Here is the news for Sunday, June 1st. And this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it.
In tonight's headlines:
Kevin says goodbye to Natalie:
At a secret love-nest, Kevin suddenly becomes disgusted with himself and Natalie
Alma bags job at Firman's freezers:
"Let me at that shelf stacking", says Alma
Steve gets out of prison:
He swears never to return
Judy & Garry make plans to take fertility tests
Kevin says goodbye to Natalie:
After spending last night with Natalie, the miniature cassonova allowed himself to be talked into spending Sunday night with her at an hotel in the country. No sooner had they arrived, however, when a row broke out and Kevin walked out on Natalie in disgust. Your roving reporter Tom has the full story. Over to you Tom.
Thank you very much Jerry. Yes indeed, the machinations of our mechanical friend Kev have been maniacal as he has manipulated all about him in order to make it to this meeting with Natalie. Kev, tell the listeners how you managed to get a baby sitter for Rosie.
"It wasn't that hard Tom. I just asked me dad if he could do it so I could spend the night with our Sal. Actually though, Natalie and I were going off to an 'otel in the country".
But what if Sally phones up while you are away?
"I've thought of that. I unplugged the phone from the wall and told me dad it were on the blink. So shuh can't phone through can shuh?"
And how were things at the hotel?
"Terrible! I'm finished with Natalie, Tom. I've seen her for the nasty old trout she is. When we were up in our room, it came out - I can't even remember how - that she had been there before with a previous boyfriend. She had been carrying on with someone else for ten years behind 'er 'usband's back. How could she treat 'er 'usband like that? I was so disgusted with the whole thing, with her, I walked out."
Really Kev, the words 'pot calling the kettle black' spring to mind.
"It's not the same for me Tom. I thought we had summat special, but now I see that she does this kind of thing all the time. I'm just the latest in a string of blerks to 'er. I'm goin' to stick with our Sal in future. The only thing that's kept me going so far is that soap cliche 263 which states quite clearly that it is only when an affair is finally over does the other partner find out. But I'm willing to take that chance. I've finished with Natalie, but I hope our Sal doesn't find out."
Thank you Kevin, now back to the studio.
Alma bags job at Firman's freezers:
Fresh back from her holiday abroad, Alma prepares for work at Firman's freezers. This despite an early set back, when it appeared that she had no job to go to. Crafty Mike admitted that he had gone to see Curly and told him that Alma did not want to work in the frozen food business.
In response Alma tracked down the illusive Curly at "The Rover's". After she had fluttered her eyebrows at him a few times, she landed a job stacking shelves. Mike is reported to be in a philosophical and indulgent mood.
Steve gets out of prison:
The long awaited reunification of the McDonald clan took place today when Steve, still sported matching streaks of bird dung down each side of his face, was released from prison. Tom Good has been over at the McDonald house to bring you the full story. Over to you Tom.
Thank you very much Jerry. Now Steve
"First of all Tom, I'd like to make it quite clear that there is no bird dung on my face. It is a pair of sideburns!"
I'm very sorry to hear it Steve. But tell me how you felt when you were released today.
"It was great to be out Tom. Even Andy smiled at some point, I'm sure I saw it out of the corner of my eye. I'm never going back inside there, that is definite".
I understand you will be going to work with your dad.
"Well, no! I am not interested in work. I told him 'I'm not willing to accept your offer of charity'".
So, what do you plan to do?
"Well, Tom; I know what I want, and how to get it. I've got contacts too and I'm doing it my own way. One thing is sure though, I'm not going back to Strangeways."
Judy & Garry make plans to take fertility tests
Prompted by the recent abortion/blackmail scandal surrounding Judy's job, the Mallats have made an appointment to see a fertility specialist. An informed source has told us Garry is worried. 'Will yer still love us if there are no miniatures knocking around?' he is reported to have asked Judy. She has reassured herself that virility and fertility are two different things altogether.
We leave you with news that Australian scientists have suggested a solution to global warming. A team from the University of Kickatinalong has concluded that if citizens in the developed world leave their 'fridge doors open every night, the cumulative cooling effect will lower average temperatures by two degrees.
Vera and Jack have returned to the Street - and for some reason are wearing a pair of rather loud curtains - it seems that Las Vegas, as the tackiest place on the planet, agreed with their louche sensibilities, especially as Jack won £400 while gambling. Samantha is happy to hand back the reins of the Rovers - it seems that the good weather is agreeing with her, or maybe Boots have created an even more strident tone of fake tan than usual, just for her.
Vera compliments Sam on looking after things efficiently while they were away, and is then horrified to hear that they are going to be visited by a VAT inspector, and that Alec planted an envelope full of money in their living room.
Jack questions Alec about the envelope - Alec tells him that he had to give more money to Emily, or else Jack and Vera would have been arrested for fraud. He tells Jack that he will have to pay up too. Jack is furious.
Vera gives Betty a gaudy headscarf - Betty can only comment "Huh!"
Thank goodness that Maureen and Bill have split up, because Maud was getting so boring because she approved of Bill. Now that Fred is Maureen's latest suitor, and Maureen is vaguely interested, Maud can go back to looking daggers at people and making bitchy comments whenever Fred appears.
For some reason, Alec is taking an interest in this storyline - and appears in the corner shop, for the second time lately, to insult Fred. Fred wants Maureen to join some small-holders society which has the acronym WARTS. It sounds better than the Square-Dealers at least. Alec and Fred exchange insults - Alec calls Fred huge and unwieldy. Fred wants to know if Alec is enjoying his recent unemployment. Miaow!
Although this couple have split up and got back together again more times than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, there still appears to be no change to the storyline. Just read an update from last week and you can tell what happens. I hate them all, frankly. Next!
Drear and Liz are walking down the street, linking (!) hands and Drear announces that she has a date with her "pilot" friend. Liz is even more excited than had it been her own date - and the scheming pair arrange for Drear to meet him in Liz's bar, whereby they can drug him and drag him out back afterwards so they both can have him at once.
Drear gets a full make-over in preparation of her date - and she does look stunning as a result - a cool light-blue skirt and top make her look very summery and 1997 - while she looks as if she spent more than the usual £3.99 on her haircut. Unfortunately, there's not a lot she can do about those neck veins, and they let her down more than once during the course of the evening.
At the bar, we all think Jon isn't going to turn up, but then he does and the pair start talking about divorce. Drear is not too pleased to hear that Jon has been divorced, but considering her own track record, this is hypocrisy. My advice is: Go get him girl, and don't save any for Liz.
Mike is not happy to learn that Angie has hired Idle Ida and Jug-head Janice. But when he complains, Angie threatens to quit (I can see her doing this a lot in coming weeks), so Mike has to put up with it. Later, Curly tells Mike that unlike him, he runs a happy firm at Firman's Freezers and that he had better stop demeaning Alma as a responsible member of Britain's workforce. Mike is too stunned to even reply.
Out of prison - and still wearing those notorious sideburns, Steve is up at 6:30 and cleaning his boots (obviously old prison habits die hard). Jim and Liz want to shout at Steve because he is not interested in working with Jim and Bill, but Andy tells them to leave him alone and that Steve needs time to adjust.
Andy and Steve do some bonding which means that they spend the rest of the episode going from one bar to the next - even calling in to see Liz. The McDonald family all seem calm and happy today - nobody is telephoning a solicitor, being hauled away in a van or breaking whiskey bottles in the sink. They are almost a normal family.
Fiona and Maxine appear in the Rovers and want to buy Steve a drink - but Steve says he is leaving. "What's up with you?" asks Andy on the way out. "I'm playing hard to get," announces Steve. "I want her back." (At least his heterosexuality was not completely obliterated during those lonely nights inside.) He then stares right at Fiona - popping his eyes as wide as they can go and drooling. What a lovely image to go to bed with. Credits.
Marks out of 10: 4. Not one of their best. The Kevin storyline drags on - who cares? At least Drear gets to be happy - but as we all know - it's always the calm before the storm with that one.
Best line: "You have something that money can't buy, and that's taste." Jack tells it like it is to Vera.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and this time last week, you left me floundering in the foot-bath of the local new hi-tech swimming pool...
When the attendant ushered me to the real pool area, I couldn't believe my eyes. There were wonderful high-pressure water spouts all over the place, shooting graceful arcs of water across the full width of the pool. There was a sort of 'beach area' where you could sit and the water lapped around your feet. There was a giant red mushroom-shaped fountain thing you could sit under and have gallons of sparkling water cascade on your head. There was a terrific slide thing which came down right from the high ceiling, where you could sit on a giant inflated do'nut and ride down on it. I couldn't take it all in!
There was disco music playing, and coloured lights hanging from the ceiling.
Best of all, there were three different enclosed slide tubes, and every few seconds, people were shooting out of these things into the water below.
Suddenly from the PA system I heard "STORM WARNING....STORM WARNING, the waves will start in 30 seconds...all non-swimmers go to the sides of the pool or to the safe beach area" I thought "waves, what waves?" but I made my way to the gently shelving shallow end. I noticed that everyone seemed to be looking at me, but I thought it was due to the irregular sunburn patches I mentioned last week.
Well, I couldn't believe what happened next, a siren sounded; I thought there was a fire and started looking for the exit, but then I thought "how can there be a fire in a swimming pool?" so I stayed put. Large waves started to form on the surface of the pool. Everyone was bobbing up and down like human corks. There was nothing like this in my day! I got a bit over-excited I'm afraid. After letting the waves break over me as I sat in the beach area, I stood up with my back to the oncoming waves and raised my arms and shouted WOOOOOOO! Just then, an enormous wave crashed into my back and swept me off my feet. I landed very heavily, face down on top of a very large woman who struggled energetically to free herself from under me. I also wriggled as the waves crashed over us, pinning us still face to face, closer and closer together. The woman screamed. A male attendant blew his whistle and pointed at me as if to say "cut that out, you dirty pervert". When I finally extricated myself from on top of this unfortunate woman, I was ushered into an office where my name was put in an Incident Book for future reference, they said. They looked very cross, and the girl attendant took a Polaroid of me which she placed in the book alongside the report. Eventually, they pretended to accept my version of events.
I decided to try the slides. There were three. I asked a young lad what was the difference between them. He replied "That's easy mate...there's fast, very fast and Hold On to Your Knickers!" He told me to make sure to wave and smile when I come to the end of the flume, because there's an automatic camera which takes everyone's picture just before they hit the water. Then once a week, the computer automatically selects the Swimmer of the Week, and they get free entrance next time.
I went straight for the fastest one. "Go for it, Nigel" I said as I copied some young lads who were going down head first. With the other two slides, you could sit up and glide down on your bottom, but with the fast one you had to lie on your back. I wasn't at all prepared for this terrifying and blood-curdling experience! I shot like a human bullet, through the pitch darkness of this corkscrew tube. I screamed all the way, I admit.
As I emerged upside down, my arms and legs were flailing about, and there was a look of absolute terror on my face as the camera snapped me. A bell rang, and the disco lights flashed with renewed vigour as I had been selected as the Swimmer of the Week by the computer. My digital image was flashed onto the great bank of screens for everyone to see. Then...terror of all terrors, I could plainly see on the screens that I had parted company with my swimming trunks at some stage of the watery descent!
Several attendants left their posts and ran towards me, chattering urgently into their radios, and blowing their whistles. "It's him again..the perv" they yelled, as they chased me towards the changing rooms. I found my locker and put my index finger over the sensor panel to get it to open, but, as I had been in the water so long, my fingertips has gone all wrinkly and it couldn't recognise my print. I didn't wait around. Naked, I ran for the main entrance. I was like a hunted animal; frightened, dripping wet, heart thumping out of my chest.
I ran past the people queuing to get in. There was another bank of screens there showing a freeze-frame of my great moment of embarrassment. There was a little girl, about 4 years old, holding her mother's hand. "Look mummy, there's the funny man on the screen, with no clothes." Mummy quickly gathered up her daughter and left the queue, saying "Well, if he's the Swimmer of the Week, Mummy's changed her mind darling, we'll go to the park instead"
Here is the update
The VAT man cometh, and Jack and Vera are in a bit of a lather at breakfast. Andy, the unofficial book keeper arrives and sits down to have a quick last minute look through all the records, bank statements and cheque stubs, ready for 9:00 and the visit of My Brown from Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. Jack takes the opportunity of reminding Vera that she is legally responsible, being the landlady, and (presumably) the one who has been putting her signature to the VAT returns.
