Wednesday 2 July

A THOUSAND GREETINGS and friends, hasn't it been an historic week? The main event which had dominated our TV and radio news broadcasts, and has been exhaustively covered by all the newspapers has been the ceremonial handing over of Weatherfield, back to the fans!

This highly enterprising, vibrant and prosperous colony, which has been under Granada control and administration since the Hotpot Wars of the 19th century, finally returned to its rightful owners.

Yes, Granada's reign of 156 years came to an end this week. The agreed period of sovereignty, the lease if you will, ran out at midnight on Monday, amid great celebrations, but not without some doubts and trepidation on the part of the Weatherfield inhabitants.

But the viewers have received solemn promises that the show will continue to prosper, and everyone is looking towards the future.

Heads of state from nearly all the countries in the civilised world, along with rock stars and movie stars were in Weatherfield for the biggest party of the decade, second only to the forthcoming Millenium celebrations.

On the canal at the famous Weatherfield Quays, we witnessed live on our TV screens, the most expensive firework display in history, when a giant mock-up of Don Brennan's taxi became a moving tableau of coloured rockets and elaborate pyrotechnics, which lit up the skies. The skies were filled with coloured lights which could be seen from mainland Manchester.

With tears in his eyes, the 28th Governor of Weatherfield, Brian Park, accompanied by his wife Honeysuckle, finally relinquished his office to the fans. In front of a guard of honour, he vacated his office at Granada, whereupon he was driven round the car park three times, to the familiar theme tune of Coronation Street, which was played by the ceremonial bandsmen. This is an old tradition which is meant to signify that he will return. But the watching world knew this time he would not.

At the Governor's Residence, an onlooker in the crowd, a long standing viewer who gave his name as Chris Packet, commented, "Aye lad, 'tis the end of an era tha' knows, I say the end of an era!"

For several days beforehand, fans had been massing, just over the border, ready to ride triumphantly into Weatherfield in a show of strength, only a few short hours after the departure of Mr Park.

The new general administrator of Weatherfield has been appointed by the fans. He is the man charged with taking the colony into the 21st century. He is Chung lu Plowman, and I telephoned him at the Governors' Residence, as he was settling into his new office, and getting to grips with his weighty responsibilities. Here is what he told me:

"Ah, honourlable update flend! A THOUSAND GLEETINGS! Confuscious say Colonation Stleet stolylines are load of borrocks now. Too much lumpy- pumpy... upset loyal viewers. Now fans have got lid of evil Parky from Glanada, and Weatherfield is back in hands of fans! I take stleet into next genelation, and maybe open take-away hotpot lestaurant for people on Studio Tour! What size sweatshirt you take?"

I'd say with Chung lu Plowman in charge, the future of Weatherfield looks assured!

Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 2.7.97:

It is also the update which marks the end of the pre-Battersby era. The much-publicised Family from Hell will be appearing for the first time on Friday. Helen Johns will have the pleasure of describing their entrance into street life.

We start tonight very much as we left off on Monday, with the luckless golfer Fred Elliott still flat on his back, hard against the tree stump where he came to grief and broke something in the last episode. As he feebly calls for help, and offers God, or whoever might be listening, that he will live a better life, even go to church, a black labrador comes to take a look at him.

"Come away from that nasty man" says its rather frumpy woman owner, as she beats a hasty retreat from the supine meatmonger. Despite appearances to the contrary, she obviously contacts the emergency services, as the next we see is Fred being carted away on a rather super wheeled stretcher. Fred is thanking the dog owner with all his heart. She wonders aloud if he might have escaped from somewhere!

Next we see Kev, seated in his works van, at the very edge of a cliff. "Don't do it" yell all the male viewers. "Drive you bas***d" yell all the female ones.

Cut to Sally's mother's house.

She appears to have made a wonderful recovery from the stroke which kept Sally there nursing her for such an extended period lately. She asks Sally if Kevin has gone OTS with another woman before, but Sally just gets all weepy again, hurrying out the front door to hide her tears from the girls.

Alma breezes into her new place of employment; Firman's, to be greeted by a large poster showing a smiling image of herself, and the banner heading Employee of the Month. She realises it's an enlargement of her security photograph, but she's not pleased to be on public display to that extent. Curly tells her it was Mr Firman's idea. He thinks she's the best thing since frozen chips, and coming from Baron de Congelateur, that's quite a compliment!

Eric takes the opportunity to tell her how attractive she is. She is a fine looking woman, and he hints at getting a photographer in to do a proper photo session with her. He sees her as a future Friendly Face of Firmans. She looks dumbstruck. Ken is there at the checkout and they spot Jon the Pilot buying a bottle of cognac. More of that anon.

A very cross-looking Maureen presents herself at the butchers' shop, looking for Fred. Also looking for an explanation as to why she was stood up in the restaurant the previous night. Ashley says he's not there, which initially she refuses to believe. Behind her is a poster about SYMMETICS, offering a means to FLATTEN YOUR TUMMY. Now, amongst all my many physical shortcomings, malformations and defects of every kind known to medical science, I do have a very flat tummy, otherwise I would have freeze-framed the recording and tried to read the contact phone number. If you ever meet me, demand to see my flat tummy, and I will immediately comply with your request, as I have nothing to hide in that department!

Anyway, Ashley tells her about the golfing financial setback, and Fred's vow to have a few drinks. He tells her that it's not unknown for him to go on a bender, and disappear for up to three days at a time. Maureen starts to think her mother was right about him all along.

Jon appears at Deirdre's place, with a carrier bag marked Duty Free. He's been to Switzerland, and he's brought back a bottle of cognac to share. But we know he bought it at Firmans, don't we children?

I didn't realise you could get frozen cognac, but I don't get out much, and when I do, it's mostly to the wool shop. I'm knitting a taupe cardy at the moment. It's double-knit which I don't mind, but there's a lot of cable-knit down the sides, and I've been having such bother with the little flower details round the button holes. There's a mate of mine, George, down the pub, reckons it shouldn't be too much trouble if I drop down a size in needle. If I'm still having bother next week, he's offered to do the button holes on his machine for me.

We were in the Frog and Tanktop the other week, and I said " 'ere George, what's that sticking up in your pocket like that?" Quick as you like, he whipped it out and popped it on the bar top. It was a ball of the most gorgeous man-made wool you've ever seen. They're doing such bold things with colour on the man-mades these days. I can't describe it, but to say it was sort of deep camel, almost towards anthracite. "Make a blindin' two-piece for our Thelma" said George. He knits with love in every purl, that man.

Maxine and Ashley have taken full advantage of Fred's house being unoccupied, and they are round there know.....thingy. I don't like to say it. With the head of a long-dead fox sticking through the wall behind her, she sends Ashley round to the Off-Licence to get a bottle of wine, on the promise of performing an erotic and sensual dance on his return. He doesn't need telling twice, and sets off. Fred gets home before he does, thanks to the paramedics who are delivering him to his door. His right leg is now in plaster and he's walking with two crutches.

Ashley tries in vain to prevent him gaining access to the house, as Fred's talking about his "near-death" experience. When he opens the door, we see Maxine in a state of total undress, well into her alluring little dance-of-the-one veil routine. She turns around in shocked amazement to see Fred and Ashley standing there agog. Fred remarks that it has done wonders for his will to live!

Then we're back to Scarborough!

Kev has spent all of 3.99 on a scrawny bunch of flowers, and pushes his way in to talk to Sally. Her mother takes the girls out, to give her daughter and son-in-law a chance to try to patch things up. Mum thinks Sally might have been too hasty by half. But despite his pleas and copious apologies, she's not having any of it, and sends him off with a flea in his ear.

She mentions how her mother suffered violence at her father's hand, and she has no intention of giving Kevin such repeated second chances. He takes his poxy flowers with him, which he dumps in a rubbish bin. As he leaves in the van, Rosie tries to follow. She runs round the corner, out of sight of the house, shouting for him to stop. Unaware, he heads for home.

When they discover Rosie is missing, Sally thinks Kevin has abducted her, so she phones him on his mobile. He pulls over before he answers it, (oh yeah...sure...) No, he hasn't got her. He immediately turns the van round and takes the A64, back to Scarborough. "I'll be right with you" he says.

That's yer lot....bring on the Battersbys!

Good night and I love you all.


Friday 4 July

Hi everyone, apologies for the lateness of this update, but I was in Manchester - or should I say Weatherfield - at the weekend, for the Contress. Had a really good time, and have just come back to work this morning. So on with the update.

Friday 4th July

House: Kevin arrives back at his mother-in-law's, shouting at everyone. Sally is in the front room with a female police officer, giving a description of Rosie.

House: Maxine, now fully clothed, descends the rather grand staircase in Fred's house. She feels humiliated, and is certain that Fred will tell everyone that he saw her naked.

House: The WPC establishes that Rosie may have run off, upset due to Kevin and Sally arguing. He wants to go out and look for her, but they are advised to stay there and wait for news. Kevin tries to apologise to Sally and comfort her but she is far too angry.

House: Ashley apologises to Fred, who is very calm; his brush with death has made him appreciate that there is no-one there for him. Ashley makes Fred promise not to go round telling everyone about Maxine. Fred wants Ashley to get Maureen to visit him.

House: The tension of waiting gets to Sally and Kevin. They go out to look for Rosie.

Freezer Shop: Curly looks overawed as Eric expounds his grand plan to have Alma as the spearhead of his advertising campaign - eventually on local TV! Eric wants Curly to speak to Alma first, to try to persuade her to participate.

House: Maureen has come to visit Fred, who is prone on the sofa. She presents him with a bunch of grapes (only a week old!). As Fred begins to bemoan his selfish life, Maureen looks apprehensive. He says there is no-one who cares about him except Ashley. (They say that those who listen at keyholes never hear good about themselves, and from this point onwards Ashley is outside the room, tea tray in hand.) Fred says he feels sorry for Ashley, and used to think he was not all there! He then tells the astonished Maureen that he is going to alter his will and leave everything to her. Ashley, still outside the door, looks gobsmacked!

Scarborough: Sally and Kevin scour the cliffs. Sally is convinced that Rosie is dead. They hug; Kevin reassures Sally. More her blaming him for ruining everything. 'I've been so thick' says Kevin, and begs her to let things go back to how they were. His mobile phone rings.....

Freezer Shop: Two teenage girls are shopping - and stealing goods. Take note of this pair - they will feature heavily in days to come! One produces a marker pen and draws on the big poster of Alma. Meanwhile, Curly explains Eric's plans to the real life Alma - who is far from impressed at the prospect of her face plastered on bus shelters. She manages to hold this conversation whilst scanning goods, accepting money and giving change (good job the customer didn't want a receipt, 'cos they didn't get one!) The two teenagers pass through Alma's till as Curly sees the defaced poster.

Beach: Rosie has been found by a coastguard who looks after her until Kevin and Sally arrive. Hugs all round. The man has a quiet word with Kevin - Rosie mentioned there was trouble at home. Kevin promises Rosie that they are all going home together and there will be no more rows.

