Shop: We begin with Fred on his home territory, charming the silent customer with promises that after 3 and a half hours gentle cooking, some bit of scrag end will taste as good as fillet steak. Meanwhile, Ashley is wielding a very large meat cleaver, with not inconsiderable force, while pondering a life behind bars. Fred vows to fight to clear the family name, and sets off out, leaving the latest potential victim of a miscarriage of justice, The Weatherfield One, in charge of the butcher's.
Rovers: Jamie tries for a day off school with 'bellyache' and whilst Vera may be sympathetic, Trish isn't. Jamie is upset that every time Trish gets involved with someone he likes, she mucks it up. He says that Ray had promised to take him to football. Trish packs him off to school.
Flat: Mike encourages Alma to obtain details of a property in Florida she has seen advertised, also to look at the West Coast. He hasn't yet told her he is getting into underwear with Angie! The doorbell rings, and Alma retreats to the bath (of asses' milk?) as Fred enters. He asks Mike's opinion of Ashley. Mike is happy to oblige with a description of a hard-working, shy, honest lad who he was pleased to work with on the market stalls. Mike is surprised to hear that the police suspect the lad of arson. He and Fred intend to make the police change their minds.
Garage: Kevin leaves a message on Natalie's answer phone, which in his confusion, was that she "forgot your form on one of them signatures" and Chris teases Kevin about phoning her. When Kevin speculates that the answer machine was on as she was probably in the bath, Chris retorts "Fantasising now?"
Street: Samantha arranges to have her hair done by Fiona, then meets Sean and plans an evening out with him. They exchange a chaste peck on the cheek.
Salon: Max tells Fiona about Ashley being questioned over the fire. She seems quite concerned.
Kabin: Mavis ponders taking a painting holiday at St. Ives. Rita encourages her to go. Alec tries to slip in and buy the Daily Mail unnoticed, but Rita reminds him of his obligation to Judy. He squirms, but under pressure from Rita says he will see to it.
Police Station: Fred and Mike see the detective and although Fred gives the secret Square Dealer code words the policeman chooses to ignore them and merely says that Ashley needs an alibi.
Rovers: Trish and Vera are cleaning the pub when Ray arrives. Vera tactfully withdraws. He has come to tell her something which has been on his mind. Trish cuts in, protesting that it is too late to make a go of it now that she has ruined things. He presses on, explaining that he lied when he said his wife left him, and really he went off with another woman. That relationship didn't last long, and he agrees Tricia was right not to risk it with him. He starts to go but she takes his hand to stop him, and he confirms that his offer still stands. He has told her the truth now that he has nothing to lose, whereas he didn't want to risk everything by telling her before. He says he loves her and her face softens. (Trish has really come on as a character and mellowed from the spiky defensive insecure person she was. I shall miss her.) In the back, Jack and Vera speculate on what's going on, then Trish comes through to tell them she's again thinking about moving in with Ray. They encourage her, although they will miss Brad and RJamie.
Garage: Kevin sends Chris off for lunch so he can ring Natalie again. He only gets the machine.
Rovers: Audrey gossips maliciously to Fiona about Ashley. Maxine has a drink with the purported criminal and offers to go to the police with him. (Is she going to be his alibi?)
Street: Mike has a conversation with Kevin in order to keep Angie waiting even longer. She then agrees to go into partnership with him.
Travel Agent's: Rita calls on Alec to escort him to the Rovers where they will met Judy. Alec knows he has been outmanoeuvred.
Flat: Mike is still encouraging Alma to get details of property she has seen advertised. The lawyer Frankie arrives as Mike asked her advice regarding Ashley.
Street: Ray arrives at the Rovers. Jamie seems unimpressed at the prospect of going to live with him, but soon brightens when Ray produces 2 tickets for Manchester United.
Rovers: Trish says her goodbyes to regulars and bar staff. Samantha's hair looks better after her visit to Fiona's; she proposes buying a meal for Sean if he pays for the film. Alec presents Judy with £300, much to her surprise - nonetheless she is very pleased to have it. Ashley confides to Maxine that he's worried about the police. Max says she really cares about him and that she will always be there, and she sounds as if she means it.
Street: Tricia thanks Jack for everything they have done. He says he will miss Jamie, and tells her to be nice to Ray. As they drive away, Sean and Sam are leaving the pub and she predicts the relationship will last 6 months.
Flat: Frankie can't understand why Mike is interested in helping out Ashley. Could it be he is angry that Don is not being held responsible? He admits that is partly it, but he would want to help Ashley anyway. Frankie is concerned that Ashley's story is weak and contradictory, but promises to do her best.
Rovers: Vera is upset at the realisation that her other grandchild is gone, and they have no family now except each other. Jack comforts her, then gets back to the bar, leaving Vera alone with her thoughts.
Awards: The punning scriptwriter award goes to Phil Woods for giving Ray, a painter and decorator by trade, such lines as 'I've painted myself to be summat I'm not' and '..papering over the cracks..' Don't think we die-hard fans don't notice and appreciate such touches. Keep it up!
That's all this week, love, Helen
The Ashley Affair
Mike and Alma are up and about doing their things. Alma wants to look through some house brochures, having picked out ones on the west coast (USA) as agreed. Mike puts her off, he wants to see Ashley straight away and has arranged for Ashley to see Frankie Stillman, the lawyer.
Ashley tells Frankie all about it, how he changed his story with the police and everything. She seems to think that he has little chance of convincing anyone of his innocence. After all, that pillar of society Don has fingered him, and everyone knows that Don would never lie about anything to do with Mike. Later at the Rover's, Maxine comes over all maternal when Ashley confides in her about his fears of going into prison young and coming out old and white haired.
Baldwin's Business Dealings
Angie remarks to Jim and Bill that she is going into partnership with Mike. They warn her about his ways and even go so far as to say that they would rather beg than work for Baldwin. "So you don't want the job of refitting the print shop?" says quick witted Angie on her way to humiliate another male.
Well, of course the boys do need the work and collar Mike as he leaves Ashley's house. Mike isn't too sure. "Last time we talked, you told me what a nasty piece of work I am", he says. "That was pleasure Michael, this is business, we don't mix the two", replies Jim. So Mike shows them around and gives them a list of things to do.
Whilst they are taking their orders, Angie turns up. Mike starts to give her a hard time about not having the designs ready, but she sees him off with a few well turned remarks, confiding later in the boys that she is so glad they were there to protect a sweet little innocent like her from the big bad Baldwin. Later, while Jim and Bill are in "The Rover's", figuring out extra ways of cheating Mike and Angie out of hundreds of pounds over the job, they tell Audrey about Mike's new business plans.
Alec has been invited down to Southampton by the Sunliners chairman. He is certain he will be promoted. "It's a pity you can't come with me", he says to Rita. "Oh, I can", responds Rita, "Mavis can look after things here". But Alec doesn't want to pay for anyone and reassures her that it really is too late. In the Rover's at lunch time, Alec tells Dierdre that he thinks he may be going back to sea. "Save me a place" enthuses Dierdre. "Stick with me and you can't go wrong," replies Alec, obviously never having heard the phrase - Pride Goes Before a Fall.
Roy is on a roll (sorry) now that he has succeeded in getting rid of the fruit machines and wants to change the name of the cafe. He comes up with the combination of Roy and Gail, "The Lunch Rail", Gail suggests "Platters". Audrey says she can't see the point of renaming it. "You don't change a three wheeler by calling it a Rolls Royce", she says. This strangely inspires Roy with the inscription I have faithfully copied out above.
Who is looking after Kev's kids while he is at work?
Rita offers to look after the ankle-biters so Kevin can have some time out with "the lads", but what enquiring minds want to know is who looks after them while he is out working 16 hours a day? Suggestions, on the reverse of a blank signed cheque, to me at the usual address please.
Alan and Fi
Alan has just got promoted. Fi is pleased she is bringing him on so.
Whilst Mike is out saving Ashley, Alma goes to the cafe and confides in Gail that Mike has agreed to retire to the west coast of USA. They go to "The Rover's" to celebrate, where Audrey tells them all about Mike's new business with the print shop and Angie. Naturally enough, Alma feels less like celebrating after this and rushes off to see Mike. She realises that, no matter what happens, she will always take second place to his business plans. Mike looks uncomfortable, but is no doubt thinking that he will never really understand what it is that Alma gets so upset about.
Sean and Sam
Sean meets Sam at the pub and invites her to the movies. She suggests a night in watching TV (know what I mean? Say no more!). Sean leaps at his chance to be alone with her and brings over a bottle of white wine. But Sam has changed her mind. She says she really doesn't want to watch TV, but thinks she might have an early night. Sean interprets this as 'let's get our kit off' and tries to take advantage. He soon realises his mistake and, with the words "you're no better than Des Barnes" ringing in his ears, he makes a belated and embarrassed rush for the door.
"Ashely! Ashley! Ashley!" Maxine is gangster's moll, and loves every minute of it.
Fiona is still boasting to Maxine about Alan's recent promotion. Maxipan, however is not impressed, having suddenly found a new mission in life - to right the world's wrongs and be a Permed Revolutionary. Her scenes remind me of Diane Keaton in "Sleeper" after she is "brainwashed". Maxine berates Alan for drink-driving, then sees Ashley and rushes over to swoon in his recently criminalised presence. It's a good job that Terry Duckworth has left, or she would be falling at his feet (with Trash) too. Ashley plans to move out of Haunted Don's House as he cannot stand living there for another night, so Maxine offers to help him pack (as if it takes two people to put a copy of Fiesta and a bottle of Biactol into a cardboard box!!) Ashley agrees to this premise and Maxine hugs herself in glee.
At Don's house, Maxine says something banal like "Have you got your shaving kit?" And Ashley says "angggggg on a minute". At that point, the police arrive and arrest Ashley. Maxine can hardly contain her excitement, screaming "He is an innocent man. Ashley, oh Ashley!" "Tell Mike and Uncle Fred!" shouts Ashely as he is taken away in a police car. "Anything to stay in this story-line!" she screams, running headlong into the Rovers and asking for Mike's phone number.
Mike is appalled to hear about Ashley's arrest and decides to be a detective again, so he goes to the nightclub where Ashley supposedly spent the night, when the garage burned down. He interviews the owner, a scary man with black hair and eyebrows that could do worse than having a pair of tweezers taken to them. The owner can not help, as he doesn't even recognise the people who 'work' for him, let alone the punters. On the way out, Mike sees a TV monitor which shows people going in and out of the club. But the owner explains that he tapes over the footage every month.
Meanwhile, Alma is still in a bad mood with Mike because he doesn't want to move to Florida, and was just humouring her all along.
Sam is also in a bad mood (what's new there?) and shuns Sean's attempts to make friends. She also sneers at Jim, who enjoys her feistiness. Having been married to Liz for 18 years, he probably thinks it is normal.
Sean tries to (horror) stop Sam pulling a pint by putting his hand over her hand, and Sam freaks, causing Jim to step in and throw Sean out of the Rovers. Jim expects Sam to go weak at his knees, but instead she tells him to mind his own business, and she can handle herself. Jim walks out in a huff, but Sam follows and bleats "I'm sorry." Jim mutters something Irish which I didn't get, but is pleased to hear that Sam and Sean are no longer an "item". Am I writing for Coronation Street or Byker Grove here?