Overseas readers will probably need an explanation of VAT, which stands for Value Added Tax. I will leave that task to others to perform in detail. Simply put, it's a tax which Jones Ltd adds to the goods they supply to Smith Ltd. Smith Ltd, having added their profit to the goods, then adds VAT. The final customer then pays the new total, including the VAT. If the final customer is buying these goods for business use, and they are registered for VAT, they can reclaim the VAT content from Customs and Excise.
Smith Ltd have, in the meantime, collected more VAT from their customer than they paid when they bought the goods from Jones Ltd, having sold whatever-it-is for more than they paid for it. It is this difference, essentially, which is required by the VAT man. Customs and Excise officers have astonishing powers of entry, dating from the old smuggling days of yore, including the seizure of any documents they feel they need, and so on. They are universally feared by everyone in business in the UK, even those businesses which run things strictly by the book.
Mr. Brown eventually arrives. He apologises for his late arrival, saying he has become a proud grandfather that very morning. He shows three Polaroids. The Duckworths reach for their family album, to get on the right side of him. (To suck up to him, that is.) They ply him with hot pot and he eventually accepts a complimentary drink. Strictly orange juice, mind...nothing stronger. He seems like a nice bloke, he really does. They all get on fine. Vera even dares to think they might be in line for some kind of refund.
Fiona and Steve come face to face for the first time since his release, in the Corner Shop. She makes a snide little remark to him about job- hunting, which she later apologises for, through Andy. Fred is also in the shop, trying to arrange to meet Maureen later in the pub. Maud says "haven't you got a shop of your own to run?" He mutters something moderately rude back to her, and leaves in a fluster, having paid 43 pence for a bottle of washing-up liquid he didn't really come in for in the first place.
Having heard about her apology for the way she spoke to him, Steve goes to pay a call on Fiona. He has a bottle of wine with him. White wine. He's been away a long time, so he's out of touch, right?
He pretends to want to share the bottle with Fiona and Alan, and feigns surprise when she tells him Alan's away on a course. She puts on a tight-lipped face of resignation, and lets him in. They share the wine, and he wants to talk about where they went wrong. He tries to probe to see how serious she is about marrying soppy Al.
He reckons they might be able to turn the clock back. Clearly his grammar has not improved during his sojourn at Her Majesty's Pleasure. He means they might be able to turn back the clock, of course. (I should talk! These weekly gobbets of Worsfold's Wobbly Nonsense are veritably a minefield of outrageous grammar, up with which one should never knowingly put!)
When Steve has gone, soppy Al arrives and bounds up the stairs. He spots the two empty glasses, and Fiona tells him she has been entertaining Maxine. There are plenty more lies in the pipeline coming from our Fiona, mark me well! Anyway they hug like mad, and she says "is that a truncheon in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?" Ok, so I made that bit up, but I just KNOW she would have said it in rehearsal!
Earlier, Steve appears at the knicker factory looking for work. Mike sends him packing. "We'd have to be desperate" he says. Baldwin had just finished advising Angie not to be too friendly with the workforce. The workforce were looking at the modelling pictures from the other night. They have a Spice Girls record on in the background. I suppose Granada must pay a fee to the Performing Rights Society to use the record?
Gary and Judy almost chicken out of going to have their joint infertility tests. The logic being; what's the point of knowing who is 'to blame' if it doesn't make any real difference? Anyway, after a mutually supportive hug, they go.
Later they compare notes. It seems Gary was provided with a magazine and sent into a room. He joked that at least it was this month's issue! I was waiting for that great old joke where the infertility doctor points to a glass phial on the shelf and says, "could you fill that please" to which Gary could reply....ach, you all know that!
Look, this thing with the magazine, I know it's what they really do, but isn't it just the most awful degrading thing a man can be expected to do in his entire life? Think of the future: The treatment is successful and a year or so later, the baby is born. The thing cries all night. It cries all day. Mother and father are both at their wits' end. Still it cries. I can imagine dad picking it up from its cot and saying, "look, you little sod, a year ago, I was sent into a room for ten minutes with a mucky magazine, to glop in a glass jar to get you, so the least you can do is SHUT UP!!!!!!!!"
They now have to wait for two weeks for the results.
Natalie and Kevin are sitting at the table in his house, drinking wine together and getting relaxed, as they wait for Rosie to fall asleep upstairs. There is a knock on the door. Rosie comes down and answers it. It's Bill. He comes straight into the room and sees the two of them sitting almost nose to nose, holding hands. Having seen enough, he beats an embarrassed retreat. Later in the pub, Rita gets Bill on his own quietly, and tries to pump him for information. He evades her by saying they shouldn't jump to conclusions, which is when she tells him outright that she knows Kevin and Natalie have been having an affair.
Deirdre is terribly chuffed with life, having had another pleasant evening in the company of her air line pilot friend, Jon, without an 'H'. She tells Ken about him. Ken mocks her a little. Typical Ken!
Still in the pub, Fred tells Maureen that he's a fan of bally, and he would like her to accompany him next Friday. There's no pressure, but he's got the two tickets already. The odd thing is, she doesn't appear to be trying to strangle this unfolding new relationship at birth!
So it's time for that nice proud grandfather, Mr Brown to take his leave. Everybody is smiling; everybody's happy. As he's about to leave, he almost forgets to give his findings from the VAT inspection. When they took over the business, it was agreed that they should make regular interim payments of £1,500 a quarter. He has found that they have not increased that interim amount to the true level, and so there is shortfall of back-tax to pay, and a surcharge has been added. The total due to Customs and Excise...... £17,650. As both Duckworth jaws fall open, we hear a very familiar tune......
That's yer lot.
Good night and I love you all, Nigel
Rovers: Over breakfast, Jack and Vera each blame the other for the mix-up over the VAT. Vera also moans that the money they should have paid has been spent on the upkeep of the racehorse. Jack will speak to the bank later.
House: Bill tackles Kevin about what is happening with Natalie. Kevin denies that they are having an affair, Bill asks why he told Rita they were.
Cafe: Roy is concerned that a missing knob from the cooker front spoils the symmetry. Gail thinks it is too trivial to worry about. as they hardly use that ring. Roy is bothered by the incompleteness. Gail tells him to get a new knob if it is that important. (P.S. My mum had a cooker exactly like that 1978-1982.)
House: Bill stresses that he is concerned for Sally and the children. Kevin says Natalie flirts and he can't get rid of her sometimes but nothing happened. Bill interrogates Kevin about the functional phone. Kevin storms off to work.
Shop: Deirdre is glowing because everything is going well - the job, Sean's flat (she's definitely moving in there) and a man! Maud snipes at Maureen for ditching a good man - Bill. Steve asks Liz to lend him £20 or 15, as he has to see someone about a job later. She gives him some money.
Rovers: Jack makes an appointment at the bank, reassuring Vera that these days banks are falling over each other to lend money. Since they have kept up the repayments, they will be a good risk, and should be able to extend the loan.
Cafe: Audrey bitches to Roy when he produces a box of assorted cooker knobs gleaned from the local junk shop. She doesn't know why he's bothering. He retorts with a classic line - homage to Hilda and Stan - 'Three china ducks on a wall don't do anything, but if one falls off, you replace it, don't you?' Roy goes to call the manufacturer as none of the old knobs fit. Audrey jokes that he is one knob short of a full cooker.
Garage: Kevin tells Natalie that his dad saw them holding hands and is suspicious. She isn't bothered, saying they will go to the Rovers together to prove there is nothing to hide.
Rovers: Betty fishes unsuccessfully to find out where Jack is going. Bill glares at Kevin and Natalie eating hotpot together. Fiona asks Max to lie for her to Alan about Steve being in the flat.
Cafe: Roy pulls out the cooker in order to get the serial number (LCFC97). He then enters an extended dialogue which baffles Audrey, about the cooker not being a Persian rug, therefore not needing to have imperfections to avoid blasphemy. Audrey goes to use the cooker and all the electrics fuse. 'Oh dear' says Roy.
Unidentified bar: Steve has a drink with a shady-looking character, and not very subtly asks for a job. The man thinks this is a bit of a joke, and refuses, on the grounds that Steve's CV would be 'wrong'.
Bank: Jack nervously shows the books to the man, and asks for an extension on his loan of £18,000, saying it is for refurbishment. He incidentally admits his age is 62.
Cafe: Gail is sitting in the dark and empty cafe, very fed up. Roy produces an old paraffin lamp as Gail explains to Alec there is no tea available. They are waiting for Jim to come and fix the electric. Gail manages a wry smile when Roy says he thinks he will be able to get a knob from the manufacturers.
Bank: Jack comes clean about the VAT misunderstanding - and blames Vera. The bank man is not impressed that they got this wrong, plus the business is not doing terribly well, Jack's age makes him a bad risk, so he refuses the loan.
Cafe: Roy and Gail look on anxiously as Jim fiddles round the back of the cooker. Miraculously, power is restored!
House: Bill gives Kevin the third degree about the alleged trip to the B&B with Sally. Kevin responds with guilty hostility "It is none of your business. I only have to answer to Sally. My conscience is clear."
Cafe: Now the writers clearly recognise Roy's comic potential, but they don't know who to make him interact with, so this scene is solo. Whilst cleaning around the floor of the cooker, now back in place, Roy finds the missing knob. He puts it on, but as soon as he turns it the whole cooker shakes alarmingly then smoke comes out of the back. Roy takes off the knob and after a pause, throws it back behind the cooker. I can't describe the expression on his face - you just have to see the episode.
Flat: Bill confides his worries to Rita.
Rovers: Curly offers Andy work at Firmans. Fiona re-introduces Alan to Steve, and it is apparent to Steve that Fiona didn't tell Alan he was at the flat. Alan is fairly hostile to Steve. Mike moans to Alma about Angie - should he have remained partner-less in business? Andy advises Steve that Fiona won't be interested in him any more. Steve maintains she wants him back. Vera gets a call from Tricia inviting her on holiday with them. Jack tells her to go.
Flat: Bill phones Sally from Rita's and tells her she should come home. Credits.
Awards: Continuity Dept. for ensuring that the time on Roy's cooker clock matched the supposed time of the action. (And he wore his yellow rubber gloves!)
Here is the news for Sunday, 8th June; and this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it.
In tonight's headlines
No loan hope for Jack - The future looks more and more gray and Vatman looms
Sally arrives home early - Natalie rushes out the back way
Chris explains his subtle approach to Angie - A video, a six pack, a quiet afternoon and thou
Ken dampens Jon's enthusiasm - Dierdre's past returns to haunt her as she moves into her new flat
Fred's frozen chicken wooing wows Maureen
No loan hope for Jack
Jack has become increasingly depressed at the thought of losing the pub. Although Betty has been encouraging him, a man can only stand so much rejection. First the bank, now every loan shark he can think off have turned him down on the grounds of age.
Jack was quoted today as saying that he was sure that the VAT would be reasonable. Mike, present at the time, responded by saying, and I quote, "The VAT are worse than the Gestapo. At least the Gestapo had a bit of compassion".
Sally arrives home early
A close squeeze for Kev and Natalie today when Sally arrived home one day early from Scarborough. Her warning telephone call to Kev went unanswered as he and Natalie were busy inspecting his bedroom ceiling for cracks. Sally then called the garage and left a message on the answering machine. We cross now to your roving reporter Tom who will bring us up to date on developments. Are you there Tom?
Yes, thank you very much Jerry. I am talking to Chris. Chris tell us what happened as you were shutting up shop.
"Well Tom, I were just cleaning up before going off home when I noticed that someone had left a message on the machine. I played it back and realised that Sally would be arriving back at any moment. Kevin and Natalie were just over the road 'doing the books' if you know what I mean, and I raced over and banged on the door."
What did the message say exactly?
"She said she were at Piccadilly Railway station in Manchester and were getting a taxi home, so I knew I didn't have much time. Anyway, Kev appears at the window in the altogether and I shouted up to him what was going to happen. Just at that moment, the taxi pulls up in the street. I tried to delay Sally as long as possible, asking how she were and so on. By the time she got inside things were sorted".
You didn't feel perhaps that you should have left Sally to find out what was going on?
"No. I don't tell Kev how to run his life. And I don't want to see Sally hurt".
Thank you very much Chris. And here comes Sally now. Sally, can I have a quick minute of your time?
"Yes sure. Washing powder advert is it?"
No. Tom Good from Talk Radio Weatherfield. Sally, tell everyone how it feels to be back.
"It feels great Tom. And I'm never going away again. It's just not fair on Kev. He is such a good man, great husband and father. The place was so tidy when I got back, I couldn't believe it. And you know he insisted on changing the bed sheets himself for our first night back".
