn't marry, even if it is at a late age.
At Elsie's the moment of reckoning arrives. She takes out the dress and amazingly doesn't notice the stain. She tells the girls that she isn't sure if she likes it now and might wear her cream dress. The girls are stunned and afraid to breath but at last of course she sees the stain and all hell breaks loose. She storms out saying that she can't go to the wedding now. Later when she turns up at the Reception in her cream outfit she tells someone that she doesn't like weddings anyway so the dress being ruined might have been a blessing in disguise.
Rita's dress is a short white (or perhaps slightly off-white) dress with an A-line skirt (rather 40s looking if you get my drift) and a v-neck with a chiffon collar to the edge of the sholders. It appeared to have lace bows on the bodice. He headress was a tiara of white flowers with a curious half veil that struggled to cover her bouffant. Her face remained uncovered. She had yellow flowers delivered but there was some problem about them and I forgot to look at the bouquet, sorry. She travelled in a wedding car with her Uncle Sam who was giving her away.
Meanwhile Len and Alf were having problems. He looked very smart in a dark suit (he didn't want a morning suit) but his conveyance, another hire car with chauffeur had a puncture, and they were already late!
At the church Ken, who appeared to be the usher, had to tell Rita to go round the block as the groom had not arrived. While everyone was waiting for things to get underway Gail and Susie turn up (in their jeans) and are thrilled when the photographer (they didn't use Ernest) asked to take their picture and ended up doing something like a fashion shoot. (An interesting thing was that in the credits it said the photographer was played by Enn Reitel, who if I am not mistaken went on to be a rather unique and hilarious comedian.)
Eventually Len and Alf arrive and are hurried in just as Rita hoves over the horizon again. The church is pretty full. Rita walks down the aisle to the accompaniment of Baby Tracy testing her lungs (eat your heart out Mendelsohn).
We were treated to all the vows which Len spoke clearly and firmly. Rita spoke in almost a whisper but with some sincerity. They spoke the piece about the giving of the ring together as she did not give him a ring. Then, without prompting the bride was kissed and the marriage struck.
Despite Annie Walker's misgivings the Reception seems to have worked out OK, although she couldn't resist some asides to the manager who was graceful in the extreme. The Manager, Ted Brownlow, showed a keen interest in Elsie when she turned up and knew her by name, Mrs Howard that is, although she didn't know him. We were left as perplexed as she was. Hilda, who had felt that she had been deliberately snubbed by her short invitation so that she wouldn't want to go suddenly decided that they would go, and turned up typically just as the free bar had closed. Ray managed to sneak out and doctor the car with tin cans and spray foam and finally at the end of the day the happy couple leave Coronation Street for their honeymoon with most of the street emptying confetti over the car as it sped away.
Ta-ra for now.
"Malcolm, get the sweet jar down!" Di
Portents of what was to come in the future are uttered by Elsie Howard as she arrives home from work, flustered and in dire need of an "invigorating gin": That Ivy Tilsley, she'd spend the afternoon arguing the hind leg off a donkey and then hit you with it!
Elsie has had no luck throwing the girls out, despite their ruining her wedding outfit. And being the soft-hearted landlady she is she can't be firm enough with the indomitable Suzie who baits Elsie with tales of Ted Brownlow, manager of the Green Vale hotel, fancying her.
Much later she answers the phone and to her surprise it is Ted himself. He would like to see her that evening and invites himself around to her house. In a panic she rushes to clear up. Meanwhile Gail and Suzie have invited round a couple of lads they've met at the Rovers. As the evening comes Elsie in curlers and dressing gown is in a total lather because the girls have been borrowing her tights so she cant find a clean pair. The girls are miserable because they cant have the lads over after all but cheer up when there is a knock at the door and who should it be but Ted, much earlier than expected. Elsie being Elsie braves it out with a smile and a quip.
The amazing man has brought a feast with him from the hotel kitchens. They are going to stay in to eat. I smell a rat but it turns out to be smoked salmon and a novelty to Elsie, quiche lorraine (cheese and ham pie). Also a bottle of Chablis. Elsie is amused when Ted invites her to visit the hotel again with her "daughters". She puts him straight and he tells her he is a widower of 10 years and has a son who is in Australia doing engineering and a girl in Portsmouth teaching. Elsie just says her kids have flown the nest.
Ted schmoozes Elsie but as the evening draws to an end he says he has to leave as he has an early start. With a gasp he realizes it is gone midnight. At that point giggling is heard outside the door and Elsie pulls it open abruptly to reveal Gail and Suzie who have been earwigging for goodness knows how long. While Elsie sees Ted to the door the girls tuck into the remains of the Feast. This relationship they decide is a good thing. Good bye beans on toast! However a wizard wheeze of Suzie's doesn't work (when do they ever) when she engineers Ted to visit Elsie on Sunday lunchtime when they have nothing but sardines to eat (see Topical Notes below) but he turns up and takes Elsie out to an expensive restaurant in Cheshire instead, where they apparently do a lovely "steak on a plank" (don't ask me!).
Tales from the Riverbank
Rita and Len are still on honeymoon and in the Kabin Mavis has received a card. Rita says she is getting her fill of the 3 Ss - sunshine, sand and s..., the writing is unclear but Mavis thinks its sea. Fred Gee, picking up his angling magazine, can only agree with her. Mavis reminds Fred that he promised to take her fishing with him one day so reluctantly he invites to join him this Sunday.
Later in the Rovers Fred invites Alf to join him and he agrees readily until he is told that Mavis will be with them. Later Mavis, exhausted from having to run the Kabin all by herself and do the deliveries too, flops in. Fred tells her that Alf is coming with them to the river and asks her to invite Sandra from the Factory to join them in a 4-some. Mavis agrees. This will be quite an outing!
Still in a fluster, Mavis goes into Renee's for a jar of coffee (see Topical Notes below) as she has forgotten to go to the cash and carry and the Kabin cafe has run out. Too exhausted to worry about finding the illusive Sandra she asks Renee to join them on the Sunday fishing trip. Renee is enchanted and agrees at once.
