It's the beginning of yet another week which unfortunately, in my case, means it's also the end of an absolutely *fantastic* weekend spent in a very nice place (Sunny Manchester - Wahey! ;)) with some absolutely wonderful people. Sadly, such a break always makes going back to work on a Monday and resuming the previously scheduled broadcast something of a chore and it also means I'm incredibly tired as I sit down to write this Update, so please forgive any typing errors, grammatical mistakes or general lack of whatever it was you were hoping to find within it. :)
Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, tonight's episode wasn't the greatest in the world in comparison to recent highs. At least 65% of it was highly enjoyable but sadly large heaps of random nonsense kept falling on the line and derailing the Quality Train. So without further adieu, let's take a closer peek, shall we?
The show opens with Ravi and Nita sitting in a car a short distance away from the CornerShop (The observant may notice that the rubbish skip behind them has been defaced with the witty scrawl "HORROCKS IS A SLAPHEAD"), discussing the prospect of making Fred a higher offer, thus forcing him into selling it. Nita is all for the idea of pushing another £5,000 in the Burly Butcher's direction since, having eavesdropped eariler, now believes that the Cornershop will become a miniture goldmine once these mythical New Houses are built on the Red Rec. Ravi, who has far more experience in the property field, reminds her that plans for building an estate aren't always very solid and can often fall through but Nita, visibly irritated by his indecision, climbs out of the car offers him the ultimatum that, if he hasn't decided to make a higher offer by the end of the day, she will no longer work there! "There's no point in rushing things!" he says, "And don't slam the..." ***BANG*** "...door!" (The old ones are the best ones, they say! Or not! :))
So we cut to an empty Rovers where Natalie is berating Vera for not doing a good enough cleaning job on the toilets. "They're gonna be mucky again in a few hours" says Vee, in her defence, but this merely prompts the sharp-as-a-tack response "Tell you what? Let's just not bother paying anyone to clean them, then!" from Natalie, who shortly disappears out back, just as Jack enters. He is the bearer of good news, it seems, and has been on the 'phone to the Club Secretary at Weatherfield Golf Club, enquiring about the open Stewards' Vacancies. It seems that, amazingly, the Secretary was impressed by whatever it was that Jack told him, said that the Duckies sounded like "ideal candidates" and even went so far as to ask them to drop by for an interview at the weekend. Job-Hungry Jack, in a rare moment of enthusiasm, suggests that they go to the club later in the day to check the place out, get a feel for it, maybe pick up some pointers and thus "get ahead" of the other applicants. Vee agrees and tells him to pick her up in an hour's time when she's finished her cleaning.
Sharon enters Sally's new house with her new fiance in tow and makes Fatal Soap Mistake No1482 by getting ridiculously overexcited about her impending wedding. "This is Ian, my fiance!" she coos, "OOOOH, I just luuuv saying that word!" (UT OH) and he instantly confirms this as a mistake by stating, at a 'Big Train' level of Deadpan, that he has to hurry away to Leeds now or else he'll be late. Sally tells him it was nice to be introduced and gives him 'the eye' (UT OH), as he leaves to go sell whatever it is that he sells (has this been mentioned already and I've just forgotten?)... We cut briefly to outside, where he makes pretty beady eyes of his own at Natalie, who just so happens to be passing down the Street at this point (UT OH)! Back indoors, Sharon asks the Sickly One what she thinks and Sally squeals "He's very nice", adding that he's "very good looking" to which Sharon responds wistfully, gazing at her engagement ring, "...and he's alllllll mine". Did I say "UT OH" already?
I'm afraid I must bring up a pet gripe of mine now (Damn, I knew I shouldn't have eaten it! *groan*), as Audreh takes out the Salon Sign and positions it proudly outside her establishment. Unfortunately, the sign *STILL* says "FIONA MIDDLETON" on it *and* so does the sign above the shop itself *AND* so does the inscription on the window! Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Audrey Roberts is probably *THE* most vain and self-promotional character on the Street at the moment so you can't expect me to believe that the very first thing she would do upon buying the place would be *anything* except getting her name in lights above the door! (Production? Wakey Wakey?!) Anyhow, as she moves the sign out, a sneaky-looking Fred Elliot pops his head stealthfully around to door to commend her on her 'acting' in front of Nita, telling her that she has chosen the wrong vocation in hairdressing and should be on the stage! She is visibly flattered and giggles as Fred, looking around, whispers "Mustn't dawdle... Can't have them seeing us talking!" before vanishing into the shadowy realms from whence he came.
Over at "The Weatherfield Golf Club" (ANORAK TIME: Does anyone know where this is shot? The location looked familiar?), Jack and Vera pull up outside and are treated to a display of posh cars parked before it. He reckons they should go in and scope out the Clubhouse but Vera, in a rare and almost pleasant (!) moment of embarrassment, tells him that they're "not going to fit in" and will just end up making fools out of themselves:
Jack: (Assertively) "We are as good as anybody else!" Vera: (Fretting) "We've got to face facts! I'm a cleaner and you're a cellarman! And we don't know owt about golfing people!" Jack: "Vera, don't put yourself down!" Vera: "I'm not, I'm just being realistic!" Jack: "Right... We're not here for membership. We're here to run a bar... Which we have done for years!" Vera: "What? A grotty little backstreet pub?" Jack: "You were the licencee, we ran our own business." Vera: "Yeh, but we had to sell it." Jack: (Correctively) "CHOSE to sell it. We've probably got more money in the bank than half this flamin' membership, anyway." Vera: (After a short pause... Quietly) "But Jack... We're too common for round here."
He finally manages to reassure her that with their strong will to work (Where??) and their "friends in high places" (Apparently Fred and Mike Baldwin are members of the club), they will have no problems... As I said, quite a touching scene, if only to see Vera brought back down to Earth and being so humble and frank for a change.
Cutting now to the Factory, the Worker Bees sit around bemoaning the fact that Baldwin won't let them throw a Valentine's Day Disco in Underworld, on the grounds of it being too dangerous. Unfortunately, now that the seeds of the idea have been firmly planted, all the girls have their hearts dead set on it, so words are exchanged on how to find an alternative venue. Lady Hayley Of Patterson (back on our screens after a short break - Yay!! :)), who seems to be having a 'bad hair day', notes that some places will let you use their hall for free as long as you can assure a certain number of attendees. She even offers kindly to ring around and find such a venue! This goes down well with the other Factory Girls except Loathsome Linda, who 'votes' firmly against the idea of any disco at all, claiming that finding a DJ and getting tickets/catering sorted out will be too big a hassle, the lazy cow! Thankfully, RLady H has not learnt the meaning of backing down and offers to organise the whole thing! The others are all over the moon with joy, so Janice nominates Hayley as Underworld Social Secretary (!) and asks for a show of hands from anyone in agreement. Needless to say, they all raise a paw or two (even Loathsome Linda, albeit reluctantly) and it is made official! Hayley, midway through chomping a donut (Mmm... Donuts), looks utterly and completely delighted with her new-found status.
Meanwhile, at an outdoor Market (another new location), Vera and Eunice are attempting to give a worldwide base of Corrie viewers some seriously nasty nightmares by sifting their way through a stack of mildly saucy underwear. Eunice is holding up a particularly bizarre bra with a military camouflage print on it!!! Vee is boasting about her and Jack's forthcoming interview at the Golf Club, claiming that they were hand-picked by the owner for Stewards, when Mike Baldwin "put their names forth". Dame Eunice of Gee doesn't seem to buy Vera's story, with good reason, and wonders if anyone's actually serving at the knicker stall. Sure enough, someone is and there are absolutely no prizes whatsoever to receive if you already guessed that this person is Sickly Webster. "EH UP! It's little Sally!" shrieks Vera like a manic harpie as they exchange a bit of pleasant smalltalk about Sicky's new job. The final nail is hammered mercilessly into the coffin of horrors when Sally tells Vera she has "just the thing" for her, before presenting a Delighted Duckworth with a skimpy pair of red silky knickers! (And to think these atrocities were screened before the watershed!!!)
In the Cornershop, Fred is playing Slavedriver to Nita, getting her to wipe down the shelves and "give it some elbow grease". Just then, the wonderful Ravi walks in and a rather frantic haggling session ensues. There's not much point in explaining it, since there's no hope of translating this into text, but eventually they decide on an extra seven thousand pounds added to the original price! What makes this scene such a joy to watch is the utterly brilliant poker-faces pulled by both Saeed Jaffrey and John Savident, both whom are SUPREME comedy actors! (Overseas viewers, keep your eyes out for the treat of watching these two together!) The scene ends with a handshake as we cut to the commercial break.
END OF PART ONE
The ads range from tedious to distasteful with one in particular standing out as worse than the rest. A painfully unfunny attempt to recreate "Carry On"/"Benny Hill" style humour with a sleazy, greasy type remarking to a tremendously busty blonde, without making eye contact (if you know what I mean...), that he "wouldn't mind some golden churn on *those* scones" (Golden Churn being a butter substitute in the UK, overseas readers) and other such uninspired and badly executed innuendo. Ugh. Oh, we also have an attempt by marketing men to make HORLICKS appealing/hip to teenagers, a campaign that somehow I can't see taking off in a hurry.
Thankfully, Jane Horrocks appears briefly in the TESCO advert but aside from that, this break is a wasted slab of airtime to these eyes. So back to the fun!
Fun indeed, as it's Sir Royston of Cropper and Lady Hayley of Patterson, conversing as they do in the Cafe! He is horrified at the prospect of a Disco and when she confesses that she'd like to see him "strut his funky stuff" he responds that he "hasn't got any funky stuff *to* strut"... She ignores his self-depricating remark and continues to enthuse about how she's been made Social Secretary at Underworld, asking if he's as excited as she is. Roy seems a bit reticent, however, and warns her not to let it get in the way of her "other commitments" like the Operatic Society and (more to the point) *him*. She assures him that he "won't be neglected" but Our Hero seems unconvinced, especially when Lady H carries on talking about her new found popularity. ***WARNING: BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT COMING UP!***
Lady H: "Hey, do you think I should get a badge made with Social Secretary written on it?" Sir R: (Sarcastically) "Yes, yeah, get another one too with MUGGINS on it, while you're about it!"
ROFL! She is offended by his 'scathing' remark and begins to seethe, looking increasingly miffed as he warns her that the Factory Girls are perhaps not as friendly as they might seem, pointing out that it was only a few months ago that some of them wouldn't so much as share a toilet with her and now they're acting like best pals. Roy thinks they're just using her wonderfully helpful nature because they're too apathetic to organise the Disco themselves, a theory that deeply offends Hayley, so much so that she huffs and puffs her way out of the cafe, leaving Roy to muse moodily to Gail about Discos in general. POOR, POOR ROY! :(( My heart goes out to him, it really does!
Back at Ye Olde Shoppe on the Corner, Maud wheels herself inside and overhears a conversation that she wasn't meant to from within the back room. Uncle Fred is telling Prince Ashley of Peacock about his little spot of 'play acting' with Audreh Roberts, boasting about what fine tactics were employed. RAshleh is not best pleased at Fred's dubious dealings but his protests that "two wrongs don't make a right" are wasted on his Uncle, who laughs like a madman and hoots gleefully "OF COURSE THEY DO!" in the way that only he and Foghorn Leghorn could do. :)
Unfortunately, there's always one story that's going to stand out like Poop in a Punchbowl and this week it's the saga of Saint Martin of Platt's new job. As he goes about working his Messianic ways in the rest home, turning a bit of water into wine here 'n' there and healing a group of passing lepers, he drops by the front room to check on his new elderly pal, Walter. Walter is still upset and refuses to play board games with Martin (!) but this doesn't stop Platt from having a root through the selection. He is delighted to note such cerebral pursuits as Chess and Draughts being present (even if all the pieces are not!) but this turns to abject horror when he sees that some sick individual saw fit to place a game of TWISTER in a home full of people who can barely stand up, let alone 'Twist'. Poor Walter continues to whinge about his long lost Sister Mabel and Platty consoles the sorry old boy, telling him that he's "on the case". (Yes, the storyline really *IS* this daft... To me, it plays like a cliche-ridden, preachy American TV Movie. You know the kind, down on his luck Care Worker with a Heart Of Gold (TM) gets lumbered with the worst job in town at a rest home/high school/prison/kindergarten (delete as applicable) run by evil swine and sets about the task of cleaning things up, saving the day and generally making the world a better place to live in while he's at it... I *know* Martin's a nice guy and this is why I've really liked his character ever since the beginning, but this plot just leaves a bad sacharrine-like taste in my mouth, I'm afraid... Sorry! On the bright side tho, Sean Wilson *does* do a very fine job with his lines...)
Over at Number Six, Sharon is moving vast amounts of clothes/junk onto the stairs. Sickly comes home and is a bit taken aback by the quantity of crud that her new housemate is expecting to horde and this reaction prompts Sharon to mither and worry that she's overstaying her welcome and should find somewhere else to live. Thankfully, Sickly relaxes and tells her that it's no problem and that the offer still stands adding she was just initially a little surprised since she thought that, being as RShaz was just staying for a short period of time and on weeknights only, there wouldn't be so such a mountain of personal items. They both laugh about it and agree to keep the tenancy arrangement a secret from Natalie for the time being...
Maud is still wheeling about the Cornershop, meanwhile, and slides into the back room to have a word with the Mighty Fred Elliot, who's sipping Scotch. She demands a redundancy package, since the shop is being sold and she will be inevitably sacked, but Fred is more than a little reluctant to give her one (ooer! Quiet at the back!)... She pushes the issue using the Grimes Charm (TM) to it's maximum 'effect', snarling that she's been a "faithful servant" to him for over a year, "seven days a week sometimes, rain or shine" and that, with the profit he's making on the sale, he should give her something for her troubles. "You want a redundancy packet?" he whoops, before grabbing a bottle of Sherry off the shelf, thrusting it into her hands and beaming sarcastically "May you have a long and happy retirement!" - Maud scowls and flashes him a harsh glance of Pure Unadulterated Evil!
Over at Plattingham Palace, Saint Martin chops carrots while telling The Angel Gail (who is wearing a lovely purple jumper this evening) about his day at work. He explains his shock at finding the twister game in a place where "if any of the residents tried playing it, they'd end up in Intensive Care" before going on to tell her the story of poor old Walter and his Sister Mabel. The Home is not making a good impression on RSaint who reckons that the owner is crooked, pays little attention to the residents and has a bad attitude. Martin meanwhile wants to go to Social Services and help Walter but is torn between his good nature and the risk of being labeled as a "troublemaker".
Maud Grimes, who is now fully set in TERMINATOR MODE, wheels sinisterly across the dark Streets of Weatherfield to where Ravi Desai's car is parked. She taps on the window and introduces herself, grimly, adding that she thought Ravi "might like to know" that he's being "diddled", a word which confuses our poor Entrepeneur, until Maud tells him about Fred's evil scheming with Audrey and reveals the Red Rec Housing Estate Proposal to be a complete and total sham! "It's a heritage site", she murmurs, "They wouldn't get permission to put up a bouncy castle without it causing an outcry!" - lol!
A rather nice scene ensues around a table at the Rovers, where the Worker Bees of Underworld (that sounds like a great name for a dance outfit, BTW) continue to discuss plans for the Disco. Janice reckons they should get as many people invited as possible, to which Loathsome Linda (tart!) adds "Yeah, lots of good looking single men!!!" (At this point, Hayley writes down the letters "G L S M" in her notebook - lol!)... They all agree that 100 people would be nice (!) and then Lady H puts forth the suggestion that an enjoyable fancy dress theme wouldn't go amiss either. "Eh! What about makin' it a seventies do?" pipes Janice and all the Bees agree that this would be a corker of a plan! (I have to say, I'm with them on this idea!)
Now we are treated to yet another priceless exchange in the Cornershop between Ravi and Fred, which, unfortunately I am once more stuck to describe on paper, since it relies entirely on the remarkable comic chemistry between Jaffrey and Savident who I *pray* will have as much time together onscreen as is humanly possible! To sum up in a nutshell, Ravi accuses the Shifty Shopkeeper of being a complete crook and Fred throws the same accusation back, stating that sending in "spies" is no way to conduct business! The pair argue like hilariously over-the-top big kids for about a minute (the highlight being when Ravi insults Audrey, which prompts a furious Fred to hurl a stack of loaves across the shop!) before level-headed Nita butts in and tells them to behave and work out some kind of compromise that they can both be happy with.
There's a phonecall from the Police for Natalie in the Rovers, so Betty serves Saint Martin his pint and, God tell me I'm wrong (God help Martin too!), actually appears to making suggestive eyes at him! Anyway, Platty goes to sit down with his wife at a table and continues to harp on about his new pal Walter from the Nursing Home, before coming up with a great suggestion that can help the poor old boy *and* keep Martin out of trouble! Rather than go to Social Services, RSaintNSaviour reckons it'd be a good idea to ask dearest Councillor Roberts for her expert assistance! :) (Ut oh!)
Over in a larger booth, the Disco Debate rages, with suggestions flying left, right and centre from the Factory Girls as to how to make it the best Valentine's Day Disco in the world... ever! The main issue now seems to be finding a suitable DJ but a nearby Les Battersby props himself up on the bar and offers his services, claiming that he is *the* Definitive Authority on Seventies Records (which is patently untrue... I know someone else who takes this prize, hands down, although she'd be far too modest to admit it... ;))... "Everything from Abba to someone beginning with Z... Err, Zeppelin! Yeah, Led Zepellin!" he boasts and he's willing to take the job for a mere fifty pounds charge! Outrageous it is, but Hayley puts his name down anyway, claiming that she probably won't find a cheaper DJ than that! (This is plain disgusting really, IMHO. Yes, she does manage to look a trifle uncomfortable about it, but frankly she shouldn't even give him the time of the day, let alone fifty quid, after the way he treated her and Roy only a few months before! I think, at the very least, she should've made him do it for free, but if I'd had it my way she'd have flatly refused to allow him anywhere near the place and Janice would've been right behind her! WHY OH WHY do people keep forgiving this unrelenting arsehole for a constant stream of increasingly evil deeds?)
To wrap up the show in on a more sombre tip, Natalie sits in the back room staring into space, as Betty enters to find out what's wrong. The Widow Barnes explains that the police were on the 'phone to tell her that the men who killed Des have been caught and are appearing in court next week... She isn't required by law to attend but, as Betty tries to comfort her, she murmurs "I have to be there, I have to..." : Cue Credits!
This 'un was written by Mark Wadlow, who did a reasonable enough job I suppose, all things considered. The Nursing Home plotline, as I already said several thousand times, is a bit on the naff side and the actual story behind the Cornershop Wars is far too silly for comfort. Thankfully the latter is saved by the truly WONDERFUL acting from Saeed Jaffrey and John Savident, on whom enough praise cannot be heaped. In fact, if I could, I would lay 'em down on concrete and drop twenty tonne bags of the highest quality praise on the both of them from a vast height. THAT is how good they are together and I hope this 'partnership' of theirs lasts a long time.
The Best Of The Rest, then? Well, Jack and Vera had their first good scenes in ages, which was nice and, I suppose, the remainder of the episode was taken up by this Disco stuff, which despite the odd flaw here and there (Les as a DJ? Give me a break!) seems to be working out fairly okay. Not sure about poor old Roy tho. David Neilson's brilliant performance was so full of hurt and pathos, I was a feeling rather too sorry for him to enjoy a lot of the overenthusiastic party planning on behalf of the Factory Workers.
Anyway, enough of my waffling for now. All in all, hardly Sterling, but not too bad. So, 'Til next time! :)
How was your week? Mine began in tune with the weather, grey and wet, with me feeling more than a touch of the winter blues. And now the sun is shining, there are blossoms in the garden, and I'm feeling on top of the world! Funny how the world turns. Anyway it's been a busy week, the highlight was having the pleasure on Wednesday evening of attending a reception for the unsung heroes and heroines of Bristol's Meals on Wheels service, and what lovely caring people they are, even if they do get scant attention. Day after day they are the only contact for hundreds of lonely and insecure people, and the stories they tell! The meals themselves even they would admit are less than haute cuisine, but it is the contact that is important and it was such a pleasure to join them at the Mansion House for a reception with the Lord Mayor. It's worth a mention, because, funnily enough, loneliness and insecurity was a powerful strand running right through this Wednesday's episode of the Street.
It is morning at the Rovers Return, and Betty is preparing the bar for another day's trade, laying out the beermats on the counter. Natalie appears from the back, wearing a coat to go out and looking very thoughtful. It emerges that she is about to set out for the Magistrates Court for the committal of the men accused of murdering Des. Betty suggests that she should give Lorraine a ring and ask her to keep her company, but Natalie insists that it's not something she should impose on Lorraine, it's something she must do on her own. And clearly, she's dreading it. Betty tells her she would come with her if she could, but no, Natalie needs her in the pub.
Natalie begins to reflect on her life. "It's at times like this I wonder what I'm still doing here. I've got no-one. Maybe I should have moved away, got right out of it, I don't know". There is a long, loaded, pause. "Just when you're starting to think you can cope". Natalie is close to tears. Betty suggests that if it were her, she'd stop at home, but no, Natalie insists she has to go through with the ordeal. "If I don't go, I'll still be thinking about it!"
Betty tells her that she must do what's best. But "I haven't a clue what's best. I might come back a gibbering wreck. I won't have done what's best then, would I?" Betty assures her that "You're tougher than that!" "Am I?" says Natalie. "Well, aren't you? You always give that impression love". Natalie makes a pained attempt at a brave smile. "You'd be surprised!" she says as she leaves.
Poor Natalie! That was, I think, perhaps the most powerful opening to an episode I've ever seen. Natalie, the street tramp, the maneater, but also Natalie who is lonely and vulnerable and craving for affection. And here we have the soft underbelly of this very complex woman laid bare for all to see. I like Natalie a lot, not least because I feel I can empathise; I know her hurts and her insecurities and her yearning to be loved. I've been there.
But soft, there's more powerful stuff to come, over at the salon.
Gail walks through to the back storeroom. "Did you ring?" she asks. "Audrey is doing some stocktaking in a cursory and distracted fashion. Something is weighing heavily on her mind, and she doesn't look up at Gail. "Mam?" inquires Gail, concerned. Audrey laughs nervously. "Well, erm, it turns out it wasn't a mistake anyway". She still can't look at Gail, but we can see that, far from laughing, she is fighting back tears, as she takes off her glasses and rubs her face nervously. It seems that Alf took out a pension that just covered himself. "And when he died, it died too" adds Audrey, ruefully.
"But you're his wife, surely that means..." Gail begins. But Audrey interrupts her. "No, apparently not!" she says bitterly. Alf could, she explains to Gail, have taken out a pension that covered both of them, but the monthly payments wouldn't have been as much "'cos of me being that much younger than him, they said, or... I think that's what they said... It's all double dutch to me anyway". She is confused, agitated and upset. "You know what he were like... Thinking that he'd last forever... Either that or he thought I'd run off with someone else!" she adds, with a note of self-deprecation. "And we've just got to face facts, he just wasn't thinking about me, and if he was he was thinking 'beggar [sic] her, she can look after herself'... It were one of the Gail so take your pick... D'you know, now I hope it was that last one... because, " now Audrey's voice is beginning to break up in mid-soliloquy, "he'd be flaming well right, I CAN damned well look after myself... Hey, look, I've got this place...". Her voice is becoming increasingly fragile. "It's just that... I didn't have this place when he took the pension out... I mean... I had nowt but what he gave me... It's... just like he meant to leave me in the lurch... I mean... first the life insurance, and now this! It's just that it seems worse... Because it seems deliberate".
She tries to laugh off this marathon speech, but as she turns her face towards Gail we can clearly see the tears glistening on her cheeks. Gail tries to reassure her, there must have been a very good reason why Alf chose one policy against another. "Oh yes!" ripostes Audrey, launching into a bad Abba impersonation. "Money Money Money! That was the first and last with Alfie... I don't know why I'm surprised - except I am!"
Audrey breaks down completely as Gail puts tender hands reassuringly on her shoulders.
The austere, tiled, Victorian interior of the Weatherfield Magistrates Court echoes to the click of high-heels as we see Natalie, diminished by the very high camera angle, yet dignified, passing amongst the miscreants and their legal advisors milling about in the lobby. As she climbs the stairs, a man rushes up behind her. It's Des's brother, Colin, and he's not well-disposed towards her. "I didn't think you'd be here!" he says. "Why wouldn't I be?" she snaps coldly, neither looking at him nor faltering in her steps. Colin is intent on showing her the anger and bitterness he feels towards her. "I forgot!" he says. "You've got no shame have you?". "Sod off!" she says, still not looking at him. He persists. "How's your son?"
"Leave me alone!"
"Still dealing, is he?" Colin twists the knife. "Of course, you won't talk to me will yer? I make life too uncomfortable for yer. Well you'd better get used to it 'cos it's all gonna come out now isn't it, about your son, and about how Des would still be alive if it wasn't for your wonderful son!"
At last Natalie stops and turns to face Colin at the top of the staircase, and she's angry. "You want to know about my son?" she spits, "Well, the answer is, I don't know anything about him any more. Because I don't see him any more after I shopped him to the police, OK?" Colin is stunned, lost for words. "Well," she continues, "how d'you think they caught this pair? Not long after you came to see me the last time".
"I didn't realise!" says Colin, apologetically.
"Now leave me alone!" she tells him as she walks on, leaving Colin aghast and not knowing what to think.
Phew, this has been pretty heavy, emotional stuff, and I think we're overdue for some levity. And who better to provide it than Jack, behind the bar of the Rovers, where he passes Mike a large scotch, into which, he confides, he's slipped in a surreptitious extra measure.
"Very civil of you!" says Mike with a broad grin, sure that Jack is up to something as usual. "Generous to a fault, especially when it's not your stock any more you're being so generous with!"
"So, er, how's the old..." murmurs Jack, filling in by whistling and miming something unclear that involves his hands in front of him and rocking from side to side. Mike pretends not to understand, so Jack explains. "Swing... golf... you know!" Mike grins even more widely and replies loudly that it's not too bad. Jack seems embarrassed, he was just asking. There is a long pause while Jack decides whether or not to speak further. "I suppose you've 'eard that me and our Vera have, er, we're going for an interview for that job at your golf club?" he blurts out. "Have you now!" laughs Mike, mischievously. Jack doesn't suppose there's any chance of Mike putting a good word into the right ears. "We're hard-working, reliable, the sort who'd fit in". Mike laughs. "What, you and Vera!" he says. Jack admits that it's stretching the imagination with our Vera but "come on, give her half a chance!" Mike's grin grows ever wider. "Well, you've certainly come to the right man, I'll tell you that! I'm on the interviewing committee!". With that, he ostentatiously notices that his glass is empty. "That slipped down smoothly!". "I'll get you another" whispers Jack, with a wink.
It's back to the Magistrates Court, and the committal hearing is already over. As Natalie comes down the stairs, slowly and even more dejected than before, Colin races down behind her.
"Are you all right?" he asks, solicitously.
"Mind your own business" she rebuffs. "Natalie, I'm sorry..."
"No you're not!"
"Look, you did the right thing, forcing Tony to name those two animals"
"Oh, I see!" She glares at him. "Now that I've lost my husband, and I haven't got a clue where my son is, that's all right with you is it?" He tells her he's sure she did the right thing, he's just glad for Des. "You're glad for Des? The brother you didn't see from one year to the next? You sanctimonious pig! You think I haven't suffered enough then? You think it wasn't hard for me today without you bawling at me?" Colin explains that he's sorry, her didn't think she cared, or at least, didn't care enough. "Look, I know me and Des weren't the closest, but he was the only brother I ever had. I had to say them things, nobody else was gonna so I had too". A police offices passes them on the stairs and looks sidelong at them shouting at each other. This seems to mellow both of them, or maybe they have just worked out all their anger with each other. "You've come a long way, for two minutes!" says Natalie, much calmer now. Colin tells her he couldn't have stayed at home. "It makes me sick, the way they both said 'not guilty' so casual, as if they couldn't give a toss". Barely audibly, Natalie agrees. Colin could do with a brandy - does Natalie fancy one? Slowly, perhaps reluctantly, she shakes her head, fighting against tears now. "Please!" he pleads, "I would like to be able to talk to you". She turns and looks at him, wide-eyed. The air is charged with emotion, something, surely, is about to give way.
To lower the tension, we pay a visit to the caff, where Roy, with his back to us, is on the phone, taking directions from somebody. "That's tonight then, eight o'clock?" As he speaks, Hayley passes behind and takes him by surprise. She forgot her butties. "Er, oh, yeah, yeah," he stammers guiltily. "I saw them, er, on, er, the table, upstairs!" "Oh, right!" beams Hayley, "What's happening at eight o'clock tonight?" Oh, er, nothing in particular, shuffles Roy. Why does she want to know? Hayley hopes that he's not fixing for them to go out for a meal or anything, as she's got a rehearsal tonight. Relieved to hear this, Roy fumbles for an excuse, oh, nothing like that, er, no, the, er, Weatherfield Historical Society are meeting tonight. But he doesn't think he'll go, it's a talk he's heard before. "Bye!" says Hayley brightly, and off she clumps.
A street corner somewhere in downtown Weatherfield. The camera pans slowly from the stern exterior of the Magistrates Court to a pub across the way - The Oxford - and we hear the Geordie tones of Colin Barnes. "My wife, she gets sick of hearing about it". Inside the pub we find Colin and Natalie facing each other across a table, he's clearly been pouring out his woes. "It isn't like me, you see, to get so wound up about something". Colin explains that he can't help thinking about how violent and nasty it must have been, if it could happen to Des is could happen to anybody. He's become obsessed, he says, to the point where he ignored a knock on the back door - it was only a neighbour asking him to move his car. He drains his glass, which is clearly the latest of many. Natalie reassures him, it's very normal to feel that way, she's been exactly the same since it happened. She's been lucky, she smiles, she's been able to throw herself into her work. He tells how it really helped him, what she told him in the morning - he'd been worried that Des had married someone who cared more about her son than about justice for him. He feels different now, and admires her for that. "Yeah, says Natalie, thoughtfully. "What time's your train?" He explains that he's got the car, but she warns him that he can't drive after drinking so much. He waves her aside, protesting that he's fine, but she's more insistent as she stands to put her coat on. "No, you'll fall asleep and have an accident!" Perhaps he'd better come back to her place to sober up. He shakes his head, but as he rises he proves her point by unbalancing, staggering backwards into the drinkers at the bar, and apologising. "Oh well, perhaps I should". Natalie looks as if she's doing something she'll regret, but all the same she leads him down the slope.
