It is morning and Ashley is leaving Ken's house having STAYED THE NIGHT with Kelly. They then have the most bizarre conversation:
Ashley: Buhbye Kelly
Kelly: Buhbye Ashley
Ashley: Buhbye Kelly
Kelly: Buhbye Ashley
Ashley: Buhbue Kelly
But before this interesting interchange of opinions can develop any further, Emily appears. In her insanity she thinks that Ashley is a binman and gives him some rubbish to take away. However, after seeing Kelly, looking smug and sated at the front door, she realises just what has been going on.
Later in the Rovers, Ashley is being humilated by Uncle Fred who tells Emily that he moons around all the time in love, and his work isn't what it used to be. "You 'av, I say, you 'av to get up early in the morning to be a butcher" blusters Fred. "Indeed," says Emily. "With the binmen it seems.."
But our lovebirds never learn and later Ashely is back for more. He tries to become Ken, even wearing his dressing-gown and reading Ken's newspaper:
"Do you know anything about preferential interest rates and gilt-edged stock shares?"
"No - I don't Ashley."
"I don't suppose we'll get rich this year then Kelly."
"Do you know anything about exchange rate mechanisms?"
However this delightful little conversation is halted when Ken arrives home, early. Ashley springs out of Ken's favourite chair, but is too stupid to hide and so Ken confronts the guilty couple. Ken sends Ashley home and tells Kelly not to let it happen again.
Kevin tells Gail that he is fed up with Don. Gail tells Sally, who then tells Kevin that he shouldn't have told Gail. "You should know better living in a Street like this - with 30 million people watching your every move Kevin."
Don turns up at the garage to watch over the "boys" and learn the "tricks of the trade," but brimming over with male hormones, Kevin walks out. Don squawks at him to "get back here," and explains that he is not spying, but he wants to learn. Kevin has to back down, but says he is going to the toilet. Later, Josie tells Don that if he has any more trouble with Kevin, to send her round as she's hard.
Why were Dreary and Alec talking about Tracy/Vicky in the Rovers the other day? I thought it was a throwaway scene so didn't mention it, but I should have known that CS never wastes air-time. Dreary tells Gail that she is going to go and visit Tracy (Hurrah!) who is now living in Hackney and has to take pills every day of her life (irony!)
Dreary goes to the travel-agents to book a holiday and hey presto gets a job there with Alec. It's so nice to see Dreary smile for a change. She even celebrated with a glass of red wine in the Rovers. Now that's what I call swish! "I'm off 't SCRAP-'EAP finally!"
Steve comes into the salon to have his hair cut, but Fiona is busy with Phyllis and Maud so he says he will come back later. Phyllis and Maud are meanwhile having a contest to see who's brain is deteriorating most quickly.
Vicky tells Alec that she is wants to move out because she feels that if Steve wants to see her he has to fight his way past Alec.
Andy admits to Anne that he is pleased that Steve is in trouble - as he has always felt in his brother's shadow. He feels guilty about this but gets a chance to make up for it by sticking up for Steve when Des starts to have a "go" at the McDonalds, even to the point of moving out of Des's house.
Steve then goes to see Fiona and tries to come on to her, by asking her to go upstairs with him three times. Fiona comforts him, but will not allow him to take advantage of her. Steve walks out on her. Credits.
Best line: Kelly smells Ashely: "Uuuughh Tripe and Liver!"
Best line: runnerup: Des: "I heard a joke today. What do you call a McDonald in a suit? The accused."
Weirdest moment: was it just Granada or did Ashley start walking backwards in fast-motion? Then we were cut to half-way through a scene with Gail. I always think that someone gets sacked after that happens.
Granada TV mess with our heads once again! This weeks subliminal health message was not "don't take drugs and end up like Tracy" - too obvious. No, it was "always wear reflective clothes kids when you're cycling." And to demonstrate there were several shots of Josie, putting on her luminous bands, and later taking them off.
Granada screened a "special" episode from the 70s to celebrate 40 glorious years of Granada output. This episode centred around Bet's plans for a party for Annie Walker who had been at the Rovers for 40 years (Duh - dat's really clever). In this episode we were "treated" to the fashions and storylines of yesteryear, including, Deidre's hair, pre-perm, pre-Timotei, pre-anything; Annie Walker's coat with the lepoard-skin collars; Gail and Susie's flared jeans and "happening" boutique (we know it's "happening" because there are two disco lights above the shelves). And if we had forgotten what Hilda sounded like, this episode reminded us. Think of nails on blackboard.
However, the episode was not all 70s kitsch and northern-glamour. At the end, Deirdre is followed home (shot of man's legs, then Deirdre's legs, then man's legs, then Deirdre's legs, then Deirdre fading into the darkness until only her glasses are visible in the night.) It was terrifying to watch (however, it demonstrates the First Rule of Coronation Street that states that whenever there is a happy get-together in the Rovers, at least one other character in another scene is being terrorised or on the brink of suicide). I suppose we will have to wait until Granada Gold to find out what happened.
Speed up 20 years and note the differences - the wallpaper in the Rovers is only slightly more tasteful, Betty has put on about 3 stone (all that hotpot), Gail is no longer a lust-ridden teenager, at least Emily Bishop is EXACTLY the same....
Emily and Ken and Kelly.
"I wasn't sure if you wanted me to still baby-sit" says Kelly to Ken, but Ken doesn't know the FULL STORY yet and is happy to let Kelly look after the baby. A series of contrivances and co-incidences allow this non-storyline to further "develop" - Kelly lets it slip to Ken that Emily might know something, so Ken asks Emily who says she knows nothing. Then Emily hints something to Rita who has overheard and is sniffing for gossip, who then hints some more to the cast of the Rovers, which for Vera gossip = gospel and it gets back to Ken - at inflated cost.
"Do you still want me to babysit for you?" says Kelly for the 15th time. "Well, to sack you would be the easy answer," Ken tells her. "But who would lose out? I would get another babysitter, you would get another job. But baby Daniel would lose the months of trust and bonding which you have built up with him." "I think the people round here are OK," says Jelly (sorry Kelly - my finger slipped). "Yes, but that's a shorthand for something more serious," says Ken. "And if you read the tabloids you'll know what I'm talking about." What? Did anyone understand what he meant?
Kevin and Don and Derek
Derek's car has broken down and so Kevin agrees to fix it. Don tells Derek pointedly and slighly sarcastically that it could take all day - only Kevin knows the answer. Luckily, the car is fixed in time, but Derek is not pleased as he wanted the day off.
McDonalds and Vicky
Back in court again for another McDonald. They even have their own set of chairs with their names on them. Vicky pleads guilty, while Steve swears he is innocent. This leads to after-session trouble when Vicky confronts Steve with "I hate you. I never want to see you again. I wish I had never met you!" Liz is also appalled at her son's behaviour - Andy has moved back in with her, after Des "asked him to leave", and they both wring their hands at what a horrible person Steve is.
Alec is not happy that Uncle Nick advised Vicky to say that she was guilty, but Uncle Nick says it is for the best and that it will reduce the chances of a lengthy sentence - Vicky is of previously good character.