Later that night, Sean lies in wait for Sam and pounces on her outside the Rovers. Sam is furious, and locks herself in her house, leaving Sean on the outside.
Alec is in Southampton, meeting old friend and high-up person in Sunliners. The old friend arrives, and it is Captain Birdseye, appropriately. Everything seems to be going well until Captain Birdseye starts talking about French philosophy and making allusions to "journey's end". Alec realises that he is being "decomissioned" and that the Drear is going to be given his job instead. At least they've found a use for all those Derek Wilton storylines now.
As it is Bank Holiday Rita offers to look after the children while Kevin and Chris go to the races. They both win money, so Rita offers to babysit again while they go to a nightclub. However, Chris tells Natalie where they are going, and that Kevin will be there!!
At the nightclub (which looks like the place that Ashely and Maxine went to a few weeks ago) we are treated to some swirling camera work involving a revolving disc. Angie and Chris seem to be enjoying themselves, while Kevin sits at the bar - until Natalie shows up and makes him buy her a glass of wine. It seems as if nobody can resist touching Kevin tonight, as Chris reappears and puts his arm around him. Only moments later Natalie is stroking his leg (!)
After Angie and Chris have left Natalie asks Kevin if he would like to go back to her place, and he says "What for?" "You know what for!" she tells him. I hate this woman. Does she not realise that Kevin is owned by the British Public. She can't just walk in and take him without a fight!
At Natalie's house (colour scheme = yellow), the naughty couple pause outside her bedroom. They kiss. There is a closeup. It goes on for much too long. Kevin how could you?
It is 3 am and Rita has collapsed on the couch. Kevin arrives home, having broken his vows (and other things no doubt). Rita is furious with him and says "Get me my coat!" She flounces out, leaving Kevin to look at the picture on the TV of his marriage to Sally. Suddenly, one of the children (is is Rursie or Surphie?) gets up and asks for a drink of water. Kevin tries to muster an emotion, but can only look peaky.
Points out of 10. Well Natalie might have given Kevin a 10, but this episode only gets a 6. At least there was no Don to terrorise us, but we could have done without the close-up. As self-appointed Custodian of Kevin's Monogamy I can only say that I am very disappointed.
Glamour. Alma was wearing brown again (it's the new black), but the award goes to Jim's awful new coat. Really, it will make you start wishing for that big browny-green one which he seems to have worn for the past 300 years.
Acting. Rita. OK - so she hammed it up no end when she was woken at 3 am - I liked the bit where she blinked and tried to read the time on the clock, by holding it away from her. Rita should be allowed to do more comedy.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS.
I don't normally mind clouds, but this week they've been forming into faces. Faces in the sky with eyes that follow me everywhere I go. You can't get away from them, you know. They know about you. They have the knowledge and they're not afraid of detergent either. Not even non-bio. The street maps are all lies. I wouldn't mind the phone ringing but it's all that black water that comes out when you answer it. No wonder bats look so happy, especially the red ones with those lights on, they're planning something...getting it organised...and it's going to be big. And when you tread on a worm, it should stay dead shouldn't it? It shouldn't just grow bigger and shout. That's why semolina tastes so different these days; it's brought in...smuggled from Wales in special suitcases. There's a very angry voice in the bathroom over the last couple of days, but there's no point in making holes in your car, let alone your body. Take this brother...may it serve you well. His name's not Charlie at all...I've heard him all over the ground, if you really listen, but there's no bears in the reference library with waistcoats on, you know, so don't start on at me! They do shut up now and then, of course. The voices from the future. That's the time on the clock to push them back in and put the lid on. Seal them in. Tight. It's important. They never really go, not really.
It's Wednesday May 7th, but here is the update...
Kevin takes flowers to Rita because he was so late coming home. Nobody bought any cigarettes while he was there. Let alone magazines. Maxine wears the blue skirt made all of plastic. Rita knows that Kevin stayed out later on the clock than Chris and Angie, so where was he?
Gail says that Alma should work there again, inside the cafe walls, so she phones her. Alma wants to come and work, and it's only going to be menial though. Start next week, Alma. Roy wasn't sure it's a good idea anyway, and he's holding milk.
Alexander Gilroy pretends to Deirdre that he hasn't been sacked, and to leave in 336 hours, which is two weeks. I can do that in my head. It's 1,209,600 seconds and you can ask me anything like that. Numbers have serious faces; everyone knows. She tells him that she's been told to be in charge from then. She will be in charge after two weeks. Manager. Alec pretends he's retiring, but it's not the truth. I know the truth.
Inside the police station, Mike and Frankie the solicitor watch the security nightclub video from the 26th of March 1997. I'm good at remembering dates too. All Henry VIII's wives' birthdays, The Spanish Armada, Yuri Gagarin, Treaty of Utrecht, Act of Succession, American Civil War, decimal currency, all of those. Even Lech Valensa's wife's name...it's Danuta. They see Ashley on the screen, and the police will have to open wide the cell door for him!
Samantha says to Jim if he wants to come round for a meal, then it's fine by her. He takes the red wine, which they leave well alone, so later he takes it back to Betty and she changes it into beer! Far out! They've eaten salad and he's 41-and-a-half which is the same as me!, and she smiles and says she just wants to be left alone after a day's work.
Kevin says on the phone to Sally that he's thinking about her all the time. Why must he say that? He's not being true because he's thinking about Natalie, and he went to bed with her last night. He would have seen her with nothing on. Then later on, he's talking through the phone to Natalie, but WE CAN SEE HER so it can't be real, can it?? She says that being in bed was lovely with him. Kevin says they better not be in bed again, so she asks him how would it be if she came round another time? He doesn't say anything, which probably means he wants to do that sex with her again, and see her with nothing on.
I'm going to try and sleep now.
See you next Wednesday.
I don't think it was real.
Garage: Kevin intends to close early in order to go to Scarborough to visit Sally. Street: Mike congratulates Ashley on his release. Salon: Maxine is being educated on the ins and outs of prison visiting by Fiona when Ashley arrives. He kids her that he has escaped, then tells her about the security video which proves he was in the nightclub. Maxine first accuses him of seeing other women, Fiona is pleased he is OK. Max and Ashley hug.
Cafe: Emily is perusing holiday brochures, but assures Gail she will definitely not be taking Percy. Roy comes over all decisive and tells Gail that Alma cannot work in the cafe as it would make him feel uncomfortable now that the partnership arrangements have changed. Gail is indignant, saying she has already offered the job to Alma. Roy stands firm, so Gail plans to break the news to Alma that evening.
Travel Agents: Deirdre has enthusiastically gathered up the reins of power and interrogates Alec about a Las Vegas holiday that appears to be paid for. He hurriedly tells her not to worry about it and it will be sorted out before he goes. She marches into his office after him and accuses him of cheating the company by selling cheap holidays at full price and using the difference to pay for the 10 nights in Las Vegas for himself. He is very huffy and officious to her, but looks uncomfortable.
Rovers: Bill and Jim give Mike an update on progress in the business unit. Fiona teases Jim about having his hair cut specially to impress someone. Kevin tells Chris what jobs he should do in the afternoon; Chris asks where Kev will be, speculating that Natalie might visit. Kevin angrily lists all the housework he has to do. Fred and Ashley buy a drink for Mike to thank him for what he did.
Travel Agents: Alec apologises to Deirdre; she accepts, but wants it cleared up before he leaves. Emily returns her brochures - she is considering going to the Cotswolds (very wise choice).
Rovers: Ashley announces he has something to do and purposefully strides off. Fred remarks 'He'll be developing a mind of his own if we're not careful!' Fiona wants Max to cheer up and make an effort for Ashley, as it is obvious she is more attracted to a criminal than a butcher's boy. Alma tells Rita how pleased she is to be going back to work in the cafe. Alec arrives and tells Jack he has a proposition which he will tell him about later.
Prison: Ashley asks Don why he told the police Ashley started the fire. Don denies it at first, then breaks into sobs.
Cafe: Feeling perky after her lunch with Rita, Alma has called in to sort out her hours. Gail has to tell her that Roy won't have her working there, in case they 'gang up' on him. Alma is surprised, Gail frustrated. Roy apologises to Alma, and Gail becomes angry when he reminds her that they had agreed Gail would discuss the job with Alma, but not actually offer it to her. Alma is embarrassed and leaves. Gail calls Roy childish, but our hero remains unmoved.
Prison: Don has recovered his composure enough to moan about Mike Baldwin, but then he starts talking about the queues of visitors he has had. Ashley is stunned when Don says that Ivy will be visiting him later, after she finishes work.
Back Alley/Ginnel/Entryway behind Coronation Street: Natalie picks her way between the wheelie bins and knocks at Kevins door. He is busy ironing. He lets her in, looking furtively up and down. House: She explains she wants to know where they stand.
Rovers: After everyone has gone, Alec explains his plan to Jack. They will have a raffle for the holiday, which Jack will win!
House: Martin comes to see how Ashley is. He explains how he was released, and tells Martin that he is worried about Don: he appears to be going nuts.
House: Kevin admits he finds Natalie's attentions flattering, but he is married. She points out that he is giving conflicting messages every time they talk. He says he does want to see her really.
Flat: Mike can't understand why Alma is upset to be rejected from a part time job clearing tables in a no-good caff. But she is.
Rovers: Jack and Alec go over the plan: Jack will run a raffle, Alec will take all the money and 'stage manage' it so that Jack wins the prize of the holiday.
House: Kevin and Natalie discuss what would happen if they continued the relationship. She doesn't want to break up his family, she says, or for his guilt to mess things up by confessing to Sally. She starts to leave. He calls her back and embraces her. They acknowledge they are embarking on a full affair and we leave them kissing passionately.
Here is the news for Sunday, May the 12th, this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it.
And in tonight's headlines:
Jack's trip to Las Vegas looks assured
Bill and Maureen come unstuck
Gail and Roy make up
Jim and Sam bowl each other over
Jack's trip to Las Vegas looks assured
The posters went up in the "Rover's" today for the "raffle" over the trip to Las Vegas, which Alec has assured Jack he will win. The crafty pair have agreed that the profits will go to Weatherfield hospital, except for Alec's "expenses" of £400. Tickets, at £5.00 each, are reported to be selling well.
Dierdre has expressed her concern about the shady dealing to Alec, but was reassured by him that the raffle ends on Friday, his last day at Sunliners. She can disavow all knowledge if anything goes wrong. Whether Dierdre will remain quiet if she suspects that the whole thing is rigged to let Jack win remains to be seen.
Bill and Maureen come unstuck
Bill and Maureen took their first few steps to death by boredom this evening when Bill decided he was too tired to go out and instead organised a foursome of dominoes with Maude and Percy at the "Rover's". Maude suggested to Maureen that perhaps she should "spice the relationship up" if she felt it was going nowhere. With that in mind, Maureen invited bill to "Shirelle's" for the regular Monday night sixties evening. Bill's response was to rush straight over to Kev's and offer to baby sit for that night so he would have an excuse not to go. Kev, trying to put his relationship with Natalie on hold for the moment, declined.
News broke today that Don is not to stand trail after all. Martin lost no time in passing the news on to Mike Baldwin. Now we cross live to your roving reporter Tom, who is talking to Mike and Alma.
