A THOUSAND GREETINGS and here we are in October already!
The people at QVC, The TV Shopping Channel phoned me and said they would be interested in selling some of my updates on one of their 'Special Interest' hour-long slots, and would I like to supply them with some stock and come along to the studio to appear on the programme and promote the product.
I'm sure you've all seen QVC or something like it, well so have I, and I was filled with anxiety because of the way the presenters have to talk and talk endlessly about every feature, real or imagined, of the product they're pushing.
I don't think I was very good at that TV selling game. I was far too honest, and not given to mindless hyperbole, which is the fundamental requirement of these presenters. Here's how it went:
Jackie; Well viewers, we've got something really special for you today on QVC. It's something we've never offered before to the great British public, and it's something we're very excited about here at QVC. Everyone knows Coronation Street and we all love it right... don't we?.... well with me in the studio today, and I'm just so excited about meeting him is Nigel Wormshole.
Jackie: Bless you! As I was saying, we have Nigel Wormshole who actually writes updates about the programme almost every Wednesday without fail actually, and also makes it just absolutely hilarious as well at the same time.
(Camera cuts to me and I grin nervously. The floor manager has advised I really will look better if I take my rabbit-trimmed anorak and blue beret off, so I have complied)
Jackie: Well what he's done, after people saying he should do it, has actually printed them and made them available for sale! Can you tell us some more about them Nigel?
Me: Yes... er... thank you Jackie... well I started writing them as a bit of a lark really, just under a year ago, and sending them out all over the world on the internet.
Jackie: Bob... Bob... have we got a picture of the internet we can zoom in on, just to show the viewers? Bob?
Bob: (the cameraman) Sorry Jackie, we haven't actually got a picture of the internet right now, no.
Me: Well, you couldn't really have a picture of it could you? haha!
Me: Well, as I say, in response to public demand, I have printed up lots of old updates and now... well... here they are!
Jackie: Yes indeed Nigel, here they are indeed, and I'm holding one of them here... can you get in close on that Bob? I don't know if the viewers at home can see this at home, but it really is very neatly typed. You can all see the price in the red box on the screen. It's just £9.95 for one, or £24.95 for any three updates, plus postage and packing of just £8.50. Don't forget though, these updates are not available in any shop or store anywhere, not even those airport malls or anywhere okay? Nowhere is where you can get them except here. I know a lot of you viewers like to know the size of what you're buying before you buy, so here's my trusty QVC ruler, and I'll just measure them for you. Its.... about 8 inches by..... about 10 and a half inches. So that's the size of them if you're thinking of ordering. Is there a special term for that size Nigel?
Me: Yes... it's called A4
Jackie: A4, so there you have it, a special size for a special product! So there you have it viewers straight from the horses mouth, that's the size. So if you want to order, the number is still on the screen. 576232 and just ask our telephone operators for Hilarious Corrie updates. And they really are quite hilarious aren't they Nigel...would you say that was one of their main features, how hilarious they are?
Me: Well, I don't know about that. Some people like them, but some people write to me and tell me it's a load of old cr..
Jackie: Well I hate to stop you there Nigel, but I must tell the viewers that half the stock is gone already, so that's virtually almost 50 percent already gone, so they're just going so quickly. I think QVC viewers know a real quality product when they see it, and here they are really seeing it here. Can we just have a closer look at what's actually on the page? The studio lights are very strong here, and the pages do trend to curl up a little at the corners, but Nigel assures me that in normal home environment conditions of the averagely heated normal home, this probably almost certainly wouldn't occur.
Jackie: So like I was saying, just look at this text here... you've got it all in here, in this one document, there are some long words, and lots of short ones as well in addition. Nigel about how often in the text does something hilarious actually appear?
Me: Well, ...er it's not really like that, it's just an overall sort of amusing style, hopefully, really. I did one pretending to be Australian, one about being trapped in a health farm and not being able to escape, one about Update Burger Bars, and that sort of thing. Just daft ideas really, that's all they are.
Jackie: Viewers, you can see Nigel is just being modest here. I actually myself bought the full set of updates as soon as I saw them because I just knew my dear old mum would like them. She always watches Coronation Street, and she doesn't get out much, so they can really be an excellent present idea for that very special person you love the most. So there you go, if there's someone very special in your life, or even possibly in your family, and you just want to say 'I love you' it could even be your wife... or even your husband in fact... there you are.... maybe at Christmas or a birthday or someone's just come out of hospital or anything really, this is the perfect gift you can actually give them. It will give them quite a hilarious laugh and tell them what happened on their favourite TV programme, seven months ago, which could be very handy anyway. You know how it is, when you've been watching a soap for ages and someone comes on and you've forgotten who he is, or whether he ever found that whippet he lost, well you can look back at Nigel's Street updates and get a big hilarious laugh as well, at the same time. Everyone here at QVC loves them and we've all been reading them before we came on air this afternoon. To be honest, and to be quite honest we just adored them. They really are very neat, and the best thing is some of them aren't too long at all. You can read them on the train going to work, and even in the car going on family holidays. You could actually keep the kids quiet on long journeys. All you'd have to do is read them out loud and the kids would have to shout "Olley Olley Olley" when it came to a bit that was hilarious!
Nigel, quite honestly, do you think these updates might even cure a sick friend, because I was just thinking I have a sick friend, and actually something like this which is just such a good quality thing to give someone might actually make them better. Or what a lot of people will be doing is to start a collection. Hang on... I'm getting told... that over half the stock is absolutely gone, so soon there will be only two- thirds left obviously, and when that last quarter is gone, that will be it. There it is on the screen, number 576232, and tell the operator which edition you want, or whether you want to plump for a set of three to start off your collection, which is probably something you would like to pass on to your children.
Let's just check through all the features again for anyone who might have just come in from work and wonders what all the fuss is about......
It was at this point I could take no more, and asked for my beret. Between you and me they never sold any! Though someone from Holland did phone while we were on air, it turned out to be a wrong number. It was a man who claimed to be terribly lonely and were there any Filipino girls available?
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 1.10.97
Tonight's episode begins with the early morning papers and ends with dark menace in the frozen pie department! Read on!
We begin with Rita, at the crack of dawn, getting the early morning paper boys away on their rounds. Thinking Rita should be miles away in Cartmel, Ken and Emily come over to investigate, and she tells them the bed and breakfast idea is now defunct, and that Mavis is still up there tying up the loose ends, prior to returning to Weatherfield.
Kevin and Chris have a conversation under a car which is having some welding done. The subject is Bill's soon-to-be vacant flat, and the possibility of Chris taking up residence there. Later in the day, Fred shows Chris round said flat and it is quite obviously to his liking, so he agrees to take it. That means Sally has to be told that he will no longer need to kip down at her place. This telling takes place in the pub during the evening. Angie is with Chris, and she advises him to tell Sally as tactfully as possible, which he does, but Sally is clearly disappointed at the news. She has lost a valuable shoulder to cry on.
At Sally's house, Bill is telling her about his decision to leave, and he vows never to side with Kevin just because he's his son. Sally seems to appreciate this. He hints that his move is linked to his feelings for Maureen in some way. Bill blinks back a tear after telling Rosie and Sophie that he's going to live in Germany. He tells them to look after their mother, and they trip off to school, having apparently forgotten him already! Typical kids! He and Sally have a hug. She says she'll miss him.
Mavis breezes in to the Kabin, looking very pleased with herself. Chuffed, you might almost say. Little by little, Rita gets the idea that Mavis has decided to 'go it alone' with regard to the bed and breakfast plan. She has spoken to a bank manager about financing the half that Rita would have contributed, and it's all systems go! Having consulted next week's Radio Times, I can tell you she'll be leaving the show next Friday 10.10.97, after 26 years as a regular. Rita is surprised to learn of Mavis's plans, and puts forward all the negative points she can think of, but Mavis will not be swayed! She's making a go of it... alone.
The other principal story line which has been taking shape over the last few episodes has been Maureen's slow realisation that she has made a dreadful mistake in marrying Fred.
He bursts into the Corner Shop announcing that the cavalry's arrived! In a trice, he starts straightening Maureen's labels, so that they all face front uniformly on the shelves. Natalie comes in for red wine and biscuits, and receives the sharp edge of Maud's tongue into the bargain. She has a go at her about kicking Sally when she's down, and all that sort of stuff.
But in the back room, all is certainly not well for the newlyweds. Maureen even tells Fred how the way he keeps repeating everything is so irritating. He says he doesn't know he's doing it, and asks forlornly if there are any other little habits which annoy her. Before Fred leaves, he has a little scene with Bill, where Bill only just restrains himself from bopping Fred right on the nose!
But Maureen is clearly very down, and when Fred's gone she breaks down and cries to her mother. A girl needs her mum at times like these! She admits that it was all a big mistake, and doesn't know what she is to do.
The next time we see Mr E, he has been to the travel agent and provisionally booked a trip to Amsterdam, as a proper honeymoon, and as a period of adjustment, which they weren't able to have in their actual one-night local honeymoon. He extols the virtues of sipping egg flip beside the canals of Amsterdam, and the famous nocturnal attractions (!) but Maureen is unmoved until later in the pub when she finally agrees to go.
Natalie makes an appearance at the factory, where she wants to have a word with Sally. Maybe it was the interference of Maud a while earlier, but she actually tells Sally that she will withdraw all charges against her, and that will be the end of the matter. A rather surprised Sally acknowledges these good tidings.
Then comes the main much-advertised story line of Mad Don's Escape! Don tricks his nurse/guard into thinking he's drifted off to sleep, after boring the poor bloke half to death with his ramblings. The nurse sneaks away for a smoke, when he meets Martin in the corridor. When the guy goes back to check on his charge, he's gone! Disappeared.
It later emerges he's pinched a porter's clothes and some cash and 'had it away on his toes' to use underworld parlance. They call security, but it's too late. He away free! Martin calls at the cafe to alert Gail to the news and she looks suitably anxious. "He could be in the broom cupboard, he could be on the roof" asserts Martin, as though it weren't enough that he has escaped, now he could be on the roof!
The news of Don's escape starts to circulate round the pub later that evening. Mike is very anxious to hear of it, and hopes he will be found dead in the morning! Ashley feels sorry for the fake-footed fugitive. Remember The Fugitive TV show in the sixties? They were always looking for this bloke with one arm, and it was a Quinn/Martin Production, as they so proudly told us every week, at the end of the programme. Now, 30 years later it's a Gail/Martin Production and it's a one-legged man they're looking for!
The final scene takes place at Firmans, where Kevin and Natalie are buying olives and considering the purchase of cheap champagne. It is just five minutes to closing time, and little do they know what is in store. Chatting and laughing, they leave the shop, but in a dark corner of the store, a dishevelled figure appears in a doorway. He is unshaven. He is wearing shabby clothes, befitting a hospital porter... in his eyes is the wild stare of a deranged and discredited ex- cabby with a plastic foot and a clapped out pancreas!
He spots a poster of Alma on the wall, and takes it down. He looks furtively around. His unsuspecting quarry is but a few feet away, nonchalantly tidying away a couple of low calorie instant frozen meals which have been carelessly left on top of one of the freezer cabinets.
She does not see The Beast.
He looks. He lurks. He reaches down. He slowly unscrews his plastic foot and brings it crashing down on her head! (Alright I made that bit up... but you must admit it's a brill idea!) As for what he really does next, you'll just have to wait until Friday!
That's yer lot - Good night and I love you all.
Hello again. What a weekend! My ears are still ringing. Last night (Sunday) Mike and I went to Wembley Arena to see Bob Dylan. The old timer is still on the road, and still playing to packed houses. It was loud - well not loud, but bypass your ears and straight to the diaphragm loud! Nevertheless highly enjoyable. So here goes with the update from me:
Mayfield Court: Fred hovers uneasily as Maureen and Maud begin to unpack Maud's belongings. She is moving into a groundfloor room which opens onto a pleasant courtyard. Maud kindly shoos Fred out to his butcher's shop. Maureen tearfully asks her mum to allow her to stay with her tonight.
Flat: Alma confesses to Mike that she went to visit Don in hospital. As Alma predicted, Mike went berserk, despite Alma's protests that Don wouldn't hurt anyone now because he's a dying man. Mike is not convinced, reasoning that if Don wanted to die quietly, he wouldn't have escaped.
Flat: Relations between Rita and Mavis are frosty. Rita dispenses some business advice which is not well received. Rita tries to express her concern for Mavis, but it is brushed aside, and Mavis flounces off with a meanspirited, nasty little dig at Rita.
Mayfield Court: Maud tries to help Maureen decide what to do about her marriage. Maureen knows that after 10 days she has had enough. Maud urges Maureen to think about the rest of her life, and take some decisive action.
Flat: Alma wants to answer the ringing telephone, but Mike stops her, saying it could be Brennan. She answers it anyway but it goes dead. Mike dials 1471 to find out who called, but gets the message 'The caller withheld their number' which convinces Mike that Don is indeed stalking them. He decides that Alma should accompany him to work.
Kabin: Mavis takes over from Ken, who has been helping Rita while Mavis sorts out the arrangements for her move. Ken is surprised to hear Mavis is going on her own, but she is just exasperated that no-one has any faith in her. Mavis launches into another unprovoked attack on Rita, accusing her of spoiling many things for her (Mavis) over the past 25 years, but, she vows, 'not this one!'
Shop: Bill makes arrangements to leave his key. He realises that Maureen is unhappy and offers her a solution. He asks her to leave everything behind and go to Germany with him that night. She just keeps repeating 'I'm married' and Bill tells her he has always thought a lot about her, and that whatever she decides to do, he will understand.
School: Don lurks outside the school and calls Sarah-Lou over; gives her sweets and invites her to go for chips with him. Her friend's mum, who she was supposed to be with, is quite happy for Sarah to go off with her Grandad.
Rovers: Angie and Chris speculate about the latest on Don. Chris reckons that Mike Baldwin had better watch out, but Angie scoffs that he has been watching too much television. Fred tries to interest Maureen in the attractions of Amsterdam, but she doesn't seem impressed. (I went there on my honeymoon with Mike, by the way. Three nights in February - freezing cold!) He wonders if she would rather do something else, but she wearily agrees Amsterdam will be fine.
Garage: Bill goes to say his goodbyes to Kevin. After some superficial chat, Bill says what has been on his mind. He feels Kevin has make a big mistake, leaving Sally and the children for Natalie. Kevin reminds his Dad that he has to live his own life now. Bill observes that if Kevin had taken a garage somewhere else, it wouldn't be so hurtful for Sally. Kevin acidly retorts that Sally could have stayed in Scarborough, and that he will never give up Natalie. Bill abandons the fight and promises to pass on his address; Kevin agrees to keep in touch.