Street: Ken smugly has a go at Deirdre because he saw Jon in Firman's, buying a bottle of brandy - how common! She says Ken was mistaken, as Jon was flying home from Zurich at that time. Around the corner come the two shoplifters, with their trolley, pinching a bunch of flowers from Maureen's shop on their way.

Flat: Deirdre tackles Jon about the brandy. He admits it and blames a change in schedules. She tells him she is uneasy about being lied to.

Street: The shoplifters wait outside No5 where they are soon joined by their parents, Les and Janice Battersby, who drive up in a clapped out Cortina pulling a trailer piled high with furniture. One of the girls steals a drill from Bill's van, standing open outside Jim's house. Janice introduces Toyah, Leanne and Les to Mike Baldwin who happens to pass by. Mike is amused as Ken sees who his new neighbours are to be - he evidently has come across the girls before. Bill asks Les about the missing stuff. Les knows but denies it - then gets Bill to help them unload their furniture.

House: After a family tea, Granny takes Rosie and Sophie upstairs, leaving Sally to have another argument with Kevin. She is furious about Kevin's promises to Rosie. He wants to stay together for the sake of the children, but Sally informs him that there is no chance of that.

Credits, over a nice shot of the beach at Scarborough. Writer : Sally Wainwright


Sunday 6 July

Here is the news for Sunday 7th of July, and this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it. In tonight's main headlines:
Kev sinks deeper into despair, despite the best efforts of his friends
Also we reveal how:

The Battersbys batter resident's eardrums
Fred regrets his hasty promises to Maureen
Ashley saves Maxine from Steve
Des passes on his sympathy to Mavis

Kev sinks deeper into despair, despite the best efforts of his friends
His hopes dashed that finding Rosie might help Sally to forgive him, Kev has sunk deeper into a well of self pity according to sources on the street today. He appears even to have lost all interest in working himself to death. This human interest story is brought to you by your roving reporter Tom Good. Are you there Tom?

Yes, thank you very much Jerry. I am standing outside the garage talking to Chris, who is here on his own today. Chris, where's the boss?

"Do you mean 'er or Kev? They've both been here at various times, but didn't stay long. Kev's been funny all day. I've never known him not to open on a Saturday, if he's been 'round, but this morning he wasn't even ready to start. I had to open up and all.

"He did come over and threaten one or two engines with the sight of a spanner, but his heart wasn't really in it. About dinner time he just disappeared off home."

And you say that Natalie has been in also?

"Oh yeah, but she didn't stay long either. She was sniffing after Kev. Was he back from Scarborough? Where is he? I told her that it was none of my business.

"I'll tell you one thing though. Unless he snaps out of it soon, he's going to lose his business as well as his family. Of course, it's his fault if he does, but it's my job too."

Thank you very much Chris. Now I'm entering 'The Kabin' to speak to Rita. Rita, I understand you have been over to try to help Kev this morning.

"Nothing of the sort Tom. I told him that if he was fool enough to throw away a beautiful wife and two lovely girls for a pile of dog's vomit like Nasty, then he deserves everything he's got coming to him".

Hmm, possibly not the kind of sympathetic support Kev was expecting.

"No, but he's brought it on himself. He had his chance to break away, but he was fool enough not to take it. I'm sorry, but at the moment, I have no sympathy for that man. Sally is better off without him. I told him so and all".

Well, thank you Rita. Now Bill, I believe you have also been over to try to cheer Kev up.

"Cheer him up Tom? There's only one thing that can do that, but I don't think it's likely. Yeah, I went over and asked him out for a drink, but he's not in the mood. He reckons Sally is not answering his phone calls. Can't say I blame her. Now he wants me to talk to her about it. Yeah right.

"Kev says he's sorry, but what is he sorry about eh? He's sorry he got caught at it. He's sorry he's left all alone. But is he sorry he got involved in the first place? No. If he hadn't been found out, he'd still be at it.

"I can't see the point in me contacting Sally and telling her how cut up Kev is. She already knows that. Seems to me that she is not doing this to punish him. She just can't stand him at the moment. And nothing I can say is going to change that.

"Still I suppose it can't make matters worse if I try to have a word with her".

Thank you very much Bill. Now back to Jerry in the studio.

Four minor news stories to close:

The Battersbys batter resident's eardrums
The street's newest residents made their presence felt and heard today. From early morning to late evening the sound of loud music has disturbed the usual Saturday quiet. In addition, the two girls have begun to intimidate Mavis over her earlier refusal to sell them cigarettes in 'The Kabin'. Later, Percy had his library book snatched and hurled onto the road as he tried to turn the girls' radio down. Challenged over this behaviour, Janice has been quoted as saying "They are no worse than others their age".

Fred regrets his hasty promises to Maureen
Fred revealed to Ashley today that he is in a difficult situation. He has no intention of leaving Maureen anything in his will, despite his previous promise.

Ashley saves Maxine from Steve
Ashley proved to be Maxine's knight in shining armour as he provided the excuse Maxine needed to get away from Steve. He had cornered her in 'The Rovers' hoping to show her his latest eyeball rolling technique.

Des passes on his sympathy to Mavis
Sporting the very latest untucked shirt look, Des dropped in to 'The Kabin' today to pass his condolences to Mavis over the untimely death of Derek.


Monday 7 July

"Neverr, neverr, neverr....neverrr": Sally tells Bill exactly when she's going to stop over-pronouncing her "r" sounds.

Roy/The Common Family/Percy/Emily

With 4 new characters to abuse, I just don't know where to begin. But let's start with that early morning scene, which reminds me of those exercises in "family conflict" that we had to write in our English classes at comprehensive school. Like slime, the Battersbys are clinging all over Don's house. Some of them are hanging out of the upstairs window listening to loud music, some others are standing on the doorstep with their arms folded; a couple have even spilled out onto the street, and are conducting a row which even by the banal standards of CS is stunningly mundane. "Get to school" shrieks Janice at one of her children. "Find a job!" she squeals at another. One of the Battering-rams drops a rotten apple out of an upstairs window, which is eagerly retrieved for examination by Emily Bishop - probably the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her since she married a bigamist in the early 80s.

Later, Father Battery-Hen drags himself into Roy's shop, not to buy food, but to sell his drill to Roy. Now, normally, Roy would not be trusting, and would end up coming off best in this situation, but before you can say "Double Glazed" he has paid £50 for the drill, and is playing with it like a new toy. "It brings tears to my eyes," says Les, with the poorest delivery *ever* in CS, as he exits. Gail does not look impressed, and she does that camel-like snort of disapproval.

In the Rovers, Emily and Percy are dissing the new family - and Percy is saying what everyone else is thinking - although with the glint on his spectacles, he looks more like a neo-Nazi than ever. "Boys outside at all hours," he complains. "But Mr Sugden," sneers Emily. "The Batteries are girls". "With girls like that there's bound to be boys," says Percy, sounding exactly like Sissy Spacek's insane mother in the film "Carrie".


Kevin dispatches Bill to Scarbourgh (that family should be made to pay extra road tax for upkeep of that motorway) to "talk sense" into Sally.

When Bill arrives, Sally and her mother cower behind the curtains, until Sally lets him in. "Come back to Wetherfield Sal," says Bill. "Neverrr!" Sally says (4 times). "Tell Kevin it's over."

Meanwhile, Nastily has wormed her way over to the garage and wants to know why Kevin is ignoring her. "It's over," echoes Kevin (for the 500th time). But this time he probably means it. Kevin slinks off, leaving Nastily to furrow her (huge) brows at the camera.

Later, Nastily decides to go shopping, which entails first popping into the Kabin. But she has not prepared for the Wrath of the Big Red Wig. "Get out of my shop ladeh," says Rita sternly. "About 20 episodes ago I came to see you, and I *begged* you to leave the Websters alone. But you laughed at me. I don't have to serve you." "Have you never done anything you regretted?" asks Nastily (pause for a few seconds while we all think about Len Fairclough). "Plenty!" Rita scowls. "And I feel ashamed about it. Do you?" Touche. With that, Nastily is thrown out onto the streets, where she takes refuge in the cafe, where capitalist Gail will serve anyone, despite their crimes against humanity and the Websters.

But instead of finding a friendly face, that arch-ghoul Audreh plops herself down next to Nastily and starts talking about how reliable Kevin is: "except for the present business". Realising that she is the most despised person in the world, Nastily flees Coronation Street (hopefully for good).


Fred visits Maureen to tell her that he is changing his will, to leave the business to Ashley. He then tries to get Maureen to marry him again, but Maureen brushes him off lightly.

Ashley visits Maxine to cancel their evening date because he has to go to a butcher's conference or something with "uncle" Fred. Maxine is furious at first, but then learns about Fred's will-change. The greedy madam sees pound signs, and literally rubs her hands together in glee.

Later, Steve comes across the road to visit Fiona, who is convieniently not in this episode, having gone on a hair-dressing course (about time). So instead of trying to seduce Fiona, Steve decides to stick around and question Maxine about Alan. The pair end up upstairs with a bottle of wine. "Alan thinks I'm stupid," Maxine complains. "That's because you're beautiful," Steve tells her (!!) Then, there is the most contrived scene ever, as Steve starts rummaging around Alan's possessions, and tries on a pair of Alan's boxing gloves, and starts pretending to throw punches (give him a few more minutes and he'd be slipping on one of Alan's old jockstraps no doubt). After this, he tries to take off the gloves, which requires Maxine's help of course, and levels of silliness are raised even further, as everyone knows that if you help someone take off boxing gloves you have to start kissing them right afterwards.

"Let's move to the couch to continue this," Steve suggests, but Maxine realises that if she marries Steve, she will lose Ashely and the possiblity of her own butcher's shop, so she recants. "You're a tease!" Steve tells her. "You're just as bad," Maxine blubs. "You don't want me, you're just horny" (yes, this is before the 9 o'clock watershed). "Get out!" Steve leaves, "Don't tell Ashlehhhh" wails Maxine, snot dripping all over her face. Credits


Marks out of 10: 9 - I loved Rita giving Nastily what for, and the scene between scheming airheads Steve and Maxine was also funny (for all the wrong reasons).

Anti-glamour Tiara: The Batteries win it (joint award). I'm convinced that none of them wash, and as a result they all smell.

Paul Baker

Wednesday 9 July

A THOUSAND GREETINGS and this evening I am in a position to offer you a different perspective on the Wednesday 9 July 97 episode of Coronation Street.

Some of you may be aware that we have ardent street-fan Darlene Wakely, from Ottawa, staying with us for a few days. She is over here for her maiden visit to the UK, and in particular to attend last weekend's International Contress at the Granada Studios, Manchester.

I told her about the good side of doing these updates, about the prestige and the responsibility and that stuff, and what do you know....she's prepared to give it a crack, thereby giving me a night off! What a trooper!