Jim calls to see Liz and they discuss their son. Jim is not as visibly shocked as Liz - he thinks that Steve has a good chance of getting off, and Vicky being blamed. Liz is furious and says that her son will have to learn - even if it means that she will make some vague threats and the episode will end on a close-up of her hideous flared nostrils. Credits.
Best line (Runner-up): Vera to Maureen: "Give me some cheddar and I don't want any old stuff like last time." Maureen: "It was mature Vera." Vera: "Mature? Mummified more like!"
Best line (Winner): Alec on the phone to a dissatisfied customer: "No bingo, you say? And it rained? It's sunny in the brochure? Well there's a big blonde piece wearing nowt but a bikini in the brochure but she doesn't come with the package either!"
Best image: Dreary and a big cardboard box of balloons for the travel agent's "promotion day." "If working involves blowing up lots of balloons, I wish I were back on 't SCRAP'EAP!"
It's Bank Holiday and Jamie is helping Trish with some bin-bags. Bill is going to see a football match with Kevin and Trish begs him to take Jamie too. Bill is not keen as he wants to bond with Kevin (ahem yes), but at the last minute takes Jamie anyway, in that scruffy old van. (If he showed up at my house to put in a sky-light in that van I'd pretend to be out.)
Trish is happy that Jamie had such a nice time, and is in one of her rare good moods. She thanks Bill and then gives Jamie a big kiss. However, a remark she made about missing her child while she was in prison makes Bill stop on the stairs, lost in thought. Is he thinking about his own children?
Multiple storylines! The Hot-Shot is still ill, and Jack goes to see it. Vera suggests taking some biscuits, and Betty sarcastically suggests flowers and chocolates. Jack returns, depressed because the horse has to take time over to recuperate and will not be able to run until next season.
In typical "Jack" style he changes the charity box in the Rovers to the "Hot-shot" box. Maureen puts some money in, but Maud wants to know what it is for. When they find out they demand their money back. "It's the same as if I put a box in my shop for the disabled and then emptied all the money into my handbag when it got full," says Maud.
Vera is in need of a holiday and goes to the only travel agents in Manchester. She wants somewhere with nice weather, not too hot, with British food. Alec suggests that she stays at home. Jack is not too interested.
Bank Holiday means a stock-take for Rita while Mavis "digs for England." Fred arrives, wanting a "In deepest Sympathy" card for a newsagent friend who has recently passed on. Rita knew him too and listens to Fred lament that he might have killed this man because he always liked his meat on the fatty side and Fred was always glad to oblige.
The funeral is in a couple of days time and Fred suggests that they go together.
Andy has moved all of his things from Des's house. Des apologises for being mean - although he continues to be mean to Andy for the rest of that scene. Apparently he is going on a picnic and won't tell anyone who he is going with.
Once esconced in Liz's domain, Andy is startled by the return of Steve. Steve tries his "charm" on Liz, who for once does not believe any of it. Steve gives up and tries to borrow some money from Andy, as he has nowhere to live. "Put yer money away Andy" says Liz. "Steve's stayin'!"
Steve tries to be brotherly with Andy by making him try on an old jacket. Andy tells Steve that Anne isn't impressed by flashy clothes. "What is she impressed with? Good looks and brilliant wit?" bitches Steve. "No actually," says Andy, "She wants someone she can trust, who won't run out on her when the going gets tough." It's so easy to slap old vampire boy down these days.
Meanwhile Vicky is hiding in the back of Alec's shop - coming to terms with the fact that she is likely to go to prison. Uncle Nick stops by to cheer her up but he can offer no certainties, only likelihoods. Vicky reiterates that her marriage to Steve is finally over. Close-up on Alec, twitching. Credits.
Best costume: Rita. What was she wearing? A white trouser suit with little yellow suns over it and a few bits of broken glass. Oh Rita, you could give lessons to RuPaul.
Ashley and Kelly and Ken
Kelly is buying a magazine from The Kabin, because baby Daniel "likes M People." I wonder if baby Daniel will oblige and read the relevant article out loud for Kelly? Kelly then announces to a few extras (Martin) that Ashley is taking her to Blackpool tonight as it is her night off.
However, Ken is late coming home, and the two teenagers who are waiting in a car to take Kelly are getting impatient. By the time Ken comes back from his emergency staff meeting, Ashely and Kelly look glummer than usual. Ken is apologetic, Kelly is noble and says it doesn't matter but Ashley says it does. "Shurrup Ashley" says Kelly. Ken looks bemused. Was that their first tiff?
Rita and Fred and Alf
No jazzy trouser suits and gaudy bangles for Rita today (although Vera uses this as an opportunity to snatch the Bad Jewellery Crown from Rita's Big Red Wig - see Awards). It's funeral day and Rita is in respectable black.
At the funeral, Alf sees the back of the Big Red Wig and decides to make a move on Rita, but Fred stops him and makes him carry 20 hymn books instead. Afterwards Alf tries again, offering Rita a lift home, but Fred screams "Unhand that lady!" and arranges so that Alf drives another man home - a very old man who has to have two walking sticks and is probably incontinent.
Stopping off at what looks like the tea-room part of a nice country hotel, Fred tells Rita how much he has enjoyed their day (Only on Coronation Street would a funeral be classed as a date!) Rita agrees. Fred says he is not chatting her up and then proceeds to do so. Rita is attracted to his sense of humour. Could this be love?
Andy, Des and Claire (Claire?)
Andy calls round to Des's to get a mug, but Des is reluctant to let him in. Andy pushes past to see what looks like a younger, short-haired, longer- nosed version of Liz who is introduced as "Claire." Lots of nudge nudging from Andy. Des is not pleased and tells Andy that his psychologist phoned earlier.
Jack and Vera and Bill and the Mallets
Vera is still harping on about her holiday, and demands that Jack goes to see Alec to get brochures and a discount. Jack doesn't want to go and Vera thinks it is because Alec was once Jack's boss. "He's a jumped up nobody, and you're a jumped up somebody, so get going!"
Vera has to find someone to take over while they are away. She floats over to Bill and Maureen, offering them free drinks on the house and then tells Bill that she is so pleased he'll look after the pub for them. Bill says he can't, causing Vera to lapse into Tourette's Syndrome mode, spitting and cursing at Bill, she calls him a no-hoper. "No free drinks then?" says Bill when she has gone.
Joyce overhears that Vera is looking for someone to look after the pub and tells Judy who offers her services. Vera flatly refuses.
Meanwhile, Jack is in the travel agents, but is not impressed with any of the offers - and he is not given a discount. He leaves as Steve McDonald enters.
McDonalds and Vicky and Alec and the Drear
Steve has been waiting for Alec to go out so that he can pester Vicky at the travel agents. When the coast is clear he makes his move, prompting Vicky to say in her most English voice "Mrs Rachid this man is annoying me. Please ask him to leave." Old Bull-dog Deirdre is itching for a scrap now that Liz doesn't need round-the-clock protection from Jim so she sidles up to Steve, towering above him and tells him to get out.
A nervy Vicky makes the Drear promise not to tell Alec, and Drear always grateful for a few crumbs of someone else's story-line agrees. When Alec arrives, he offers to send Deirdre on a course so that she can become a "real" travel agent and not just a pretend one. Drear is enthusiastic but keeps her word to Vicky.