School: Don returns Sarah to her school. He makes her promise to keep his visit a secret. he says he has to go now - a long way away. But first, he has something to do........
Rovers: Jim and Steve make fun of Bill as he seems edgy and nervous about going away to start afresh. Audrey tries to get Mavis to spill the beans on why her and Rita have fallen out, but Mavis laughs it off. Ken confirms that everything in the shop is OK. Mavis asserts that even though it has been 25 years, she and Rita are not joined at the hip. Mavis implies that Rita has been selfish at times and regrets not breaking away sooner.
Shop: Maureen dithers about leaving the country, although she has packed a bag, on the pretext of staying with Maud. Maud encourages her to go. Maureen looks taken aback when Maud declares she loves her and wants her to go and be happy with Bill. A lovely tender scene between mother and daughter.
Garage/Street: Mike has scratched his car, and is upset when Chris tells him it will take a week to fix. Alma drags him off to the pub and on the way they meet Sarah-Lou and Gail. Mike wants to know the latest news, so Gail sends Sarah off to admire Judy's baby, and takes no notice when Sarah chants 'I know something you don't know.' Gail informs Mike that Don is still at large. Down the street, the taxi draws up at the Rovers. (It is supposed to be 8 o'clock, but it is still broad daylight!) Bill and Jim have an extended farewell, and Mike, Alma and Gail also wish Bill well. The taxi moves off down the street and Maureen emerges from the shop to flag him down. She asks if he still wants her to go, and he replies that of course he does. They are driven away, holding hands, watched by Gail, Judy, Sarah and Jim. Maud sighs contentedly from the shop doorway. Credits.
Episode written by Catherine Hayes.
Here is the news for Sunday the 5th of October, and this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it. In tonight's main headlines:
Ashley is concerned about Fred and Don
Ken is concerned about Dierdre and Jon
Rita is concerned about Mavis
Percy is concerned about Emily
Des and Sam return
Ashley is concerned about Fred and Don
Eyewitnesses have reported seeing the demented ex-cabbie Don Brennan going into Fred's butcher shop while young Ashley was closing up. Fears over Ashley's safety proved groundless, however, when he emerged unscathed. Later Ashley had the misfortune to call on his uncle Fred, soon after the news of Maureen's elopement broke. For a first-hand account of Ashley's harrowing day, we hand over now to your roving reporter, Tom Good who has Ashley with him in the radio car. Over to you Tom.
Thank you very much Jerry. Ashley, not one of the best of days eh?
"A bit draining Tom, yeah".
Tell us what happened when Don came into the shop.
"I had my back to the door, as I so often do when mad cabbies come calling, and I heard someone come in. I called out, 'We're closed' when I heard this voice wheeze my name. When I turned around I saw it was Don".
What did Don do?
"First he picked up this knife and I worried he might do himself some damage, then I worried he might do me some damage. I tried to get him to let me call the hospital, but he just kept on repeating that he had to be free to die.
"Poor old Don. he had gone back to his house, only to be told to naff off by Les. I don't even know what happened to his stuff. I suppose it got sold down at auction or something. He's got nowhere to go now. But he told me he wasn't going back to the hospital".
Did he seem to hold any grudges against you or anyone else in the street?
"No, he seemed right friendly to me. Even gave me some of his great advice about joining the army. He reckons I should move on in life, out of Weatherfield. But I think his mind was just wandering.
"After I had calmed him down a bit, he said he was leaving for a place by the coast where he could die in peace. Gave me a big hug when he left. A bit worrying that actually, as he still had a knife gripped in his right hand when he hugged me. Still, I managed to get the knife back before he left".
And then I understand you had to provide a shoulder for you uncle to cry on.
"Poor old Uncle Fred. I've never seen him so upset. You know he never repeated himself at all today. He blames himself. He said he gave Maureen everything she wanted, but maybe it is like Maude says, 'It were Maureen's mistake thinking she wanted it'".
Thank you Ashley. Now it's back to you Jerry
Ken is concerned about Dierdre and Jon
At Ringway to pick up Mrs Aristeodou, (no relation), Ken was surprised and, truth to tell, a little pleased to see Jon at work in the Tie and Fly today. Armed with his irrefutable evidence that Jon is not all he claims, Ken tried to tell the news to Deirdre in "The Rover's". However Dierdre gave him no chance to break her dreams and heart. Wounded by Ken's gentle probing about Jon's honesty, she responded that Ken had forgotten what being in love was like.
Rita is concerned about Mavis
The rift between Macho Mavis and Rough Rita widened further today. Sources close to the couple have told us that their relationship has deteriorated to the extent that they can even argue about the farewell party Mavis plans for next Wednesday. Rita is allegedly upset that Mavis felt the need to plan her own party. Conversely Mavis is annoyed that Rita apparantly feels that Mavis hasn't got what it takes to plan her way out of a paper bag.
Earlier today I spoke to Des Barnes, recently returned with Sam from a boating holiday 'round the Cheshire Ring. Since returning Des has become an unwitting pawn in the power struggle between the "Storekeeper and her Apprentice".
Des, welcome back to dry land.
"Thanks Jerry. I've had the ride of me life this last few weeks, but it is good to be back. I'm worn out".
Yeah, well this is a family show remember. I say, this is a family show! Tell us how you got mixed up in the debate between Rita and Mavis.
"I was just trying to help, Jerry. Rita came up to me in 'The Rover's' and bought me a drink, then confided in me that she felt Mavis had decided to go ahead with the B&Bidea for the wrong reasons. Rita seems to think that Mavis is only doing it to prove that she is independent and able to think for herself; That she is able to run her life without Rita's help. Rita asked me to have a quiet word, which I did".
But it didn't go too well?
"No! No sooner had I asked Mavis if this is what she really wants than she rounded on me and asked 'Have you been talking to Rita?' I owned up and admitted that I had. Really, I have to admire Mavis' determination. She might make a mess of it, but she is determined to give it her best shot. And who are we to try to stand in her way or even 'protect her from herself'? So, good luck to her I say".
Percy is concerned about Emily
A shock today for Percy Sugden as he groped about on the couch for his TV remote control. Percy and Emily, out all day at a hospital fair returned home to find that the colour on their TV had been maladjusted. Each blamed the other. Evidence to hand, however, suggests that all is not as meets the eye. Percy discovered an empy vodka bottle stuffed down the side of the sofa.
Some insiders blame the ghost of Ivy Brennan, other sources point to the fact the Les was known to have spent his afternoon watching TV at a "friend's" place. "The Rover's", staff recalled that, over dinner, Les was quizzing Percy on long the fair lasted. Could it be that Percy has friends he didn't know he had? Proponents of the Ivy theory point out that it was the colour, not the volume, of the set that had been maladjusted.
Early morning on Coronation Street. It must be early 'cos the milk float is wending it's way along the cobbles. A grubby shambling figure lurks in the ginnel between the Kabin and the garage. It is Don Brennan. Mike Baldwin pulls up outside the factory in Almas car and steps from the vehicle. Dons face lights up as he sees his chance for revenge. He picks up a brick but is interrupted by another vehicle pulling up. It's a delivery for the factory. Loitering in on the conversation, Don learns that the delivery had to be early as the driver has other drops to do and Mike meets him outside the factory and that there will be another drop on Thursday!!
Ken begins to dial The Drear's phone no but stops halfway through. he is obviously unsure if he should tell her about Jon or not.
Ashley finds Mike in The Kabin and tells him of Don's visit to the butchers shop. Mike tells him that, if he sees him again, to phone him straight away and to phone the police.
Ken bumps into Deidrie in the pub and casually enquires if she has heard from Jon. She tells him that he phoned her from Singapore last night. She asks why he wants to know but Ken says he is just making conversation!
We them cut to a shot of Emily knelt at the grave of Ernest Bishop. I guess many of you won't remember Ernest but he was a great character and I'm not exaggerating when I say that he and Emily were as perfectly matched as Derek and Mavis were. Of course, there were nitwit storyliners even then who also decided that a good double act should be rent asunder for the sake of a few extra viewers. She is tidying his grave before winter comes on when she spots someone stood over by another grave. It's Don, stood by the Grave of R Brian and Pope Ivy who, it would appear, have been buried with each other. (There is something about the thought of Lynne Perrie lying on top of Chris Quienten that is quite disturbing, don't you agree?). She approaches him and he rambles on about all the women in his life letting him down etc before running off, well, limping off.
Back in the pub, Percy is still wittering on about the TV colour and Les tries to sell him a cure, a black and white television! Audreh comments to Maud that she agrees that Maureen was not right for fred, but has a different view to most. She tells Maud that Maureen would never have fitted in the sort of circles she, Alfeh and Fred have to move in with their Square dealer ties.
The name's Barlow, Private Investigator. Ken returns to the airport and watches the tie shop. Sure enough, our pilot chum is working behind the counter, When Jon is absent from the shop, Ken speaks to the assistant and ascertains that he is, in fact, the manager.
Alma returns home from shopping carrying a couple of heavy bags, (and she has a matching pair in her hands!). She goes to raise the blinds and is horrified to see Don standing in the street below. She immediately phones Mike who tells her to call the police and races home. The police arrive promptly but are no match for a one legged man doubled up with cancer and are unable to find him. Mike is furious but the police say that they are probably not in any real danger from him. When they leave, Mike wants Alma to come and stay in the factory all afternoon but she doesn't want to but says she will stay in the cafe where there are plenty of people about.
Ken asks Emily round and she tells him about her encounter with Don. He gives her a brandy and tells her about Jon and Emily advises him that he 'must' tell Deidrie as soon as possible as who knows what he might be up to. Later in the pub Percy asks Ken if he knows if Emily has had a drink today, Ken says yes, she had some brandy. Percy tells him about the empty bottle in the side of the chair and that he thinks Mrs B is hitting the bottle, Ken is sceptical to say the least.
Ashley visits Fred but he is in a morose state and drinking heavily. (Red wine! I shouldn't stay the night, Ashley! ). He even refuses food so he 'must' be bad.
In the Rovers, Audrey asks Rita if she is invited to Mavis's party and she tells her that she assumes so. Later, Mavis has another hissy fit at Rita for inviting Audrey when it was 'her' job to do so. Mike and Alma enter the pub. Mike is wound up over Don and accuses Martin of being in on his escape, Martin squares up to Mike and Betty tells Mike to go.
Over at the factory, Angie receives a call from the supplier asking if they can change the Thursday early am delivery to Wednesday. She tells them no problem and she'll be sure to ensure that Mike will be waiting to meet them. The camera then cuts to the caller. 'Not' the delivery company but Don! He leers evily as he leaves the phone box!
Precious little humour again and the prospect of more violence on Wednesday. How much longer can this go on? :-(
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and I hope you've had a wonderful week.
If you're anywhere near as old as me, you will recall one of the most dreadful records ever made, where the bloke was singing his heart out, saying goodbye to his family and his sweetheart, as he was fixin' to die soon!
(For example, "Goodbye Michelle, it's hard to die, when all the birds are singing in the sky"...you get the idea.) It was by someone called Terry Jacks and it was called Seasons in the Sun. Remember?
This week, it has been re-released, with the same tune, but with new lyrics by none other than Don Brennan!
If you don't know it, my sincere apologies. If you do know it, please sing along!!
Good bye dear nurse, now do not scoff.
I nicked some clothes and then I buggered off.
You looked for me and I was gone.
I know it may seem quite a drag,
But you sneaked off to have a fag.
I'm a nut, I'm a liar,
I set factories on fire
But I'm having so much fun
As a grandad on the run.
Hi Sarah Lou, I'm in the pink!
I drove my taxi right into the drink.
To top myself and Alma too.
The water turned my stump dark blue
Now my foot's held on with glue!
I'm a nut, I'm a liar,
I set factories on fire
But I'm having so much fun
As a fruitcake on the run.
Goodbye Ashley, my trusted friend,
That old bitch Ivy sent me round the bend.
And now my brain has turned to soup.
No more cabbying for me
I was banged-up but now I'm free.
I'm a nut, I'm a liar,
I set factories on fire
But I'm having so much fun
One last scene and I'll be done.
Oh help me Gail I'm in poor shape
Bung me a score and help me to escape.
I know my state is somewhat dire
'cos I set buildings off on fire
At least now Alma is much drier!
I'm a nut, I'm a liar,
I set factories on fire
But now life is so much fun
For a loony on the run.
Oh Ivy dear,
I'll see you soon
Your lower lip is like a toy balloon.
I'll be with you before too long.
You'll be in my arms once again
But you'll have sex with younger men!
I am daft, I am sad
I am seriously mad.
But now life is so sweet
Back on Coronation Street
You know I'm not the kind to gloat,
I tried to see if Baldwin's wife would float.
But we both survived the dip.
I filled her timid heart with dread
But by next Monday I'll be dead!
It's been joy, it's been fun
But Don Brennan's days are done.
It was such a fine role
Now Geoff Hinsliff's on the dole!
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 8.10.97
We begin with Mike peering out the factory window, talking to Angie, and musing that Dangerously Daft Don Brennan is out there somewhere. He's got a gut feeling that he'll try to get Alma. Angie says if Don's selling the Big Issue, then he'll be as good as invisible. This is social comment on the plight of the homeless from Ms Freeman. For the benefit of overseas viewers, the Big Issue is a magazine publication which is sold on the streets of most large towns and every city in the UK, by homeless people. It concerns itself with issues relevant to them, and attempts to raise public awareness of their plight, and earn them some commission on the actual sales, at the same time. Angie was referring to the way no one ever seems to look a homeless person in the face.
She suggests taking Alma away to a place of safety until he's re-captured, and Mike says he'd do just that, if only Alma would agree to go.
Fred his slipped deeper into a veritable slough of despond. A trough, a depression. (Hopefully one of those expressions of his melancholic state will be apposite!) He's hitting the hard stuff, much to the alarm of Ashley, who tries to suggest they might go out to the pub, to cheer him up. He declares in his boomiest voice that he will never set foot there again, fearing the jibes of fellow drinkers, as they speculate that perhaps he couldn't satisfy his young wife! "A cruel sort of cattle, us human beings.." he declares.
Maud glides through the door at this point. She has come, not with a message from her daughter as Fred wrongly guesses, but to tell him to pull himself together, and to 'soldier on'. Fred cannot see past his self-pity however.
It's the evening of Mavis's going-away party at Rita's place. Mavis is anxious about whether they have got the right kind of sherry, which leads to a rather frosty exchange, were Rita tells her in no uncertain terms to stop wittering; to stop clucking.
Emily arrives at Ken's, carrying Mavis's leaving gift, all nicely wrapped in blue paper, with a matching bow. (The gift, not Emily!) They have a brief word about how to break the devastating news to Deirdre, and Ken offers Emily a brandy while she waits for him to get ready.