Sunday dawns and Renee has opened for a while before the trip. Eddie comes in comments on her attire. She tells him she is off fishing and he gives her some advice. She must take a rubby-dubby bag! Eddie also advises Emily and Ernest, who is taking a sermon that day, that preachers no longer had enough fire and brimstone. Emily couldn't believe that Eddie knew anything about churches but it turned out that his mam had dragged him to church every week and he had had to attend services while inside.
Alf and Fred meanwhile are picking Mave up at the Kabin. She is wearing a wooly hat and carrying a huge net with which she will do her fishing. She is worried that the fish are hurt when they swallow the hook. The men are concerned when she tells them she has invited Renee.
At the riverbank it is revealed that rubby-dubby is only used for deep sea fishing so Renee's attempt to seem proficient is thwarted. The men split from the women. Mave is happy swishing the water with her net and singing to the fish while Renee has been lent Fred's best rod. However, on her first attempt at casting she falls into the river, which anyone can see is only about 6 in deep at that point but Renee goes into hysterics and Mave has to jump in and pull her out, or save her life as Renee sees it. Hearing the screams the men come running and both manage to get soaking wet too.
The next day Alf, returning from night shift at the Post Office where he works, finds Bet behind the counter at the shop. Renee has come down with "flu" after her soaking in the river. Bet has to go and open up the Rovers and is planning to shut up shop but Alf wont hear of it and takes over. Not only does he run the shop (making a fatal mistake of letting the Ogdens have tick) but he ministers gamely to the fevered Renee. After a couple of days the roles are reversed. The exhaused Alf who has been doing 2 jobs succumbs to the virus himself. Renee leaps from her bed and tells him to get in instead. He is so tired and ill he just obeys. But what will people think of this! As he slumbers exhausted the door opens and Bet comes in. She of course thinks it is Renee and sitting on the edge of the bed she starts in on some girl talk and begins to undress. She lets slip that she thinks Alf fancies Renee and that she knows Renee would like to go out with him. At that point the door opens and Renee comes in. Bet gets up from the bed hurriedly and is mortified at finding her confidante was Alf.
The upshot of this of course is that Alf, emboldened by what Bet had said, invites Renee out to the pictures. Renee is not sure what to do about it.
Tracy enters the Church
Dierdre, a lifelong non-churchgoer, decides that blow it Tracy is to be christened. Ray can see the hypochrisy in this as they didn't even get married in church. But Drears is adamant, incipient neck involvement here, and they argue. Tracy meanwhile is screaming her little baby-persona head off (which should have been an omen, or even an Omen).
Desperate for some support and some disposable nappies so that she doesnt have to wash a pile of used nappies, Drears goes to Renee's shop. Where Renee is no use to fish nor fowl as she had neither the aforementioned nappies nor an opinion to give on the Christening. She wont give comments on religious matters as a matter of good business sense.
At home Ray and Drears continue to argue over the matter. Ray sensibly wants to leave it up to Tracy to decide when she is old enough. During the argument it is revealed that Blanche's wishes are behind Drears' insistence. This does not help the situation in the least, as he does not see eye to eye with his Ma in law.
Eventually, after being humiliated by one vicar who refuses to do the ceremony for all of the above mentioned reasons, on the advice of Ena Sharples she goes to see the vicar who married Len and Rita and the deed is done. Ken, oh no, what was he thinking of!, was godfather and Betty and Emily are godmothers. Ena had refused to be godmother as she was too old to fulfil her duties. She had however agreed to Ken's suggestion that he give little Tracy the silver rattle that Ena had given him for his twins. She was pragmatic as the rattle could not be split in two and should go to someone who would appreciate it (!). Annie Walker also attended, despite having her nose put out of joint by not even being considered as godmother. Blanche of course came for the event. She has split from Steve,her former intended, as he was too posh for her.
Hot Wine Tip! According to Renee a £1.25 bottle of red table wine improves if you leave it by the fire for a bit with the cork out.
Topical Notes: According to Renee people had stopped buying coffee because of the increase in price. This is 1977; was this the year the crop was damaged by frost? Can anyone remember why coffee went so expensive then. Elsie decides against cooking Sunday joints because the Common Market had made meat too expensive. At the Christening party Ken muses on inflation and how when Tracy is 25 butter would probably cost £200.
CS was more multiethnic back then, one of the customers in Renee's shop is a little Afro-Caribbean girl.
Sunday morning is signalled by peals of church bells.
The Rest Uncle Albert mentions the Western Front in the Rovers and Mike tells him that the has won the competition to name his new shop, none of the official entries was up to the mark. The prize is a suit of denims but Albert, the old grouch, wants money instead. Mike is adamant and eventually he gets the suit and is made to put it on in the Rovers. An interesting historical point is that Ken tells Albert off for calling Mike mean: Mike Balwin was a lot of things but he wasn't mean.
Len and Rita arrive back from honeymoon (they had a 4 am flight) and Len carries her over the threshold. She is enchanted that he has had the place redecorated, even though Ray has missed a strip of paper in the kitchen. They swear undying love for each other but later when showing off his new wife in the Rovers he invites Elsie and Ted to dinner the next night. Rita is none too pleased.
Hilda overhears that there is a vacancy for an evening cleaner at the Factory and goes round and gets the job. Ivy at this point has RED hair.
Ta-Ra for now! Di
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
The tyro Rita Fairclough could only guess who was coming to the surprise dinner party that her husband so thoughtfully arranged without consulting her. It was with great aplomb that she was able to feign disappointment when KEN BARLOW gave his apologies, who invited him? She is beginning to wonder about being married. She has a go at Len who had just been told by Ray Langton to put his foot down with her from the start. As she has the dinner party to prepare she has to leave Mavis to her own devices in the Kabin. Although Mavis is somewhat appeased by the gift of a fancy pullover from Tenerife.