Thank you very much Jerry.
Now Mike, what was your initial reaction to the news that Don was not going to stand trail for his actions.
"Initially I was furious. He should have to pay dearly for what he did to us."
Thank you Mike, now Alma, you take a different point of view I believe ?
" Yes Tom, I'm relieved that I don't have to go and give evidence at a trail. I didn't want to have to relive the experience all over again. Now that Don has been sectioned I can put the whole thing behind me".
Thank you Alma. Now back to you Mike. You said initially you were furious, I take it you have changed your mind now.
"Well, Tom, it seems to me that it is best for Alma that she doesn't have to face Don in court, even though I want to see him pay. I imagine that Don is in a pretty secure hospital and kept drugged up to the eyeballs. He's never going to get out of there.
Ashley has the key to Maxine's heart
The key to Maxine's heart is the key to Don's house apparently. Maxine, worried that she and Ashley might find little opportunity to (ahem) "be alone" now that he is living with his family was pleased to discover that Ashley has kept hold of the key to Don's house. The two love birds are now an official "item" on the street.
Gail and Roy make up
At Martin's urging, Gail apologised to Roy today. Roy accepted the apology like the truly great man he is by gallantly agreeing to share the blame with her for their first management crisis.
Jim and Sam bowl each other over
Big Jim was a big hit with Sam this evening when she invited him out ten pin bowling. She was impressed with his skill at the game and also the way he refused to patronise her by letting her win. She hasn't yet been bowled over for the big Irishman herself, but is reported to be prepared to see him again.
Maxine is stroking somebody's hair in the salon when Alan arrives and wants to whisk Fiona away for the day, asking her to cancel all her appointments or leave Maxine in charge. Fiona does not trust Maxine, and says so (to Maxine's outrage), and says she will meet Alan at lunchtime instead.
The next time we see this pair, he is buttoning up his shirt, and Fiona is complaining that she never gets enough time to see him, blah, blah, blah. "Maybe I should move in then", says Alan, in his straight-to-the-point way. Fiona is so pleased that she assumes the hamster-puffed-out-cheeks face and is unable to make her voice heard. So this plot-line ends there.
Alma is applying for a job in a posh dress shop, and has got "done up" for the interview. Mike tells her alternately that she will get it, and that she is too good for it, and not to be disappointed when she does not get it. Alma loses all her confidence, and does not get the job of course.
At the Rovers, she is annoyed further because Mike doesn't ask how it went, as he is still obsessing over getting vengeance on Don Brennan. She stalks out, and somehow ends up in Firman's Freezers. Suddenly, she sees a notice saying "Wanted: Staff" and before you can say "minimum wage" she's knocked on Curly's office door and has managed to get a job, despite the fact that Curly thinks that the work will be a "come-down" for her. Alma says she doesn't care what she does, as long as it gets her out of the house.
Meanwhile, Mike, feeling guilty, buys a holiday to Cyprus, leaving tomorrow for him and Alma. When Alma finds out, she refuses to go, saying she has to start work. "You got a job doing WHAT?" Mike bellows when he finds out what she is going to be doing. More rows etc etc. And I hope that all the people who work in supermarkets write in and complain that this storyline is trying to demean their validity.
Jim wants to ask Samantha out, but only manages to growl "Samantha, grr , wrrrr, erw, grrr" before Bill arrives and ruins it all for him. Bill has problems of his own, as Maureen is "set" on the 60s night, and has "dolled" herself up - it didn't take much "dolling" to be honest - she already had the hair. But Vera, realising that she isn't going to get the glamour tiara this week, is suitably impressed and loses to Maureen graciously. Bill's idea of a 60s costume is an off-pink tie and suit. Hip! "I didn't care much for the 60s the first time round," he says. No surprises there. Maureen is not impressed with his "effort" either - maybe she should turn her attentions to a younger man, as if it can work for the femme fatale of the next story-line, then I expect that Maureen should be able to land Keanu Reeves without even having to check her lip-line.
The Evil One has her talons dug even deeper into Kevin than before, and we are treated to some edited clips from the last 5 episodes as the pair go through the paces all over again.
Kevin: "I don't want to see you any more." Natalie: "Fine. I hate you too." Kevin: "I do want to see you." Natalie: "OK let's have sex." Kevin: "OK. I am your slave." (they kiss - sickening close-up) Kevin: "I can't"....Begin again Finegan.
Marks out of 10: 7 - an episode mainly focussing on the "dynamics" of the relationship between Mike and Alma. As I like Alma, I'm always very nice about episodes where she gets to emote.
Most nauseating line: I have removed it from my brain, but it was when Natalie referred to Kevin's sexual prowess of the night before. It was something like (I paraphrase) "You gave me a great 'seeing-to' last night." Dogs were howling all down our street at that point.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and my thanks to all the friends who wrote last week inquiring as to my mental state. I did not metamorphose into a giant sardine, as I had feared I surely would, without the usual medication. Thank you all for your concern.
You know the way travelling folk have called from town to town over the centuries, offering their crafts and the sweat of their brow on a casual basis. As the decades pass, so the nature of the services they offer changes. 200 years ago, they would have helped with the harvest or picked hops, or grapes from the vine. Then they would trade a horse or two with you. More recently they would sharpen knives and sell clothes pegs, or even offer to clean out your gutters and re-point the mortar on your chimney. Times have changed still more, it seems. I got a knock on the door a couple of days ago.
A wizened old man with a face of brown leather stood there with his two enormous sons. With quite the most solemn face I have ever seen, he extended his hand to me, whereupon he wished me all the luck that the good Lord could reasonably be expected to bestow, on me and all my children (born and unborn!) and their children. I anticipated he would offer to tarmac my drive for an unbelievably low cost, but no. Neither did he offer to take a few dangerous branches from the front garden tree. Times have surely changed:
Him: Let my boys come in and defrag your disk, guvnor; they'll do a beautiful job, your computer will fly, guvnor, and they'll be so neat and tidy, you won't even know they've been there, and may the good lord bless you and send you good luck 'til the day you meet Him face to face, guvnor.
Me: Well, I don't think it needs it at the moment, I haven't had the computer very long, you see.
Him: Well you'll be needing some software then guvnor. My boys will get you on that old Internet, you'll thank them until the day you meet the Lord, if you let them come in and load some comms software. Come and look in the old lorry, guvnor.
Knowing I was making a mistake, I followed the three hi-tech travellers to their tipper lorry, which still bore the stains and smells of many a load of hot tarmac, but was now racked out to show thousands upon thousands of CD Roms, hard drives, speakers, cables, zip drives and motherboards.
Him: Look at these, guvnor; me and my boys have got all the latest titles for you and your beautiful children: We got Windows 98, Encarta 98, golf motor racing...we got 'em all, honest to God. You looking for adult material guvnor...look at this...2000 high quality adult JPEG's on one CD guvnor, only 50 quid to you, and I'm losing money on the deal. there you are! We got Pentium 200 chips, colour lazer printers, scanners the lot. Amos lad, fetch some o'that ram from the cab for the gen'lman.
While we waited, "you wait 'till you see this, guv'nor"
The vast Amos silently ambled to the front of the truck and came back with a handful of chips.
Amos: Here, guv'nor, 72 pin EDO Ram chips; my little brother an' me'll slip these into your computer so easy you won't know we've been there. Or if you like, young Shadrack can perform a wide ranging fractal-binary sweep of your Windows registry, guv'nor, giving you a vastly improved performance curve on all multitasking platform environments...what do you say, will you let us do the work reasonable? Not only that, but your children will never turn against you.
I failed to see how upgrading my computer would ensure lifelong obedience from my children, and make the mistake of tactfully saying so.
From their expressions, you would have thought I had brought down the most horrible curse on their family in perpetuity. It was as though I had insulted them, their forebears and their entire culture.
The old man quietly called me a name I hadn't heard before and they turned and walked towards the lorry.
As they did so, the youngest oversized son turned to his father saying, "Father, the gen'lman had a couple o' broken roof tiles...shouldn't we...."
The old man cuffed him round the head saying, "I've told you Shadrack lad, we don't do that kind of work n'more!"
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 14.5.97:
Tonight we are witness to an unlikely triumvirate on Corrie; Hitler, Elvis and Lazarus all have their place in tonight's episode.
Maud is having a bit of a go at Maureen, following the unsuccessful 60's night she went to with Bill. Maud asks her "Did you have your face on...the one where your eyes pop out and your mouth disappears?" This graphic and physically unlikely image was meant to inquire if Maureen was sulky at the hop. Since I've been up here in the study writing this, I have tried and tried again to make my eyes pop out and my mouth disappear. I keep getting one or the other, but I'll be darned if I can achieve both at once! Later Maud gets the chance to tell Bill that he might be in danger of losing Maureen unless he bucks his ideas up, and woos her anew. She accuses him of being labelled One Dance Webster. He gets the message and later on we see them all sort of 'together' You know the kind of thing.
Maxine, sans the famous blue plastic lampshade-style skirt which so well becomes her, is moaning about how she has to lie to customers, to cover up when Fiona is upstairs romping with Slimy Al. She also has to turn up the radio to drown out their audible lustings. By the look of Al, I'd say she wouldn't have to turn it up for more than 45 seconds! Fiona spills the beans which seem to be bursting to be spilled, which is that Al is taking up permanent residence upstairs.
Maxine looks miffed at these glad tidings. Later we are treated to a slow panning camera shot round the living room of the flat, as Fiona is talking about redecorating. This is the nesting instinct coming to the fore, if I'm any judge of female psychology, which clearly I am not. Al demands a larger bed as a top priority. "Why must everything be so BIG all of a sudden?" asks Fiona. Al eases himself backwards on the bed and tries to look devastatingly irresistible at the mention of 'something big'. For me, he fails miserably, and just succeeds in looking an absolute twonk, but there you are! The poor girl's smitten and snogs him as though her life depended upon it.
Mike Baldwin meets Curly in the cafe with the purpose of asking him ...well telling him more like...not to give Alma the job for which he interviewed her the previous day. Curly neither agrees nor disagrees, but it would appear that he has swallowed Mike's lies about her being temporarily unhinged, and therefore more in need of a lovely holiday in the sun, than a job in the frozen food retail sector.
The unlikeliest affair on British TV rears its ugly head once more. How many times can this affair be on, then off, then on, then off again before we all turn the TV off and do some colouring-in instead? I used to like colouring-in, didn't you? It was very therapeutic and didn't call for much artistic dexterity, so it suited me. I think it still might, come to think of it.
It's my belief that there's countless thousands of perfectly mature (!) adults out there crying out for a colouring book and a set of coloured pencils. The sort your auntie would bring you when you'd had your tonsils out. There's a definite gap in the market there. I did get a book along those lines for a birthday a couple of years ago. You might have seen them, where there are lots of drawings of naked men and women with their important bits totally missing. Absent. The idea is that you draw in their, shall we say...attributes. Bit of a laugh. I spent hours locked in the bathroom one night, doing one of them in the mirror, as a sort of self-portrait. I soon lost interest though.....!