And Kev is pleased to see you?
"Of course he is. But I can tell he wasn't very pleased with me being away. Every time I ask him what he got up to he comes over all quiet like. I suppose what with looking after Rursie and work he didn't have time for anything else - poor pet."
Thank you Sally and it is good to see you back. Now back to Jerry in the studio.
Chris explains his subtle approach to Angie
In news just to hand, neighbours report that Chris and Angie are still an 'Item'. After their initial liaison, things seemed to cool for the pair, but Chris's six pack of lager and video on a Sunday afternoon has rekindled Angie's affection.
Ken dampens Jon's enthusiasm
Not so lucky in love is Dierdre. She spent today moving into her new flat, ably assisted by Jon the pilot. However things turned cool for her when Ken arrived, also with an offer of help. Jon was less than pleased to find she was moving in across the street from an ex-husband for whom she appears still to have a lot of affection. Although Ken was quickly shoved out the door, Jon followed soon after stating that he needed an early night to get ready for work the next day.
Fred's frozen chicken wooing wows Maureen
And finally, Fred and Maureen seized the opportunity of Maude's trip to Altrincham to pitch some woo amongst the frozen peas. Fred's courtship style is unorthodox , involving such exotic mating rituals as approving her vacuum packed chicken selection and stock selection. However his enthusiasm and gusto for life have seemingly won him Maureen attention (if not affection).
"Ken and me are finished. And it's TRUUUEEE!" Drear tells that old lie for the 18th time.
It is morning at Des's old house (what *has* happened to him incidentally? Has he gone for good?) and the already familiar scene of Chris semi-nude and draped across the sofa for our pleasure greets our eyes. Angie (what became of her neck - did Dreary add it to her own?) is dissecting last night's sexual marathon, but being (just) part of the MTV generation, is already finding things to complain about, and starts worrying that before long they will be buying soft furnishings together and wearing matching anoraks. "It's all too convienient!" she mopes. Well yes dear, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who would be willing to trade places for some "convienence" with Chris of their own.
Later, Chris wants to plan a 30th birthday party for Angie - who is having an "aging crisis" and doesn't want him to make a fuss. But Chris has to do something other than be a male dollybird, and he won't take no for an answer.
Judy goes to visit the doctor again by herself and admits that she had an abortion when she was 16 - "you don't know nowt at that age," she explains. She is wondering if this is the reason why she can't have children. At this point there was a commercial break and I foolishly started flicking the channels around - by the time I got back, the doctor was talking about a "previous infection" (!) is this the infamous STD that there have been rumours about [no - just a post-abortion infection - Graham], and saying that there would have to be more tests done tomorrow.
A downcast Judy heads back to the house - Gary is playing his drums. Loudly. Judy tells him that if it's "his fault", she won't mind. The she says that they'd both be useless parents and who'd want to have kids anyway. Gary says he'd make a good father - having looked after Scamper. Judy just rolls her big eyes and waits for the axe to fall.
Sally/Kevin/Nastily/Bill/The Big Red Wig
Sally Simper is back and for some reason Kevin cannot keep his hands off her. But Nastily is feeling neglected and calls round on a pretext - telling Kevin she has missed him. In a moment of weakness, Kevin tells Nastily that they will have a day together alone, at the weekend. He doesn't know how, but he promises. This is good enough for Nastily, who oozes off.
The Big Red Wig is overjoyed to see Sally, and S. is engulfed in the wig's folds of flesh. Sally tells Rita that Kevin is "all over" her, and as she leaves a shadow of anxiety passes over the Big Red Wig's visage...
Big Red and Bill have a conflab in the Rovers, and Bill suggests that Kevin and Sally go away for the weekend - and between them Bill and Red can do the babysitting. Bill goes to tell Sally, who thinks it is "gurrrrrreat", but when Kevin hears of the plans, he realises it will spoil his weekend love-session with Nastily, so refuses to have anything to do with it. Bill walks off in a huff, but Kevin cannot stay angry at Sally for long and agrees to the weekend break plan anyway - *despite* having promised Nastily something similar. I hope that boy is taking vitamins.
Drear (hair sticking up at the back, looking more shrewish than usual) confronts Ken angrily about last evening when Ken let it drop that Drear was moving back into the same street as "ex-husband" to Jon. "Thanks for ruining everything," Drear bellows. "I'll never see him again!"
But this petty attempt at Liz-esque drama is simply uncalled for, and Jon is showering flowers on her, just moments later. "Let's get to know one another," shrills Drear. "Have dinner tonight at my flat." Jon (the fool) agrees.
That evening, Drear has cooked Mexican, and Jon has burnt his mouth off. "Ken means nothing to me," Drear announces. "He's too old." This seems like an odd thing to say, until you remember that this Shirely Valentine's last partner was 17 year old Samir.
"More wine?" Drear offers. "No, I'm driving," Jon says worriedly. "You don't have to," Drear urges. "You could stay the night" (!!) Jon mumbles something about not wanting to go too quickly, but it is too late. The Drear trap has worked, and her neck veins have become engorged and erect in anticipation. "It's not too quick for me," trills Drear - pouring the rest of the bottle into Jon's glass and making a mental notch on her bedpost. At least the cameras had the decency to cut before we started seeing tongues and things.
Jack is wondering where he is going to get the vat money from, and Betty mentions that once upon a time, Rita lent a lot of money to Sally and Kevin. Perhaps the Big Red Wig will do the same for the Duckworths? Jack visits Rita's flat and explains his problem. "How much do you owe?" asks Rita. "seventeen", Jack says. "Seventeen hundred?" enquires Rita. "No, seventeen thousand", admits Jack, shamefacedly. The camera hovers, for the second time on Red's troubled face before cutting to the Credits.
Marks out of 10: 4 - It looks they've hit a dry patch. Can anything save the street?
Glamour: Drear - she may have looked a mess in her first scene, but by the end she had squeezed into a sleeveless tight thing, that was probably marked as being too tacky for Maxine and Liz. Poor Jon - I think it's going to be a bumpy landing with turbulence as they say in pilot language.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and doesn't Wednesday come round so quickly each week!
Surely everyone in the civilised world has heard of the crack secretive British Army regiment called the Special Air Service; the unstoppable SAS, about whom countless books have been written over the years. Books which highlight their legendary deeds of daring, freeing frightened hostages in a hi-jacked plane here, stun-grenading an embassy siege there. Their many heroic deeds have become a byword wherever tales of bravery and courage are recounted.
Today I can release an exclusive extract from my forthcoming blockbusting best-seller which tells of one particular mission of an even-more secret and highly trained unit attached to Her Majesty's Government. A regiment in which I have been proud to serve my Queen and Country. I refer to the SUS yes...the Special Update Service.
We are a highly trained, well equipped updating unit, ready to be dispatched to any forgotten corner of the globe where anarchy or state terrorism rears its ugly head. Our motto; Updatum im bastardalum sic mortem.....Update the Bastards...or Die! Our mission: to deliver the word of Coronation Street. To bring Corrie to the deprived.
Here follows an extract from Chapter Three of the forthcoming book:
"I have good cause to remember the date August 12th 1996. The unit were taking a break from jungle update training. We were in full jungle typing kit when the red telephone on the desk rang. It was the direct line to Downing Street. The scrambled digitized voice of the man we knew only as Mr. Moon spoke clearly and without emotion. The mission, should we choose to accept it, (and we never refuse) was to take Corrie updates to a remote crofter and his wife on one of the far western Scottish Isles, where they haven't had television since the transmitting mast was destroyed in a violent storm in 1966, and so haven't seen the programme since that time.
We were flown onto the island by the RAF during the day, to make camp and find provisions. There were five of us. Myself, Kevin (the Butcher) Albertson, Helen (Psycho) Johns, Paul (Dozen) Baker and Glenda (Lofty) Young, who was the Officer Commanding for this particular tricky and dangerous mission.
The origins of all the nicknames are obvious except perhaps Dozen. You might think it was from 'Baker's dozen' but it actually stems from the unit Paul was attached to previously, The Dirty Dozen. He wrote updates for the Electric Blue series of soft-porn movies.
We were known as K Division, Special Forces, the Queen's Own Updaters, and we were mean. Hard as bloody nails, and determined to get in, get the job done with as few casualties as possible, and return to base. Update them before they know what's hit them!
We approached the croft under cover of darkness, after a long yomp from the western corner of the deserted island. Lofty Young had smeared her own face, and all the rest of us, with the blood of a freshly killed sheep which Butcher Albertson had garrotted with some cheese wire which he always kept in his boot. This was for camouflage she said. We didn't argue with Lofty Young. She knew the ropes. She was as tough as they came. She'd seen active service in the Middle East Seven Day Update War, which was a very messy one. She didn't talk about it. She had written updates deep behind enemy lines following the ill-fated Eldorado attempted coup in the mid-eighties. You didn't question Lofty.
We located the target with ease, having downloaded a really nice map from the Scottish Tourist Board WWW site before we left our base.
Although we expected minimal resistance, we were armed to the teeth. We all carried automatic and semi-automatic weapons, grenades and gas canisters. Psycho Johns never bothered with any firearms, however. She relied on her trusty plastic-handled Kitchen Devil breadknife from home. It may not sound like much, but I've seen Psycho come up behind many an enemy guard and take him out from behind before he knew where he was. She was a great girl to have in the unit on a job like this, in case it came down to hard hand to hand updating!
We surrounded the croft, having taken up strong strategic positions. Lofty Young spoke to Paul on the radio "You in position Dozen, old son? Got the updates there ready to go?"
"37 pages of A4 in my bag, Lofty....everything from the last 30 years or so of Corrie, let's hit 'em."
A bead of sweat formed on Lofty's brow. This was the adrenaline rush. This was the buzz for her. She paused, savouring the moment, until at last we all heard her voice coming over our radios......"On my command everyone.....it's showtime....let's rock and roll.......CHARGE!!!!!!!!"
With a blood-curdling yell, we all broke cover and charged the croft...
...which is where I will leave this story until next week because:
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 11.6.97:
After having spent the night in Deirdre's erotic clutches, Jon the pilot leaves. He's off to Nigeria, and he'll see her in a couple of days. She sort of hugs herself with a girly romantic glow as he drives away. She gives Ken a cheery wave across the street, which he pointedly fails to return. A touch of the old Green-eyed-Monster?
Despite this snub, they are together in the pub later, asking each other if they've heard from Tracy. Ken asks if Deirdre has told Tracy about Jon. He makes a snide little jibe and Deirdre tells him to keep his opinions to himself. She then says that Jon will keep an eye open for any possible jobs at the airport. Ken is not thrilled at this prospect and turns on sarcastic mode once again.
The Webster sproglings (plural of sproglet) are being looked after by their grandfather this coming weekend, to allow Kevin and Sally to go away somewhere together. Kevin tries rather half-heartedly to worm out of it, but Sally's dead keen.
When they break of snogging for long enough to actually speak to one another, Kevin tells Natalie they cannot tryst this weekend because of his plans to go away with Sally. Natalie is cross at the thought of this "second honeymoon" and flounces out. Since this actress has been in the cast, we have seen her back an estimated 17 times as she flounces out from the garage, Kev's house, or the pub. She has registered record new highs on the UK Soap Flounce-ometer.
Sally meets Natalie in the Corner Shop. Nattie is chatty. Sally invites her to tea, which invitation Natalie is more than happy to accept. At tea, when Sally leaves the room, Kev grabs her arm and demands to know what she thinks she's playing at, coming there to tea.
Natalie makes pointed remarks to Sally about her and Kevin "seeing eye to eye" and then goes on to recommend the very hotel where they had their abortive mucky weekend the other day! She's a brazen one, that Nat!
Soppy Al and Fiona spill out onto the street, where they espy Steve on the other side of the road. Al asks her if she feels sorry for Steve, and she says she does, but assures the doe-eyed detective that she no longer fancies him. Later in the Rovers, she lends Steve the £30 he needs to get him to an important job interview. Silly girl! Overseas viewers might like to watch out for some jerky continuity during this scene, where she is reading Hairstyle Monthly or something similar, while talking to Steve. It keeps changing from being opened, revealing the front and back covers, to be doubled back on itself.
Although he tells Betty he has his financial problems all sorted out, Jack is nearing the end of his rope, with the Great VAT Anxiety. He offers Fred to buy his part share in the race horse, but Fred isn't interested.