Renee is not much help. Tinned pears and sardines are about the range of her culinary delights. (An historical note: the whole box of groceries only came to £1.40, whereas today it would be anything from £15.00 to £20.00). Despite these setbacks the dinner party goes well. Even Ted Brownlow, who manages a hotel, compliments Rita on her cooking (when did M & S begin to sell meals?)
Little did Elsie Howard know when she accepted Len's invitation to come to a dinner party that there would be 3 uninvited guests at the feast. Namely her 3 past husbands. In the post prandial haze the 4 sit in the light of the fire, Rita sits at her husband's feet, Elsie, Ted and Len enjoying their ciggies. Rita, en passant, happens to mention Elsie's 3 husbands. At that point Ted leaps up and asks where the bathroom is (perhaps a quick shower?). Rita immediately realizes she has told him something new and apologizes to Elsie. There has been the usual banter between them, as rivals for the dashing Sir Len, but she knows she has overstepped the mark. Elsie admits that she had not mentioned her marital history to Ted but is philosophical about it. After Elsie and Ted leave Rita tells Len how she regrets having said this. At which point the phone rings ... but more of that below.
The next morning Elsie is in a bad mood and Suzie is making matters worse by trying to illicit from her why she is so grumpy. She admits that when she and Ted parted the night before he made no arrangement to see her again.
Ray adores his daughter and is sure that she is their ticket to better things ... well a weekend for 2 in London anyway. He wants Drears to take the ever screaming babe to be photographed for the Weatherfield Gazette's Beautiful Baby Competition. Drears is furious. She is dead against these meat markets on principle and won't hear of it for Tracy but Langton drips away at her resistance and she agrees to go. However, the baby, ever fractious, has cried throughout the session. Who could possibly think a red-eyed screwed-up-faced child was beautiful? Anyway why would they want to go to London "a noisy smelly place" (another prophetic remark for RTracy).
As the time goes by the day of the publication of the results arrives and even Drears can hardly contain herself waiting to see if Tracy has found fame. She even goes into the Kabin in search of a copy. At last the issue plops through the letter box and she and Ray scabble to get at it. To their surprise and delight RTracy has reached the finals. There is her little screwed-up, red-eyed face. The judges had been taken with the unusualness of it.
On the facing page are another group of photographs, these of faces with considerably more hair and of greater vintage. Yes, its a Glamorous Granny competition. The last 2 of the photographs are familiar .. one is Vera Duckworth and the other is Elsie Howard!! What the .... ?
At Elsie's house there is panic. For yes, it is the terrible two, Gail and Suzie who have entered the picture of Elsie taken at Rita's wedding. Gail snips the offending picture out and tells the incensed Elsie when she comes to read it that she had snipped out a coupon. Elsie is cross but believes this and goes to work oblivious of her impending fame. Gail is relieved but Suzie asks her if she has managed to snip the picture out of ALL the copies of the Gazette.
Of course at work Vera and Ivy are full of it. Vera said her son has entered her picture behind her back "shurely shome mishtake" (a rather major plot inconsistency, although perhaps her desire for grandchildren in later years stems from her faux grandmotherhood in this competition). Elsie comes in and tells the girls to get on with some work and of course they show her her photo and she is even more angry. She guesses the source. Mike arrives and Ivy tells him that as 2 of his staff have reached the finals he could get some valuable publicity by sponsoring their outfits. He's not particularly taken with the idea. Ernest comes in and congratulates Elsie who with some dignity leaves. At home she confronts Suzie with the evidence and of course she admits to it. Elsie shouts at her and tells her she is sick of all her interference. Saved by the bell the phone rings and wonder of wonders it is Ted. He has seen her picture and wants to compliment her. He apologizes for not having seen her for so long and blames work. She is over the moon, especially as he invites her out that very evening.
When he arrives he brings a gift for the girls, a pizza which they hastily take up to their room to eat so that they leave Elsie and Ted together. He apologizes for leaving it so long to see her again but with spring weddings and all he had been rushed off his feet. They go to the Rovers for a drink where she asks him what he felt when he heard about her past husbands. He admits to having been taken aback as he has been married only once and very happily. She tells him about her 3, Alan of course is still around somewhere and they are not divorced. On cue Gail comes running in to tell her there is a woman waiting at the house to see her and she won't go away. Elsie and Ted rush round.
The woman is Elaine Dennett who is "having an affair" with Alan. She is quite young and obviously much in love. Alan has told her that the only obstacle to their happiness is Elsie who has refused him a divorce so she has taken it upon herself to beg Elsie to set him free. Elsie is visibly surprised as she has heard nothing from Alan for some time but she cannot tell the girl that Alan is obviously lying to string her along as she doesn't want to shatter the girl's illusions. She tells her she will have to think about it and arranges to meet her the next day. She manages to talk it over with Ted and decides to tell her, after all, she couldn't go through life without some heartbreak. The girl is devastated and as she leaves Elsie wishes her luck.
The phone call for Rita after the dinner party was from Mavis. Rita refused to speak to her and Len put her off. We then see that Mavis is in a phone box and has a suitcase with her. The next morning Mavis does not turn up to open the shop and Len and Rita have to cope with the papers alone. It is not until late in the day that Mavis turns up, still carrying her suitcase. She has been wandering around trying to find somewhere to stay. She has had an irrevocable quarrel with her Auntie Edie and has left. Rita offers her the flat above the Kabin as it would be very convenient to have someone on the premises to deal with the morning papers.
Len however is not happy about this as he had planned to renovate the flat and build an outside entrance so that he could rent it out for £10 a week. Rita believes he is more angry because she has made a decision behind his back. He tells Rita to talk Mavis out of it, so she spins Mave a yarn about rising damp, knocking water pipes and dodgy electricity. However, Mavis will not be moved. Len has a try by telling her the rent is £10 not £6 but is hoist by his own petard when Mavis throws all the lies about the flat's condition back to him. She is adamant that she is never going back to Auntie Edie and he is talked into charging her £8 and letting her stay.