Having spent a few days in her company, I am starting to wonder if it was such a great idea, for she has clearly emerged as a person of considerable intelligence and ability, and I have every reason to fear that she will expose my weekly ramblings for the humble gibberish they are!

She will accomplish this feat, if nothing else, by the brilliant device of sticking to the facts....perish the thought! Also by steadfastly refusing to make things up if the action on the screen falls short of expectation!

Normal service will be resumed this time next week, whatever 'normal' means where I am concerned!

So, over to your guest update writer for this evening....Darlene Wakely.

Thank you Nigel, and I just hope you fellow fans are not too disappointed at having a stand-in this week. This is quite an honour, believe me. Well, here goes...

The programme opens in the Salon with Mavis booking a hair appointment with Maxine. Ashley arrives with a nice bouquet for Max by way of apologising for spending last evening with Uncle Foghorn, I mean Fred, instead of her. She's quite pleased but her smile fades abruptly when Ashley asks how she spent the evening. She lies, as we figured she would, and says she just watched a bit of telly and did other boring stuff. She's plenty relieved when Ashley seems to believe this, and they make a date for later at the Rovers. Dodged the first bullet, eh Max?

We move on to Kevin trying to talk Bill into having another go at convincing Sally to come home, but Bill says it's a lost cause and refuses. Kevin gives us a trademark pout and that's that.

Meanwhile at the Caff, Roy is caressing his new drill causing Gail to ask if he really needs one that big. (Oh my!) Seated at a nearby table, Emily and Percy are discussing the Battersbys and the resultant noise pollution. They are all complaining of headaches caused by the Battersby Boom Box except Roy who mentions something about Noise Abatement. (I don't know what this means, so I hope you do.) I guess Percy has had the biscuit with it because he's actually prepared to resort to violence to get the noise stopped!

Now over to the salon where Maxine is doing Mave's hair. In slouches Leanne who after making the usual sarcastic remarks, asks if there is a job going. She does not take it well when Maxine says no and tells her that you need to have a certificate anyway. Then bottom-feeder Steve arrives and tries to make a date with Maxine. She is very edgy the whole time he's there and wisely puts him off.

A small diversion to the Rovers where Les Battersby tries to flog a pile of Toby jugs to Gary. No? Then how about a lawnmower? Well, it's no sale, and it's apparent Les is not one of those guys who could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. Meanwhile at the bar, Leanne calls Alec a Miserable Old Git for refusing to serve her a drink with a bit of kick to it. Finishing School was wasted on you, wasn't it girl?

Now for the longest scene of Part One. I was really glad I scarfed an Air Sickness Bag from Canada 3000 for this occasion, let me tell you. Nastily arrives at the garage looking like something the cat dragged in. I mean it; - it looked as though something had been making a nest in her hair! Anyway, after she asks Chris about Kevin, and so on, she goes into this big melancholy serenade about how she never meant to break up the marriage and all that baloney. How none of it was planned, and how she never expected to fall in love with Kevin, yada, yada, yada. Just to make sure Chris got the drift of it, she conjures up a tear, and repeats the whole turgid dialogue! She finishes off by saying that she can't bear to be a partner in the business now that she and Kevin are finished. She would like to sell Kev her half of the partnership and would Chris please pass this message along.

We move across the road to the McDonald's where Jim and Liz and a bottle of bubbly await the arrival of Andy with his exam results. I have to interject here; - just when one thinks Liz's appearance can't be any more outlandish, she tops herself. What a sight! Uh, Liz, Bozo The Clown is going to be very cheesed off when he finds out you wore his favourite fright wig with that skin-tight bordello dress. Although she'd toned down the glow-in-the-dark cosmetics, she still looked like she'd been pulled through a knot-hole. Anyway, Steve and Andy arrive and the Moment of Truth is here. After a bit of anticipation, Andy says he "got a Desmond". I thought that meant a 'D' as in 'you blew it', but Desmond, as in Tutu equals 2.2 which equals Andy graduates! They then pop the cork and toast the lad.

On the not so Happy Families set, Kevin phones Sally and although she's not at all pleased to here from him, she informs him that she and the girls will return to Weatherfield that evening.

Over at Firman's we are treated to the professional posters of Alma sporting the slogan 'You get a warm welcome at Firman's'. Curly happens along and Alma voices her concerns about the ad campaign. She's not happy that some of the other girls may think she's been playing up to the boss.

Toyah and Leanne visit the Corner Shop and create a bit of unpleasantness trying to buy a packet of cigarettes. Maude and Maureen try to stand up to them, but I'm afraid the Terror Twins win this round. Next, they make Ken very uncomfortable when they ask him to help Toyah with her homework.

Bill drops in on Kevin at home and gets to watch him mutilate a potato he's trying to peel. Kev tells Bill the good news and thanks him for getting Sal to come home.

While Ashley is getting Maxine a drink at the Rovers, she grabs the opportunity to tell Alan that Steve McD is bugging her. Two detectives drop by the McDonald home while the champagne is still flowing and are not made welcome. Especially when they ask if Steve knows anything about a shipment of whisky that went missing last night.

Nor is Ken made welcome at the Battersby home when, in a very milquetoast manner, he asks Les not to play the music so loud for the sake of Emily and Percy. Les makes several choice remarks about Ken and the Sue Jeffers thing, then slams the door in Ken's face! Les' logic being that because Ken had a fling with the head mistress, he has no right to ask anyone to do anything ?!

Sally returns, but is not the loving wife Kevin had hoped for. She eyes the nicely laid table complete with Australian bottle of wine and realises that Kevin still thinks things will be as they were. She soon sets him straight by telling him that she returned only to claim the house for herself and the girls. She gives him five minutes to pack his things and sling his hook.

The episode ends on a happy note with Steve McDonald being taken away for questioning regarding the theft of some whisky in Rusholme.

Well, I'm done now and shall pass the hat back to the inimitable Nigel for next week's episode. Yes, I can hear your huge sighs of relief! :-)

All the best, Darlene Wakely

Friday 11 July

Cafe: Bill advises Kevin not to pressurise Sally, even though he feels he ought to go round. He goes to work instead. Emily tells a sympathetic Gail about all the noise her new neighbours have been making; she says Percy has been really upset by them. Roy is preparing to put up a picture when Bill sees the drill. Roy concedes that the drill may belong to Bill after he is able to describe some features of it. Roy tells Bill that Les Battersby sold it to him.

Street: A cheerful Rita greets Sally and gets a mouthful in return. Sally is angry that Rita didn't tell her what had been going on. Rita is taken aback by Sally's vitriol. Liz shouts at Andy because the nasty policemen have kept her precious Steve locked up all night. Toyah asks Ken to give her a lift to school in his car. Her refuses, so she decides not to go to school.

House: Bill has called at the Battersbys' to confront Les, who denies taking the drill. Bill is angry and threatens to go to the police, since Les did sell it on to Roy. Janice intervenes and pleads with Bill not to, saying that Toyah took it but she has 'problems' and Janice bursts into tears. Bill seems prepared to consider their story.

Shop: Sally asks Maud and Maureen for her job back. Maureen agrees, but is surprised to hear Sally say that she and Kevin have split up for ever.

House: Janice and Les succeed in persuading Bill 'just this once' to let things drop, since he has his drill back. They say Toyah is under a child psychlogist (or similar) due to being bullied at school. After Bill leaves, Les and Janice erupt into giggles at having deceived their neighbour. (I can't say I shared their amusement.)

Firman's: Alma tells curly she is uneasy about her face being used to promote specific products on the new posters. He says it is all part of the business.

Cafe: Roy is upset that Les lied to him and conned him out of £50. Gail (uncharitably) seems amused and tells him to put it down to experience and write it off. Roy indignantly refuses - but decides not to go and have it out with Les right now....

Rovers: Les and Gary have a laugh, but Judy is unhappy that Gary is paying for all the drinks. He fell for the 'left my wallet at home' line. Andy tells Maxine and Ashley about Steve being detained by the police. Steve needs an alibi for Monday night. Maxine gives a coy, butter wouldn't melt look.

House: Liz and Andy ask Jim what is happening with Steve. Despite being at the station fro 3 hours Jim wasn't allowed to see Steve. Liz believes her son is innocent. Jim is not sure as a policeman told him that Steve says the girl he was with will vouch for him - but no-one knows who she is. Andy also is unconvinced of his brother's innocence so Liz flies off the handle, shouting a them both.

Firman's: Des shops, chats to Alma and stumbles on one of the hidden truths of advertising - that the person endorsing the product has no knowledge of, let alone liking for, the product. Alma apparently considers herself above cheesy dumplings! Curly has overheard and looks less that impressed.

House: Bill visits a hostile Sally. He pleads Kevin's case but Sally is determined to have nothing more to do with her husband - now she realises what he is really like.

Street: Natalie arrives in her car and gazes thoughtfully at Kevin's house. Roy marches purposefully up the road, stopping to tell Ken and Emily he is not looking forward to this - as he bangs and rings at number 5. Ken wonders what the Battersbys have done to upset someone else, Emily explains.

House: Toyah refuses to open the door, referring to Roy as a 'perv' so Janice angrily opens the door. Roy asks Les for his money back, and when refused threatens to go to the police. Toyah calls him a 'nerd' but Janice reasons with him, saying that Bill should have explained about Toyah's problems. Roy leaves. The Battersbys erupt into a shouting match, with Janice going mad first at Toyah then at Les.

Street: Roy apologises to Emily a she contemplates a noisy night ahead. Maxine is asked by a detective about Steve's alibi. Ashley is quick to deny that Maxine was with Steve, and Maxine confirms that she did not see Steve that night. Natalie knocks at Sally's door - expecting Kevin. Sally tells her he has moved in with Bill. as Natalie walks away, Sally follows her and calls out; Natalie turns, and Sally slaps her face, hard. Sally smirks nastily and goes into her house.

Credits. Writer : Catherine Hayes

Most stupid moment: Emily was painting her window frames and Roy leaned his hand on the wet paint. Laugh - I couldn't raise a smile. Puhlease!? Especially now that I'm feeling really hostile to the Battersbys. Lying, stealing, cheating and now - the worst so far - insulting Roy! Huh!


Sunday 13 July

This weeks update is written by Nik Unwin, a mate of mine with no fixed e-mail address - @another.Kevin

Battersby's house
The episode opens quietly with a touching scene shot at the Battersby's house. Mum (Janice), Dad (Les), Mel B and Mel C are watching the "Magic Ball". (Now, call me pedantic, but I checked the Radio Times - other listings magazines are available - and I couldn't see that programme listed. Come on continuity department!)

Mum says that she wants to get "on with th' fawks 'round eeyar". This, seemingly culinary reference actually means that she wants Dad to give Roy his £50 back. Dad agrees to do this, but he's got a cunning plan up his sleeve.