Kevin comes into the Rovers and greets Martin, who is standing morosely at the bar. Martin asks Kevin if he's bringing the girls over tonight. Like everybody else in tonight's show, however, Kevin is weighed down by something on his mind, and doesn't quite register. "Tonight?" he asks. Martin reminds him that it's the social highlight of the year - Sarah-Lou's birthday party disco. Oh yes, Kevin remembers, he'll be there. He asks Martin how his job is going. "Rubbish!" says Martin, "you don't want to know!"
Audrey, also distracted, approaches the bar. Martin asks her if she's coming to Sarah-Lou's party. She looks puzzled. "Yeah, yeah" she says distantly, "I 'll see".
Martin goes over to her. Can she do him a favour? Pull some strings to help Walter and his sister in their homes? Or at least tell him who else on the Council he can talk to? "Oh no!" she tells him, "I'm Parks and Cemeteries, you know that Martin!" Some help! Martin turns away, clearly annoyed. "Thanks for your time! So pleased I voted for you!" "Martin, don't be like that love. Martin!" Audrey tries to retrieve the situation, but he isn't listening. Betty serves her, and Audrey confides "You have to have an answer to every damn little thing, they never stop to think you just might have problems of your own." No Audrey, sorry. You're not expected to know everything, but you are supposed to advise on where to go for help - in this case the name of the chair of social services would have done nicely. And why does Audrey never do any casework?
Natalie is showing Colin through the back gate of the Rovers. So, she's bought the place? He asks. She explains that she couldn't go on living in Des's house, it holds too many memories. She hasn't sold it, she's just letting someone stay in it. She takes him between the barrels (has he got her over a barrel? As it were?), through the back door and into her apartment. Once inside, Colin confesses that he knew he was stupid, drinking when he knew he was driving. "Look," he insists, "I haven't got a problem with the booze, if that's what you're thinking". Well, if you have, suggests Natalie, you've come to the right place! Colin just wishes it were all over, and they were banged up for life. So does Natalie, who is reassured to hear how it's all affected Colin. "We've probably got more in common than you think!" Colin doesn't understand. "Des!" she reminds him.
Eunice and Vera are sitting in the caff, chatting about golf. Eunice knows a bit about the subject, she used to knock about with this feller who played.
"He had a very small handicap!"
"He did?" asks Vera
"Oh, he was always going on about it"
"You'd think he'd keep quiet about it, wouldn't you?" suggests Vera.
Eunice explains that a small handicap is considered a Good Thing.
Roy comes over to tell them that the caff is closing, he seems anxious and in a hurry. Vera asks him if he plays golf. "No, no, but Hayley will watch it on the telly for half an hour, if there's nowt else on". Vera can't, like watching paint dry, she opines. Oh no, protests Roy, it's a very skilful game. Vera thinks they always look daft. "Yes, well," says Roy, defensively, "golf does attract a certain amount of derision, I'm not sure why. It does require a very high level of coordination to be a successful golfer", he enunciates carefully, "And it is things that require good coordination that attract people. Like dancing for instance", he adds with touch of ruefulness - coordination is not something Roy has in abundance. Very true, observes Eunice, and coordination is something you've either got or you haven't. It's not something you can learn. Roy, for some reason, looks disappointed on hearing this, he collects up the teacups grimly, they rattle as he takes them away.
At the Platts, a number of pre-teen bimbettes are moving about to music, Rosie and Sophie amongst them, while young David twitches the dimmer switch in an attempt to simulate disco lighting. David is reprimanded by Martin, descending the stairs, he'll fuse the lights. Gail appears and goes over to Kevin, sitting morosely behind the table laden with clingfilm-shrouded sandwiches and bits on sticks. She asks him if he's all right - can she make him a cup of tea? Kevin is silent for a while, but at length he reveals his concern. "It's the hearing tomorrow - this custody business." He's a worried man. The camera closes in on the innocent objects of concern, Sophie and Rosie, who look out of place and not enjoying themselves very much. "I haven't got a hope in hell of getting them, have I? They never ever award them to their dads." Gail doesn't know how it all works, but tells him he's just got to try and believe that whatever they decide is for the best. Kevin remains sceptical. "If she does get custody, she could take them away and I won't see them again". Gail tries to convince him that won't happen. "Maybe not tomorrow," he continues, "or the next week, but one day she might, and I won't see them for weeks on end. It shouldn't be like this." Kevin is almost in tears. We cut briefly to Rosie, languidly and unhappily poking her finger at a stray balloon.
Over at Rita's, Sally is voicing similar concerns about the same matter to Sharon and Rita. "Just wish it were over and done with, and sorted out". Sharon offers encouragement; "You're going to win, Sal, they always give them to the mother". Rita concurs. Sally is worried that they are going to want to talk to the girls, and ask them where they'd rather live. "They had a terrible time with that flaming Greg" she says, and adds bitterly "Now they're in cloud nine over there with smarmy Alison - think the sun shines out of her backside!". But, Rita reminds her, Sally is their mum, and Alison can't come anywhere near that. "I've messed everything up, Rita! Whoever wins or loses, the girls are not going to win anything, are they?" "Cheer up" says Sharon, mistress of bathos. "I've got an Arctic Roll in the freezer for pudding"
The camera lingers on the remains of a takeaway curry at Natalie's. "I suppose it was an odd choice, buying this place" she muses. "I still don't know if it were the right one". She wonders what the hell she's doing there, but at least she has a living, and somewhere to live. Colin looks at his watch, and starts - he didn't realise it was so late. Although it's only half past seven, he's still got to drive back to Newcastle and he's left his car in the middle of Manchester. He doesn't suppose Natalie would let him stop over? It's no problem for Natalie, with a couple of spare bedrooms. Shouldn't he call his wife? Yes, he will, though he doubts if she'll mind, or even notice - the whole business has put such a strain on everything. He starts to pour out his marital anxieties. "But you understand!" he tells her. "It's been good for me too," says Natalie. "To have somebody to talk to who doesn't get sick of listening". It's good, too, to have a little bit of Des around. She perks up "Right, well, do you fancy a proper drink now you're stopping?"
Some hours later, the door opens into the darkened caff - it's Roy creeping home. The light comes on and makes him start. It's Hayley in her nightie and dressing gown. The pianist didn't turn up, she explains in her broad Oswaldtwistle twang, "then t'director threw a wobbly and choocked 'is scower at t' stehge manager, so we ahll ended oop in t'poob instead!" Hayley is bright and perky and has clearly had a good time. She helps herself to a pint of milk from the caff fridge, explaining that there's none upstairs. "How was the talk, that's where you've been isn't it?" Roy is once more left to fumble for an explanation "No, er, no, I, er, just went out for a walk, er, fancied a bit o'fresh air, been stuck in all day. Hayley seems satisfied with this, and offers to make him some cocoa.
Now it's my belief that Roy is secretly taking ballroom dancing lessons, so he'll look silly at the Valentine's disco. We shall see. Though actually I think he'd be rather good on the ballroom floor...
Back at Natalie's, drink has mellowed the pair, who sit side by side on the sofa clutching brandy glasses. It's been Natalie's turn to pour out her woes to Colin. "I get very morose. You don't like to think of yourself as somebody something tragic's happened to". She can't get away from it, she explains, it would be so much easier if she didn't miss Des so much, but then she'd feel guilty. We notice that Colin's arm has crept behind her head, poised but not touching yet. He is looking at her intensely, happy to listen as she goes on. "I miss him so much, you know. I mean physically. I don't just mean sex, either. It's like now, in the evening, I just like having somebody around." She is sniffing between phrases. "You know, that physical presence". She's breaking down, emotionally. "It sounds daft but... That's more important than anything". Finally, she collapses, crying, on Colin's welcoming shoulder. He hugs her, reassures her soothingly, plants a gentle kiss on her forehead. Their eyes meet. For an instant she averts hers as if to say No! This is wrong! But their faces close together and their lips melt into each others in a long, lingering, smouldering kiss.
The brass band sounds poignant as it strikes up our theme tune.
Well, that was just the kind of episode I like, wonderful, a delight! The script penetrates to Natalie's very soul and reveals her vulnerability, craving comfort, and a little bit of the man who truly loved her, though she knows it's wrong. To a lesser extent we get a revelation of the inner insecurity of Audrey that makes her the way she is behind a mask, and I wonder if it's no accident that such an emotionally revealing episode was written by a woman, Sally Wainwright.
Sue Nicholls excelled herself as the agonised Audrey, but even she was overshadowed by Denise Welch, who dominated and towered over the show, she turned in a quite superb performance, and I can't give my weekly laurel wreath to anybody else.
That's it for another week
Hiya folks!!!! ... Time again for another update....
They say that time flies when you're enjoying yourself. It also seems to fly by faster, the older you get. And you get to a stage where you realise, more than ever, that time is a precious commodity and not to be wasted. Well, it was one of those weeks. I decided, after months of inactivity, to jack in the job, once and for all. Regulars will be aware that a few months back, I decided I need to change jobs - I had originally hoped to sort things out while keeping the existing thing tickling along, but this has not been the case, with the result that, until this week, I was no further along that path. But one or two events tipped me over the edge, at long last, I am pleased to say - essentially, when you shy away from meeting with long established clients who have also become friends, then you know you've lost it and it is time to act.
My experiences are far from unique - what my profession is going through is being experienced by others too. There will be many others who will go down the same path, both in my line of work and in others. The authorities and powers that be will not hear this and will not act to prevent what has happened to me from recurring elsewhere. I write this, however, for the benefit of my friends, to explain what has been going on, and also for others, who may be going through the same process.
Since 1982, I have been a Financial Adviser, initially working for an Insurance company, before branching out on my own in 1985. In a lot of ways, I am an unlikely individual to be in that role - not being a salesy sort of person - but they do say it takes all sorts and I have met others in my field, with a similar style. Essentially, I am a pretty technical individual - the engineer in me gets a great buzz out of understanding how things work and how to crack technical problems. In terms of attributes, as far as the client is concerned, I care for the client, want to do a good job and have the ability to simplify complex technicalities and present them in a way which is easy to understand. For about 10 years now, I have tended to specialise in Pensions, especially Corporate pensions - this has provided me with a job satisfaction due to the level of complexity of the subject.
My field is by no means unique and an interesting parallel has been the teaching profession. Over the years, I have noticed peers in teaching - a lot of them colleagues of my wife's - cracking up mentally due to the stresses of the job. For those not in the UK, the previous Conservative Government decided a while back that teachers were "Public Enemy Number One" and embarked on a path of taking power away from teachers and making them toe the line - undoubtedly there were some who were not up to the mark, but by and large, the majority I have known have been dedicated to their profession. What the government decided to do, was to introduce a National Curriculum - the objective was to ensure that youngsters received an accepted standard of education, that they got a fair crack of the whip. A laudable concept and one principle which would not have been opposed by most teachers.
Unfortunately, it was introduced under the basic supposition that most teachers were subversive lefties, were useless and couldn't be trusted to do their job. It was also accompanied by the overkill that occurs when empire builders get in on the act and commonsense simply went out of the window. To give an example, my wife is at the primary end of things and at that level, surely, the main principle of education is to instil the basics - what used to be called the 3 R's, reading, writing and arithmetic. These basics enable youngsters to read and write (the basics for communication and for acquiring further knowledge) and to manipulate numbers (an important pre-requisite in a modern society). Once the subject specialists got in on the act and started their empire building, we ended up with about a dozen thick volumes, defining for "main" subjects, what was expected to be covered between the ages of 5 and 16 and setting out detailed milestones for achievement. Primary schoolteachers ran themselves ragged trying to cope with delivering the National Curriculum to this fine level of detail when, quite frankly, youngsters were being swamped and, in any case, were generally intellectually incapable of thinking at that level. Teachers were also faced with an immense paperwork load. In short, the authorities lost the plot - the result, increasing numbers of teachers in the 40s upwards, leaving the profession either voluntarily or due to medical problems, typically depression, stress, nervous breakdowns.
Accompanying this regime was a scheme, whereby schools would be inspected every three years to ensure they were delivering the curriculum. This was done in such a confrontational manner, which was threatening to the teaching profession, rather than being done in a positive way. Thus the teachers' problems increased further. I saw this happening to my wife's colleagues over a period of time - little was I to know that I too, would find myself in a similar position.
During the late 1980s, following a number of spectacular financial scandals involving fraud and theft of client moneys, the same government decided to regulate the financial services industry. This was badly needed and most decent advisers, thought the principle was a good one. There were too many cowboys around, who didn't put the client first and, quite frankly, did not understand what they were doing. Intellectually, they were just not up to the mark. I was doing some examining work at the time and was horrified by the poor standard of some experienced people, who were going through an examination process voluntarily - heaven knows what the score was, for the majority who didn't even see the need for qualifications, but I can imagine that pretty vividly.
So, a regulatory framework was introduced. The body responsible for supervising my side of things was actually one which had supervised other areas, but had no experience of my industry. The empire builders grew and produced volumes of gobbledegook to justify their positions. Because the principle of Investor Compensation was introduced, quite rightly, advisers were now deemed accountable for their actions and recommendations, an issue with which, again, I have no problem whatsoever. Somewhere along the line, though, the climate changed to one of fear, fear of being sued by the consumer. In fact, it was probably safer to recommend nothing, rather than the risk of a recommendation backfiring. Gradually the rules were cranked up, so that more and more paperwork needed to be done - this was there primarily as evidence, in case you got sued in the future. It didn't particularly help the client.
The Regulators still didn't know what they were doing some of the time - there were people with little, if no, knowledge of the industry, pontificating and in authority and earning vast salaries. I suspect the way to make money at the time was to be in the printing industry where you churned out vast reams of paperwork - they were the real beneficiaries of this change. In the meantime, the regulators lost the plot.
There were, however, some positives. An educational standard was set and, for the first time, advisers needed to pass a set of pre-determined examinations to be able to continue to advise. I have no problem with that, indeed, I marked many exam papers and saw, yet again, quite a few obviously experienced people who, quite frankly, did not know they were doing. Eventually they were drummed out of the business.
But the increases in petty paperwork continued and I gradually found myself questioning the extent of the regime - the futility of some of the paperwork. Over a period of time, this started to manifest as anger and outrage, because commonsense was rapidly going out of the business. The exodus of people from my profession increased - it wasn't just the old-timers who were resistant to change, it wasn't just the cowboys who didn't know what they were doing. It started to include decent people who had devoted many years to doing a reasonable job, either questioning what they were doing, or, in increasing numbers, people whose health was failing as they were cracking up in the process. And that's the category in which I find myself, after 17 years in the business, after having developed a top-notch reputation in my field.
I didn't see what was happening to me at the time, but about 3 years ago, I had some dental work done. The job was initially botched up with the result that I needed a number of visits to the dentist, finally changing to one who sorted out the problem. Unfortunately, the constant pain - which was pretty excruciating at times - continued. I was eventually referred to a local hospital, who finally diagnosed that my pain was now no longer dental, as that problem had been resolved, it was mental - I was suffering from stress. The pain had found a channel of "weakness" and was manifesting itself that way. For nearly two years, I struggled to find an answer to control the pain and was put on anti-depressants, which had a secondary benefit, that of blocking pain. Ordinary painkillers either didn't work or simply knocked me out.
A year ago, I finally realised and accepted that I was suffering from depression. The events of last year, particularly the new friendships I made here, helped in a therapeutic way - I started to examine the causes of my problems and to open up my feelings. About six months ago, I realised that the job was a major contributory factor in my illness. At the time, I had hoped to change direction gradually, but this has not worked - while I am happy when doing other things, the depression surrounding my work is so severe that it has stopped me moving forward. I came to the conclusion this week that the only way to do so, was to jettison the past - I am walking away from my job, with nothing to replace it. The lunatics have taken over the asylum and I want no part of it!!! Hopefully, I can get rid of some of the emotional and physical baggage of the past and do something which brings satisfaction and suits me as an individual. This year I hit the "Hawaii 5-0" and it is important that my remaining working years are somewhat happier than the last few.
I thank you for your patience in reading this epistle. Writing it fulfils a therapeutic need, but there is another, more important value. My updates are not the shortest and my reflective style does not suit all - contrary to what some may think, they are not an ego-trip. I know from the mail I receive that my writings and comments strike a chord with readers - different things at different times with different people. My experiences are not unique - many can identify with them. The only messages I can come up with right now are that life is too short and it is important to be true to yourself. If that helps, so be it...
Anyway.... enough of that.... without further ado, it's time for....
Episode sponsored by Cadbury's Milk Tray
The episode commences at the Rovers. Natalie and Colin are talking in the back room, both obviously embarrassed by the turn of events the previous night. Natalie is telling Colin he doesn't have to scurry off, but Colin is saying he shouldn't have stayed last night. Natalie's view is that as nobody knows he stayed, it's best of they both forget the whole thing. He tells her he won't make contact again, but Natalie reminds him that they will have to meet up in court. He tells her that he was awake for the half the night wondering why he did it and Natalie confesses that she doesn't know why, either. Maybe she needed comfort for someone who knew Des, she tells him. He shouts back that the whole street knew him, but her view is that, in time, people will forget him, but they won't.
While they are rowing, Lorraine comes into the room. She is surprised to see Colin and jumps to the conclusion that the hostility between them at the funeral has not gone away. Natalie and Colin explain that he stayed overnight as it was too late to drive back and he had been drinking. He bids his farewells, leaving a bewildered Lorraine with an embarrassed Natalie.
At Kevin's place, he is all togged up in his suit, ready to go to court. Alison has popped round to wish him luck - she says the girls are happy living with Kevin. He tells her that this won't enter into it, the girls will be told where to live by the court and that may well be with Sally. She tells him to put his case, to speak up for himself. He is determined to ensure they stay with him. She offers to come round later, but his response is half-hearted, maybe she's had enough of all of this, he says. She seems keen to be there for him, but she doesn't want to get in the way, she wants things to be straightforward. When she asks him again if she should come back later, his reply is more enthusiastic. They kiss and she leaves, looking back in concern, as she opens the front door.
At the Kabin, it's Sally's turn to look apprehensive. She wants some moral support and Rita is the right person to give it, but she doesn't want to put Rita to any trouble. Sharon insists that she will mange in the shop, it will be no trouble and Rita stresses that she's no Richard Branson having to rearrange a heavy schedule with captains of industry (not sure how she makes that out, as most times we hear of his "Cheesiness", he's extricating himself from yet another failed balloon trip round the world). Sally is pleased by the support she is getting and this is enhanced further when Ken walks into the shop - he tells her she is unlikely to need luck, as, in his experience, courts tend to favour mothers over fathers.
Lorraine is quizzing Natalie about Colin's reasons for staying - she has got it into her skull that Colin was causing trouble and that Natalie needs protecting. Natalie is a bit cagey in her response but tries to reassure Lorraine that Colin was not a threat - Lorraine cannot get her head around the fact that Colin wanted to talk. Natalie is slowly getting more and more irritated by Lorraine's persistent questioning - it takes time to come to terms with someone's death, she tells her. When Lorraine tells her she still cannot understand why, Natalie snaps and tells her to get the bar ready, she cannot run the pub on her own.
At the Salon, Vera has just had her hair done for the Golf Club interview she is about to attend. While Alma and Maxine look on, she is explaining to Maxine that the interview is important, as is the right hair-do to make a favourable impression - essentially that, as Maxine is not a top stylist, she couldn't be entrusted to such important matters. Audrey comments that Maxine is getting there under her tutelage. Alma tries to reassure Vera that she doesn't need to impress Mike, as he knows what they are like behind the bar - Maxine chips in that, surely, he'll put in a good word for Vera. When Vera wonders whether the other candidates will have posh hair-dos, Audrey comments that hers will be a match for anybody else's. Vera is still worried that she might say something wrong and put her foot in it - Maxine replies, tongue in cheek, that Vera's natural charm will see her through. Vera is still worried that she may say something wrong with all the tension, but Audrey tells her she has nothing to be worried about. Maxine sticks the boot in by saying that Vera's past record speaks for itself, "from cleaner to licensee, back to cleaner." Vera is understandably hurt by this statement and Audrey tells Maxine to get some biscuits "some quick drying cement covered ones, if it'll keep your mouth shut." Vera takes her leave with the parting shot that she has to go back to the B&B to make sure that Jack has a wash "in the places he doesn't use." After she has gone, Alma turns to Audrey and comments wishfully "I suppose they stand as much chance as anyone else." Audrey responds equally tongue in cheek.
Alma is there is persuade Audrey to go "for a last minute trawl around the sales". Audrey declines the offer. As she doesn't have any money. Alma is somewhat surprised at this, as she's never known Audrey to be short of cash and presses Audrey some more. Eventually Audrey comes clean - Alf's pension scheme was for life, his life, and when he died, his pension died with him. so the only income she now gets is from the salon. Alma is embarrassed and upset for Audrey, as Audrey tells her "do you know, he had a grip on my finances while he was alive and now he's still got one now he's gone - just don't tell anyone, eh?"
We are at the court, where Sally is telling Rita she cannot believe it has come to this - Kevin and her fighting over the girls. Rita points out that it's better than not caring what happens to them. When Sally maintains that the girls should be with her, Rita reminds her that the girls have two parents who love them. Sally's solicitor, Mrs Barrett, comes along at that point - Sally introduces her to Rita.
After Mrs Barrett and Sally have gone off to discuss some points, Rita wonders down to Kevin who is further down the corridor. Kevin is antagonistic when Rita hopes that all works out for the best "particularly for Rosie and Sophie." Kevin is miffed that Rita is supporting Sally - "actions speak louder than words," he tells her. Rita reminds him that she never liked Greg Kelly, but Kevin ruefully points out that Sally obviously didn't listen. "Neither did you about Natalie Horrocks" replies Rita - Kevin feels that this statement is out of order, as that was well in the past. "So is Greg Kelly" replies Rita playing her trump card. Kevin is still not convinced and tells her "if you're trying to tell me sally is a good reliable mother, save your breath, I don't want to know."
Jack and Vera have arrived for their interview. They have been asked to wait in the bar and are very impressed by the place. Their enthusiasm gets the better of them as they start to feel confident about getting the job. The bar, the plush carpets, the polished oak, the gold writing "and no roughnecks" says Vera (oblivious to the ultimate irony). Jack sees them leaving behind their working class backgrounds, they are going to raise their sights.
Vera spots Mike going past and attracts his attention. They are anxious to roll their sleeves up and make a start, they tell him. Jack asks Mike is there is any serious opposition - Mike evades the question partially by saying that there are quite a few people to interview. "Not like us, though?" asks Vera. "No, none like you" replies Mike, laughing. The irony of this comment is wasted on them as well. Mike makes his excuses and leaves. As he moves away, he overhears them in confident mood, feeling they've cracked it - he shakes his head in disbelief....
... and the theme tune comes in, on cue for the end of part 1
After the ads, it's part 2
The second part of the programme commences in the court. The custody hearing has commenced and the District Judge is introducing the case. Each of the parents wants custody of the children, each has a home to offer them - she recommends that , in these circumstances, they pursue the family mediation process. It is private, it would require no further input from the court and it would be less intrusive than other forms of action. Kevin rejects this and his solicitor confirms that he has explained this course of action to his client - Kevin gets all lippy saying that he doesn't want his kids exposed to "some maniac like Greg Kelly". The solicitor diplomatically explains that his client believes the children are still at risk and wants the court to make the decision, once and for all, as to where they should live. Sally's solicitor confirms that Sally, too, has rejected mediation - Sally angrily states that Greg Kelly won't come back and that Kevin knows it. Kevin refutes this, in any case, Greg hit Sally, so he was capable of hitting the girls. When it becomes clear that neither of them will agree on mediation, the Judge asks the Court Welfare Officer to prepare the reports - this could take several weeks and she reminds them it would be better if they could come to a decision of their own accord. Yet again, both Kevin and Sally reject mediation. "So be it, I will make the order" concludes the chairwoman.
Alison and Lippy Linda have come into the Rovers at lunchtime. Linda asks why the garage is shut, "lover boy sick?" Alison explains that Kevin is in court seeking custody of the children. "More fool him" replies Linda "let Sally look after the kids". When Alison points out that Kevin has as much right to have the girls as Sally, Linda reminds her that if Kevin wins, she will be the one wiping their noses and chasing after them. Alison doesn't seem particularly bothered by this and comments that they are nice kids. "Maybe" replies Linda "but they will never call you mother". She will always come second and never have Kevin to herself. Betty comes over with their drinks and Linda quips that Alison will pay, she might as well get used to being a mug. Alison pays, telling Betty to keep the change.
"Ten p, first tip of the day" chuckles Betty to Natalie, who is looking on, pre-occupied. Noticing her mood, Betty asks whether Colin had said anything he shouldn't have - "No" replies Natalie. "Has he done something?" continues Betty, to which, Natalie again replies "no". Misinterpreting Natalie's mood, Betty warns her to be careful, that Colin has a nasty temper and not a lot of sympathy for Natalie. Nat starts to lose her rag at this point and tells Betty "we had a talk, Betty, that's all". Betty continues to probe, based on her misapprehensions that there much have been a verbal punch-up, getting Natalie more and more irritated in the process. Betty fires her final salvo in the hope that everything is alright "for Des' sake" - Natalie's face shows frustration, as she is unable to reveal her secret.
The Golf Club interview is under way, with a panel of three interviewers, including Mike Baldwin. The chairman is saying that Mike Baldwin has told them he has known the Duckies for a number of years. Jack provides the diplomatic half of the would be stewards "oh yes, known him for years, been one of our best customers". Vera plays true to form "Scotch whisky, he's been done for it, haven't you?" (with skills like that they could go far - LOL!!!!), Jack quickly tries to retrieve the situation "a very sociable bloke, generous to a fault". The chairman refers to their application and the fact that, although Vera was previously licensee of the Rovers Return, (Vera "lovely pub..., very homely...", Jack "with a touch of class..." ) but her current position there is as a cleaner (Vera ".. well, cleaner, adviser, personal assistant, you know, to the new owner.. she's not had much experience"). The chairman is still trying to get his head around their application "let me gets this clear, you... clean .. the pub?" "Yes, I scrub floors, I polish the tables, bung bleach down the toilets, nowt stinks when I've gone home" replies Vera. Mike winces. The chairman continues semi-incredulously "and you think you could handle the transition from pub cleaner to catering manageress??" "Of course I could, no problem" replies our confident Vee, "well, with our Jack's help". Jack does his bit advising that they would be taking on a team, "we work in unison" - this double act raises a mild snigger from a lady member of the panel, who has been silently listening to the proceedings - "in harmony, like" continues Jack, "never a wrong word" adds Vera. This spectacle is providing some quiet amusement to Mike, as the chairman continues to probe "and you're used to dealing with staff?" It's Jack's turn to excel "oh aye, we've had them, oh aye, fingers in the till, we'll soon sort them out for you", to which Vera helpfully adds "we could sort out this place too"!!!! The chairman picks up on this statement and asks "you think there's room for improvement?", to which Vera scornfully replies "well, when was the last time you had a vacuum to this carpet?" When the chairman replies that he has never vacuumed any carpet, Vera puts both feet in it "well, I wouldn't like to go to your house, a bit of spit and polish never harmed anybody, did it?". Equally oblivious to the tack taken in the interview, Jack tells the panel "well, you give us this job and we'll get you organised". "Will you?" "Oh aye" continues Jack "with me and our Vera at the helm, you won't know the place, you'd think you were..... somewhere else". "Another planet" adds Vera helpfully. The looks on the faces of the various parties to the interview say it all, as a wonderful little scene ends.
The action switches back to the court. Outside the courtroom, Kevin's solicitor is telling his client that the report will take several weeks to prepare. He explains that they girls will be visited in their own home and that is not a pleasant experience for most people. Kevin is unfazed by this, as long as he gets the children, he doesn't care. The solicitor continues to stress that it is not possible to predict the outcome, the children's welfare will be the primary concern. Kevin expresses the view that they "will be better off with me than with her" as the two of them pass Sally talking to her solicitor.
Mrs Barrett is telling Sally much the same - the welfare office will visit the girls' school to find out if there have been any changes in the girls behaviour since the parents split up. When Sally confidently replies that there haven't been any changes, "the teachers would have told me", the solicitor replies "not necessarily". Sally cannot see any problems, "they're fine, they've coped" as Mrs Barrett explains that Sally will be asked about any new partners. "I haven't got any, but Kevin has" replies Sally, trying to stick the knife in. Her solicitor, obviously knowing that life is rarely so straightforward, reminds Sally that it would have been easier had she and Kevin been able to come to some sort of agreement between themselves. "Well, we didn't - and we never will" retorts Sally.
At the Rovers, Audrey has been served her drinks by Natalie and, as she sits down with Maxine, she comments that Natalie didn't have much to say for herself. Maxine is a bit cheesed off at Audrey's incessant whining and that she has not had anything good to say about people all day. When Audrey retorts that she doesn't know why she is buying Maxine the drink, swilling her profits away, Max points out that it was for the overtime she put in for her earlier. It is clear that Audrey's necessity to be careful with finances is backfiring. Having said that, Maxine suggests ways of getting extra business in, with Valentine's Day looming - greetings cards with very appointment, posters, decorations. While they catch Audrey's imagination up to a point, the limit is that most involve spending money, nevertheless, they get Audrey thinking.
Ian has wandered up to Natalie at the bar. "Hiya, remember me?" is his opening line in patter. Natalie smiles, "of course" but there's no disguising her preoccupation. Ian comments that she doesn't look as chirpy as the other night, Natalie explains that it was one of those nights. "It's a good job I'm here, to take your mind it" continues the patter.
Back at Kevin's, he is explaining the days events at court to Alison. She explains her concern that the Welfare Officer might want to talk to her, she doesn't fancy having her name banded about in court. Kevin tries to reassure her that this is not going to happen. She tells him that she would rather spend the weekend on her own, she doesn't want to hear "Sally said this, Sally said that" till Monday morning, she wants to enjoy herself. Kevin agrees with her, that's why he wants to go out. This catches Alison unawares, as he explains that Sally has the girls, they've got each other, they're both dressed up, why don't they go out and have some fun? One beaming Alison suggests that Kevin has got it right. "Just us? No Sophie or Rosie?" she asks. He explains that he doesn't have to be a dad all the time, he can get time off. "Can you?" she asks. "I can for you" he replies, holding her hand. Awwwwww!!!
Back at Platt's Palace, Audrey is sitting down for her evening meal with Gail and Martin. He asks her again, whether she would be prepared to help with the problem of one of the residents at the Nursing Home - she is too busy, she tells him. He has all the details written down and passes her a piece of paper to be forwarded onto Social Services. Audrey is reluctant to get involved, citing all sorts of excuses. Finally, after Martin begs her to do it as a favour to him "you're my only hope", she grudgingly acquiesces, telling him not to expect miracles.