Anyway, Natalie arrives at the garage yet again, clutching a folder of papers as her passport to carnality. Kev makes her a poisonous-looking mug of black tea. Things are frosty between them, they then thaw out, just like every other time. It culminates in the two of them disappearing into Kev's house to colour in their...shall we say...attributes. (See above)
Natalie: How long have we got?
Kevin: Long enough!
Says it all doesn't it!
In the pub, Percy opines that Elvis couldn't sing, dance or act. First thing tomorrow morning, I will start a determined and relentless hate- mail campaign against Granada, the script-writers and Percy himself for saying such a thing. Come on Percy, Don't Be Cruel!
Excitement is intense. Something big is about to happen. Everyone is talking about it. The whole street is buzzing with anticipation of....The Raffle. Yes, it's raffle night for the Las Vegas trip for two. Viva Las Vegas, Percy!
An old codger called Mr Conway wins Vera over with his sob-story of how he used to live in Weatherfield when there were still fish in't canal, and his talk of his sister Jessie, and his deceased wife. It seems the wife was a very keen knitter, and he'd just got her a spanking new knitting machine when she went. Choking back a tear for his dearly departed, he buys a ticket for the draw.
My mother knitted. Like this old bloke's wife, she knitted everything. Tea cosies, a cover for the budgie's cage, a waistcoat for the poodle, vests and pants for me, but best and most memorable of all were the knitted swimming trunks! Mine were of very thick green wool, I remember. I can see them now. I can feel them too, all itchy. But the first time I wore them was at the seaside in Bournemouth. As soon as they came into contact with the seawater, they sponged-up about 25 lbs of extra weight, and their size immediately doubled! I presented a very sorry looking sight to the other bathers as I struggled out of the waves, trying in vain to hold up the impossible weight of these green knitted trunks and to cover my...shall we say...attributes. (See above)
Can you picture a painfully embarrassed little boy of about seven or eight, emerging gingerly from the sea, skinny little legs, skinny little body, skinny little arms, ENORMOUS SOGGY TRUNKS!
Anyway, the great moment arrives and Alec pulls out ticket number 133, which, as you will have guessed by now, belongs to the old bloke with the flat cap. He rises to his feet in triumph, only to collapse in a dead faint. There is pandemonium in the pub. Jim feels for his pulse and declares life extinct. Jack and Alec huddle over the prostrate pensioner, and Jack appears to administer mouth to mouth resuscitation. Soon, Martin arrives to add some professionalism to Jack's efforts. All at once, the old guy comes back to life, right as rain. Well, you can imagine, Jack is hailed as a hero; some kind of miracle-worker. Spontaneous applause breaks out.
When this modern-day Lazarus has fully recovered, he rejects Martin's advice to go to the hospital, and Alec takes him home in his car.
Jack is everybody's top man. "Nobody dies on Jack Duckworth" he declares with a flourish. The old man is very grateful. Very grateful indeed. Now, boys and girls, how do we think the grateful patient could possibly show his gratitude to Jack. You don't have to be Sherlock Homes, do you?
That's yer lot.
Good night and I love you all - Nigel
Rovers: Vera fusses over Jack and his life-saving exploits. He is certainly her hero, and she remarks that fate must have let the old boy, Mr. Conway, win the raffle, as he is certainly in need of a holiday.
Shop: Maud is off to Llandudno for the weekend later that day. Maureen therefore invites Bill round for a meal, since they will have the house to themselves.
Flat: Mike orders the taxi for the airport as Alma finishes her packing. She is really excited about going on holiday. She is under the impression that Curly will allow her to take the holiday and start in the shop on her return. Mike jokes that she may change her mind while on holiday, and decide not to work in the freezer shop after all.
Kabin: Jack is again being praised as a hero by Rita and Mavis; he plays it down, but Mavis wistfully speculates on what would have happened if someone had been there to help Derek at the time of his demise. Alec arrives and Jack takes him aside to ask what has happened. Alec assures Jack that all is under control, Mr. Conway will come to the pub and offer Jack the ticket as a gesture of thanks, but in the pub in front of witnesses.
Street: Jim and Sam discuss the Raising of Lazarus. Jim is a hard old army mucker who has seen enough dead bodies to know that the man was dead. (He thinks Sam will be impressed by this?) They agree to a re-match at bowling and arrange to go that night.
Garage: Chris requests time off to get a haircut, but grumpy Kevin refuses on the grounds they are too busy in the garage. Natalie pulls up in her big shiny car, announces she has things to discuss with Kevin and they disappear into the office, to Chris' disgust. Natalie tries to persuade Kevin to go away for the weekend with her, or at least stay overnight at her house. He protests that they are busy, he has Rosie to look after, and so on, but Natalie challenges him that there is always a way......
Salon: Rita allows Maxine to finger her Big Red hair while Fiona talks to Alan on the phone. Max asks Rita what she thinks of a man who has moved in with Fiona one day, and the next, is making excuses to stay out all night. 'On surveillance, actually' corrects Fiona. Rita looks troubled as Max asserts that he must be married, as men get up to all sorts these days - but the wife always finds out in the end. Rita then snaps back to reality and asks if they are too busy to do her hair. Fiona decides to do some work for a change.
Rovers: We are treated to the rare camera shot from the man up the ladder, looking down into the bar which is empty apart from Jack and Audrey. Mr. Conway then appears, as promised, but does not give Jack the ticket before Audrey leaves. Jack wants to know what is going on. Mr. Conway explains that he discovered his talent for self-hypnosis leading to voluntary narcolepsy when he was a child. Alec signed him up as an act, promising fame and fortune. All that he got was a trip to Prague, and ripped off by Alec. He now intends to get his revenge. Jack protests.
Travel Agents: Alec is packing his office effects when Jack and Mr. Conway arrive. Mr. Conway wants his money from Alec before he surrenders his ticket. Alec thinks the fee was £40, but blanches when Conway hands in an itemised bill for £120. Jack threatens to tell everyone, including Alan McKenna, where all the raffle money went, unless Alec pays Mr Conway.
Business Unit: As Bill is on his way to lunch, Kevin asks him to baby-sit that night as Kevin wants to go to a stag night. Bill suggests asking Rita, but Kevin says that she can't. Inside, Mike leaves Angie instructions for while he is away, she is only half-listening, though, as she is busy drawing designs on her computer, (which I think is a Mac, (hooray) but I can't be certain. [It was a Mac - Graham])
Rovers: Judy is amazed that Alma would want a job in the freezer shop, but Alma is happy not to have the responsibility of her own business. Alec and Jack enter, Alec grumbling, closely followed by Mr. Conway, much to Vera's delight. Conway duly announces in front of a packed clientele that his doctor checked him out and pronounced him fit, but advised against flying. Vera is thrilled to have the tickets, then immediately panics when she realises departure is tomorrow, and they haven't anyone to look after the pub. They don't want to spring it on Betty, so decide to ask Samantha. Meanwhile, Bill explains to Maureen that they will still have a nice evening if she cooks at Kevin's house. She is not best pleased as it wasn't just eating a meal that was in her mind. Vera gives instructions to Sam and goes off to pack. Sam apologises to Jim that they will not now be able to go out.
House: Kevin is all dressed up and goes out, leaving Maureen and Bill to look after Rosie. Bill has brought his grand-daughter a large ice cream.
Kabin: Ken calls in, and mentions to Rita that he just saw Kevin leaving the house, in a suit. Rita distractedly says that Kevin has a lot of work on at the moment.
House: Kevin looks at a photo of Tony while Natalie fetches them both a drink.
House: As Maureen prepares the meal, Bill says he has to pop to the pub to talk to Jim about work. Rosie is asleep, so Maureen is prepared to allow him to go, so long as he returns at nine o'clock.
House: Natalie tells Kevin that Tony is well and living in Leeds, and he has a new girlfriend. She unbuttons Kevin's shirt and strokes his chest hair.
Rovers: Betty marches in demanding to speak to Vera, as she has heard from Audrey that the Duckworths are going on holiday. Vera explains that they didn't want to take advantage of Betty, but she says it would have been nice to be asked!
House: Again Kevin wrestles with his conscience. I won't bore you with the dialogue as you have heard it before. Natalie suggests that she is keeping him warm for Sally on her return. She also stresses that it is fun, not love, she wants.
House: Bill returns at the appointed time to find an empty kitchen and a burnt dinner. Maureen comes downstairs in a bad mood as Rosie has been sick. She blames Bill for giving the child sweets and pop. Maureen shouts at a bewildered Bill that he always puts his family before their relationship, citing Christmas as an example (he went to see his son) Bill then reminds her that she was quick to seek out consolation with Curly at Christmas. Rosie calls out and Bill has to go to see to her, as Maureen storms out.
Street: Rita sees Maureen leave and asks if everything is alright. Maureen blames Rita for causing her and Bill to argue by not baby-sitting while Kevin goes boozing in Oldham. Rita is clearly very suspicious now; we presume that she was not asked to babysit.
House: Kevin and Natalie get intimate on the sofa. They agree that there will be no guilt, commitment or jealousy; just fun. He leads her upstairs.
Awards: The outside film crew; they must be pushed for time, poor loves. Why else would they not re-shoot Jim and Samantha's street scene, where Jim is clearly being rained on, whilst Sam, from the other angle, is bone dry. Did they really think we don't notice these things? Well we do, (but we are not complaining, are we?) We love The Street, and our fanaticism leads us to appreciate things that some viewers may disregard as irrelevant to the story.
Bye for now, Helen
This is Talk Radio Weatherfield, and now for our ever popular phone in show, "Give us a Date Mate". On the conference line we have two eligible bachelors, Bill and Curly, and one lucky woman has to choose between them without seeing them. She will know them only as Male B and Male C.
And here is our female contestant now. Let's give a big hand for Maurine! "Thank you very much Jerry"
Now Maurine, have you got your questions ready for Males B & C?
"Yes Jerry. Where is Male A?"
Sorry Maurine, he ran off with a fishwife from Scunthorpe. Ain't it always the way? But forget about him. We know that, whichever of the men you choose tonight, you will not go wrong.
"OK, my first question is for Male B. If I had a one night stand at Christmas while you were away visiting your ex-wife, would you forgive me or throw it in my face every time we had an argument"?
"Hi Male B."
"Well Maurine, I'm a moody and passionate man. I probably would throw it in your face, but then I'd be sorry. The next day I'd come 'round and apologise. I'd grovel all you wanted and whisk you away for a weekend in Blackpool staying at a waterfront hotel".
"Sounds nice Male B. OK my next question is for Male C. Male C, I run a corner shop. If my boyfriend came into the shop to ask me out while you were in back making me a cuppa, what would you do?"
"Hi Male C".
"Well Maurine, it does seem a bit suspicious, my being out the back of the shop. I'd probably stay quiet so he wouldn't get jealous".
"Suppose he wanted me to shut the shop up early and go out with him. Would you still stay hidden, even though I'd have to lock the shop up with you inside?"
"I wouldn't be too happy about that".
"Don't worry, Male C. There are lots of tins of food out back of my shop". "Yes I know, lots of drink as well. But no tin openers".
"Sorry Male C."
All right Maurine, you've heard what our contestants say. Whom do you choose?
"Oh Jerry, the trip to Blackpool sounds so exciting. I think I'll take Male B and leave Male C locked up inside my shop for later".