Plans for the Queen's Jubilee (25 years on the throne) are underway. The Street has not yet joined in but this is rectified and is being organized by Ken who then passes the responsibility to Ernest. The Rovers regulars decide that they will do a float of Weatherfield through the ages. Annie Walker has already ordered her costume as Queen Elizabeth the First despite Emily being already earmarked for the role. Bet teases Fred by telling him that she may go as Lady Godiva.
Annie has also heard from the Brewery that she can go ahead and have the pub refurbished inside and out. (So there may be more room in Ken's kitchen for the Rover's cludgies after this.)
At the factory Hilda, who is doing evening cleaning, is alone with Ivy who is doing overtime. Ivy tells her that a lot of the girls use the machines to make things for themselves when Baldwin isn't looking and she shows H how to use the machine. Later H has a go with some scraps of denim and makes an oven mit, which she shows off proudly to Stan and Eddie. She asks Eddie to get her some gingham so that she can make curtains to match her "murial". The results of her efforts impress Eddie who immediately sees possibilities of profit ahead and sets H up with some dodgy cloth from his mate, Tiny. Stan is to canvas the curtains on his window cleaning round but being thick and even more lazy he tries to flog them in the Rovers where Mike recognizes his thread.
Mike goes round to the factory and catches H at it. She tells him that she does her cleaning work in 2 hours and uses the last hour to do her own work. She points out that industrial electricity is free and the material is hers. He tells her that nothing in free and that the thread is his and also that he is paying her for 3 hours cleaning work. He tells her that he will in future pay her only 2 hours and she is not to use his machines again.
HILDAPROPISM: on being shown the material she is concerned that it may be stolen as she doesn't want to be a "successory after the fact". We are also treated to her singing talents during this week. A rendition of "Idle-vice" (Edelweiss).
Ta-ra for now (Malcolm, get the sweet jar down!) - Di
Episode details missing - can you help ?
1711 (8 June 1977) or 1712 (13 June 1977)
Ray and Deirdre prepare to go to London as winners of the Beutiful Baby competition. Blanche comes up to babysit.
Mike's been hit by a slump on orders. He has to cut costs and considers a 3-day week.
Len starts to decorate the bathroom at No3. he lets slip that ray and Deirdre are going to London after all - and are leaving baby Tracy with Blanche. Later Ernie overhears the same information in the Rovers. Both Emily and Ernie are upset - it's obvious Ray and Deirdre only trust Blanche.
Things are getting tight for Betty. She wonders about asking Mrs Walker for a pay rise, and puts an advert in the Kabin, selling her china cabinet.
Monday (1713, 15 June 1977)
Emily Bishop is still upset that she wasn't asked to look after Tracy whilst Ray and Deirdre go to London, but Blanche smoothes things over.
Work is being transfered to Mike Baldwin's factory in London, and a three-day-week is threatened at the Weatherfield factory.
Ray and Deirdre's train is delayed; Blanche has to get hers - and leaves Tracy in the capable hands of Ena Sharples. Ena trips and knocks herself out.
Tuesday (1714, 20 June 1977)
Elsie fears something's wrong at No5, so she gets Ernie to break in, and they find Ena unconscious. She is rushed to hospital.
Betty gets her china cabinet valued (by Emmerdale's Seth Armstrong, masqueading as 'Arthur Stokes'). Alf comes round to check Betty will be OK, and the running gag for the rest of the week is that Betty and Alf are "more than just friends"
Wednesday (1715, 22 June 1977)
The workers at the factory propose a Workers' Co-operative as they are still on a three-day week. Mike Baldwin puts them straight.
Ena is still unconscious; Albert stays and talks to her, and eventually his incessant babbling brings her round...
Deirdre apologises to Emily for not asking her to look after Tracy, and they are friends again
Thursday (1716, 27 June 1977)
Terry Bates turns up at the Kabin - he isn't getting on with Doreen, Harry's new woman.
A surveyor turns up in the street, and despite his claims he's only a student, Bet elaborates it, fuelled further by reports that Coronation Street has missed out on being part of a General Improvement Plan, and may be demolished.
Terry Bates leaves home and turns up at No9
Friday (1717, 29 June 1977)
Len Fairclough refuses to let Terry stay, despite Rita's pleas.
Mrs Walker is seriously worried that the street may be knocked down, but then finds out Bet exagerated the situation, and turns the tables on her.
Eddie arranges a rota amongst the neighbours to look after Ena when she comes out of hospital.
Rita invites Terry back to No9 for his tea as he has nowhere else to stay. Len almost physically throws him out.
Monday (1718, 4 July 1977)
Ena comes back home - and immediately objects to the rota of carers organised for her.
Bet arranges a date for her and Renee with 'scaffolders' Le Fox and Eric Bailey
Rita and Len are still at loggerheads over Terry Bates
Councillor Jim Tattersall comes to inspect the Community Centre. Albert (the deputy caretaker) refuses to provide tea and biscuits as caretaker Ena Sharples is just back from hospital. Councillor Tattersall threatens chages and sackings
Tuesday (1719, 6 July 1977)
Ena is threatened with the sack and eviction by Tattersall. He implies that Ken Barlow is running a local mafia (!) All the locals object and let their feelings known. After a little digging, Councillor Alf Roberts finds out that Tattersall's niece has put herself forward for the not-yet-vacant caretaker's position.
Rita and Len are still rowing. Rita closes the Kabin, and goes shopping in Manchester. Len retires to The Rovers - but in the evening, Rita cooks Len prawns, his favorite, and they make up.
Bet and Renee go on another date with Les and Eric in Ashton-under-Lyne. Whilst they are going to a boarded-up house, Les and Eric rob the Corner Shop.
Wednesday (1720, 11 July 1977)
The Corner Shop lost £15 from the till and £400 stock.
Suzie sees an advert in the local paper, and whilst Elsie's away in the North-East, she takes in Roger, a French student at £3 a day.
The decorators are in at the Rovers. Ernie and Emily also want No3's bedrooms decorated. Fairclough and Langton quote £50 a room, the decorators £30...