Rita comes and tells him she has decided, for the sake of preserving their valuable friendship, that she will not lend him the cash. He even targets Roy as a possible source of a loan, and goes to the cafe to see him. Roy is busy cutting out coupons and telling Gail about his childhood collections of coins, stamps and jam-jar labels. When asked quite why he accumulated these collections, he is at a loss to explain. But anyone who has ever collected anything will understand perfectly.
Never let it be said that I am one to laugh in the face of coupons! Why, only this very day I was in the local supermarket, where I found that if you save the labels from special promotional packs of 12 DUREX condoms, you could send away for some very handsome free boxer shorts! This offer has great comic potential for a future update.
I had a wonderful collection when I was a boy. I am a bit reluctant to tell you exactly what I collected. Suffice to say it took a very long time to build the collection, because they took such a long time to die before you could mount them!
Anyway, when Roy mentions that all his funds were invested in the cafe, Jack loses interest very rapidly, and leaves.
Sally accompanies Judy to the hospital for her laporoscopy examination. At breakfast, Judy cannot eat the splendid fry-up Gary has lovingly provided because she is to have an anaesthetic, of course. Still, Gary is unaware of all this.
She duly has the test, and begs the doctor to tell her the results immediately, and not have to wait until the follow-up appointment next week. He tells her that her tubes are blocked. This sounds like a job for GYNAE-ROD. Heavens, they're in the Yellow Pages and they offer a 24-hour service with no call-out fee! They could unblock her pipes pronto, using all the latest equipment! I might ring her after I'm finished here.
Judy asks Sally not to tell Kevin or anyone else about the test or its results. Sally advises her to tell Gary, and towards the end of the episode when he comes home from another hard day of cable-laying, she looks like she's almost about to spill the beans.
Tonight is another one for the Corrie statisticians, in particular those who like to count proposals of marriage since the series started. Yes, folks, Fred proposes to Maureen, assuring her that he is not yet ready for the knackers' yard where the desires of the flesh are concerned. She rejects his proposal, saying "Marriage is out; I just want to be happy."
Such unimpeachable wisdom!
Fred is happy to continue their relationship on her friendship-only terms, but the disappointed sulky-face he pulls is a picture!
Someone who would certainly NOT be giving away free boxer shorts is Mike Baldwin. He is trying to get Angie to agree to marketing their knickers using a two-tier system. Part of the stock to be sold through high- class outlets, part to be punted round the markets. She is not inclined towards this notion, but one gets the sneaky suspicion Baldwin will prevail on this one.
Ida sees Janice stuffing undies into her handbag at the end of the shift. She's blatantly nicking knickers! She says she is using them for a kind of "market research" to test their effect on her husband. (Whom we will shortly be meeting, I understand??)
Rita comes in to the pub, and offers to buy Jack a drink, to show there are no hard feelings over her refusal of the loan. Jack seizes the opportunity to make her a fresh offer. This time a partnership in the pub is the proposal. Fifty-fifty. This sounds much more like it from Rita's point of view. She looks very interested. She says "Tell me more....."
That's yer lot.
Good night and I love you all, Nigel
Firstly, a few words about the much publicised demise of Maureen. I recently wrote to Sherrie Hewson following the announcement of the termination of her contract in the Autumn. I expressed my concern at the direction of the future stories and characterisations, and gave her my thanks for all she brought to the role of Maureen. On Friday I received this reply, which I thought I would like to share with you all.
"Dear Helen and Mike,
Thank you so much for your support, I very much appreciate it.
Hopefully you will like me in lots of other up and coming shows and may I say thank you again for caring.
All my love
Sherrie Hewson xx"
Now on with the update for Friday 13th June
House: Sally wonders what's wrong with Kevin. He tells her to leave him alone, but she persists, then he gets snappy, so she unilaterally cancels the planned weekend away.
Street: Andy is about to give Steve a lift to the coach station. Steve calls out to Fiona and she wishes him good luck at the interview. Janice and Ida arrive for work.
Factory: While clocking in, Janice brags to Ida that the stolen underwear worked wonders on Les, her husband. Unfortunately, Angie overhears and reprimands Janice.
Kabin: Jack wants Rita to formalise their arrangement quickly as he has been notified that he must pay the VAT in 21 days. Rita says she has not finally decided and needs more time. Mavis arrives, having done her packing for her holiday.
House: Gary tells Judy that he will arrange to take Monday off in order to get the results from the doctor. Judy looks troubled.
Shop: Sally phones Kevin to try to remedy the bad atmosphere earlier. Fred enters, looking for Maureen who has gone to the wholesalers. Maud skilfully obstructs his enquiries but Fred remains good humoured. Luckily for him, Maureen returns at that moment, but Sally rushes off, saying she needs a few minutes before they have unloaded the supplies.
Coach Station: The bus to Birmingham departs, leaving Steve on the platform. He rips up his ticket and discards it, smiling to himself.
Rovers: Angie tells Mike that Janice has 'road tested' the merchandise. Mike is adamant they should sack her. Angie pleads her case. Jack reassures Betty that he may have saved the Rovers; she guesses that the secret backer is to be Rita. Angie persuades Mike to let her give a general warning to everyone without sacking Janice this time.
House: Sally waits for Kevin, who arrives in a bad mood. She asks why it is all going wrong, and reveals that Bill phoned and asked her to return home. Kevin gets angry, saying he has to work, not spend time discussing 'feelings'. Sally is close to tears as he leaves the house.
Cafe: Roy is counting his yellow labels, as if he collects 800 he could get a trip to Paris. Liz arrives for some lunch and is surprised to see Steve. She joins him asking why he isn't in Birmingham. (Aficionados* can see from the menu card on the table that Roy has indeed renamed the cafe Roy's Rolls. *Oh, all right, Sad Anoraks, then!)
Factory: Angie gives the girls a talking to about stealing. Mike interjects, making it clear it is directed to Janice. In the office, Angie moans that Mike didn't let her handle in on her own. He says she did well, and grins broadly when she says 'I sounded like you'
Cafe: Steve rolls his eyes as Liz chastises him for passing up a job opportunity. He says he doesn't want to move away unless he knows it is definitely over between him and Fiona. Liz reminds him that Fiona is engaged to Alan now. Steve says he thinks she is having second thoughts now he is back - and lies that Fiona invited him to the flat for a drink. Liz remembers that Alan nearly got her killed, and he wouldn't have cared. Steve's theory is that Fiona just won't admit to herself what Alan is like.
Kabin: Mavis is apprehensive about going on holiday alone, but Rita packs her off to clear out the stockroom when Alec appears. He is horrified that Rita is considering buying into the Rovers - they agree to talk later. He warns her not to commit herself yet.
Shop: Maud can't understand what Maureen sees in Fred. Sally writes a note to Bill explaining that he won't have to baby-sit after all. There is a discussion about men, in which Maud maintains that Maureen knows nothing about men. Maureen sends Maud home early.
House: As Gary eats his tea, Judy slowly explains that she had a laparoscopy which showed that her tubes were blocked. He is shocked to learn that she had an abortion when she was 16, and the resultant infection has left her infertile. Judy feels very guilty about it. Gary appears off hand and carries on eating.
Rovers: Vera telephones Jack and he reassures her that their financial problems are practically over. Steve lies to Andy that he attended the interview, but there is no prospect of a job. Alec advises Rita that she would be taking a bad rick putting money behind Jack and Vera.
Yard: Gary and Judy sit outside. He looks as if he has been crying. It emerges that Joyce helped arrange the abortion, it was before Judy met Gary and she saw no reason to tell him about it before. Gary ignores her when she says he can have a divorce; he wonders how definite it is that she can't conceive. She says she would need treatment. He says well they did wan to know, though Judy knew in her heart before they went.
Rovers: Fiona asks Steve how the interview went. He says he won't be moving yet and tries to read her reaction as she says she is sorry he didn't get it. Fred is pleased that Maureen wasn't offended or put off by his proposal. She reassures him they will continue to see each other. Rita has decided not to go ahead but puts off telling Jack.
House: Bill goes to see Kevin to find out what has happened. Kevin and Bill both get angry. Sally comes downstairs as Bill leaves and wonders why he was in a funny mood. Kevin launches into a tirade that it is all her fault for going away for weeks on end and leaving him to cope alone. She stares dumbfounded as he rants on and looks puzzled when he leaves the house.
Best acting: Gary (Ian Mercer) for a very realistic trip through many emotions and expressions as he absorbs what Judy is telling him. Best lines: After Angie explains to Mike that Janice's underwear turned her husband into a gibbering idiot: 'I imagine he's that already!'
Hello everyone, me again, filling in for Kevin for this Sunday update.
House: Gary has taken Scamper for a walk and let him swim in the canal. Judy is furious, but Gary says they are no longer consulting one another about what happens in the household - she started it. Judy wants to talk, but they end up having a row. She says he had no idea what it was like for her, alone in that situation. He says he doesn't accuse her of being a scrubber, a tart or a slut. He does accuse her of being a liar.
House: Kevin apologises to Sally for his outburst; she asks why he and Bill were shouting. Sally says she would rather wait to go away until he has less work on. They agree to go out with the kids that evening.
Street: Fiona and Alan are going out for the day. Steve passes and exchanges a few works with Fiona. He gazes after the car as they drive off. Bill and Kevin meet and Kevin is still confrontational, saying Sally is happy not to go away, (so there!) Bill says that Kevin must end his affair.
Rovers: Jack is trying to relax with exercises from a pregnancy book. Unsuccessfully, as he is waiting for Rita.
Garage: Chris invites Kevin to go for a drink but he declines. Chris is concerned for his friend, but Kevin rounds on him, accusing Chris of encouraging them [Kevin and Nastily] to get together. Chris says he can't be blamed, but doesn't want to see Sally get hurt. Kevin is obsessed with Natalie, though, and can't give her up.
Rovers: Andy advises Steve that he is wasting his time pursuing Fiona. Also, Alan may stitch him up for something if it continues. Steve says indignantly 'I know the law!' Andy replies 'And they know you!' Steve is undeterred. Alec is pleased to see Rita, but anxious as she and Jack disappear into the back. She gently but firmly explains to Jack that she is not going to put her money into the business. Jack is devastated.
Factory: Mike and Angie argue over him having substituted cheap fabric which she feels will compromise her design. In the middle of this, Chris arrives, buoyant as he won the fruit machine jackpot and wants to go out with Angie. She shouts at Chris and sends him away.
House: Kevin turns up on Natalie's doorstep, looking upset.
Rovers: Jack calmly observes Alec rushing off after Rita. Betty denies that she told Alec about the deal with Rita, but Jack suspects she was nobbled by Alec.
House: Kevin hates the strain of carrying on the affair and lying to everyone. Natalie wonders if they should end it.
Shop: Jon buys expensive chocolates for Deirdre. Maud is nosily asking questions of him, and after he leaves she asks Maureen how come Deirdre got Jon, while Maureen came away with 'that fat Fred Elliot'
House: Natalie plays it cool while Kevin sniffles. He cries and tells her he loves her and wants to stay with her, whatever the cost.
House: Angie arrives back home and Chris is sulking. She explains that she was busy working. He attacks her for being self-centred and goes out.
Flat: Deirdre is pleased and surprised to see Jon, as he is a day earlier than expected. He says he missed her. The camera lingers too long on an intimate kiss.
Rovers: Steve has to admit to Jim that he can't get a job, and asks if the offer of working with Bill and Jim is still open. Mike sympathises with Jack's VAT problems. Jim is incredulous at Steve, who promises he will work hard. Jim threatens if Steve lets him down 'I'll lamp you' (I don't know what that means, but I wouldn't pick a fight with Jim)
House: Sally has asked Bill to come round as she is worried that Kevin is so late home. Kevin turns up, saying he had to go to a breakdown. Bill looks sceptical.
Rovers: Steve borrows money from his Dad, then goes up to Alan and Fiona to give her the £30 back. Fiona looks very uncomfortable as Alan asks for an explanation. Jack lays into the whisky, and reflects to Betty that those who said he and Vera couldn't run a pub have been proved right. He sees no option but to sell up.
Alec (bitchily) to Steve: "Got a job yet?"
Steve: "No, have you?"
Gary is wearing his "Christmas" boxer shorts to get the test results - not that it will make any difference, as the facts are that Judy's "tubes" are not working, but there is nothing "wrong" with Gary. The pair go to sit on a park bench in the only square foot of grassland in Manchester for a ten mile radius. Judy says "You can divorce me. You don't fancy me anymore. Moan moan moan." Gary says "I can live with it." And the two are "all over" one another for the rest of the episode - although this is just a lull before the teenage surrogacy plot-line kicks in.