Roy's cafe
Les goes out to see Roy and gives him £10. Roy is none too pleased but Les explains that, as it was Mel C. who stole the drill, she should have to pay it back. Les's plan is that Mel C. will give Roy £5 every week until they are square.

Of course, whichever way you look at it, Les is ahead by £40. It's seemingly impossible to argue with a Battersby, even the younger ones can see Percy off, so Roy and Gail have no choice but to agree to this. Both of them know they will never see the other £40, but as Roy says, he had thought he would never see his £50, so things are slightly improved.

On his return home, Les tells Mum and his adoring kids that he has sorted everything out. So we all know that Mel C. isn't even going to be asked to come up with the money.

Meanwhile things are progressing on the Natalie front. She is trying to phone Kev at the garage, but the answer machine is switched off, Chris is away somewhere and Kev is talking to Sal about taking the kids swimming. Apparently he does this every Saturday.

As Kev sees the kids off and rushes back to get the phone it goes dead and, by way of punishment, Natalie descends on him in person. "It's not over for me Kev" says Natalie. "I love our Sal", replies Kev, proving that history does indeed repeat itself. Natalie gets upset and leaves. But, as she is getting into her car, Audrey Roberts descends on her like Maxwell's proverbial Silver Hammer. Audrey must have realised that she hasn't been spreading enough gossip lately. So, like an old newshound, she is following up her leads for more juicy scandal. "You look like you could use a drink ladeh" she says. Natalie doesn't want to go into "The Rover's", because she thinks they'll all be talking about her in there. "Oh don't worry" says Audreh, "They've all got their secrets".

The Rover's
Natalie is desperate for someone to see her point of view. She has nobody to turn to and spills all the beans to Audreh. "When my husband played around" she says "I couldn't compete. I mean, how can a wife compete when the husband sees her as she is. Sometimes tired, sometimes cross" &c. &c. "He only sees the 'other woman' when she's at her best. But now I'm the 'other woman' I can't compete with the wife". Audreh makes sympathetic noises but what can she do? Natalie just hasn't got what it takes.

Also in "The Rover's" are Pinky and Perky. (Emily and Percy). Perky has taken it upon himself to keep a record of all the Battersby's bad habits. Armed with this, he is sure that he can take the council on and get them shifted. All morning they have been wearing out their shoe leather knocking on doors. "Had any trouble with Battersbys" they ask. "No, but if I ever do, I'll be sure to let you know" is the response. Curly is a bit more sympathetic to the cause. But then, he is the Battersby's neighbour on the other side. Why does Sam put up with it I wonder? And where is she anyway? I imagine that she could have the whole Battersby clan eating out of her hands in the space of five minutes.

Earlier in the day, Perky had stuck his head over the back yard wall to ask Mels B. and C. to turn down their radio. As they were sun bathing at the time, they didn't take too kindly to this intrusion. "Be careful Perky", says calm Ken, we don't want to provoke them".

Garry is in the pub with old man Battersby and buys him another round. Judy is none too pleased, and makes several sarcastic remarks, but Garry doesn't even seem to notice he does all the buying and Les does most of the drinking. Maybe he is secretly hoping that Mel C. will soon be put up for adoption. Les says that Perky's moaning is beginning to get him down. It all seems a bit much to him. I mean to say, in the last year, one neighbour has been held hostage by a thug with a sawn off shotgun, another has gone gaga and burned down a factory, tried to murder the owner's wife and then shift the blame onto some innocent young lad. None of that seemed to worry Perky. So why pick on the Battersbys? "Well", says Garry, "Don may have been a lunatic psychopath, but he didn't play his music too loud".

Down the nick with Alan and Steve
Meanwhile, Maxine has gone off to see "commissioner Gordon" or someone at the nick about Steve's arrest. They listen to her very sympathetically, but her providing Steve with an alibi doesn't cut any ice with them. As Maxine leaves, commissar Gordon (or whoever) turns to Alan and says, "We can't hold him any longer, without evidence". So we find out that Alan has organised the whole thing just to be mean to Steve. Steve is duly released and tells Jim that he is convinced it was a fit up. "They didn't even ask me any questions or interrogate me". he says. Fiona is equally suspicious when Alan tells her that Maxine's alibi for Steve had nothing to do with his release. She begins to suspect what we all know, that Alan is not a straight up nice guy.

Websters' house (as was)
When Kev returns the children from the swimming baths, he comes into his house (oops, sorry I mean Sal's house) and makes as if to get himself a cuppa. But Sal is having none of this. "It's mine all mine", she snarls, "gerrouta it!" They stand out in the hall shouting so that they won't be arguing in front of the kids. Kev makes the standard cliched opening, Sal responds in her usual way, Kev says that the kids need a dad. "It's all you fault they don't" says Sal. "No it's not", says Kev, glimpsing a new line of attack. "It's all your revenge that is hurting them. As long as you get your revenge you don't care what happens to the kids".

Wednesday 16 July

A THOUSAND GREETINGS and I hope you've had a wonderful week.

You remember when you were young and your mother used to say you should always put on clean underwear every day? "in case you were in an accident and got taken to hospital" What did she think? Maybe if you had yesterday's bra on, they'd think twice before treating you?

Well this week my mother's words echoed in my ears when I was knocked off my bicycle, having been in collision with an electric milk float, and rushed to the casualty department. I could hear everything going on around me, but I was not fully conscious. It was a bit like ER or Chicago Hope, really.

I was wheeled through the main doors on a trolley-stretcher thing, pushed by the ambulance staff, and I'll give you as much of the dialogue as I can remember:

What have we got?

RTA. This guy was in collision with a milk float...haven't checked his underwear yet, but the signs aren't good. We've checked for a fashion- piercing... nothing.

What's his BP?

BP is wool over nylon... the guy needs a miracle to get back fashionable. Look at the age of his anorak! Trimmed with rabbit fur round the detachable hood! Good luck with him, guys!

Ok let's get him to the emergency style-room and see what we have.

(I was rushed to the emergency style-room, where my sartorial condition could be appraised, using all the latest technology available. Things were very professional in there. On the count of three, they moved me over onto the hospital trolley.)

Scissors? Scissors! I'm going in. Jeez, what's happened to this guy? he seems to have some home-knit cardy over... oh god, it's worse than I thought... a NYLON SHIRT, and I think it's tucked in his underpants! Quick nurse, get a meter on those armpits and check for odour... NOW! This patient needs all the help he can get!

Doctor, look, I think we have.... flares!

Poor bastard! Bleep the style reg. quickly... we may just be able to save this guy if we act fast! I don't care if he's guest of honour at Princess Di's divorce party... get him here NOW. We need specialist help with some of these colour clashes!

If I can cut carefully though these crimplene flares, my god, I haven't seen a case like this in all my years of fashion medicine.... we can expose the undergarments and maybe give this guy a chance of living a normal life again.

At least the nylon shirt is button-down... it could have been worse. I read a case recently of a man brought in wearing a nylon shirt in floral print, with those big old rounded collar tips? He didn't make it. They did all they could. It was dry-clean only.

Ok I'm through to the underpants now.... jeez John can you take over, I think I'm in over my head... he has on...... PURPLE Y FRONTS and a STRING VEST! and it looks like they've been on since the weekend, and it's Thursday now, God help him!

I'll take over Phil. Okay, everybody back, we're gonna have to shock him. CLEAR!!

(They all stood back and took their hands off me as the ER doctor opened a mens' fashion magazine at page 5 and held it in front of me)

Okay people, no response.

(I looked across at the monitor thing at the bedside, and the screen was still showing a knitted patterned top with dogtooth-check flares and platform shoes, so I knew things were serious.)

Trying again folks, I'm going to show him Page 37 this time... CLEAR!!

(He opened the magazine at page 37, and I must have started to smile or something, and my fashion rating slowly returned to normal on the monitor.

There was a spontaneous cheer from the style staff attending to me.)

Ok everybody, we got this one back... well done people. He may not make it to the catwalk, but we'll get him into silk boxers before the month's out!

Over the next few days, I was shown pictures of men wearing lightweight suits with those modern collars, and took a course in "Sunglasses as Useful Accessories" at the physio department. My progress towards being fashionable was steady. I did slide back a bit and have a relapse, when I started sketching rough designs for all-in-one drip dry tunics for cross channel ferrymen, but I was given prompt treatment for that as soon as they found my drawings on the top of the cardboard bedpan covers.

So I owe my recovery partly to the staff at the local style hospital, and partly to my gradual re-introduction to easy-care minimum-iron fabrics for everyday wear.

Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 16 July 97:

Curly emerges into the morning with a badly discoloured right eye. Clutching a pint of semi-skimmed, Emily says she was proud of him last night, whilst not condoning the act of bursting into the Battersby's place and throwing the offending CD player out the window, of course. By now, Curly has donned a pair of sunglasses three sizes too small for him. With the recent violence, the general air of Street beastliness and these sunglasses, there was a smell of Reservoir Dogs in the Worsfold viewing suite. At least that's what I think it was. I've never seen the film, but I know a reservoir dog when I smell one.

Gary, being a closet Battersby sympathiser, makes a crack to Curly about him being some kind of Superman character.

A bit later in the day, Curly is in the pub in the company of Emily, Percy, Judy and Ken. No one has spotted a single Battersby all day long, and nothing has been heard from their house. There is the faint hope that they might have all left, but Judy says they wouldn't have gone without their furniture, so no hasty conclusions are drawn.

Later still we see Curly snoozing on the sofa. Suddenly he is woken up by.....silence! There is no sound at all coming through the wall, which makes him jubilant. He goes out to look at the front of their house (why?) where he meets Percy, who confirms that all is quiet on the western front, as it were. In his elation, Curly invites Percy in for a drink, which Percy is happy to accept.

It is at this moment that the BattsMobile comes into view. Has Battsman been robbin'? No, him and Toyah have been to Sheffield where, amongst other junk, they've bought a new CD player. Les presents Curly with a £200 bill to replace the equipment he threw from the window. Curly yells back about the £80 pair of glasses that were broken in the attack. There is accusation and counter accusation, and the suggestion of calling the police. Gary is on hand to try to calm things down.

Things do ease off somewhat, and the protagonists agree to call it quits. Les and Gary repair to the Rovers and Percy congratulates Curly on showing that he is prepared to stand up to them, thereby earning their respect. On the word "respect" the new CD player blasts into life in Toyah's room!

In the salon, Fiona tells Maxine that it's all over with her and Soppy Al. She's even taken off the ring, and she won't change her mind. Fiona later appears on Jim McDonald's doorstep whereupon she is invited in. Now, UK viewers who have been to their local newsagents today will have already seen TV listing magazines with Jim kissing her, on next week's front covers, but here is the forerunner to that unlikely pairing.

Now you and I might go to McDonalds for a Happy Meal, especially if we're collecting the dear little farmyard toys, but that's not why she's there. Following the break-up she has come to cry on Jim's shoulder, which she does... literally. He says all the right things, throwing in a bit of cheeky Irish flattery for good measure, and she's all smiles before long.