Rita is just leaving Sally's place. Sally is annoyed at having "strangers poking their noses into everything" but Rita tries to get a sense of balance, they are just seeing what provisions have been made for the children. Yet again, she launches into another tirade about Kevin being unreasonable, but then hopefully, comments that, anyway, mothers always get custody of their own children. "Nearly always" corrects Rita, as she joins the list of people advising that the couple would have been better off sorting it out themselves.
At that point, Kevin and Alison are crossing the road. Alison sees Rita and Sally and suggests going another way. Kevin isn't interested, "we're going straight past."
Rita hears this and, anxious to avoid a scene, says she will have to get going. "Don't go on account of me" snipes Kevin, as he and Sally launch into another slanging match. Alison does her best to draw Kevin away, but he seems insistent on having his pennyworth. He accuses her of slagging him off, she reminds him that she didn't bring up Natalie Horrocks' name or Alison's in court, but he chose to bring up Greg Kelly's. To protect the kids, is his explanation, "to make me look stupid" is hers. "You went with a con-man. You gave him all your money. You must be stupid" is our philosopher's pronouncement. The verbal skirmish continues, as he taunts her to find out what other stupid things she is going to do, she points out she will do anything to have the kids, apart from having a slanging match in the street with him - in any case, she only handed them over to him temporarily. "you're only bothered about what you want. You don't care about them girls. You're a selfish lying bitch. You don't deserve to have them anywhere near you" lambastes Kevin, much to Alison's discomfort. The argument ends with Kevin telling Alison "this is what she's like" and Sally telling Alison "and this is what HE's like".
Back at the Rovers, Natalie has been enjoying Ian's company and is in much better spirits. She offers him the next drink on her for cheering her up. "Well, if I can bring a bit of light in someone's life" replies Sir Galahad. She comments that he does a fine line in patter and asks whether he lives round here or is passing through. A bit of both, he replies, he's a salesman. Looking at his watch he realises he has lost track of all time - that drink, can he save it till next time, he asks? (Good sales line, eh? You fix up the next appointment to close the sale!) No problem is her response, they are not going to sell out. "Well, keep smiling, eh?" he tells her, as he leaves. The smiles on their faces and their body language indicates that the first impressions they made on each other have been further consolidated and that there is some chemistry between them.
Jack and Vera are having a post-interview post-mortem with Mike. Jack says he thought they had blown it. You didn't, is Mike's response, it's just they had a lot of applicants. Did I talk too much, asks Vera. You were a joy to listen to, replies Mike. Bet you had a good laugh behind my back, comments Vera. Mike tells her that the panel were impressed by her style, and Jack's. He softens the blow by telling them that they really needed someone with "a bit more experience on the catering side." (LOL!! That and the rest!!) When Jack comments "hot pot not good enough for you?" it sums up the void between them and again, Mike gently tries it get across to them the size of the void - functions for maybe 200 people, two or three times a week. "Still, better luck next time, eh?" Vera thanks him for putting them in the picture.
He gets up and leaves them passing Betty on the way. "Bad news?" she asks. "Not for the Golf Club, no" he quips.
Betty, seeing Natalie's improved mood, comments on this. "You've cheered up a bit. That fella's brought a smile to your face." Natalie gets all defensive "no he hasn't", she maintains. When Betty says "it's no crime to chat to a good looking fella. Des wouldn't mind, you know", it provokes another outburst from Natalie, "how do you know what Des would mind?" Betty continues "well, he was a live wire wasn't he?" Natalie gets into a strop with her and tells Betty that she merely works here, that's all. "What I do is my business, so just keep your nose out of it, OK?" So there!!! Betty is firmly put in her place...
.....and with that.... it is the cue for music and credits ...
Episode written by Catherine Hayes
All material is, and remains, copyright property of Granada Television.
Well, how was it for me? Not a particularly action-packed episode, rather one where scenes are being set for the future. Natalie has succumbed to the charms of Colin in a lapse, but now looks like being attracted to Ian. I suspect this will be an interesting storyline, especially as Ian is Sharon's fianc and Sharon was fostered by Rita - you will recall the animosity felt by Rita towards Natalie when Nat had her affair with Kevin. The Betty situation was well covered, where a friend makes an innocent comment without knowledge of the background and ends up putting their big feet in it - Natalie is obviously sensitive from guilt feelings following her one night stand with Colin and would be embarrassed to admit being attracted to another man, so soon after the death of her husband - nevertheless, these things do happen and the feelings seem to be captured well.
The Kevin and Sally saga is rumbling on, with the predictable consequences when both parties feel they are in the right and the kids are caught in the middle. Alison's awkward position, again, well covered.
Audrey, having to face up to her reduced circumstances, following the Alf's death, is predictably over-reacting with financial caution. Although it is a slightly different scenario, many pensioners have a paranoia that their funds will run out before they die and this is the fear being captured accurately by Audrey. She is not yet retired but the consequences of her financial position are real nevertheless and difficult for someone whose lifestyle has not been entirely frugal (note the understatement there!!!).
Finally, light comedy provided by Vera and Jack, going for the Golf Club Stewardship and making a complete hash of the whole thing. Some wonderful dialogue, acting and superb timing by the hapless due.
All in all, a reasonable episode, realistically written, although not quite as sparkling considering the quality of recent episodes.
Anyway that's it for now.. Until the next time, take care... Tubby greetings and Tinkyluv from the Tinkster in Glorious Glossop....
This update is especially challenging for me. Not only do I have to get it finished (and some other work besides) before the end of the working day, else it'll get caught in the whirlwind of our imminent family holiday and never appear at all, but it is the first update I have tried to put together while hungover. Last night we had a bit of a soiree (am I allowed to say that or is it too passee, dahlings ?) to wish bon voyage to a colleague and his wife who are moving to Seattle to start work for a rather large and successful IT company. Yours truly felt obliged to try every wine. Owwww...
So, duly apologising in advance for any terrible typos, or complete mistruths as I endeavour to make sense of the scribblings on these scrappy pieces of A4 paper (just the 3 for me, Ros), here's last Sunday's episode.
We open in the corner shop with Nita and Fred engaged in stock-taking. She is alarmed at Fred's casual indifference to the sell-by dates on much of his stock, some of which, the dog biscuits in particular, are two years past. Emily knocks on the door and asks if the shop is open for business. Fred says not, but Nita invites Emily in and sells her a pint of milk. Emily promises to remain a faithful customer, to Nita's satisfaction. Fred opines that it's not worth opening up for one pint of milk. He should know better.
Sally is overdoing the glee, something she is disturbingly prone to of late, at having the gurls to stay. She watches them playing in the back garden. They rush in to show her a worm that Sophie has picked up. Fortunately, she hasn't eaten it yet, in an attempt to broaden her diet, and the worm is sent back outside. The girls stay in, as they're too cold. Rosie, now settled with a fairly permanent expression of near-misery, announces that she's left her yo-yo at Daddy's house. [Yup, these are the "in" toys once more.] Sophie trails mud in on her boots, and wonders if she will get into trouble with Natalie. Sally says not. Sophie lets everyone know that she loves this new house, as it's got a garden, but Rosie is perturbed at the lack of a video. Mummy promises to save up and buy them one.
More scenes of domesticity as we move to the old folks' home, where Martin is collecting plates after a meal. His boss, Gerald Lickley [great name !] looks gloomily at all the wasted food, and is not happy at Martin's explanation that it's down to the fact that many of the residents need help with their eating, and the home doesn't have enough staff to provide this. Martin asks if there have been any phone calls for him, as he's expecting to hear from another home, whom he is hoping can offer Walter a place with his sister. Lickley points out this'll mean they will be left with an empty room.
Kevin, still in his dressing-gown, opens his front door to Sally, come looking for Rosie's yo-yo. She comes in while he goes upstairs, and finds Alison in the kitchen, also in her dressing-gown. Alison offers her a cup of tea, but Sally declines. In a falsely cheerful tone, she tells the lovebirds that every day could be like this if the girls come and stay with her permanently. Kevin looks rueful as she leaves.
Back to the home again for a small lesson in economics as Lickley explains to Martin that he [Martin] doesn't understand how much it costs to run a home like this. Apparently, 38 fire-proof doors cost 400 pounds apiece. He says he would *like* more staff, but to pay their wages would mean putting the costs up, and the residents couldn't afford any more. So he'd end up closing the place down, and then where would the old folks live ? Martin, who seems surprisingly naive about all this given his years of working within the health service, observes that it's a people business. The phone rings before they explore this topic further, and Martin is pleased to hear that Walter can move to a room right next to his sister, and better still, that one of the residents in the other home would like to swap, to be nearer her family. Lickley is *really* teed at this, a stranger moving in, with relatives practically on the doorstep ! [An insight as to how he really feels about the people under his care.] Martin is about to set off for Walter's room to give him the good news, but Lickley tells him that he thinks Walter has nodded off - if Martin's looking for something to do, there's a blocked sink upstairs that needs attention.
Nita and Fred have finished taking stock. She tells him she will have the money for the shop the next day. He asks what she wants to do about the flat upstairs. She's keen to take it, but wants all the existing furniture removed. Fred is offended - that cost him good money. A stranger arrives and is introduced as Vikram, Nita's brother. He goes off with the flat keys, to take a look at the place. Fred asks Nita if he'll be working in the shop too. Nita says he'll be *her* assistant - she's keeping an eye on him.
The much-missed Toyah returns to our screens, in the Battersby's front room, where she and Les are looking through his old record collection. Reminds me of my own yoof, it does - Mott the Hoople, Kate Bush, Procol Harum, Slade. They are assessed for their suitability for the up-coming Valentine's Day Mass^h^h^h^hDisco, and Janice is despatched to answer the front door. Another long-lost soul, Charlie West, walks in. He's come to do them a favour, he says, he's just been doing a house clearance. Funny line of the night from Janice as she asks him if the owner of the house knew about it. He tries, unsuccessfully, to flog some prints of old masters, but Les tells him he has turned over a new leaf and doesn't want anything to do with Charlie's dodgy old gear. As Janice shoos Charlie to the front door, she points out that Les is saving his money for some new disco equipment. Not one to miss an opportunity, Charlie reveals his cousin went to school with "DLT" and he can surely get hold of some stuff cheap. Thanks, but no thanks, says Les. Who's DLT, wonders Toyah. "What, you've not heard of Dave Lee Travis - the hairy cornflake ?", Les is astounded. [For overseas readers, or those of a more youthful disposition, like Toyah, DLT was a DJ on BBC's Radio 1 in the 70's. And he was, indeed, known as the hairy cornflake.]
Martin tells Lickley that the sink had been blocked by a handful of peanuts ! Now free, he goes to Walter's room to tell him the good news. Walter is very still, and it's no great surprise that Martin discovers he has passed away.
Off to the cafe now, where Hayley surprises Roy, who appears to be testing out the toaster, in preparation for the move to his new business. He thinks he'll be needing a lot of new equipment, and admits to being a bit apprehensive at the move. Hayley is far more confident that it'll be a great success. He contrasts her enthusiasm, and active social life, with his own. She offers to meet him for a drink that evening, after she's been round a few places looking at menus for the disco [yes, I'm a bit confused with this too] but he declines. Something seems to be on his mind...
Meanwhile, over at the corner shop, Vikram returns and tells Nita that the flat's fine as it is - why doesn't she just take it, furniture and all ? She explains that it'll be her first place, and she'd rather furnish it herself from scratch. Fred breezes in, also wondering about the flat. He tries to barter with her on the furnishings, but she's adamant that she doesn't want any of them. Maxine enters the shop, and mere microseconds later she and Vikram are mentally undressing each other. Fred confides in Vikram that if he were 40 years younger... ["Lascivious" is a great word, isn't it ?]
Back to Les, who is rocking all over the living room, to the Quo. The door goes again, and it's Charlie, relieved to find Janice is out. This time, he's trying to palm off some records on Les. They are, without exception, terrible. Les advises him of this fact.
A late first visit to the Rovers tonight, where Lorraine is serving Steve and asking him if he can put in a good word for her with the landlords of the new flats he is working on. Just a little further along the bar, Hayley is trying to enthuse Janice and Linda about the organisation of the party. Linda expects she'll be on her own, and Janice's Les will be DJ'ing. Hayley is looking forward to it, though.
A fleeting glimpse of Sir Royston, who knocks on the front door of a strange house [strange as in we do not recognise it, not strange as in it is answered by Lurch] and is let in. Whatever is going on ?
Audrey is fast exhausting our sympathies over her bereavement [sadly, Bryan Mosley, who played Alfeh, died in real life this week] as she confides to Gail that she had been hoping to retire herself. Gail is not so sure - she thinks her mam enjoys working really. Martin arrives home, not a happy bunny at all. Gail enquires, and he tells them that Walter has died before he'd been able to see his sister once more. Martin's clearly looking to sound off at any one, and Audrey is in his sights. He accuses her of being overly self-centred and not caring about anyone else's feelings. She could have done something for Walter, or at least tried.
Back to the Rovers, where Spider bitches about Steve Macdonald to Lorraine. He sits down with Emily, seemingly on the run from the interfering Blanche, who is still busy matchmaking Ken and Deirdre. She passes comment on Lorraine, sounding as if she hasn't heard that the odd couple have split up.
Fred arrives, and gets Rita a drink. He tells her that he thinks there'll be changes afoot on the local retail front, now that Nita is taking over the corner shop. This plants a seed of something in Rita's head, by the look of it.
Martin arrives back home, to find that Audrey has already left, taken home in a somewhat distressed state by Gail. He's still fuming that Audrey isn't taking her duties as a councillor seriously, in his book. Anyway, he's decided that he's not going to put up with what's going on at the old folks home any longer, and intends to go to the press and tell them what the conditions are like. Gail, predictably, explodes. She tells him this is bound to result in him losing his job and being rendered practically unemployable as a nurse. She plays on his responsibilities as a father, and warns him not to make his family pay the price of his rash actions.
Hayley comes down the stairs from the flat above the cafe, having heard the front door open. Roy is on his way in. [Sneaking would be about right.] He tells her he had decided to go for a walk. She is not convinced. "Well, if you say so. But why have you got your best suit on ?" But before he gets a chance to answer, the credits roll.
This episode was written by Phil Woods.
Hmm, well here we are at the end of another update. So, I've scanned through everything above, and what's the conclusion ? To be honest, I'm finding it somewhat more difficult to make a decision about any particular episode, now that the style of the show has changed so much. Overall then, another solid show, nothing spectacular or cliff-hanging, just a bunch of individual threads all moving along. I think the only one that continues to annoy is the Sally-and-Kevin show. Or more accurately, Sally-and-anyone-else. Or even more accurately, the-character-formerly-known-as-Sally-but-now-a-totally- different-person-and-anyone-else.
Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ***
Reet, that's me for a whole fortnight and a bit. I leave you in the capable hands of Annie and CP, while I leave myself in the capable hands of the family entertainment capital of the world. Enjoy !
Well, it's another week gone and time for another Monday Update. What more can I say besides that? To be honest, I barely even noticed that seven days had slipped by between this week and the last it went so quickly but, lo, here I am again in front of the keyboard ready to keep all you good folk up to date with what's happening on and around the UK's favourite cobblestones. Apologies in advance for the (lack of) length and wit. Although tonight's was mildly entertaining in parts, it was hardly spectacular to say the least and, in the interests of getting this out on time, I'm going to trim things a little. So rather than keep you waiting any further, I'll kill the waffle and get started. (Normal service will hopefully be resumed next week...)
All is not well as we open in Plattingham Palace with Martin and Gail arguing over breakfast. Gail asks him if he's going to bother going into work or whether he intends to give his "conscience and principles a rest today". He is unimpressed with her sarcasm and informs that he's due in at nine and will be there, but nonetheless his wife continues to berate him, telling him that most days *she* doesn't feel like going to work but goes anyway because they have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay. On top of all this, she makes it known that if Martin loses *this* job as well he'll soon be unemployable altogether, before wrapping up with the line "And there's no need for you to take it out on my and me mother!" and leaving him to cry in his cornflakes (metaphorically, of course)... Hm, now much as I like Gail and Martin, I'm afraid that for me this storyline hasn't progressed at all from last week where regular readers will remember I gave it a good hearty slagging. Also, this particular scene gave me uncomfortable "Deja Vu" from a few weeks ago when Martin was faced with losing his last job over 'principles'... (On the bright side, tho, Gail was wearing quite a nice beige jumper...)
Continuing with the lesser storylines, we now see Sickly Webster having trouble starting her van. Kevin (who is on hand as a mechanic these days almost as often is Martin Platt is around for medical emergencies) is standing nearby and offers to help her start it but she tells him snottily that she doesn't want any favours and then goes on to trouble a passing Gary Mallett, asking *HIM* to give the van a push (as if the poor guy doesn't have enough on his hands)! Needless to say, he obliges, since he's an all-round good egg, and the van starts. As Sickly wheels off down the road, tooting her horn, the Merry Mallett remarks that she's "got guts" to go to the market every day in this weather. Kevin mumbles "Got guts? Funny... She just gives me a pain in mine..." and his sentiments are echo'd across the Nation no doubt.
Over at Chateau Batteau, Toyah (Yay! Back on our screens again!) tells Janice that they're out of cornflakes and there's just a "few crusts" left in the breadbin, thus are desperately in need of a shopping trip. Just then, Les comes down the stairs and demands to know if anyone's seen his 'medal' ("Medal?? Who gave YOU a medal??" laughs Toyah), aka his MEDALLION! Yep, Les is an ex-medallion man and had intended to dig it out to wear round his neck at the Underworld Valentine's Disco, so needless to say, he's not best pleased when Janice tells him that (a) she's taken it down the pawn shop, (b) she hasn't got enough money to buy it back, (c) he'll have to earn some cash himself if he wants it and (d) that it doesn't exactly take priority over things like food and electricity! As the Warrior Princess storms off for work, Les sits down petulently at the breakfast table and tells Toyah that most men wouldn't put up with a woman like Janice because they're "not as tolerant as I am" (!!!), before proceeding to ask his stepdaughter for a sub! "You used to have a bit stashed away..." he begins but thankfully Toyah puts her foot down, cuts him off and tells him no.
Martin, meanwhile, is buying extra strong mints for the old folk at the rest home, since he tells Maud "it's the only thing some of them can taste anymore", before launching into a brief gripe about the dodgy conditions at his place of employment, most notably the appalling food. Maud just sighs, comparing the state of this old folk to her own situation and telling him that it's her last day working at the Cornershop today before Nita takes over. She laments that "This is when you feel *really* old... When nobody needs you and you're no use anymore", poor dear...
Sharon comes into the Cornershop, a little late for work and a lot flustered, her new fiance at her side, apologising for her tardiness. No prizes for guessing that in less than 2 seconds Ian has to rush off on business, although this time he advises her that it's only going to be a day trip. As he leaves the shop, Sharon tells Rita that she wishes he didn't have a travelling job sometimes, since it means she hardly sees him... The Big Red One, cynical as ever, tells her that after a few years of being actually married, she'll hardly be able to wait to get rid of him in the mornings! Obviously, the young bride-to-be simply laughs this off and begins to enthuse further about her impending ceremony. The plan had been to just be married in a registrat office with no fuss, but Sharon apparently saw an adorable little church on the way to work and now fancies a full-on fancy affair (no pun intended), an idea which she intends to put to Ian later that evening. "I'm lucky", she smiles to herself, before wishing that she could seek out and find a good bloke for "poor Sally" (!) too (I had no idea that Sharon was into bloodsports!)...
Over at the factory, The Underworld Worker Bees are hard at work, sewing knickers. Deirdre asks Loathsome Linda Lite (now with 40% less hatefulness) what the plans are for this Valentine's Day Disco and is informed that Lady Hayley of Patterson has booked the Glorious Palace otherwise known as 'T'Flying Horse' for the occasion... Not only that, but she's gotten the venue for free (woohoo), something which seems to please everyone, everyone except Lady H herself this is... Something is visibly troubling her, so Janice makes the effort to find out what's wrong... "It's Roy", begins Hayley, "He went out last night and I know for a fact he didn't go where he said he were gonna go"... Janice and Linda *instantly* reckon that Sir Royston is having a "bit on the side" and when Hayley protests that he "wouldn't do that to her", the Loathsome one grunts that "they all would", before adding dryly "I'll tell you this much. If your bloke's cheating on you, you've finally cracked it. You're one of t'girls, right enough. Join the flamin' club!"
I interrupt the update at this point to bring you an urgent health warning. THERE HAS BEEN AN OUTBREAK OF RICKETTS ON CORONATION STREET. Yes, newcomer Vikram Desai (brother of Nita, son of Ravi) has demonstrated to one and all that he has been trained good and proper at the Adam Ricketts School Of Simpering, Faffing and Bleating. Whilst not yet quite as bad as his uberwooden mentor, we have already seen early signs that he cares more about his hair than his lines and seems to have trouble reading them in anything but terminally wet monotone. Bleh. Anyway, watch this space to see if his illness develops further or find out if whether or not he can be cured! My diagnosis? Get ye to a Drama Class, now!
Anyway, with that out the way, we now see Vikram and Nita getting out of the car and heading into the Cornershop. He is telling her that he thinks it's a bad investment, that he has no desire to stand around in there all day stacking shelves and that he could probably make more money "working for himself" (which I hope isn't prophetic of a forthcoming career in pop music)... Just then Trac^H^H^H^HMaxine walks out of the Kabin and Vikram takes the opportunity to chat her up in the most cringeworthy and embarrassing way he can, introducing himself and asking that she be "one of his customers". She tells him she could return the favour and "do something" with his hair if he were drop into the salon sometime. They give each other the eye. I promptly feel an unpleasant storyline developing and, at this point, write down a note to remind me to buy a new bucket next time I go shopping...
Inside, we are treated to a somewhat more poignant scene... Fred and Maud saying goodbye to the Cornershop. "It's been a good little business, aye", muses Fred, at top volume of course, "But I'll be glad to get shut of it!", to which Maud responds "That's ok for you, but it's the end of my working life"... He tries then to comfort her, telling her she's lucky to have worked this long (!) but she is giving off incredibly grumpy signals. Just then, Fred's "Little Tycoonette", Nita, enters and hands him the ominous Banker's Draft which finally seals the deal. Elliot's Store is now part of the Desai's chain of Cornershops. As Maud wishes Nita good luck in the future, Fred tells her he'll take her for a drink at the Rovers before smiling and wheeling her out of the door... A simple, low-key scene, but an effective one nonetheless with lots of nice mixed feelings going on. Nita's empowerment, stemming from finally being able to run her own shop, Fred's devilish joy at having a substancial wad in his hand (so to speak) and Maud's despair at coming to the end of her career. Very nicely acted, all round...
END OF PART ONE
The adverts are possibly the most inane and trite bunch I've seen in awhile, I'm afraid. Gruelling details will be spared. You'll thank me later. :)
Continuing where we left off, Maud and Fred are now inside the Rovers, the latter talking to Natalie, whilst the former sits at a table looking like someone just told her that '911' are No1 in the album charts (ie: Highly despondant!)... When she murmurs that she'll never be able to work again, Fred continues trying to convince her that she's lucky to have had such a generous employer as he, since few others would have kept her on! "Call me a sentimental old fool", he sighs, dramatically, "You're a lucky woman to have worked at all, considering your affliction!" (ouch!)... Natalie takes her cue to leave, as Fred continues to dig his own grave with his ex-employee. "There's not many fellas who'd've been as big- hearted as I've been to you, I say!", he tells her, before musing to himself that the only regret he holds is not being able to rip off Ravi Desai for more money, grumbling "It's a shame that he cottoned on you know... That Audrey Roberts is a wonderful woman in many ways, but she's indiscreet you know"! Maud, who has now had quite enough of her pride being stamped on by the Burly Butcher, decides she has nowt more to lose and tells him the truth about her confession to Ravi, stating bluntly "It was me. I tipped him off to your little game. I can't bear to see you plotting and scheming and twistin' folk"... Fred is furious and hollers "My word! I thought your Maureen were a vicious woman! NOW I KNOW WHERE SHE GETS IT FROM!"
So we cut to a far less interesting scene with the rather dull Martin Platt -vs- The World storyline continuing inside the Cafe. He has popped in briefly to find Audrey, so he can firstly apologise to her for his outburst the other day and, secondly, to ask her once more to contact Social Services... Lady Hayley and Sir Royston, meanwhile, having a conversation over the counter. She tells him that she must visit the Flying Horse again tonight to sort out some last minute details, asking if he wants to tag along? He tells her he'd best not and adds that actually he'd rather like a quiet night in by himself so she accepts this innocently, smiles and bounces out of the Caff... Martin and Audrey's conversation continues across the room and he requests that she gets in touch with someone there, uses her 'sway' as a councillor (!) and insist that the Old Folk's Home gets a random inspection from a figure of authority... Bleh. Hayley, meanwhile, has forgotten one of her gloves and, as she comes back in to fetch it, overhears Roy talking on the telephone: "No, I can manage tonight... as long as it's early... I'll probably only be able to have an hour..." (Oh no! Could it be his Mystery Woman?? What could Roy be plotting?? ;))
Now, I know Hayley can walk pretty fast but this is going over the top, since precisely 2 seconds after overhearing Roy on the 'phone in the Cafe, she then suddenly appears at the bar of the Rovers, where Janice and Linda are having a drink! There you have it folks, undeniable proof that Hayley *IS* Superwoman, faster than a speeding bullet! She is very disheartened, however, and explains that she's sure Roy was talking to 'another woman' and that he planned to meet her tonight. Janice and Linda are sympathetic to her plight and suggest that they follow poor Roy later that night to see where he's going and who's he's seeing! Lady H is reluctant but eventually agrees to go spying on her boyfriend...
Sickly Webster, outside, unloads boxes of knickers from her van as Kevin pulls up his car across the road, the gurrls in tow. Unfortunately, upon seeing Sickly and, mistaking her for Derek Jacoby, little Sophie runs across the road shouting "Cadfael! Cadfael!" with no regard whatsoever for her personal safety. Yep, you guessed it, who should come speeding around the bend but Ian, Sharon's Fiance? Luckily he slams on the brakes of the car just before hitting the poor tyke, who doesn't seem bothered in the slightest and continues to grin and make puppy eyes. Sickly and Kevin, however, are extremly bothered and the predictable row ensues as they both try to blame the other for not keeping a close eye on little Surphie. Ian, meanwhile, blames the both of them for almost damaging his precious car. As volume levels increase, I slowly drift off into a coma, bored out of my skull by this dreadfully acted and rather pointless scene.
Hayley, Janice and Linda stomp into the cafe, whilst Roy is mopping the floors and stacking the chairs. They stand before him looking mightily intimidating as Lady H asks once more if he wants to come to the Flying Horse with her tonight. "No, I think I'll have a quiet evening in, I might catch the early evening news", he says, smiling, then bids her adieu and wishes her a good night... As soon as he's out of earshot, Linda gives Hayley her expert opinion that Roy is most definately *NOT* planning on watching any kind of "early evening news" and is likely to be seeing another woman tonight. Thus, the plan is formed that they wait outside for him to leave, then follow him as far as they can.
Next scene: More vicious shouting and screaming is exchanged between the Two Websters over at Kev's house.
So we move on swiftly (since you can search Dejanews and find all the dialogue from the Kevin/Sally scene in previous updates) to the Kabin, where Sharon and Ian are discussing his brush with danger. He's still ranting that those Wacky Websters shouldn't have let Sophie run out into the Street, etc, etc, so mercifully Sharon interrupts, changes the subject and puts forward to him her plans for a proper church wedding. He seems reluctant about it to say the least ("That'll cost a lot" is his initial reaction!) but, eventually, comes round to a seriously half- hearted "To be honest, I'm not bothered either way... If the groom shows up on the day, what more could a girl want?" - She laughs and offers to take him to the Rovers but, naturally, since he is currently forming a cosy little relationship with it's landlady (!), he gets incredibly cagey and this point and tells her that he just wants to go home. Sharon is disappointed and confused, but accepts what he says anyway, thinking he's still shaken from the Surphie Incident...
A chase now ensues, with Roy walking swiftly down a darkened Street being pursued by Linda, Janice and Hayley. The latter two have the hoods on their coats pulled up all the way for maximum cover! Linda tells them both to hurry up or else they'll lose him, but the closer they get, the more terrified Lady H becomes of what she's about to see...
So we cut (*yawn* - This episode is really dragging on) to the Rovers, where, to sum things up in a nutshell, Audrey confides in Fred about Martin's request re Social Services. He apparently knows the owner of the Old Folk's Home, as they are both Square Dealers, and advises "extreme circumspection". "They're a minefield are Old People's Homes, I say, a minefield", he warns, before suggesting that she thinks a bit harder about matters before calling Social Services... Just then Toyah comes in (much to Natalie's distress) and requests money off of Les for fish n chips, since Janice has mysteriously not come home yet to cook dinner. He (VERY) reluctantly hands her two quid and wonders where his lady wife could be at such an hour...
His questions are answered in the final scene, where Janice, Hayley and Linda crouch behind a car that's parked in front of a large detached house... Who should be ringing the doorbell? Why, it's Sir Royston! And who should answer the door? A none-too-unattractive young lady in what looks like a lycra bodysuit!!! Oh my God, things are NOT looking good! "The swine!" bellows Linda, "Whaddya wanna do now, cos, you know we can go in there and drag 'im out!!"... Hayley is not up for that, however. In fact, she's not up for much at all and with a look of utter despair and hopelessness in her eyes murmurs "I just wanna go home", before walking off into the gloomy night... Cue credits!
This episode was written by John Stevenson, who I suppose did a fairly good job considering. There was admittedly some sharp dialogue. On the downside, tho, we had some really abysmal stories starting to evolve. I guess I'm particularly disappointed with Martin and Gail, two of my favourite characters, getting dragged into the dross with the increasingly poor Nursing Home story. Also, this nonsense between Kevin and Sally *MUST END* soon. I thought that it was mellowing when the wonderful Alison came onto the scene but now it seems have slunk right back into the "Let's have a row every other scene" terror-tory (sic) it had been stuck in for well over a year... Sharon's fiance is boring and transparent too, but that's beside the point.
So what GOOD did we have? Well, I know I've drastically underplayed some of the better stuff in this episode, but there was some present. Georgia Taylor as Toyah was brilliant (obviously) and it's wonderful to see her back. More Toyah please! David Neilson, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Vicky Entwistle and even, bite my tongue, Jacqueline Pirie (aka Linda) put in good performances and, despite the slight obviousness of the storyline, it's believable and well-done, considering the relative naivity of Roy and Hayley when it comes to relationships. The highlight of this was the final scene and the look of sheer horror on Hayley's face as she sees Roy enter the house of a woman she suspects he is seeing on the side. Quite harrowing considering the way the story had been played entirely for laughs up until that point.