Mike has got an order for 30,000 pairs of underwear for the Dutch Army. Angie has been out of the country for so long that she thinks this is a new pop group, but it is the real Dutch army. Mike is overjoyed, but Angie is not impressed - she doesn't like the idea of a load of soldiers walking up her catwalk in their underwear (!) - but as she's been pouring over scantily clad pictures of Chris for most of this episode, it's understandable that she's set her sights so high.
Back at the house, Angie whirls into the kitchen in a temper and starts mouthing off to Chris about how irritating Mike Baldwin is. To prove her anger she pours herself a glass of orange juice (I know that that's what *I* always do in these situation). Chris just can't be bothered (has anyone else noticed that he does not speak his lines, but just drawls them as if he's half asleep. Does he need more protein?)
"Mike Baldwin's name is an aphrodisiac," Angie comments, having calmed down and now trying to snuggle up to Chris on the couch. "I'm going out," Chris informs her, putting a stop to any naughty ideas that she might have had. "I won't wait up," Angie tells him. "Fine," says Chris. I think that was a tiff.
Steve comes to visit the hair salon, to discuss hairstyles (he is badly in need of one - see below). Maxine tells him to stay away from Fiona, which Alan overhears. Steve leaves, and Alan thanks Maxine, but says he wishes that Fiona had said those words instead of blinking silently with her puffed-out hamster cheeks.
Steve does not seem to be able to get a job anywhere, so he gives in and tells Bill and Jim that he will work for them. Later, in the Rovers, Liz bumps into Alan, and for some reason they start talking about Steve and Fiona. Liz lets Alan know that Steve has been visiting Fiona *in the flat* when Alan is not present. What a trouble-maker. How long before she's looking down the barrel of a gun again?
Alan comes home, unexpectedly early, to take Fiona out - and notices that there are two glasses of wine on the table, and that someone is in the bathroom. (This is a link back to an earlier episode when there were two glasses of wine on the table, and Fiona lied and said that one of them had belonged to Maxine, when in fact it had been Steve.)
Alan is suspicious, but then Maxine comes out of the bathroom, and we all breath a sigh of relief. Maxine is sent off to Ashley's so that Fiona and Alan can have a "romantic" night in.
Jack is still unable to scrape together the money to get the Rovers out of debt with the VAT people. Alec visits him in the back room, and offers to buy him out, so that things can go back to the way they were before, with Jack as a cellarman, and Alec in charge. Jack is insulted and throws Alec out. "My grandchild was born in this room," Jack tells him - as if that in itself is all the reason in the world for holding on to the Rovers.
Kevin tells Sally that Tony is back in Manchester and he is going out for a drink with him, but not to the Rovers as Judy might be there. Sally believes this and sends Kevin off happily to do unspeakable things to the Nastily.
Meanwhile, Rita and Bill gossip about the Webster's relationship - The Big Red Wig is having a dithery day - leaving bags of shopping everywhere. She obviously has a lot to think about, wondering whether she'll stick with the Sally/Kevin storyline, or get involved with the Jack/Vera one.
At Nastily's dingy little house, the shameful pair are adjusting their bra straps - Nastily tells Kevin that she will have to put up with sharing him with Sally (buy those vitamin supplements now Kevin!) Kevin tells her not to expect bunches of flowers or diamond necklaces (isn't he charming). Nastily says that in order to "cope" with the situation, she might sometimes be rather bitchy about Sally (I can't wait).
Back home, Sally is waiting patiently for Kevin - Big Red has called round to see if she is OK, and Sally wonders where Kevin is, as he's a few minutes late. Rita tells her not to worry and leaves. Suddenly, one of the Webster children announces that she likes Nastily and so does Kevin. Sally's remedial school brain starts ticking, and she asks whether the child saw much of Nastily while she was away, and whether she saw her at the garage or at the house. "Lots of times," bleats the child. "At the house." Sally looks completely shocked and almost collapses on the stairs. Credits.
Best interchange: Alec and Steve:
Alec: "So you've got a job then. I always knew that you'd resort to nepotism."
Steve: "Nepotism's a big word Alec. But redundant's an even bigger one."
Eldest Webster Girl. Forget Spooky Sarah Louise - she's passed out of that weird pre-adolescent stage that all CS children have to go through. The mantle of psychicness has been handed down to Rursie (or Surphie), who has the lot - long dirty blonde hair, like a character in a Virginia Andrews novel, that eerie intonation, the unblinking smile - as they said at the end of Carrie - "this one's going to be a world beater."
Glamour Tiara: Male Section.
Have the CS hairstylists gone on strike? First Steve McDonald with a hairstyle that looks like out-of-control moss, then Kevin Webster (it's OK to pluck your eyebrows Kevin - it doesn't make you less of a man). Then Gary Mallet - who NEEDS HAIR HELP. Things are looking bad when Jack wins the Tiara for the 18th week running!
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and it's been a week I'll not forget in a hurry!
Here follows the second and concluding extract from my forthcoming blockbuster bestseller about the SUS, the dreaded Special Update Service:
I left you last week with the five determined updaters from K Division, Special Forces, the Queen's Own Updaters, under the command of Glenda (Lofty) Young, as we charged the windswept croft, on one of the most remote Scottish Isles, ready to deliver 30 years worth of Corrie updates.
Lofty and I reached the old wooden door of the croft together. She booted it open and we burst in. She had her machine gun ready as she barked out "FREEZE!!" At that very moment, Kevin (The Butcher) Albertson and Helen (Psycho) Johns crashed in through the closed windows on opposite walls of the croft, and Paul (Dozen) Baker landed with a terrific cloud of soot as he came down the chimney. We all trained our weapons on the ancient couple inside as they sat quietly at a large old wooden table on the stone floor.
Lofty Young: "Get over against that wall and spread your legs....MOVE!"
They sat impassively, munching scones and quietly drinking tea, ignoring the military clamour around them.
Psycho Johns: "The targets are not responding Lofty, perhaps they're deaf!"
The old woman spoke calmly: "Ach away with ye! Have ye had yer tea dear? Would ye be young Helen Johns by the way?"
Psycho was stunned into silence. I hadn't known her to be lost for words...ever!
The old man placed his cup carefully into its saucer and looked at a silver fob watch on a chain in his waistcoat: "Aye, we've been expecting ye; will ye no put doon those wee guns and have some tea, noo that ye're here?"
Dozen Baker brushed the soot from his combat jacket and The Butcher and Psycho shook the broken glass from their camouflage trousers. We put down the machine guns and drew up to the table.
Extra blue willow-pattern cups and saucers were fetched, and a fruit cake was produced. We were stunned. The mission had been to locate, attack and update these people with maximum force if necessary, and here we were settling down to tea and fruit cake with the targets!
Old man: "We dinnae get a great number o' visitors roond these parts, so when we located ye on the Internet Geo-Satellite Tracking Home Page, Morag an' me got very excited. It's a wee thing we've had on these Island for a while noo. Ye can watch oot for intruders in real time, from an infra red satellite camera in geostationary orbit. We kept an eye oot for ye. Morag was delighted tae have an opportunity tae bake a fruit cake and get oot the best china."
Old woman: "Which one o ye strappin lads is Paul Baker? I fair love yer Coronation Street updates ev'ry Monday, so I do!"
Paul bashfully acknowledged the woman's praise.
Old woman: "Oh, and Glenda, hen, I'm so pleased ye're back wi' us the noo, doin' yon weekly roondups! And young Helen darlin'...I cannae wait for Mondays when ye get back tae work at the lab, and I see your Friday neet update pop intae my wee inbox."
"And wee Nigel, darlin that ye are! Ah've seen yer smiling wee face on Plowman's Gallery page, but it's fair gimsie tae see ye in the flesh!...did ye really go tae Toronto a wee while back, and do ye really have a ten inch tongue?" Sheepishly, I nodded and stuck out my tongue, thereby answering both questions at once.
Then, fixing her gaze on Kevin (The Butcher) Albertson, she went on, "Noo, Kevin will ye no stand up so's I can hae a proper look at ye? Jock, is this wee laddie no the pride of New Zealand? (She cupped his blushing face in her hands and kissed him full on the lips) I love those wee Sunday updates, with all that radio announcer stuff; I laugh till I greet! Ye could be ma toy boy any auld day o' the week! Wee dreamboat that ye are!"
Clearly our mission there was over before it had begun. These old crones were one step, no several steps, ahead of us. They'd had Internet connection for a long time, and were regular visitors to Graham Allsopp's Coronation Street website, where they had been keeping up with all the updates, characters and plots from the thirty years they had no TV reception.
We sat and chatted late into the night, talking about characters old and new, drinking tea, eating vast quantities of cake, home made bread and preserves, and singing the Corrie theme tune and old traditional updating shanties as the biting Highland wind swirled round the old stone cottage.
The five updaters all bunked down for the night on the stone floor, and bid a fond farewell to old Jock and Morag at 0700 hours the following morning, just in time to be winched up into the helicopter on the other side of the island.
Mission (sort of) accomplished.
It's true what they say you know; wherever you go, Corrie fans are generally nice people!
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 18 June 97
It's breakfast time at Angie and Chris's place, and he's telling her that he's made the arrangements for her forthcoming birthday party, but she doesn't seem very excited by the prospect. There is a little discussion about whether Chris should move out, but Angie wants him to stay, but on a friends-only basis. (This is despite a ring on her engagement/wedding finger.)
The construction firm of McDonald McDonald and Webster are gearing up for their first day together. Steve is folded double in the back of the E reg Transit van for some reason, and there is the usual building industry jokes about sending the new boy to the Builders' Merchant to get some 'sky hooks' or to say he's come for a 'long weight' but Steve's way too cute to fall for those old jokes.
He spots Soppy Al across the road and decides to grab another opportunity to wind him up. It so happens Al wants a word. The word of advice is for young Stevie to keep his nose clean in his new career, and to tell his mother to stop trying to stir things up between himself and Fiona. Later Al quizzes Fiona about her relationship with Liz, and Fiona says he brought Liz's wrath on himself, back in the Fraser/supergrass era. She doesn't deny that Steve has been to the flat and they ended up sharing a bottle, but that's all they shared, and she tells him "I only have eyes for you" or something equally wet. Soppy Al pulls his little lost puppy-dog expression, which prompts Fiona to give him a kiss on the forehead, as though he was a little boy whose lifelong chum pet goldfish had just floated open-mouthed to the top of its bowl.
Kevin goes off for another day hard at it. Sally says she wants him back at lunch time for a talk. He's not at the garage long before Natalie arrives. They have a discussion about the welding machine being out of commission, standing beside an advert for Snap-On Tools. After the programme, I immediately phoned that company, but when they explained that they produce spanners and socket sets, it seemed I had got the wrong end of the stick! Ah well!
So at lunchtime he duly returns, to find she's gone to a lot of trouble to cook him something nice. She says he needs something decent inside him! No comment. She launches The Big Talk. He's been edgy since she's been home from Scarborough. She feels he's holding summat back. She mentions Rosie saying that Natalie was often there in her absence. She has come to the conclusion that Natalie fancies him! After a bit of pathetic evasion, he agrees that might be the case, but he asserts that it is very much a one-way infatuation because she's too flashy and too old. "It's been a nightmare" says our Kev. Indeed it has, Kev old son!
In the pub, Liz is having to listen to Deirdre wondering where Jon has got to. The lyrics to the Everly Brothers Ebony Eyes came to mind "The plane was way overdue, etc..." you know the one..."Would everyone having friends or relatives on flight twelve O three please report to the chapel... "
In due course, Deirdre's one track mind is put at rest by a phone call she makes to the airline, and he appears at her place later that evening, having been diverted to East Midlands airport. She jealously wonders about his regular exposure to stewardesses, and wonders what he sees in her anyway! He's wearing a pilot's uniform, so here is the first concrete evidence that he really is what he says he is...isn't he? He says something awfully lovey-dovey to her, which women seem to like apparently. What do I know?
Fiona gets Steve on his own and tells him that both he and his mother are wasting their time, trying to make mischief and trouble for her and Soppy Al. Steve still harbours high hopes, though.
On seeing Jack deep in thought, Fred says it's because he's missing Vera. "He's missing his connubials" he adds. Me, I never had connubials. I once made enquiries about getting them grafted on from a suitable donor, but the expense would have been considerable and the operation isn't available on the National Health Service. Added to that the relatively poor success rate, and the...shall we say...possible side effects, I eventually decided to remain as I am, for the time being at least.