Later in the Rovers, Alec and Jack are engaging in "man talk" and Jack says that he bets Steve got a discount when he was in the travel agents earlier. This prompts Alec to rush to the McDonalds where another row between Liz and Steve is blowing up. Don't ask me what it is about - I can't really remember. Alec starts making threats about the police and bail - Steve says "I only wanted to talk to her!" This is EXACTLY like the Liz-Jim plot a few weeks ago. Liz is not pleased. Credits.
Bad Jewellery Crown: Vera who was wearing what appeared to be two cymbals from her ears. She seems to have lost her neck too.
Best mispronunciation: Vera: "Eh Jack, We could go to Ibeeser."
Mystic Meg's predictions for the coming episodes (spot the false one):
Kelly makes an offer that Ken finds very interesting Fred finds out that he has competition for Rita's affections. Kevin realises that life as a high-class call-boy has it's drawbacks. Spain prepares for the Duckworths tooooooooo.
Kelly has hatched a plan so that she can have more freedom. She tells Ken that she wants to leave home and move away which will mean giving up the job. She manages to twist his words so that it means that she will move in with him. Ken is too amazed to retaliate, as Kelly has never been this pushy before. Ashley is at first disapproving of this scheme but Kelly makes him change his mind. Cut to them kissing in a street, up against a wall. Bleugh.
Jack has booked a holiday for Vera, and Betty finally agrees to look after the Rovers while they are away. Billy is a bit worried because he and his wife both know that he is a rampant alcholic and will not be able to resist temptation. Vera is overjoyed.
Fred is arranging a day-trip to York for him and Rita. "A tea-room every ten minutes (!!)," he blusters. Rita is interested but refuses to let the trip be an overnight one, telling Fred that she finds her own bed to be very comfortable. "I can well imagine," says Fred.
Trish bites the head of Alf in an early scene, which means that later on he apologises and offers to buy her a drink. Poor Trish is still complaining about having no money, causing Maureen to look pityingly after her. Is she thinking of giving her a job?
Fortunately, Jack asks Jamie to feed his pigeons while they are away on holiday, and pays him £10, "up front." So when Maureen finds Jamie hiding behind the shelves in the shop, he isn't shop-lifting, only trying to decide between Mozarella Cheese and Feta Cheese. "We only serve folks what's paying," says Maud, and when Jamie hands over the ten pound note as proof, she holds it up as if she had never seen money before.
Trish is overjoyed that Jamie is now a wage-earner and has bought tea for them both and they run off home, hand-in-hand as Maureen smiles after them...
In a rather nice part of Manchester (probably the picture used on the front cover of the "Manchester - Olympic City 2000!" brochures), Liz has arranged a clandestine meeting with Jim, to discuss what can be done with their wayward son. If this was Melrose Place they would probably arrange for Jim to dress up as Emily and run him over, and if this was Emmerdale they would probably sell him to Tina Dingle and let nature take it course. But this is Coronation Street, so instead, Jim agrees to have a "word" with Liz. Liz says that she will not "be there" during that scene as she is having some photos taken of her doing aerobics which will appear in a copy of some tasteless Sunday tabloid.
Steve is surpised to find Jim frothing at the mouth when he gets home, and wants to know if there will be cake for tea. "Take a good look at me son," says Jim, launching into another tirade. "And tell me what you do see, so you do." "I see a LOSER Dad," says Steve. "You let your feelings get in the way. I won't do that." Jim gives up and Steve leaves.
As Vicky leaves the travel agents, she is pounced on by Steve who has been lying in wait. "What new game is this?" she cries. We know that Steve is in fact playing "Con Vicky". Like Brer Rabbit and the briar bush, Steve tells Vicky that he doesn't care what has happened to him because he has "lost" the only thing he cared about and that was Vicky's love. He even tells her to phone the police and have him arrested for pestering her. Of course Vicky does not do this. Instead she just looks confused. Credits.
Best Wig scene: The two people I was watching with, claimed that Betty's hair actually seemed to come off her head in the scene where Jack thanked her for agreeing to look after the Rovers. As regular readers of this column already know, I never actually watch any episodes of Coronation Street so I couldn't comment if this is true or not.
Worst/Best Acting: Steve McDonald's performances has sunk into Kabuki Theatre. We spent the entire episode trying to figure out if he is gay in real life. My friend Julian recently met the boyfriend of the casting man for Murder She Wrote who swears that he is gay, while my other friend used to know one of the costume people in CS who swears that he is very much a "ladies man." I don't like the "show-biz" world very much. It's too contradictory.
Vicky and Steve and Mike and Trish
"Open this door!" yells Mike at the closed-up factory. "I want my lucre!" Kevin appears from out of the shadows of the garage and tells Mike that Steve and Vicky's "factory" has been closed for ages. Mike wants his back rent and goes to see Steve about it.
Steve is unhelpful, telling him he has no money, and that he isn't allowed to go near Vicky, so Mike will have to chase her up. Mike relents and hassles Vicky for the money. Cue a long speech from Vicky: "I don't care about your money, I have more important things to worry about, I could be going to prison, or on a hotelling course in a few weeks time!" Mike agrees that this is bad news and lets her off with the rent (why? - surely this should make him even more aggressive?)
In the Rovers Trish is moaning about having no money and sweet-talks Mike into buying her a drink. Mike then offers her a job, clearing out the factory. "OK," says Trish. "As long as the social services don't find out."
Derek and Billy and Betty
Derek seems to have the day off work, but instead of helping The Mave to paint the bedroom, he wants to be at the allotment. Meanwhile, Betty is now occupying the POWER CHAIR in the Rovers - you know the one, it's the one in front of the mirror in the back room. Betty tells Billy that she doesn't want him under her feet or under the influence, so he'd better get out of her way.
Derek and Billy meet up at the allotment, and Billy invites Derek into his shed so that he can admire some yellowed old newspaper clippings of Billy winning some allotment contests. Derek is inspired by all this (well who wouldn't be?) and when Billy gives him a cup of tea with some Tia Maria in it, he decides that he too is going to grow the biggest marrow the world has ever seen!
Later and back at the Rovers, everyone seems to be buying pints for Billy, who knows he shouldn't, but being an old shlosh, can't help himself.
Rita and Fred and Alec
Alec stops by the Kabin to announce that he is starting up his old show-biz agency to put a bit of glam back in Coronation Street, and would Rita accompany him to Cheam to look at a new singer who he wants to put on his books. Rita agrees - all this attention, I bet she knew what she was doing when she put on those big, circular two-tone Argos ear-rings that morning (while Vera's away, the Bad Taste Jewellrey Tiara is deftly purloined back to its rightful heir!)
Fred arrives in the travel agents (why is it that every episode someone is going on holiday?) to book a charabang trip for two to York. Alec wants to know who is going with Fred, but Fred just puts his face very close to Alec's and tells him to mind his own business and that as long as there's behinds on seats it doesn't matter.
Later that evening in the Rovers, Fred wants to know where Rita is and when Mavis tells him his smile freezes. "Some women!" he comments to himself, "They'd forsake a bit of prime steak for some SCRAG-END!"
Maureen and Maud and Jezabel!!