Soon Percy arrives.
Ken offers him a drink as well, but Emily holds up an empty brandy bottle! It's clear she hasn't finished it, but that's naturally the impression Percy forms. There appears to be a mystery boozer going from house to house leaving empty bottles of spirit in his/her wake. Did I use the word spirit? Are we talking 'GHOSTS' here?? What will next week bring, I wonder? I see a somewhat supernatural twist in store!
So at the party, Mavis is slagging off Rita, and Rita is slagging off Mavis, and they're both talking as if they'll be very glad to see the back of each other. The sherry question comes up again, with sarcastic remarks from both women, until they decide they have both been a bit 'difficult' recently, and call a truce. They both swallow hard and look near to tears as they embrace and vow to be pals for ever!
Jon and Deirdre arrive, looking as happy as ever. Jon accepts only a beer. He is wearing his counterfeit pilot's clobber, and claims he has to fly tomorrow. Ken addresses him as 'Captain' and asks him if there's much turbulence around at the moment. Jon gives a very brief reply, and beats a hasty retreat, munching on a Twiglet.
Never the man to miss the opportunity to make yet another speech, Ken says a few words. The gift is handed over, and it turns out to be a framed black and white print from who-knows-when of Rita and Mavis together. They both look about 25 years younger in the picture, so that will give you some idea. Ernest, Emily's long-dead husband took the picture. Maybe she's just got the pictures back from the chemists?
Leanne and Toyah breeze into the Corner Shop. Leanne is wondering about the prospects of her being taken on there, as there is a vacancy being advertised. Maud leaves her in no doubt that there's precious little chance of her being employed. "Shoplifting is more in your line" she tells her. Leanne becomes abusive, and they leave, just as Chris enters the shop.
A few moments later, they are displaying themselves outside their front door, to watch Chris walk by. "My sister fancies you" whines Toyah. "She says you've got nice buns!" I have to be honest here and confess I am not 100 % au fait with this anatomical euphemism. Hopefully some kind person will enlighten me before too long. In the meantime, to be on the positive side, I will hope that I too have nice buns, whatever they eventually turn out to be!
Ever the optimist, me.
Toyah is wearing a horrifyingly short skirt. Obscene I call it...with those legs anyway! Chris is unmoved and ambles on his way back to the garage.
Mike has fallen for Don's trick, in saying there is to be a late delivery at the factory, so he dismisses the girls from their overtime stint at the end of the day. They seem to be engaged on fulfilling a bulk order for rather fetching stripy boxer shorts!
As he's talking on the phone to Alma, and she's telling him she has popped out and bought a couple of pieces of steak, The Crippled Cabby, The Pancreatic Pirate, Long Don Silver appears behind him. "He's behind you!!" shouts the entire British nation with a single voice, all having been brought up on traditional panto. But Mike doesn't hear us.
Don approaches with malice in his mad eyes. To underline the degree of devilish stealth being deployed, his mouth has flopped open to a maniacal degree! He throws a cover of some sort over Mike's head and thwacks him once with a wooden bannister rail! Baldwin buckles bleeding as Brennan brandishes a bannister. After the commercial break has afforded him a breather, he offers Don cash to leave him alone, but Don wants to kill the knicker baron, there and then! "It's Judgement Day for you Baldwin", he intones murderously. Don wants him to grovel and to beg, but Mike is having none of that, and he even manages to get in a cheery quip about Don's shortcomings in the foot department!
All at once, Don appears to be about to keel over in agony. His face contorted in pain, he grabs at where his pancreas might be... (for all I know he might have been bang on...) but he doesn't falter from his dreadful intention.
As he starts to wallop the helpless Baldwin once again, Angie arrives, and whacks Don over the head with a folder of papers she is carrying. Don scuttles off. Anyone who has ever been hit over the head with a paper folder, wielded by a woman knicker magnate will know it's not something you're going to submit to willingly!
As a bloodied Baldwin staggers out after him, Don, having pinched the keys, is behind the wheel of Alma's little red sports car! He drives like the loony he has become, right at him, but Mike leaps out of the way just in time. (You think I'm making this up don't you... well not this time!)
Whether his plastic foot suffered catastrophic mechanical failure at the crucial moment we shall never know, because the demented fugitive ga-ga grandad accelerates until he crashes the car into the railway arches at the end of the street. TV drama being what it is, they couldn't leave it there. No! In a trice, the car is a ball of flame! As puzzled extras emerge from the pub, disturbed by the smell of melting plastic, the music plays and the credits roll.
Don is a goner.....Carry on Cabbie!
That's yer lot - Good night and I love you all.
Street: The wrecked MG in which Don died is towed away, watched by Ken and Emily. Leanne and Toyah speculate that living in their house sent Don mad. Deirdre waves her man off, reminding him to fly safely, then cheerily shouts hello to Ken and Emily. Ken hasn't said anything yet as he couldn't bear to be the one responsible for ruining Deirdre's happiness - even if it is based on a lie.
Flat: Mike is bandaged up, but cheerful and intends to go to work, despite Alma's concern. She asks him not to say insensitive things to people, but Mike isn't sorry about Don's death, and won't pretend to be.
Shop: Fred asks Maud if she has heard anything from Maureen - which she hasn't. He assumes that everyone is laughing at him. Betty comes in for some bread and Fred responds to her sympathy be stressing that it was 'by mutual consent'. They had made a mistake, they agreed, he explains. Afterwards, he thanks Maud for not contradicting him. Fred realises Maud needs help in the shop, so gets his jacket off and gets to work.
Kabin: Judy and Rita wonder if Don meant to kill himself. Mavis brings the budgie down to wait for the taxi. Mavis makes her and Rita a final cup of coffee.
Rovers: Fred repeats the 'by mutual consent' explanation to Audrey. Ken agonises to Emily about telling Deirdre the truth about Jon. Ken knows he is just making excuses to avoid telling her. Mike is unimpressed that Alma makes him have mineral water instead of whisky because of his painkillers - he'd rather have done without the tablets!
Kabin: Mavis and Rita promise not to lose touch. The taxi arrives and Mavis rushes to get her cases.
Rovers: Emily and Ken reason that if ignorance is bliss, then maybe Deirdre shouldn't be told - maybe she knows already. Percy alerts the pub to Mavis's departure so Ken, Emily, Audrey and Alma go to see her off. Fred tells Mike he is stuck with a house, shop and mother-in-law, none of which he wants.
Street: Mavis's final scene. Hugs all round. Big hug for the Big Red Rita, all wish her well. they wave her off and Rita wipes away a tear.
Flat: Ken bites the bullet and explains to Deirdre that he saw Jon in the tie shop. Deirdre angrily tells Ken to keep out of her relationship, but Ken persists and tells her everything he knows. Deirdre denies it, convinced that Ken has made a mistake.
Kabin: Rita seems sceptical about Fred's claim that Maureen was a free woman when she ran off with Bill, but Rita doesn't press it. Rita warns Fred not to get any ideas about her now. He maintains that she will have no trouble filling the vacancy for an assistant, but Rita isn't so sure.
Flat: Deirdre flatly denies everything Ken says, though he sticks to his story. he says he hopes for her sake that he is wrong, but he knows what he saw.
Cafe: Gail admires Judy's baby, and in answer to Gail's questioning, Judy says she is thrilled with her and doesn't allow herself to think about Gary's unfaithfulness. Toyah doesn't know how Zoe could bear to leave her, Leanne hints that Zoe had an offer she couldn't refuse.
Shop: Fred realises that Maud is missing her daughter too. He believed Maureen would be happy with him, and he didn't do anything to deserve this. Maud tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself.
Rovers: Mike is back on the Scotch. Rita tells Betty that Mavis telephoned to say she arrived safely, and Rita now thinks she was silly not to go with her. She is afraid they will lose touch, despite their good intentions. Ken tells Emily that Deirdre didn't take his news very well. Percy thinks Emily pinned his war medals on his pyjamas, she tells Ken he will have done it himself and forgotten. She is afraid that Percy will soon need her to nurse him, and he won't even know her. Mike buys Martin a drink; Martin reminds Mike that not everyone is glad Don's dead - his kids miss their Grandad. Mike concedes he is sorry for the kids. Ken speculates to Emily that Deirdre didn't believe him, so won't do anything about it.
Tie and Fly: Deirdre watches, stunned, as Jon serves a customer in his retail emporium. He turns and sees her; she tells him not to bother trying to explain as it will all be lies. She says she never wants to see him again, and walks away before he can see her crying. Credits.
Episode written by Peter Whalley.
Street: Dierdre won't be woken up by Jon knocking at her door. Betty tells Janice that the corner shop is closed. The Kabin is open, with a sign on door advertising for staff. Janice asks Emily if Percy is OK. "I was until your lot moved in" says Percy. He tells her about the TV and the pyjamas. Janice tells Emily to take Percy to a doctor.
Battersby's: Janice tells Les to get down to supermarket for bacon. Then she tries to nag Leanne into applying for Kabin job. Janice tells Les about "Pinky and Perky" and the TV and so. She thinks Les has been up to his lock picking tricks. Les says it is happening at their place too. Apparantly he put on a Status Quo record and Cliff Richard came out of the stereo instead. Later he found his Status Quo album nailed to the back door. Poor weak minded Janice believes this.
Dierdre's: She lets him in, but her neck is still in turmoil. He says he didn't set out to deceive her. He says he never lied about loving her and never lied about who he is to himself. His latest story is that he is a qualified pilot, but he failed his medical. She doesn't believe him. John retaliates by saying it is all her fault. He says that whenever he tried to tell her the truth she "made" him feel that it was his being a pilot that attracted her. Deirdre's chin trembles a little.
Fred's: Ashley is trying to get Fred to open the corner shop as he had promised Maude he would. Fred is more worried whether he deserves his fate. Ashley says Maureen might come back. Fred says it better be soon or the door to his forgiveness will slam shut.
Deidre's: Her neck is still raging at her. John says that the reason his wife dumped him is because of his loosing his job.
Percy's: Perky is checking all the cushions for bottles of vodka. Then he asks Pinky to check the colour settings on the TV. Pinky gives him a glass of milk and he goes upstairs for a little lie down.
Dierdre's: Somehow Jon has got Deidre's neck to relax. Now she wants to know where he was all those nights when he wasn't at her place. High Whickham, Swindon, Luton, wherever he had to go to supervise the "Tie and Fly" outlets he replies.
Batterbys: Janice has gone out, Leanne goes off to Kabin to apply for the job.
Fred's: Maude is disappointed that Fred isn't in the shop. He says he is staying home in case Maureen phones. Maude says she has received a letter from Maureen saying to sell the shop to Fred and send the money on. Fred is amazed she didn't even write to him directly.
Ken's: Emily has come to see Ken about Percy. He puts on the kettle and she roots around in the cushions of sofa. She discovers a "Big Girls" magazine down the side.
Kabin: Leanne wants a job, but Rita isn't going to give her a chance until AFTER she changes her ways. Chris tries to cheer her up, but to no avail. Angie sees him chatting to Leanne and starts to get all sarcastic. Surprisingly, no buns are mentioned in this conversation.
Ken's: Ken is surprised that Emily is leaving so soon. But when he goes back into his flat and finds the magazine he soon realises why.
Rover's: Ken tells Audrey, Emily, Janice and Percy about the mysterious magazine. Audrey asks to see it. Janice tells them about the Status Quo records. Audrey says it is Ivy's ghost.
Bishops: Naughty Les is maladjusting the TV set and then crawls along from their place to his through the loft. (Actually open lofts like this are in contravention of planning restrictions. I know because I had to pay to put up a wall between our loft and neighbour's.)
Rover's: Les come in and asks for a stiff drink. A mysterious presense has stuffed an empty vodka bottle down the front of his shirt. I felt a strange chill brush by me he says. Ken is unconvinced.
Dierdre's: She cries as Jon leaves.
Mikes Monday Update
Greetings all and welcome to another Monday. A Monday episode in a slightly more light-hearted vein than we have been used to of late, and very welcome for it. Also an update written in MS Office 97 for the first time and in theory free of typos thanks to it's intelligent spell-checker!!
We begin with Fred, assisted by Ashley, moving his belongings from the house and into a van in readiness for his move back to his bachelor pad. He comments to Ashley that he would have preferred to do so under the cover of darkness as he'll be the talk of the neighbourhood, he says he'll be the talk of the neighbourhood.
At No 5, Janice has convinced herself that they are being haunted by the ghost of Ivy, unable to find peace due to Don's grisly end. (Though the only part of Ivy which is likely to manifest itself would be her liver, which is still able to command first place in a break-dance contest some two years after her death! J )
Wow, if you type in a smiley in MS Office, it 'actually appears' as a smiley! Shame it comes out as a 'J' when you copy it into another prog! :-)
Anyway, Janice is very spooked by the whole business and she begins to relate the strange happenings at Nos. 1, 3 and 5 to Toyah who listens wide-eyed. Leanne finds the whole thing hilarious and ridicules the whole thing, relating a tale of spooky goings with a certain type of chocolate bar which is only made by a certain company. Well done Granada, the first case of product placement without mentioning or showing the actual product.
Deidrie calls round to Ken's and tells him that it is all over between her and Jon. He invites her in for a pot of tea and she tells him about going to the airport and confronting Jon etc. During the conversation she breaks down in tears and is comforted by Ken. As she leaves she invites ken round for dinner that night. As she is leaving Emily arrives and tells Ken that when she and Percy arrived home the television had indeed changes colour again and Mr Sugden is now quite beside himself. He wants Ken to accompany him on door to door enquiries to ascertain if any other residents have experienced and unexplained happenings. (Yes, the sudden disappearance of quality about 12 months ago! Oh, hang on, that's been explained hasn't it.). A reluctant and slightly embarrassed Ken then goes doorstepping with Percy, bumping into Les on the way (who is, of course, delighted to hear that they are taking it all so seriously!) and their first port of call is that of a puzzled Curly.
In the Kabin, Rita gives Judy the wrong change and when Judy points it out she admits that she is finding it very difficult running the shop on her own. She has had a few applicants for the post but confesses to Judy that she ideally wants to take on someone she knows. She later offers the job to Judy who rushes of to ask Gary what he thinks. Gary is supping in the Rovers (where else?) with Martin. Judy tells him about the job offer and with his OK, gives him a kiss and pops off to see Rita. Martin, having observed the affection between the two, tells Gary that he is amazed that Judy is so forgiving after the way she has been treated, what with Gary having a fling with a teenager and then expecting Judy to bring up the baby. Gary blusters that everything is not always what it seems but obviously hates being seen as the villain of the piece whilst Judy is seen as some sort of a saint and he relates as much to Judy later.