Thursday (1721, 13 July 1977)
Roger leaves - but invites Suzie and Gail over to France
Ray sees the Rovers decorators doing a foreigner at No3. He reports them to the brewery, and they are sacked. Other Newton and Ridley workers come out on strike in sympathy.
Friday (1722, 18 July 1977)
Mrs Walker returns to The Rovers, to find it half-decorated and with the beer running out. With the threat of 'Beer Rationing', Eddie and Stan decide to brew their own beer - in Hilda's bath.
Elsie returns from the North-East, where she had been trying to generate sales for Mike Baldwin. She also called in on Alan Howard in Newcastle, and "had a few good nights out".
This week's transmissions were notable with appearances in previous roles by Don Brennan, Arnold Swain, Bill Webster and Joe Broughton
Monday (1723, 20 July 1977)
Fearful of the 'Customs & Exercise', Hilda pulls the plug on Stan and Eddie's bathfull of beer - only to find out it was legal
Alan Howard writes to Elsie and says that despite having a good week last week, he thinks they should be free to marry again and wants a divorce
Tuesday (1724, 25 July 1977)
It's Sunday and Mavis and Derek are spending the day together. Auntie Edie's neighbour rings and tells Mavis Edie has been taken ill. Edie's other niece Ethel Platt refuses to move in with her, so Mavis feels she "has to play the mug again".
£45 goes missing from the Rovers. Annie suspects both Betty and Fred
Wednesday (1725, 27 July 1977)
Annie Walker is still suspicious - she locks the parlour door and puts the till float out late. Eventually she admits she suspects Betty: "These things happen to ladies of a certain age". Betty walks out
Derek tries to persuade Ethel to help out with Auntie Edie. She refuses, and Mavis feels obliged to move back in with her.
Thursday (1726, 1 August 1977)
Betty starts working at the Corner Shop - Renee's mum has had an operation, and Renee has gone to Lancster to look after her.
Hilda decides she has clairvoyant powers and starts to read tealeaves
DC Burton comes into the Rovers and asks why the £45 hasn't been reported missing - pub decorator Gary Hankins was caught stealing money at another pub, and confessed to a string of crimes.
Both Auntie Edie and cousin Ethel are wearing down Mavis.
Friday (1727, 3 August 1977)
Annie Walker is in a foul mood - she knows she was wrong and ulimately has to apologise to Betty - but Betty won't come back to The Rovers.
Hilda organises a seance and scares everybody, including herself
Auntie Edie bans Derek from her house - but Mavis stands her groud and invites Derek round for tea
Betty finds out that Annie has been gossiping about her to Nellie Harvey at the Flying Horse. betty threatrens to sue Annie.
Monday (1728, 8 August 1977)
Hilda wants to get rid of their old tandem.
Albert admits he overheard Annie's conversation with Nellie Harvey, and will repeat that in court.
Stan sells the tandem to Suzie and Gail for £7 - and than finds out it could be worth £100
Tuesday (1729, 10 August 1977)
Annie 'apologies' to Betty in her own way - Betty turns her down.
Eddie buys the tandem back for £15. Eddie and Stan hide the tandem in a derelict house while they pop in for a pint on their way to sell it - meanwhile the house is demolished.
Annie writes out a card of apology - Betty turns that down saying people will still think "No smoke without fire". Later, Albert seems unsure of his evidence and Betty decides not to go to court - but she doesn't know if she can bring herself to work in the Rovers again.
Wednesday (1730, 15 August 1977)
Aunty Edie is still always complaining to Mavis.
Hilda spends the profits from the tandem in Bet's catalogue - and when she hears of the tandem's fate, she doesn't believe them, thinking they've kept the money
Dierdre doesn't like the arrangement Len and Ray have - Len is senior partner and takes 60% of the profits
Thursday (1731, 17 August 1977)
Auntie Edie looks like she really is ill - but Mavis has to go to work. She comes home in the evening to find Edie dead in bed from a heart attack.
Ray asks Len about altering the partnership, but he refuses to change.
Hilda still believes Stan and Eddie have pocketed the £100 between themselves
Friday (1732, 22 August 1977)
Ken's son Peter comes down from Glasgow
Mavis feels responsible for Edie's death. Later Ethel asks about Edie's will.
Dierdre is still bitter about the partnership arrangements.
Monday (1733, 24 August 1977)
Len refuses to go 50/50 - and tells Ray if he wants an equal partnership he can go out on his own. After some discussion they decide on a new partnership, but don't reveal the details to their wives.
Mavis is then beneficiary of Auntie Edie's will - Ethel Platt is very unhappy and wonders about contesting it until it emerges that Edie didn't own the house, and there's very little money in the estate. mavis is now looking for somewhere to live.
Peter wants Ken to take himwalking in the Peak District.
Tuesday (1734, 29 August 1977)
Ken and Peter go to Hayfield for THE WALK. The residents treat it on a par with an Himalayan expedition - they even get a summons from Annie Walker. Later, after getting slightly lost, Ken manages to turn his ankle and can't walk. Peter goes to get help.
A customer in The Western Front helps Mike Baldwin change a flat tyre, and in return Mike offers him a job - Steve Fisher stats work for Baldwin Enterprises.
Renee arrives back from Lancaster - Annie expects Betty to ask to take her back on at The Rovers - but she doesn't.
Eddie offers a suspicious Annie a monogrammed carpet
Wednesday (1735, 31 August 1977)
It gets dark in the Peak District, and Peter has to spend the night behind a stone wall. In the morning he alerts the Mountain Rescue service and Ken is rescued - by helicopter (!)
Renee tells Betty the shop can't support two staff
Eddie turns up with a monogrammed carpet sample - Annie is impressed and agrees to buy some.
Thursday (1736, 5 September 1977)
Ken comes home - with torn ligaments. Later he wonders if he should ask Peter to move back down to Weatherfield
Betty still hasn't come back. Fred is away and Annie wants to go away, so she has to look for new bar staff. She takes on Dawn Perks, who looks very dowdy at interview.