But the big news this episode is the arrival of Reg's floozy in the street, who, like an evil harpy wants to make Maureen's life a misery. She breezes into the corner shop and starts screaming abuse at Maureen, "Let my Reg have a divorce you cow!" etc. Maureen is too shocked to respond, so Maud rises to the occasion, and lays into the floozy as if nobody had ever heard of Ena Sharples. But just as it looks as if Maud is going to run the "harlot" down in her wheelchair and then beat her about with a stick, Maureen agrees to talk to the woman in the flat.
Once in private, Maureen goes mad and starts throwing things and tearing up newspapers. The woman is a bit shocked, but continues to say rude things to Maureen, and it turns out that Reg told her lots of lies about his marriage. Maureen tries to make her understand that Reg is no good, but the woman is deaf to it all.
Maureen then guesses correctly that the woman is pregnant. After this, things calm down a bit, and Maureen says that she will give Reg a divorce, and the flat, as long as she can have the corner shop. And if he disagrees, she will fight him all the way! Credits.
Best prop: One of the newspaper clippings in Billy's shed had a photo of a triumphant Billy holding some turnips. This seemed a little too appropriate.
Best scene: All of the Maureen ones. I see now that she was wasted all those years on the Russ Abbot Show (a very light-weight, unfunny comedy show Canadians.) I particularly liked the way that the window was used in the flat scenes. In the first scene, the floozy was staring out of it, while Maureen frothed and spat on the carpet, while in a later scene, they had changed places and it was Maureen's turn to peer out of it while floozy occupied the couch and looked dour.
Every so often the writers take pity on the poor viewers and
present them with an episode without any McDonalds in. This was
one such episode, and it was like a breath of fresh air.
Maud and Maureen
Having recovered from her "ordeal" with Floozy-woman, Maureen is back at the shop. Emily asks if she can do anything to help, which outrages Maud who calls her an interfering old bag, or words to that effect.
"It wasn't the fact that she turned up that upset you so much our Maureen," says Maud wisely. "It was because she's having a baby."
"Yes," cries Maureen. "I always wanted a child but I'm too old boo hoo hoo!"
Later Reg's solicitor phones and tells Maureen that Reg agrees to her terms. "That were quick," says Maureen. "He can't wait to get rid of me boo hoo!"
Des and Claire
Des is in the Rovers, manipulating several characters at once - he buys Billy that first drink which leads him on the road to eventual humiliation at the hands of Betty. The conversation concerns Derek's turnips - Billy says that Derek has no chance of winning as he doesn't know what he's doing. Des decides that this sagging old story-line needs a good injection of intrigue...
Later Des and Claire have wandered off into the commerical break and are now the "Gold Blend Coffee Couple." A tense conversation, filled with erotic undertones and highly-charged with allusions to past regrets, stolen glaces etc...(ie I didn't bother to listen to it.) But apparently it involved Claire talking about her daughter and how her husband recently passed on, and how the daughter doesn't know that Claire is seeing Des.
I only had eyes for the curtains in the posh restaurant, and I'm sure the same could be said for Rita. She's seen the Sound of Music too and knows that good dress-making opportunities don't grow on trees.
Billy and Betty and several pints of bitter
"Now Billy," says Raquel (or was it Judy?) "If someone says have one on me, put 10p in the jar for tips." "Yes," mumbles Billy, but obviously the 12 step program is not in his vocabulary, because before you can say "drunken old lush," he's got a shiny red face, and can hardly stand up. Fortunately, nobody notices and things continue as normal until Billy suddenly decides that while Betty's got her corns soaking in a tupperware dish full of paint-stripper, the Rovers Return is going to turn into Les Cabaret. Cue to the crap old piano which was probably last played when Martha Longhurst dropped dead in the snug on New Years Eve (I may be only 23 but I started watching early). Bill starts playing some old war-dirge and we are shown several painfully long shots of Billy's hands actually playing the piano. A few extras (including the Ripper?) join in with the singing.
But what? Someone actually enjoying themselves in the Rovers? This is Manchester for goodness sake, not Malibu! So Betty hauls herself back into the pub and like an evil ice queen, takes away their music and locks Billy in the fridge all night.
Fred and Rita and Alec
It's not only Des who's manipulating this episode. Rita knows that she's got two men on the same hook, and intends to keep them both dangling.
Fred drops by the Kabin to smarm up to Rita, but is horrified to find Alec in there. He has to leave with some mints. Then later in the Rovers, when he gets a chance alone with the Big Red Wig, he asks her on the trip to York, which she accepts. Alec joins the company, to Fred's disgust, and they start to talk about the "old days." Fred feels left out and pulls a face that looks like he has stomach ache. Rita loves every minute of it and flirts outrageously.
Afterwards Fred asks Rita if she is spoken for by Alec as he doesn't want to tread on toes. Rita says that she is not spoken for and she doesn't take kindly to Fred's nosey questions. She leaves.
Ken and Kelly and Deirdre
Deirdre muscles her way yet again into someone else's story-line, this time to offer advice to Ken on whether or not he should let Kelly live with him. "It'll be 15 year old girls ogling you in the shower," she says. "You won't be able to watch 'Catchphrase' in your boxer-shorts. There'll be strange hairs and bits of pizza in the plug-hole..."
Ken is possibly persuaded, and gets home to find an eager Belly...(oops my finger slipped again) lying in wait for him. "I've invited my parents round to meet you," she announces to his horror. Credits.
The Rita Sullivan Bad Taste Costume award goes to....
Rita Sullivan. This episode she was an oasis in hot-pink. I have never seen such deft colour-co-ordination.
Best line: Derek's speech about turnips: "It's not just about turnip growing Mavis. It's about hope, honour, courage, triumph over adversity...."
PS: Please enter my CS contest - how would you dress Rita? Which subliminal social message would you like to brainwash the idiots of the British public into believing? E-mail me for a form
Derek and Des and Mavis and Rita and Fred
Derek is in the garden talking to his plants - "You take in carbon dioxide and when I speak I expel it, so that's why you'll grow more," but Des has decided that it's time to make Derek's life miserable again and tells Derek that he is also going to try to grow the biggest turnip in the world. It doesn't take much to reduce Derek to hysterics and he is soon in the Rovers babbling about it all to anyone who will listen.
Fred happens to be next to him, and he starts questioning Derek about Rita. Soap cliche number 65 occurs as both characters continue their conversations while not listening to the other person. But finally Derek realises that some input is required and tells Fred that Rita is an evil S-M Queen who opens the Kabin as a massage parlour/dungeon on Sundays. Fred skuttles off to book an appointment.
When Mavis hears she worries that Fred has got the wrong end of the stick, and she tells Derek that Des is only trying to wind him up because he is such a deliciously easy victim. Later at the Kabin, Fred smarms up to Rita, hoping to see a display of her "power", but the Big Red Wig just looks impish and tells him he'll have to wait until Sunday.
Betty and Billy and Racquel
Billy has a hang-over, and Betty is not pleased with him. Cue soap cliche number 68 (someone being noisy while someone else has a hang-over). A few gratuitous shots of Betty's elbow flab are shown, just to warn us that she is now "in charge" and if she wants to reveal flesh, nobody can stop her! Betty mutters something about divorce and then leaves, making Billy very depressed.