Great. I hope you will come back next week and tell us all how you got on. Now, you all remember on last week's show; big Jim McDonald chose feisty Samantha for his date. They join us again tonight to tell us all how they got on. Jim, Sam, welcome back to the show.
"Thank you very much Jerry".
"What about ya Jerry"
Now Jim, tell us how things are going with you two.
"Well, now Jerry, cut it on. I can't make head nor tail of this little lady. She blows hot and cold with the same breath so she does. We seem to be getting on fine one minute, the next she behaves like she's never met me before. Ya hear what I'm sayin'?"
Yes, it must be difficult. Sam, how do you see things?
"All men are the same Jerry. I go out with them once and they think they own me. I've got to stand up for myself and show them that they shouldn't make assumptions about me or my availability".
But, do you want to see Jim again?
"It doesn't matter what I want, he shouldn't make any assumptions."
Well, Sam and Jim, we went to "The Rover's" today to find out how other people saw you two. This is what Judy Mallett said;
"I'm sick of Sam. If she can't treat me and Betty with a bit of respect, I'm giving in me notice. I know Vera put her in charge while she and Jack were away. but Sam's not my boss and I'm not standing for it. Betty and me are run off us feet, while she spends all her time sniffing around Jim at the bar.
"She complains that men get the wrong idea about her, but is it any wonder? She spends all her free time flirting with them."
What do you think Sam, do you flirt with men and give them the run around?
"No Jerry, I certainly don't. And to prove it, I'll go to the movies with Jim this week".
Well listeners, there's hope for these two yet. Jim, Sam, thank you very much and good luck.
Our next contestant of the night is Kevin. He has to chose between three femmes fatales, A, B and C.
Femme A is a divorcee with a share in a small local garage. She herself has been around the block a few times. Let's give a big Weatherfield welcome to Natalie. Femme B is a widow who runs the local newsagent. put your hands together for Rita. Femme C is a young mum who thrives on family life, let's all welcome Sally.
Here is Kevin now, he has the difficult job of choosing between these three. Hello there Kevin and welcome to the show.
"Thank you very much Jerry. And hello girls".
"My first question is for femme C. Do you believe in sex outside marriage?" I'm sorry Kevin, C had to go and spend an indeterminate amount of time in Scarborough looking after her mum. She's left you a bit high and dry there I'm afraid.
"All right, same question to femme A."
"Well, hello there Kevin. Do I believe in sex outside marriage? I think so, because you have to get it somewhere and everyone knows you get none inside marriage".
"Femme B, what do you think?"
"Hello Kevin. I think you've got too much to lose. I certainly have to disagree with that kind of thing".
"Sounds pretty boring femme B. I've got another question for you. If you found out your friend's husband was having an affair, what would you do about it?"
"Well, Kevin, I'd go 'round to see the woman concerned and call her 'laydeh' until she agreed to break things off."
"OK femme A, what do you make of that?"
"If it was me, I'd mind me own business Kevin. And me own business partner, if you know what I mean. Only nosy old cows stick their oar into what doesn't concern them".
All right Kevin. Who is it to be? Femme A, B or C.
"I dunno Jerry. Femme B is definitely out. I like the sound of femme A, but I love our Sal. I dunno, I just dunno".
Sorry Kevin, we don't have enough time for all this indecision. We'll have to come back to you later (unfortunately). In the meantime I'd like you all to cast your mind back to last week's couple, Angie and Chris. They have had a bit of a stormy ride so far, are things going any better for them? Here they are now, let's welcome Angie and Chris back to the show.
"Hi Jerry, good to be back".
Hi guys. I hear you are still seeing a lot of each other. Do you think there is any hope for you two to get together Chris?
"No way Jerry. The furthest I ever get with Angie is to buy her a drink in 'The Rover's'. Then she just ignores me while she demolishes other people's egos for fun".
What do you say Angie?
"Listen Jerry, I'm me own woman and what I want from a relationship is no strings. If I want to conduct business meetings while I'm having a drink with Chris; if I want to do the hiring for me new business on a Sunday afternoon in the pub; well, I've got a perfect right.
"Anyway, that Janice woman was asking for it. If Ida Clough thinks I'd take on a woman with a sour look like that, well, she can forget it. What they have to realise is that I'm fair, but I'm no pushover."
No progress there then. And you're still off the red wine I take it? I've got a bottle out the back if you'd like me to drop around after the show? No? Oh well, perhaps next time.
Thank you very much Angie and Chris. And thank you to all our loyal listeners. We'll see you all next week on the muppet show.
Maureen and Bill are returning from their dour little weekend away, and Bill is chattering merrily, unable to realise that Maureen is acting even more worried and nervy than usual. When they get home, she is terrified that Bill will discover Curly locked in the shop, but the pair are waylaid by almost every single cast member gathered outside the shop - acting as if the sky is falling in, just because it is not open. Heading this hysterical crowd is Percy, who acts as if Maureen is responsible for war crimes or something. Maureen pushes past them, and gets into the shop - meanwhile, Bill goes over to talk to Jim.
Maureen finds Curly in the back room and apologises for locking him in. Curly is tired and cross, especially as he was unable to get to work that morning too. Just as she is about to let him out, Bill appears and his jealousy horomones go into double overdrive. I have just two words for this sorry and sub Home & Away stroryline: Who Cares?
Alan has finally moved into Fiona's flat, which is decorated with more than just a hint of yellow. Granada must have got a load of yellow paint on special offer recently as Nastily's flat is also a similar shade (maybe one of the producers had some spare paint left over when he decorated his jacuzzi room?)
After Alan pretends to help carry a new bed (wrapped in plastic) up to the flat (it is really Jim and Bill who do all the hard work), the lovebirds decide to take a rest by climbing into the bed and going to sleep - even though it appears to be daylight outside. Then there is this weird, 20 minute long scene (well it felt like 20 minutes) where the two talk about their lives, hopes, fears etc. Alan mentions that some criminal threatened to kill his wife and children that day as he was being sentenced. Instead of being worried, Fiona is pleased that Alan confided in her.
Judy - in her cage at work, finds herself terrorised by two teenagers who start banging a pinball machine, and being rude to her, demanding money as the "machine didn't give 'us a game and ate our pound". One is called Liam. For some reason, instead of simply slapping the children and ejecting them by force, Judy cowers behind her glass screen and looks frightened. Hello writers! This is Judy, Goddess of Power, not Mavis. Stop messing with the character's personalities please.
Kevin, visits Rita in the Kabin to talk to her, but the presence of Mavis and other interlopers makes him change his mind. Rita is still in a huffy mood. Later, Kevin visits Rita at home and begs her not to tell Sally about his affair. He swears that it is all over, and that from now on he just wants to be a good boy. Rita just looks stern. "I'll sit here all night if that's what it'll take to convince you that I'm sorry," he whines. "Go home Kevin," snaps the BRW. "You've had too many late nights lately." Miaow! Credits.
Points out of 10: 2. A disgraceful episode. I couldn't even be motivated to write the update until Thursday morning. It seems that Mondays are back to being tiresome again.
Best line: See Rita, above.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and I hope you've had a fine week.
You know I'm an honest sort of bloke who is happy to let you in on every part of his life, so I know I can talk openly to you, and you won't judge me harshly.
I come from a tough part of town, where people have to do what they can to make ends meet. Life ain't easy, and the children still need to be fed. I have been having a tough time recently, so I was wondering what I could do, what service I might be able to offer that people would want to pay good money for, so in the last couple of months, I have gone into prostitution.
Yes, in the run down areas of town where both sexes kerb-crawl the litter-strewn streets late at night in their cars, you can find me and the others engaged in this dark trade, selling our updates for ready cash.
I only give straight Corrie, although I often have punters ask me for more exotic updates; Brookside and Emmerdale, but that's just kinky to me. I have my health to think of. I only want to spend a couple of years on the game and then retire and leave this sordid life behind. Hopefully I will have made enough money by then to be able to stop it for good.
Some of the other street-corner updaters are there because they are feeding a habit, of course. These are the ones who will never be able to stop. They spend all their cash on computer peripherals and add-ons, instead of looking after their kids. We often get arrested by the copyright squad, fined, and we're back on the streets within hours, selling our updates again. Some of the writers are prepared to give unprotected updates, and therefore charge more, but I think that's madness these days, with all the viruses around.
I would never want to be involved with an update agent. They're not interested in us writers, they just come along at the end of the evening in their big cars, and take their share of what we've earned. Some of the writers often get knocked about by their agents if the updates are not up to scratch.
It's hard to say what drives a man to get his updates from a person like me. I think it's because their wives won't allow them any Coronation Street at home, so they have to go looking for it in the backstreets.
Updating is the world's oldest profession, they say, and I think that's true. There will always be a demand for it. There will always be people who, for so many different reasons, will seek their updates on the streets.
Every so often, there are calls to legalise it, and to give the writers regular health-checks, like they do in some European countries who have a more liberal view of update writing. Maybe one day it will happen. The funny thing is that, in England, it's not actually illegal to write them, just illegal to offer them for sale in a public place. To me that's crazy, they're my updates, I can do what I want with them.
What do I charge?
Well, if it's just a quickie in a client's car, say he only wants to know what happened on one episode, that would be 10 pounds. I am quite happy to give oral updates. That's where the client phones me on my mobile and I give an update orally over the phone. But if someone wants me to go back to their place and give them a full update of, say the last four episodes, well that would probably be an all-nighter and would cost in excess of 100 pounds.
I had one man last week who wanted two of us together, and was prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege. I got together with a girl who writes Eastenders updates, and we both went round to his apartment and gave him the lot. We went right through the card! Character profiles, plot-lines and even snippets of dialogue, covering the last two months. He was utterly exhausted by the morning, but very happy to part with his 450 quid! Easy money I call it.
The girl and I didn't need to work for a day or two!
Here is the update...
The nation lets out an audible groan as we see Natalie and Kevin fiddle- faddling about yet again. It's on...it's off...who cares already? We should worry! She asks if he's scared of her, and he says not. I would be, Kev! Especially with the power-dressing suits and the earrings of satellite dish proportions! Kev needs time; he wants to be friends. "I thought you were a man" she jibes at him. Poor Kev. He'd probably seen her in Soldier Soldier and thought "I'd sell me grannie to the Arabs for that one!" He only wanted a bit on the side, and he winds up with one that makes demands!
A little later, he tells her he doesn't want to lose his family, as she tells him he must make up his mind. Angie shows up, asking for the phone number where Sally can be reached. Natalie takes this as her cue to exit, leaving a growling Kev, who very nearly bites the head off the chirpy undie-queen, who wants the number in order to offer Sally a job in her fledgling knicker empire.
Later still, a fuming Kevin finds Chris sitting at a table in the pub with the lemon-suited jezebel. He orders Chris back to work, but Natalie tries to outrank him, and tells Chris to stay. He goes back anyway. In their last scene together tonight, they are at her place. This time Kevin has come round to bar her from talking to other men! That's rich isn't it? He reckons she's only doing it to make him jealous, which she denies.