Annie has her new carpet fitted - everyone is impressed
A very glamourous Dawn Perks and her cleavage turn up for work in the evening.
Friday (1737, 7 September 1977)
Bet is VERY jealous of Dawn, mainly because she's a lot younger and more attractive. Annie goes to Jersey and leaves Bet in charge of The Rovers
Peter says he wants to come and live with Ken, however, Ken
realises that Peter really wants to stay in Glasgow with his family
and friends, and Ken ships him off home.
No episode details available - can you help?
Monday (1743, 28 September 1977)
Despite Len's reservations, Rita thinks about starting to sing again at the Gatsby Club. Later Rita is taken out to lunch by Ralph Lancaster - Len is not amused.
Albert goes up to Glasgow to see Peter and Susan
There's friction at the factory with Mike's new woman Terri Clayton, who he's got working in the Sewing Room
Tuesday (1744, 3 October 1977)
Len agrees to Rita singing at a charity event at The Gatsby. Despite Emily's objections, Ernie argees to play piano for Rita.
Terri proves to be a very bad machinist - which annoys all the other girls - but is good at snogging with Mike in the factory.
Alf takes Renee out - to a council meeting
Wednesday (1745, 5 October 1977)
Mike realises Terri can't do the job, but doesn't know how to handle it. Later he tells Terri that he needs to move her - she thinks that he's trying to dump her and resigns, and also drops Mike.
The whole street appears to turn out to watch Rita at the Gatsby. Ernie manages to trap his fingers in the Rovers hatch with the help of a darts player. Ernie can't play for Rita, and Fay from the crowd helps out, but can't play Rita's tunes.
A rather drunk Alf asks Renne to marry him (sort of). Renee agrees (she thinks !)
Thursday (1746, 10 October 1977)
Next morning both Alf and Renee are a little embarrassed and confused about what happened at The Gatsby the night before. However, news of their 'engagement' soon gets round.
Suzie's dad turns up at No11 - her mother has left her dad. he goes to the Western Front to tell Suzie, who just says her mother should have done it ages ago.
Steve Fisher asks Suzie out, but she's got a new rugby-playing boyfriend
Friday (1747, 12 October 1977)
Suzie only has concerns for her mother. Her dad turns up at No11 again. Gail feels sorry for him, but Elsie advisies her not to get involved.
Speculation about Alf and Renee is rife. They meet up and agree they were both drunk.
Suzie and Gail row over her mother, which ends with Suzie slapping Gail. Suzie goes to see her dad in The Rovers. He physically tries to force her to come home.
Monday (1748, 17 October 1977)
Suzie is still in a foul temper over her father. He dad turns up at the Western Front again. He gets aggresive, but Suzie throws him out. He tries to get hold of Mike Baldwin, and tells Ernie that Suzie has to leave her job for family reasons and will be finishing on Friday. Suzie finds out later and puts Ernie straight. Frightened of her father, she decides to leave No11. Elsie persuades her to stay and offers her help.
Annie gets a gas bill reminder - which she has already paid. The Gas Board gets a telling offf - and also the Ogdens for spreading rumours. Bet and Betty find out Annie has been in The Rovers 40 years.
Tuesday (1749, 19 October 1977)
Bet and Betty arrange a suprise party of Annie for mark 40 years.
Bob Birchall turns up at No11 again, and forces Suzie into his car. Steve Foster rescues her, and gets punched for his pains.
Annie is almost in tears as everyone sings "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" and then Bet gets Billy Walker to make a grand entrance from Jersey. Later Mr Creswell from the brewery presents Annie with a silver tray.
Dierdre is followed on her way back from keep fit, and is then indecently assaulted underneath the viaduct.
Wednesday (1750, 24 October 1977)
As Annie Walker's 40th party continues, Dierdre is in No5, and although very distressed, refuses to call the police. Emily comes round, and they realise the situation could have been a lot worse - "The filthy pig..."
Billy Walker calls on his ex-fiancee. Dierdre puts on a brave face and doesn't let on. Later Emily calls on her again and urges her to go to the police. She refuses, and admits she thinks she knows who the man was.
Hilda moves into the twentieth century when she buys Renee's old washing machine.
Thursday (1751, 26 October 1977)
Ernie feels it's his duty as a citizen to report an attempted rape; Emily has a word with Ray and asks him to try and get Dierdre to reconsider. In the paper, Ray & Dierdre read that the same man attacked another woman the same night. She reported it to the police and he was caught. A guilty Dierdre admits "She was braver than me".
Annie hopes that Billy won't go back to Jersey, now he's experienced "home comforts", but despite Annie's (and Suzie's) attentions, he decides to go back
Hilda's washing machine breaks down - there's a button stuck in the pump. The repair costs £6. To recoup some money, Stan and Eddie dream up the idea of Hilda taking in washing.
Mike Baldwin asks Bet out again, saying he's lonely. She's half-interested, until Suzie lets on she saw him in town with a young girl the other night. Bet throws her drink over Mike.
Friday (1752, 31 October 1977)
Hilda isn't amused when Stan brings in the first bundle of washing and refuses to have anything to do with it.
A visitor turns up at The Rovers - Annie's cousin Charles, whom she hasn't seen in over 40 years.
During the middle of one of Stan and Hilda's rows, a Mr Pritchard turns up. He's from Halliwells, who make 'Loving Cup' - "The new together drink for Britain's young moderns", and the Ogden's have won a 'Loving Couples' competition, with a prize of a second honeymoon night in the Bridal Suite of a 5-star hotel - and £25 spending money. Hilda and Stan soon come together to overcome Mr Pritchard's doubts of "marital friction". Hilda's winning tip for a happy marriage: "Be a mistress as well as a wife, and your husband will still be your boyfriend."
Dierdre is still upset. She won't go into The Rovers and doesn't want Ray to leave her alone.
Monday (1753, 2 November 1977)
Hilda buys a new dress for her second honeymoon
Dierdre is still depressed - Ray suggests going to a doctor as she hasn't been out of the house for two days.