Steve arrives, and he's understandably very surprised to see her there. His father tells him he's not welcome because they're having a private conversation and hustles him out the front door. But Steve has been there long enough to glean the news that all is far from well between Fiona and the dippy copper.

At Firmans, the poster of Alma is still doing wonders for moving the old naff nosh, in particular the Scampi Dippers. I went scampi dipping in a pool on holiday in Greece last year. It was late at night and I didn't think there'd be anyone around so I jumped straight in the deep end, but they'd emptied all the water to repaint the pool walls. I was hospitalised for three days. There was a local protest strike of hotel workers as a result, because I had done it in the middle of a religious festival, and the tour operator had their ABTA travel licence revoked.

Roy is amongst the shoppers willing to try Alma's recommended delicacies, and he chats about the fracas of the previous night, and tells Curly about the drill scam. He wonders how Alma arrives at her particular recommendations, and speculates that she and Mike must have to try a wide range of Firmans products at the company's expense. He promises to let her know what he thinks of the famous Dippers.

Kevin is snappy with Chris. He is preoccupied with staring across at the house he lived in until a few days ago, watching Sally and the girls coming and going. He apologises to Chris but carries on being very grumpy indeed.

In the pub, Bill advises him to ease up on the beer, and suggests that things will take time to get back to normal. Kev's getting all sentimental about Rosie and Sophie, saying how he wants to cuddle them. Later, he bursts into the Corner Shop, where Maud, under a vivid red hat, is wondering with Emily if the Battersbys are married or "living over the brush". I personally would love to hear of the derivation of that charming northern phrase if anyone is acquainted with the facts! Let me know. If you don't know, just guess; the guesses could be far more entertaining than the truth.

So Kev's there to have another crack at saying sorry to Sally, and asking to come back, but Sally is having none of him. "If I'm boring, then it's you who's made me boring" she says.

Kev leaves the shop to allow the adverts a chance to be shown, then we see him sitting against a wall, drinking whisky from a plastic cup, still gazing across at his former love nest. Ken who has had his exhaust repaired and has come to collect the car, lends a friendly ear, and they share some of the whisky. Ken assures him the answer is not to be found in a bottle, and asks him if he loves Natalie, and if there were no children involved, which woman would he prefer to be with.

Kev's too maudlin to give a decent reply, but we don't have to wait very long for the answer, as he spruces himself up and drives (after all that whisky!) to Natalie's house! She opens the door to find him as fresh as a daisy and not looking one bit like a man consumed by inner turmoil, and one who has just claimed to have sat two hours outside her house, debating the pros and cons.

He looks remarkably chipper, somewhat like an eager Boy Scout on Bob-a- Job Week, ready to unblock your drains or thin out your rhubarb for a shiny shilling and a glass of fizzy pop!

Yes friends, he has made his decision. "Natalie, I want you back" he gushes at the peroxide-headed vixen. "Ah want uz t'liv t'getha propleh"

Oh no!


That's yer lot.

Good night and I love you all - Nigel

Friday 18 July

Street: Fiona is wearing her engagement ring, but has not been able to speak to Alan as no-one knows where he is. Ken prepares for his final day at school. Emily reminds him that he should be proud of his achievements. The noise level emanating from the Battersby's is high. Sam rushes outside - followed by Curly. She is at the end of her tether and about to knock when a violent argument between Les and Janice is heard. Sam decides to retreat - for now.

House: Kevin and Natalie as breakfasting at her house. She is unsure of her position. Kevin reassures her he won't be going back to Sally.

House: Gail and Sally giggle at the prospect of Roy asking Gail to go to Paris with him; Gail would be reluctant to share a twin room with him, if her were to invite her. Sally sends Rosie and Sophie up to the toilet, though Rosie knows that her mum wants to talk to Gail about Kevin. Gail is sympathetic as Sally regrets arguing with Kevin in the shop. Gail says if Kevin's affair is over then it need not riun a marriage which is basically strong.

House: Kevin tells Natalie that he is sticking with her and Sally and everyone else will have to get used to it.

Firman's: A thoroughly miserable Alma refuses to be cheered up by Curly (who is still sporting the 'Reservoir Dogs' shates to cover his black eye.) Audrey appears with an empty Scampi Dippers box. She points out that the food has almost reached its best before data, and claims she and Alf had diarrhoea as a result. She wants a refund; Curly refuses.

Cafe: Les and Toyah take brekfast. Roy tentatively enquires about his money. Les lies again, saying Toyah was egged on by Leanne so they will pay half each. Roy accepts this arrangement, but Gail doubts he will see the money. Toyah thanks Les for letting her skive off school. Roy has now collected sufficient tokens, but has not decided who to take with him. Gail says nowt.

Firman's: Audrey is a one woman picket at the till. She refuses to go to Curly's office and makes sure the other customers know what the problem is. Curly gives her a refund but again denies liability. Alma then has a little fit, shouts that customers should make up their own minds, takes down a poster and carries off a life-size cardboard cutout of herself. (I wish we had had one of those for in the pub at the Contress!)

Street: Toyah tries to chat up Chris. He is polite but not that encouraging. Kevin and Natalie drive up in Kevin's car. Kevin apologises to Chris for his recent behaviour. Up the road, Sally finds Bill to tell him she is going to make up with Kevin. He is delighted and urges her to go straight away. Jim sees Fiona and asks how she is. She becomes very upset and rushes back to the salon.

Garage: Sally enters and sees Natalie and Kevin in the office. When he sees Sally, Kevin kisses Natalie. Sally looks pained and leaves.

Arcade: Zoe turns up to see Judy who is shocked that Gary make Zoe leave their house before. Zoe left the childrens' home and went to a hostel but now she wants to borrow money.

Cafe: Sally rushes in, sobbing, to tell Gail what happened, then departs after sympathy from Gail. Roy tells Gail he wanted to ask her to go to Paris with him, but there would be no-one to look after the cafe if they both went. He sugests she and Martin have a break together. Gail is lost for words.

Arcade: Over a coffee, Zoe describes the horrible hostel, but vows to run away aain if she is sent back to the childrens' home.

House: Samantha and Curly are being tormented in their house by the noise from the neighbours. Curly brandishes a large kitchen knife and threatens a massacre. Sam has an idea and rushes upstairs.

House: At Judy's house, Zoe has had a bath and is relaxing with a cup of tea when Gary gets home. He is not pleased, but Judy is adamant that the 7 months pregnant girl is staying with them.

House: Sam appears in leather mini skirt and low cut top. Curly has to put his shades back on at the sight. Sam marches off next door.

House: Inside the Battersby's, the family are interrupted from their meal (chips in the paper) by hammering at the door. Les gets up, ready for a fight, but stops short when he sees Sam. She flutters her eyelashes and quietly asks him to turn the noise down. She simpers that she will be very grateful and will buy him a pint. Janice is not impressed by the way Les was behaving and throws her chip paper at him. (Canadians: look out for the wall rocking as he falls against it.)

Yard: Gary is sulking and takes Judy outside for a chat. She ignores his concerns and confirms Zoe will be staying.

Salon: Fiona is tidying up at the end of the day. There is a knocking and she leaps up, expecting Alan. It is Jim. She lets him in, saying she is glad to see him; Alan has not contacted her. Jim is surprised, and says she doesn't deserve to be treated like that. She cries and asks him to hold her. They hug, then he kisses her tears. They look at each other, then kiss; tentatively at first, then passionately. Credits.

'Well, whatever next?' purred our announcer (Carlton/LWT) over the credits. Writer : Maureen Chadwick.

Helen (I will be away next week, so @notherKevin will be doing the update for 25th July. See you in a fortnight.)

Sunday 20 July

Here is the news for Sunday the 20th of July, and this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it. In tonight's main headlines:

Jim'll fix it with Fi? No, she's off to find Alan
Steve gets £15,000 golden handshake. Vicky pays to be free.
Toyah lands job at Roy's. She can help out while Gail and Martin are in Paris.
Zoe's baby could retail for £2,000. Much to Garry's disgust, Judy starts negotiations with the young mum-to-be.

Jim'll fix it with Fi?
After last night's passion between Jim and Fiona, the big irishman has been puzzled at Fiona's avoidance of him today. Our roving reporter, Tom, has been speaking to both Jim and Fiona. Are you there Tom?

Yes, thank you very much Jerry. I'm standing outside Fiona's salon with a very dejected looking Jim. What about cha Jim?

"Stick it out me old muckka".

Now Jim, I understand that you have just received some rather disappointing news, so you have.

"Catch yourself on Thomas. That I have and no mistake. When I left Fi early this morning, she seemed very withdrawn. I asked her if she wanted me to stay, but no, she said.

"Steve and Andy had the latch caught down, so I had to knock one of them up to let me in. Steve wanted to know where I had been, but I wasn't about to admit to spending the night with Fi. You hear what I'm saying to you Tom?

"Well, later on I went across to the hair salon, but Fi wasn't there. I thought fact the place was deserted, but, on closer inspection, one of the brooms turned out to be Maxine. She told me Fi had gone off to find Alan, so she had. And all the while I thought Fi had gone soft on me.

"It's my own head that was soft Thomas, and no mistake about that, when I thought that wee girl could care for me."

Thank you Jim. Now back to you Jerry

Earlier in the day Tom managed to track down Fiona as she sat in her car outside Alan's flat. She agreed to join me in the studio. Welcome to the show Fiona.

"Thank you very much Jerry".

Now Fiona, you're not the type to trifle with a man's affections. What is going on with you and Jim?

"I really don't know Jerry. Last night I was just so lonely I couldn't help myself. but this morning it all seems so different. I don't care for Jim, I love Alan. But I can't get across this coldness that has got between us.

"As soon as Jim left I tried to call Alan. He never replied, so I had to get a taxi to his flat. I told him I was sorry, that I loved him, that I wanted him back. But now he wants to know what I am sorry about. Or who I am sorry about. I told him that there is nothing between me and Steve, but of course I didn't tell him about Jim.

"He is so hard, he just said he'd think about it, said he couldn't talk 'cos he had to go to work. But I think he was lying. I don't think he cares at all".

Thank you Fiona. I am sure that things will work out.

Steve gets £15,000 golden handshake.
Steve was overjoyed to receive a letter from his wife's solicitor this morning. Vicky has offered a generous settlement of £15,000 to Steve if he signs the divorce papers. This bit of news raised a cheer all 'round at chez McDonald. The joy was so unconfined, that Andy managed to raise a smile at one point.

Toyah lands job at Roy's
In a shock move today, one of the Battersby clan has actually found a job, or so it seems. Listeners will remember that Les promised Roy last week that Toyah would give him £5 every week to recoup the cost of the drill. However Roy is clearly unhappy with that arrangement and came to an altogether different understanding with Toyah today. For the latest on this fast breaking story we cross live to "Jim's Cafe".