The corner shop is running very low on stock and Maud is unable to get to the wholesalers. Ashley is keen to help out in any way he can but an embittered Fred will not let him.
Les returns home from his interview with social security to find the house empty. Seizing an ideal opportunity to further enhance his pranks, he breaks the mirror on the wall, and goes back out. Janice arrives home later and is almost hysterical when she sees the mirror. Leanne and Toyah claim, honestly, that they didn't do it and Les then arrives home saying that he hasn't been in all day. In possibly the worst piece of acting since The Plank was told of Ivy's dearth, Les feigns surprise and horror.
In a quite disturbing scene with phallic vegetables, Deidrie phones Ken and tells him that she doesn't feel up to having dinner tonight and could they do it another time.
In the pub Ken, Percy, Emily, Audrey, Les and Janice discuss the goings on. Ken tries to be level headed but Janice, aided and abetted by Percy and Audreh, wants to call in a priest to have No 5 exorcised. Later at No 5, the two Battersby teens are home alone and Toyah is making an ouija board to try and contact Ivy. Leanne doesn't want to help but Toyah having overheard Chris in the café earlier, tells Leanne that she knows where Chris is going clubbing on Wednesday and will only tell her if she helps. Toyah sets out, in a circle, the letters of the alphabet and places a glass in the middle and the two girls each place a finger on the glass. To Toyah's horror the glass begins to slide from letter to letter. First the letter T, then O..Y..A..H, Toyah is fast becoming very alarmed, .I..S.., her face begins to drain of colour,..F..A..T!! " Toyah Is Fat!' shrieks Leanne, laughing. " You cow, you were moving it with your finger", shouts Leanne. Enter Janice and Les. Janice is horrified and screams at the girls to stop and that they are messing around with forces they don't understand. Les says that they are only messing about but the joke has gone a little too far as Janice, in a quite superb bit of acting, reaches the point of total hysteria. Perhaps Les will now stop his shenanigans, bit somehow I doubt it .
Jon is busy at work at the Tie N Fly when he has a visitor. Yes, it's The Drear. There are obviously times in a gals life when a carrot will just not do, and this is one of those times! She tells Jon that she loves him and they plan a fresh start, no more lies etc. Jon promises that everything will be on the level etc. and manages to stop short of saying, 'But can we still pretend to everybody that I'm a pilot?' but there is always Wednesday! J
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and I'm afraid I've got myself in a terrible muddle this week. Normally I am very well organised, but this week... not so.
You see, I run two separate Confidential Internet Advice Services. One for personal and medical problems, the other for gardening. My pet gerbil gnawed through some of my computer cables last weekend and now there has been a dreadful mix-up, and I have got all the replies jumbled up.
So all I can do is to give you the replies, and hope that the people they relate to can sort it out for themselves, whether they were on the gardening side or the personal/medical side.
I have had very severe words with Bobby (the gerbil). He squeaked very loudly and his eyes went all bulgey, which usually either means 'for god's sake stop swinging me round by my tail like that' or 'okay dad, I realise I was out of order. I promise never to do anything like that again'
I have used initials to protect people's privacy...in nearly every case.
It sounds like a fungus to me. Your description doesn't mention what colour it is, so that makes absolute identification difficult. If, over the next few days, you notice it curling up, then perhaps an anti-fungal spray might be best, if it stays the same, just tread on it.
Yes, Mr K, this has happened to me, all too frequently I might add! I'm afraid the problem stems from neglect. If you find it getting out of control, just pinch it hard at the base. (Wearing gloves of course to guard against the sap which will stain the skin.) Give it a good hard squeeze and with luck you should find that should hold it back. It does have a tendency to take over if you don't keep it under control.
Almost certainly your problem is caused by slugs.
What you describe is undoubtedly Maidenhead Fir. You could cut it back, but I would not recommend it at this stage. I always find it rather attractive, personally.
Oh dear Mr A, you seem to have quite a nasty problem on your hands. I must tell you, I think you are partly to blame for this one. Yes Mr A, I think you may have been mulching too frequently. I know how tempting it can be, and you think you can do nothing but good by frequent mulching, but you can have too much of a good thing, you know! But all is not lost here; I recommend balancing things up by introducing some acidity. Try applying household vinegar for two weeks. Work it well in, then test the PH using a kit. Let me know how you get on.
Yes, Miss M, they will change colour at this time of the year. I know it's natural to be anxious, and think you're going to lose them, but by late October, you should find them going darker, and then falling off. This is nothing to worry about and just part of the natural growing process. Relax. If there are enough of them, you might like to gather them up and put them in a glass bowl indoors. You will be pleasantly surprised at their fragrance.
Well of course they'll spread! If yours are anything like mine, by mid- March you'll have a gorgeous rash of bright pink! But I would advise you to keep them well covered until you're sure the last of the winter frosts have gone. Some old sacking will do the trick. Remember, they are very susceptible to low temperatures. Good luck with your whipworm infestation by the way...the way you are treating it sounds absolutely right.
It's a shame to lose your buds so early in the season like that. No, I don't think the birds have nibbled them off, my guess is some sort of pest; thrips being the most likely culprits!
If you feel they are too prominent, there is a special scraper you can buy to remove them, but be warned; they are very hardy and there's every chance they will grow back next year. I agree with your comments by the way, they should be visible, but should not draw the eye away from the other, more colourful features.
This sounds simply wonderful, and I would give anything to have a closer look myself. Have you thought of admitting the public, maybe at weekends during the summer? If it's as good as you say, why keep it all to yourself?
This is very serious. Very serious indeed. It can be saved if you act quickly. I do have a traditional secret remedy for the unpleasant condition you describe, but I ask that you consult me privately on this one. With the right care, and some luck, we might just be able to save it, and it will continue to give you pleasure for many years to come!
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 15.10.97
It's morning at Deirdre's place, and Jon has presumably stayed the night. "As whoppers go, it takes some beating" says she. Surely these are the words every man lives to hear! But this is no anatomical endorsement, she is referring to The Tie-Fly-Lie, which sounds like an exotic restaurant dish, but it is, in fact, the thing she is prepared to overlook.
She says they must try to forget it; to put it behind them, and move forward to a shared future. Jon is overcome with gratitude that she should feel inclined to overlook his factual inexactitude.
He offers her a lift to work, which she declines. Jon muses that he used to be like George Washington when he was a kid, and offers a comic voice characterisation of said ex-President to underline how he was so very honest when young. He says he doesn't deserve to be granted a second chance with such a fabulous woman, after they have agreed on what story to tell Ken and the rest of the world about his fall from piloting grace.
Des is in the Kabin, saying how he will miss Mavis, when the Mallett family arrive. The ones who are old enough to speak seem in the very highest of spirits, possibly engendered by the fact that this is Judy's first day of employment at The Kabin. If I were Rita, I would offer Judy a tenner bonus if she could sell that blasted Chicken Limbo game which has been on the shelf by the door, in the same position for months and months! The baby bawls and Rita pulls a face, as though she's hoping that sound will not be the mark of things to come!
Later in the day, Judy is getting into the swing of retailing, and earns Rita's praise for the way she handles a troublesome customer. They then talk about Judy's childlessness and the adoption option. Rita closes the scene with one of her looks which could just be saying "I'm not at all sure I'm buying your story, laydeh!"
Emily is searching for her misplaced library book. There is a stack of back issues of Peoples' Friend magazines on the coffee table. Just as Percy is speculating whether dark forces might be responsible for the disappearance of the book, she finds it out in the hall. He is relieved, saying how everyone has been made into nervous wrecks by the recent goings-on! He has the look of a man who is not long for this Street. Okay, that's not me being perceptive, it's me having read the storylines in next week's Radio Times!
Les and Janice are aggressively insulting each other. She calls him a waste of space and he makes a derogatory reference to her figure. I'd say they're both right! Worst of all, he has brought Elvis the Teddy Bear downstairs, hoping to sell him! I suppose a sighting of Elvis was the only missing Cliche of the Unexplained, which has been hitherto absent from recent events. I hoped he would part the fur on the teddy's head to reveal a 666 marking! Janice points out his low commercial value, having been made in Taiwan... the teddy bear, not Les... are you keeping up with all this?
A little later, Janice returns to (what she believes is) her empty house to find a pillow has been stabbed and there are feathers flying everywhere at the foot of the stairs. There you are, you see; the real Elvis famously shot the TV; this one stabs pillows! I wondered if the flurry of feathers was caused by a ghostly game of Chicken Limbo going horrible wrong, but Janice sees it as another supernatural event.
There is some rather clumsy editing at this point, where one moment the feathers have all settled, then we see a close-up of the stairs where thousands of them fill the air again, then in the very next shot, they've settled once more. Overseas viewers might like to crow triumphantly in a few week's time when they see this. They may consider shooting the TV as they reach for another burger and wonder where Priscilla might be tonight?
It is at this point that Deirdre turns up to drag Ken away from this horrific bedding catastrophe, to ask him to play along with the lie about Jon having only just lost his wings. Ken is horrified to learn that she has taken Jon back, and tells her that he's already told Emily the truth. Deirdre accuses him of being motivated by jealousy of her Fibbing Flyer. When Jon arrives at her flat at the end of the day, she tells him that Ken has already spilled the beans.
In the office of our two favourite knicker supremos, Mike has both good and bad news for Angie. The bad news is that the Dutch clothing order has proved to be a one-off, but the good news is that a potential customer called George Dixon is interested in their range, and he trusts Angie to go alone to negotiate a contract with Mr Dixon, and to show him the full range. More of this later....
It is the day of Donald Michael Brennan's funeral. It is to be a burial, and Gail, Martin and Ashley follow the priest and the coffin bearers along the footpath of the cemetery. Four burly undertakers bear the main coffin, and Ashley carries the mini-tupperware coffin containing Don's melted foot. Okay, I made that bit up, but don't chide me, for something even more unbelievable is about to happen. In the distance Gail spots a familiar face... could it be... it looks like.... IT IS!!! It's Nick!
Now I know he's been away a while, and strange things can happen to a lad on his own in Canada, but it's not him Gail! It's someone pretending to be him! Don't be fooled! He'll be telling you he's a pilot next!
He's had a head transplant, but his doting mother is prepared to welcome him home and hug this cuckoo changeling repeatedly. Apart from anything else, he is altogether far too happy to be the Nick we knew and loved!
No plankish features whatsoever are in evidence!
Later at home, when he reveals he came on a one-way ticket paid for by Stephen, she has a closer look at him. Still, this maternal scrutiny fails to reveal that he is not the same Nick who went to Canada all those months ago. "You've filled out" says Gail. Yes Gail, he's filled out into someone else's skin!
I went to Canada earlier this year with high hopes of returning to these shores looking like a Greek god, but no luck I'm afraid! It didn't work for me Nick, or whoever you are!
Toyah has told Roy all about the dreadful paranormal activities, and he arrives at Ken's house with a veritable posse of possessed residents in tow. As a bemused Ken looks on, Roy (carrying the celebrated shopping bag) tells of a similar strange case. The solution, it seems, is to place a sand tray just inside the front door, in the hopes that some visiting spectre might leave a ghostly imprint.
He tells a spine-chilling tale of a time when this device was used, and a shallow imprint was revealed, along with the impression of a walking stick! It emerged later that an old person who used a walking stick had indeed lived in the house where this hi-tech piece of ghostbusting equipment was used. The possessed posse is stunned into silence, and who wouldn't be?
Angie is getting on well with the new client Mr. Dixon. He likes what he sees, but has reservations that the designs might be a little bit tarty! Angie strenuously defends the propriety of her designs, which impresses Mr. D.
He suggests a drink.
"Tea would be lovely" smiles Angie, but George has something stronger in mind. When they have both partaken of the wine, George shows his true colours. Thoughtfully fingering one of the samples of non-tarty underwear, he says it's all very well to see designs on the page, and to see the samples in this way, but there's only one REAL way to see them, and that is displayed on the female body! With a lecherous and predatory look which I have tried unsuccessfully to achieve for many a long year, he growls "How about modelling them for me Angie?"
That is the last spoken line tonight. The final image is an ultra- close-up of Angie's face as the connotation of Mr. Dixon's seedy suggestion sinks in.
That's yer lot - Good night and I love you all.
House: Leanne pretends that she danced with Chris in Warsaw. (No Les, that's not Walsall in Birmingham, it's Warsaw. No Janice, it's not 'as in Hungary', it's in Poland, but Les, it's not that one anyway; it's the name of a nightclub) Toyah smugly announces that Chris didn't go out clubbing anyway. Les assumes that Leanne was stood up and threatens to kill Chris.
Flat: Jon and Dreary wonder what to do. Jon suggests talking to Emily to 'bring her on-side' (he must be in retail management, using phrases like that!) but Dreary couldn't face her. Jon says he will see Ken and try and talk him round; Dreary doubts that Ken will even speak to Jon.
House: A happy Platt family have breakfast. Nick says that in Canada he used to have waffles and maple syrup, and real coffee. In school he did climbing, sailing and ice hockey, and it's such a big country it gave him the desire to explore. Now he is back he plans to go to college to train as a PE teacher. He intends to investigate the course requirements that day. Martin is impressed by his new determination.
Factory: Mike is amused to hear that Dixon wanted Angie to give him a private viewing. He seems pleased that Angie retired with dignity and without jeopardising the order.
Cafe: Maud enquires after Percy's health and he moans that all the spooky goings-on have upset him. Maud is sure that Roy will explain it all. At the counter, Les finds out about the sand tray idea. Roy explains that some people - not him - believe that psychic energy can disturb the sand. Les retires, leaving Gail puzzling over how you know it was a ghost and not something else. Audrey catches up on Nick's news from Canada, and asks after Stephen. She admires Nick's new jacket, which he says needs to be warm as it gets to -20 in winter. (Quite why he's wearing it in a very mild October in Manchester is anybody's guess.) he sidesteps Audrey's question about girls, but later she jokes to Gail that Weatherfield had better lock up its daughters.
Rovers: Chris tries to be nice to Angie but she bites his head off and goes to sit elsewhere. Les accosts Chris about letting Leanne down. Chris has to draw himself up to his full height and grab Les by his shirt front before Les backs off. Les concedes that Leanne may have a vivid imagination, then cheekily asks Chris's advice about buying a used Talbot Samba (small car, regarded not quite as badly as the Lada Les bought recently.) Over at the table, Sam lends an ear to Angie as she explains about the incident with the buyer, which has resulted in her being horrible to Chris. Sam advises Angie to go and explain to Chris and make up with him.
Street: Les tells Leanne that he has had words with Chris - much to Leanne's indignation. Then, however, she sees Nick across the road, and isn't interested in Chris any more. At Ken's, Jon is met with the line 'Just landed, or is it a flying visit?' which he takes in good humour, and asks to explain to Ken, saying he is worried about the effect this is having on Deirdre. Ken isn't convinced, but lets him in.