Jack speaks to his beloved Veronica D on the phone, and assures her that everything is fine. By the end of the episode, it is...in a way!
Maureen comes along, and Fred invites her to Elliott Mansions the following night for a slap-up meal. Maud, seated beneath yet another mildly offensive hat, scoffs as only Maud can. She tells her luckless daughter "You've always been gullible where sex is concerned...there's more to it than meat and two veg!" Once again no comment from me on this one! I eschew smut these days. I turn my back and walk away from the gutter-style updating with which I was once so proud to be associated! Meat and two veg....brilliant Maud!
The principal story line tonight is the future of the most famous pub in the world. Alec comes to see Jack and renews his cash offer. A fifty fifty partnership is now being haggled over. Alec offers the magic cure-all VAT figure of £17,000 to buy a half share of the action. Jack says "Double it!" They appear to meet somewhere around the £25,000 mark, and Alec goes away to talk to his professional advisors, and to cogitate.
Later, just after closing time, Alec appears furtively at the back door of the Rovers. He has an official-looking document in his hand, which eventually proves to be a receipt and a letter of intent. Jack signs on the dotted line without reading. A cheque for £25,000 changes hands. Alec requests a spare set of keys, and in a matter of those few brief seconds, he is part owner in a pub. He walk out to the bar. 'His' beloved bar once more. He pours himself a glass of whiskey. (Here I am careful to spell it with an 'e', knowing Alec as we do, and then he draws a glass of ordinary scotch for his new partner. The shape of things to come? They shake hands as they raise their glasses to toast each other.
Oh dear me! What will Vera say in two episode's time when she returns?
As Street history is made, and the Rovers Return passes into new ownership once again, we hear that familiar refrain......
That's yer lot.
Good night and I love you all, Nigel
Rovers: Jack hears noises in the bar and descends, armed only with a toasting fork. He finds Alec, already bottling up and sorting out the cellar, even though it is just gone 8am. Alec informs Jack of his intention to stock up on alcopops - to capture the youth market. He also says Betty's menu needs livening up - though she would not be missed if she left!
House: Angie opens her birthday cards and Chris gives her an African carving, which she is very pleased with.
Street: Ken and Emily notice a Sold (Subject to Contract) sign on Don's old house. They wonder who has bought it.
Shop: Maud continues to moan about Maureen seeing Fred. Sally is asked by Maud how her family is, and reassures her that all is now back to normal. Sally is surprised when she learns the identity of Maureen's dinner date.
Salon: Maxine is rubbing (none too gently) the head of a customer entirely encased in a yellow towel, and wondering where to go tonight, as Ashley is away. Angie pops in to make an appointment for that afternoon, in preparation for her 30th birthday party. She is drawn into inviting Maxine to the party - then the client removes the towel and invites herself too - it is Natalie! Angie is forced to gracefully allow it.
Rovers: Bill, Jim and Steve arrive for their lunch - pint and hotpot. They are amused and surprised that Alec is in partnership with Jack.
Garage: Natalie tries to have a fondle of Kevin, but as they are outside, in full view of his house, he beats her off. He tries to dissuade her when she tells him she will be at the party. She maintains that it all adds to the excitement.
House: Party preparations are almost done. A DJ is setting up in the lounge. Angie is impressed at Chris's smart appearance, as he is with hers.
House: Kev and Sally leave Bill in charge of the girls while they party. He wonders to Sally what it reflects on him that Maureen is now seeing Fred.
Rovers: Maud bends Deirdre's ear about Fred being after more that Maureen's body - he wants the dry goods too! Alec returns with the alcopops, much to Jack's annoyance. When Rita asks what he is doing behind the bar, Alec explains about the partnership. Rita is shocked and disgusted, accusing him of being a liar, deceitful and a poor friend. Alec has the good grace to look guilty as the Big Red stalks out. Jack has overheard the exchange.
The next few scenes intercut between Fred's house and Angie's party, charting the course of the evening.
Party: Many young people are there. Steve smokes a joint and offers to get some for Chris if he is interested. Fiona warns Steve that Alan will do him if he sees it. Steve interprets this as Fiona's concern for him. Sally tells Kevin she still fancies him. Natalie arrives and Kev looks awkward, so he goes to fetch an orange juice for Sally, and a red wine for his mistress (she's been watching too much of this programme) Max makes a play for Chris. Mike and Alma wonder if they are too old to be there. Nat steals Kevin for a dance from under Sally's nose. Angie tells Mike to go ahead with the Dutch Army deal as she has been unable to get any other orders. Chris and Angie dance a slow one and compare notes on the interesting potential partners they have met at the party. In the background, Kevin and Natalie enjoy body contact. Angie drags Chris into the garden and tells him he is the best bloke there. They kiss, watched by a jealous Maxine.
Fred's Dining Room: An elegant scene, with Fred at the head of a large table, complete with candelabra. Maureen, to his side, compliments him on his cooking. He has prepared an enormous Beef Wellington, using genuine foie gras, and home made pastry to his mother's recipe. Maureen knocks back the red wine as Fred waxes lyrical about the sensual experience of good food. Maureen wonders if she is to be devoured and he eloquently flatters her that she would be the grand entree of his greatest feast. Maureen is clearly touched by his sincere appreciation, and impressed that he is evidently well-read as well as a superb cook. She declines cognac in favour of the claret; they make a toast 'to us' as she confesses she loves the way he makes her laugh. There is a retailers conference shortly in Harrogate; over the cheese and biscuits he invites Maureen to join him. After hesitating, she agrees; making it clear it is business only. He is pleased and assures her that he wouldn't assume anything and he will be honoured to have her accompany him.
Rovers: After closing time, Alec asks Jack if he has told Vera. Jack decides to wait till the next day. They agree she will be surprised to discover the new partnership....
Street: Some drunken partygoers depart, helped by Chris. Des Barnes appears out of the shadows and asks Chris what is going on. Credits.
Comments: Funny how art imitates life, isn't it? Or is it the other way round? Alec fills the pub with alcopops to entice a younger clientele. The programme sees tradition give way to faddish ephemera in order to attract a younger audience....... Writer Ken Blakeson showed us a lovely tender side to Fred as he wooed Maureen with dignity and care. The acting from these two was also, as usual, excellent.
Here is the news for Sunday the 22nd of June, and this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it. In tonight's main headlines:
Chris and Angie make it official, she moves into his room so Des can have his old room back.
Vera returns from Morecambe, she is none to pleased with Jack's business negotiations.
Alan warns Steve, "Things can always go back the way they were".
Gary and Jude organise laser strike.
Chris and Angie make it official
One of Des's first acts on his return today was to give Angie a dirty diary and order her to get rid of Chris. Des claimed this is because are only two bedrooms, but rumour has it that he is jealous of the hunky mechanic's winning way with one of his old flames. Tom Good is speaking to Des in the radio car. Over to you Tom.
Thank you very much Jerry. Now Des, welcome back to Weatherfield.
I understand you've been a naughty boy?
"That business over Chris you mean? Well, I admit I did want to get rid of Chris, but I seem to have made it worse now haven't I. To make room for me, Angie has moved into his room. I've never coped very well with having other people around the house, they cramp my style, if you know what I mean".
Yes! Actually, I was thinking more of the gift you left for Mavis.
"Oh that, yes no one is more sorry than me about that. When Angie said she didn't want the book about s*x in confined spaces, I popped it through the door for Derek. How was I to know that Derek had, well, gone. I feel really bad about it now, but I can't get it back."
Doesn't Emily have the key to Mavis door?
"Yes she does, but she says that she can't take responsibility for anyone taking things away from the house, even if it was me who put it there in the first place".
Thank you Des. It sounds as though Derek is playing a practical joke on you, from the grave.
"What a gruesome thought".
Now back to Jerry in the studio
Vera returns from Morecambe
Upon her return from Morecombe, Vera was very concerned to learn, from Rita, of the business deal Jack struck with Alec in her absence. Rita herself has reportedly fallen out with Alec over his manipulations designed to stopping her investing in "The Rover's". Tom, still on the Street, has the latest on this story. Are you there Tom?
Yes I am Jerry, thank you very much. I am standing outside "The Rover's" and with me is Jack Duckworth. Jack:
"Listen son, you couldn't put me up for the night could you?"
Well, maybe. We can talk about it later. But first, that is a nasty black eye you have there.
"Oh aye son. I ran into a door, shortly after Vera returned from Morecombe."
So she wasn't too pleased about the way you handled the deal with Alec then.
"No, she feels I kept her in the dark about it, but I just didn't want to have to worry her. Anyway, she made the mistake with the VAT in the first place, so it weren't all my fault."
So, how do you come to be standing out here tonight Jack?
"To cut the story short, I thought me and our V had made up, when she suggested closing up early so we could 'have an early night' if you know what I mean Tom. I went out to get some fish and chips for us dinner, and when I got back she wouldn't let us back in. Says she is the landlady and no one is setting foot inside the door except by her permission. So, I've got nowhere to go tonight. "Have a chip son."
Thanks Jack. You haven't got any Eccles Cakes about you by any chance? No? Well, back to Jerry in the studio.
Alan warns Steve away from Fiona
Fiona continues to be charmed by Steve. The street's wide boy took her out to see a house she and Alan might rent. Upon finding out, Alan was overcome with jealousy that Steve and Fiona were alone together in a strange bedroom. He responded by attempting to warn Steve off her. "Things might go back to the way they were before, and I'll make sure Fiona doesn't visit you next time" he is quoted as saying.
Gary and Jude organise laser strike
After too many early nights, Gary and Jude have decided to organise a night out with the boys and girls. All residents in the street are invited to a high tech laser strike shoot-out on Monday night
Steve (still no haircut) is in the Kabin, when Fiona comes in and tells him thankyou for finding out about the house, but Alan and her are not sure if they want to move just yet. Steve counters by saying "your fiancee is deranged! He warned me off you last night!" Fiona looks sulky.
Later, Steve tells the same story to Jim - his campaign to make Alan look like an evil policeman now firmly set in motion.
Gary Mallet finds Jack asleep in the street (pay attention because homelessness is the theme of this episode. EastEnders might be flogging their own horse with homophobia and bricks through windows, but CS have got "issues" of their own to deal with these days.) Gary takes Jack home with him and gives him breakfast - Jack explains that Vera threw him out.
Meanwhile, Vera - for some reason hiding her hair under that silly turban thing, gets Jim to change the locks on the doors of the Rovers. When Alec tries to get in, he finds he cannot - so he and Vera have a "shouting match", with 7 (count them!) shabbily-dressed extras watching in glee. Alec sees Jack and chases him into the Mallet's house, where the pair hatch a plan to use Judy as a decoy to get into the Rovers. Judy is having none of it, so Alec and Jack retire to Perthy's "Legion", where Perthy starts talking aimlessly about Trojan Horses. This gives Alec an idea and he runs off, talking about cellar-men. At this point I am afraid that this whole story-line has descended into the sorry realm of "caper".
Needless to say, Alec and Jack get back into the Rovers, disguised as cellar-men. There is a brief violent tussle with Vera, who collapses, vanquished. The humiliation is too much, and Vera retires to the backroom for the remainder of the episode, until right at the end, when she pulls herself together, puts on her poshest voice and enters the bar-area, telling Alec to go and have a lie down because she'll take over. Then she snaps at the nearest customer "Whaddya want?" in her loveliest of foghorn tones.
Des asks Emily if she will get the book back from Mavis' house, but Emily is too fascinated to do it right away, as she wants to know what the big secret is, so she waits until Des has gone away, and then has a good pour through the filth on her own (see - even the repressed characters are turning into perverts under Brian Park).
When she does manage to give it back (note the hair in the palms of her hand) she "joshes" Des by asking him to explain in detail the picture on page 42. Des is crushed, until her realises that Emily is joking.
But there are other, even less interesting storylines to follow, as the Mallets have organised this laser-quest evening, and Chris refuses to go as he thinks there is enough fighting in the world. Des sees this as a sign of weakness and taunts him (there's nothing like a jealous old queen, is there?) Finally, Angie tries to be feminine and seductive and says in her best little girl voice "Will you come, just for me?" which makes Chris relent for some reason, although the rest of us are now biting cushions in order not to vomit.