Racquel has overheard this tryst and decides that her aromotherapy skills are going to save the day. Drawing the curtains, she takes Betty's hand and starts chanting..."Orange blossom is my favourite, and this is rosemary. Can you feel all that cynicalness draining out of you Betty? Finally I'm good at something. Now Betty, will you just say these words into a tape-recorder..."
In the Rovers, a group of "regulars" are cheering Billy's performance from the other night, but Billy is repentant. "It's D.I.V.O.R.C.E!" he warns, obviously gearing up for another bash on the piano, but Betty magically appears from the spooky back-room, where Racquel has worked her voodoo. Billy ducks, expecting more abuse, but this is now a Stepford Betty, who whirrs and ticks. "Billy-you-look-tired...Go-and-sit- down-in-'t-back-room...I-must-get-that-recipe!"
Ken and Kelly and Kelly's Mother
Preparations are being made for the Big visit by Kelly's mother. Kelly tells Ken that mum's favourite food is battenburg cake, but Ken can't buy battenburg as mum will know that Kelly chose it. Kelly says her mum is an awful snob and her cousin is a nanny in Wilmslow, and goes skiing etc and Smelly Kelly could be a nanny in Wilmslow too if she wanted.
Later, Ken arrives late, and Kelly is at breaking point - she starts screaming at Ken that mother is almost here. Then mother does arrive, and who should it be than one of my favourite actresses ever - I don't know her name (is it Lil?) but she appears on the Victoria Wood show in various comedy roles and has a brilliant voice.
Posh mum (who can't be all that posh because she likes battenburg cake) disapproves of Ken's dwelling and Coronation Street in general. But Ken butters her up by saying how Kelly is a lovely responsible girl and it's obviously because she was well-brought up. Mum leaves, placated, and Kelly admits that the cousin in Wilmslow is really having an affair with the father of the house which is why she gets to go skiing etc...
Trash and Mike and Jamie
Trish is doing some work for Mike, clearing out the McDonald T-shirt factory, and manages to minx him into getting more hours work. She might even have enough money to go laser-questing with R Jameh, but in Trish's Paranoid World, nothing is quite what it seems and that seemingly innocent car parked across the street contains two agents of "THEM", the 1 million strong organisation of villains, intent on ruining Trash's life. They start taking photos of her doing illegal work, and then go into the Rovers to question the locals. "Claiming DSS money and working on the sly," says the little incompetent one. "We'll get you, you piece of Trash," says the tall incompetent one. "Your child's going into CARE!!!" Credits...
The Rita Sullivan Bad Taste Tiara goes to...
Rita Sullivan - careful watchers will have spotted a small clutch of silver haemorroids attached to each ear.
Maud's hat: A "delicate" ripple-effect style.
It's Kelly's BIG day and she's moving into Ken's house. Ashley has lied to Fred, telling him that he has meningitis or something so that he can have the day off. After moving all the boxes in, Kelly says "Ashley, come 'ere and give us a SNOG!" Fortunately this scene ended before the ITV switchboards became jammed with complaints.
Meanwhile Fred is delivering pies to Betty (it's one of the usual Fred scenes - he's trying to get free drink out of them and Betty's complaining that he hasn't delivered enough pies.) They go out to the van to look for more pies, but horror, Ashley happens to be there. Before you can say "neck full of lovebites" Fred has worked out what has happened and is furious. Kelly steps in to defend her boyfriend and says that she is to blame. Fred says that Ashley is incompetent and that he should fire Ashely. Ashely says that he never liked working for Fred anyway and that he was a PERVERT. Outrage and denial from Fred, but Ashley says "Mrs Crowther!" triumphantly, leading Fred to simply bluster on the spot like a whoopee cushion that's just been sat on. "You're always rubbing up against the female customers," says Ashley. "I'll tell the Big Red Wig what you get up to!" And before he can get a case of repressed memory syndrome he resigns and Fred sacks him.
Later in Ken's living room, Ashley is watching tv, while Kelly irons - (How "A Taste of Honey") Kelly tries to get Ashley to apologise and ask for his job back, but Ashley has other plans. "I'm going to get a job in the army," he says. "It's great. There's skiing, and there's...." But his tiny brain cannot think of anything else so he has to make do with skiing. "No Ashley," moans Kelly. "What about us !" So Ashley decides he is going to be a fire-man instead. "If you don't apologise we're through!" says Kelly, turning off the tv. Ashley gets up. "I love you Kelly but I'm not apologising." Exit Ashley, leaving the Street's most emotional endomorph to collapse into a heap.
Fred does not want to sack Ashley and calls round to see Kelly to tell her that Ashley can have his job back. Kelly is still distraught, but Ken arrives home to comfort her. Later, the two love-dunces make-up over the phone. It appears that Ashley doesn't have enough qualifications to join the army anyway. Ken, meanwhile pulls bemused face number 213.
Des is to take Claire and Becky out this evening, and confides in Martin about it, who advises him to spend lots of money on them as that's what teenagers like these days (who can ever forget the Nicky Platt £70 trainer-shoes story-line?)
Beaky Claire and her dour little daughter turn up. The daughter, Becky is simply a vision in denim and has that horrible straight hair that all teenage girls seem to have these days. "What do you want to do?" asks Des. "I don't mind." says Becky. This continues for about 2 hours until they go out and then come back in again.
"Do you like him?" asks Claire while Des is committing ritual suicide in the kitchen. "Nur," says Becky. "He's a plonker!". Well if Des is a plonker dear, you are the most irritating little bundle of bad attitude since Tracey Barlow started wearing ethnic jewellrey. Welcome to the Street.
Alex tells Rita that since the Steve-Vicky friction, Vicky has become a virtual agoraphobic and is afraid to walk the Streets. Rita tells him to send her to the Kabin where The Big Red Wig and the Mave will reassure her that all her old friends still love her. Alec is not enthusiastic, but in a later scene, Vicky is in the Kabin. Rita tries to be extra-nice to her, but Trash grabs all the attention with her "I'm a single parent and you can't get a job these days unless you have a million O Levels" routine. (She obviously hasn't spoken to Ashley or Kelly lately).
Vicky leaves, but spies Racquel and asks if she can have a conversation. Racquel is busy but tells her to come to the Rovers later that night.
Jim is talking to Kevin about Vicky, and says that Vicky is a nice girl so she is, but Steve should have stayed with Fiona. Vicky overhears and there follows another slanging match in the Street. Jim tells Vicky some very hurtful home truths such as "You bought that boy with your money, and now look what's happened."
Vicky screams and runs off to the flat to cry on Dreary's shoulder. However, Dreary is off having her glasses waxed and only Trash is there - listening to Blur or something. "You've been to prison," says Vicky. "What's it like." "It's not that bad," says Trash. "Do you want to come in?" "Ohh no, you're common," Vicky tells her, and she runs back to the guest-house.
Later that evening, with a face which is covered in snot, Vicky snuggles up to Grand-pappy Alec and tells him that she is a bad person - that it's all her fault and she used her riches to buy Steve's body. "You'll feel better about it in the morning," says Alec, full of the usual empty words. "You must testify against him." But Vicky is blaming herself... Credits
Becky. I hate her already. I do hope she's in more.
Ashley. Is it just me, or is this character played strictly for comedy? I seem to laugh at every word that he utters. He and Kelly are perfect for each other.