House: Jon tries to express how devastating it was to lose his job on a technicality, and how he couldn't cope afterwards. Ken is still angry that Jon lied to Deirdre all along, and only admitted it after Ken found him out. Jon says he had assumed it was all over then, but it was Deirdre who wanted to carry on the relationship, and now, in order to do that, they need Ken's help. Ken is unhappy about colluding in more lies, but Jon pressurises him by saying their future relationship now lies in Ken's hands.
House: Les creeps down Emily's stairs and helps himself to some sherry and a biscuit. He turns the water off at the stopcock under the kitchen sink. Another biscuit and he's off.
Cafe: Nick tells Martin he thinks he will get into college. He asks about Don, and clearly feels partly responsible. Martin reassures Nick that lots of things contributed to Don's mental health problems. Nick comments that he finds it easier to talk to Martin now. Martin says it is because Nick has come out of himself since he went to Canada. (Yes, we noticed: he came out of himself into a different person! With an irritating voice and floppy hair!) Nick casually enquires about the new residents of No5, especially Leanne, and Martin warns him to steer clear.
House: Les knocks at Emily's asking to fill a bucket as his water is off. Surprise, surprise, hers is off too. He checks the stopcock, reassuring Emily that all is OK there, and quickly turns it on again. Emily asks if he thinks it is another manifestation of the phenomena - he shivers, and offers to call a plumber and send him round. (Just where is all this going? I find the whole thing irritating and boring.)
House: Des and Sam are off to the theatre; Chris and Angie are having a Chinese takeaway and a beer. Chris scoffs at Des's new-found culture, and Angie looks sulky. When they are alone, Angie moans that they never do anything interesting, and in fact their relationship is so on/off they may as well finish it.
House: Emily calls at Ken's and tells him about the water - which strangely is on again now. Ken advises her to see what Roy has to say about it, and he has to talk to her about Deirdre. He embarks on a long-winded explanation about how he got it wrong, and Jon was only filling in in the tie shop for his friend. Furthermore, Deirdre and Jon didn't split up, they just had a row and all is alright now. Emily finds it all very odd, but amusing that Ken nearly broke them up unnecessarily; for which an uneasy Ken has to accept the blame. Emily seems content to buy this story.
House: Chris is upset at Angie's attitude, but has to concede that he is not madly in love. Simply enjoying it is not enough for Angie, and she wonders why they are bothering at all.
House: Roy is interested in Les and Emily's story about the water. He goes on about the four elements, but Ken urges him to hurry up with the tray so they can get to the pub. Roy and his shopping bag are affronted that Ken isn't taking this too seriously.
Rovers: Mike asks Martin if Nick is back because Stephen threw him out. Martin explains that Nick has done his year at school over there and is now back home. Mike is still bitter that Stephen had it in for him and pulled out of his business. Deirdre bats her eyelashes at Jon and coos that she is so pleased that Jon talked Ken round. Jon says that he and Ken cooked up a story, so he had better fill Deirdre in on what is supposed to have happened. Ken wearily buys a pint and admits to Alec that Roy and his tray of sand are not in the same league as Men In Black, but maybe they will get something.
House: Les runs down Ken's stairs with one of those little hand-held battery operated fans. He runs it over the sand tray to make two little impressions rather like crop circles. (NB I composed this before Sunday's episode, where this very description was used, even though I can't post until today) Les chuckles to himself wondering what Roy will make of it.
Rovers: Curly joins Angie who is staring gloomily into her pint. She explains that her and Chris are finished, after 5 months. She doesn't know why she is upset, as she has done the right thing. Curly gets her another drink. Dreary thanks Ken, and he lets her know that he did it for her, much as he hates lying, especially to an old friend like Emily. Jon wonders if Emily believed Ken, and Ken retorts hat he doesn't know, as he isn't such a good liar as Jon. Ken says to Deirdre that he hopes Jon is worth it, and she looks anxiously at her companion. Credits.
Episode written by Martin Allen.
Best bit: Good old Curly being Angie's friend in the pub. Trust a needlewoman to use a sewing metaphor, about unpicking her relationship and it all falling apart.
Worst bit: Roy is wasted, wittering on about paranormal phenomena. Get him back in that cafe, inflating his rubber gloves and getting the better of the clever clogs teenagers (esp. New Plank).
Bishop's Emily thanks Percy for his b'day card, but doesn't feel a happy b'day glow. She doesn't want him to go to any trouble in the kitchen for her party tonight. Ken comes in and asks them to look at his tray of sand.
Street Chris tells Sally that he and Angie have split up. He wastes no time in telling her he likes her new hair cut. Jon says he doesn't want to go to Emily's party, but Dierdre insists.
Barlow's Ken shows Percy and Emily the crop circles in his sand box. He rings Roy and the Battersbys.
Platts The plonk asks about the Battersbys. Gail and Martin tell him all about them.
Barlow's Les asks Roy if it was a ghost, but Roy says it was a juxtaposition between two elements. Some form of intelligence is at work. Les nods sagely. They leave on a sand tray inspection tour.
Bishop's Emily's tray is empty and everyone gets excited, until Percy reveals that he is the one who took the sand.
Rover's Angie tells Des that she has split with Chris. Percy asks Maude if she likes the Mayfield Courts. She really likes it, and it is a cock stride from the British Legion. A fit man like him would be a king at Mayfield Court apparently. That information would make me run a mile, but Percy says he thinks he should make a change in his life before he becomes an awkward cantankerous old fellow too set in his ways, Alas gentle reader, such cliched irony is as funny as it gets at the moment.
Street The plonk tries to chat up Leanne. She invites him in.
Rover's Liz hasn't been invited to Emily's party. Rita complains to Alec about Judy's lack of commitment at the shop. Alec is sympathetic. Jon comes in and tells Deirdre in front of Liz that he has "failed his medical". Deirdre makes a good job of being a bad actor.
Battersbys The plonk and Leanne make a date. Les comes in and says he can't stand Platts, they are a snotty lot. Janice is annoyed to find that Les has been spending her wages at cafe.
Rover's Alec tells Jon that at least he can drink as much as he likes. Ken warns Deirdre that "a man who lies about one thing can lie about lots of things".
Bishop's The golden oldies of the street are gathered to toast Emily. She is in full flight of criticism against Percy when the doorbell rings.
Platt's Leanne comes 'round to pick up the plonk. He rushes off without his tea. Gail is upset.
Bishop's Jon tells Emily about his "bad" news. Percy is upset that Randy had a towel put over him. Emily is frank with Ken. She says he wanted to be jealous of Jon.
Rover's Roy and Audrey are arguing about whether there is a ghost. Les says there are strange things going on. Les makes Roy buy everyone a drink. What really is strange is how someone as talented as Roy should be used as a foil for Les.
Bishop's Percy tells Emily that he is moving out because he thinks she has been the one pinning medals to his pyjamas. He accuses her of hitting the bottle too much. Emily gets all upset and says the sooner he leaves the better.
A new world record of a scene every 1.20 minutes on average. It is a fast and furious world out there. Not much happens, but it is happening much faster.
Jon and The Drear are sitting down to breakfast and he tells her that he is off to the Tie N Fly in Birmingham and will be staying overnight. Deirdre, who despite her glasses is totally blind where Jon is concerned, comments that the firm must think a lot of him to give him so much responsibility.
At the Platts, Martin and Gail ask Plank II about his course and if he is sure he can just enrol on the course without any difficulties. He assures them that he can. Personally, I can't see our floppy fringed wuss ever being a PE teacher as he lacks the basic attribute needed to be one. i.e. a sadistic streak!
Meanwhile, over the road, Leanne announces to the assembled Battersbys that she is (by coincidence!) enrolling at college that very day, and will be studying to become a hairdresser. Les is mortified and says that it's a stupid idea and may cost him money. Janice, on the other hand, commends Leanne for trying to make something of herself and gives her twenty quid.
Percy is packing his belongings for his move to Mayfield Court and Ken arrives to give him a lift. When Emily is out of the room he asks Ken to keep an eye on her and her drinking as he is sure it is a `cry for help'. Ken humours him and promises to keep an eye out. As he leaves he, in a very touching speech, tells Emily if he is even half as happy in his new home as he has been at hers he will consider himself lucky. Emily is quite touched and tells him, sincerely, that she will miss him. However, never one to let a scene go without spoiling himself, Percy then gives her some unwanted advice about cutting down her drinking. A pained look spreads across Mrs Bishops face as she seriously considers clubbing him to death! With that, we see Percy leave the street in Ken's Nova. Will we ever see him again? Time will tell but don't put your medals on it!
Angie comes down to breakfast to find Sam eating with Des and comments that they lovey-doveyness is making her sick! As soon as she gets to work, Mike tells her that she has a lunchtime meeting with the odious and lecherous George Dixon. When she returns she has a row with Mike, telling him that it is bad enough having to have lunch with a male pig but she's not coming back and listening to one. She storms out and heads for the pub to get hammered.
Leanne and Nick have enrolled for their respective course and are sat looking through their timetables. Both have lectures that morning. Leanne, forgetting her momentary lapse of Battersbyness in even thinking about college, suggests that the bunk off and go into town. Nick is aghast and tells her that he is there because he really wants to do the course. See this red rag, see this bull? With that Leanne tells him what he can do and storms off. Later, he is in his first lecture, learning about muscles when Leanne appears at the door and waves to him through the glass. He gives a coy little girly wave back which is noticed by the lecturer, who opens the door and asks her what she wants. She asks him can he tell Nick that she's sorry and can she see him tonight?, which he does in front of the entire class, much to their amusement. This scene was just terrible and I had to go and look at the clock to make sure I hadn't put the TV on early and tuned into Home and Away. Rubbish! When Nick gets home, Gail again warns him about getting involved with `the wrong sort of girl', seemingly forgetting that she `was' the wrong sort of girl in 1976! Nick swears that he isn't seeing Leanne but secretly meets her later, no doubt to swap make up tips.
By early evening, Angie is three parts drunk and is moaning to Curly about Des, Sam, Chris, Dixon, Mike and anything else that springs to mind. She then rushes from the pub and bursts in on Des and Sam who are having a meal together and tells them that she can stand no more of being the gooseberry and that she and Sam must swap homes immediately. She then packs and drags am over to Curlys to pack. Curly arrives home to find Sam leaving and Angie arriving and is a bit miffed to find that no one saw fit to ask him what he thought about the idea. Angie then does the quickest sobering up ever and wails to Curly, `What have I done, I'm right back where I was years ago!'
In the Rovers, Ken spies The Drear on her own and asks where Jon is and proceeds to make sarcastic remarks and guffaw loudly. Emily arrives and asks where that nice Jon is which receives an even louder guffaw from Ken. He receives a look of pure venom in return from Deirdre who announces that she is going home as she is expecting a call from Jon.
Chris buys a bottle of wine (relax, it's white!) and refuses to be drawn on who it's for. He arrives at Sally's and she is very pleased to see him. After she has put the kids to bed she looks at Chris and there is a pregnant pause but before anything else can happen Gail aka Camellus Interruptus arrives resulting in Chris making a hasty exit.
We then see Jon on the phone to Deirdre as she moans about Kens sarcasm. He answers cautiously as if he is in a public place and than tells her he'll have to go as there is a queue for the phone. Except the phone isn't a pay phone and it doesn't look like a hotel lobby either. He walks into another room and sits on a sofa where there is also a woman sat. She comments that the shop business makes too many demands of him and they are lucky to have someone so dedicated. `Yes, darling' he replies. She smiles lovingly at him as he fiddles with a small cuddly toy. So, let's look at the evidence, The non payphone in the hall. The dried flower arrangement thingy on the wall that Mrs P finds so fetching when a picture of ginger spice would do so much more for the hall. The woman on the sofa, knitting/sewing. The cuddly toy.
Who lives in a house like this?
Over to our first panellist, Mike Plowman.
I think it's a married couple (braindead audience applauds!), with at least one young child (braindead audience applauds!),or one on the way, (braindead audience applauds!), and he tells his wife he is away on business a lot. (braindead audience applauds!). Ermmm, I'll take a stab at Barry and Linda Lindsay!
(braindead audience applauds wildly!)
This will, sadly, be my last written update due to work commitments, and I'd like to wish you all the best. My thanks go to Paul Baker for starting all this, and of course to Nigel, Helen, Kevin and Glenda who put so much into their updates. Hopefully, my replacement will announced as soon as one is found.
Thanks a lot and to pinch a line from Nigel, I love you all!
A THOUSAND GREETINGS and it's been a weird week for me!
Last Friday I went alone to London to do some shopping. There was a particular 'gentleman's requisite' I needed and so I went to a Very Famous Store Indeed. I took the train because I had been prescribed some very strong anti-allergy medicine, and I was advised not to drive or to operate machinery as it could induce drowsiness.
On the train journey, I must have dozed off because it seemed like I was on the train for only five minutes instead of the forty-five it should take. A woman got on and asked me if this is the train for London Waterloo. I was dismayed to find my mouth failed to obey the commands from my brain, as I replied "esh, esh I ving sho. Ash where I'm gedding of" She eyed me quizzically and said "oh you poor dear, you've been to the dentist haven't you, and your mouth's still all numb and squidgy." I feebly attempted to deny this, whereupon she decided I was either drunk or mad, or both, and went to call the guard and demand his protection!
I got to Waterloo Station and walked slowly to the taxi rank outside.
Firstly I did what I always do when I go to Waterloo.
There is an enormous and very famous clock there, which has been a blind date meeting point for couples for decades. You know the sort of thing: "Oh but Charles...London's a big place...where shall we meet?" to which the usual reply is "my dear Celia, I shall be under the Great Clock at Waterloo Station at two o'clock, and I'll be wearing a miniature rose in my buttonhole, in order that you will recognise me."
With that in mind, I always stand under the clock for about ten minutes, looking around hopefully. Over the years, I have been approached many times, which have led onto some of the strangest and most rewarding afternoons of my life, but that's a story for another time perhaps!
I climbed into the first taxicab in the line. "Where to, mate?" asked the driver. I don't know what he thought I said, but he delivered me at a drop-in centre for alcoholics, and refused to let me pay!
Fortunately, it wasn't too far from my intended destination, that Very Famous Store, so I walked there, still very drowsy, and strode in past the uniformed door man.
On my way to the pharmacy on the fourth floor to purchase my 'requisite' I stopped at the furniture department, and admired a very large and splendid oak wardrobe. As I stood looking at it, an elegantly attired assistant glided up silently behind me and purred "mmmm... terribly fine, doesn't Sir agree?" "Ish warver nyshe, esh" I agreed, as I gazed at him under heavy-lidded eyes.