Thankfully we are spared the actual laser-quest bit, and now the young and trendy of CS are in some pub, and Chris and Angie want to go home, because the others are boring them rigid. Des is still digging at Chris - even though Chris actually won the game. As everyone leaves, a pathetic voice from a doorway cries "can you spare some change?", and behold - it is Judy and Gary's street girl! "Street Girl!" cries Judy. "What happened to Liam?" "He left me, and took all the money," says Street Girl, who stands up, and then suddenly collapses onto Judy. "Here's a tenner," says Judy, and the homelessness plot is now full circle. Have the Mallets become full-time members of "SHELTER"? Gary tells Judy she is "daft".
Glamour Tiara: It's all his own hair! Gary loses a wig and guess what, Emily Bishop gets to wear it instead! Gary and Emily are therefore joint winners.
Points out of 10: 7 - but only for Vera being violent and common.
Message: Some people are homeless. Take a minute to think about it, as they say on MTV every 4.5 seconds.
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and I can't wait to tell you what happened this week!
Maggie and I had planned a nice shopping trip to Harrods in London. She had been looking forward to it for weeks, and the big day finally arrived on Saturday.
She did her hair as usual before we set off, and used a new brand of mousse which was advertised as being free of all CFC gases and harmful chemicals, and not tested on animals. As she put it on, she said it smelled a bit unusual, but thought nothing more of it.
On the car/underground journey, I noticed the colour of her hair slowly changing. It was getting lighter and lighter. I could only guess that some ingredient in the new mousse had reacted adversely with the chicken vindaloo she had eaten the night before. It was astonishing. By the time we reached Harrods, her hair was pure white. Not unattractive, but very strikingly snow white! Being a somewhat determined shopper, and having looked forward to a visit to her favourite store, we pressed on regardless.
We were in the pet department, thinking quite seriously about a commitment to an iguana, when a man in full Arab dress approached me.
"Sir, I beg to speak with you on a matter of great urgency. I am the personal representative of his highness Prince Abdul ben Ramin. His highness has noticed the beautiful woman you have with you, and he greatly desires to purchase her from you. I am instructed to inquire of you; is she for sale?"
Seeing his gold rings and diamond-encrusted Rolex, I replied "Certainly!"
I must say, looking back, that I had noticed a small gaggle of Arab gentlemen following us around the store from department to department, albeit at a discreet distance. I had heard that they were often attracted to blond women, so Maggie must have caught the Prince's eye in a big way.
I won't go into the nature if the delicate negotiations which took place. Suffice to say, while Maggie was on the other side of the department, getting acquainted with an angora rabbit, the deal was struck. I was the new owner of a lavishly encrusted Rolex, and she was to be on the Prince's 7.00 pm flight back to Jeddah.
As the Prince's staff led her away to her 'new life' I managed to tell her to write when she could, and headed for Knightsbridge Tube Station.
I was rich. Seriously rich. On my wrist I felt the obscene weight of a very large amount of money. Probably £250,000 worth of Rolex watch, at a conservative estimate. I would sell it, no maybe I'd keep it. No, my first reaction was the right one; I would sell it, as I would be needing to hire a housekeeper.
At Waterloo station, I needed the Gents toilet. As I was, shall we say..vulnerable...a couple of young punks came from nowhere and I felt a blade pressed into my back. "Give us the Rolex and you won't get hurt." "It's a fake, a fake I tell you" I trembled.
"That's a chance we'll just 'ave to take...let's 'ave it...NOW!"
I was robbed. Mugged. Now I had no watch, no quarter of a million quid, and no wife of course.
I badly needed to make a call to my brother in law who works at Heathrow, to try to get her back, but I had no money at all. I decided to beg in order to get the change for the phone.
I sat on the ground, propped against the wall and tried to look suitably bedraggled. As the evening commuters hurried by I moaned "Wife taken by Arabs, Rolex stolen... wife taken by Arabs, Rolex stolen" After a few minutes, a woman dropped me 10 pence. Enough for a five minute call, after 6.00 pm! Excellent. The tide was turning my way at last.
I phoned my brother in law and explained I had sold Maggie to an Arab Prince and she was going to be on the 7.00 flight out of Heathrow. "She'll probably be a bloody sight better off wiv' them Arabs" he grumbled, but agreed to do what he could. "Be at Gate 17 about 6.45, an' keep yer eye out for 'er" he added.
I had to beg again for the cab fare to Heathrow.
"Wife taken by Arabs... Rolex stolen... brother in law a bastard..." I whined.
Having accumulated enough money to get me across London, I got to Heathrow, and sped to Gate 17. No sign of her. She had gone. In the morning she would be the helpless plaything of an Arab prince!
After pacing restlessly up and down, up and down, I drifted towards the sound of a muffled cry. Closer and closer I got to the source of the sound, but I still could not see her. Until suddenly I saw something which I will remember for as long as I live. Going sedately round and round on the baggage carousel was a small motionless woman in purdah, with tufts of pure white hair sticking out. All on her own, looking very dazed. Just her and a solitary red Samsonite case. It was quite the saddest thing I have ever seen in an international airport.
My brother in law had clearly bribed the baggage officials to smuggle her out of the Prince's flight.
I ran to her side and removed the black garb, and the sticky tape which had been placed across her mouth.
I was speechless. She was not.
"Oh it's lucky you've come, it's late night shopping at Harrods tonight. If we hurry, we'll just get back there in time for you to buy me that nice EXPENSIVE angora rabbit."
The woman was born to shop!
Here is the update:
Des comes down stairs to find the two love birds, Chris and Angie, canoodling. Chris is talking about taking her to a Mongolian barbecue. Des is offered to join them. He'll pass. He makes a derogatory remark about Chris's so-called 'war-hero' status. More of that later.
Having checked on the well-being of his pigeons, Jack has a little scene with Vera where she says she regards Alec as a fat cuckoo in the Duckworth nest. Jack reminds her there was no option but to sell half the business to him, and that they would not let him get his feet too far under the table, as it were. "We'll 'ave ter be on uz guard" he says, as Alec bounces into the room with a bit of a pep talk about all of them pulling together.
Percy is in the Kabin talking to Rita next, and I'm afraid I don't know what he said because I was distracted by the way he was saying it. In acting terms, the words oak, walnut, beech are too good. We're talking chipboard here I'm afraid! Even plywood would be too generous! I am told he was giving the new pub management a very short time to live, but oh! Percy, it's time to hang up the cloth cap, old mucker!
Des and Samantha happen to be in there at the same time. Des makes an attempt at reconciliation with her, but he's wasting his breath. Even Rita pitches in with advice to him not to bother.
Later in the pub he pleads with her to listen to him for just five minutes She grants him one. He tells her all the usual tosh about how much she means to him, and how he respcts her. Just as he's telling her she's a great girl, she announces his minute's up, and that's that.
Gary's angry with Judy for the way she gave the unfortunately pregnant Zoe a tenner the other night. He says she's a "tough little tramp", but heart-of-gold Judy says how she's only a kid. Soon enough when Gary's out cabling, there's a knock at the door, and guess who has come calling? Yes, Zoe is standing there with her sleeping bag on her back.
A sob story is provided and Judy invites her in. They talk about her life on the streets, living rough, with no medical attention and in various squats. By the time Gary comes home, she has had a shower and is starting to look quite at home in a borrowed dressing gown. The master of the house arrives from his hard day and is mightily cross to see her there. Zoe admits the tale about Gary hitting Liam was all a ruse, as he was in fact "clattered" by his brother over some drugs episode. There's a frank interchange of opinions, and the agreement is that she can stay one night and no more!
Alec arrives at the Kabin, bearing a pot plant for Rita. It is identified as a Peace Lily, and at first Rita is scornful, and describes it as a "poxy two quid pot plant". Eventually, King Rat wins her over by assuring her she wouldn't have relished the licenced trade, so she's best out of it. The scene finishes with them being pals once more.
Peace Lily... Peace Lily... I must remember that for the future. Only two quid, too!
Maud, having presumably agreed to remove her hat, is having her hair tended to in the salon when in comes Steve. He requests a trim, and Fiona agrees, so it's head back, and lots of lovely warm water, before you can say Laboratoire Garnier. Soppy Al arrives, holding a sheaf of papers from the Estate Agents. He's miffed to see the young McDonald getting the hands-on treatment, and he flounces out. Maud is watching this with her all-seeing eye, having drawn Fiona's attention to the inadvisability of having silicone breast implants. Somewhat bizarre really, when you think of it.
Later Fiona tells Al that a customer is a customer whoever it happens to be, and he appears to accept this. He is very interested to hear from Alec about how Steve treated his ex-wife Vicki, or was it Vicky? Who cares?
Alec plies Al with free drinks. Always sensible to keep on the best side of the local constabulary, thinks Alec. (That last statement has promoted me... at a stroke... to the status of the only updater who reports on what the characters are THINKING!)
Fiona and Al are about to repair to the flat for a meal. The Great Wine Question is asked. "White or.... red?" drools Al. With all the seductiveness she can muster, Fiona purrs back at him.... "red". Clearly, the writers are now in on the joke about the effect of red wine on Weatherfield Women.
At her request, Jim calls to see Fiona for what he would term "a wee chat". She continues to slice a cucumber as he hoists himself up to sit on the worktop! Is this not the most horribly unhygienic thing imaginable? Let's face it; builders' bum cleavage is now a known phenomenon. A no-go area! And here he is, parking said gluteus maximus right PLONK! on her kitchen worktop. UGH! The Worsfold stomach turned as I made a mental note never to eat a meal prepared by Fiona! Anyway, they discuss the way Soppy Al has been threatening Steve, and Jim offers to have a word with his errant son.
Alec, having been lording it over Jack, (by telling him to hustle a punter seated too long over an empty glass, and telling him how much float there should be in the till) tells Vera there's a little present for her out the back. She goes through to find a handsome pot plant. And my! it's another Peace Lily! Rita is there to see this horticultural token of goodwill change hands. "Job lot was it?" she asks the plant donor. Vera is thrilled with the gift.
Des quizzes Chris about his adventures in Rwanda, where he reportedly got shot in the leg. He's trying to catch him out in a lie, but Angie rallies to his assistance, not that he needs it, as he gives a very cool and level-headed answer. Nevertheless, Chris and Angie take this as their cue to leave, in quest of their planned Mongolian barbecue.
We return to the kitchen sink of Gary and Judy, where they are discussing their visitor, as they see to the dishes. For the first time, we hear Judy propose the plotline we ALL guessed simply yonks ago. ie they want a baby but can't have one, and here is Zoe who is having a baby and doesn't want one! The perfect symbiotic relationship! Gary pauses as though to give her suggestion due consideration then declares, "You're potty!"
We then move on to the end of the evening for the besotted bonksters Chris and Angie. (Is he really 6 foot 3?) Clearly Mongolian cuisine has done the trick for them, and they are snogging with redoubled vigour when Des comes in. He's still cut up about being given the old knock- back by Samantha, and he's feeling, shall we say, uncharitable. Seeing them there, exchanging saliva, he says "I've had enough...he's gotta go!"
That's yer lot - Good night and I love you all.
PS: The angora rabbit is fine, thank you for asking. She called him...ROLEX !
I have had a busy week, and was away on Friday night. My lovely husband, however, took it upon himself to cobble together an update. Therefore, this is a one time only special brought to you by Mike Mumford; I'm still permitted to actually type it in though! (Those of you at the pingfest next week can tell him how he compares to the other writers!)
Friday 27th June: Episode written by Mark Wadlow.
House: Judy sees Zoe and her unwanted baby as the answer to their prayers, but Gary is definitely not happy. 'The offspring of low-life Liam - who have you been praying to?'
House: Chris is talking about finding new digs. Angie says not to worry, she can twist Des around her little finger. Enter Des, and more my Dad's bigger than your Dad banter between the lads.
House: Gary sees Zoe as Social Services responsibility, while Judy thinks the answer is for them to have Zoe's baby. Gary wants him and Judy to keep trying for their own, but Judy can't see that happening. 'It's just so unfair Gary, it's so unfair.' 'It is, sweetheart; it is' Gary tenderly replies.
Pub: Jack enters to find a workman measuring up for a shelf for the bar, to store glasses to save having to bend down. Another pub is refurbishing and getting rid of it. Alec has arranged to buy it if it will fit. Vera remembers that there used to be one in Annie Walker's day. Jack is annoyed at Alec's arbitrary action and says there has to be a shareholders meeting to decide.
House: Zoe has entered. The baby is kicking. Judy feels it. Gary's displeasure is obvious.
Pub sitting room: Jack is finding a notebook so he can minute the meeting. he tries to explain to Vera it's nothing to do with the header shelf but 'showing him who's boss.' Alec enters and exclaims 'Ah, we have a quorum' Jack: 'We 'ave a what?'