Thank you very much Jerry. Yes I am standing here in Jim's cafe and the staff and the customers seem to be in a state of shock. Pardon me sir, are you in a state of shock?

"Yes I am."

There you go. I thought as much. And the reason for this is because Roy has apparently taken leave of his senses. Not content with being cheated by Les two weeks ago, he is now quite happy to expose his business to a known thief.

"'Ere I heard that. You've got no right to go about saying things like that."

And here is Toyah now. Toyah, is it true that Roy has offered you a job?

"Yeah well, sort of. He was goin' on at me about the £40 that dad says I owe him. But I says, 'How am I to get it, sell my body?' Then I thought, why can't Roy give me a job eh? He needs someone to 'elp out while what's 'er name is away.

"He wasn't too pleased with the idea though. It's always the same, no one ever gives us a chance, that is what it is all about".

But, Roy has offered you a job hasn't he?

"Oh yeah, he has. But it is all on condition that I get me dad to pay him back for that drill. So, there's no chance of that".

Toyah, I think you underestimate yourself. Your father will stump up I'm sure. Now, back to Jerry in the studio.

Zoe's baby could retail for £2,000
New hope for Judy, though not for Garry, today when Zoe offered to let the pair adopt her baby. Zoe, seven weeks from full term, has promised that she will hand her baby over for the sum of £2,000. Jubilant Judy is keen to take up the offer. "No one will ever know it isn't ours Garry" she is reported to have said. Better get a pillow up your jumper now lass, or they will certainly have suspicions.

And one final item of news to close, scientists at University of Salford, Higher Institute of Technology and Education claim to be able to predict the future from Coronation street Scripts. The study of Corology is still in its infancy but already some major world events appear to have foretold accurately by the group.

I am joined in the studio now by John and Margaret, chief researchers in the department of Corological studies. John, how does your forecasting method work?

"Well Jerry, we read the scripts into a computer which sorts the letters in the script according to a code with eleven secret ingredients, and it prints out the forecast."

Margaret, tell us one event which has been forecast by your group.

"Oh it was all so exciting Jerry. It was last April when we carried out the trial. We read one of the Conservative re-election manifestos into the computer. We call it REG by the way, after the Random, Efficient Generation programme that does the work.

"REG chugged away for a while and came up with this chilling prophesy: 'NEW LAB OR NEW ANGER'. We didn't know what it meant at the time."

And what world event did that point to?

"It came about this road. Last month the Dean of the faculty refused to buy us a new computer lab. We all got so angry about it. But then John suddenly realised that the prophesy had been fulfilled right in our midst. It was so exciting and it confirmed that our years of research had been heading in the right direction".

That is amazing. John what other events have been forecast by REG?

"Well, Jerry, that business with the election manifesto was just a test to make sure the programme worked like. Our real work has been on Coronation Street scripts. In those we have uncovered the future of the show - the end times as we call them."

In a nut shell then, what does the future hold for the Street?

"What happens, see, is the rise of the Anti-Corrist. This precedes the last times in which the cobbles of the street run red with the blood of the fallen. All the faithful will be called on to write letters to do battle with the Anit-Corrist. After that, the ratings will slump and all things will come to an end.

"But the most amazing thing is that the identity of the Anti-Corrist is revealed in the scripts. We have passed it on to Granada TV bosses in the hope that this terrible catastrophe may be averted.

"Unfortunately Granada TV are unable to make sense of the cryptic message which reads 'Bastard Park Useless'. If the message can be deciphered in time, perhaps the end times may be avoided".

Thank you John and Margaret. Answers on the back of a postcard please to Granada TV.

I asked been asked to inform our listeners that the science of Corology should in no way be confused with any world religion and that the events described in this newscast are merely the products of a wandering mind and should not be taken as reflecting on any real world phenomenon.

Wednesday 23 July


I've had a bit of time on my hands this week, so I've taken a fresh look at a very famous couple, and I thought I'd offer a rather different perspective on a well-known story.

Eve's bored.

Adam's reading the paper.

E: Adam?

A: mm?

E: Adam!

A: Seven across, fifth book of the Pentateuch...eleven letters...sixth letter R...what do you think?

E: Never mind that you still love me?

A: Of course, eight down could be wrong, is there a double p in apocalypse?

E: Never mind that, do you still love me?

A: Course I do.

E: Well what do you think about a rockery then?

A: How many letters?

E: No, I mean a nice rockery for the garden.

A: Oh you've been down that Garden Centre again. I've told you to stay away from that place. It always ends up costing me money. It's not your name on the credit card bill, you know! I always know when you've been there, even if you try to pretend you haven't.

E: But you must admit the garden's looking lovely since I got those bedding plants in to give it a bit of colour. No, it's not that, I just thought a nice rockery in the corner where it doesn't get much sun. You know, a few heathers, some alpines, a couple of bags of ericaceous compost, shouldn't cost too much. You wouldn't have to do the planting, I'd do it.

A: Thank goodness for that! It took me half my annual holiday last month to put those shrubs in. I thought that would be that, but no! There's always something more you want. All that heavy digging when you're not wearing any clothes is no joke, you know.

E: Well, you knew when we came here the garden wouldn't look after itself. Anyway, I want it nice for when anyone comes.

A: There isn't anyone else! How can anyone come?

E: Well, you never know. I just want it nice, what's wrong with that? Anyway, the grass will be needing another cut before the weekend.

A: Oh no, you're not getting me out there today, going up and down, up and down with that mower. I only did it last Wednesday. That'll do it for a couple of weeks surely? I even mowed lovely straight stripes for you!

E: Oh, so I'm meant to be eternally grateful for a few stripes on the lawn, and that's it for ever? I'll just have to pay someone to come and do it if you refuse to keep it up!

A: But there isn't anyone else! Only us. Look, if you're so anxious about the garden, you might turn your attention to some of the weeding down there. You know weeding's not my job.

E: I was doing the weeding the other day, using my new kneeling pad, when I thought I saw a snake under the apple tree, so I came indoors. It might have been my imagination, but I think I heard it speaking to me. It said I should try the fruit.

A: Let me get this straight; You saw a snake in the garden and it told you to eat an apple from the tree. You're barking woman! You've finally gone! Cracked! Don't let me hear any more nonsense about rockeries and talking snakes.

E: Alright Adam. What about a water feature of some kind then? One of those old fashioned wooden barrels with water cascading all the time over little pebbles...could look lovely.

A: But it would need a pump installed. No.

E: No, you're wrong darling, I've seen them at the garden centre, they come complete with integral pump and 25 metres of exterior quality flex, and we're still £350 short of our limit on the credit card!

A: Typical woman! Look, you haven't thought for a moment how it would have to be installed. Where do you think we could plug it in for a start...have you considered that?

E: Yes I have, and we could use the wall socket in the utility room if we unplugged the microwave. Let's face it, I hardly ever use the microwave, so it would be okay.

A: No no and again NO. It would mean we'd have to have the window open all the time to have the cord trailing out to the garden. Who knows, that talking snake of yours might get in through the open window and start trying to take charge of your eating habits!

Look, Eve, you're a lovely girl, but you do get the daftest notions sometimes. Here we are with the best garden in the county. The best garden in creation probably, now I've got those shrubs planted and built that little screen wall to hide the barbecue. We're even talking about opening it up to the public next season, if the public have been created by then, and you keep wanting to change a bit here, fiddle with another bit there. You can't improve on creation, you know. It's like you really. There you are, just as you were created, and I can't imagine how anything could be done to improve you. You look perfect. Come over here with me.... please?

E: That's all very nice, Adam, but I'd much rather you put on your old gardening figleaf and get out and cut the grass! And don't try to get out of using the grassbox!

(Annoyed at Eve's rejection, Adam threw down his paper crossly and stomped out to cut the grass.)

E: Adam?

A: What?

E: I have just one word to say to you.

A: What what what??

E: Deuteronomy.

A: What's that when it's at home then?

E: Seven across, eleven letters, sixth letter R, remember!

He was a bit too cross to do the stripes that day, and didn't use the grassbox.


Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 23 July 97

Jim and Steve are leaving the house for another day in the small-time construction industry, and Jim pulls Steve's leg about the banana in his back pocket. I confess I didn't understand this at all. It could be some charming Irish colloquialism, to do with having some cash available. If it is Steve's intention to win back the attentions of the lovely Fiona, I'd say the banana in the BACK pocket is an idea doomed to failure!.

Steve jokes back that he won't be ordering a Porsche with the new-found wad, and off they merrily go. Later we see Jim planing the edge off a door at Rita's place. As Rita is offering the customary workman's cuppa, Steve appears with good news for his dad. He's been to see someone called Slater about the big contract which Jim and Bill rejected a couple of days ago because it was just too ambitious for them to handle. It seems Steve has sweet-talked this Slater person into giving them the contract. At first Jim is angry at Steve's unwelcome interference, but when Steve says he's prepared to invest his £15,000 divorce settlement cash in financing the contract, Jim warms slowly to the idea. It is Steve's overall plan to make a success of this building lark, so as to win Fiona's heart.

At teatime, we learn that things are indeed looking up in terms of the McDonalds' standard of living, for there are TWO bottles of sauce on the tea table for them to choose from! These nouveau-riche aren't afraid to flaunt their good fortune are they? Steve's stock is high, as PG Wodehouse used to say, and Jim holds back from telling him that Fiona and Soppy Al are back on track again. He won't be able to keep it from him for ever! Read on!

Judy and Zoe see Gary off for his appointment with the bank manager. He is to plead for a loan for the all-important £2,000 to give Zoe, for the baby. Judy is wearing a splendid pair of poppy-print white jeans. I loved them! She tells him to watch his gob, and reminds him that the story is that the cash is for home-improvements. In my experience, bringing a child into your house is a recipe for just the opposite. More like home-destruction I'd say! All my children seemed to have been genetically pre-programmed to destroy. Thus far, it has emerged as their number one attribute.

I have spent a fortune on Polyfilla all throughout their formative years, and I think I must have earned free shares in the local glazier's business, ever since they were old enough to pitch their first brick at the fish tank, or the time when one of them threw a 1982 World Cup Commemorative Medal (free to collect with every ten gallons of petrol) through the double glazed patio doors!

Anyway, Gary returns later, and he has been successful in securing the loan. He didn't much like the interest rate, but the deal's done!

In the cafe, Roy is trying out his phrase-book French on Gail, and advising her that comfy shoes are de rigueur in the City Of Light. Audrey is in there, asking Gail to buy her a few odd things from the Duty Free facilities. It seems Bust Firming Cream is the prime requirement! "Prevention is better than cure" quips Audrey to her incredulous daughter. Is Bust Firming Cream widely available as a Duty Free item I wonder? I am not widely travelled, I confess, but in these duty free places, I have often seen perfectly attired and elegantly presented young girls spraying passers-by with French perfume, as an incentive to buy. Thus far in my travels, I have not seen Bust Firming Cream being dispensed or applied on such a casual and unsolicited basis!