Anyway, her blatant tactics seem to work like a dream because within moments, he's saying he doesn't care if Sally is cavorting with some unknown stud somewhere, as he doesn't care about her! "Sally's not here, you are" Sounded fair enough to me, but at this point, Maggie shouted at him something I wouldn't care to repeat in print. I stuck up for him, as I always do when she calls him names. I say "what could the bloke do...he has no choice..where's the harm?" Stirring bastard, me. Despite her hideous earrings, (Natalie's, not Maggie's) he declares he wants her, and kisses her to underline the fact, unlikely though it may seem to any right-thinking god-fearing viewer.
In the amusement arcade, Judy is having a bit of trouble from the odious Liam and his scrawny female accomplice. Hardly Bonnie and Clyde are they? Her name might be Zoe, but it doesn't matter much either way. As for the term 'amusement arcade' I have grave misgivings. The one thing you'll never experience there is amusement of any kind. I invite you to stand outside your local version, and see how many of tomorrow's model citizens emerge after an hour or two and declare to each other "I say Giles old man, I thought that was awfully amusing, didn't you?" To which Giles might reply "Charles, old boy, it really was the most spiffingly amusing fun one's had since young Tuppy Fforbes-Huntley's eighteenth birthday bash in Monaco!"
Anyway, The revolting Liam pinches a handful of pound coins from Judy's Change Grotto, and makes a right nuisance of himself, to Judy's impotent dismay. Then Gary appears from nowhere to rough-handle the little oik, and force him to hand over his ill-gotten gains. "I'll get you for this" threatens the impudent little thuglet. Gary hugs his wife and tells her he's taking her away from there for good. Later in the pub, she tells him to mind his own business in future, as she intends to continue working there. Poor ol' Gary.
Jim entertains Samantha once again. Red wine is produced, to the delight of Ratucser's the world over. This time, alas for you Weatherfield voyeurs, it fails to work it's usual carnal magic. Sure, they have a pleasant meal (an Ulster fry, whatever that is) and he tells her about how he and Liz got together very young, and married because the wee boys were on the way, and all that. On the table, a knife protrudes from the opened margarine container. Said it all, for me. For her part, Samantha says she doesn't picture herself with children. "They just let you down, and you let them down" How ill-informed! Any real parent would gladly put her right there. The truth is FAR GLOOMIER than that!
Jim asks her outright if she would consider a relationship, but she gives him the knock-back, saying she just wants friendship. It would have been an ideal opportunity for her to mention that she is married, but she lets the moment pass.
The other on-off relationship under the microscope tonight is that of Bill and Maureen. Maud gets to hear of the shop being mysteriously closed last Sunday, and demands some answers from her daughter. Maureen tells her about the lamentable fling with Curly at Christmas. A horrified Maud asks, "That four-eyed pillock...you had doings with Curly Watts?" Although Maureen says it only happened once, Maud taunts her all the more, and says she needs to have her bumps felt! Surely that's been part of the problem, and I don't mean phrenology here! Far too many male Street residents have had the opportunity to feel Maureen's bumps!
Ken plants in Bill's mind the notion that it could all have been a misunderstanding; Curly and the stockroom incident, so a conciliatory William Webster pops round to the Corner Shop. He's sorry. She's sorry. He's to blame. She's to blame. Sound familiar? I should say so! Suddenly, they're chums again. He recalls what a wonderful weekend they shared, what with Crazy Golf and all! Wow Bill, you sure know how to turn a girl's head, you sly old romantic, you!
In the pub, Maud fuels the Bill's fire, out of sport rather than anything else, by telling him that the Noel-nookie between Curly and Maureen might easily occur again. "He could have her up against the cash register at any time" she warns darkly, in the only belly laugh of the whole episode.
This fires Bill up once more, so he goes a-knocking on Curly's door. Ostensibly, he's there to tell Curly to keep his hands off Maureen, but the conversation degenerates somewhat to accusation and counter- accusation. The final straw comes when Curly says Maureen's "no angel". The inevitable outcome of this is when Bill wallops poor innocent Norman with a right-cross.
The last we see is of a prostrate frozen food executive, stretched out on the carpet. He'll need a frozen steak on that eye!
That's yer lot!
Good night and I love you all, Nigel
House: It is breakfast time at Kevin's house, and Rita brings round some magazines for him to take to Sally. Kevin realises that Rita is checking up on him, and reassures her that it is definitely over between him and Nastily. Rita gently says she cares about him as well as Sally, and doesn't want to see him make a mistake which would result in him losing his children as well as Sally.
Street: When a woman says something along the lines of 'what if that nasty person shows up again?' and her husband says 'don't worry, he won't', you can guess what is going to happen regarding Gary, Judy and Liam. Meanwhile, Bill and Jim discuss their love lives. Jim says Sam isn't interested in a relationship with him. Bill reckons that he and Maureen are 'stronger than ever' now they are back together.
Kabin: Rita invites Ken round for dinner that evening, and also Mavis. They both agree readily, and after Ken has gone, Rita says that Ken is very lonely. Mavis chips in that she is lonely too. Rita thinks it is worse for Ken as he brought it all on himself, and that knowing you have ruined your life through your own actions is worse than their situation, losing good men to ill health. Rita clearly has her mind on someone other than Ken, though.
House: Sam arrives home to get some clothes. (She is staying at the Rovers while Jack and Vera are away.) She finds Curly dabbing at his black eye with an ice pack. After initially trying 'I walked into a door' he eventually tells Sam all about it.
Garage: Chris asks Kevin what is really going on between him and Nastily. Kevin confesses that Rita thinks it is all over, but really it is carrying on, but Rita mustn't find out.
Road: At a roadworks site, Gary is the bloke with the Stop/Go lollipop thingy that they have instead of traffic lights. Who should walk by but Liam and his girlfriend, Zoe? He shouts insults at Gary.
Garage: The big red BMW glides up just as Kevin and Chris decide to go for lunch. Natalie invents some invoices which Kevin must see, so Chris goes to lunch, while Kevin and Nastily go into the office for a kiss. She asks him not to go away, as when Sally returns they may not be able to see each other so easily. She promises him he will be glad he stayed, so he agrees. They kiss.
Rovers: Rita and Audrey have a drink and a bit of inconsequential conversation. Audrey wants to replace some furniture but Alf isn't interested. Maureen is waiting for Bill to join her for lunch and gets talking to Sam, who immediately reveals that Curly has a black eye. She assumes Maureen knew, but regrets saying anything as Maureen rushes out in distress. 'Foot in mouth disease' observes Betty sagely.
Shop: Maureen goes back to the shop and sends Maud to the pub. Bill comes to see where she has got to. Maureen asks what happened, and Bill assumes that Curly has been round. Maureen assures him she hasn't spoken to Curly, then they have a big row and Maureen finishes with him, saying they are not right for each other and never will be. Bill is upset, even though she convinces him that there is no-one else.
Arcade: Liam arrives with a cut lip and black eye, telling Judy that Gary bashed him with a pole, on Compton Street where he was working.
Garage: Kevin gets angry with Chris when he nags Kevin to get off to Scarborough early to miss the traffic.
Arcade: Judy doesn't believe Liam at first, but is shocked when he threatens to go to the police - unless Judy gives them money to buy their silence.
Flat: Jim and Bill have installed a cupboard for Fiona, which she is pleased with. Bill leaves and Jim stays for a chat and a beer with Fiona. He tells her Bill and Maureen have split up, and Bill has taken it had. Jim thinks that young girls assume that middle aged men don't feel love and passion as much as youngsters, when in fact the opposite is true. Jim sighs and says he was silly to have thought that Sam would fancy him, but Fiona says she is surprised, as a lot of women would....
House: Rosie is looking forward to seeing Mummy and is sad when Daddy tells her that they can't go, as something has come up. (I'll bet it has!) He telephones Sally in order to explain, but on seeing Rosie's face he changes his mind and says they are setting off soon. He asks Sally to return with him on Sunday, and they agree to discuss it later. Rosie is pleased.
Rovers: Jim goes in for a beer - he can't see much point in being TT any more. Maud tells Bill how sorry she is, and that Maureen doesn't know when she is well off. Bill and Jim settle in for a drinking session.
Street: Natalie arrives looking for Kevin, but Chris says he is just leaving and points behind her to Kevin's house, where he is loading Rosie and the bags into the car. Natalie goes across and he tells her he has to go to Scarborough. She seems disappointed at first, then issues an ultimatum - he has to choose, and if he goes now, don't expect to pick up where he left off. Rosie is anxious to leave, though Kevin stares wistfully after Natalie as she stalks away.
Kabin: Mavis dithers over what to wear that evening, but Rita warns her not to build up the occasion into something grand. Chris pops in for some chocolate as he must work late, having been left on his own. Rita cheers up and decides to get some champagne for the meal.
Rovers: Jim and Bill are having a drinking session. Judy collars Gary and asks what happened. Gary denies it at first, and isn't bothered when he hears Liam wants £200 to keep quiet. Judy reminds him he beat up her ex-boyfriend previously, and tells him he is stupid for not keeping his fists to himself.
That's all for today, Helen.
P.S. Update compiled in a bit of a hurry, as I'm getting ready to go to my second ever internet-organised social event. This time it is a barbecue for Archers fans. Weather looks promising. Will report next time...
Here is the news for Sunday 25th May, and this Jerry Ledbetter reading it.
In tonight's headlines:
Steve's release from prison imminent Next Monday he will be freed. Reactions to the news are mixed.
Angie looking for underwear models So far no one has volunteered to strip in public to sell Angie's wares
Chris warns Natalie, stay away from our Kev
Judy gives in to blackmail Pays Liam £150 to keep him quiet. More money is required says Liam Bill, Maureen & Curly triangle takes new twist Curly repulsed from The Rover's in confusion by Maude's relentless hounding
Hospital raffle money paid by Alec. After confrontation with Emily, Alec hands over a cheque.
Steve's release from prison imminent
Liz McDonald was spotted on The Street this morning, going into Jim's house. Surprisingly he appeared pleased to see her. Sources close to the McDonald's have indicated that they were discussing the date for Steve's release from prison, rumoured to be Monday week.
Your roving reporter, Tom, has been waiting outside Liz's flat all day hoping to get a word with her. Are you there Tom?
Yes, thank you very much Jerry. And the excitement outside Liz's flat has been completely absent today as resident after resident of The Street has expressed a complete lack of interest in Steve McDonald. The only person who was available for comment was Maxine. Maxine -
"Hi Tom, hi everybody out there in Radio Land".
Maxine what was your reaction to the news regarding Steve?
"Well Tom, personally, I don't care at all".
How do you think Fiona took the news?
"She appeared to be pretty cool about it, although if I was her I would find it dead romantic. Steve loves her, and even after he's been rejected, suffered through another marriage, been in prison two years... When he finally gets out, he still loves her. Yeah dead romantic".
Thank you Maxine. And here is Liz now. Liz, Tom Good from Talk Radio Weatherfield. Can I ask you some questions?
"Yer sure ger ahead".
Well firstly, how did the job interview go?
"How did yer knur I had a job interview terday?"
Your skirt was shorter than usual.
"Oh yers. Well grert thanks Tom. I got the job".
Well done Liz. So it has been a pleasing day for you. What with the news about Steve and this new job.
"Yer. I'm only sorry that Fiona didn't rush out to cancel her engagement to Alan when she heard the news".
Really Liz, you must know that her relationship with Steve ended long ago.