(Rather a slow episode at first, but it seemed to pick up in
the second half with some good scenes with Trash, Josie and Fred...)
"Bloody Hell!" and words to that effect. It's every single parent's night-mare. The DSS have stopped all Trash's benefits and have given her a nice plot in Cardboard City. Jamie is to be placed on a YTS prostitution scheme and Trash will be allowed to spend one night a week sleeping in the Accidents and Emergency Wards of Wetherfield General, but only if she can come up with enough bruises. It goes without saying that she's furious and the Trash-whirlwind rips through the Street, tearing up everything in its wake, until it lands at the factory.
"She's been here to see you before," says Ida - looking very glam in a black perm which must weigh a ton. "My benefit's being stopped!" screams Trash. "What are you going to do about it!"
"You come in here, insult me on my premises in front of my staff (a few extras who are busy rubber-necking) and ask for a job. Go away!" says Mike, waltzing off to the safety of his office. "Release the dogs Josie!"
But Josie is not pleased and pulls her "I am disgusted with you" face. "I don't know if I want to work with a man with no principles," she says, grabbing her handbag. "Calm down you daft old bat," says Mike. "I'll see what I can do." When he leaves, Josie looks triumphant and smug.
Later in the Rovers, Trish is commiserating with a vodka and orange when Mike appears. "You can't expect me to find you work if you come barging in. NORMAL people ask nicely for a job, and if you did I might arrange an interview for you," says Mike. Poor Trash has to crawl - the words almost stick in her mouth as being polite is something that she's never had to do before. She even manages a strangled "please" at the end. Mike says he will give her an interview. Josie looks disgusted again.
Now that Kelly has her feet firmly under the table, she wants Ken to give her driving lessons. Ken is not very interested and buries himself in his liberal newspaper with big words in it. Not content with manipulating Ken, the next stop is Rita who she asks to put a good word in for Ashley so that he can get his job back.
Rita does not seem willing to help, but Kelly looks so confused and upset that when Fred pops into the shop, she mentions it to him. "Rule of Business number Two," says Fred. "You don't tell me how to run my business and I won't tell you how to run yours. I don't tell you how to deal with that dippy Mavis do I? No offence!" Rita is slightly stunned. Are her feminine charms no longer working? It's those ear-rings - she's worn them before and the Bad Taste Tiara is starting to slip over her eyes.
Meanwhile Mavis and Derek are off enjoying their aubergine bake. (The first rule of business was "the world is your customer" incidentally).
Claire and Des are having another "heart-to-heart" - this time about the boring child. "She'll get used to you," says Claire. "She's had it tough, what with her father dying and having to play a 5 year old lesbian alongside Geraldine McEwan."
"It must be hard," says Des. "As I'm the first man you're serious about..." "What makes you think I'm serious?" asks Claire. "I like being toyed with," says Des. And it all becomes a little bit too Gold Blend for my liking, because the next time we see this awful pair, Des is in his underwear (UNDERWEAR!!!) in the kitchen so there must have been some sort of dreadful accident.
Vicky/McDonalds/Alec/Uncle Nick/Raquel Vicky is still in "I'm spoilt little rich girl mode." How long must this story-line continue? Thankfully the verdict is in the next episode so hopefully all will be over. Uncle Nick and Alec conspire to get Vicky to stick to her story, but Vicky seems to be wavering.
Andy tries to be nice to Vicky in the cafe, but Vicky is embittered. Meanwhile at another table Kelly tells Ashley that she spoke to Rita about Ashely's job. Vicky overhears and rushes over, shrieking "You're a fool to care about a man!!!" before running out, leaving these two Forrest Gump impersonators to open their mouths as wide as they can. (Life is like a box of chocolates for Kelly - but she's eaten them all.)
Andy tells Racquel that Vicky is miserable and Raquel says, "Oooh she wanted to talk to me the other day but I were being dizzy and I can't remember wor it was I wor up to." She goes to see Vicky and tries to "get through" to her. But Vicky says she is considering running away. "If I testify against Steve he'll go to prison, and if I don't testify I will go to prison. What choice do I have?" Here's a clue Vicky - testify against Steve. Credits.
Glamour Pensioner Award: Ida Barlow. She may be only 3' 4'' but this brunette star is THE trendsetter for those over-60s who are in the know.
Rear of the Year: Forget Mangey Maxine. Des proved that you can have that extra Walnut Whip at lunchtime and still be a sex icon.
Best Bitches: Ken and Mike. The setting was the cafe. Alma and Mike were talking about Trish having her benefit stopped:
Ken: "Heart of gold as usual Mike." Mike: "Well we can't all be taking in waifs and strays. I see you've landed yourself with a nubile teenage girl Barlow! haha!"
Line which best summed up the episode: Ken: "Kelly's not anorexic, thank goodness!"
Trish is in the cafe, telling Alma that Mike isn't so horrible after all, but with Trish, whenever she's being nice - she always wants a favour and in this case she expects Alma to put a good word in for her, regarding Trish's job interview. Alma is reluctant, but before Trish can respond in her usual pleasant way by pressing Alma's hand into a hot frying pan, Mike appears and decides to conduct the interview in his new office which happens to be a corner of the cafe.
"Why should I give you a job?" asks Mike after looking hard at the table-top (Trish's resume) for several seconds. "There's no jobs for the likes of me," says Trish, and this seems to be the right answer because Mike says she can start next week.
"Oh," says Mike. "And remember that time when you got all dressed up and offered to have sex with me so you wouldn't have to pay your rent?" "Yes," says Trish. "What about it?" "Nothing, I was just reminding the viewers of our seedy past together and to say that me giving you this job has nothing to do with that, except it has as I wouldn't have mentioned it otherwise," says Mike.
Later, Trash is drinking away the last of her DSS money and talking to Raquel about her new job. "I'll have to watch Mike," she jokes. "He's my employer and my landlord. He'll even want to own my body next."
Mike overhears and quickly moves away, lest anyone think that he is actually attracted to Trash. As a "savvy" businessman he is not doing very well, now having employed the three most moaning, troublesome harpies in the Street (Trash, Ida and Josie). Expect industrial action soon.
Mavis is sinking her gloat hooks into Rita. "Fred wouldn't take Ashley back because you wanted him to. You thought you had special seductress powers over him but you don't Rita. You're slipping, and the allure of your gold earrings is becoming all tarnished." However, the charms of the Big Red Wig are only temporarily defunct and Mavis (as always) will be severely punished by Mistress Rita in a later scene.
Ashley and Kelly are filling in their application form for MENSA when the phone rings and it is Fred wanting to speak to Kelly. "I'll just get him," says Tracey Turnblad. "Tell 'im I'm not here," bleats Ashley. "Sorry Mr Fat-Butcher," says Kelly. "Ashley's not here. I don't know why I just said he was."
This miserable lie does not work and Fred bounds over to the house. "Lawks!" says Ashley (he's always being caught in that living room, the last time it was by Ken) who still can't come up with a decent hiding place. "ARRRGGGGHHthere you are," says Fred. "You are a liar young lady now do you want your job back or not all you have to do is apologise." Kelly makes Ashley apologise and Ashley is sent to wait in the car while Fred goes to see Rita.