The assistant made an on-the-spot decision, born of years of experience in the retail industry, that I was not worth wasting any more of his very precious and expensive time on, and he grinned subserviently, with a grin so false and wide it made his eyes into sightless slits for a full twenty seconds as he backed away.
I was very taken with the wardrobe. It was quite the largest free standing wardrobe I had ever seen. It was very sturdy and solid, beautifully grained and exquisitely polished. It smelled expensive. It was expensive. It was a thing of beauty. I decided to step inside. Once inside, I suddenly felt very weary, so I sat down. I thought it would be an interesting and unusual place to have my sandwiches. Leaving one of the mighty doors ajar to afford me some light, I took my one-cup flask from my shopping bag, took off my anorak, spreading it as a kind of ground sheet. I removed my beret and placed my Mars bar and sandwiches in it. White bread with the crusts cut off... just as I like them! Gosh, I was so tired.....
That was the last thing I remembered, until I woke up at 10.30 pm that evening! My coffee was still there; stone cold on the floor of the wardrobe. There as I had poured it, into the screw-on plastic lid of the flask. The sandwiches had the cling film off them, and the Mars bar was untouched.
The store having closed some four hours earlier, it was rather dim in my wardrobe, and outside there wasn't a sound. I kept quite still and listened. Nothing. Just the slow and sedate ticking of a grandfather clock elsewhere in the department. Gingerly, I peeped my head round the door to survey the silent scene outside. I was alone... locked in the Very Famous Store. Instinctively, I put my anorak and beret back on, and began cautiously to emerge from my hiding place. I came part way out, on all fours, wondering about invisible security beams criss- crossing the sales floor. I had no wish to set off any alarms!
I looked to the left. Nothing. I looked to the right and then froze in terror to see, right there at my shoulder, a pair of feet, attached to some legs, attached to a body, attached to a head which was looking down at me.
The face broke into the friendliest of grins and the man spoke in broad Cockney, "Stone me bruv, woss goin' on? Ain't see you 'ere before. If you're one a them Jocks dahn from Glasgow for de recawd attempt, you're a bleedin' week too early mate!"
With your kind permission, I shall conclude this tale next week, because...
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 22.10.97
After an opening close-up of a set of car tyres going over those hallowed cobbles, Nick emerges from the house, carrying a college bag big enough to emigrate with. Gail is peeping through the curtains to see if he calls for Leanne, but he doesn't. In fact he hangs around until she joins him. They greet each other with a kiss and set off to college together. Gail tells Martin, as if he hasn't heard it a hundred times already, that she doesn't want Nick knocking around with Leanne.
Before she leaves the house, Janice gives Leanne a few quid again, much to Les's disgust. But Janice is proud of her, taking on a college course, and very pleased that she has linked up with Nick. "He's got summat about 'im" she says. Les asserts that it won't last.
It's breakfast time at Curly's house and Angie is telling him that moving back with him was all a big mistake, under the influence of alcohol, and that she intends to get her feet under Des's table again ASAP. Curly seems to be having trouble keeping up with all the comings and goings of his lodgers, and looks on, rather bemused.
Sally sees Chris, and there are apologies all round about last night, when he decided to scuttle away when Gail arrived unexpectedly, leaving that unopened bottle of wine. Janice warns Sally about Chris, and his (undeserved) track record of breaking female hearts, but they both agree he's not at all hard on the eyes.
Later Sally decides to take matters a little further where Chris is concerned. She gets herself seriously doled up, and arranges to leave the children with Gail and Martin for a few hours, saying that she is going out for a drink with an old friend.
With the kids safely stashed away at Gail's place, she arrives at the garage, where Chris is cleaning his hands with that gooey green hand cleaner stuff that mechanics use at the end of the day. He compliments her on the way she looks, and she invites him out for a drink. Well, of course, he'd love to, but he pleads a prior engagement. He has promised his uncle!
Heavens, what a lame excuse! That takes me back to the days of my teens when an endless succession of unattainable girls told me they were staying in to wash their hair, or to finish their biology homework!
Naturally, Sally is terribly disappointed, and calls herself an idiot as she removes the ear rings and the lippy, whilst gazing at herself in the mirror. Chin up, Sally, I feel sure your chance will come!
After Sally drops the girls off at Gail's, Martin comments that she looks great, and Gail does some more curtain twitching, wondering where Nick can be. "He's probably out with his mates from college" ventures Martin, optimistically, but Gail is guessing the truth; he's with the dreaded Battersby girl!
Then there is a wonderful moment which our overseas chums and chumlerines might like to watch out for: while this conversation is taking place, one of the children sees fit to drive a very large plastic toy truck over the top of Martin's head, which somewhat detracts from his credibility!
In the Rovers, there is little of any substance taking place tonight. Angie asks Des if she can come back, as it has all been a mistake. He says no. Emily has been to see Percy in his new billet, and reports to Alec and Betty that he's settled in very well indeed. Betty points out to Alec that Percy is now geographically closer to the Legion than the Rovers. Alec doesn't seem unduly dismayed at this intelligence. Personally, I estimate the takings of the Rovers Return have plunged by... at the most... two quid a week since Percy's departure!
Also in the pub, Angie and Samantha are discussing who is going to live where. Earlier, to underline his delight at the new permanent sleeping arrangements, Des mixes himself and Samantha a Buck's Fizz... at 9.20am mark you...! Decadence I call it!
Gail is shocked to learn from Toyah that not only does Leanne love that son of hers, she's enrolled at college just to be near him. Gail silently pulls a very troubled face.
Things are not going brilliantly at the Kabin between employer and employee and employee's surrogate sproglet. After Judy trying to change Katie's pongy nappy on the counter, things get very busy. In fact it's the busiest I've ever seen it. The Extras Budget for the rest of 1997 and the first half of 1998 must have been exhausted in this one scene... well, there were a couple of unknowns milling about by the drawing pins, but I like to try to add a touch of colour! Judy is out the back, wrestling with the wee one, and therefore in no position to do her job effectively. Eventually, she comes into the shop, where she has to pass the baby to Alec to hold, while she tries unsuccessfully to tot up his bill. It's all disastrous, and Rita has words, for which she later apologises at the end of the day, and they part on the best of terms.
Into this tableau of maternal mayhem comes Deirdre. Her hair is in deep distress, but she appears cheerfully oblivious of this fact. Rita tells her how sorry she was to learn of Jon's reduced circumstances, and Deirdre tells her about his new position in the retail world.
It is but a few moments before we are treated to new information about his true 'position'. He's off on his travels again, this time kissing The Other Woman goodbye. Oh! how she wishes he didn't have to go away and leave her for such long periods. "I'm late, you naughty, naughty thing" he grins. He agrees that the long away trips are tough, but it's nice the way they make up for it when he gets back. I fear this is a reference to smut.
Well, is this his true home? Is this his wife? Next week or next month, are we to be introduced to another Other Woman? "Bye, I must go, love to the kids" says the Two-Timing Terror of the Tie Shop, as he walks past the garden swing and a couple of kids' bikes.
Oooh, how we hate him!
At college, Leanne is asking Nick about his travels in Canada. He regales her with talk of The Great Outbears and Grizzly Doors. She invites him back to her house for the evening, and later, sure enough, the lure of her bedroom wins the day over the alternative, which is tea at home.
As he is getting the welcome treatment from Leanne's parents, (call me Les, have a beer, etc) Gail is getting more and more anxious, and sends Martin over to No.5 to see if that's where he is. Martin obeys. Sure enough, that's where he is!
He comes down the stairs, where Martin tells him he really should have phoned Gail to tell her where he was going. Nick doesn't necessarily see eye to eye with his stepfather on this one, and tells him he won't come home in five minutes as Martin requests. "Tell her I'll be home when I'm ready" he says.
Gosh, if this is what a few months in Canada does to a lad... he develops a mind of his own... I can only surmise it must be a rare and wonderful place! I wonder if I should go... I'll have to ask someone what I should do!
That's yer lot - Good night and I love you all,
Hello again everyone, and I hope you are all looking forward to another racy storyline from the Granada team. Doing the update for Friday night is good because they like to leave it on a climax. Just to make you remember to watch on Sunday, of course. Although some things are still a bit feeble, I do think Corrie is coming out of the doldrums and is on the way back up again. Here's hoping for continuing improvement. So, without further ado, here is last Friday's update.
House: Gail is tense, and has words with Nick about coming in late last night. Martin smooths the way for Nick by telling Gail that Nick had been watching a film on TV.
Street: Emily asks Gary if Judy has been getting on OK in the Kabin. She comments how busy it gets. Sally teases Chris about how rough he looks - he confesses to a hangover. Gary asks Judy how it is going in the shop, and she reassures him that everything is fine.
House: Nick asks Martin why they are against him seeing Leanne. Martin just says they are too young to get involved in what might be a transient thing. Nick is convinced that Leanne won't want anyone else.
Kabin: Rita prepares to go out, and Judy asks her to be back in an hour as the baby will need to be fed. Rita says that Judy will just have to manage. After Rita has gone, Gary comes in. He suggests that Judy ask for more hours. Judy says not at the moment.
Factory: George Dixon calls and Mike makes Angie go to lunch with him. Angie is furious with Mike.
Kabin: Rita is unimpressed by Audrey and Deirdre fussing over Judy and the baby. Especially when it begins to wail. Audrey had only come in to see why Alf's magazine, 'The Grocer' hadn't been delivered. Rita rattles the mint imperials onto the scales with a harassed glare at Judy.
Street: Nick calls for Leanne, and Toyah is jealous. Nick asks Leanne to go to a 'Fat Boy' concert in Leeds, and stay overnight in a mate's brother's flat. Leanne happily accepts.
Kabin: Rita rearranges the magazines as Gary enters. Upon finding that Judy has left, he takes the opportunity to ask Rita himself if Judy could work full time. Rita shocks him be saying it is out of the question, as having Katy there is more trouble than it is worth. Rita decides she doesn't want Judy at all any more, and offers 2 weeks' money in lieu of notice.
Cafe: Roy enquires about Nick's plans. He seems impressed when Gail says Nick wants to do Sports Science, as 'there's a wealth of opportunities these days in the world of sport and leisure.' Janice lets slip to Gail that Leanne and Nick were up in Leanne's bedroom most of the previous evening.
Bar/Restaurant: After lunch (including white wine) George suggests to Angie that he stay over and they go out that evening, in order to celebrate the success of the deal. He makes it clear that Mike isn't invited. She refuses, saying they can celebrate now, and orders champagne
Rovers: Jon suggests a weekend away for him and Deirdre. She points out that they should be house-hunting and saving their money. He agrees, and says due to a management restructuring he is to be promoted and receive a pay rise. He is upset that Dreary's praise seems muted and accuses her of not believing him.
Bar/Restaurant: George proposes that part of the contract may require her to spend weekends away with him, ostensibly to meet other buyers, but with plenty of leisure time. Angie declines politely. George obliquely threatens to pull out and take his order to another supplier. Angie launches into a vitriolic attack and tells him to stuff the contract. She walks out.
House: Gail challenges Martin's version of events at the Battersbys'. He hedges, then she says Janice told her Nick was in Leanne's bedroom. Gail is upset that the relationship seems serious. Nick comes in and knows they are rowing about him. Martin and Gail try to persuade him that there will be problems if he associates with that family.
House: Sally leaves the girls home alone while she goes out for 5 minutes. She gives Rosie strict instructions not to open the door to anybody.
Rovers: Judy is angry that Gary poked his nose in. He blames her for not being honest about her problems. Judy is disappointed that she couldn't cope with a job and a baby.
Street: Sally returns, but has lost her keys. She shouts to Rosie through the letterbox. Judy retrieves Katy from Emily, who has been for a walk. Sally has to ask Chris to break down the door as Rosie refuses to open it.
House: In Emily's, Les is watching the racing on TV. He hears Emily open the door and turns it off. She hears noise and smells cigarettes and goes out again. Les scoots up the stairs, but Emily has seen a shape behind the glass. She calls Janice for help, who opens her own door and bellows for Les. He meanwhile has flitted back through the loft and rushes down to 'help'.
Rovers: Angie drowns her sorrows in a pint, and tells Mike the bad news - they lost the contract. He listens to her story, and says sex wasn't expected, Angie should have coped, and her heart isn't in the business.
House: Les reassures Emily that the house is empty. They go through the people who have keys - since there is no sign of a break-in. Les thinks it must be Curly. Emily disagrees, saying anyway Norman doesn't smoke. Les says maybe he does it in other people's houses - Curly is one of them passive smokers! Emily looks perplexed.
House: Sally mops her tears; Chris has secured the front door. Sally weeps and wails that it is all going wrong. Rosie apologises, and Chris kindly shoos her off to bed. Sally cries again, blubbing that she can't cope. He puts a comforting arm around her. She begs him not to go, saying she needs him. She kisses him. He looks uneasily at her, then they kiss passionately. The camera lingers just a touch longer than necessary as they chew each others' faces. Credits.
Episode written by Phil Woods.
Here is the news for Sunday the 26th of October, and this is Jerry Ledbetter reading it. In tonight's headlines:
Angie leaves Baldwin holding the baby at Underworld
Leanne and the Plonk tell Martin and Gail they've split up
Curly is accused of breaking into Emily's house
Les wins £800 on the horses
Jon tells Dierdre he has been promoted to sales director
Kev rebels, he has a beer with Martin
An update from the Corrovision song contest. Only two contestants remain, Sally and Kev.
Angie leaves Baldwin holding the baby at Underworld
In tonight's big story, Angie has decided to leave underworld for pastures new, although she doesn't know where they are yet. Your fashion editor, Margo, has Angie in the radio car now for the latest on this body blow to the Weatherfield fashion industry. Over to you Margo.
Thank you very much Jerry. Now Angie we all know some of the story behind this decision, but can you fill us in again on the background.
"There isn't much to tell Margo. Baldwin expected me to sleep with one of his cronies in order to win a contract for the firm. I'm not prepared to do it".
This sexual harassment has had rather an airing on the street in the last few years hasn't it?
"Yes, but this is a different storyline, because this time I am involved".
But there is a common thread isn't there. Haven't you been turning to Curly for support?
"I have, yes. He thought I shouldn't be letting Mike's sleazy ways force me to leave Underworld, but I don't want to work with that 'patronising git' as Curly calls him, any more."
What did Baldwin say when you told him?
"Oh he wasn't too worried. He said to buy a bottle of wine to sooth myself down and in the morning I'd have changed my mind. He is wrong though, I won't change my mind.
"All the same, we did take his money, and advice. We bought a bottle of wine. Curly suggested red, but I thought white was the safer option. My life is complicated enough."
Thank you Angie, now back to you Jerry.