However, the prize this week goes to Elizabeth Bradley for her heart- rending portrayal of Maud Grimes' last ever day of work. Complimented beautifully by John Savident's comically O.T.T. Fred Elliot, Ms Bradley gave a stunning, underplayed performance that I have to admit raised a lump in my throat. It's nice to see Maud given lines to work with other than the odd dry one-liner since we don't see this nearly enough and Elizabeth Bradley is MORE than capable of handling them.
Anyway, that's me done for this week. I'm sorry about the slightly humourless tone but there wasn't much to laugh about and, overall, this episode was quite dreary. I'm sure next week's will improve tho. :)
'Til next time! :)
Bless my ears and whiskers, said the White Rabbit. I'm late, I'm late. And not only have I been overtaken by Tinky's update from last Friday, but also Annie's sprightly little Sunday commentary (and very good it was too Annie). If I'm not careful I'm in danger of being overtaken by Chris the Rattler's Monday update and that hasn't even been shown yet - the rate that lad knocks them off astounds me and he's on the ball with them too! However, work and other (more pleasurable) things are pressing lately, my next week is more-or-less booked solid and regulars will be pleased to hear that the update for this coming Wednesday will be guested by none other than your old favourite, CP! So, a break from my reams of turgid prose!
Thinking of the White Rabbit has made me dig out an old Jefferson Airplane album to listen once more to that classic 60s track. "One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small" Whoops, a bit too close to home, that (go ask Hayley, when she was just small!), better draw a veil over it! Anyway, I wonder if it's on the jukebox at Roy's Rolls - it certainly was on the jukebox at the Blue Lamp bar last time I was in Aberdeen, alongside lots of lovely scratchy old R&B discs. It was quite the best jukebox selection I've ever seen.
The jukebox isn't playing at Roy's Rolls as we open the episode, at least not yet, because Roy is only just setting up the caff for the day's trade. As he lays out menus and little pots of primroses, Hayley comes up behind him with her now ever-present Christmas scarf wrapped round her and a hurt look on her face. Roy looks at her anxiously. "What's the matter?" he asks. Hasn't he, wonders Hayley with more than a hint of bitterness in her voice, got something to say to her? Because he can say anything at all. Roy hasn't, he just stands there looking baffled. Well, perhaps he could tell her about the new floor covering for the new premises? No, that's not what Hayley wants to know about. She wants to know if he has anything to say about "us".
Gail appears and senses the frosty atmosphere. "I'm just off!" says Hayley, curtly, and leaves. A worried Gail asks if everything is all right. "It's the tenth, isn't it?" asks Roy, looking at his watch. He's worried he might have missed an anniversary or something.
Outside, Sharon and Sally are stepping out in to a real Lancashire morning, grey and drizzly with wetness shining on the cobbles. Sharon notices the corner shop is under new management and wonders who the new management are. Sally neither knows nor cares, all she's interested in is Mr Fairhurst, and she gushes on about how he's going to come to see her and the house. Sharon remarks that he wouldn't want to see her around, and Sally agrees, he won't like it if he finds she's got a lodger. So Sharon agrees to stay out of the way and "I shan't come home until you put a banner up saying 'It's OK, he's gone".
They go their separate ways, and at this point the camera treats us to a little bit of street ballet. Sally scurries round to the drivers side of her red van, wherever that came from (I must have missed something). As she gets in we see Martin crossing the street, the camera follows him half way across and then lingers on Kevin and Alison, emerging into the wet as Alison wonders whether they can go out later, and Kevin looks distracted. Alison asks whether she should stay away as he's got this man coming round to check on him. Kevin retorts that he's coming to inspect the kids, not his private life.
The camera follows the pair across the street and behind Sally's van, which then pulls away revealing Hayley, walking disconsolately towards Underworld. Janice and Linda run up behind her calling her. "'Ave yer 'ad it owt with 'im?" asks Janice. "Who is she?" asks Linda. But Hayley tells them she hasn't asked him, she thought she'd give him a chance to tell her himself. "Oh Hayley!" exclaims Janice.
Sharon comes into the Kabin. "Under new management?" she enquires of Rita, who explains that she did know about it - but the man to ask has just come through the door.
"TELL HER WHAT?" booms Fred, showing a broad grinful of gleaming teeth. "HELLO LITTLE SHARON!" he greets her.
"Hello Big Fred" mumbles Sharon, not impressed.
Rita explains that Sharon wants to know why the corner shop has a sign saying "Under new management". "I AM NO LONGER THE PROPRIETOR", he enunciates carefully. "SOMEONE ELSE 'AS TAKEN OVER". In fact, he'd just come over to ask Audrey if she'd like to wander over to see how they were getting on. Not now though, she's things to do, but later. Fred starts to go. "BYE LITTLE SHARON!" he says.
"Bye Big Fred" replies Sharon, no more impressed than before.
Rita asks if the new owners are who he thought they'd be. "DESAI, YES. RAVI DESAI, HE COMES FROM DISTANT CLIMES". As far away as Rochdale, I'll warrant! Only it's not so much him, he confides, as his daughter that's running the show.
As indeed she is, to her father Ravi's annoyance. Nita is laying on hot coffee and free wine to mark the change of regime in the corner shop, and it's not to Dad's liking. Well, what does Dad know, he's been working behind a counter since he was eight and had his first shop at nineteen - but then Nita's been to college and done Business Studies. "Dad, you promised you'd keep out!" So why all this? Why "Under New Management"? Does she want to put people off? People don't like change.
Emily isn't too fussed by the change however, she's come in to do her shopping and tentatively accepts Nita's offer of wine - after she's done the shopping that is. "Business As Usual" smirks Ravi. "You know best!" he remarks. "There's one thing I don't know" says Nita. "Where's that idiot brother of mine, he was supposed to have been here an hour ago". The Idiot Brother seems to have a reputation for being somewhere else than where he's supposed to be. "Like he was supposed to be at University," says Ravi, ruefully. "Like he was supposed to be at that private college I sent him too". A customer comes in. "Business As Usual" says Ravi, brightly. Nita would really like to sack her brother, but as her father explains, she can't because he's her brother and he knows it. Another customer comes in. "Business As Usual".
The Idiot Brother, as it happens, is to be found in the salon looking for a haircut. It happens that Audrey is free, but I don't think Audrey is who he had in mind. "Hi!" says Maxine, with a big daft grin. Be careful, Maxine, you're not paying attention to your customer's perm! "Yeah, of course I can!" she beams, breathily. "No she can't!" corrects Audrey sternly. "She's fully booked". Vikram asks Audrey with a cheeky grin why she can't attend to Maxine's client.
At this moment Martin comes in to cause a distraction. He's not after a haircut, he's on his way to the funeral of Walter, the old boy in the home that died because nobody was looking after him, and *please* can Audrey do something about it. "There's lots you can do", he says sharply. "You've got clout - just use it for once can't you?" He leaves.
"Did you want to swap clients?" simpers Maxine. Audrey tells her that was Vikram's idea, not hers. "Oh go on, if that's what you want". It seems it is what Maxine wants, judging by the way she giggles with delight. "Do you want to come this way?" she asks him. "Love to!" says Vikram.
Deirdre pours tea for Emily in her kitchen as she reflects on life with Mother. "It's like going back to being thirteen when she used to shout at me for coming home with ink stains on my frock". Emily springs to Blanche's defence. "She's got a great deal of character!" she objects. "If you mean she's bossy and cantankerous - yes!" retorts Deirdre. The phone is ringing - it's Ken, he's been talking to their daughter and - he can't explain, can he see Deirdre later? "Don't tell Blanche, she'll think I've got an ulterior motive!". Emily is concerned and thinks she should leave them to it, but Deirdre tells her "Blanche has got us both behaving like a couple of guilty teenagers".
Ken, meanwhile, has slipped into the corner shop where he has been offered his glass of wine by Nita. "Is this a regular feature?" asks Ken, hopefully, as he drains his glass in one go. At last, Vikram arrives for work. He explains to his sister that he's been out getting to know the neighbours. Networking. "Not working, more like!" she reprimands. Leaving he on her own. Apart from Dad, watching her, and that's not what she wants. "Just get lost" she orders, flouncing off just as Dad enters. Vikram looks for sympathy, "I walk in the door, she tells me to get lost!" "You're lucky she didn't mean it" responds Ravi. "Give her some help - from what I've seen she needs it!"
A booming voice is heard, off. "RIGHT, HERE WE ARE!" proclaim the lush Lancashire vowels, which surely don't belong to Rita, who we see coming through the door. Ah, there's Fred behind her, that's much more like it. "AND 'ERE'S RAVI!" he bellows, shaking Mr Desai's hand violently. "RAVI DESAI 'OO 'AS TAKEN FULL ADVANTAGE OF MY GOOD NATURE BY BUYING THIS PLACE FOR A SONG". "A song and a half" corrects Mr Desai. They go through pleasantries; Fred introduces Rita, Ravi introduces Vikram. "YOU'VE NOT ALTERED MUCH, APART FROM SHIFTING MAUDE!" observes Fred delicately. "THAT WERE AN IMPROVEMENT LONG OVERDUE". Nita comes over to them and asserts herself as boss. "These are just my staff, so I wouldn't take too much notice of what they do". Vikram takes advantage of this distraction to pour himself some more wine - it's red, he clearly has something carnal on his mind. "They haven't either of them got a clue!" she jibes.
Ken reappears and Rita introduces him as the one who knows the history of the shop. "I go back to a lady called Maggie Clegg, but he can go further back". Blushing, Ken admits to Florrie Lindley but avers that that's his limit. Oh come off it Ken, I bet you bought quarters of peardrops from Elsie Whatsit!
Baldwin's Belles (how about that for the nickname list?) are knocking off for lunch and wondering where to drink it. The Rovers is the nearest, they agree, but Hayley doesn't think she'll join the rest. "Are yer goin' ter tackle Roy?" asks Janice? "I thought I'd give him another chance to explain" exclaims Hayley gloomily. "Yeah, well, I'm not going to keep quiet. Not any longer." With a look of steely determination she clumps off, leaving the others looking on open- mouthed.
Hayley bursts into a bustling caff, letting the door slam behind her; marches determinedly past Emily and Maude, and ignores Gail's bright "Hi Hayley!". She goes straight up to an astonished Roy, and challenges him angrily. "There's something I want to talk to you about" she blurts. "I know you're going to say you're busy but I don't care, I've got to". Nervously, Roy looks around for somewhere to put his armful of crockery.
Cut to Emily and Maude, with Gail looking on. "So they've sacked you? asks incredulous Emily. She feels guilty about shopping there any more, but Maude pleads gallantly that it's their shop and they can employ who they like. Roy comes over to ask Gail to hold the fort, and returns to Hayley.
"There's nothing wrong, is there?" he asks.
"Who was that woman you were with last night?" demands Hayley. "And don't say there wasn't one because I know there was!" Somebody saw him going into her house, so who was she?
She wasn't just a woman, stammers Roy. "I know you're going to tell me I shouldn't have but this kind of thing terrifies me".
"For crying out loud," continues Hayley, "are you going to tell me or not?"
He confesses to having had lessons. Dancing lessons, he adds, as if to reassure Hayley that it wasn't colloquial French. Disco dancing lessons. She looks on, wide-eyed. He was embarrassed to tell her, determined she would never know. A relieved smile breaks across her face. He's still no good, adds a rueful Roy. "And do you know what I've been thinking?" asks Hayley, half-smiling, half stifling a laugh.
Jackie flirts with Vikram in the corner shop, draining a glass that looks like more than the first. "Just needs another one to keep it company", she says, disturbing Vikram's train of thought. Meanwhile in another part of the shop, Ravi is reassuring his daughter that she need not put up with her brother any more than she needs to, he can always find him something to do. She on the other hand thinks her father is far too soft - he might be better off with her, she'd make him work! He's proud of her, he tells her, and gives her a kiss. He's also proud of his son, though "why, I don't know". "You will, one day!" says Nita enigmatically.
Back at the counter, Vikram and Jackie are still flirting. What Jackie needs to go with the wine, she tells Vikram, is a ciggie. Could she have a hundred on the slate. Ever sharp, Nita is on the scene. "Sorry," she tells her, "we don't give credit". Jackie protests, she's been shopping there for eighteen years and has always had credit. Well, not any more she's not. Well, says Jackie, she will take her custom elsewhere, and she leaves Nita to explain to Vikram what Maude had told her - that Jackie had been using the shop for three months, and before that she'd been in jail. "You pour the drinks, I'll make the policy decisions!" He takes her at her word and pours himself yet another glass.
In the Underworld kitchen Hayley is recounting to Janice, Linda and Alison her conversation with Roy, and about his dancing lessons. "Aw, what a relief for yer!" says Alison, sympathetically. Janice, however, is much more sceptical, frankly the years with Les have taught her not to believe a word a man says. Linda doesn't believe it either. The seeds of doubt begin to sprout. "Well, we are having a dance, you can't deny that" says Hayley defensively. In a moment of improbable television silliness, all three of the other women say, simultaneously, "No, we're not doing". Linda suggests that the coming dance gave Roy an excuse. Janice agrees. "If we were going ten-pin bowling, he'd be having lessons for that". "In her front room," adds Linda, "or should I say, bedroom. Hayley is really rattled now. "No!" she protests, clearly worried. "Roy wouldn't lie to me". "Oh, they all do!" says Janice.
Ken, playing host to Deirdre, asks her if she'd like some tea. And yes, on the kitchen wall behind them hang two novelty jelly moulds or maybe cake tins - one is heart-shaped, the other is a willie. There's Ken for you. "So what's all this about Tracey?" asks Deirdre. Oh, nothing to panic about, he doesn't think, it's just that they were chatting, and he asked how she was, and the next minute she was sobbing her heart out. Ken doesn't think there's anything serious, one or two rows with Robert. She wanted to know if this was normal family life, and tactfully he'd said yes, and that's when she burst into tears. Deirdre thinks she'd better ring Tracey - though as Ken points out, it had better be after 7pm when Robert goes out to night school, and it just so happens that Ken is doing his famous corned beef hash. I don't know what's so special about Ken's corned beef hash but Deirdre yields to temptation, "Just so long as..." "You don't tell Blanche", Ken finishes for her.
Some hours have passed and Gail is ready to leave the caff for the day, Roy is wiping tables, and Hayley is standing by waiting for Gail to go. When she does, Hayley begins her interrogation. Has Roy got any lessons tonight? No. Tomorrow? Yes. Has Roy got 10p? He has. He rummages in the pocket of his apron and gives her a coin, which she puts in the jukebox. "I just thought you might like to show me what she's taught you!". Ouch! Roy is put on the spot, he's too inhibited to do as he's asked and this makes Hayley's suspicions grow stronger. He won't look at her. She challenges him once more "Is that really what you've been doing, having dancing lessons?" Yes, stammers Roy. Well, if that's the case, what's wrong with showing her? Ouch again!
A corned beef hash supper is in progress at Ken's house. "Well, it can't be that bad," says Deirdre, "if Tracey still wants to talk to us!". Do you talk to your mother? asks Ken. "No!" says Deirdre emphatically. "I nod, and I listen, and I say yes, but I couldn't talk to her about anything that matters. I'd rather confide in a total stranger". There's a rapping at the door, and Deirdre panics. Could it be Blanche? She thinks. "She wouldn't knock, she'd just march straight in" she reasons. "Can't!" Ken points out, she doesn't have a key. But it's not Blanche, it's Emily, come to warn them that Blanche has been wondering where Deirdre is. And though Ken's is the one place she hasn't thought of, she's bound to sooner or later...
Sally, Rita and Sharon are leaving the house, all in black jackets. Sally spots Alison at Kevin's door, and can't resist a snide comment "Aw look! Kevin's little friend come to tuck him in!" Kevin opens the door. Sharon joins in. "Hey, has he not given you a key yet?". Kevin shouts back. Do they want a photograph? They'll wait there while Sally gets a camera. "We don't need a camera!" shouts Sally, "We've got all the evidence we need!". Rita hustles them off as Sally and Sharon giggle. Meanwhile Kevin and Alison go indoors. Alison suggests she shouldn't be around the day before his interview, but Kevin, agitated, tells her once again that Sally is just trying to wind her up. "I haven't got girlfriends calling all the time," he says, "I've got you! Which is what's going to make it a good home for the kids - for all of us". They hug.
In the Rovers, Sally is still wittering on about how Alison is in and out all the time. Rita reminds her that it's his private life, but, objects Sally, it's in the house where he wants to bring up her children and she's not having that, and she'll go and tell them so. Sharon is suddenly very quiet, she says she's feeling 'fluey, but Sally is too self-centred to care, she speculates on how old Alison is. "He doesn't need any more children, does he, he's got her!"
Martin, meanwhile, is sitting with Maude and commiserating with her. Canadian viewers may wish to know she's wearing her silver maple leaf brooch. She tells him that he needs a job more than her, he has a wife and children. But what Martin feels he needs is advice and help from somebody who's in a position to give it, and he nods in the direction of Audrey, who is seen chatting behind him. "If they could just think about other folk instead of themselves". He goes over to Audrey and informs her, in case she was wondering, that the funeral went well, and then leaves. Audrey is sitting with Maxine and Fred. "He's still trying to get me to do summat about that place he works at", she whines. But Fred tries to set her mind at rest. "NO NEED, I'VE 'AD WORDS WITH GERALD LICKLEY MY FELLOW SQUARE DEALER AND YOU'VE NOWT TO WORRY ABOUT!" Oh dear, that sounds ominous!
Vikram comes up to them, evincing sighs from Maxine and an inevitable crack from Fred: "I DIDN'T THINK YOU'D BE ALLOWED TO DRINK, DOESN'T YOUR RELIGION FORBID IT?". But he's not heard, because Vikram and Maxine only have cow's eyes for each other. Moo!
Ken refills Deirdre's wineglass. She's edgy, wants to be sure he's locked the doors back and front. "You'd think that you'd be able to deal with your parents like normal human beings". But that's not how it happens, opines Ken with a sigh.
Maude is paying a visit to the corner shop, to ask how the day's gone and to bring Nita a good luck card. "Not that you'll need it, you're a very capable young woman!" "Not a very nice one", responds Nita, ruefully, "After the way I pretended to be your friend, then sacked you when I didn't need you any more". "That's one way of looking at it," reflects Maude, sadly. "I didn't know you were pretending". "I wasn't!" says Nita, and the two women clasp hands in a very touching moment of genuine, warm friendship across the generations.
Hayley enters the Rovers, looking for someone. Janice follows. Hayley hopes Janice didn't mind her ringing, only she needed someone to talk to.
Sharon, in another part of the pub, is still feeling poorly, she goes home for a bath and an early night. Rita doesn't think she'll see Sharon at work tomorrow. Sally is still prattling on, oblivious of anybody but herself. "I'll be cleaning that house like it's never been cleaned since it was built!"
Vikram and Maxine are wrapped up in each other. So she lives on her own then? he enquires. He's living at home, but it's only temporary, he assures her, and works in the shop, but that's only temporary too. Sometimes you have to help the family out. Other times, he breathes meaningfully, you think about what you want...
Hayley is agitated, she realises she has no evidence of the truth of Roy's dancing lessons. Janice impressed on her that she's got to follow him, only this time she's got to get herself into the house and see what's going on. Innocent Hayley is left lost for words.
Script by Peter Whalley
Sponsored by Cadbury's Milk Tray (special Valentine's edition of the serenader vignette).
Well, that was - OK! Well, better than OK actually, it was quite good, once again with a good mixture of humour and tenderness. Roy and Hayley were good value as ever, playing out their little misunderstanding, and the scene between Nita and Maude towards the end was really moving, or at least I found it so. There were some good Fred moments too, I find a little of Fred goes a very long way but he is very funny. Shining in a smallish but terrific role tonight though was Saeed Jaffrey as Ravi Desai, and to him I give my weekly award.
Goodbye until the next time, and enjoy your bonus CP slot!
Hiya folks!!!! ... Time again for another update....
Thank you for listening to last week's outpourings and heartfelt thanks for the bumper postbag, 100% sympathetic and supportive, some of it from very surprising quarters! I do feel better for having made my decision, and writing the update was certainly a cathartic experience. I ended up sending it to my regulators as part of my resignation. The bureaucratic side has not been concluded yet - that will move on a step, this coming week, when I have an exit inspection. I've started exploring careers alternatives, doing more in the last week to look to the future than I have done for months. Many thanks again for being there and for your good wishes, many of them borne out of personal experience.
Half-term time now for both Trude and Simon - while he is ready for a short break, Trude is even more so. It's been pretty tough for her, with a new school and new class - and a difficult one at that - but she has survived the first half-term. She has been working some very long hours and been getting pretty stressed and tired, but there are some positive signs giving encouragement. She instituted a system of rewards and sanctions for good and bad behaviour - visibly evidenced by the "good" and "naughty" sides of the class board. On Friday, she had a review session with the kids and asked them whether they thought things had improved. Yes, was the consensus - as evidence they were able to cite the increased number of youngsters (these are 7 and 8-year olds, by the way) on the "good" side of the board. One child also felt that Trude had improved as well - she wasn't shouting at them as much!!! LOL!! It's a tough battle, as some of these kids don't appreciate some of the basic ethics of civilised life - for example, one youngster brought something in from home, which subsequently disappeared, most likely stolen by another child. The class session to get to the bottom of it all revealed the fact that the majority of the children regarded "finders keepers" as perfectly acceptable behaviour, until Trude pointed out to them, how would THEY feel if it was THEIR belongings which disappeared? - I guess their stance presents no problem if you have nothing in the first place. Long way to go for these youngsters.....
Humorous moment? A supply teacher came into school and made the mistake of leaving her handbag next to a "Wendy house" in the room while she went out, for a minute or two. Miraculously, her bag was not stolen, although she found the whole class was daubed in her lipstick and make-up, etc., when she returned to the room!!!! By all accounts, some of the stuff was a bit expensive, but I don't think that's a mistake she will repeat in a hurry.
Values and standards? Its been one of those weeks. We have finally (hopefully) come to the end of one of the biggest yawns in politics for a long time, with the failure of the Republicans to impeach Clinton. OK, the guy is a compulsive womaniser and liar, but I fail to see how the witch-hunt by the "Moral Majority" has actually achieved an awful lot, apart from a spate of cheap jokes about cigars and pizzas. It's been boring enough on this side of the big Duck Pond, so heaven knows what it's been like on the other side.
More amusing, in an equally sad way, have been the pronouncements of Jerry Falwell, in his statements of the dangers posed by "Gay Icon" Tinky Winky of the Teletubbies - this item has been the second largest item in my mailbox this week and has provoked hilarity on a number of levels, quite apart from my personal Internet nickname of Tinky!! (By the way, I am not gay and don't carry a handbag, but some of my friends are and do, and who cares if I did?? However, I will admit to rejecting conventional gender roles, despising "accepted" macho male behaviour. I wish I had had the chance of doing cookery at school, rather than woodwork and metalwork. The former is one of the great joys of my life, being a great creative outlet for me, as I don't myself to be a creative person - the latter are of no relevance or interest to me.) The Rabid Right are certainly good at spouting garbage, when they are in full flight, as proved by this episode, which had "Reds under the Beds" overtones. For me, it brings out one of the worst aspects of what I would call Institutional Religion - the "my God is better than your God" intolerance which is hardly what Christianity is all about..... still, I won't go down that path too far today..... but one story might serve as a useful moral to the whole thing. It's a story which appeared in the foreword to an Isaac Asimov novel I read nearly 30 years ago and concerned a young child, whose behaviour was the cause of concern to all and sundry at school. You see, when it came to drawing in class, whereas all the other children drew pictures which were brightly coloured, Johnny's drawings were purely in black. None of the teachers, the experts, the psychologists could explain this satisfactorily, citing all sorts of potential explanations, such as deprived upbringing, personality disorders, etc. Finally, the teacher hauls up Johnny to the front of the class and asks "Johnny, why is it that other children's drawings are brightly coloured and yours are only in black?" - back came the reply "Well, you see Miss, I sit at the back of the class and when you announce it's time for drawing, by the time, I've got to your desk at the front of the class, all the coloured crayons have gone......."!!!!!!!!!!
We have had a week when the England football coach, Glenn Hoddle resigned following some bizarre comments about disabled people, reincarnation and retribution. Whatever the truth of what he actually said or meant to say, the comments caused great offence to many in the land, including from my mother-in-law. So, it was somewhat surprising when, a few days later, she launched one of her usual blistering attacks on the Labour Government - this time on the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, David Blunkett. Those of you who follow UK politics will be aware that David is blind, so he has done exceptionally well in political life to reach the Cabinet with such a handicap. The gem this week from her, was "What does he know about Education? I mean, he's blind....." .... Sometimes, even I am rendered speechless - and that's got to be some sort of miracle as this 5000-odd word essay will testify!!!
Anyway.... enough of that....
Episode sponsored by Cadbury's Milk Tray
The episode commences at Sally's place. She is busy tidying up the house in readiness for the inspection by the Welfare Officer. Sharon comes down the stairs in her dressing gown, full of a cold, as Sally is busy vacuuming the carpet. She is supposed to be going down to Nottingham with Ian, to meet his sister and to choose a wedding dress - but right now, all she can face is some paracetamol painkillers. She'll have those and then go to bed to try to shift her cold, she tells Sally. Sally reminds her that the Court Welfare Officer is due to come round this morning. When Sharon asks whether that's going to be a problem, Sally plays it down, as long as Sharon stays out of the way. Sharon suggests going to stay at Rita's but Sally will not hear of it, as Sharon isn't well enough. As Sharon makes her way back upstairs, Sally looks concerned - after all, she does want the interview to go smoothly.
At Desai's Corner Shop, Fred has come in for a nosey-mosey - he's glad that they have had the sense to leave things as they are, folk round here don't like change, he tells Nita. He spots some coconut milk on a shelf and tells off Nita - she is not going to sell any of this stuff round here, he tells her, folk round here prefer milk from cows. When she says that presumably he wouldn't recommend them to get any more, he tells her she is wasting her money. He is promptly shut up when she informs him that this was actually from stock HE had bought. Vikram comes in from the back and confirms Nita's story, offering to show Fred the invoice. When he asks Fred whether, in that case, he will buy some, Fred bluntly declines. "What about a paper?" asks Nita, "we've got a very comprehensive selection." Fred looks flabbergasted - it's newsagents that sell newspapers, she cannot do that, there's an unwritten rule, he tells her. She won't hear of it - honest competition makes good business sense, she tells him. Oh boy! Are we going to have some fun with the Desais?
Back at Sally's, she is dressed in a smart skirt and white blouse, ready for the interview. The doorbell rings - it's the Court Welfare Officer, Malcolm Fairhurst. She lets him in, offers him a drink and asks him to take a seat. He gets straight to the point and tells her that his job is to study the case of her and her estranged husband, in respect of the children - he will have to talk to her and ask her some questions to get a picture of the situation. In the course of the investigation, he will have to speak to her, to Kevin, to Rosie and Sophie and will also have to talk to the children's school. This is his first interview, it may be his last, or he may be back. At the end, he will have to present a report advising the court what the best course of action is for the children. She is looking pretty nervous by this stage, but having set the scene, he sets her at ease by complimenting her on her house - it says a lot about the person, he tells her.
At Battersby Battlements, Les is busy cleaning up a 1970s disco unit he has picked up, when Janice walks in through the door. You can tell that she is not impressed., but he is pleased with himself - people pay hundreds of pounds for these, he tells her, but he paid £8.99, the bloke in the Bargain Centre didn't have a clue. (Yeah sure!) it was like taking candy of a baby, he tells her, but Janice is still not impressed - I think he saw you coming, she replies. Les won't have any of this - the microphone alone is worth ten pounds, he tells her. "Then there's these, twin decks, amplifiers, speakers", he continues excitedly. Where's the CD player and tape desk, she asks - he replies that this is a professional DJ's system, not a common or garden front room stereo. In any case, most of his best 70s stuff is on vinyl (yeah, right on, man!).... When she picks up some kit from the top of amplifier, he proudly informs her that this is his lighting rig - the "rig" consists of a small number of large bulbs, and Janice is pretty underwhelmed by it all - surely, he's not going to use this stuff in front of her mates? He tells her, by way of justification, that Charlie West wanted £50 just for hiring equipment - which is what he is being paid for doing the job, Janice reminds him. "Exactly" is his reply, this way he can make a profit and keeping the stuff, he'll be able to use it when more work comes in. "Janice, this could be a great lickle earner for us" he exclaims delightedly. Janice, ever the cynic, has heard it all before, "If it works....... " being her weary response.
Mr Fairhurst has finished asking the majority of the questions and now wants to have a look around the house. Sally gets all agitated, but he insists it's just for the sake of the record. She takes the opportunity to confess that she does have something to tell him. She has a friend staying with her at the moment - she is upstairs in bed, poorly. He asks whether she is going to be staying long and Sally tries to reassure him on this score - not long, she is getting married in the near future. He asks about the financial arrangements and Sally admits that her friend does contribute to the running of the place, but she doesn't rely on it, it was just a favour, she tells him. Her landlady does know, doesn't she, he asks - of course, is her reply. He asks whether she has a proper lease, 12 months, 18 months - she admits to a 3 month lease. He expresses concern, what if she cannot get it extended? She doesn't see a problem with that, she replies - in any case, even if she cannot do so, she is confident of finding somewhere else, there's lots of property on the market. He doesn't look over happy and, having finished for now, he makes a move to leave. She tackles him, is the lease going to be a problem? He tells her that the court is concerned about ensuring a secure and loving background for the children, so he has to take every aspect into consideration.
... and the theme tune comes in, on cue for the end of part 1
After the ads, it's part 2
The second part of the programme commences back at Battersby Battlements. Les has been cleaning up his disco unit and the moment of truth has arrived - it's time to switch it on. Watching cynically are Janice "I hope you know what you're doing" and Charlie "you'd have been better off renting from me" West. Janice switches on the power and one solitary bulb starts flashing away - great cheer from Les "yeah, working like a dream", he exclaims. Janice is not impressed "is that the light show?" Les explains that "it just needs a couple of bulbs" - "and a lot of imagination" adds Charlie. Janice asks to hear a record - Les proudly obliges, going through a DJ introduction, finally announcing 'Sugar Baby Love' - but not a squeak. Janice and Charlie fall about laughing as Les explains away "it must be the speakers". "I always thought it were the Rubettes" quips Charlie. As Janice leaves for work, a determined Les is heard telling Charlie to turn the mains off, he is going to have it fixed in no time.