"I have reinstated Ashley on your behalf," says Fred. Rita is smug. "If you want to give me any advice on sacking or hiring my staff," she says to Fred. "Just say so." They both look sternly at Mavis who shrinks to half her size.
But who cares about Kelly and Ashley when Steve and Vicky are going to get put into a big glass triangle and sent into outer-space for the rest of eternity? It's the trial day (finally) and those old McDonald "I'm going to prison" suits are all out of mothballs again.
Steve has employed a lady lawyer who is very tough and stern and obviously a "baddie". This has become a cliche in about 3 years thanks to its overuse in soaps like EastEnders. The court scenes are about as textbook as you can get. Fortunately, Vicky does testify against Steve, but oh! That nasty female lawyer twists all of Vicky's words round and says things like "Just answer the question yes or no, do you think a woman should always obey her husband?"
Again, it's all a tiny bit suspenseful because we think that perhaps Vicky will go to prison or Steve will get off, but it's not really because this is a British soap, not American or real life, and this week our MESSAGE is that in British Courts, justice is always carried out.
So Vicky gets that cop-out compromise - the "suspended" sentence. And as for Steve, "You are sentenced to 2 years in HM Vaseline Prison and your contract has expired. Goodbye." I was expecting Liz to scream and collapse at the back of the court - perhaps even rip her little outfit, but it wasn't to be. Credits (as Steve is led to the showers...)
Worst speech: Steve's "I love Vicky" testimony. Nobody was convinced by this squrim-enducing swansong.
Most boring scene. The Gold Blend Pair, Des and Claire were at it again in a scene so tedious that I refuse to write about it. Except they went and had sex again at the end of it.
It's Bank Holiday again and everyone wants a piece of the plot. The result - a confusing episode with too many story-lines being developed. As Maureen would say "Boo hoo hoo!"
Vera and Jack are back from their holidays, and crowing over a couple of caricatures which have been drawn of them (Vera with a rose in her mouth). They've both been at the bronzer too (the same one that Josie and Don had when they went on their holiday.) Betty tells them that the pictures are better than donkeys and castenettes, but Vera reaches into her back to pull out castenettes for Betty as a "thankyou."
Vera asks Joyce if Betty has being a good girl while they were away. Joyce in her usual way, hints at trouble. Vera suspects the worst and gets Andy to check the books. Betty sees him and is furious - but it turns out that profits were up by £200 a week when Betty and Billy were in charge. Vera is outraged.
Joyce asks Gary to put a word in for her down at the legion where there is a barmaid job up for grabs. Gary (who needs his hair cut) tells her that Percy has the most "clout" at the legion, so Mistress Manipulator buys him a drink and then paints some awful picture of her stupid old father who was in the war "'E were called Deadly Smedley.." etc.. and wouldn't it have been nice if Percy had known him. Percy finds that he is having the best night of his life and laps up the attention.
Meanwhile, Kelly moans to Ken that she would take Daniel to the park more often but for the fact that she has to walk there and back. Instead of Ken saying, "You might find that a big of exercise would make you live longer and also mean that you could get yourself a boyfriend with bigger biceps, now walk!" he offers instead to give her driving lessons. Kelly smirks knowingly.
This twisted relationship really disturbs me. Who is the TopMan here? Derek? Norris? It's probably Mavis as she has a cardigan and the remnants of a perm. Derek, Norris and Angela have been playing golf - the result being that Angela got into a bad temper and snapped Norris' golf stick. Norris complains that Angela is horrible, and doesn't want to go home. He ends up at the gorgeous lower-middle class surroundings of Chez Mave, and gets drunk and maudlin, much to the fury of Mavis who angrily phones for a taxi.
So that Gail can go to an icecream factory with her brood, Martin has arranged for Roy Cropper to take over her job for the day. Alma is not too happy, but puts up with it for the sake of her friend. Roy immediately reorganises the cafe, hiding ashtrays "you give people a choice and then influence the choice that they make", putting salt cellars in a cupboard "This way they won't go stale" and telling Alma that the cafe is a "window to the world." Alma finds it all profoundly disturbing and resorts to putting on more black eye-shadow than is really necessary.
The remaining McDonalds are crowded round the dining room table and they all have their arms folded so we know that this is a serious conversation and they aren't going to start telling Irishman jokes.
Liz is furious that Steve got two years in prison while "that" Vicky walked scot-free. This is something of a turn-about for her as a few episodes ago she was defending Vicky and hating Steve. But why would we expect a woman who wears a big "L" round her neck to act in a consistent manner? At least Jim and Liz can stay in the same room without one of them phoning the police or smashing a whisky bottle in half in the sink.
Jim seems to be off alcohol altogether and resists the opportunity to get "smashed" (or "plastered") with Bill later that night.
Meanwhile we are treated to many more scenes of Vicky moping around, feeling guilty, feeling cheated etc. In the last scene she tells Alec that she is going to go away forever because there are too many sad memories here for her, and she needs to start a new life blah blah. Alec looks hurt. Credits.
Best return: Roy Cropper. He got all the good lines again.
Most bizarre close-up. Betty playing the castenettes.
It's Trash's first day at work and she turns up with R Jameh for some reason. Jamie needs feeding at lunchtime and has no money, so Trash feels in her handbag and pulls out a book of four stamps (!), telling Jamie that they have the Queen's face on them and that Roy Cropper will accept them at the cafe. Josie rides up on her bicycle (where were your reflective stripes madam?) and gets her purse out to give Jamie some "real" money when Mike arrives and delivers abuse to everyone, telling Josie to make out Trish's "cards" and to give her them at the first sign of trouble. Not wanting to look like an old do-gooder, Josie tucks her purse away.
At lunchtime Jamie turns up at the cafe with his stamps and demands a meal that costs about £4. Roy will not take the stamps, so Jamie pretends to faint, causing Alma to look alarmed. A compromise is reached whereby Jamie "rents" his baseball cap to Roy for 4 hours at the rate of £1 an hour. "He's a divvy," Jamie tells Alma. Alma realises that Roy is nice (gradually he is winning over all the ladies of Wetherfield) and offers to go halves, but Roy refuses, saying he was thinking of getting a cap anyway, and now he can try it without paying for it first.
Meanwhile, back at the factory (which should be renamed Poison Palace as everyone who works there hates everyone else) Ida is furious with Trash because she is slow and has made their quota go slack or something. Looking more like one of these PG Tips monkeys than ever before she tells Trash that she's only got a job there because she's Mike's fancy piece. Trash is outraged and tells her the real reason - so that she can pay Mike's rent, and the job is only £2 more than she's getting on benefit.
Mike appears and says "Well Ida, was she rubbish?" but Ida hates Mike more than she hates Trash and tells him that Trash will make a good machinist. All we needed now was for Josie to look disapprovingly at Mike and this would have been a perfect factory sequence.
Jack and Vera are still amazed that Betty made more money than them, and spend the episode going over the books again and again, which slowly brings Betty to the boil. Eventually she can take no more and resigns (for the millionth time).
Vera tells Jack that they will have to get her back and tell her the truth, otherwise they'll have a tribunal on their hands. So in front of everyone, they admit that Betty and Billy made more money.
Betty is not surprised - "you're both always dipping in that there till for yourselves," she says. "That's why you're down." Vera and Jack cannot believe it. But Betty is obviously right.