Leanne and the Plonk tell Martin and Gail they've split
Broken hearts on the street seemingly, as the plonk tells his parents he has broken up with Leanne. Gail took the news soberly. "I always said I wouldn't tell me kids how to run their own lives, not like me mum," she agonised to Martin. Indeed, there is evidence that doing so is a waste of time as friends of the couple have indicated that the breakup story is a pack of lies.
Curly is accused of breaking into Emily's house
At Les's insistence, Emily accused Curly of being the one who has been breaking into her house of late. However, as the supposed break-ins have been occurring in three houses in the terrace, two of which it is clear Curly has no access to, Emily later apologised in full. The irony is that our long range papparazzi style zoom lens and infra-red camera, which was by coincidence, trained on the Bishop's house while this was going on, revealed the hunched shape of the true intruder hiding under Emily's table. As this intruder later sneaked off when no one was looking his presence was not discovered. Experts believe they have finally discovered the name of this intruder. It is none other than Superman. Who else could get up through the trap door into Emily's loft without leaving behind the ladder or chair he was standing on?
Les wins £800 on the horses
Les wins big on the horses today, but the man must have the appetite of a horse. Despite his winnings, he insisted to Janice that he only had enough cash to buy a curry.
Jon tells Dierdre he has been promoted
More nights away for Jon as he breaks the news that he has been promoted to sales director at the "Tie and Fly". Dierdre was unhappy about the news of Jon's further absences, but he has announced his plans to buy a house in Cheshire, as a sweetener. She told Alec today she had fallen on her feet with Jon. But into what exactly?
Kev rebels, he has a beer with Martin
This evening Kev had a beer over at the Platts place, even though Natalie was expecting him home. Naughty, naughty Kev.
Now we cross live to the Weatherfield Apollo to join Barbara Good as she brings us news of the final of the Corrovision song competition. Over to you Barbara.
Thank you very much Jerry. Yes, listeners, there are only two songs left in the running, so stand by your phones and call in for your favourite.
Just to remaind you of what the songs are, we will play a brief excerpt.
Firstly, (Hot) Rod Webster with his rendition of that old rock and roll standard, Heartbreak Hotel. Take it away Rod!
"Well since Sally went to Scarbruh,
I found a new woman to shag,
She's an old trout,
her hair's falling out
and she looks like an 'orrible bag.
But, she got me so randy,
she got me so randy baby,
she got me so randy I could die".
Thank you Rod. And the second song is a more mellow offering altogether. Singing her own composition, entitled "The first slut is the cheapest", here is Weatherfield's own Sally.
"Thank you Barbara, and I'd like to dedicate this song to my friend Chris".
"I would have given you all of my heart,
but there's someone who's torn it apart,
and I'd sure like to give you a try
but I don't think I can try to love again,
baby I can't try to love again 'cos I know,
The first slut is the cheapest, baby I know,
the Nat's bite is the deepest.
When she came and saw my hubby she knew,
she'd have him drinking champagne out of her shoe."
Thank you Sally. Don't forget to phone in and vote for your favourite, listeners. Meanwhile, back to your regular scheduled programme.
We didn't have a telly at our house until I was 11. Fortunately both sets of grandparents did, and both lived nearby. On Saturdays I'd go up to Granny Wildman's (nee Duckworth, yes really) for tea and TV. Saturday's highlight was Doctor Who, in glorious 405 line monochrome. I don't recall how much of it I saw each week because I was always hiding behind the settee when the monsters came on. Granny would tell me when it was safe to look at the screen again.
With the return of La Mouton this week, every viewer needed their Granny. Sadly, mine died aged 93 in 1990, still believing that Thunderbirds, was played by little men in suits,, so she couldn't be there to hold my hand. I had to sit through it, albeit behind the settee, but you, gentle reader, need not.
For the benefit of those readers of a nervous disposition, I shall give a visual and verbal warning when La Mouton arrives on the screen. This should give you ample opportunity to take the necessary avoiding action either by jumping behind your settee, or going out to make a cup of tea, shampoo the cat, or knit those bootees you're going to send when Fiona has her baby.
To simulate a virtual settee you can hit Alt-Tab. I don't know what to do if you're using a Mac, but I'm sure you can improvise.
To give a 5 second warning I've developed a variation on html code, called htlm, which stands for Hide, There's Liz MacDonald, and will be denoted by <SLAPPER>, When Granny says it's safe to come out you'll see <\SLAPPER>.
This is the first Monday update from the House of Dewey, and I've been thinking all weekend about the appropriate Dewey style. Early on Saturday morning I started to compose a monologue along the lines of The Lion and Albert, (whaddya mean you,ve never heard it?), but it's not finished yet because SWMBO had me clearing the garden yesterday. Here's what I've done so far - the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
There's a famous TV place called Weatherfield
That was noted for humour and fun
Till Mr and Mrs Parkinstein Moved there
wi, young Brian, their son.
Now Brian ad eard about Corrie
How it was gentle and sweet
He thought I'll soon sort that out
I reckon it's right up my Street.,
E'd followed Eastenders and Emmerdale
And Neighbours and Home And Away
I'll bring Corrie down to their level
When I'm producer one day,
He joined Channel Twelve in Australia
To develop his skills on the screen
Wooden acting, dull plotlines, poor writing
The worst that the world's ever seen.
He soon felt ready for battle
Even against t'Spanish Armada
So he sent his curriculum vitae,
To Weatherfield, c/o Granada.
Granada liked his suggestions
Win the ratings war, see off EE,
So they offered the job of Producer
At least til 2003.
and so on...
OK, the Spanish Armada bit's poor, but I needed a rhyme for Granada, and it's almost related. If you'll have me back next week I might have written the rest of it.
Any road up, Chuck, here's the update for Episode 4289 shown Monday 27th October 1997.
In which we learn what Toyah does on a Monday night, an old slapper anticipates her 40th birthday, and Les fancies himself as (a) an actor, and (b) a mad inventor.
The Battersby's, breakfast-time. The girls are sitting munching toast while Janice opens the mail. The Council are demanding payment of outstanding Council Tax. Les, from upstairs in response to Janice's screams about paying Council Tax, is only concerned with his trousers. Has Janice put them in the wash? Janice has and Les creates because his winning betting slip is in the pocket. (But we know he dropped it on Emily's parlour floor don't we?). Les, who has obviously never RTFM, elects to open a front loading washing machine with a crowbar. Much mayhem ensues, along with a lot of 'Rinse Hold' water. I do hate his white socks and his enthusiasm for shirtless scenes.
Janice screams that she doesn't want him beggering up her washing machine for ten measly quid, but Les admits that it wasn't a tenner, more like eight hundred. On rescuing the betting slip the women snatch it off each in turn until Leanne is able to read the name of the horse - Lucky Luke. 'Oh no', goes Les, 'that's the wrong ticket.', so they go off to search the bedroom floor. Janice wants a holiday out of this.
Cut to Dreary's where she's breakfasting with Jon, and looking at Estate Agent's particulars.
Leanne meets the Plank II outside Fiona's for a quick osculatory session.
Back outside the Batts' house, Janice is questioning Les how he came to lose the betting slip - 'where were you when you last saw it?' Conveniently they are in the street and realisation dawns when he glances at Emily's front door.
Les now has to create ever more outlandish schemes to get into Emily's house to search for the slip. On the rather flimsy pretext of wanting to see what colour her carpet is, Emily grants admission. Well, he forces his way in. The camera makes sure that we see the slip on the floor. Emily is perplexed, especially when he asks for a teaspoon because he's locked out. Well you would, wouldn't you? Emily sees a scrap of paper on the floor as she goes to get the teaspoon, picks it up commenting on her usual tidiness. Les asks if she's going to work at the Kabin.
Underworld. Mike tells Angie that he bowed and scraped to George Dixon, and got the contract. Angie is determined to leave. Mike claims that George gave the contract because he 'liked the designs'.
Les tries Emily again, this time telling her that he's an inventor working on a fuel made out of household garbage, so can he please have the contents of her litter bin? Certainly not. Slam!
<SLAPPER> In the Rovers, Angie and Chris discuss her relationship with Baldwin, and how Chris thinks she should use him. No, La Mouton isn't in this scene, but pay attention because you won't get this much notice next time. Sally looks on to see Chris getting very chatty with Angie.
At the bar, Dreary asks La Mouton what she's doing next Monday, because it's her birthday, her fortieth. Don't mention the f-word commands La Mouton. She thinks she might stop in and slit her wrists. I could hear the cries of 'yes, do it' from across the street. <\SLAPPER>
Les is standing in his doorway with a fag and a can of Sainsbury's Parkin bitter. Emily comes past and Les again tries to find out whether she's going to be out this afternoon. The Battersby household, which, you'll remember holds the gateway to Narnia, begins to seem like Piccadilly Circus, what with Janice, Leanne, and Nicky, who had brought chips with curry sauce because they'd run out of gravy. Leanne is annoyed that they're having to keep their liaisons secret from the outside world. But seeing as they're both adults, and that everyone will be out tonight we could..... do you want to.... how much experience have you got..? 'Yeah' says Plank II, but manages to look a little apprehensive.
After the adverts, presumably teatime, Sally is leaving Underworld, sees Chris, and gives a 'you've lost interest just when I was beginning to allow myself to fall for you' look.
Again, outside the Battersby's, Les still has that can of Parkin's bitter, a natter with Gary, and surprising comfort from Janice when he admits that the betting slip hasn't turned up. I was surprised that she didn't accuse him of having lost a worthless one, and was covering up the fact that Lucky Luke was really an £800 winner. She offers to buy him a pint.
Chris goes round to Sally's on the pretext that he's lost his driving licence, and perhaps he'd left it at hers the other night. Just when Sally is beginning to steam up, old coitus interruptus Gail breathlessly storms in, 'have you got five minutes?' Exit Chris.
Gail suggests that they go out together on Thursday, but Sally goes into confession mode about her and Chris and rumpeh pumpeh last Friday night. (Hang on, is this wishful thinking, I seem to remember it nearly happened, not really.)
Back at Dreary's flat, Jon thrusts another set of Estate Agent's particulars at Dreary, who then explains she's invited Liz to dinner. Jon isn't concerned, because suddenly he's been called away 'down South' and he's going straight away. He'll try to ring her. That was a big bit of broccoli wasn't it Dreary?
We're back in the Rover's, and Angie asks Chris to accompany her on viewing a flat, and she'll treat him to a curry.
If one MacDonald isn't enough, there's three more in the corner of the Rover's, in the old 'Snug' I believe. Steve & Andy want to make it a special birthday for the old slapper, because she's been down lately. Jim's had to cope with passing forty on his own, so he's not going to be sympathetic.
<SLAPPER> Dreary's flat for dinner with Liz. Dreary is getting excited about house details, Liz is going into a self pity routine now that Dreary's 'got it all' <\SLAPPER>
The kid's bedroom chez Lindsay. Linda sees Jon tucking the children in, utters the word 'Jon' and hugs him. So his name's not Barry really then?
Over to the Rover's, Gail & Sally are having a half of lager, and Sally asks Alec if Chris has been in. 'Yes' says Alec, 'he's gone off with Angie to look at a flat together, then for a meal, and anyway, 'ow are you luv?.'
Still in the Rover's, Les realises that Emily is drinking with Ken. He checks with Janice that Toyah has gone out to kick-boxing, and Leanne & Nick have gone to the cinema. The coast is clear, thinks Les, and tells Janice he's going home to get a tenner from his other jacket. What other jacket, Les?
Leanne's bedroom. They haven't gone to the cinema at all. The scheming little minx is determined to have her way with Nick, who doesn't seem too sure about the situation. Leanne suggests they go to Janice & Les' double bed. Just then they are disturbed by the door, and Les's shouting 'Hello - anyone home?. They keep quiet. Like a rat up a drainpipe, Les is into the loft space, and through to Emily's. Spilling the contents of her bin all over the floor, he finds the betting slip (though it looked more like a yellow Post-it to me), kisses it, and hurries back home.
However, Emily & Ken have both left the Rover's together so that she can pass a magazine article to him, and as they enter the hall they see a furtive figure disappearing upstairs and into the loft hatch. 'That's no ghost' cries Ken, giving chase, calling 'I've seen you, you're in big trouble' then falls through the ceiling to land on top of Leanne's bed. Les comes in 'I dare say this one will take some explaining, eh Mr Barlow?
Oh how we laughed.
Cue end credits.
This episode written by Sally Wainwright.
Interesting point. Of the 48 regular cast that I could think of, only 20 appeared in this episode. I'll build up these statistics.
That's it then. The first House of Dewey Update. It's taken 75 minutes of reviewing the tape and typing, just got to spoll chuck now and you should have this before 10pm GMT.
Can I do it again?
A THOUSAND GREETINGS on a week which has been a bit uppy-downy. This is a phrase prevalent in our house, originally seeing the light of day as 'don't sit on the edge of the settee like that, it'll go all uppy- downy.' Now it has come to mean mixed fortunes, generally.
I broke off my little in-store narrative last week, when I emerged blinking into what I expected to be a closed and deserted department store, at 10:30 pm.
The pair of legs at my shoulder turned out to belong to a very cheerful Cockney sort called Micky. In asking if I was there for the record attempt, he thought I was one of the select and well-organised group who get their kicks by hiding in large department stores, waiting until closing time, then emerging together and having a great time!
I got to my feet, still rather drowsy from my strong anti-histamine medication, but a wee bit brighter than before I fell asleep. As we waited for some of the others to appear, he told me of the hidden wonderful world of this after-hours retail secret society.
My speech being still somewhat slurred, at first he thought I was under the influence, but eventually he formed the opinion I must be Hungarian, and over here from one of the Eastern European After-Hours Store Groups on a fact finding mission. I did my best to assure him this was not the case, but in the end I thought it expedient to allow him to continue in this harmless misapprehension. When I told him my name, it came out as Rigel, so that is how he introduced me to his colleagues as they emerged one by one from their ingenious hiding places.
" 'ere lads, come an' meet me old mate Rigel; 'e's over from 'ungary to see 'ow we does fings over 'ere! I found 'im pokin' art o' this wardrobe fing. I've used it meself before now!"
Sure enough, the lads emerged from their extraordinary and varied hiding places. One man stepped out smiling from inside the case of a very fine grandfather clock. The lids slowly lifted on one or two hi-fi cabinets, pushed open from within by their occupants. The people from inside them climbed out and walked over to the bedding department, where they opened various drawer divans, and still more people emerged. There were two people inside a grand piano, and another three rolled inside oriental rugs in the carpet department.