At the garage, Kevin is in the middle of a job, when along pops up Mr Fairhurst. He is early. Not to worry, says Kevin, he will clean up and they will get over to the house. He explains that he is busy, everybody wants an MOT all at once (this is an annual test sanctioned by the Ministry of Transport certifying the roadworthiness of vehicles over 3 years old). He explains that, although he is very busy, he is his own boss and can work the hours he wants, the girls come first and there is always someone around to pick them up from school, etc. It's his turn to get a grilling as the Welfare Officer probes into Kevin's arrangements in the event of the girls being sick, Kevin being out on a job, etc. He is very thorough with his questioning.
At the Nursing Home, Gerald Lickley is addressing his staff who are lined up, as if on an Inspection. It has come to his attention, he announces, that a certain member of his staff is not happy with the way the home is being run and has asked his councillor to arrange for the home to be inspected on a spot check. He has nothing to hide, no objections to an investigation - but he does not take lightly the fact that someone, whom he employs and trusts, is going behind his back inferring that they do look after the people properly at Weatherfield Vale. He warns them that if this recurs, not only will they be dismissed instantly, but he will also instigate proceedings for libel.
Les has completed his repairs and instructs Charlie to turn on the power again. That he does, but nothing happens. It's still not working. Charlie tells him that he should have hired some proper equipment from himself, informing him "I keep telling you it's the speakers, yer woofers and yer tweeters. They're knackered Les." He helpfully adds that Toyah will have some spare speakers. Les is overjoyed at this helpful hint and rushes upstairs into Toyah's bedroom. Charlie points out that Toyah might not be pleased at her speakers being used and that maybe Les would be better off hiring his own. Les comes down with the speakers and won't hear a word from Charlie. He connects them up and puts the power on - there is a puff of smoke as he blows up the speakers... and who should come in through the door at that stage?..... Toyah, of course!!! Is she pleased? Is she eckerslike?
At Sally's, Sharon is huddled up under a duvet on the settee. Ian has popped in to see her. The Nottingham trip is obviously off, he surmises - dead right. He asks her whether she needs anything but she declines the offer, she is going to go back to bed in a minute and get some sleep. He bids her farewell and leaves.
Meanwhile, Audrey is round at Gail's, moaning about her newly impoverished circumstances and how, soon, she is going to need all the free meals she can get. Enter one very dischuffed Martin. "Bad day?" enquires Gail - Martin confirms that. Audrey doesn't read what's really going on and adds "you and me both" and carries on her whinge about the insurance money and the pension. Martin tells her she needs help - help to keep her big mouth shut. He explains what has happened at the Nursing Home and accuses her of approaching Gerald Lickley. Tempers get frayed as the argument escalates but Audrey denies having done so, she doesn't even know the man. Martin tells her that now Lickley has been warned, he will be ready for an inspection and everything will be shipshape. When Audrey replies that, surely, this was what Martin wanted, he has to point out to her that pre-warning is pointless - all that will happen is that things will revert back to normal after the inspection has been completed. Again Audrey denies it was her who approached Lickley, Martin's answer is unequivocal "who else could it be?" This is the final straw for Audrey who gathers her coat and storms out. Exit Audrey leaving behind an unhappy Gail, with Martin maintaining that he said what he had to say.
At the Rovers, Janice furiously comes into the pub. She has seen what Les has done to Toyah's speakers - when he asks her to have a drink with him and not shout at him, she tells him how angry she is at him spending all that money on that stupid equipment and blowing up Toyah's speakers and now he wants to waste more money. He tells her that he will get Toyah some more speakers - "with what?" is Janice's angry reply. She makes him go home there and then.
Hayley is sitting on her own in the pub, looking pretty miserable. Janice comes over to her to find out what has been going on between her and Roy. At that point, Roy comes in, puzzled - as he comes over to Hayley, Janice beats a diplomatic retreat. Roy has been waiting for Hayley, he thought she would come home. She tells him, rather stroppily, that she fancied a drink. Is that gin, asks Roy. It is, and Hayley wants another!!!!! The look on Roy's face is a picture - sheer bafflement and astonishment!! When he offers to get her a pineapple juice, she tells him she doesn't want one, she wants a gin!! He comments that she doesn't normally drink gin, to which she replies "I do now"... he has picked up the vibes that all is not entirely right, but when he asks her, predictably we get a monosyllabic "fine" from her, as only women can carry off par excellence.... oh boy, what a strop she has got on her!!! He is reluctant to go to his classes and leave her like this, but she insists that he goes "just get me another gin before you go, that's all." Poor Roy is totally flummoxed by it all and goes to the bar to order Hayley's drink. As he does so, we see Hayley opening up a packet of cigarettes and lighting one up.
As Lorraine is serving Roy, in comes Steve - she asks him whether he is going to the Valentine's disco. Steve is not impressed at the thought of Les being the DJ. After some cajoling, Steve agrees.
Roy brings over Hayley's drink. Again he asks whether she is alright. Of course she is, she replies, she has Janice to talk to. An embarrassed and puzzled Roy departs for his classes.
Janice comes back over to her. Smoking and drinking is no answer, offers Janice. Hayley informs her that she doesn't intend staying at the Rovers drinking all night, biting her lip. She is taking Janice's advice - when she finishes her drink, she is going to follow Roy. Only she is not going to be waiting, looking outside. She is going to be knocking on the door, asking questions. She finishes her drink and slams the glass down on the table.
Natalie is propping up the bar - this time from the customer side. Enter Ian. When he asks whether she is having a breather, she tells him that, actually, this is her night off. He offers to buy her a drink - on condition that it has to be wine and it has to be drunk over a meal. In short, he is inviting her out for a meal. He explains that he is at a loose end and he hasn't eaten. She accepts the invitation.
Vikram and Maxine have come into the Corner shop - having your own off-licence is clearly a distinct advantage for Vikram. When Maxine asks whether they should be there, he explains that, one day, all of this will be his. He asks her what she would like to drink - grabbing a bottle of bubbly "maybe you'd like champagne....vintage, only the best for you." They decide to have it at her place and he takes another bottle. He is full of smooth chat. She is well oiled and asks "trying to get me drunk, are you?" They leave the shop turning off the light as they close the door behind them.
Hayley has made her way to the dancing instructor's home. She quietly makes her way to the front window and carefully peeps in. She ducks and hides under the front window for a few seconds. When she lifts her head to the window and peers through it again, Roy is on the inside peering through to the outside. They see each other and the surprise startles her so much, she overbalances and falls onto her back. The front door opens and a puzzled looking Roy comes out, closely followed by the dancing instructor, a very attractive redhead - he asks what she is doing there.
Ian and Natalie have returned from their meal out. Clearly it was enjoyable for both of them. She thanks him for the meal and offers to pay next time. He thanks her for being such a good listener, especially after all she had been through. Think nothing of it, is her reply. As he is about to leave, he asks whether it is alright for him to call her again. she is pleased and thanks him again for a lovely night. "No, thank YOU" is his reply. There is one of life's significant pauses and, after this, he comes back into the room. He kisses her and then leaves, both of them taking a long lingering gaze at each other.
We are back at the café. There is just one subdued light on. Roy and Hayley are sitting at a table. She is crying. He tells her he cannot believe what she just did. She apologises. He had told her what was going on, he even offered for her to come round and see for herself. "But, oh no! You preferred to listen to those stupid women in the factory." He resents her checking up on him like some peeping tom. He asks her to imagine how embarrassed he was. Her reply is a stream of apologies. She tells him she was so scared of losing him. Roy is upset, as he informs her "I told you the truth and you didn't believe me. Now if you don't trust me, there is nothing I can do about that. But I'll tell you one thing .. this is no basis for a long term relationship." He gets up from his chair and goes upstairs leaving her behind. She looks devastated and calls out "Roy.. I were just so scared of losing you." She sobs uncontrollably.....
.....and with that.... it is the cue for music and credits ... episode written by Ken Blakeson
All material is, and remains, copyright property of Granada Television.
Well, how was it for me? A good mix of humour and sadness.
The Custody inspection storyline has now come into view. Obviously, the issue of the girls' custody is important to both parents, so it is inevitable that there is a lot of anxiety and insecurity tied in to the issue. The storyline was well handled with the Court Welfare Officer being even-handedly tough on both Kevin and Sally. Who is going to win? It's not clear cut, is it? Stick around folks.
The Corner shop storyline is being gently pushed along as we realise that the status quo is about to be disturbed by the arrival of the Desais in the corner shop and the revelation that they are now selling newspapers in direct competition with the Rita's Kabin. Again, well handled, as change in ownership brings about a re-evaluation of the way business is transacted. Stick around to see a few feathers being ruffled. Part of the Desai storyline is the introduction of Vikram to the Street. This character shows a lot of promise, as one of life's real "wide boys" and the impact he is going to have on the community. I think there are going to be sparks between him and his sister, Nita - we've had a taster of that in today's episode with Vikram helping himself to some champagne from the shop late at night, unbeknown to his sister. The other impact, of course, in the context of romance, currently with Maxine - he and Maxine cut a dashing glamorous couple who are looking for the froth in life. Surely, she isn't going to be the one who tames him?
The Natalie/Ian storyline is pushed along gently, as we see the relationship developing. Natalie is very much one of the "sexy sizzling" characters and we are in for some sparks as she gets embroiled further with Ian and, of course, the knock-on regarding his fiancé, Sharon. My only doubts relate to Ian, who strikes me as a bit too boring and staid to attract Natalie, unless she is flattered by the attention.
Comedy provided by Les, as ever (these days taking over the traditional role occupied by the Oggies in days of old, Janice as the hard-working wife, Les as the layabout good-for-nothing husband). He is one of life's dreamers, always believing that his next scheme is the one which will be their meal ticket to a better life. It never quite works that way, of course, but some lovely humour along the way, as we had tonight, support neatly provided by Janice, Toyah and the irrepressible Charlie West. Wonderful stuff!
The nursing home saga was pushed along a bit tonight with Lickley giving his staff a warning not to talk about the running of the place. While the storyline is legitimate enough - the conflicts between care and finance - I'm not really sure how this can develop further.
The final storyline, the Roy and Hayley saga moved along as well - a real bittersweet mix. Roy is as straight and honest as they come and cannot understand why anyone should doubt his word, least of all, Hayley. On the other hand, he is naïve, being unable to appreciate Hayley's insecurity. She is prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, up to a point, and, fuelled by the cynical comments of her workmates, has now actually reached that point. The emotions surrounding jealousy are well tackled, with sad and humorous results. Nice mix of light and serious here.
All in all, a pretty enjoyable episode, left on a cliff-hanger over the weekend, as we are left to ponder on whether there is a future after all, for Roy and Hayley. One side issue from my point of view is that I was able to complete the full update in one take - normally, I do part 1 of the show one day, part 2 the next, then come back on the third day to do the summary and "how I see it" bit plus the prologue. Never before have I done parts 1 and 2 in one take - it just seemed to flow very well, so I'm not quite sure whether it says anything about the script or me.....
Anyway that's it for now.. Until the next time, take care... oh, and a Happy Chinese New Year to one and all..... :) Tubby greetings and Tinkyluv from the Tinkster in Glorious Glossop....
How do, all!
Long time since I deputised for an update (alone, anyway) but John Laird deserves a break and my fingers need the exercise. Therefore you have to put up with me, not only this week, but next week as well, since the incomparable CP Turner is unable to do the Sunday 21st update as arranged previously.
Given RATUCS's propensity for agreeable smut, I should probably wax lyrical about "double headers" and "pulling out"........but I won't. :)
It's been a thoroughly hectic start to the year, what with my job putting "new procedures" into place, trips up and down to England meeting all my new friends from the net and elsewhere and of course my increasingly enjoyable social life. This time last year I was packing boxes to move back to my home town after eight years away. It's been a very busy 12 months, that's for sure. If I could just lose the weight I put on at Christmas I'd be in nirvana! (Mind you, I've to lose the weight from the PREVIOUS 8 Christmases to lose before 1998 gets a look in!)
I don't have much else to say in this little prologue-ette, but to get in the mood for the 70's disco in Weatherfield, I'm putting on Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie on. Now since it's vinyl it'll be over in 30 mins tops, and so I have a few others standing by......
So with no further ado, I present for your delectation, enjoyment (and wastebasket?) the first of the two updates, cunningly entitled......
ANNIE'S VALENTINE'S DAY UPDATE - Sunday 14 February 1999
We open in Chateaux Batteaux, all glowing telephones and scintillating conversation. Now....having just had me tea, the one thing I really didn't need to see was Les Battersby in the first scene, in his vest. But see him I did, and the tea remained down. Miracles.
He's just picked up the mail from the mat, including a purple envelope containing a Valentine's card, and is most amused to find it covered with naked men! Janice tells him to be careful - getting cards from people with naked men on the front, to Toyah's amusement!
But it's not for him of course, nor the Warrior Princess... it's addressed to Toyota, who is outraged at Les for opening it. Reluctantly handing it over to his stepdaughter, he clumsily pockets another letter. Janice spots this and asks him what it is. Ever hopeful of avoiding reality, he pretends he doesn't know what she's talking about but then admits it's the Electricity bill - the final reminder - but it's been paid, he says, (yeah, right) because Janice gave him the money to pay it. She'd scraped it together after Greg (I Want To Be A Tree) Kelly swanned off with the last lot - something Les just shrugs off. He obviously won't accept that his child is the scumbag he so clearly was.
A quick walk round the corner then, to Roy's Rolls. (I put the apostrophe in!!).
Sir Roy of Cropper is busy tidying up some tables when Lady Hayley of Patterson comes down from the flat carrying two large plastic sacks. No, despite the fact that their relationship is on rocky ground at the moment, she's not moving out - these contain decorations and stuff for the disco at the Flying Horse. She's also carrying a red envelope. Roy is distinctly cold to Hayley as she attempts to be cheery. She tells Gail she's off to decorate the function room for the disco, and Gail is delighted, obviously remembering the sterling work she did for the shoddy marquee at Des and Natalie's wedding.
She tells Hayley that she heard a rumour that Roy had been practising his dancing, at which point Hayley winces a little.
"So, we can expect some Dirty Dancing tonight can we?", says Gail.
Hayley just says "Yeah" uncomfortably and tells Gail she has to run, because she's meeting Alison, who is helping her, at the Flying Horse at 10am. She goes to leave, forgetting about the envelope she left on the counter, and says goodbye to Roy. He puts the newspapers he's carrying on the counter top, but says nothing and gives her a look that could freeze...well... Vimto, Tizer... anything in fact they serve at Roy's Rolls. I expect..... His thought over, he picks up the papers again (and also, unbeknownst to him, the red envelope Hayley left on the counter!)
Short-Rodney... sorry.... Tyrone Dobbs is trying his hand at chatting up Toyah once more, this time in the Kabin. He's asking if she got any Valentine's cards. Toyah brushes him off in the same way one would do a unwelcome insect, and tells him she did get one card, from a small-minded sexist pervert. (Nominations, please...) Rita is curious to know what kind of card a small-minded sexist pervert would send! Tyrone describes the naked men on the front to Toyah who wants to know how HE knew THAT. Tyrone wastes no time in telling her it was HIM and there's more than that coming if she plays her cards right. Toyah just scoffs, but Big Red is outraged and orders him out of the shop.
Ken arrives, curious as to the cause of the fuss. Toyah goes to leave, disgusted, and apologises to Rita saying she doesn't encourage that kind of thing. Rita comments that men need no encouragement for such behaviour and then once Toyah has left, tells Ken what happened and that all she got was a gas bill! Ken said he got a big heart (through his letterbox, of course, but course you KNEW that this wasn't a comment on his own warmth). Deirdre has entered and tells them she got the same.....Yep! Identical Valentines day cards. Rita feigns ignorance as to who bought them, but Deirdre knows already... BLANCHE! Yes, Weatherfield's own matchmaker is still at it. Deirdre wonders what Blanche hopes to gain from this, but Rita knows perfectly well! (I'm wondering how Weatherfield gets postal deliveries on a Sunday, but that's by the by.)
Alison is helping Hayley decorate the Flying Horse and is admiring the authentic 70's posters, including one of Wolverhampton's finest, Noddy Holder! Turns out Hayley used to collect them when she was a kid. Alison says she must have been a right little raver in them days!
Hayley: No, no, I were very quiet actually. Timid, I suppose you'd say. I hadn't many friends. Alison: I can't believe that! Hayley: It's true. I weren't right good looking or owt, and you know, like.... I were different..er.. could you pass us that sticky stuff?
Hayley then nips off back up the ladder, embarrassed, but Alison comes forward and tells Hayley she really admires her for having put up with everything she had to go through and that she's really brave. Hayley says she isn't really and she'd be nothing without Roy. Alison tells her she thinks Roy is one in a million, which Hayley agrees with, sadly.
Emily arrives to lend a hand, grateful for the proceeds which will go towards the Friends of Weatherfield General. Hayley is all motivated for the fundraising and not even the arrival of Les Battersby can divert her excitement as she tells them the raffle prizes; a free hairdo from the Salon and a couple of big bottles of whisky!
Les has arrived to set up the disco and is soon joined by Sir Charlie of West with the van, ready to unload. Les makes it clear that he wants plenty of space, not only for this disco equipment, but also enough space for his "full performance" (Full Monty II??? Ick!)
Janice and Loathsome-Linda-Lite are back at Chateaux Batteaux, trying on 70's gear. Les comes back to get his costume together and grab some LPs, but seeing them trying stuff on, offers to stay and give his expert opinion; something Janice quickly puts the mockers on! Linda expects he'll be going along as Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten, not because it'll suit him, but because she'd be offering to put a safety pin in a vital spot!
At the Rovers, Emily is asking Ken if he'll be going to the disco. He tells her he won't and comments on the Valentine's cards he was sent by Blanche. At the bar he is also asked about the disco by Smiley Spice. Again he refuses, but Lorraine takes pleasure in telling him that Cadaver Boy will be taking her, to Steve's discomfort!
Back at the Flying Horse, Lady Hayley is finishing off the decorations as Alma arrives with some of the raffle prizes. She compliments her on her wonderful work, just as she had done at Des and Natalie's wedding, but Hayley is clearly very upset, and has been crying. Alma wants to know why she's so upset so Hayley tells her about Roy's dancing lessons, her mistake the previous evening and the fact that since then not only did he not sleep with her, but he hasn't spoken to her since. As Alma comforts her, Hayley tells her that not only is Roy not coming to the disco, he's very likely going to finish with her entirely!
One cue, it's over to Roy's Rolls, where Roy tells Gail that he'll finish off at the cafe since he's got some other stuff to do at the new premises. Gail is surprised. She thought Roy was going to help Hayley at the disco, but he tells her, to her dismay, that Hayley and he have fallen out in a big way and he DEFINATELY won't be going to the disco.
END OF PART ONE
Primetime adverts are almost always dross, and this clutch were no different. Worst kind of advert? The "two-parter". Where there's an ad at the start and the end of the commercial break, for the same product. This time, it's for a car. wow.....yippee...great....
Hey pop-pickers, it's the 70's disco and slam-dunkin' into the decks is that great classic, mate, by the Bachman Turner Overdrive "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"...Let's Rock!!.
First laugh of the disco, as Tyrone appears, in Curly's leather jacket and orange shirt, with a straw in his hand, going round supping from people's drinks!!! (LOL!!)
Les is in great form as the Sweet's "Blockbuster" rings out from the wheels of steel and he rips off his top to reveal himself to be dressed as... David Bowie!! The crowd are loving it!
Hayley, wearing an outstandingly 70's kaftan-like affair (More reminiscent of Margo Leadbetter than anything too hip), is standing surveying her handiwork as Alma comes in, replete with red wig (not borrowed from Rita) and, sadly, Mike, who has made no conscious effort whatsoever. She compliments Hayley on how great it all looks, but Hayley's mind is on other things. Mike just says "Amazing" and goes off to get his wife a drink, ignoring Hayley, as Hayley tells Alma there's no sign of Roy and she doesn't expect there will be. Alma tries to cheer her up by dragging her reluctantly onto the dancefloor.
It's a quiet night on Coronation Street. It's dark and silent with only two people on the street (that reminds me of a picture I saw once...). Emily is telling Deirdre that Blanche told her that Ken asked her to send both the Valentine's cards because Ken is dead keen to get back with her.
Some people are born to gatecrash; Jackie Dobbs is one of them. She appears at the disco in a tight red PVC dress trying to be Debbie Harry (and failing in my opinion). Les is impressed, but before he can do anything about it, Janice appears in platinum blond wig and green PVC (looks like a bin liner, actually!) Yes...she too has turned up as Debbie Harry! Les tries to calm the storm as Janice tells Jackie to get lost! "He's bought and paid for!"
"There Goes My Baby" by the Drifters is playing, and on the dancefloor, Alma wonders if Jackie has got a ticket, but Hayley doesn't much care, to be honest, and she's clearly had enough of trying to dance 3-inch-high platform shoes. As she heads off towards the bar, she passes Martin Platt who is clearly on acid or something as he leaps about all over the place......and collides with Hayley, painfully. Steve, who is clearly too cool and refused to go in fancy dress (!!), arrives with Lorraine simpering on his arm, who has come as a member of the Top Of The Pops audience, circa 1973. (The sad lifeless ones standing with the bloke in the tanktop) He'd rather go to the bar, but Lorraine drags him onto the dancefloor.....into the path of Linda Sykes (as Suzi Quatro), who goes into "predator" mode (so what's new??).
Jackie attempts to get Spider (sporting some killer sideburns and seemingly dressed as Dan Hegarty from Darts?) dancing, but he's more interested in a) Lorraine (sadly) and b) Les's quite valuable record collection. Jackie, a crim to the last, takes an immediate interest!
A pensive Sir Roy is tidying up the papers in the cafe at closing time when he notices a red envelope in amongst them! Before he can open it, Alma arrives. She's gone back to the cafe to tell Roy how hurt and unhappy Hayley is. He is unrepentant, and irritated that Hayley has spoken about their PRIVATE affairs, but Alma tries to convince Roy to understand how she felt. She tells Roy that if he can't forgive Hayley, then he deserves to lose her. As she leaves the cafe, Roy thinks hard as he opens the envelope to reveal his Valentine's card from Hayley........
Despite being Scottish, I was never into the Bay City Rollers..much <ahem>, but Alison, who is dancing with Kevin to "A Woman In Love" by the Three Degrees, has got the full-on white tartan-trimmed outfit! They seem to be having a great time! (Good for them!! Good for us too, since Sally is clearly looking after the gurls back at No. 6, and will NOT be appearing in this episode!):)))) )Martin comes back from the bar with drinks for him and Gail (who, inexplicably, has arrived as the original Gail Potter!). They stand for a bit and watch, amused, as Les dances about with Jackie.
Deirdre arrives and approaches Ken. They clear the air once more about the Blanche business (but let's face it folks, it's working!), and he asks her up to dance the tango to "Rhythm on A Drum" by Madeline Bell (Rather well, too, I thought) The crowd gather round them and clap as they take over the dancefloor.
Steve is propping up the bar whilst Lorraine tries unsuccessfully to get him to dance. Ashley approaches and says to Smiley Spice:
Ashley: Feel like a dance with the love doctor?? (ROFL!!)
Lorraine rejects his offer saying she's with Steve, but he looks all to keen to get shot of her and tells her to go dance with Ashley. They go onto the dancefloor as Linda, eyeing her chance, goes over to Steve and they proceed to chat each other up, following which, unseen by Lorraine, but seen by Ashley, they disappear out of the Flying Horse.
It'll be slim takings for Natalie tonight as the penultimate customer leaves the Rovers, and it's before 10pm! Betty clears up as Ian comes in, bringing a ray of sunshine to Natalie's face, and an expression of disgust to ours.
At the disco, Les goes over to get another album to discover Jackie sitting "guarding" them. He tells her SHE'S the real Blondie, despite Janice also turning up as Debbie Harry. He also tells her about his very rare Buddy Holly album. Jackie's eyes light up!
Lorraine, meanwhile, can't see Steve anywhere, so Ashley tells her that he and Linda went off together. Smiley Spice is clearly hurt but pretends not to be. "That's the spirit!", says Ashley.
Back at the DJ podium, a very drunk Janice is warning Les off Jackie Dobbs! He trots out the same line to Janice about HER being the real Blondie, which Janice falls for and she gets a bit horny! Les is a bit embarrassed and tells her to save it till later! He breathes a sigh of relief when Janice wanders off again, as Hayley appears with the bucket of tickets for the raffle. Time for the draw! A ticket is picked, and Alison wins one of the big bottles of whisky. Then the winner of the best costume is announced:
Les: For his constant commitment to 70's fashion: Michael Baldwin!!
Mike beams, missing the point entirely, and walks forward to get his whisky, but it's all a joke, and Les then announces the REAL winner: Jackie Dobbs (surprise, surprise). As she dashes up to grab her prize, we amusingly see Alma comforting a distraught Mike Baldwin, and Janice mouthing "YOU WHAT??"!!!! (Wonderful!!) As Jackie kisses Les, Janice stomps off in a serious strop to the bar to drown her sorrows. She brushes past Hayley who has taken up her position near the door again.
Behind her, a tall man in a white suit enters purposefully, hair slicked back, dressed to kill. It's our Roy, as John Travolta!!!
Roy: May I have the pleasure of this dance, miss? Hayley: (surprised but delighted) Are you sure?? Roy: Absolutely sure.
And to the strains of "Imagine" from the disco, they take to the dancefloor.
Irritatingly, the scene dissolves to Ian and Natalie in the Rovers, where he is chatting her up...AGAIN.
"The Last Waltz" is playing and the pairing off that happens at this kind of do is underway. Sir Roy is dancing beautifully and Lady Hayley is beaming up at him and enjoying every moment. Lorraine, watched by Spider, clearly regretting finishing with her, asks Ashley if they can go back to his house together, which he keenly accepts! Les is delighted because the landlady wants him to do a disco every week. He tells Janice to dance with Charlie West while he starts to pack up; something Janice is clearly unhappy at doing, especially when Charlie grabs her!
Les approaches GobAlmighty since he's "on a promise", but Jackie has other plans. She turns Les down saying that Tyrone has had too much to drink and she's going home. Les grabs her arm to persuade her to do otherwise, and as he does so, Les's prized 1957 Buddy Holly record falls out of her coat! He's furious and proceeds to search her for other records; an action which Janice sees and takes to be something else entirely! She stomps over, accuses Les of two timing in full-on Warrior Princess mode, stomps on his prized record and then lays into Jackie, pulling her wig off! Before the fight can get too out of hand, they are separated and dragged out of the pub, leaving Les to mourn the loss of his record! But there is more misery to come for Les (yippeeeeeeee).
Charlie West then approaches Les to get his 50 quid, which Les pulls out of his boot (nice touch!)
Les's night of disaster is complete as Alma approaches with a fiver; his payment from the pub for doing the disco MINUS his drinks tab! As a parting gesture, Mike pulls his cheek and says "Like your outfit!". Les shakes his head sadly as he considers the fiasco it has turned into for him!
(Question: Why did the pub pay him? I thought he was being hired by the factory girls?)
<second tissue cue>
Roy and Hayley are having a rest and he reaches into his pocket for something.
Hayley: What is it Roy? Roy: Something that's very precious to me.. (He produces an old ring box) Roy:...well, it was me grandmother's....I want you to have.... (He opens the box to reveal a very expensive diamond ring!) Hayley: Roy! Roy: I love you, Hayley, and I want to marry you....Now, I know that'll be difficult, but I'm very determined....However, wherever, we'll find a way, but in the meantime, I want you to wear this, so that everybody knows my commitment to you and hopefully, your commitment to me. Hayley: Oh Roy.. Yes!.....Yes, yes, YES!!
Episode written by Ken Blakeson
Well, what do we say about that one then??
It's indicative of just how superior Coronation Street is to Eastenders these days when Corrie features a laugh-a-minute 70's disco and then a final moment to cheer the heart and moisten the eyes, and then, on the other channel, EastEnders put on an extra episode on Sunday to cynically try and grab the ratings with a violent storyline featuring ex-lovers and full-on fights, culminating in murder. This is Valentine's day for God's sake.....
Leaving that rant aside, this was a great episode, and a visual treat also, with all those costumes and the great 70's music.
The Janice vs Jackie thing was a laugh, but isn't it time she left Les forever?? She could do SO much better than him. Jerko Numero Uno's comeuppance at the end of the night wasn't nearly nasty enough!
Linda and Steve deserve each other; the undead and the unbearable.
Alison's scene with Hayley was very touching and her continuing relationship with Kevin a delight. I REALLY hope they don't throw this away.
The Ken and Deirdre thing is amusing, if only because despite Blanche's transparent attempts at matchmaking, they are actually warming to each other without realising it. The tango was a scream.
It's only started but I'm already sick of the Ian/Natalie thing. I REALLY hate these affairs that keep happening in the show. Although in this case Natalie is as yet unaware of Ian's skulduggery. Commitment and meaningful relationships are rarely allowed to flourish in Coronation Street. So it's all the more ironic that the one couple you'd place a million pounds on seeing the end of their days out together are the one couple that the UK legal system refuse to acknowledge or recognise.
Last word goes to Roy and Hayley, of course.
Without dwelling upon WHERE he got the platforms and white suit, Roy's entrance was wonderful. Julie Hesmondhalgh proved what a superb actress she is once more as she veered from despair to elation, taking us with her. The final scenes were a triumph and I'm sure we'll see some fun along the way if they do try and get married, because, as was mentioned last year, it is still not legal for transsexuals to change their birth certificates and then marry in the UK (It IS in most other European countries!). Maybe this storyline will make people get motivated enough to do something? Write to their M.P.s? I hope so.
I'm doing next Sunday also, folks, so you'll have more rubbish from Sunny Scotland then (heavy irony). Take care.......
We don't know about you but both of us are nursing mega-hangovers from last night's Valentine's Day Disco at the Flying Horse... That Les Battersby, eh? He's a scream (or at least, he inspires them). Unfortunately, it's all a bit of a blur, but apparently it was fun. It's now the day after and the events of the previous night start to have repercussions within the Street.
It's really early (way too early!) in the morning but Gail and Martin have recieved a summons from Sir Royston Of Cropper to call into the Cafe for a reason as yet unbeknownest to the two of them... As they arrive, they are greeted by a very excited Royal Couple. Lady Hayley of Patterson offers each of the Platts a cup of "celebratory tea" (nothing to do with Spider Nugent, we hope!) and a cynical Martin wanders why they are so royally excited. Sir R enthuses that their reasons for celebrating are far better than any birthday or Christmas as he enthusiastically announces "Hayley has consented to do me the honour of becoming my wife"!!! Gail is delighted and sets SQUEALING MODE: ON... Her husband however seems rather more reluctant to join in the bouncing and yelping, but gives Hayley a small hug nonetheless.