Derek is going to the allotment and Mavis is planning to settle down with a Jackie Collins when Norris arrives - behaving in a very odd manner. He has a bottle of wine and tells Mavis he plans to get drunk, and he feels like a "real man." The whiff of pheromones nearly causes Mavis to pass out, but she responds by telling Norris he can only stay if he partakes of "nibbles". She warns Derek that Norris has gone mad and begs him to stay at home with her.
Fiona and Tony are reading the front page of the Coronation Street Enquirer which has the headlines "Local Lad Sent Down!" and a picture of Steve McDonald. Jim appears so they turn the page, but are too embarrassed to have a real conversation with him. Percy tells Jim that prison is the best place for Steve, and he will finally get all that discipline that he needs (?!)
Meanwhile, Vicky is helping at the travel agents, and Emily comes in pretending to want to go on a short break, but her real mission is to touch Vicky's arm and say "you'll get through this." Vicky is appalled that she is attracting such undesirables and is more certain than ever that she wants to leave.
At prison, Andy and Liz are looking curiously at Steve, who is playing his "pity" card and blaming everyone but himself. Jim arrives late, and unexpressed resentments are aired - soon everyone is shouting in that usual McDonald way. But wait... this time they are shouting "I love you son!" and it is apparent that only in a prison can this family behave like normal human beings.
Fiona and Tombstone-Toothed Tony are in the Rovers again, talking about Steve. "I hate him, but I care about him," mopes Fiona. Tony expresses jealousy and Fiona tells him that he has nothing to worry about. But Tony knows that even a new hair-cut will not save his relationship if Steve wants Fiona back. (Has anyone else noticed that the younger male characters all seem to have new hair? Maybe it's like the old people's home where I used to work - once every two weeks the hairdresser would come and perm everyone whether they wanted it or not.)
As the heavily sun-tanned female security guard leads them away, Steve begs Liz to ask Fiona to come and visit him. Liz is one of those states of mind where she will do just about anything for Steve so she agrees. And I thought she was supposed to be Fiona's best friend? Credits.
Coronation Street gets 'hip' to the beat: Best 'lingo': Roy Cropper: "Cool Dude"
Glamour Tiara: It was a deadly contest between Liz and Vera, with the usual holder, Rita nowhere to be seen. Liz's "prison-visits" costume consisted of a piece of black string which she called a skirt, and a white jacket with enormous shoulder pads. Vera, had also taken on the "black-and-white" theme, but slightly more successfully, wearing a blouse which alternated a "zebra-stripes" effect with some flowers. It was as if she had cut up Bet Lynch's stripey cushion covers and then cobbled it together with some of Mavis' wallpaper. The familiar "cymbal" ear-rings completed the ensemble and deserved Vera the much-sought after title of "Bad Taste Queen of Coronation Street."
Best line: Raquel on Billy: "Your Billy's very virile isn't he Betty. And he's got a son too. What type of underpants does he wear?"
Paul Baker is away in Brighton (I don't know if he is camping or not! :-) ) for the weekend so has asked me to do this update for him.
Liz, resplendant in her big gold 'L' is wringing her hands and whining to Andy, resplendant in open shirt and bared chest, over Steve. She thinks prison isn't agreeing with him (Good!) and that 'they must be doing something to him to make him like that'. (Good! Hopefully in the shape of a large hairy man with tatoos and nicknamed 'Porkchop' or something!). She tells Andy that Steve wants Fiona to visit him. She later visits Fiona and tells her this. During this, Liz tries to look emotional which seems to consist of looking as if she is trying to swallow a whole hard boiled egg. Fiona is unimpressed by this feat and says she'll think about it.
Jim later calls in (after a visit to the Rovers where he announces that he is on the wagon) to talk about visiting rotas for Steve. He makes a somewhat feeble joke about 'happy families', at which Liz snaps at him that he shouldn't forget that their marriage is over. Jim then reminds her that she is a hoooor and he wouldn't ever 'want' to come back to her. Liz pops another egg in her mouth and swallows hard. Later, in the Rovers, Jim tells Bill that he is going to work hard so that Steve can join the business when he comes out. Bill looks thoughtful, amazed that Jim can become so detached from reality on soda water. Anne tells Andy that she won't be taking him home to meet Mummy and Daddy Malone as they have read about the clan McDonald in the Recorder and that they have decided that he must be a bad sort. Andy tells her that she ought to think whether she wants to carry on going out with him.
Joyce is still keen to get Percy to put a word in for her for the bar job at the Legion and is even willing to undergo trail by war photo's to do so. So she spends a millenia or so at lunchtime in the Rovers as Percy shows her his 3 million photo's. Emily arrives and Joyce gleefully seizes her chance to escape. Percy blames Emily for Joyce going. 'Thank you very much'. 'For what?' ask Emily. 'Just cos you haven't had a storyline in ages and I'm having one now......'
Vicky is still undecided what to do with her life and, after giving a load of flannel about Sunliners being a great career opportunity, Alec gives her some information about a hotel management course in Switzerland which, after a little thought, she decides to go on.
Norris is aghast to find that Angela has given one of his prime contracts to Dirk. He tells Derek to leave it with him and he'll sort it out but when Derek calls on him later in the day, he finds him staring into space muttering, 'I'll kill her, I swear I'll kill her!'. Later in the pub, Derek advises Norris that perhaps he is, once again, not taking enough of a 'firm hand' with Angela. Norris confesses that he has let that side of things slip as he finds it rather tiring. Derek urges him to go straight home and take the bull by the horns, so to speak, to which Norris, enthused, agrees.
Both Jack and Vera catch each other taking money from the till, without realising they are doing it and are warned by Betty, that they had better get a grip and stop doing it if they want the business to survive.
Mike is alarmed, now that Trisha is officially one of his chattels, to see her actuall buying a drink with her money. He reminds her that she owes him rent and her life. Fiona, Tony and Vera all jump to her defence and Mike shrinks into the floor calling 'I'm melting, I'm melting, my world etc!
Clare has dumped Becky at the Girl Guides and rushes round to Des's for as many twenty minutes's as she can fit in. (I have resisted the urge to make any Ging Gang Gooly jokes.). However, they have hardly begun to swap tonsils when there is a knock at the door and lo and behold it's young Becky aka Coitus Interruptus! And what a transformation she has undergone. Gone is the 'I don't mind'/blank generation persona to be replaced by a young girl with fire in her eyes, fully aware of what her mum is up to and doing a good impression of spite and sarcasm personified. She demands £50 for her guides camping trip (at Brighton, no doubt Mr B!) and throws in a damm fine impression of Jane Horrocks as Bubbles in Ab Fab to boot!, and is gone, leaving Des, no doubt, a little deflated.
Best newcomer: The new Street pet, the first since Betty's cat, Joyce's collie, Scamper!
Best performance: Becky. A wonderful performance, stealing the show with a couple of sentences. Lets have more of this girl!
Sartorial award: The Duckworth's. Vera wore a terrible, terrible floral top with a clashing floral scarf. Quite possibly the worst thing I have ever seen her in. Saved partially by Jack's wonderful frog braces. I see that Jack's braces may be in compettion with Maude's hats.
Best prop. The zebra and giraffe on the VDU at Sunliners.