"Nurr, he's my surn, Tom and so fur as I am concerned, he's got all the pulling power of Tony Blackburn and Terry Wogan rolled into wurn".
The mind boggles. Now back to Jerry in the studio.
Angie looking for underwear models
Angie, The Street's underwear entrepreneur, suffered a setback in her plans to oust Marks and Spencer from their market domination today. Unfortunately she failed to find anyone to model her designs in public. Our fashion correspondent, Margo, has the full story. Over to you Margo.
Thank you very much Jerry. Male and Female models are required by Angie who so far has found no one willing to model her creations. Chris has worked tirelessly on her behalf, even modelling his own underwear for her in private, although whether he will model her underwear for others in public remains to be seen. Angie herself has approached Fiona and Sam, neither of whom were prepared to help her. Maxine, also present, volunteered, but was turned down on the grounds that she has too few curves.
An unconfirmed report to hand indicates that Sam might be prepared to model the garments if Chris reciprocates in similar fashion.
Any listener interested in helping Angie out, can get in touch with her through me at Talk Radio Weatherfield. Nobody called Maxine need apply.
Chris warns Natalie, stay away from our Kev
In a related story, involving a change of attitude from his previous stance, Chris was overheard in "The Rover's" today warning Natalie to stay away from Kev. Some say Natalie has Chris in her sights for her next relationship, now that Kev has disobeyed her by going to visit Sally this weekend.
Judy gives in to blackmail
In a move of unprecedented stupidity, Judy has given in to blackmail threats from Liam regarding his alleged beating at the hands of Gary. Judy handed Liam £150, for his silence. Liam is demanding a further £100 to keep him from going to the police. Tom, your roving reporter has Judy in the radio car. Over to you Tom.
Thank you very much Jerry. Now Judy, this has been a very trying time for you I'm sure. Can you explain why you gave in to the blackmail threats.
"Well, Tom, I know Gary. He has thumped someone before and he's not above doing it again. With his record, he's sure to go to prison this time".
Tell us about Gary's previous run in with the law.
"About five year ago, he thumped one of my old boyfriends. He were had up in court and bound over to keep the peace".
And has he offered anyone violence apart from that one time?
"No never. But I know him, he is so hot tempered. He could of done it, and I can't stand the thought of him going to jail."
Have you asked Gary about it?
"Of course, but he just says he never hit noone. He would say that wouldn't he? I just wish it would all go away and I could forget it. I wish I could of got the full £200 together to give Liam, just to shut him up but there was only £150 in the house."
And Liam wasn't satisfied with that?
"No he demanded another £100, 'cos I hadn't paid what he'd asked first time. I asked Sam for a sub on my wages. I told her the electricity was overdue, but she said I'd have to take it up with Vera when she got back. Now I don't know where I'll get the money. I've paid over all that I've got and it still won't save my Gary."
Bill, Maureen & Curly triangle takes new twist
An embarrassed Curly reacted badly today in response to Maude's hounding him over his christmas time liaison with Maureen. Unable to take any more Curly confronted Maude in "The Rover's" but fled in disgrace when she accused him in public of taking advantage of Maureen.
Hospital raffle money paid by Alec
Emily, a friend of Weatherfield hospital herself, took up the case to solve the puzzle of the missing raffle proceeds. Although the raffle took over £500, none of it had been given to the hospital, ostensibly the beneficiaries.
Having tracked down Alec in "The Rover's", Rita and Emily together tackled him in a classic pincers movement and forced him to hand over a cheque for £250. Alec was reported to be looking rather sick after the severe blow of parting with money he had, up till then, thought his.
And a final item of news to close. Scientists in New Zealand have come up with a clean, green and environmentally friendly method of electricity generation. Their "Cold Fusion" reactor, constructed of two sheep's bollocks, a bit of number eight wire and some kiwifruit turns out 1.21 gigawatts of power each minute at a price of 2 cents.
Members of the research team; Noeleen, Sharleen, Doreen, Fred, Trevor and Wirimu were planning to use their discovery to benefit mankind, but after intervention by the UN have changed their minds and will not wipe out France after all.
"I've got enough on my plate without having to learn a computer" - Kevin reveals that "learning a computer" comes way down his list of priorities, of which the first is "learn to talk properly".
Angie (I am restraining my desire to call her "Mangy") is being propped up at the bar of the Rovers by Chris/Fiona/Maxine/Ashley etc - for once her height is an issue as she appears to be sitting on the floor - while the others are standing on boxes. However, all eyes are on Angie as she pulls out of a bag a skimpy piece of men's underwear (looks like something I would use to bring a shine to my bathroom cabinet mirror) and announces that Chris will be modelling it in less than 32 hours time. Everyone gets excited (including Ashley). Poor Chris - he is so exploited - no doubt they all make him walk around naked in the "green" room when he's not filming.
Ashley wants to know why he hasn't been asked to model the posing pouch, and is told that he wouldn't be able to fill it. Ashley looks unhappily down at his own crotch...
Jim (he's back to wearing that old green/brown navvy coat) tells Fiona that Steve is getting out of prison next week. Fiona responds with something non-committal and flounces off.
Emily is so pleased that Alec donated £250 to the hospital (why? It will only buy a fake pot plant and some wood shavings) but tells Alec that for some reason the hospital wants ticket stubs and receipts and paperwork. Alec is so scared and furious that he stands up and sits down and stands up and sits down, eventually running out in fury. But the Big Red Wig knows that something is up, and decides to pay him a visit in her role of Street Nemesis (she has had plenty of practice on Kevin lately).
Perhaps Rita is now a symbol for New Labour - her Red Wig is like a huge emblem - watch her fight Fat Cat Alec for the Sisterhood. Rita makes Alec give more of the money back to Emily, plus the ticket stubs - this involves some silliness with Alec getting Samantha to search Vera's back room, and then him planting an envelope under some magazines. Emily is overjoyed when the donation goes up from £250 to considerably more (I couldn't do the maths).
Meanwhile, Rita glows with satisfaction and makes a number of loaded comments in Alec's direction. When are they going to get married?
Kevin/Nastily Kevin returns from his trip to Scarbourgh, and notices that the garage is open (on a Bank Holiday too!) He cautiously goes over to investigate and discovers Nastily, sitting with a new computer (!) because she thinks it will help business. Kevin comes out with the most classic line of the year so far (see above), and then tells Nastily once again that their relationship is over, blah, blah blah. "Go back to Rosie," says Nastily. "She must be scared being alone in the house" (!) Is this a threat?
Later, Nastily visits Kevin again, and barges past him, admitting that her ultimatum of a couple of episodes ago was only a ruse and she "wants him". Kevin says it is over. "Is Sally enough?" spits Nastily. "She is a mother and my wife," Kevin announces. "That's not what I asked, Kevin," hisses Nastily - her hair looking even more artificial and toxic than it has ever looked.
Judy needs more money to pay off Liam who is accusing Gary of beating him up. She pretends she is going to get her mother's memorial stone, but in reality has already given the money away. She appears pensive at the Rovers, and Samantha notices her long fingers caressing a few twenty pound notes in the till. This is too much for Bossy Orange Girl In Charge, and she hauls Judy into the back room for a fight. Judy crumples and Samantha says "I want to help. Tell me!" So Judy does in the time it takes a commerical break. Samantha tells her to put a stop to it, but Judy does not have the nerve as she is afraid that Gary (with his criminal record) will go to prison.
Later, at home, she confesses everything to Gary. "I did it for you!" she wails (it's been so long since we last heard a CS diva say this to a man). Gary denies that he hit Liam, and tells Judy that he will sort everything out. Credits.
Marks Out of 10: 5 - average
New Character: Alec's embezzled Sunliners money - it seems to get more air-time that anyone else at the moment - and is now involved in 2 storylines - the Judy one, and the Alec/Emily one. I bet Gail and Martin (who aren't in much at the moment) are so jealous.
Exploitation: Rita and Betty lick their wizened old chops at the mental image of Chris in a pair of bikini briefs. Set your videos.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and it's been a somewhat athletic week.
A super new up-to-date state-of-the-art Leisure Pool has been built near my house, and everyone's talking about it, so I thought I should go and take a look. It's years since I went swimming. The fact is I can't swim, but I like to splash about and watch everyone else have a nice time.
I threw away my old swimming trunks in anticipation of bringing my water-borne activities bang up to the 1990's. They were still the old green knitted ones my mother made me.
I ventured to the local sports shop, where the helpful girl assistant showed me Aquawear for the Millenium. I said I only wanted trunks, and she looked at me as if I was from another planet, and sloped off to file her nails and talk to her colleague, as they both kept me under discreet observation.
I tried a pair on. There was a sign in the changing cubicle saying I must keep my underpants on for reasons of hygiene. So I did. I chose a white pair of trunks which really resembled shorts I'd say, and went out into the shop to look in the mirror. Well, I was naked except for these splendid new trunks over my long black underpants and my long black socks. The assistant screamed and rang a security alarm. Two burly guys in uniform stood over me, glowering their disapproval as I hurriedly paid for the new trunks and then they escorted me from the store.
I had heard great things about this new pool, and sure enough it looked wonderful from the outside.
The foyer was like an airport departure lounge. There were screens everywhere telling bathers the temperature of the water, the chlorine and Ph values, and others showing cable TV channels on those big multiple screens. You know the sort; where a bank of a dozen screens form one giant one. Incredible. Nothing like it in my day!
The lockers were operated by recognising the print of your right index finger, which had been scanned at reception when you paid your money. Far out!
I got changed and walked over the heated tiled floor (nothing like it in my day) towards the sound of happy laughter and splashing. A young life-guard attendant, who looked about 13 shouted to me. "Sir sir, you still have your underpants on under your swimwear...we don't allow that for reasons of hygiene" I told her in the shop I had been instructed to keep them on for the very same reason. She looked at me very doubtfully, said a few unintelligible words into a walkie-talkie and led me back to the lockers to take them off.
I can't say I was impressed at the pool. Not impressed at all, especially after all that everyone had said. It was very shallow and small, but I thought that was for reasons of safety. Certainly it would have been very difficult to drown in there. So I sat down in the water and started to splash about a bit. I was just thinking that the water wasn't too clean either, when the same attendant came along and asked me what I thought I was doing. I boldly told her I had paid my money and all I was trying to do was to have some fun in the water. I looked up into her face and silently pointed to my trunks, so as to assure her that I had removed my underpants as she had demanded. She thought I was making some unwelcome sexual advance, and stepped back a few paces to speak again into the radio. Having received instructions from her manager, she stepped forward again and said "Sir, I really must request that you vacate the footbath immediately!"
With your kind indulgence, I shall continue this little tale next week because....
Here is the update:
With young Steve coming out of the Big House pretty soon, Jim asks Bill if there are any chances of him joining the firm, but Bill wisely scotches the idea. Later Jim asks him to spell out the reason, and so Bill tells him straight, that he doesn't fancy having an ex-con on the team. Then after a word from Kevin, Bill goes round to Jim's house to apologise, and to say that he's reconsidered. They'll take him on, on a trial basis. As though he needs another trial! He didn't come out of the last one too well did he? But Jim is suitably grateful. Although it will sound more like a firm of shyster lawyers, the firm of McDonald McDonald and Webster is in the offing!