Over in Le Chateau Batteau, Les is dead keen to set himself up as the next Dave Lee Travis (the phrase "Hairy Cornflake" takes on a whole new meaning!) but Janice, Warrior Princess is having none of it, far more concerned about both the ailing state of their finances and her husband's shameless manhandling of The Reverend Kane^H^H^H^H^Jackie Dobbs. "She was pinchin' me record!!" he protests, but Janice is interested in what HE was pinching and ends up giving him the length of her tongue (DOWN, PLOWMAN!), telling him in no uncertain terms to GET A JOB. He childishly whinges "But I want to be a DJ" at her but, in the end, is elbowed out of the way by the furious Warrior Princess.
In the Kabin, Rita is devastated by the amount of newspapers she is returning unsold to the wholesaler this morning. It would appear that many of her customers are being hijacked by the Devious Desais and poor Big Red's livelihood is being snatched away before her very eyes. Sharon suggests to Rita that she could bolster her economy by stocking a range of selected Gentlemen's Periodicals but, needless to say, The Big Red One is appalled by such a notion! Having lost none of the rebellious spirit that we remember from her teenage years, Sharon offers to stomp off across to the Cornershop and tell them that getting Norman Cook to do a remix for them was a really big mistake and will hang around their necks like a millstone for the next 20 years.... Err, sorry, we digress... She was actually going to stomp off across to the Corner Shop and get Nasty Nita sort`ed out. Rita however, has evidentally mellowed out over the years and sighs that all she wants is a simple life, adding that she has no desire to start any trouble with the new Shop owners across the road. She plans to have a "quiet word" with Nita a little bit later on...
Meanwhile, at Underworld, the Factory Bees are hard at work (hardly working). Linda and Janice play cards, whilst discussing the previous night's 'eventful' disco. The Warrior Princess relates how appalled she was by Les' behaviour as The Loathsome One waxes lyrical about her liason with Cadaver Boy MacDonald. Janice can't see what Googly Eyes would see in Linda unless she had a secret fortune stashed away somewhere... Hayley busies herself, as the teabreak ends, collecting everybody's empty cups in the helpful manner to which we have become accustomed! :) As she does so, Alison spots Hayley's diamond engagement ring and points out that you only wear engagement rings on that finger. Lady H attempts to feign ignorance but Deirdre, showing a level of alertness seemingly absent during her time with Captain Clip-On, has twigged that there is something Hayley isn't telling them. Just then, Janice comes across to earwig the goss' and also admires the sparklies. Suddenly, *KER-CHING*, the penny drops. "You've gone and done it 'aven't you??" blares the Warrior Princess, "You've gone and got engaged!!!"... The rest of the Factory Bees swarm around but, despite the air of joviality, Loathsome Linda, with a sour look on her face (what's new there eh?), comments "What's the point?"
A very frail-sounding Rita enters the Corner Shop and points out to Nita the "unwritten agreement" between the two stores, whereby neither stocks a line sold by the other. With an expression hard enough to crack a walnut, the Winking One states "I'm sorry Mrs Sullivan, but I'm running a business" before snottily pointing out that she will stock WHAT she wants, WHEN she wants and there's no stoppin' her! Today Weatherfield, tomorrow The World! (or at least the Cash 'n' Carry...) Big Red is not best pleased at this hostility but no matter how much huffing and puffing she does, there is no moving The Rock Of Nita.
Replete with THE MISSING APOSTROPHE, we catch a glimpse of the Palace Of Delights that is to be Roy's Rolls v2.0, the new cafe. As a figure emerges from these Hallowed Halls, it would appear that it's Vacuous Vapid Vain Void Vacant and Vile Vikram (no, we don't like him much), who has been recruited by the Rotting Undead MacDonald to do some shiftin' and carryin'. Sulky Spice (aka the Tart Formerly Known as Smiley Spice) approaches, bleating about how Steve dumped her for Loathsome Linda at the Valentine's Day Disco. Googly Eyes shows neither remorse nor concern and tells her to "Chill out", adding "I'll be in the Rovers at about 1 'o' Clock"... Don't look now, but SOMEONE turned the Arse-O-Meter up to ELEVEN!
In the Rovers, Fred and Audreh sit in a booth, talking about the Butcher's little indiscretion with retirement home owner Gerald Lickley (ooer!). Audrey is not happy that word got back to Lickley about her intentions of investigating Martin's claims but Fred seems to be of the attitude that she shouldn't worry her pretty little head about it (as he usually is...)... Therefore he is quite horrified when, not only does she announce that she will do something off her own bat about the situation, but she also WON'T be telling HIM about it!
Back at The Kabin, Big Red is clearly annoyed and upset about the Stony One's attitude concering who sells what in which shop. Sharon attempts to fire her up into direct competition, product-for-product, but Rita tells her that she has neither the space nor the inclination to start a war... (Wait... What's that on the horizon?? Oh my God, could it be... A CRAP STORYLINE?!?!?!)
The Baldwins enter the Rovers and Alma crosses over to where the Factory Bees are enjoying their lunchtime shenanigans. She is keen to know the reason why she was specifically invited over to the pub for a drink. Lady Hayley wastes no time in announcing her engagement to Sir Royston, proudly showing off the ring. Alma is pleased for her ex-workmate and congratulates her, but she is clearly concerned about this unexpected news. As the drinks are doled out (red wine for Alison, eh? What's going on there then? ;)), Les Bleedin' Battersby swaggers into the Rovers and immediatedly starts poking fun at Lady H's happiness. The girls (and Gary!) jump to her defence, but this doesn't stop the Boorish Battersby from "having a good laugh" by continuing his stream of ignorant rhetoric and loudly berating everyone else for not speaking up against what he sees as a farce. When asked by Janice to "behave like a human being" he grunts "No, I won't!" (don't need to tell us that, Les!) and proceeds to storm out of the pub in mock-indignance, saying he'd rather drink on his own at home than in such company.
END OF PART ONE
Car ads! Woo bloody hoo.
Ken, in a mad effort to emulate his wanton student years, is wearing exactly the same outfit that he was at the previous night's disco. You can bet he had pot noodles for breakfast too! ;) He runs into Deirdre in the Corner Shop and they manage to hold the same conversation about Blanche's abortive matchmaking efforts as they have done in every episode for the past few days. However, ironically, they *DO* seem to be far friendlier towards each other than they have been in many a year (Perhaps the old dear's plans are working?)... Internationally reknowned pop songstress Tracy Shaw enters the Shop and makes particularly nauseating conversation with the Stony One on the subject of fair competition. Sadly, since neither of them could even spell these two words, the discussion doesn't get far and instead Max spends her time plying Nita for juicy gossip about her brother, Vacuous Vapid Vain Void Vacant and Vile Vikram.
Fred and Ashley sit in the Rovers, debating the merits of Sulky Spice whom of course The Lurve Doctor took home with him at the end of the Disco... "She's got a fine leg on her. Nice piece of shoulder, that, n all!" bellows the butcher, "There's nowt clever about stick insects, RAshley, you need a woman with a bit of flesh on her!" but Ashley finds the conversation disgusting and heads up to the bar to reluctantly get another round in (not the first of the day, it seems)... Across the room, Deirdre and Emily sit talking over a G & T and a tomato juice, respectively. The subject being Blanche. Again. The Drear is insistant that her mother is interfering where she's not wanted and only has her own selfish interests in mind. Emily, in an attempt to pour water on the flames, points that "You only have one mother"...
Speaking of mothers, Audrey is sharing a tea-break with Gail at the Cafe and congratulates Sir Royston upon his good news. She has apparently heard about it from the Factory Bees who, as ever, were unable to keep their gobs shut. Roy is nonplussed and proclaims that their engagement is no secret and he would very much like to "shout it from the rooftops" if he could. Gail raises the subject of the Royal Couple's honeymoon which had clearly never occured to Sir R before but it seems he's now quite taken with the idea... Audrey, however, seems rather bemused with the whole thing, but thankfully keeps quiet. Before he heads back to work, Roy asks Councillor Roberts if she would be so kind as to lend an air of dignity (!) to the opening of the new Cafe by agreeing to attend as their Guest Of Honour. Ever keen for a bit of self-promotion (except where the sign outside the salon is concerned of course, as it still reads "Fiona Middleton"... Design Department???), Audrey is delighted to accept the offer and is anxiously awaits the chance to wear one of her new hats!
Tracy Sha^H^H^HMaxine sits talking with the perpetually winking Nita about 5V-Vikram. That's it. Nothing of consequence happened here at all, unless you count the involuntary urge to lose our breakfasts that inexplicably arose within the bellies of, well, probably the entire nation actually.
Ashley has *finally* made it across to the bar, to pick up the round he was going to get in earlier, which leads us to believe that either a) the Rovers really *IS* the Tardis or b) he was <fast show> verrry verrry drunk </fast show>. He tries to tell Sulky Spice how much he enjoyed the previous night but, considering it was "just a snog" (her words), she's having none of it and is still in a strop about Steve's rejection of her unwelcome advances. Speaking of which, the Great Rotting Cadaver Boy himself enters the pub (his undead precense shamelessly promoting the screening of "Zombie Flesh Eaters" on Channel Four this weekend) and proceeds to viciously mock Maxine's blatant pursuit of his new lackey, 5V-Vikram...
It's Tea Time at Le Chateau Batteau and Janice is carving (craving?) the only item of meat that they can afford in these lean times... A CHUNK OF SPAM! (SPAM! SPAM! EGG! CHIPS! BEANS! SPAAAAM!) Les is appalled to discover the unappetising cuisine being laid before him and, of course, complains quite vehemently. The conversation veers off once more into the realms of their current financial crises, with Janice switching on the Auto-Gob Script (TM) and repeating "Git a job!" endlessly but Les is still in a fantasy world, dreaming of his future as Weatherfield's answer to Noel Edmonds (ie: Annoying, pathetic and a danger to small children... Oh, and a DJ as well)... This time, however, The Warrior Princess *orders* him to attend the Job Centre.
Over at Plattingham Palace, Martin is worrying about Roy and Hayley's news. Gail is busy voicing her support for their engagement but Martin has his Devil's Advocate hat on (nice horns ;)) and is pointing out the many pitfalls that the Royal Couple are likely to encounter... She points out the obvious, that R & H simply love each other and want to be together, but her husband reminds her of not only the legal situation but of the inevitability of prejuduce and intolerance that they will have to face.
The Sick Bags should be removed at this point as perhaps the most vapid and laughably inane scene to grace the screens of Corrie this year is about to unfold. Loathsome Linda sits in the Rovers, fawning over Googly Eyes MacDonald under the baleful stare of a spurned Sulky Spice. Vacuous Vapid Vain Void Vacant and Vile Vikram is also at the table and thus Steve and he both decide to unleash their egos, boasting to each other (in full earshot of Lorraine, Linda and Maxine) about how irrestistable they find themselves. Steve announces "I think she fancies you!" to 5V-Vik, regarding Maxine, but in the greatest irony of all, the Muppet responds "At least I don't fancy myself!"... Linda has decided she wishes to be alone with Steve (to possibly recreate the infamous splinter sequence from "Zombie Flesh Eaters"? Ah, we can only hope!) and takes charge of the situation, telling 5V-Vik to stay in the Rovers "with Lorraine"... The jealous (but still oh-so-vacuous) Sulky Spice overhears this and confronts the Loathsome One. This comes across as ridiculous since Linda is clearly a harder case than Lorraine, who in Dandelion Mode (as pioneered by Adam Rickett - Masterclass coming soon!), is about as intimidating as Laa-Laa. They hurl insults at each other (meanwhile, we just hurl) until Sulky, in a moment of madness (#139013), grabs Linda by the lapels and attempts to start a fight. After a bit of light pushing and wimpy tapping, Natalie interrupts, throws the Loathsome One out and berates her niece in front of the entire pub... Spider, who has been loitering in the background throughout this whole scene, looks on in apparent disbelief. Is it because he's seeing a more lively side to Lorraine he might have been glad to know whilst they were dating or is he just thinking "OH MY GOD, WHAT DID I EVER SEE IN THAT USELESS BALL OF FLUFF?"
Overall, a fair episode with it's good points but far too much repetition of previous events, especially re The Battersbys and their ailing financial situation. How many times do we need to see Janice yell "Get a job" anyway? Elsewhere, the Rita/Nita Battlelines are being drawn in a storyline which we've seen in countless other soap operas and which doesn't interest this household whatsoever... Nita's "90's businesswoman" attitude does her no favours and is making her increasingly less interesting. Despite that we *all* know a boss or manager with this kind of outlook, it's kind of difficult to swallow that such hard-line tactics to sell a few pints of milk and stray copies of "My Life As An Escort" by Ken Barlow would be employed by someone to whom the loyalty of their existing and satisfied customer base was so important. The Misogynist Morons, 5V-Vikram and Steve, is another double-act made in Hell, a new male equivalent Fiona and Maxine. As for Lorraine, one wonders how a supposedly intelligent student of Weatherfield College can turn overnight into a pouty, airheaded spoilt little brat who is so clearly unappealling that even Googly Eyes MacDonald stood her up!
On the good side, the scene with Gail and Martin about the Royal Couple's engagement made some important points about the prejuduces that R & Hare likely to encounter in their attempts to marry. Speaking of which, Roy and Hayley seemed to be the only couple today who were actually happy since everyone else was stuck firmly in Strop Mode. Shame. As ever, Fred and Ashley were a real treat. It is so great to see John Savident and Stephen Arnold exchange dialogue, they have a wonderful rapport and make a fantastic double act. More please!
So, there you go. That's all, folks! :)
Dear Update Readers
Well I was originally supposed to stand in for John Laird while he goes off to try out his 'alternative wardrobe' somewhere down on the south coast. (You didn't know that about John? Well I have to say that I admire him; cross-dressing at times of stress is one thing, but opting to wear women's clothes round the clock is something else entirely. Anyway, I wish him all the best). Anyway, I suddenly realised that I would be away at more or less the same time as John, so I had to let him down. When - and you could have blown me over with a feather - out of the blue I got a letter from Ros, begging me to do a guest update for her instead. (Never mind, Ros: getting down on one knee in front of an old queen will stand you in good stead if you're ever in line for a gong from Her Majesty!). Never one to disappoint a lady, I naturally offered my services. And so I'm afraid it is me up with whom you will have to put, as Churchill would have put it. (I adore quoting Churchill. Another favourite of his that I often steal is: "It will be long, it will be hard, and there will be no withdrawal." Apparently he said this with reference to some WW2 campaign, but I find it comes in handy on all manner of occasions!)
Anyway, since prologues seem to be the flavour of the month these days - and indeed, some of them take almost a month to read! - I thought I'd do mine in the form of a diary, chronicling the hectic events of my past week. So sit back, rest your feet on a small pouffe, and enjoy:
CP's Diary (Bridget Jones, eat your heart out)
Wednesday Morning. A work colleague, who has recently been put in charge of the department's health and safety, asks me what I know about First Aid. Well, I did a St John's ambulance course when I was fifteen, but apart from paint pretend cuts and bruises on each other, and learn to give the kiss of life to some doll, we didn't do much in the way of First Aid. So I turned to the Internet for help. I was halfway round a Website entitled "Choke On This" before I realised it was not a site dedicated to the Heimlich manoeuvre. (Talk about naive! I thought genitals were non-Jewish people until I was at least fourteen).
Lunch with Jay, who's up from Bradford. Jay used to do a brilliant drag act - his stage name was Urethra Franklin - but he's packed it all in TO GET MARRIED! The words 'mistake', 'mistake' and 'mistake' spring to mind immediately, but he's having none of it. Although he won't admit it, he's getting married because he thinks it will change his life. I tell him that it will change his life alright, but it won't change him. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, slept with the T-shirt seller. Gay men should never marry, especially in the hope that it will 'cure' them. I tell him about my own experiences; he nods ponderously and for a few minutes we both get quite maudlin. And then he dispels the gloom by saying, "Ah well, she's got a huge clitoris and I've got a great imagination: it shouldn't be too different!"
Thursday I have to learn to refuse party invitations, especially when issued by people that you wouldn't spit on if they were on fire. Ian (my latest 'romantic interest') and I drive up to Jesmond, where Sarah and Alan - friends of friends of mine - are celebrating Alan's birthday. Alan is something big in the local Green party, while Sarah is very much into all this New Age malarkey. They both are, in fact: he was carrying one of his sprogs round in an 'ethnic papoose' long before they became fashionable, and she's the kind of woman who eats placenta and breastfeeds her kids until they're, oh, at least seventeen. Their house is full of 'ethnic bric-a-brac' - you know, that God-awful stuff they sell at Oxfam, and which looks as though it's all been salvaged from some house fire. And they have a whole shelf lined with those carved African wooden faces that for some strange reason all look like Frances de la Tour. You get the picture. Well, it was health food and whole food all the way, washed down with copious amounts of organic wine. I have no problem with that, although vegetarianism has never been a turn-on for me. I mean, wasn't Adolf Hitler one? Who wants *him* as a role model? What pisses me off is not vegetarianism per se, but the proselytising of vegetarians. Vegans are even worse. There was a Vegan at this party, a *huge* German woman called Dagmar. (And when I say *huge*, I mean *huge* - you could screen "Gone With The Wind" on her arse and still have room for a five-hundred piece jigsaw). Well as soon as she discovered that Ian and I were into meat, so to speak, she bore down on us, all ideological guns firing. It wasn't just the usual "meat is murder" routine: she actually equates meat-eating with cannibalism, on the grounds that men and animals are all "children of Gaia". (Yes, at this point I was losing the will to live too, but we humoured her). "It would just be like eating another man!" cried Dagmar. Then she rounded on Ian. "You wouldn't want to eat another man, would you?" she shouted. "Well, live and let live, I say," said Ian. "After all," he went on, "as far as vegetarianism is concerned, one man's meat is another man's poison." Dagmar lifted her quizzical stare from Ian and placed it on me. "Don't look at me," I said. "I agree with Ian. Although I would modify it slightly and say that 'one man's meat is another man's idea of a good night in'."
Well it seemed to work because the irrepressible Dagmar didn't speak to us again for the rest of the evening. To say that Ian and I were distraught would be a slight overstatement.
Friday My mother phones to ask me what I think about "genitally modified food". (I don't bother to correct her for I find her malapropisms absolutely delightful. Given that her favourite TV and holiday programme presenter is "Jan Dildo", you'll understand why). I tell her that I'm as concerned about genetically modified food as the next man, which, for some reason, surprises her. (Okay, she didn't actually say "Oh, I'm sure you've had far worse things in your mouth", but I suppose that was what she was thinking). The topic doesn't last more than a second, however, because she then reveals that her next door neighbour claims to have seen a UFO hovering over a Birmingham reservoir. At this I can't help but laugh, knowing as I do that the only people who see UFOs are fat farmers in Kentucky, but she's adamant. "It was big and black and wobbly," she says. "So is Winnie Mandela," I say, "but she's not a UFO. It could have been anything." Then I remember something I was supposed to ask her some time ago.I'll repeat the conversation more or less verbatim, because it offers insight into exactly how my mother's mind works - or doesn't work.
Me: Mum, you know that Coronation Street book you've got, the one written when the Street was ten years old? Mum: Yes. Me: Well can you send it to me. I need it for a friend. Mum: Which friend would that be? Me: Her name's Glenda. Mum: Oh, like in J M Barrie? Me: J M Barrie? Mum: Didn't he invent that name specially for 'Peter Pan'. Me: No, you're thinking of Wendy. Mum: Who's Wendy? Me: There is no Wendy, Mum. My friend's name is Glenda. Mum: Wendy, Glenda - same thing. Anyway, what does she do? Me: Glenda's a student. She's doing Media Studies and needs that book so that she can write an essay. Mum: Oh, I didn't know that was allowed. Me: You didn't know what was allowed? Mum: For lecturers to consort with students. Me: I'm not 'consorting' with her. Mum: You said she was your friend. Me: Yes, she is, but that's all she is. And she's not studying here anyway. Mum: So she's not a student? Me: Yes, she's a student, but at the University of Sunderland. She did once work at Durham University, but she left last year to go to Sunderland University. Mum: I see. Me: So, can you send me the book? Mum: I'll have to look for it. (Pause) How old is she? Is she married? Is she a Catholic? Me: Mum, just send the book, ok? Mum: I knew a Wendy once. Me: Mum, there *is* no Wendy. Mum: So, you've been having me on all along?
At this point I lose the will to live, so I pretend that we've been cut off. Sometimes it's the only thing to do. A couple of days later she rings me to say that she's sent "Wendy's book" and that it should arrive the next day. I'm still waiting. And so is Wendy - sorry - Glenda.
Saturday As usual, I spend two hours this morning helping my godson Nathan prepare for his Grade 2 piano exam. (I fell at the Grade 1 hurdle, I'm afraid, although I can still pick out a tune if pressed). If I hear Clementi's Arioso in C one more time, I'll hurl both Nathan *and* his piano through the French windows. Several hundred arpeggios, major scales and broken chords later, I am a broken man. He realises this and so we have a break. (A nice pot of Yorkshire Tea and a tray of Cadbury's Fingers. I don't know about you, but I always feel better with a few Fingers inside me). Anyway, Nathan tries to humour me with a few jokes he's picked up from school. The only repeatable one I remember goes like this. There is this middle-aged guy driving through the streets of Newcastle with a bag of toffees on the passenger seat. Suddenly, he spies a young lad - say, fifteen years of age - and so he pulls up and winds down the window. "Sonny," he says, "If I give you one of these toffees, will you come in my car?" "Mister," says the lad, "if you give me the whole bag, I'll come in your mouth!" (If that was the only repeatable joke, you can imagine what the rest were like). What *are* they teaching children in school these days?
Sunday Apart from a leisurely stroll around the Cathedral and adjoining river banks, Sunday is pretty much a washout. In the evening, we drive over to Hartlepool to see Ian's sister. (Since Ian is not 'out', I am introduced as a 'drinking mate'). Ian almost immediately gets into an argument with his brother-in-law - who is from Glasgow - about Scotland and the Scots. The brother-in-law claims that Scotland has given a whole host of things to the world for which we must be grateful. "Such as?" says Ian. "The incomprehensible poetry of Robbie Burns? The incomprehensible accent of the average Scottish football player? Clan treachery and bloodshed? The head-butt? The yummy haggis? Ginger hair? Men in skirts?" Ian was clearly on a roll, so I just sat there while he let rip. The brother-in-law just sat there, a faintly bemused look on his face. I just wondered why Ian hadn't steamrollered Dagmar in exactly the same way.
Monday Medicine is the only profession I know of which allows you to stick your finger up someone's arse within minutes of meeting them. I say this in the context of my annual prostate examination, which I attend today. The doctor looks as though he's fresh out of medical school, and in fact he seems quite embarrassed about the whole thing. He fumbles about in the drawer for a surgical glove. "Have you ever had this kind of thing done before?" he asks, blushing slightly. "Yes," I say, "although the glove is a novelty." I laugh, hoping it will put him at his ease, but looks more terrified than ever. The examination itself is quite painless - and, I have to say, intensely unerotic. It could have been different, I guess, without the awful piped muzak that was filling the room: had Donna Summer suddenly blared out of the loudspeakers, it would have made much more sense. Anyway, he withdrew the probing digit and gave me a clean bill of health. "I bet you're glad *that's* over," he said. "Nah," I say, "I didn't feel a thing." (It's only when I'm halfway down the stairs that I realise what a slut that final sentence must have made me appear, but I'm damned if I'm going to go back and explain).
Tuesday My father's birthday - and I've forgotten to send him a card. My mother phones dead on six to remind me that I've forgotten. "Why didn't you remind me last week?" I say. "Oh, I intended to remind you," she says, "but I forgot." Then, for some inexplicable reason, the subject turns to transvestites. "I just can't get my head round this Hayley," she says - referring, of course, to Coronation Street's Hayley Patterson. "I would have thought that was Roy's job," I quip, but she cuts me short. "Why any man would want to walk round in women's clothing is beyond me. Besides, it's unnatural and it's against God. No major biblical character is ever described as going around wearing lacy suspenders and a bra, for any reason." I almost say, "Aren't you forgetting Moses," but I don't want to cause a riot. Instead I try to explain that Hayley is not a TV but a TS. "Hayley could be a TSB for all I care," she says. "Man is man and woman is woman and never the twain shall meet." (That's my mother for you: she doesn't so much mix her metaphors as blend them beyond recognition).
Wednesday Today, of course, is my update day, and so here, with no further ado, is my update:
Much to Janice's surprise, Les is up with the lark and preparing to go off to work. (Yes, you heard correctly: work). He has actually found a job, helping Charlie West out on some hotdog stall at Haydock Park racecourse. Janice is incredulous, but gives him the benefit of the doubt. "You'd better not be pulling a fast one," she says, "because we badly need the money."
At the Cafe, Roy asks Hayley whether she can wangle an hour off work so that they can go and speak to the vicar about their proposed blessing ceremony. Hayley says that it shouldn't be a problem, and at lunch time they set off to meet their local vicar. At first, our man of God misunderstands them, thinking that they have come to talk about their forthcoming wedding. Hayley puts him straight, however, and makes it quite clear that all they want is a simple blessing. Then she tells him why. The vicar, whose mustard-coloured cardigan is proof that men of cloth have more than one use for a Kays catalogue, is completely taken aback. He tries a few platitudes, but Hayley is having none of it. It is obvious that the vicar is not amenable to their request, and so she virtually drags Roy out of the vicarage, but not before apologising to the vicar for wasting his time. Hayley later tells Roy that she knew from the outset what the vicar would say, and that they don't need a piece of paper to prove their love for each other. Roy agrees, but is adamant that he will keep on trying nonetheless.
Linda - whom a friend of mine describes as "rougher than a badger's arse" - catches up with Janice on her way to work and tells her that if Lorraine (aka Heidi von Trapp) puts so much as a foot out of place, she will gladly flatten her. (Janice, along with 18 million viewers, screams with delight). At the Rovers, Lorraine is being put in her place by Natalie, who is still angry over Lorraine's very public fight with Linda in the bar the previous evening. Lorraine is hurt by this, and says: "If some dog-rough scrubber did that to you, you'd react in exactly the same way." Natalie says nothing. (Well how could she? Not only did she arrive on the Street as a 'dog-rough scrubber', she also engaged in some pretty public fighting with Sally Webster, if I remember correctly.) Anyway, Natalie makes it quite clear that she will not tolerate any sulking from Lorraine, and when Linda enters the bar later on, Natalie makes Lorraine serve her - with as much of a smile as she can muster.
Natalie also agrees to Sally's request for a three-month extension on the house lease, much to Kevin's chagrin.
Also at the Rovers, Deirdre is looking for her mother, and is taken aback to learn that Emily has driven Blanche back to the nursing home, apparently at the latter's request. Later, Deirdre quizzes Emily as to why Blanche left without saying anything. Emily says nothing, but takes the opportunity to tell Deirdre once more that Blanche thinks that she (i.e Deirdre) and Ken make the perfect couple. And Emily agrees.
Janice is horrified to discover that there is a man from the electricity board outside her house, come to cut them off for non-payment of the electricity bill. And cut them off he does, allowing Toyah's laptop to crash as a result. Toyah loses most of her morning's work in the process and is understandably not best pleased. When Les finally arrives home from 'work', Janice wastes no time in berating him for not having paid the electric bill. But what is this? Why does Les stink so? (Well, more than usually, anyway). It transpires that he hasn't been helping out on a hotdog stand; he's been shovelling shit instead. (Is there a difference?) And he's in need of a good hot bath to wash away the evidence. Janice tells him that the only thing he will be able to have is a cold shower. Les takes himself off immediately to the Mallett household, where he begs Gary to let him take a hot bath there. But Gary, almost overcome by horseshit fumes, naturally declines.
Tilly and Leanne finally arrive home from Canada. (Tilly is sporting a tan, so it's obvious that the actor has just spent two weeks on Keanu Reeves, a little-known coral atoll in the South Pacific). Oh, and his zit is still intact. Tilly tells Audreh that he wants her and the rest of the family to get together this evening, because he has Some Important News. (Steven *isn't* gay?). Anyway, Tilly later tells the rest of the Platt/Roberts gang that Steven is about to be married, and that Gail and Audreh have free return tickets to the wedding.
And that was about it, more or less. Oh, there was a scene or two with Cadaver Boy, but frankly I lost the will to live halfway through and had to reach for a shot of insulin.
See y'all again some time!
Hiya folks!!!! ... Time again for another update....
A tough week emotionally, as on Thursday, I had my exit interview and Compliance inspection. Very emotional because I was instigating the funeral arrangements of my 17-year old "baby". I came into the Financial Services industry in 1982, amid some serious reservations about whether it was the right thing for me. As I have said previously, I now recognise and accept that the frontline sales role is not for me, but I do have other strengths and needs, which are going to be better met in other roles, whether in this industry or back in computing. I have always been an engineer at heart, having an insatiable curiosity as to how things work and sorting out the things that don't. Equally, I get a massive buzz out of helping people and developing them, so, increasingly some sort of training/technical support/technical writing (for the layman) role seems to be where it's at. Having grieved over the loss of my "baby", I feel better able to move on - I thank the people on the #coro_street channel, as ever, for their love and support, it's helped me come to terms with what is happening - it would be unfair to mention names, you all know who you are and you have each helped in the process.
The business is being put into competent hands and over the next few weeks the transition will increasingly move on, releasing me to concentrate on the present and the future.
I am one of life's hoarders, so it was particularly poignant and significant that the following day, Friday, I was able to go through the garage and office with my personal assistant and take around a dozen boxes of work-related rubbish to the tip. Life moves onward and forward.
Anyway.... enough of that.... without further ado, it's time for....
Episode sponsored by Cadbury's Nuts about Caramel
The episode commences at the Platts - it's breakfast time and the family are gathered around the table tucking in. Gail, ever the cheerful positive soul, is moaning yet again, about how it's all very well Martin encouraging her to go to Canada, but she's not a spontaneous person and needs to work up to going away... yawn..... he's telling her she would be mad not to go, considering all they have had on their plates recently. She sees it more than a hassle than a holiday - tell you what sweetie, you give ME the plane ticket and we'll call it quits, eh? Martin thinks she will have a great time, but, oh no, she needs to plan it and two days notice ain't enough. She's got a new café to go to, can Martin cope with the kids, the excuses are being trotted out left right and centre. Martin tells her she'll be fine, "just go" (yes, please, for all our sakes).