Similarly on the plane, then the stewardess comes round with the trolley of duty free stuff; if a woman buys a watch, she puts it on straight away to see how her new purchase looks. If she decides on perfume, she will immediately dab it behind her ear. So what's the score if she plumps for a giant size 2kg Eurobucket of Bust Firming Cream? Surely the captain would have to make an announcement? I always say decorum is all, even on a charter flight!

One lives in hopes, though.

Next, Audrey's quizzing Zoe for information about the nature of her relationship with the Malletts. She gets the idea that Gary is the father of the impending sproglet, and Audrey being Audrey, it isn't long before she's passing on that very gobbet of mistaken gossip to Rita and Mavis in the Rovers.

Ken is in the Kabin wondering which toy to buy for Daniel, who is coming to stay with him for two whole weeks! Eventually he decides to get them both, and Rita throws in two packets of complimentary sweeties to mark this major purchase. In the background, I noticed Rita has on her shelf my favourite board game ever.

I refer to Chicken Limbo!

Overseas viewers look out for it, I beg you. Not so many years ago, I was the Southern Counties All-Comers Champion at the illegal pub version...I refer to naked Chicken Limbo! It was largely the same as regular limbo, but for the clever addition of a dead chicken, and the removal of clothing! This game would take place after hours at the pubs round here, and I was captain of the mixed under 40's team. We were doing very well in the league, then one night, when it was an away match against The Frog and Giblet, we were raided. Myself and most of my team were imprisoned for 28 days as a salutary warning to any others who were thinking of getting into the game locally. It turned out in court that one of my team, a relative newcomer called Big Vicki was in fact an undercover policewoman, sworn to smashing the growing menace of after- hours pub naked Chicken Limbo!

Angie has landed an important new contract for the knicker firm, and Janice is the first person she tells. Janice immediately start to wonder if they'll need to be taking on any new staff. Later in the Rovers, Janice approaches her on behalf of daughter Leanne. Some hopes! "She just needs to be given a chance, and you're dead fur" says Janice. I played the tape back, and I think she meant 'dead fair' but hey, accent doesn't mean a thing to me!

After a few weeks off our screens, we see Deirdre's Jon again! They have obviously just spent the night together, and he's now off to Amsterdam, or so he says! She tells him some tale about a friend of a friend who went to Amsterdam and gazed long and hard at some hitherto unidentified device in a shop window in the red light area, which turned out to be a fishing rod!

I have been to Amsterdam, you know. I am tight lipped on this matter, except to mention I didn't see many tackle shops! I leave it at that! Plenty of live bait on offer, though! Deirdre has the idea to cash in on Jon's cheap concessionary flight perk, and so she gets hold of a few holiday brochures. Excitedly, she shows these to him in the pub. He reckons, however that to fly anywhere would be a bit of a 'busman's holiday' for him, and plumps for Scotland. Deirdre's less-than-thrilled expression is a picture. Our Jon is certainly not all he professes to be!

Fiona has been busy finding out about the chances of a quickie wedding (before Al changes his mind?) and she tells him they can have a register office wedding in three weeks, if they want. At this news, Al is shocked into silence for quite a long time. They then have discussions about the merits and demerits of rushing into things, which ultimately bring a profession of love from the dopey detective, despite the fact that both mother's will be very put out at the absence of pomp and circumstance.

In the pub, Al is so overwhelmed at the good news, he chooses to share it aloud with everyone there. Included in those present are Steve and Jim. The announcement catches Steve in mid-swallow, and his disappointed little face will haunt me for days!

That's yer lot.

Good night and I love you all, Nigel

Friday 25 & Sunday 27 July

A combined update today as one of your faithful writers is away (ps Ringway is Manchester Airport) [I think the suits would like you to call it "Manchester International Airport" these days - but everyone still calls it Ringway - Graham]

Friday's episode

Fiona's flat
Alan and Fiona snog while Max complains that she has been left out of the wedding shopping trip.

McDonald's house
Andy is packing for his trip. Everyone is gloomy. Jim wants Steve to try to cheer up, at least until Andy is off. But Steve is still moping about Fiona. Liz is conspicuously absent.

Audrey is seeing the Platts off to Paris. They are giving Andy a lift to Ringway, much to her annoyance. Ken gets in his car to go to Scotland and sees Jon and Dierdre snogging outside the travel agent. "Fly carefully to Nairobi", she says to Jon, tearfully. Then comes over to tell Ken exactly where she thinks Jon is off to today.

Judy and Zoe are going to doctors and then going to the baby shops. Zoe doesn't want to go because she is afraid of the doctor (as she is off all authority figures).

Alan wants a big hotel wedding with a small group of people. He decides to break it to his parents next Sunday. In order to facilitate this, he decides to invite them over for a meal. Fiona isn't too pleased.

Steve tells Bill he will invest £15,000 in the business on two conditions; He wants to be a partner, and he wants them to put in an offer for Shore Street (or whatever it's called). "I'll think about it", says Bill. "Don't think about it for too long or I'll withdraw me offer", says Steve, showing off the benefits of his prison education.

Gail and Martin are walking through the departure lounge practising their French phrases. Behind them, but unseen by them, Jon is serving someone in a duty free shop.

Hair salon
Steve wants a word, but Fiona is busy. "what are you scared off?" says Steve, so Fiona gives him two minutes.

The Doctor wants Zoe to go to the Ante-natal clinic. Zoe and Judy are not happy to go but Zoe has raised blood pressure and the Dr wants to check it. It turns out that it is nothing serious, but they have to go to the clinic every week from now on.

Steve tries to talk Fiona out of marrying Alan. "No one likes him", says Steve. "I'm different, I can change. I've invested in me dad's business". "I'm not interested, now get out" says Fi. "I'll wait for you and I shan't give up. When Alan lets you down I'll be waiting" says Steve.

Bill and Jim are discussing Steve's offer.

Judy and Zoe discuss their trip to the clinic. Judy says "They started asking questions, they will try to take over - midwifes and authorities". It will be trickier than they thought to keep Zoe's and their little secret. Judy wants to stop going to the clinic and she doesn't want Zoe to have a hospital birth. Garry says that they have to do it properly. "Baby could die, she could die" he points out. But Judy is worried that the authorities will take the baby away.

Bill says to Steve that he will only accept the £15,000 it if they are all equal partners. He doesn't want Steve to have too much say in the firm. Steve says OK, but I do want us to do Shore Street. "Why are you investing in a tup'penny ha'penny firm like us?" says Bill. "To pay me dad back for believing in me while I was in prison. He stood by me" says Steve proving the reforming power of the English and Welsh legal system.

Jim and Fiona are talking. Jim says he was shocked at the speed with which Fi and Alan announced their engagement. "You are rushing into it because of what happened between us?" he asks. "Do you love him? And, if you do, why did you sleep with me?" "Yes, I love Alan", says Fi. "I might have only slept with you out of spite". This hurts Jim, so she says it wasn't out of spite, but she begs Jim not to tell Alan.

Audrey tells everyone that Zoe told her that Garry is baby's father. Sam warns Judy who straight away asks Audrey to join them and then takes her down a peg. "Can't we give a kid a hand without a vicious cow like you spreading nasty disgusting rumours?" ask Judy rhetorically. "Now shutup or I'll knock out your teeth".

Dierdre is telling Emily how tingly she is when she thinks about Jon. The phone rings, it is Jon. He is pretending there is a time delay on international calls. It is worse from Nairobi, so he says. Emily says "This is starting to sound serious". "I'm in love", claims Dierdre.

Sunday's episode

Steve doesn't feel like any breakfast. He says Rita is messing them about. She wants them to carry on with their job on Sunday. Jim tries to pump Steve for info on how he got on with Fi, but no luck.

Angie's got the papers, so Chris has to make to coffee. Angie's business has its name on a sign outside, so she calls Mike to celebrate. "Mike, it's up, it's brilliant".

Les is about to open his one man street market. Sally is off into town with the kids. Maureen gives them some strawberries. Soulful Kev watches them walk to the bus. Kev says Les is blocking his entrance to the garage. Les stands up. He is bigger than Kev. "Do you own this bit of land?" Kev doesn't so there is nothing that our mechanical little friend feels he can do to get his way.

Alan and Fi are getting ready for the old folks. Fi describes herself as "an ethnic". Alan's dad is not too keen on such types.

Mike arrives and tries to get Les off from in front of his factory. "I've got permission from him in garage" says Les. Mike goes in to give Kev a piece of his mind.

Alan parents are being nice to Fi. Alan's mum has had her hair done special like. Fiona is the only one who notices.

Mike, Chris, Des and Angie are celebrating the new contract for underworld. Chris is dropping bangers in the barbecue.

Alan and Fi tell the folks that they are going to be married. The folks say they are pleased, even Bernard puts on a brave front. But they are not to pleased to hear that Alan & Fi will get knotted on the 16th, because they (the elders) will be on holiday in the caravan then. Fiona's weird plan is that they will get married in the registry office in two weeks and have a big church wedding a couple of months later.

Rita wants lads to look at the kitchen door as well. Bill's mobile goes and he tells someone to turn the water off at the mains. Then Jim and he rush off to save someone who has put a nail through a pipe, leaving Steve to finish up at Rita's.

Alan's folks can't get Fi and Alan to delay their wedding plans, so they agree to change their holiday plans.

Rover's (still no sign of the Duckworths).
Kev is in buying a liquid lunch and scoffing Alec's free snacks. Emily and Percy are discussing going Sunday walking on the moors when they were kids. They used to catch a train to Ribblehead. Garry comes in, he has bought a lava lamp off Les. He claims Les demonstrated it (while standing in the street - yeah sure). The lamp works and everyone clusters around it reminiscing. Audrey says it takes her back to when she was young and irresponsible. Alec makes Garry turn it off again because of the electricity costs. Kev and Garry catch him over salting the peanuts. This is supposed to make people more thirsty and drink more apparently.

Rita asks Steve if he enjoys the building trade. She is pleased that he is making something of himself. She commiserates with him over Fiona but she says she has a feeling that Steve has learned from his mistakes. "No good looking back love. You'll find someone else and forget Fiona" she says.

Bernard and the missus do the washing up. Bernard says Fi has Alan wrapped around her finger and is forcing Alan into it. "I don't see what difference it makes" says Fiona. "I can see that, and that is what distresses me. There are other people's feelings to take into account, not just your own", says Mrs McK. But Fiona says she is not going to change her mind.

Percy buys one of Les's old gramophone records. Kev drives up with Ken. His car broke down on the way back from Scotland.