At the garage, Natalie undermines Kev's authority by allowing Chris to go home when Kev said he couldn't. Chris says he has to meet someone. Natalie, in answer to Kev's half-hearted protests, says she is what is known as an "enlightened employer" Is that what she calls it? She appears to be embarking on a policy of bonking her way through the workforce!
Kev brings down the steel shutters at the end of another day of greasing crankshafts and curing big-end wobble. That reminds me....did I ever tell you.......on second thoughts, maybe not! Natalie mentions that she will be back slaving over a hot computer tomorrow. Maybe she'll get the mouse the right way up this time. (Thanks due to a very sharp-eyed Glenda!) She says it's the software she's interested in, and Kev shouldn't flatter himself by thinking otherwise. Later in the pub, he apologises (yawn yawn) for the way he spoke to her earlier, and she leaves to go and see a friend. Rita looks on, stony faced, which prompts Kevin to remind her that it's over between him and Natalie, so she can stop spying.
The Great Amusement Arcade Blackmail Scam moves on, without the main protagonist, however. The scrawny-looking girl, whom I am now convinced is called Zoe, turns up at the arcade of amusements. Gary, who has been waiting for the crime-duo, has just been sent home by Judy.
The whereabouts of Liam the Unpleasant are briefly discussed. Judy speculates that he's off somewhere buying drugs with her money. Zoe is outraged at this unfair suggestion and offers her forearm as proof that she herself is not a druggie. I don't know an awful lot about drug abuse. My narcotic experiences thus far have been limited to abusing the occasional Night Nurse, and the fact that your arm doesn't resemble a second-hand pub dartboard doesn't always mean a lot. Am I right?
As Judy is rough-handling the girl out of the arcade, she declares she's pregnant. It then emerges that the cash was to pay for an abortion. This touches a bit of a raw nerve with Judy, as you can imagine, and she sheds a bitter tear. Back at home, Gary is very cross that she has given over their money to (albeit unwittingly) help to kill a child because she didn't believe that he hadn't walloped Liam the Unpleasant. Considerable irony there, wouldn't you say, seeing their constant inability to produce a mini Mallett?
It's girls' night out at The Warwick Hotel. In accordance with Liz's suggestion, Deirdre and Maureen are dressed to kill and very splendid they look. Deirdre is sporting a tan not currently available in Weatherfield, if I'm any judge. Don't mention the word tan to me! I sat in the garden with my eyes closed, and my face pointed skywards for about 45 minutes a couple of days ago, and now I'm still afraid to go out in public because my face is the colour of beetroot. Likewise all the other bits of unprotected skin which were similarly exposed. I had on a short-sleeved shirt, open at the neck. When I took off my clothes in the bedroom at the end of the day, there were gales of laughter from The Woman Who Should Have Known Better Than To Mock. I resembled the archetypal Englishman after a full day on the beach. Pure white skin, except for livid-red face, a perfectly-delineated V shape at my neck, and angry-red from half way down my biceps to the tips of my fingers.
I looked in the full-length mirror, and I would have laughed too if it wasn't quite so painful to move my facial muscles! Today for the first time in my life (honestly!) I used moisturising cream on my face, which is flaking off like some awful reptile sloughing its old skin. I am just hoping for a better looking face underneath. I'll let you know.
Anyway, they discover they are there on Singles Night, but they don't seem to mind! Just as they are checking out all the available hunks, a familiar face hoves into view. It's none other than Fred Elliott. He pretends never to have been there before, but in comes Liz with the line you could see coming a mile off "Will you have your usual Mr Elliott, and look, there's one of your regulars, Mandy across the room, waving to you." So Fred does the gracious thing and buys the girls a drink. Maureen accompanies him to a table, and Liz and Deirdre are left drooling over the good-looking long-haul pilot called Jon at the end of the bar. He's just flown in from Frankfurt, and doesn't look any the worse for it! He looks a bit like me, before my distictive features were obliterated by 45 minutes on regulo 9!
Deirdre chats him up, until the time when he gathers up the 17 newspapers he has with him, and leaves, to go up to his room. Deirdre has thoughts of the Mile High Club zooming around in her head, but she resists the temptation to follow him to his room, despite words of encouragement from Liz. I feel sure we'll see more of Jon. So will Deirdre, I'll be bound. She'll have her hands on his joystick, and be 'bringing him down gently' before the month's out! Will she be in for a long haul, or will it be just the comfy blanket and the complimentary fromage briquette in club class for her?
The thing tonight's episode will long be remembered for, will undoubtedly be the near-nakedness, the semi-porn undraped posing, the acres of exposed F L E S H!! Yes, flesh-fiends, it's the night of the promotional photo-shoot when Chris and Samantha act as models for Angies's daring underwear creations! The photographer (Roger) almost has a "special moment" when he first sees Chris with his kit off. When both models have warmed to their task a little, he gets them to cuddle. "sexy, sexy...much in love...." coaxes Roger. Prat! After the session, which they have both clearly enjoyed, Chris asks Samantha out for a drink. She seems flattered, but refuses, saying she thought Chris and Angie were an item. Later when Angie and Chris are back home, he tells her what Samantha said about them being an item, and he says they could be if she wanted it. He holds her hand. She holds his. Slowly, slowly their lips come closer...closer, and they kiss. From that moment, we are reasonably led to believe, they ARE an item, which is where we end.
I hope this moisturiser is hypo-photogenic, or I just know it will bring me up like a balloon!
That's yer lot!
Good night and I love you all, Nigel
Abject misery in our household this week. Bob Dylan is in hospital, knocking on heaven's door, and has cancelled his appearance in London next Saturday. Yes, we bought tickets. No, there is no refund. :-((( Ho hum, such is life. I wish I could say that Coronation Street cheered me up, but it didn't. So on with the update...
House: It is the morning after the night before in Angie and Chris's house, and an embarrassed air pervades the scene. He is late for work and has lost his keys and wallet. Angie coyly suggests looking in her room. Mike Baldwin phones her, and she is still talking when Chris leaves.
Shop: Maureen is being interrogated by her mother about her night out in Liz's bar. In comes Fred, resplendent in butchery whites and apron. Maud invites him to have a cup of tea with them, and Maureen has to take him aside to ask him to keep quiet about the singles night. Kevin calls in to ask if Sally can have her job back; she is due home later that day.
Sunliners Shop: Natalie browses through brochures. Deirdre starts to 'assist' her. The man from the bar the previous night, Jon, comes in wearing his uniform, and indicates he will wait for Deirdre. She, meanwhile is in full flow to Natalie about Morocco being a good destination for singles. (Yes, one way ticket for Nastily, please!)
House: Judy and Gary agonise about the abortion that Zoe is having. Gary seems quite upset about it and the scene is very well played.
Sunliners Shop: Jon asks Deirdre out. She hedges a bit, but he is oh-so-understanding and a bit patronising. (I don't think I like him) She agrees to go for a drink, and says he can phone her at work.
Street: Judy takes dog for a walk. Natalie says hello in passing to Jim and Bill, and they discuss whether she is 'fanciable'. Jim speculates that he would have been in trouble if she had been at the garage when he worked there. Freeze frame on the video caught a particularly good leer from both.
Garage: Natalie arrives as Chris leaves for lunch. There now follows a public service broadcast: Pay your employees by direct debit. Saves messing about with signatures on cheques. May also be a better system if you don't want to see so much of your business partner. Kevin follows her out of the office and reminds her that she wanted a casual fling. Natalie says it's what everyone says - but now it is different - she loves him. Kevin seems impassive, saying she knew very well he was not available. She reveals that her husband dumped her for a girl he was having an affair with - but she knows Kevin isn't going to do that. He says Sally is home tonight - and stares after her as she goes.
Garage/Street: At the end of the day, Kevin and Chris are packing up. Chris watches Angie as she and the girls pile out of the undies factory and head for the Rovers. Kevin realises the time and hurries off to prepare for the return of Sally, leaving Chris to lock up.
Rovers: Liz and Maureen met Deirdre - at her instigation. They realise it has something to do with the previous evening, and she spills the beans about Jon. They swoon and giggle. It is apparent (to me anyway) that Liz imagines Deirdre is frigid for not ravishing him in the hotel the night before. Fred rolls up to the group. At the bar, Angie and Sam have suddenly become best chums as Angie confides that her and Chris got together last night; now she's agonizing, she feels bad, what's going to happen tonight? Sam reacts a bit oddly to this: first she looks as if she's found a kindred spirit when Angie says it felt wrong, then offers Angie a place in the pub if she wants to avoid Chris, if she doesn't want it to happen again. Then when Angie says she does want it again, Sam looks nonplussed and a bit downcast. Maureen leaves to go back to the shop and Fred quizzes Liz and Deirdre about her availability re: Bill. Curly intercepts Maureen on her way out - trying to apologise. She is very cold and brushes past him. He goes to prop up the bar with Ken and they both pledge to avoid women in the future.
House: Judy asks Gary if they can have some proper infertility tests. He will not commit himself.
House: Kevin rushes to answer the phone. We see Sally - presumably in Scarborough. We cut between them as she explains that she can't leave for a few more days without upsetting her mother. He eventually puts the phone down on her.
Rovers: Jim and Liz thank Bill for offering Steve a job when he comes out of The Big House. Gary gets some beer to take home, much to Judy's disappointment as she thought they could talk in the pub. Curly reminds Chris that he used to be Angie's landlord and speculates on his former tenant's landlady qualities. Chris gets a bottle of wine to take home - Sam gives him red - Curly just looks at him.
Street: Outside the shop Fred is very attentive to Maud, seeing her off in her taxi. He goes in to see Maureen. Shop: Fred is about to ask Maureen out to dinner when Alec comes in. Sly old Sandy realises something is going on, but pushes off anyway. Fred does then ask her out. Maureen values Fred's ability to make her laugh the previous night - a quality she misses now that Reg is no longer around. A creaky floorboard from above reminds her of Bill, so she asks Fred to keep things discreet. They agree to met later, but as he leaves, her face implies mixed feelings at the prospect of intimacy with him.
House: Curly goes round to Gary's to complain he is making a noise with the dog. Gary is drunk and Curly joins him for a beer. Gary suggests that Curly should be out on a date, then Curly reflects on his unhappy experiences with women - especially local ones! His problem has been not getting them but keeping them, and his relationships have generally been based on sympathy - usually them feeling sorry for him.
House: Kevin makes a phone call......... to Natalie.
House: Angie creeps in, Chris feigns sleep on the sofa but she accidentally makes a lot of noise. Conversation is awkward on her side, but he seems very laid back. He appears to be keen - if she makes the first move, but she doesn't so he goes up to bed alone. As he disappears up the stairs, Angie berates herself 'You Silly Cow'.
Credits. Best Scene: Gary (Ian Mercer) and Curly (Kevin Kennedy) discussing love and life. You have to watch it to appreciate the dialogue, so I haven't tried to reproduce it. Also, Curly has the look of Dustin Hoffman about him as he muses on women trouble. Best Actor narrowly goes to Ian Mercer, for the above, together with his earlier scene with Judy, pondering the irony of them paying for Zoe's abortion (a disastrous situation for her) when they want so much for Judy to get pregnant.