At Roy's Rolls, himself and herself (R & H) are serving - enter Madame Audreh looking for Gail (who isn't there because she's only just finished the previous scene, elsewhere :)). Audreh is the one to break the news to Roy that she is going to have to let him down on his grand opening on account of her royal duties as "Mother at Son's Wedding" - oh and by the way, Gail ain't gonna be around the café either, because she will be 3000 miles away from home, as well. The tickets have been bought and paid for - they are going tonight - she is full of excitement, Roy is facing a predicament, how to open the shop when he is going to be short-staffed. "Let's face it", she continues, "on the scale of significant events a brother's wedding in Canada far outweighs the debut of a greasy spoon." She offers Nick's services to help out - Hayley, bless her heart, looks at the positives, she will help out too and with Toyah, that makes four. Poor Roy has that look of defeat on his face, you know, the one that accompanies a fait accompli. Background music provided on the jukebox by the Hollies "The Air that I Breathe" (must say the choice of music has improved immensely in recent weeks).
Over at Battersby Battlements, conflicts reigns supreme, as normal. Les is full of indignation, because the Lecky has been cut off - nothing is ever his fault, is it? Janice is sitting down bored out of her skull and looking like a candidate ripe for spousicide. He is whinging about life without Lecky, in permanent candlelight. If he doesn't bring in some money soon, that's going to be his fate, Janice tells him. he is concerned about having a bath - if he doesn't get one soon, he will need fumigating, he tells her, he wonders whether Leanne will let him have a bath at her place. Janice isn't having any of this - her pride means she doesn't want anyone else to know about their predicament, she certainly doesn't want "them snotty Platts finding out." She suggest he goes down to the public toilets - his protestations that this is what a dossers do, invites the predictable response from Janice that he isn't much better than one. Ouch!!!
Toyah comes down the stairs - she wants to know when the power is going to be switched back on. "Nothing to do with me, ask him" says Janice passing the buck. Les gets all huffy again, he is doing his best. "Well do more, faster" urges Janice, totally exasperated. "No chance today then?" asks Toyah, "well, great!!" and SHE goes off in a huff, slamming the door behind her.
Over at the Kabin, it's Leanne's turn to have her nose pushed out - she has come in, to see Sharon behind the counter, not that she knows who Sharon is. "Who are you?" is her predictable question. She fences around all embarrassed, what are doing behind there?" Sharon tells her she is helping Rita run the place. "Since when is this, then?" continues the interrogation - since she came back to live with her, is the reply. As Sharon starts to explain that she is Rita's foster daughter, the penny drops.. "oh, you must be Leanne".
Back at Roy's Rolls, Gail rushes through the door, apologising for being late. She has a good reason - Roy beats her to the punch - he knows about her trip to Canada and has already worked out a rota to cover her. "Your mother kindly popped in, brought me up to speed as they say, from nought to sixty.... In about two seconds!" LOL!! Gail is embarrassed, she wanted to asks him, not tell him. Roy seems to understand, it's not every day you get invited to Canada, is it. she is pleased he is so understanding - he looks forward to her coming back, it won't be the same at the new café until his first mate is one board. Gail is touched by the compliment and telling him she is going to enjoy working her last day at Roy's Rolls, she throws her arms around Roy and hugs him.
Leanne has got back home and is having a moan at Nick, telling him how fed up she is because "she has gone and nicked my job." Nick tells her not to jump to conclusions, he suggests that she talks to Rita.
Knock on the door. Yoohoo!! It's Audreh, fantastic news for Nick on the job front, she tells him. He looks even more bewildered than normal, so she explains that he cannot afford to scoff at the chance of two weeks steady income, standing in for his mum. Not to worry, she says, he doesn't have to wear one of her pinnies, he can fetch one of this one. With that, she departs as quickly as she arrived, leaving Nick to puzzle over what to do about College, next week was supposed to be a "reading week" - Leanne tells him that it's now for earning, especially with her job under threat.
At Nita Desai's Emporium, we are treated to the sight of Sleazeball Steve - hmm, treated is the wrong word here. He is looking for Vikram, only to be told by Nita that young Vic is somewhere between "here and the Cash and Carry." He is looking for Vic to cast his professional eye over his accounts - can he leave his carrier bag containing the accounts with her, he asks (question, I always thought it was mandatory for accounts to be submitted in a shoe box to accountants)? "Fine, if you really want his worthless opinion" retorts Nita, spilling the beans on how, yes Vikram DID spend three years at college, but only he graduated in having a good time. Steve recognises the words of a fellow wide-boy, expert at gilding the lily.
At the Kabin, Fred is being told by Audreh that she is departing for Canada tonight, much to his surprise and, no doubt, disappointment. He offers to help in any way, much to Audreh's relief, he'll keep an eye on the Salon, "while the cat's away, that Maxine will not be allowed to play", he assures her. Will he see her in the Rovers before she goes, he asks? I daresay, I'll need a couple before the flight" replies Audreh, then going on to say how she will need more than that at the other end. She will be meeting Malcolm again - Stephen's adopted father - "now there's a man who can pour maple syrup on a pancake" she drools, on her way out of the shop, leaving RFred speechless and open-mouthed, for once. Poor Fred!!!
The phone is ringing at the Rovers - Natalie answers it. "It's me - Ian" says the voice at the other end. A smile comes over Nat's face. He is asking if she wants to go out tonight - "pick me up at eight" replies Natalie, as the camera switches to a call-box. Ian is telling her that's a bit awkward he's got a business meeting in town - why don't they meet, same as last time, he suggests. Both look pleased at they put their phones down.
Natalie explains to Betty, who is passing thorough with food, that she has agreed to go out with Ian and wonders whether she is rushing things. "No, go on, enjoy yourself" is Betty's reply.
Back at Roy's Rolls, two customers have come in - it's Gary and Steve. They order food and drinks - Roy sorts the food and Hayley sees to the drinks. Gary tells Roy that he is getting the skirting board for him and once, that's done, they are practically finished. Roy looks delighted and says he will have to pop round. "Mind you, it wasn't easy getting the paint colour you wanted" adds Steve, nudging Gary's foot under the table. They managed to get the last two tins, he explains. Roy looks concerned, the colour hasn't been discontinued, surely? "Well, 'Playboy Pink's isn't exactly a popular colour" continues Steve. Gary agrees, "well, not in silk finish, anyway." Roy's ears start flapping like massive antennae, as he homes in on something very obviously wrong. But not to worry, quip the two tradesmen, they had enough to put a couple of coats on the wall. "You painted the walls pink?" asks Roy incredulously. You haven't changed your mind, asks Steve. The smile appearing on Toyah's face gives the game away - this is a wind-up, not that Roy can see it. He replies, insistently, that he wanted the walls painting matt finish, County Cream. "County Cream?" asks Steve. Roy repeats that was the colour he wanted, trying to rope in Hayley for support - Hayley adds that she would be very surprised if Roy had chosen pink. Roy is getting more and more agitated and repeats what he wanted. "Well, I don't know what to say" says Steve "the only thing we can say is.... we're winding you up, Roy." Gary falls about laughing, as does Toyah as she brings over their food, "You're rotten, you lot.... Look at his face!"
... and the theme tune comes in, on cue for the end of part 1
After the ads, it's part 2
The second part of the programme commences back at the Rovers. Ken is getting a drink in for Deirdre - he proposes a toast to absent mothers. "I'll drink to 'so far, so good'" clinks Deirdre. She cannot believe that her mother would be so devious, leaving in the manner in which she did and using Emily to make her getaway. They talk about Blanche's ruse with the Valentine's Cards - Deirdre recalls that when she was younger, her mother used to get up to those tricks sending Valentine's Cards to boys, because "I was too shy for my own good." Ken tells her not to get in a bad mood, why don't they celebrate Deirdre's freedom, by going out somewhere. Deirdre falls for the spiel, hook line and sinker.
Fred is despondently propping up the bar, talking to Betty. She is envious of Audreh's trip to Canada, wishing someone would pay for her to go. Turning to the subject of Malcolm, it's obvious, now that Alf is no longer around, that Malcolm is still a valid competitor for Audrey's affections. What's he got that I haven't, asks Fred. Betty explains that those two always did see eye to eye, "that he wanted to marry her". Betty explains how Alf had to throw out Malcolm, and that he might have lost Audrey to him, but now he is out of the picture..... Fred stares into space, deep in thought.
"I've got you a large one" pronounces Vikram, referring to the drink he has just got for Maxine. "And in return I shall give you a large bit of advice" is her reply, "Stay away from Steve McDonald!" She then goes on to put the knife in, "he's trouble and anyone around here will tell you that." When he asks what Steve has done, Maxine is slightly incredulous, "do you want a list? He was in prison for dealing in stolen goods, he married women for their money and he tried to kill his own father. " (I'm tempted to say "Not a bad list for starters, but apart from that, is he is a nice guy?" ..but I won't!! LOL!!)
Audrey is explaining to Alma why she is rushing around like a scolded cat, that she is off to Canada today. "Well, actually he is getting married...." Alma's jaw drops momentarily, as she mentally recalls her feelings of love for Steve and you feel for her - you feel the pangs that come when you see a loved one with somebody new. She puts a brave face on it and asks to whom. Audrey doesn't know any more apart from the fact that she is very nice, according to Nick. Alma gallantly asks for her very best wishes to be passed on. After Audrey has moved on, we see Alma filling up and quickly leaving the pub..... sigh... been there, done that.... :(
Audrey taps Fred for a drink at the bar. He has been visibly cheered up by her presence.... ain't love grand.... He would be glad to offer her and Gail a lift to the airport if she wants to save on a taxi. Martin was going to do that, she replies...but, of course, he is looking after the children... yes, she would be delighted, if it's not too much trouble. "Nowt for you is too much trouble, Audrey", speaks Love.... Audrey flutters her eyelashes, "you great soft thingie...."
Toyah has gone round to see Leanne to tell her what is going on at home, but, first of all, she swears Leanne to secrecy, she is not to tell anyone and that includes Nick. She explains how the electricity has been cut off for three days. "Oh flaming hell" exclaims Leanne. "More like hell frozen over" is Toyah's classic retort, explaining how she is even going to bed in her coat (the youngsters of today, they don't know what rough is... when I were a lad, I lived at t'bottom of t'pond..... ooops, sorry... gets out of Monty Python mode). They have a good moan as to how useless their parents are - Toyah is fed up of them constantly blaming each other, she has a massive amount of coursework due in soon and she is trying to read by candlelight (luxury!! We'd have killed for a candle! ...and we did!! ..... ooops, sorry, there I go again!). Toyah is understandably concerned that if the electricity isn't paid, then what else isn't.... the rent? She is worried about them being thrown out. Leanne offers, somewhat hopefully, "even they wouldn't be that stupid?" "Wouldn't they?" is Toyah's disbelieving, but more realistic, reply.
At the Kabin, Sharon is cheered up by the arrival of her fiancé, Ian. "You look happy" he comments, "She is now!" replies Rita. Sharon tells him that this old church they were looking has had a cancellation in March, just in time for their wedding. He looks a bit put out, he thought everything was sorted for Nottingham? She cannot see a problem, it can always be cancelled, it's only a Registry Office do. He throws another objection her way... it's going to take a lot of organising. The camera momentarily switches to Rita and the look on her face tells you she has realised that something is not quite right. Sharon is oblivious to all of this and tells Ian that he isn't to worry, she will take care of everything, all he has to do is see the church with her tonight. He can't tonight, he tells her, he has a business dinner, but tomorrow will be fine.... Anyway, he has to pop off right now, he is in a rush...... Rita is still thinking... fellas don't like change, she comments. He'll come round, replies Sharon.
As she does so, in flounces Leanne in an aggressive mood. Rita asks her about her holiday, she wants to hear all about it. Leanne brusquely replies that she wants to hear about what has happened to her job. Nothing has happened to her job, Rita explains... Sharon is here as well now (camera cuts to Sharon keeping a low profile, diving into a paper), but they are going to be working longer hours in the future, because of the competition from across the road, plus, she (Rita) is going to be having a little break herself, she is going to stay with Mavis for a while. Leanne cheers up at this news, "so you're going to need me to manage?" Rita bursts her bubble, actually no - Sharon will be in charge. One deflated Leanne. "Oh cheers, Rita, that makes me really happy" she replies sarcastically, as she storms out. "What was I saying about change?" is Rita's puzzled response. The look on Sharon's face tells you that there is a bumpy ride ahead.. and she knows it.
We are at Roy's Rolls. Present are Roy, Hayley, Gail, Alma and Audrey. Roy is opening a bottle of champagne. Audrey is whittering on about the subject closest to her heart, "frock shopping opportunities." She wants to make sure she looks the part at her son's wedding - she cannot wear what she wore to Natalie's and Des' wedding, after all, look what happened to them? The champagne cork pops!!! Alma turns the topic back to the real reason they are all there - the end of an era, the closure of Roy's Rolls in its current premises. Nostalgically, she recalls she has had some fantastic times in the old place - in recognition of this, Roy offers her the first drink to be poured. Alma says Roy has to make a speech. Audrey goes into Cilla Black mode "I think we ought to toast a lorra lorra lorry drivers." (For those not in the know, Cilla was a 60s pop singer, part of Brian Epstein's NEMS empire, which included the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas and many others, especially from Merseyside. Cilla is now one of the highest earning entertainers in the UK, hosting a number of successful shows on British television, including "Blind Date" and "Surprise Surprise". She tends to ham up her Liverpudlian accent and "lorra lorra" is one of her catchphrases - <anorak mode off>). A nice touch there, which raises a laugh from all concerned. With all glasses charged, Roy proposes a toast "to good times past and even better times to come." I'll say amen to that, mate! Cheers!!
Back at a candlelit Battersby Battlements, Les is all dolled up for another night's work DJing - dress shirt, after-shave. When Janice complains about the stink of "that stuff", he tells her that he's only wearing it to cover up the other stink. He might as well stink, she retorts, dejectedly, their life does. He tells her he is off to the Flying Horse to earn her some money, but all she can do is warn him not to drink it all. Toyah pops her head around the door to tell them she is staying at Leanne's - when Janice replies that she hopes Toyah hasn't told them the electricity has been cut off, Toyah says that the excuse she used was that there was too much noise from them arguing for her to be able work - "you don't mind people knowing that, do you?" Les has hit dickie bow tie on and his jacket. He combs his hair and kisses Janice on the head on his way out. Janice despondently comments about the exciting evening in store for her. Yep Janice, as they say "life's a bitch.. and then you die."
The two wide-boys of Weatherfield, Steve and Vikram, meet up in the street. "Maxine's been putting me right about you" offers Vikram, "your wicked past, marrying girls for their money, getting sent down." Steve has his card to play "it's very funny this, because your sister's been telling me what a joke accountant you are" Touché!! "Who needs bad mouth women?" is the conclusion as the partners in crime go off for a drink together.
Gail is about to leave and is saying her goodbyes to Sarah Louise and David. She gets them to promise to behave for their dad while she is away. She hugs David, but, as with all young lads, he seems embarrassed at this - besides which, the programme starts on TV shortly.
As Martin is packing the car, he asks Audrey whether she managed to talk to Social Services about looking into Weatherfield Vale - guess what? She hasn't? You're right!! How on earth did you guess that? She hasn't had time, is her reply - Martin doesn't look too surprised, nothing new there, after all. She promises to do something as soon as she comes back, but Martin's weary reaction tells you what we all think - it simply ain't gonna happen.
It's Fred's turn to collar Audrey. He understands that she is going to have a wonderful time while over in Canada, but he hopes that, "for those who care a lot for you over here, we hope you won't be too sad when the time comes for you to come back." Audrey is touched by this heartfelt expression of emotion from Fred and kisses him on the cheek. We see love written all over his face..... sigh...
Martin and Gail are saying their goodbyes too. She tells him she loves him and they kiss, as we see the youngsters in a wonderfully accurate portrayal of a "soppy" scene - they giggle, David makes gagging gestures as if he is going to force himself to be sick, Sarah Louise looks away....
It's now time to go. Fred gets in the driver's seat, while Audrey gets in the front and Gail into the back passenger seat. Martin and the kids outside, wave them off and the car moves off.
Natalie and Ian are at the restaurant, about to order their food. He suggests they order each others puddings. "Madam will have the... erm... sticky toffee pudding... " "Do I have to?" is her surprised reaction. Very quickly, she gets into the stride of things "and sir... will have the raspberry sorbet, please..." "and then, of course, we'll swap over" quips Ian, delivering the punchline. So, of course, they have both ordered what they really wanted.
She seizes the opportunity to tell him what she really wants - that is, to know more about him, where he has come from. She cannot suss him out by meeting his friends, so she needs him to fill in the blanks. So he can start by telling her "when was the last time, you were in lurv?..." When he expresses surprise that she wastes no time beating about the bush, she tells him "I'm 41. My beating about days are done." His reply is humorous but evasive. She picks up on this and asks him outright "Are you married, Ian? Simple question. Yes or no?" This directness seems to catch him on the hop a bit - he tells her he isn't, but she has sensed that he isn't telling her everything - a pause, deep breath, "I was going to tell you, but.. I'm engaged...." He tries to continue, but Natalie stops the verbal flow - she tells him she knew there was somebody else, she just knew it.
Les has come back home, singling, obviously worse for wear. He is greeted by Janice, who is still up, waiting for him, or rather, his wages - all of them. He is full of himself, how well the evening well, what a star turn he was. "DJ Les B - they loved me. It was like being right back there in the Golden Age of Glitter" he enthuses. "Well, lucky old you, Les" sneers Janice, "I'm still stuck here in the Dark Ages." He hands over his money, but immediately starts making excuses, he had expenses, a business takes time taking off. Janice starts counting the money "Is this it? flaming eight quid for a so-called night's work?" While he protests that it was more than he set off with, after all it was three pounds more than last time, Janice accuses him of boozing it all away. He tells her that he only had a few pints, you need that to get in the mood, but this only serves to get Janice more annoyed - no heating, no lighting, their Toyah's walked out and he is still spending their precious money on drink. She is furious and tells him that she is having a hard time coping with the worry of it all. "Well, I'm panicking now because we are on the slippery slope to the scrap heap." With that, she rushes upstairs, leaving a worried looking Les downstairs.
At the restaurant, Ian is still trying to worm his way out of his predicament. He tells her that he knew his engagement was a sham as soon as he met her, he just didn't want to drag her through the mess of it all. He tells her that there is no way he is going to go through the marriage now. Natalie has heard it all before, "yeah, I think I'm gonna get a cab home" she tells him. She gets up to leave but he quickly tells her to wait - he doesn't want to lose her, he needs a bit more time. Natalie tells him that the last time she was in love, her husband was murdered, "November I lost him". Ian is shell-shocked when he hears this, he had no idea. She tells him she was in hell and she is not going to revisit that scene - so if he has any feelings for her, he has to tell his fiancée and tell her what's what and to straighten his life out, "otherwise just leave me alone." With that, she puts her handbag over her shoulder and walks out, leaving Ian behind, looking gobsmacked......
.....and with that.... it is the cue for music and credits ...
Episode written by Maureen Chadwick
All material is, and remains, copyright property of Granada Television.
Well, how was it for me? Although not exceptional, quite an enjoyable episode with some good moments.
Humour was handled well in a number of situations, especially the gentle leg-pulling by Steve and Gary at Roy's expense (although I cannot help thinking that humour and Steve aren't natural bedfellows in the normal scheme of things - thinks? Is this a new turn for Steve's personality in store to get him away from the "bad boy" image?) and the Platt youngsters reaction to parental soppiness. Both situations were realistically and extremely well portrayed.
Les and Janice continue to play the Stan and Hilda roles - him the wastrel, her the hard-working downtrodden grafter. He forever lives, head in the clouds, hoping for that "lucky break", but never quite getting there.
Good to see Toyah coming on and maturing, both as an actress and as a character. She's pretty well focused, as are a lot of girls of her age and her delivery of one-liners continues to delight.. as does Janice's delivery, as well...
The two wide-boys of the Street look like forming an alliance as partners in some sort of crime - the experienced Steve and the new kid on the block, Vikram. The latter character does offer some potential - the combination of intelligence, laziness and not minding cutting corners, could and should lead to some scam/criminal storylines.
Ken seems to be playing a long game trying to woo Deirdre back, such a long game that she cannot see it right now what it is.
The end of an era for Roy's Rolls - after some 20 years in various guises, the place is due to move. It's been an alternative meeting place to the Rovers and, no doubt, in its new form, will continue to offer possibilities.
Meanwhile, back at the Kabin, we are about to see the conflict developing between Sharon and Leanne - both are feisty gals and we should see sparks here in the future.
Finally on the subject of love relationships and emotions, these were well handled in three situations. Firstly, Alma's wistful reaction when a former love is about to be married - when this happens, your heart hurts and even misses a beat or two and Alma portrayed this extremely well, no words, but the looks and emotions were all there.
We turn to Fred and Audrey. We all know Fred is carrying a torch for Audrey - he has been besotted with her for a while. It's always a great joy to see the other side of the clown - the sensitive side - the tragic hunger for love, understated but felt passionately nevertheless, by Fred. He may be loud, brash and bombastic, but underneath is a gentle pussycat looking for love and affection. As is typical in these situations, he dare not be too open, all he can do is hint. Again typically, the object of his affections is oblivious... sigh... been there... done that... wonderful stuff and both John Savident and Sue Nicholls play their well-written lines very well indeed.
Finally to Natalie. She is a character who has been the object of a lot of hate - the cold, callous marriage wrecker. In truth, she is a very sensitive (and sensual) character, beneath the hard front, insecure and looking for warmth and love. She has also realised that the "love and marriage is forever" bit can be a fallacy - she has had a failed marriage behind her and the premature end of another. She is intent on grasping the moment, but equally, recognises that time is too short for relationships to come with baggage that will cause grief. No doubt her bedding of Des Barnes' brother and her affair with Kevin Webster have cast her in a certain light, as far as viewers are concerned, but I see something else beneath the veneer and find her one of the most interesting and complex characters to have hit the Street in a while. Great character, great actress, the part well scripted - a sheer joy to watch. As landlady of the Rovers, she occupies a pivotal role in the programme and, no doubt, the relationship with Ian and the impact on others, such as Sharon and Rita, will provide the basis for some great telly over the months ahead.
So, overall, no major scandals and disasters, but, hopefully, those days are gone - what we have is bits of ordinary, everyday life, well observed, well written and well portrayed...
Anyway that's it for now.. Until the next time, take care... Tubby greetings and Tinkyluv from the Tinkster in Glorious Glossop....
One down...... one to go, as they say.
Oddly enough this is my second update in as many days! This one, however, is entirely a solo effort as my co-writer, the Rattler, went home yesterday.....:(( Still, the weekend was nice. Food was had, alcohol consumed and good company enjoyed.!
So here I am in the Frozen North. Now I know that the Canadians amongst the readership have FAR worse winters than we do, but I can assure you that the consistant blizzards which have struck Scotland have really been hard. It's far from enjoyable to have to drive through, and considering I do field support, my job has been stressful of late. That and a very petty-minded need for "perfect" paperwork. Like Alan, I, too, have been thinking of a bit of a change, job-wise.
On the plus side, my phone bill came today and is considerably smaller than the last one, but bearing in mind the AMOUNT of my last bill, it's still a bit scary!!
(This is dreadfully tedious, sorry!)
The venerable CP Turner was to have taken this update originally, deputising for John Laird, but he was otherwise engaged........ however, I feel his presence uncannily and hope it won't affect my update!
ONWARD, then........ to the Update!!!!
For the SECOND Sunday in a row, we are greeted with a hung over, be-vested Les Battersby coming downstairs at Chateau Batteau. Yes folks, it's more of the same. He's come home after doing the Tony Blackburn thang with only eight quid! Janice once more berates him for being a shiftless, lazy, unemployed lout, and for drinking away any payment he might have recieved from the Flying Horse. The Warrior Princess turns the volume up (you just KNOW that Janice goes up to eleven, don't you!) and makes Les' head feel worse. He feels that a cuppa would sort him out, and asks her to put the kettle on. Janice snorts and proceeds to mock the notion of running a kettle with no 'leccy. Not only that, but the final reminder for the gas has arrived. Les assures her that he has a plan to sort out the electricity problem, but refuses to tell Janice exactly WHAT that is!
Sharon is busy in the Kabin putting bread on the shelves for the first time when Ken comes in to get the right newspaper after finding the wrong one pushed through his door, and spots the bread and milk. The Blonde One tells Kenneth that it's all because The Rock of Nita is being unreasonable, and in the absence of Big Red, she is determined to sort her out......by playing her at her own game. Ken sees a war on the horizon and, heroic to the last, beats a hasty retreat, just as Leanne comes in. She pauses and is surprised to see the stock already reshuffled to make way for the new products. She is also more than a tad miffed that Sharon started it all before she arrived. Blondie tells her that she started early because she was THERE early, and goes on to try and clear the air between her and Leanne. She tells her that she's almost family to Rita and she won't be staying forever, so can they not just get along? Leanne looks unimpressed and is even more so when Sharon then asks her to do an extra shift later on to cover for the Kabin's longer opening hours. "Weekend's the only chance I get to spend time with Nick". For some, this would, of course, be the perfect reason for never going home at all!
At last the assembled millions get their first glimpse of the tres chic Roys Rolls II, and Lady Hayley is busy dusting while Sir Royston attempts to hang a nice painting of a train over the fireplace. Roy seems a trifle distracted as Hayley comments on how much dust still lingers from the building work. Still holding the picture, Roy's thinking about all the unexpected little extras he'll need to buy for the premises..... things he hasn't even thought of. With a bit of to-ing and fro-ing they get the picture centred and Roy prepares to hammer the nail in. Just then Toyah enters to lend a hand, to Hayley's delight. She passes Roy the hammer on his request and Roy taps the nail........and misses, hitting his thumb instead! Hayley has decided upon the first "unexpected purchase".... a First Aid Kit!!
Weatherfield Vale is in a bit of a tizz. Mark, the full-time Care Assistant, (and part-time roadie for the Happy Mondays... Yeh, man!) tells Martin that the social services inspector has arrived unexpectedly with an assessor to view the rest home, and Mr Lickley ain't a happy man! Martin, however, can barely conceal his delight!
Yes, the action once more shifts to the Battie's house.....and Les has appeared with what appears to be a very long mains extension cable. It seems that he has a plan to plug into someone else's supply. Sadly he can't use the streetlamps because they are on the other side of the Street, which is a shame really, because a goodly amount of the viewing public would delight in seeing Les Battersby get a three-phase mains jolt up his..... vest. No, he's going to try and climb through Curly's skylight and plug into Jackie's sockets..........(CP ??? Where art thou ?) Janice however, has had enough of this rubbish and gets her coat. "I thought you'd hold the ladder for me!", says Les..... The Warrior Princess snorts "You know what thought did? Followed a muck truck and thought it were a wedding!". <sigh> Sounds like her life to me! Scrape him off, Janice!
Down the road, at the Corner Shop, Vacuous Vapid Vain Void Vacant and Vile Vikram (TM) is moaning to the Stony One about her pointless plans to keep the shop open longers hours, and he has no intention of staying longer waiting for customers that won't come. Nita is sure that business will pick up once the area gets to know about the longer hours. Maxine appears at this moment, glad to find the shop open, along with Vikram's gob. He drools over the nylon-clad one and persuades her into a date, of sorts, at the Rovers, later on. Drip drip drip, fawn fawn fawn.... you know the score. Once she leaves with her hefty purchase of one half of milk, VVVVVV-Vikram tells Nita that the Kabin is now selling milk and bread. Nita realises that she has started a war. (Remember the Inch War...... Slimcia bread???..... this war of the shops clearly has the same potential for riveting dialogue)
Janice has walked far....... over to Leanne's. She tries to borrow some money to clear her bills from Leanne and Plank II, who lollops down the stairs (Hullo clouds, Hullo sky!), but Nick just makes a string of inplausable and silly excuses for not lending her the money. Janice is clearly disappointed, but puts on a cheery face and leaves. (Janice?!? Sic him! He's a Yorkshire Terrier!) Leanne turns on Nikkipoo and loudly has a go at him for lying about the money, but he really doesn't give a damn. All he sees is the money pit known as Les Battersby, and there is no way he is going to lend them the cash. On this he is a Rock! (Pebbles, surely. Flintstones, 1964?)
Meeeeeeeeeeeanwhiiiiiile.... back at the rest home, the inspectors are leaving, and are not happy with the conditions in the establishment. Fuming, Gerald Lickley sees Martin grinning and summons him to the manager's office. Not for tea and cakes I expect.
END OF PART ONE
Mr Lickley and Martin go at it hammer and tongs. (CP !! Help !) Gerald clearly thinks that Martin is not only responsible for speaking to a Councillor about the home, but also for the appearance of the Men In Black (Yeh, Uh-huh...Yeh! One Time!), but Martin angrily tells him that the inspection is as big a mystery to him as it is to the irate little manager. Lickley is turning crimson and fires Platty on the spot. Martin, similarly riled, is glad to be shot of the place.
One can, at this point, imagine some poor slater or aerial installer standing on a rooftop screaming, because from SOMEWHERE....... Les has obtained a long ladder!!! He nips up the steps onto the roof of No. 9. Jackie Gobbs, however, has seen this out her bedroom window and comes down for a closer look at this farce. The skilful use of an overhead crane reveals Monsieur Batteau atop the roof, crawling towards the skylight, but Jackie calls to him, wanted to know what he's doing. Les waffles some incredible tripe about mending the slates, but Jackie isn't daft when it come to criminal activity. She knows full well he's up to something and, spotting the mains lead, she knows exactly what he's up to and orders him down. "It's easier in a block of flats, luv" she blares. Still smarting from the Buddy Holly business, but freezing, Les asks if he can come in for a heat, but she brushes him off like the flea he is! (Well, fleas do seem unusually attracted to dogs).
Over at'Rovers, Deirdre orders some of Betty's finest sandwiches and goes over to sit with Ken. Betty and Natalie talk about the flowers Ian sent to her after their date. Ken and Deirdre meanwhile are chatting about Tracy and Daniel, and Ken moans about how awful his visit to his son's fourth birthday up in Scotland was. Daniel now calls Denise's boyfriend Daddy, and Ken can't stand to look at Denise these days. He regrets the whole business, as Deirdre does with the Jon Lindsay fiasco. They both seem to have made some terrible mistakes in their respective love lives. But they do agree that what the two of them used to have with each other, was not a a mistake. (and somewhere, we hear the cackle of a Blanche whose plan is working......)