Corner Shop: Maud is unhappy about them selling Fred Elliot's meat pies. Natalie is buying some tea, coffee and biscuits and Sally serves her. Maud observes 'You were watching her like a hawk. Have you got her down as a shoplifter?'
Pub sitting room: Entertaining by play between Alec and Jack. They put it to the vote. Jack is disgruntled when Vera votes with Alec - 'Well I think it's a champion idea.'
Bar: Natalie persuades Kevin to come round that evening. Kevin sees Sally enter and removes his hand from under Natalie's. 'Room for a third?' asks Sally. Natalie leaves and Sally asks if she was disturbing anything. 'No, just talking shop.' Sally has that pained expression (Well it gives me a pain). Alec is agreeing a price with the workman, knocks him down from £500 to 450 for cash, and then tells Vera it will be 500. Vera is happy enough. Jack has a go at Vera for '...siding with the enemy...You may as well get his name over the door now.' Alec comes up to Jack - 'We're running out of pork scratchings. Now will I order some more, or shall we convene another shareholders meeting?'
House: Angie tells Des 'Chris goes - I go' and so we have another disappointed customer! Adverts. Angie has a go at Des for his treatment of Chris. Des starts to reconsider his decision to evict Chris.
House: Judy's gone to work. Gary has rung Social Services to find somewhere for Zoe. He has arranged to take her to them that afternoon. Zoe says Judy had said she could stay, but male chauvinism rules ' It's not up to Judy, it's up to me. Anyway she's got enough on her plate looking after me and Scamper.' Gary gives Zoe a choice - Social Services or sleeping bag in the precinct.
Pub: Chris and Samantha discuss Chris' housing problem. Jim thinks Steve is mad for ignoring a 'drop dead gorgeous' girl at the house where they are working, who was chatting Steve up. He tells Jim that Fiona still fancies him and he is going to get her back. Jim tells Steve Fiona asked him to have a word to stop Steve hanging about. She's getting fed up with it. Jim reminds him they have a job to do as Steve goes off 'Stick your job!'
House: Gary gives Zoe some money and tells her to leave a thank you note for Judy and not to worry.
Shop: Maud tells Sally not to let Maureen know all Fred's pies have sold. 'Tell her someone found a toenail in one, and I made you sling the rest of them out.' Maud's taxi arrives as Bill enters. Sally explaining to Bill about her suspicions. She knows there's something happening, but her mind's playing tricks. She imagined she saw Natalie's hand on Kevin's in the pub at lunchtime. It is her worst nightmare. But as Bill says, 'I'm sure our Kevin's got more sense.' Sally agrees with a smile. Kevin enters and tells Sally he has to go to Oldham on a call out for a regular customer. He won't be back much before nine. Sally says she'll cook him a special meal for when he gets back.
House: Gary lies to Judy, pretending ignorance at Zoe's whereabouts. He eases Judy's fears about her safety. She admits that keeping Zoe's baby was a daft idea. Before they consider adoption Gary wants them to try anything and everything to have a baby of their own.
House: Chris enter saying he's got half a dozen places to look at. He is told that won't be necessary. Des says they can stay, providing there is no frolicking in the communal areas.
Pub: Steve comes in to Jim at the bar. Steve's job is safe as Jim told Bill he was at the probation officer's in the afternoon. Steve says it's a pity the job was finished as he won't be able to ask that girl out now. Fiona and Alan enter, Fiona saying what a special man Alan is, as she's taken him round every clothes shop in Manchester and he still wants to marry her. The camera focuses on Steve who can't seem to decide on an expression.
Shop: Chris puts his foot in it with Sally by saying Kevin's on a local call. Sally: 'He said he was going to Oldham - he wouldn't be back till 9 o'clock.' Chris: Well maybe the call came afterwards, and he didn't tell me' S: 'Or maybe he lied to me and he's going somewhere after Kitchener Street, and he doesn't want me to know where' C: 'Sally, look, there's probably a perfectly simple explanation for this.' S: 'I'm sure there is, and I think we both know what it is.' Sally closes the shop. Credits.
That's all from Mike, back to me next week, Helen
This is Talk Radio Weatherfield and I am Barbara Good, your personal shoulder to lean on. Call me now with your problems and I can help you. Talk Radio Weatherfield, serving the community.
And our first caller tonight calls herself "Webby Salster". Are you there Webby?
"Oh Barbara, I don't know what to do. I found out today that Kev, my husband is having an affair with another woman.".
I find that hard to believe Webby. Kevs are usually renowned for their virtue and the boring state of their social lives. Are you sure he is a British Standard Kev?
"I found it hard to believe at first, but it's true, it's all true".
Calm down Webby and tell me what has happened.
"I always trusted him. I tried to believe that there was nothing in it, although I had seen her holding Kev's hand. And then he said he had to take the tow truck out to Oldham on a call. At first I thought nothing of it, but later on his workmate, Chris, told me a different story and I knew, I just knew, he was with ... her.
"I tried to call her number, but there was no reply, only her answering machine. I had to find out. I rushed out to the car - fortunately Dierdre was passing and agreed to look after our two girls for an hour or two. I didn't want them to know what is going on. When I got to her place I saw the tow truck parked outside. I felt sick, just sick, like being kicked in the stomach. And so angry I could just scream.
"'Kev, Kev' I yelled and banged on her door. And you know, when she opened it and I saw him there, tucking his shirt back in, he had the gall to say to me 'I can explain'. Can he explain how I saw him standing beside her at the upstairs window with his shirt off? Can he really explain that? Adding insult to injury, that is all it was.
"I didn't even say anything to him, I just hit him and left. Well actually I hit him several times. If I hadn't done something, I'd have burst.
The evidence sounds fairly conclusive Webby. Did he follow you home after that?
"Yes he did. And he even had the cheek to say it was all my fault. That I had left him alone and neglected him. That I had made him feel guilty, that I had treated him badly. That I had made him lonely. He said that it was all MY fault. In the end he left. I don't care any more.
"And another thing; my friends knew. Bill and Rita, they both knew. That is why they wanted me to come home from Scarborough. They knew all the time and never said a word. Only yesterday Bill was telling me that I was imagining things. And I was, I was imagining Kev was my husband. I never want to speak to them again, I never want to speak to anyone again."
Well Webby, my advice to you is to go out and buy yourself a curry. Get a pack of lagers and an Arnold Swarzenegger video. Bring it all home and pig out in front of the TV. There is not much else you can do in situations like this. And brace yourself, dear. Something tells me this whole business is going to drag on for quite some time.
My next caller calls herself "Friz McDoughnut". Are you there Friz?
"Yes Barbara, and my problem is that people take advantage of my good nature. They take me for granted.
"Just today, for instance, Dierdre and I were going to the movies and then she says she can't go because she's got to look after Sally Webster's two girls. They are having a family crisis or something. But, I mean to say, why should I let my whole day be ruined? She never helped me when I needed it.
"When I was being held at gunpoint in me own house, well my ex-house I suppose, did Sally come around, storm into the room, tear the shotgun away from Jerry, give him a thorough beating and save us all? No she didn't! She didn't help me at all. So why should I look after her two children for an afternoon?"
Friz, I can help you with this. Just make the sound 'Nnnn', as in 'knickers'.
Great. Now, make the noise 'owe' as in 'clothes'.
Alright Friz. Put the two sounds together and you have 'No'.
Well done Friz. All you have to do is use that word whenever people speak to you. I am sure you will find that they stop asking you to do things.
"Great, thanks Barbara. 'Nurrr, nurrr, nurrr' I like it. I'll use it all the time".
My final caller calls herself "Dreary Neckid". Hello Dreary.
"Hello Barbara. My question is this; today I wanted to go to the movies and the only person who wanted to go with me is Liz McDonald. Is my social life stunted?"
Stunted? Sounds more like it's dead Dreary. Unless you get into bed with a few more people soon, I think you may have to leave the street.
And that is all for today. Take care of yourselves and I'll see you all next Sunday.
Mike drops Alma off at Firman's freezers so that she can have another day of honest living. Soon, decked out in those retro glam overalls, she is working on the till (having been moved up for good behaviour). But suddenly, like the evil godmother that she is, Audreh appears (with her *familiar* - spooky Sarah Lou). "Sah! Tha ramours are trueh!" cries Audreh. "Almah! Worrarr yar doing here?" Alma replies that she likes to work. Audreh tells her that she loves being a ladeh of leisureh, and she's so lucky that Alfeh likes her to do nothing except spend his moneh.
Later, Almah is rewarded for her patience, when Mr Firman (who perhaps has a crush on her), sidles over and tells her that she is doing very well (I agree, she manages to conduct this scene, remember her lines, and continue to run items of food over the sensor without getting all mixed up, which is more than I can say for Fred Elliot who doesn't seem able to hold a golf club and speak articulately at the same time - see below). "It's more money for you Alma," Firman tells her. Alma glows with pride.
For those of you who do not like "caper" stories then I suggest you skip to the paragraph on Kevin et al below, and wallow in the drama therein. For those of you who like hammy acting, Home and Away style storylines and fluff - then read on. You will not be disappointed.
Fred takes Ashley to the golf courrrse to teach him how to play golf. By co-incidence, Mike is also teaching Curly for some reason - I know, it's starting to sound like a bad dream. Fred suggests a "foursome", and things just start to get completely smutty and sex-ridden from that point on. Mike agrees and then everyone starts arguing about their prowess. Mike claims he is 18 (yeah right), so Fred does the same. "But you said you was 24!" interjects Ashley. "Ne'er you mind," Fred blusters. "Steward! We need some lubrication over here!" Indeed - how else would they manage a foursome. Ashley looks (understandably) worried.
The game, which is being played for £50, begins. And goes on and on. Fred cheats. Ashley tells him off. Fred says he is being tactical or something. I lost all interest. It is very close, but Curly scores a hattrick, or a bullseye or something, and then Fred misses. Mike and Curly win. Fred is so furious that he gives a camp little shriek and throws his golf club into the bushes in a temper. The others all leave him to writhe in petulance.
Later, Fred is looking for his golf club, and complaining about cheats and how people let him down etc. He finds it, and then reaches down to get it. Suddenly, we see a man who is about 6 stone lighter than Fred, but is dressed in his clothes, rolling down the side of the hill. It is comic, but for all the wrong reasons. Then, it is Fred again. "Ohhhh!" he squeals. "I can't get up."
Several hours, or possibly days (it *is* like a bad dream) later, Maureen staggers into Drear's house, for some reason and complains that Fred stood her up on their date and that she's not going to put up with it. Cut back to Fred, still lying on the golf course, squeaking with pain, as night draws in.
Kevin is working at the garage, having spent the night with Nastily Horrid. Sally is pacing round her house, feeling badly-done-to. Drear - sensing that the only way she's going to be in this episode at all is to fall back on her usual trick and be the "concerned neighbour" calls to see her and fills her with empty platitudes. Sally has had enough. When Kevin goes back to Nastily's, Sally packs the children's clothes into the car and drives to Chez Nasty. "Say goodbye to Rursie and Surphie" she tells him. "We're going to Scarbourough forever." Kevin is too stunned to do anything, but it puts him in bad mood.
Nasily tries to cheer him up by offering him a beer, but Kevin looks sulky, and decides to follow Sally in his van. Nastily, vanquished for the moment, is left alone and so she punches the side of her door, showing just how aggressive and masculine she really is.
Meanwhile, Kevin's little van speeds towards Scarbourough, Kevin's face lit up from inside, just the way that it doesn't happen in real life. Credits.
Points: 9 - not only was there a scene with "lubrication" and "foursome" mentioned, but we also had the stunt Fred falling down the hill, and Kevin's punishment. Ha!
Glamour: Ashley's hair looks like a colony of maggots is nesting on it at the moment. But compared to Kevin and his 19th century villian eyebrows - he is a *treat* to look at. If someone doesn't take a pair of tweezers to those black furry caterpillars soon, it will be too late. I know he's supposed to be evil at the moment - but really - it's too much.
Message - DON'T CHEAT KIDS. Fred Elliot cheated and he ended up flat on his back on a golf course for the night. Kevin cheated, and his whole family ended up driving to Scarborough. Beware. It could be you.
The Crappest Cadbury Interlude To Date: The people who make the little chocolate characters must be getting bored of it all - as the one at the beginning was the worst ever. It was just this: a chocolate cat knocks over a chocolate bottle of milk. Hello? What was that about?