Annie's cousin Charles (one of the famous "Beaumonts of Clitheroe") comes to The Rovers to take her out for a meal. He manages to forget his chequebook and gets a bottle of wine on tick from Renee, and then borrows £15 from Alf.
Tuesday (1754, 7 November 1977)
Charles turns up at The Rovers again, promising to pay his debts - now he owes Ken money. Fred gets annoyed with the situation, insults the customers and resigns. Annie lends Charles the Rover, rather than let him hire a car.
Ray persuades a glum Dierdre to go into work. Left alone in the office, a friend of Ray's comes in - and Dierdre throws a fit. Ray takes her home, shaking and in tears.
Betty asks for a £2 sub as Charles has just borrowed £2 off her. Annie smells a rat and checks. He isn't staying at the Midland Hotel as he claims. When challenged, he admits he wasn't a Marine Insurance Agent, but a ledger clerk whose life didn't amount to very much. Annie forces him to own up to all his debts, and then gives him a cheque to cover the amount, so he can be seen to be paying back his debts - "to keep up my very good name".
Wednesday (1755, 9 November 1977)
Fred comes back, and Charles stays at The Rovers - but stalls on paying back his creditors
Dierdre stays away from the yard - Len threatens to employ someone else. He pushes the point, so Ray has to explain what happened.
Word starts to get round that Charles owes money - now it's Len, Alf, Ken and Betty ! Len invites Charles round to the yard, and asks that the debts are paid. Charles is suprised they are concerned over "a few fivers - such trivial amounts". Annie talks to Cousin Florence and finds that Charles made off with a pair of binoculars last summer. She asks him to leave - but not before ensuring the debts are paid and her face is saved.
Thursday (1756, 14 November 1977)
A chauffer-driven car pulls up at No13 for Stan and Hilda's second honeymoon. They are greeted by the hotel manager and shown to a very luxurious room - Room 504. Hilda feels like a duchess - especially when they serve vintage champagne. She gets Stan to kiss her: "What's that lipstick taste of ?" "Woman, Stanley, woman"
Ray arranges to take a still-depressed Dierde out to the Dog & Gun pub in the country
Friday (1757, 16 November 1977)
After breakfast, Hilda gets a bouquet of flowers and is almost in tears " I don't think I've been treated better in the whole of me life..." She then comes back to earth when she returns to No13
Gail babysits for Ray and Dierdre, who asks if she looks alright. Gail replies "Dead sexy" - which immediately makes Dierdre want to stay at home. An annoyed and confused Ray storms out to the Rovers, whilst Tracy cries. A glassy-eyed Dierdre (even more than usual !) walks out of No5 and into the night, leaving Tracy crying all alone...
Monday (1758, 21 November 1977)
A few Rovers regulars decide to go to a disco; Ray goes to invite Dierdre and finds No5 empty. He starts to hunt for her - Suzie last saw her heading towards the canal, but there's no sign of her. Reluctantly, Ray and Emily decide to call the police...
As a 'demonstration' of his powers over women (and a bet), Mike Baldwin asks (well, commands) Suzie to go to a wrestling match with him.
Meanwhile, a sobbing Dierdre stands on a motorway bridge, staring at the traffic and wondering whether to jump...
Tuesday (1759, 23 November 1977)
Dierdre stands on the bridge in a trance - until she's snapped out of it by a lorry driver asking for directions. She goes home to a relieved Ray. Next morning she confesses she contemplated suicide, and agrees to see and doctor. They agree to go away for a bit.
Suzie is flattered by Mike's 'attentions'. Steve Fisher is jealous
Elsie's phone is cut off - she feels the girls should pay the bill
Wednesday (1760, 28 November 1977)
A jealous and concerned Steve tells Suzie that she's the subject of a bet. She stays in and has fish and chips with Elsie. Mike is left alone in a cocktail bar.
Mavis complains about her working hours to Derek. He suggests using the proceeds of Auntie Edie's will as the downpayment on a mortgage for a little house, and they start looking. When she goes to her Building Society, Mavis finds she doesn't earn enough to get a mortgage, but Derek hints that she hasn't taken him into account.
Elsie pays the phone bill
Thursday (1761, 30 November 1977)
Mavis looks round a house with Derek. Later they go to the building society and agree to take out a joint mortgage. Rita tells her that's a euphamism for a proposal.
Elsie gets the girls to pay £10 each for the phone. Suzie wonders if turning down Mike Baldwin was a good idea.
Friday (1762, 5 December 1977)
A Mrs Green from Inkerman Street comes round to No13 asking for her washing. Hilda reluctantly washes and irons it - unbeknown to Stan and Eddie who wash it again. So Hilda dirties it again on purpose.
Rita tells Mavis to ask Derek outright if it was a proposal of marriage - and suspects his mother doesn't know about the house.
Suzie makes a play for Mike Baldwin
Dierdre and Ray are staying with Blanche, and Dierdre is seeing a psychiatrist down there.
Ralph Lancaster rings to see if Rita could sing at The Gatsby that night. She agrees. Suprisingly, Len also agrees and intends to bring Elsie along as well. Elsie and Len never get to The Gatsby, but spend the night in No9, drinking. When Rita gets back she is NOT amused.
Monday (1763, 7 December 1977)
Rita still hasn't forgiven Len for last night. In the Rovers, Fred (who always had a soft spot for Rita) suspects Len of two-timing Rita. Renee fuels the gossip further. Later, Fred confronts Rita and tells her everyone is gossiping about Len, Elsie and her. Rita and Len have already kissed and made up, unbeknown to everyone else.
Gail and Suzie get a pay rise
Stan finally gets the (clean) washing back to Mrs Green. Stan and Eddie decide taking in washing is a bad idea.
Mike Baldwin invites Suzie out - she agrees
Tuesday (1764, 12 December 1977)
Mavis' head is full of houses - much to Rita's irritation. Later, she gets the go-ahead from the Building Society. Derek gets worried at the insinuations he's setting up a love nest.