Bill says Kev should get a good solicitor to make sure he keeps access to the kids. After all , he is going to be paying for them the rest of his life. Bill is also worried about the McD influence on the firm. He thinks Steve is trying to run before he can walk. (This explains the rather unusual stride Steve has adopted this last couple of weeks). Bill is the one who knows the trade but he feels he will soon be the junior partner. Chris and Angie are chatting but leave for a curry. Des comes along too. Steve comes in but leaves again because he overhears Alec saying how nice Alan is.

Emily and Percy are making a fuss over Daniel.

"Don't worry about Gilroy" says Jim. Steve is not convinced. "I am right for her. I wish I had never met Vicky. I love her" . But Jim is philosophical. "There is nothing we can do about it".

It turns out that the record Percy bought is an old sound effect recording of an engine steaming over the Ribblehead Viaduct. This is apparently very soothing for Daniel.

The McK.s have gone home. Alan and Fiona are discussing the wedding date. He wants to know what difference it would make if they wait a bit. OK says Fiona, we'll do what you want and what your parents want. I'll cancel the registry office first thing in the morning.


Wednesday 30 July

A THOUSAND GREETINGS and this week I have been privileged to interview one of the only surviving gangsters from the lawless days of prohibition in 1930's Weatherfield. He was a made man in one of the most notorious crime families, the McDonalds, from the Lower East Side of Weatherfield. I present the verbatim words of Tony (the schmuck) Warreno.

Ok, youze wanna know about da old days in Weatherfield, with da crime an all? Ok kid, but I gotta tell you don' innerrupt me okay? When Tony da Schmuck gets to talkin, youze gotta listen and shut da hell up, know what I mean?

Yeah I guess it was like dis: I came over from Sicily 1932. No job, no prospects, but full o' big hotshot ideas. Sure I was just a punk kid, but I started to hang around with the guys on da street corners with da flat caps on, talking about pigeon racin' an' stuff. There was dis guy everone was afraid of; Irish immigrant family, big shot; he was in charge of the construction racket in the whole east side of da city. You had to show him respect, know what I mean?

It all started with me jus' runnin' lil' errands for him, and he'd give me a few bucks so long as I didn't ask no dumb-fool questions. That family were in control pretty good in doze days, I can tell ya. Da head of the family was Big Jim McDonald, violent guy. You wouldn't wanna get on da wrong side a him when he got a spade in his hand. Den there was his 'moll' as they used to call 'em. She was Legs McDonald. She controlled da prostitution side. Then there was little Stevie who headed up the narcotics side of da business. Little Stevie had been in the pen, the big house, you know? People said Detective McKenna and his boys from the FBI was gonna come for that kid again real soon, but he always kinda kept one step ahead.

There was this punk Scarface Duckworth, who crossed Big Jim in some business deal or other, you know what happened to him? He woke up one day with the head of his favourite pigeon right there in da bed with him. Sure, it was so small, it took him three days to find it there, but it scared that dude real good!

The Family had another scam, which was da numbers racket, you know, illegal gamblin' and such. Dis was run by a kinda associate of Big Jim, she was a broad called Big Red Sullivan. It was mostly scratchcards and spot da ball, you know, but it used to bring in big bucks. She'd offer cigarettes on da side, and maybe one or two greetings cards. She was one ruthless dame.

But da biggest racket of all was bootleg hotpot. When Granada banned it, it all just went underground. One day you could get it any place, next day you had to know a man who knew a man, you know what I'm sayin'? The man at the end of the line would mostly be Babyface Brian Park. Him and Big Jim McDonald had quite a turf war goin' on for control of da moonshine hotpot business, I can tell ya. Dese punks these days think that drive-by's are a new thing? Nah, it was goin' on in dem days too. Park would send Battersby Gamboni and his two punk kids out to do a drive-by on his enemies. Dis consisted of drivin' past and playin' their automobile stereo real loud to annoy the bootleg hotpotters out there, and slow down production. Man da guy was mean, I'm tellin' ya!

But da crime which folks remember to dis day, and still talk about is da famous St Granada's Day Massacre. Park lured lot o' members of da McDonald gang into a bar. They thought they were gonna get a piece o' the action in a new series, but hey, Park just rubbed 'em all out. There and then. Wasted 'em all. The floor was littered with, y'know, pieces of contracts. (Wipes away a tear) I'll never forget some a dem guys. Doze guys never knew what hit 'em, thank god. They were just kinda terminated there and then. We lost a lot a good guys that day. Little Peewee Sugden, Mikey (the Weasel) Baldwin, da flick knife expert Italian Dirk Wiltoni and Big Jim's closest associate and right hand man, Billy (machine-gun) Websterelli. All gone.

But in them days, you know, life on The Street was tough, but you had honour, you had respect. Folks knew where dey were, know what I mean? But dese days? I wouldn't wanna be on The Street dese's all changed

Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 30 July 97:

In the imaginatively named Corner Shop mother and daughter are wondering where Sally might have got to. The mother in question is wearing a yellow hat which seems to adversely affect her frame of mind for the entire episode. She does the grumpy-old-bag routine throughout! Maud is being most unsympathetic about Sally's situation when Ken arrives, carrying Daniel. He's looking pretty fraught, as though he's rapidly coming to the end of his patience where Danny Boy is concerned. Maureen takes Daniel for a little tour of the shop. I must say the youngster is looking bonny. Scotland clearly agrees with him! The reason for Sally's late arrival is that she has been round to the knicker factory. (My spell checker never likes the singular noun 'knicker' and always begs me to change it for a word it recognises.) She has pleaded with Mike and Angie to take her on in any capacity they see fit, so within the hour, she's a humble machinist again.

Sally then comes to the shop to tell M and M (although one of them is far from candy-coated today) that she has been offered a full time job with better pay. Maud is pretty scathing again, but Maureen defends Sally. Maud witters on about single mothers being nothing new, and then about the war years. "What we need is another war" she declares! She reckons the war years were the halcyon days of community spirit and mutual support. Her annoyance at Sally even affects her appetite to the extent of turning her off her hotpot in the pub.

Then we see Sally hard at work in the factory slaving over a hot Singer, (!) still wearing her wedding ring, I noticed! While Baldwin is wondering how she will measure up as a possible spy in the ranks, Sally stands up and makes an unsolicited policy statement about why she's working there, to a stunned workforce.

Earlier in the day, Steve spots Soppy Al in the street and, wishing to avoid him, hastily gets into the works van and drives away. Later, despite Fiona telling Al not to get involved, Al grips Steve warmly by the throat and bashes his head against the van to emphasise certain syllables. Steve's eyes roll about, as you would hope they would being Steve's eyes, but it's in a kind of optical shorthand which we regular viewers understand as saying "gosh, officer, I do wish you'd stop treating me this way!"

Things get more violent and Steve lashes out. But Al's superior training comes into play, and he lands a few body blows on the cowering young McDonald. It is then that Big Jim weighs in, raising a threatening fist to the ever-grinning Geordie. Jim threatens to break Al's neck. Things calm down, and Al tells Steve that was his final warning. Both McDonalds disappear indoors, and Jim closes it behind him with a blood-curdling sneer in the direction of the dippy detective.

Fiona is very cross at this display of public fisticuffs, and says that now it is even more important for them to move away from Weatherfield. Al says he did it for her, and that Steve needed to be told. Oh Al, it's not the way!

Deirdre and Jon arrive at his house. An airliner passes overhead. "A British Airways 737 on its way to Warsaw!" ejaculates Jon with the air of one who knows. I hope someone well versed in plane-spotting will be in a position to refute this positive sighting, and tell us the actual truth is that the plane in question was an Air Zimbabwe Tristar bound for Bulawayo with a cargo of industrial adhesives, or something!

Well, the house is lovely, and Deirdre is in detached mock-tudor heaven.

She asks him for a corkscrew. I thought this was something along the lines of the Mile High Club, but it turns out she simply wants to open a bottle.... of RED WINE! Calmly, he searches every kitchen drawer until he happens to find one. He even tries to open a dummy drawer! Clearly, it's not his gaff! Although there is a little model airliner on the window-sill, Sherlock Deirdre spots unopened mail addressed to a Mr and Mrs Jenkins. Jon lies that they were the previous owners. Later we see the two of them, (J and D that is, not Mr and Mrs Jenkins) seated on a rustic bench in some romantic corner of 'his' garden. The corkscrew has done its stuff, as Deirdre is sipping a glass of the wine. He is saying something along the lines of the place being so big, it would be nice to have someone to come home to, and she gladly accepts his offer with a whopping big kiss.

Her's is a happy neck.

Fred makes a kind of date with Maureen. She's anxious about his on-going infirmity, but he assures her of his vigour with the words "I fought dysentery through the Suez Crisis" She looks suitably impressed, so he presents himself at the Corner Shop at 6.00, just as Maureen has packed her mum off in a taxi. Rita comes in to find him behind the counter and ready to serve. All she wants is some milk, but Fred tries hard to remind her of other household requisites she may need. As she leaves, she imagines aloud the names Elliott and Holdsworth over the shop door. Fred is intrigued and deploys one of his facial expressions accordingly.

It's while Rita is in the shop that she learns of Sally's new place of employment. So later we see her and Sally having a drink together in the pub. "A solicitor's what you need laydeh!" she says, and adds she will contact her chap on Sally's behalf in the morning.

Back in the shop, Janice chooses goods to the value of 12 pounds 45 pence. Finding herself short of cash, she asks for tick, the slate... CREDIT. Maureen dithers but Fred wades in with a most resolute refusal, as though it were anything to do with him, but Maureen is grateful to him.

Egged on by his accomplice Angie, Des finally plucks up the courage to ask Samantha for a date. Without hesitation, she accepts, suggests Friday and moves right on to serving the next customer. Des is very happy indeed, and Angie shares his feeling of well-being. They arrive home to find Chris moping about, listening to music, and being very negative about the good tidings. Des has high hopes for a successful romantic alliance with Sam, but Chris is conscious of the lack of privacy afforded to him and Angie, so he stalks off upstairs. Angie says he'll be up there reading Dostoyevsky. Blimey! If I'm in a sulk, I find it far more effective to go into another room and play Jailhouse Rock bloody loud! Does the trick for me every time.

As Ken is slumbering on the sofa, we see the angel-faced young Danny Boy fiddling with the electrical wall socket. With the electrical demise of one of his ex-wives uppermost in his mind, Ken sees the imminent danger and springs to his rescue. It is then the phone rings, and it's Denise. By now Ken is ready to admit defeat and asks if she can have the boy back sooner than planned. Says the frazzled Ken, "I'll bring him back... sooner rather than later."

It was hardly a cliff-hanger ending of vintage gravity, but there we end, nonetheless.

That's yer lot.

Next week I shall be on holiday. Well, more a stay in a clinic than a holiday, but my therapist tells me to try to remain positive if I can. There's so much they can do with high voltage these days, apparently.

The wit and deep-fried Glasgow wisdom of Fiona Hamilton will grace your screens this time next week.

Good night and I love you all, Nigel

Written by Paul Baker, Nigel Worsford, Helen Johns and Kevin Albertson
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