One of these people was talking into his mobile phone as he walked towards us. He reported to Micky (whose full in-store nickname was Micky Mouse, on account of his ability to get into the smallest of hiding places) on the outcome of the phone call. "Yeah, Micky mate, I've juss bin on the ol' blower to the Jocks. They've got 52 in McMurrays in Glasgow tonight, which 'aint bad, but some o' their best lads is away in Edinburgh, tryin' out the 'iding places in a new furniture megastore wots juss opened, or they'd 'ave had more, like. They say they're still up for it next week like, the ol' recawd attempt, an' we better get our bleedin' skates on, 'cos they've juss 'ad a fax from New York where last night they 'ad 76 in Bloomingdales, including free wimmin, a couple a kids, a golden retriever and some geezer in a wheelchair! Chrissknows where they bunged 'im for four hours! 'ang on Micky mate... you whiff like a tart's armpit... where you bin 'iding tonight?"
"Ah've bin free hours crunched up in a big ol' drawer under the counter in the perfumr'y department, mate... bit of a bleedin' squeeze, but nice to find a new spot, y'know?"
I was astonished to see all these people in the store while it was closed to both public and staff. They appeared to be all ages and from all walks of life. A mixed bunch if ever I saw one. Some were clearly well educated and well-spoken, some were students and some looked like men of retirement age, having embraced this unusual hobby to help pass the time.
Obviously they have to wait until the cleaners have left the store, then they have the rest of the night to meet, share their food and coffee, chat, read their newsletter The Hideaway, and discuss how many unauthorised people have managed to get into this store or that, around the world.
It was explained to me that they operate by strict rules. There is no shoplifting or damage to the stock... ever. If furniture is moved it must be replaced in its previous position on the sales floor, or if they use the CD players or TV sets, they must always be turned off well before dawn when everyone returns to their chosen hiding places, to get some sleep before the store opens and they leave when the coast is clear.
You can only join this select band by invitation. If you are invited to join, there is an initiation ceremony, where you have to show your good intentions by spending the night alone, in a small shop, like a greengrocers or cake shop. When Micky joined, he was so keen to show his mettle, he spent a full week in every branch of Virgin Megastore in London! If you complete the initiation, and your claim can be verified, you're in. You are then welcomed anywhere in the world where people spend the night in large shops and stores.
As Rigel from Hungary, I was warmly welcomed by this most unusual of fraternities. I ate and drank well until dawn, played table tennis in the sports department, had my hair cut in the hairdressing salon, tried on some lovely jackets in the menswear department, and did my slurred best to discuss the forthcoming instore record attempt when the Jocks travel down from Glasgow next week. The new World Record was theirs for the taking, they reckoned. The plan was to hide at least 35 in the kitchen service lift, and that should crack it, along with the others at various established hiding points around the store.
It would be a record to be proud of, but one that could never be widely publicised... only to a select few store dwellers around the world.
There was much talk about a recent record attempt inside the largest Ford Truck dealer in Sydney Australia, where they claimed 132 men, 17 women, 11 children, (12 by the morning if you include the overnight birth) one circus dwarf, 3 dogs and a horse! It turned out that this attempt had not been accepted by the movement's governing body, because the horse and the dwarf had both been bundled up through the rubbish chute during the night, and therefore the attempt was disqualified!
So next time you find yourself the last person to leave a large store, when they make that announcement "This store will be closing in five minutes" just before you leave, take a sneaky peek inside a wardrobe or two... inside the case of a grandfather clock... behind the window displays. If you see someone there, don't make a fuss. Just wink and tell him Rigel from Hungary said good luck. It might be the night of the next Record Attempt!
Here is the update for the UK episode shown on Wednesday 29 October 1997
A hurried breakfast is being snatched at the Battersby household, where the hot topic of conversation is a certain rapidly descending ex- teacher. Toyah reckons he's always been a bit of a perv, and cites his love of poetry to back up her opinion. Surely he was trying to make his secret spy hole in the ceiling larger when he fell through! Les mentions that Jim is to pop round later to asses the damage and quote for repairs.
When both girls have left, Janice sidles up to him and gets the truth from him, that it's been him all along, causing the 'paranormal' activity. On getting his admission of culpability, she bashes him repeatedly about the head with a rolled up newspaper. Swift justice indeed.
The only evidence he can produce in mitigation of his most recent escapades is the all important £800 winning betting slip. She snatches it from him, saying she'll cash it at the bookies' shop at lunch time.
Later Ken and Emily call at No.5 wanting to speak to Mr and Mrs B. "If you've come round here to apologise, you're too late" whines Janice, and backs Les up all the way, as being the innocent party. Later still Ken and Emily call once more to see Les, and he refuses to back down, and counter-accuses the downwardly mobile Ken as being the villain, and wonders how the Police will view the situation. Ken looks ready to back down, there and then.
In the pub, Emily suggests it might be prudent to let sleeping dogs lie, and allow the matter to die a natural death. Ken asks her if she might consider inviting Percy back, now that all ghosts have been exorcised. Emily is not at all taken with this idea. She doesn't miss his incessant medal polishing and eukelele playing. Have we ever seen him play the euk? I can't recall it, I must say. (Turned out nice again, Mrs Bishop!)
Natalie is in a car which Kevin is testing. He gets her to test the indicators and lights, etc. There is some harmless high-jinks when she sprays him with water from the screen washers. Sally is passing by and sees this little routine, and walks on glumly. Chris accuses Kevin of staging it for Sally's benefit, which he refutes, quite rightly. Chris makes a sympathetic reference to Sally's feelings and Kevin tells him to shut up! He asks Kevin how he would feel if Sally were to become involved with a new man. With earth-shattering conceit, Kevin rules this idea a non- starter, on account of how tied-up she is in the girls and their welfare.
Jim is on site to look at the potential ceiling repair contract. Despite Les's cheapo bodgit-style suggestions, Jim says he'll be needing T bars nailed above, to take the new plasterboard, webbing and some painting.... a hundred quid. Very much out of character, Les doesn't haggle the price downwards and accepts on the spot, so Jim goes away to write up the quotation.
Natalie is trying to tempt the reluctant Kevin to take her out somewhere. She suggests bowling, an Italian meal or even the pictures. Kevin is not keen on any of these, and offers the delights of a walk. She later tells him she has accepted a dinner party invitation on behalf of both of them. He's not at all chuffed, but she tells him he'll enjoy it, although he knows he will be out of his depth if anything other than carburettors and brake pads are up for discussion.
Sally comes to the garage to see Chris, and goes away two minutes later a very happy girl. Why so pleased? Well, Chris tells her that he's long since finished with Angie, and how much he enjoyed the other night.... you know.... The Other Night... and he says he'd love to see her again. She has something to smile about at last!
With Rocket Man playing on the juke box in the background in the pub, Angie is bemoaning the lack of culinary imagination on offer. Alec tells her to wait but a short while, until such time when the Rovers will be a veritable magnet for the bon vivant! Angie replies with a phrase of French, which leaves a puzzled Alec dead in the water!
Deirdre and her man (upon whose very cravats our proud nation spits!) arrive in a rather pleasant street to view a potential new home. Steve's ex, Rachael is on hand to demonstrate how the wardrobe doors open effortlessly, and the undeniable lure of the ensuite facilities.
Deirdre is in heaven when she spies the deep pile shag, and Rachael advises them to move with all speed if they're keen on the gaff, because the divorced couple selling the place want a quick move. Jon shows Deirdre the mortgage repayments which would be required, and she immediately rules it out of their reach. But this defeatist talk is alien to Captain Unbelievable, and he says they should grasp the opportunity and go for it! That poor sweet trusting Deirdre is delirious with glee on hearing these magnanimous utterances. Yes, they'll make an offer on the property tomorrow!
In the cafe, Toyah is telling Gail about Ken's brief but spectacular fall from loftspace to bed, and Gail is in hysterics until she learns that her son and his tottie broke the fall! She assumes her crossest face and stares into space, waiting for the scene to end. The next we see of her, she is wearing a pair of very familiar looking marigold gloves with her hands in the kitchen sink, doing the washing up, with Martin manning the tea towel. She witters on and on about the fact that Nick and Leanne are still an item. "He's too young" she says. "Oh no he's not!" we all shout in reply. Martin is pretty philosophical about all this. He ventures that there's nothing they can do to stop it happening, and they should just be around to support Nick as and when it might become necessary. Gail is having none of this laissez-faire nonsense. "But I'm his mother!" she blurts out, before she realises she has pulled rank on Martin. She apologises for her inconsiderate remark, and resolves to go over to No. 5 to have her say.
Liz's 40th (!!) birthday is looming next week, and she's not taking the prospect of it very well at all. She accepts Jim's invitation for a bite to eat, and the boys make a tactful exit and leave them to it. Jim has prepared some sort of salad-based delicacy, and there is a bottle of red wine on the table. She talks of her fears of long-term loneliness and the anxiety of hitting the big Four-0. Relax Liz, I told her. It's nothing. I know it's easy for me to say, I still have 12 years to wait, but it can't be all that bad surely?? My god... a watershed in my miserable life... you are witness to the very first time I have lied about my age. Oh dear. Oh dear... Oh rueful day!
Liz says how proud she is about Andy's scholastic achievements, and asks Jim if Steve has changed at all. They talk about Fiona, and Jim confirms (if confirmation were needed) that Fiona is a fine looking wee girl! She tells Jim that he has changed for the better, and she mentions wistfully how men look better as they age, but the opposite is true of women. This may be indeed true of some men.
No comment, where I am concerned.
They exchange compliments...the red wine having taken its toll, and one thing leads to another until they are standing face to face in the kitchen.
She says how she was wrong to think she could have been happy anywhere but here, at home with Belfast Jimmy Mac and The Wee Herberts. "Where did we go wrong?" she asks him, rather dreamily. Blimey Liz, we can all remind you if you like! He was well on the way to killing you, shovel in hand, not these twelve months since! But you know how it is with red wine down this street don't you? There's no known antidote, right?
They move closer... closer... until she snogs the bloke who all too recently was ready to stove in her nut with a murderous garden implement!
That's yer lot - Good night and I love you all.
House: The MacDonald twins are breakfasting; they almost choke on their bacon when their Mum follows Jim down the stairs. Too late to go home, is the transparently lame excuse Liz and Jim have concocted. Jim offers to drive Liz home to her flat before work.
House: Gail nags Nick for lying about having finished with Leanne. She orders him to stop seeing her, because if he gets Leanne pregnant he will ruin his life for the next 18 years. Whatever else they may do, the Battersbys know their rights, Gail exclaims.
Flat: A long scene in which the cunning con man practises his art. Deirdre's spectacles do not lose their rosy hue. Jon begins by saying he has had second thoughts, and it isn't fair to ask Deirdre to pay half of the mortgage on the Dream House. She would be willing to find a smaller, cheaper, semi-detached or terraced property. No, he wants her to have a detached place in a nice location. He, the Man, should be the Provider, solely responsible for the mortgage, and she could pay for the food and bills. This way, he assures her, will be far simpler and prevent them arguing about finance. As Dreary congratulates herself on having such a generous partner, he hits her with the 'But'. His money is tied up in Local Authority Bonds (to prevent Linda getting it) and he can't release it for 6 months. So he can't afford to pay the deposit for the house now. 'No problem,' trills the short-sighted one, 'we'll use Samir's money' and Jon can hardly contain his excitement as Deirdre insists she will loan him £5000 plus a bit of interest that she had gained from the life-insurance policy. Jon protests, a bit, then agrees.
House: Steve is still waiting for Jim to get back from Liz's and take him to work. He and Andy speculate whether Jim and Liz are getting back together. He reckons that Jim really only wants Liz and has been saving himself for her. Andy remembers the time Jim stayed out all night. Jim returns and asserts that nothing is going on. Steve childishly says that all kids of divorced parents dream of a reconciliation. Andy murmurs that there would be problems if she returned; Jim wonders aloud if 1 or 2 might be solved.
Rovers: Kevin is stroppy with Alec, then confides to Chris that he does not want to go out with Natalie to a dinner party later.
House: Gail goes to speak to Les and Janice. She is surprised that Janice approves of the relationship, and implies that Leanne isn't good enough for Nick. This rouses Les from his armchair and he threatens to hit Gail, who calmly maintains that all she is concerned about is that Leanne doesn't get pregnant. Janice squawks that Nick hasn't got it in him to father a child. Gail retorts that whatever Nick has got, he will be keeping to himself.
Flat: Deirdre announces hat she has arranged with the building society to get the cash next week. Jon is pleased, since he has put in an offer on the Dream House. Deirdre can't wait to find out whether it has been accepted.
Cafe: Chris and Kevin have a coffee at the end of a hard day. Kevin attempts to get Chris to go out to the other side of Bolton to tow in a client; Chris refuses, saying he has other plans. Martin thinks that Gail was wrong to confront the Battersbys, and now she shouldn't take her temper out on Toyah, who is working in the cafe. Gail is all for sending Nick back to Canada, out of harm's way. Martin predicts that they have Battersbys in Canada, too! Gail tells Martin that he must talk to Nick and prevent him from ending up with a baby. Kevin uses the telephone.
House/Cafe: We cut between Natalie and Kevin as he explains that he has to go out on a job and will be late for the dinner party. Natalie is most displeased, and says she will go alone and he should follow - but in a taxi, not his pickup truck!
Flat: Jon gets the phone call he has been waiting for. Deirdre opens champagne and they celebrate: their offer for the Dream House has been accepted!
Restaurant: Sally and Chris chat over coffee at the end of their meal. Sally wonders why Chris should choose her over younger women like Maxine and Fiona. Chris says that Sally is more interesting and attractive.
House: Nick senses a birds and bees talk looming from Martin as they are alone - Gail is baby-sitting at Sally's. Martin assures Nick that he doesn't want to treat him like a child, but that Nick could do better than Leanne. Martin explains that Nick could ruin his career if he gets serious with girls and doesn't study. Nick isn't to be so easily dissuaded, and Martin finally orders Nick not to go to bed with Leanne again.
House: Kevin arrives home at 10:30, shattered, and he watches TV with a beer.
Street: Liz, wearing her shortest skirt, arrives at Jim's door, and announces she intends to stay the night. Sally and Chris stroll back to her door, then he persuades her to leave Gail there a bit longer and go to his flat, 'for coffee'.
House: Natalie reappears to find Kevin asleep on the sofa. She really shouts at him, accusing him of putting the business before her. He tries to explain how tired he was, and he had been stripping engines all day while all she had to do was her hair. Natalie is not impressed by his 'working class hero' act and stomps off. Kevin sighs.
House: Jim and Liz enjoy a night-cap and reminisce about the old days. She wonders if they are wise to resume their relationship. He does not deny it when she says she knows it is what he wants. Liz sets off upstairs. Jim finishes his drink and looks thoughtful. Credits.
Episode written by Catherine Hayes.