The gossips, lead by Hilda, try to find out what's happened between Len and Rita.
Annie invites Alf for Christmas dinner at the Rovers
Suzie goes out with Mike Baldwin. She gets the better of him by giving him a simple peck on the cheek as a goodnight kiss
Wednesday (1765, 14 December 1977)
The gossip is getting to Rita. Len tells her to ignore it. Fred is still brooding about Rita's supposed treatment at the hands of Len and Elsie - and refuses to serve Elsie. Later Len tells Fred to mind his own business. Fred is not amused.
Derek is horrified to find out that the 'love nest' assumption is widespread. He tells Mavis he's backing out of the house deal - his job is allegedly being moved to Birkenhead. Mavis suspects Derek's mother is behind it all, and she is devastated.
Mike asks Suzie out again - much to Gail's annoyance.
Thursday (1766, 19 December 1977)
Mavis is still very upset - but helps set up for the Old Folk's Christmas Party. Rita comforts her.
Steve asks Suzie out again - she says she'll let him know.
Bet tells Hilda the Factory Party is fancy dress - Hilda walks in as Charlie Chaplin. Suzie brings a partner to the party - Robin Smethhurst. Mike Baldwin is dumbstruck. In the middle of the party, the girls demand a Christmas bonus - a kiss each from Mike.
The star turn of the old folks party - Larry Larkin - fails to turn up. Ken gets Rita, aided by Ivy and Vera to help out.
Friday (1767, 21 December 1977)
The old folks party is a success, due to Rita, aided by Ivy, Hilda, Vera and a finale of Eddie Bet and Fred as the Beverley Sisters.
At the factory party Gail finally gets a dance from Steve Fisher
A jealous Mike Baldwin is left all alone at the end of the factory party as Suzie goes off to the Flowerpot nightclub with Robin
Rita makes the peace by inviting Elsie to their Boxing Day lunch.
Monday (1768, 26 December 1977)
Eddie managed to let a few people down by not delivering the cheap turkeys he had promised.
Ray and Dierdre return from Blanche's
Albert gets an invite to Annie Walker's for dinner
Rita, Len and Elsie have dinner - with both women trying to score points over the other.
'Moggy' finally delivers Eddie's turkeys - with a note saying "sorry they're a bit late"
Tuesday (1769, 28 December 1977)
Eddie stores the turkeys in Renee's freezer, and gets Albert to sell them for him. Later he haggles over his cut, so Eddie brings in Sam Turner.
Fred is still annoyed at Len
Ray and Dierdre Langton hold a party. Fred gets very drunk, punches Len and he breaks Ray's prized coffee table.
Wednesday (1770, 2 January 1978)
Hilda fancies a colour TV in the January sales - and she camps out at Perkins overnight to ensure she's first in the queue. Later she is joined by Ozzie, a tramp.
Annie is concerned there's something wrong with Fred with his aggresive tendencies. She suggests he sees a doctor.
Len comes into the Rovers - and thumps Fred.
Thursday (1771, 4 January 1978)
Rita isn't amused that Len thumped Fred.
Radio Weatherfield turn up to interview the people in the Sales queue. Whilst being interviewed, Hilda looses her place - and the TV.
Alf asks Renee out again "for a special evening", but finds at the last minute he has to go on a course in London for a fortnight.
Mike Baldwin and Ernie Bishop go to the bank for the wages money. Unbeknown to them, they are followed by two men and a gun...
Rita, Len, Elsie and Fred have another spat in the Rovers
Friday (1772, 9 January 1978)
A tragic day this will turn out to be.
Vera and Ivy are gossiping in the factory over a slaging match in the pub at dinnertime - between Rita and Elsie over Len! Elsie insists jealousy had nothing to do with it. (yeah right)
Two young men are driving around and acting suspicious. Seems they have their eye on the wage packets Mike has with him in the car but they don't catch up with him so they decide to head to the factory.
Emily and Renee browse the holiday brochures for a summer vacation. Emily muses up on Greece and decides to discuss it with Ernest that evening. Betty's showing off a new coat she got on sale. Hilda turns her nose up but it sounds more like sour grapes as she missed out on the sale!But what Hilda really wants is a colour telly. Stan and Eddie are picking draws for the pools when she comes in griping. Eddie promises to sort something out. (uh oh. you know that's not going to have the desire results!)
Steve from the factory comes in the shop and wants a pie for his dinner but he doesn't have enough money and she won't give it to him on the slate. Ivy rushes in with four pounds 12 worth of cigarette orders and asks to pay when everyone gets their wage packet that afternoon. That's all right with Renee which sets Steve off whining Unfair so she gives in (after all he gets paid this afternoon as well!) Later, Ivy and Vera tease him about Suzi and Elsie scolds them again for skiving.
Renee takes a call from Alf and her voice goes all soft but she's soon disappointed because he's out of town and is going to miss their date.
Ernest and Mike return from the bank. Ernie is going to sort out the packets and bonuses. Mike leaves him to it and goes to the pub. The thieves contemplate their upcoming robbery while the factory staff discuss what they are going to spend their bonuses on. Ernie reckons to them that this is the best time of his life in spite of sober appearances to the contrary. (that's it, mate, you've just uttered the Soap Opera Phrase of Doom. You're toast!)
Back at number 13, Eddie has brought a screen to fit over the television. It's pre-coloured and turns the top half blue and the bottom half green. No flamin' good, Hilda decides. Better than nowt, Stan thinks. Hilda bitterly claims that's the story of her life and stalks off.
The two thieves come in to the office and demand money (hey, everyone is still in the factory, didn't they see them come in?) Ernie protests but they have a shotgun so he does what he's told. It would have been all right except Mike comes in quickly and bumps into the man holding the gun and the gun goes off!!! The robbers turn tail and scarper while Mike kneels over Ernie who's been shot! Elsie and the staff hear the commotion and are shocked when the robbers burst into the factory floor by mistake so the women all get a good look at their faces while Mike calls the ambulance and police.