Sharon is still tanking through the lollipops over at the Kabin when Nita pops in for a friendly chat. The Blonde Ambition goes on her guard as the Stony One mocks the bread and milk being stocked by the Kabin, which, funnily enough, hasn't been that busy in it's late hours. Sharon points out that the Corner Shop can't be so busy if she has the time to close the shop and nip over the road for a slanging match. Nita attempts to say that Vikram is covering for her, but Blondie already saw him drive off earlier. Nita, whose bluff is called, witters on about being too busy to chat and makes to leave, but the Blond One tells her that from now on she and Rita won't be using the Corner Shop as long as they sell newspapers. Nita is not the least bothered about losing only two customers, until Sharon reminds her that Rita is a very popular lady in those parts.....oooooh arrrrr.
Martin turns up early to pick David and Sarah-Louise from Sally's because he's been fired (as you do). He seems relieved to be out of the place and is only glad that Gail is over in Canada!
Evening arrives, and Janice comes home to a candlelit house and a depressed Les and proceeds to lay on the sarcasm par excellence. She thought Les was going to get the 'leccy on! "My extension wasn't long enough!", he says......."No comment!" says the Warrior Princess. Once again he's let her down, even at doing what he does best, being a crim. Janice produces two large tins of beans and tells him that this is the way they have to live now, since there no money for anything. ( I do hope the Magic Tree is working in that house....)
Back to the Kabin (Keep up, mate, that's the spirit!!), Ian (Greg Kelly 2) has arrived to meet Sharon, who is delighted, but says she has to stay late due to the new opening hours. She suggests waiting for her in the Rovers. Ian doesn't like THAT idea, obviously.
Over the road now folks...come on...pick those feet up.....over to the Rovers again. Oh no.... fluff alert. Vacuous Vapid Vain Void Vacant and Vile Vikram (TM) is meeting Maxine for their "date". When I see Vikram try to act convincingly, I am reminded of an old record by "Department S". One can almost imagine Maxine tapping his forehead and saying "Is Vik There??" (groan). The poor sap goes on to prove that there clearly isn't by wittering on to her about how he hates shopkeeping and would rather be wheeling and dealing. Speak of the devil! Googly Eyes McDonald appears with some box files for Vik to look over in his capacity as "Failed Accountancy Student". Unable to stomach the company of Maxine, and who can blame him, he disappears off into the night, to some nice, quiet soil, and hopefully, a headstone. Ian enters and Natalie thanks him for the flowers, but insists that he tells his fiance, whoever she is, that it's over, because he's only going to hurt her in the end..... (YUP).
It's now quite late over at Roy's Rolls II and Toyah gets ready to leave after working so hard to get the cafe ready for the grand opening the next day. She really wants everything to go well for Roy and Hayley......awwwwww. Roy lets her out and locks the door as Hayley polishes the last table. Sir Royston walks over to her and tells her the new sign will be arriving the next day. (Is that to replace the one we've already seen on the outside then, Roy? Decided AGAINST the apostrophe? Oh, right.... a script booboo!!!:)))))) He tells her that he'd been toying with the idea of changing the name of the cafe. Lady H is surprised, she hadn't been expecting that. Turns out he's been thinking of calling it "Hayley's Pantry". Hayley is deeply moved at this!
Roy: I thought it would be a good way of saying thank you. Hayley: Oh! No Need! Roy: No, but then I realised that changing the name would be a blunder. Hayley: Oh....... (disappointed)
He realised that his old customers would be walking down Rosamund Street looking for the old name. Hayley reluctantly agrees. Sir Royston then suggests that they've done enough for the night and they should go upstairs, where he has put a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge. Hayley beams and tells him to go upstairs, unscrew the bottle and she'll nip up in a minute. As he goes, Hayley grabs her cleaning stuff and puts it out of the way. She takes an excited look around the new cafe and makes for the door to the upstairs flat. As she does so, she scrapes her ankle, and tears her tights, on a nail, jutting right out of the skirting board. Irritated, she crosses to the counter, picks up a claw hammer and pulls the nail out. After replacing the hammer on the countertop, she walks back to the door, switches off the light and goes upstairs. Behind her, however, a leak of water has appeared from the hole the nail came out of, which gets stronger and stronger until it starts to gush out all over the cafe!
END OF EPISODE
Written By John Stevenson
Wellies off, anorak on the radiator.... how was that?
Well, as most of us have been saying this endless repetition with the Battersby's electricity situation has already worn too thin. Nuff said.
Vikram and Maxine? PU-LEEZE!
The Ken and Deirdre thing is being nicely paces, with initial hesitancy to genuine warmth tonight. It would be a great shame if the writers drove another wedge in between this two. Oh, and get well soon, Maggie Jones!!!!
The War of the Shops....... silly.....just silly.......Fisher Price could do better.. "My shop better then your shop!" I do hope that this gets sorted soon.
And great to see the demise of the Weatherfield Vale story.
The Royal Couple? Well....... great, as ever. Very nice that cafe, wooden blinds and a fireplace!!:))
So that's your lot from me folks. Normal service from John Laird will be resumed next Sunday. It's been lovely to write for you all, and so long as you can bear my dreadful prose, I might do it again one day. See you all later.
Well, it's Monday again which means yet another of my Updates (and also marks something like the 200th time that I've used that introduction line). I hope you all enjoyed last week's joint effort, but unfortunately I'm back to flying solo on this one (fear not, tho, the mighty pen of Annie can be seen once more for this week's Sunday Update!)... I can't think of much else to say as a prologue, since this episode was neither outstanding nor terrible. Some very good scenes and excellent dialogue here and there saved it from sinking into the mire of some of the more dubious plotlines going on at the moment but it did tend to drag on a tad... Of course, I really should be saving all of this for the epilogue, so let's get straight into things, shall we? :)
The show opens dramatically where Sunday's left off. Roy's Rolls v2.0, what once was a swanky new cafe, is now completely flooded. There is a powerful spray of water coming from one of the corners and it's utterly soaked the place from top to bottom with no sign of stopping... The Royal Couple, Sir Royston of Cropper and Lady Hayley of Patterson, descend the stairs from their flat, unaware of the sight that awaits them but once they see the aquatic chaos going on below, panic sets in.
"TOWEL! QUICK! TOWEL!" cries a totally frantic Roy, as the two of them fumble about against the jettisons. Hayley eventually manages to find and throw him a towel, with which he attempts, in vain, to wipe his face with, as he yells instructions at her on how to turn off the water... Much screaming ensues between the two of them as they fight against the spurting but eventually Lady H manages to shut the thing off, as The Royal Couple pause to catch their breath... Whilst surveying the massive amount of damage, a phenomenally drenched Roy weeps breathlessly and cries out that the Cafe is ruined. "I'll kill that Steve MacDonald!" he yells, tearfully and angrily, "I will! I'll kill him!" - (A top rate bit of acting from David Neilson as we see Roy completely lose it (first time ever?) at the sight of all his hard work and career plans falling apart around him. Even Julie H looks on with a bit of astonishment at how damn good he is!)
We cut then to le Chateau Batteau where a re-run of every conversation we've seen between Les and Janice in the last week ensues (This is becoming increasingly tedious and doesn't seem to be going anywhere, unfortunately...). Les, dressed in bobble hat and parka looking none-too- dissimilar from a South Park character (where his vulgar sense of humour would no doubt fit right in!), comes down the stairs and complains about how cold it is in the house. "Those fat cats at the 'leccy board!" he rages, "What's a few quid to them? I'm workin' two jobs!" etc etc, referring of course to his sh*t-shovelling for Charlie West and his DJ Spot at the Flying Horse. Janice informs him, miserably, that it's no use since, even if they can get the electric reconnected since, they'll be evicted unless they pay the Council Tax bill they've recieved that morning!
Over at the Kabin, a nice little verbal cat-fight ensues between Sharon and Leanne, the tension rising between the two of them whilst Rita is not at hand to keep them cool. Leanne asks sarcastically if Sharon managed to get many customers for her hard overtime work the previous night and, unsurprisingly, not many people had showed up it seems. The Gurning Gaskell starts waffling on about how she reckons the Kabin could do with a license to sell booze (?!) while they're at it but thankfully Leanne brings her down to Earth, explaining that there's no room inside for bottles and cans... The conversation soon moves on to Nick when Sharon asks Lee to do some overtime...
Leanne: (Very snottily, head held high) "Yeah, Nick's modelling tonight, so I may as well earn a few quid for meself." Sharon: (Obviously trying to antagonise) "D'ya not mind him doing that?" Leanne: (Not biting the bait even one little bit, good on her!) "No... Why should I?" Sharon: (Musing) "I couldn't get me head round it, me..." Leanne: (Chirpily, smiling) "Well, we need the money! We're trying to make a go of things. Anyway, it's only a job." Sharon: (Still trying to wind her up) "I'd be dead jealous if it were my Ian..." [oh how little she knows!] Leanne: (Nose pointing firmly skywards... sing-song voice) "Would youuuuu? Hmm, never even crossed me mind!"
Chalk one up to the young Battersby! I can see the rivalry between these two amounting to something decent in the future. Hmm, now if only we can dump the abysmal Shop Wars storyline and let this relationship develop properly...
5V-Vikram enters the Corner Shop across the road and greets his mercilessly winking sister. He's late as usual, since he couldn't get the car started and was too hungover from a night's clubbing to be bothered walking... She chastises him, implicitly, for his lack of commitment then orders him to make some tea. Just then, Alma Baldwin walks in and buys a bouquet of flowers which she plans to deliver to "a friend of her's who's opening a cafe"... 5V-Vik offers to warp them (oops, genuine typo... I meant WRAP them) for her and, as he does so, boasts at what a great shop assistant he is. "I turn my hand to everything, I do" he smarms, vapidly, as I begin to realise that he only a step or two above The Rickett Creature in terms of acting skill and charisma.
Meanwhile, a furious (and still dripping wet) Roy knocks loudly on the door of the Malletts' household. Gary answers and the Cross Cropper demands to know where his employer Steve is, hollering that "The whole place is flooded! There's water everywhere!"... Gareh tries to calm him down and reassures him that everything'll be fine since he'll take care of both Steve and the Plumber that will need to be brought in. Roy storms off in a huff, gritting his teeth, as we cut to further down the Street to where Martin and Kevin are exchanging words. Nurse Florence explains how he's been sacked (again!) and how Gail's gone away to Canada, so he's mightily bored (as am I, by all of his recent plodding storylines)... He offers to pick up Rursie and Surphie from school but Kevin says that it's not needed since he'll be doing it himself, anxious to spend as much time with them as he can before the verdict of the Custody Case. It would appear he fears the worst and thinks that the gurrrrls will end up left at the Monastic Mercy of Brother Cadfael.
Over T'Road, Janice Battersby is running off to work (2 minutes late, apparently) and catches Mike Baldwin outside Underworld. He scolds her for her bad timekeeping ("See, it's two and a half minutes late now!") but nonetheless, she puts on a brave face and tells him that she has a favour to ask... "I need a sub", she pleads, "200 quid... 100?" but MVB laughs at her and exclaims "ON YER BIKE! I'm not the flamin' Bank of England!", leaving her to sulk on the cobbles...
Back in Roy's Reservoir, he and Hayley attempt to mop up whilst a shady skinhead (the plumber) fiddles with his tools (ooer!) in the background... Alma enters, bouquet in hand, and is horrified to see the destruction that the water has caused. She muses that she should have bought a condolences card, rather than a congratulatory one, as Roy continues to curse Steve MacDonald and his crew, deriding them as "cowboys". The plumber (who has a voice like Sean Wilson on 80 Malboros a day) objects to this and grunts that the place was fine when he left it and it seems that "some daft wazzock" (how do you spell 'wazzock' anyway??) has driven a nail right the way through the main water pipe... At this point, Lady H remembers that she had caught her tights on a stray nail the previous night and pulled it out. Instantly the plumber tries to shift the blame on her for removing it (as it seems to have been the only thing preventing the pipe from bursting) but Roy is quick to defend her, asking (in a tone of perfect outrage) "Who put the nail in the pipe in the first place??" - "It must be the idiot who put in the skirting board" claims the plumber and Roy assures him that if he ever finds out who this is, he'll make sure he "never works again" before musing that he never should've bought the new premises at all...
Lady H: "Oh, don't say that Roy. Worse things happen at sea!" Sir R: (Pouring salt from a shaker into the pools of water on the ground - A classic touch!!!) "I find that hard to believe. I would have said that things were very much the same!!!"
At this point, Gary Mallett enters to check that everything is going okay and is told that whoever fixed up the skirting board managed to shove a "ruddy great nail" through the water pipe... Gareh looks guilty as Hell and laughs nervously "Heh heh... They didn't did they? Heh heh"...
I'm horrified by the commercial break. Truly I am. I never thought I would see the day when the once-legendary Pillsbury Dough Boy is turned into a rapper (a really awful one, at that). But yes, horror of horrors, not only have they given him a proper nose now but they've made him *RAP* on the new adverts. "Decorate with icing straight from the pack", he enthuses rhythmically about some pastry product or other, "Then put 'em right back on the track, Jack"... The word "CRINGEWORTHY" has been redefined. Oh, how the mighty of fallen... Perhaps the only thing that could make the advert less tolerable is the inclusion of Adam Rickett... Anyway, enough of this silliness, back to the show!
We start the second installment with Leanne serving Janice in the Corner Shop and apologising profusely for not being able to help her out yesterday with the 'leccy bill. Janice assures her that it's alright but Lee plays the MilkWoman of Human Kindness and leaves an extra pint, offering to lend them the money they need to get straight, just as long as they pay her back in the future. "Oh aye!" beams Janice, "We'll have the money from both us jobs by end of t'week! And Les' disco money!" and Leanne agrees to give her £200 from her and Nicky's Building Society account on the condition that it is returned shortly and no one (not even Les or Nick) is to know about their little deal...
Outside, Alison runs into Kevin by the Garage, so he asks her if she's doing anything for lunch and if she wants to go with him for a meal... Obviously, she's overjoyed at the prospect and they agree to find a "little pub" to get some food from, before giggling and bouncing up and down with enthusiasm. In all fairness, despite Kev's many many flaws, these two do very often make a very sweet couple. Shame that Cadfael and The Gurrrls are, at present, still in the way of their love becoming a fully decent storyline...
Cadaver Boy pulls up his turbo-hearse outside the Salon and shares a remarkably inane conversation about 5V-Vikram with Maxine... Is it just me or is this whole Vikram/Maxine/Steve/Linda/Lorraine nonsense playing like an exceptionally appalling "Home & Away" plot? It's utterly abysmal and certainly the worst display of acting/storylining I've seen on the show so far in 1999. The dialogue between Max and Googly Eyes is predictably dull as dishwater, but thankfully it's cut off mercifully by Roy "Terminator" Cropper storming into the scene, heading towards the Pratmobile and screaming "OI!!!!!!!!! I WANNA TALK TO YOU!!! NOW!!!!!!!" in true Harry Enfield mode!!! Wow!!! Who'd have *EVER* thought we'd hear Roy say the word "OI!" even in jest let alone with such furor?? This is truly Sir R as we've never seen him before!
UNFORTUNATELY (yes, so unfortunate I used capital letters!), as Roy leans into Steve's car, the scene is cut short as the camera cuts abruptly across the road to where Brother Cadfael (Sickly Sally, if you've not been keeping up with her many derogatory nicknames) is emerging from the Monastery. Her and Sharon exchange words about how she's had a meeting today with her solicitor and how she fears that Kevin will end up winning the gurrrls if she's not careful! The Gurning Gaskell assures her that everything will go her way and they bid each other a fond farewell as Sickly apparently heads off to the warehouse to buy more stock for her market stall...
Back to the fun, Steve has now been taken into Roy's Reservoir where Sir R is swaggering about like a rabid Clint Eastwood and giving him a full- on Piece Of Mind (heavier than the Iron Maiden album of the same name, I should add!)... "I hope you're insured" he growls, "Because I'll be putting in a claim! Loss of income! Redecoration! Stress........ DISAPPOINTMENT!!" (LOL!) ... Cadaver Boy tells him to calm down and then has the gall to ask for a cup of tea! "He's got the cheek of the Devil!" gasps Roy, laughing with sheer disbelief, but Lady H, always the epitome of Grace Under Pressure, thinks that a cuppa would definately help defuse the whole situation... As she shuffles off to brew up, Googly Eyes assures Raging Roy that matters are firmly in hand and that a blow-heater is going to be round that afternoon to dry things out... He then turns to a nearby Gary and asks what exactly caused all this flooding and Gareh, looking suddenly very guilty, says he can't quite remember.
"I can!" hollers Roy, "Somebody put a nail through the pipe! The IDIOT that fixed the skirting board!!!" and the penny drops in Steve's head that it was indeed Gary who was responsible for this dastardly deed... "I'm really sorry about all this" mumbles the Cadaver Boy with a touch of malice in his voice, directed at his employee, "I'll have it fixed as soon as possible... And I'll leave Gary with you for the rest of the day. ANYTHING you want doing, he'll do it! No matter what it is, he won't mind, will you Gary?" ... Needless to say, the Mortified Mallett nods sheepishly...
Sadly, a truly hideous scene follows in which Janice rushes into the Corner Shop and asks to buy a loaf of sliced bread from Nita. When informed by the shocked Warrior Princess that The Kabin are charging 5p less for their loaves, Nita instantly lowers the price by a further 5p, now charging 45p!! I'm sorry, I'm having trouble updating this scene, it's so absurd. The mere idea of a) being able to buy a loaf of Sunblest Bread for 45p in a Corner Shop and b) the owner lowering prices on the fly like that is waaaay too hard to swallow for me. This is TOTAL TOSS and the sooner these 'Shop Wars' end, the better, as far as I'm concerned... Nil points. (One thing that makes this scene even worse is Vikram's continual pouting and preening for the camera! Puhleese!)
Out in the Street, Nurse Martin Florence Platt (on hand once more for a medical emergency) rushes out of the door to his car and encounters a nearby Emily Bishop... She asks what's wrong and why he's in such a hurry, so he explains that he's had a call from the school and Rursie Webster has fallen over and bust her head! Oh no! As it happens, they were unable to contact either Sickly or Kevin and poor little Rursie has been rushed to hospital all by herself! Luckily, they rang Martin and he's on his way right now to check that everything's okay.
Back at Roy's Reservoir, Toyah enters and is pretty horrified by the remainder of the floods. Hayley explains subtly that Roy is a little peeved about it, as Sir R himself continues to rant about the shoddy workmanship of whoever put the nail through the pipe... Gary Mallett, who is mopping away behind him, cringes as Roy shouts the inspired line: (re: Steve) "He pays them peanuts which is why he gets monkeys!!!" ... Toyah wonders when the place will be opening now but unfortunately Sir R doesn't have an answer, since he is too busy being apoplectic about the ruined state of the walls. On a more curious note, Hayley suddenly has to dash off somewhere and when asked her destination says "Never you mind!" excitedly. Hmm, one wonders where she could be heading and whether or not she has plans to save the Caff! Let's hope so! :)
Spooky Scene of the night ensues as Martin leads Rursie across the hosptial waiting room to the Chocolate Dispenser. She stares catatonically into space and I become instantly reminded of David Cronenberg's "The Brood". To their discredit, the hospital have not seen this film and have thus not checked to see whether or not she has a belly button (they'll regret it when she's tearing their faces off!), choosing instead to merely x-ray her head... As she gazes into the Choccie Machine with eyes of pure menace, Martin encounters one of his old nursing friends (the flirty Irish one! yay!) who tells him how understaffed the hospital is and how much they all miss his expert nursing skills on the ward... (Ut oh)... She flirts a little bit more with him, as usual, before telling him he should call in more often and leaving him at the mercy of The Brood, who refuses (with enough deadpan to make Frank Drebin look like Junior Simpson) to share her chocolate bar with him...
Over at Le Chateau Batteau, Toyah comes back home to find that the Electric Meter has being installed in the living room. A contented Janice explains how it works (it's one which runs on a chargeable card) and tests it out... Sure enough, on come the lights and everyone's happy again (probably because this dreary and agonisingly repetitious plotline has climaxed!).
Cadfael Webster is back from the knicker warehouse and is stopped in the Street by a very concerned Emily Bishop who fills her in (with an ominously fear-mongering tone to her voice!) about the Rursie Situation and how Martin had to go to the hospital, since Kevin was nowhere to be found. Needless to say, Cadfael is utterly aghast by the story and her shock turns to anger as she sees Kevin's van round the corner, with Alison in the passenger seat!!! The usual row ensues and, as poor poor poor Alison (who really needs a man like Ashley more than Kevin, methinks) sighs and heads back to work, Kevin and Cadfael race each other's vans down the Street, heading to Weatherfield General Hospital.
Toyah's bath was obviously quite quick as we cut back to Le Chateau Batteau and find her now sitting cheerily in the living room in a bathrobe, talking to Janice... Just then, Les, still in full-on South Park garb, whooping "EH UP! That's more like it!!!" at the realisation that the 'leccy is back on. He asks the Warrior Princess where she got the money from and she tells him falsely that Baldwin let her have another sub after all... Toyah manages to enliven this scene by sprinkling excellent one-liners regarding Les' odour throughout and raising the biggest laugh by slinking off into the kitchen, murmuring "I'm going to peel the spuds" in a brilliantly timed bit of deadpan. Regrettably, aside from Georgia Taylor's wonderful and rapidly improving comedy talents, the rest of the dialogue is painful and simply more of Les' "I'm going to be a DJ and make lots of money!" rubbish... Yawn.
Kevin and Cadfael have managed to reach the Hospital without crashing (DAMN!) and now charge down it's corridors, exchanging insults and accusations of irresponsibility which we've seen a billion times before. Finally they reach Martin in the waiting room and he tells them that everything's fine, although The Brood is being kept in overnight "for observation" (ha!). Although most normal parents would be relieved at this good news, Cadfael and Kevin pay little attention to the welfare of their daughter and continue to shout at each other with the Moronic Monk assuring the Manic Mechanic that she will definately be bringing this matter up in court... *snooze* Personally, I'm hoping neither of these painfully selfish and irresponsible idiots get control of the kids. I think they should be returned to their real parents who of course are Sam Eggart and Oliver Reed. ;)))
And on that note, Cue Credits!
So all in all, a half and half episode courtesy of the very able Phil Woods... A lot of it was taken up with the Roy's Rolls crisis which, I have to admit, was undoubtably the best thing in this episode. Quite frankly, David Neilson's tour-de-force performance was as convincingly agonised as it was hilarious and if this man doesn't sweep every soap award going (although I'm not sure "Best Actress" would quite suit him...), it will be a crime! Ian Mercer's Guilty Gary was rather swell too.
The other stories were a bit lacklustre really, since all we had was the Merzbow-esque repetition of the Battersby Financial Distress ("GET A JOB" / "I'VE GOT A JOB" / "GET A JOB" / "I'VE GOT A JOB" ad nauseam), the never-ending story that is Sickly and Kevin (which I personally lost interest in over a year ago, although a brief flicker of hope sparked when they brought the wonderful Alison into the proceedings), the truly abysmal Shop Wars (arrgh!) and, worst of all, the inane witterings of Maxine, Vikram and co...
Thankfully, at least bits of these stories were redeemed a little by some top class acting on behalf of Vicky Entwistle, Jane Danson and the brilliant Georgia Taylor (spot the connection?). Oh, and to be fair for a change, Tracy Shaw *has* improved a lot recently and it definately shows when she's put side by side with the likes of Holly Newman... Also, in this episode's favour, Adam Rickett was nowhere to be seen. ;)
Hope you enjoyed it! :) 'Til next time! :)
Hiya folks!!!! ... Time again for another update....
Not a particularly eventful week - the winding up process of work continues, not a lot to report there. Back to work for Trude and a rather tough one at that. I'm doing the house-husband bit, shopping and cooking. II think I cooked every meal last week - no problem there, I do enjoy it. Back to college for Simon - on Friday he went to an interview at Manchester Metropolitan University - fell in love with the place, so he's hoping to get an offer from there. We would certainly encourage him not to live at home, you miss out so much on University life if you are not in the thick of it.
Probably the most interesting event was last Sunday, when Trude and I went to Granada studios for a recording of a show called Soap Fever. I had been alerted to this programme a while back, by a friend on the net and left my contact details with Granada. The show goes out on Digital TV (which we don't have) and is an audience show hosted by Lisa Tarbuck (Jimmy Tarbuck's daughter) - basically a round up of the past week on the Soaps and a look forward to next week.
Anyway, they called to say they would be doing a feature on Roy and Hayley and would I be interested in coming along? Is the Pope Polish?
So we went along. It's the first time, I've been to a programme recording, so it was a fascinating experience. They had a couple of guests - the girl who played Saskia in East Enders and a journalist/Channel 4 newsreader who reviews Soaps. There was a brief discussion of Roy and Hayley - the relationship, transsexuality, marriage, etc - guests for this were Christine Burns from "Press for Change" the TS lobby group (who put in an extremely impressive performance and was a really, really lovely lady, to boot), and a Catholic priest, who was also very compassionate in his outlook. What was fascinating was how this storyline has changed fundamentally people's preconceptions of TS and the issues involved - I know it has for me and made me question and review my attitudes. What was so nice, was coming across other people who have been touched by this storyline in a similar way and had such affection for Roy and Hayley and wanted to see things work out for them. A fascinating afternoon all round, although we ran out of time very quickly on the discussion.
Tonight we are off to see Neil Diamond in concert - I've a number of things to do before then, so I'll cut short this prologue right now.
Anyway.... enough of that....
Episode sponsored by Cadbury's Marble.
The programme starts at Sally's place, as Sharon comes in. Sally has obviously been celebrating her custody victory the previous evening, after having dreamed of this situation, it all feels rather flat. She tells Sharon that it got to her how awful Kevin was at the court, but Sharon tells her that surely she didn't expect anything different. Sally, though, can see that it hit Kevin hard but Sharon tells her to stay focussed, she won and more importantly, the girls won - they belong with their mum. Sally remarks that she is dreading meeting up with Kevin in the afternoon, she is frightened he is going to do something daft - she won't be happy until the girls are safely tucked upstairs in bed.
At Kevin's place, he is getting the girls ready for school. There is a knock at the door - it is Alison, who has come to see how he is. She was trying to contact him by phone all last night and asks whether his phone is working - he tells her that he didn't want to speak to anyone last night - the despondent, distracted look on his face tells all.... He has lost the battle for custody. The girls ask what is the matter, but he fobs them off and tells them to brush their teeth. When they have gone upstairs, Alison comments that the girls seem fine, but Kevin confesses that he hasn't told them yet - what can he say, that the judge doesn't think he is fit enough to look after them? Alison tries to reassure him, she is sure that the judge would not have said that. Kevin just doesn't think it's fair, the girls are happy with him - Alison agrees and tells him that everyone knows that, the girls will always know it. As he becomes tearful, Alison gives him a hug and kisses him - she asks whether he will go to work today and when it's clear he won't, she tells him she will pop back at lunchtime. The girls come back downstairs and ask whether they will go to mum's tonight - yes of course, same as always. Alison tries to brighten the atmosphere - they can pick what to do next weekend, her treat!! Awww, she is soooo lovely and sweet.
Back at Battersby Battlements, Janice is asking Les over breakfast whether he is going to work today. He tells her he will be doing a few hours later. Toyah comes over and asks him, if he does a full day's work and gets "paid in bog-rolls", if he works a few hours, what will he be paid in, tissues?? ROTFL!!! He tells her that those bog-rolls are worth a bob or two, and suddenly has a brainwave - Sally Webster could sell them on her market stall. When Janice points out that Sally sells knickers, his fancy reply is "same general area." ROTFL!!! Anyway, he thought he'd go down to the market and have a look through the record stall - the punters at his disco will soon get fed up of the same old stuff. At that point, Leanne comes in with some loaves of bread. Janice tells him, he'd be better off changing his image, the punters will soon get fed up of Ziggy Stardust, turned fat and forty. When he asks for suggestions, Janice comes up with Roy Wood - this meets with a predictably blank response from Toyah - "who?" (the yoof of today, eh, don't know a good sound, do they?). Janice explains they were a group, Wizzard, "you know, a band." (Now that's my girl, in MY day, we called them groups, not bands - bands were Joe Loss, the Northern Dance Orchestra, Count Basie, that lot - either that, or "rubber bands". I never DID acclimatise myself to the term "band".) Toyah does the predictable raised eyes bit and scoots off to school. Meanwhile, Les is sarcastically pondering on this suggestion - yes, long dark hair, straggly beard, they could almost be twins. He has another of his brainwaves, Bryan Ferry. Janice deflates his bubble "Les, you've got more in common with the North Sea ferry than with Bryan Ferry." ROTFL!! He is upset at her put down, this could be the start of something big. Janice has no such illusions, it's just a bit of fun at the pub on a Friday night for a few quid, he'd make more money selling his body. Leanne retorts, "oh please tell me it's for medical research!" Les gets all uppity and asks Leanne whether she has only popped in to poke fun at him - she tells him, she's brought some bread, it's past the sell-by date, but it's OK. Les isn't happy with this, the way she is going, she is becoming a right do-gooder, like the rest of them Platts - he doesn't want her charity, she can feed it to the ducks. Leanne gets upset at his comment.
Out in the street, Maxine is accosted by Vikram. She doesn't want anything to do with him, she tells him she doesn't like liars. When she mentions about him being an accountant, he attempts to continue with the deception. She won't have any of this, what's an accountant doing working in a corner shop? Helping family, is his reply. She tells him she is no fool, he might not be a real accountant, but he is a real wally. He tries to tell her that he is studying to be an accountant - she tries to get him to face reality, he is not studying, he's been kicked out, he stacks shelves in a corner shop. He apologies and says that he only lied because he didn't think she would look twice at him if he was a failure. He isn't proud of messing up at college and asks to take her out to give him a chance to apologise. Maxine tells him that she would have been perfectly happy to go out with him, even if he did stack shelves, but she has been jerked about by bigger liars than him and she is not going to let it happen again. She goes into the salon as we hear a clip of the Bee Gees' "Tragedy".
Inside the Kabin, Leanne and Toyah are talking about Les and Leanne is clearly irritated by Les - she comments there's nobody like family of knowing how to really get to you. "Oh, there flipping well is" is Sharon's response as she comes in from the back - the family across the road can top all records. But, have no fear, she has a plan to beat them at their game - details of their new opening hours and their price promise, she announces confidently. When Leanne asks whether it will work, Sharon doesn't seem so sure - she remarks that everytime she drops her prices, the shop across the road goes lower, she doesn't know what to do. Leanne reckons that the only way they can get rid of stuff is selling food past its sell-by date - but she cannot offer any suggestions, after all she cannot even give things away, she says. We see a light turning on inside Sharon's head, as the scene ends.
We move to Platts' Palace, where Martin is making a brew for his ex-colleague from hospital, Nurse Delaney. She is telling him that she wishes she had known he was going to apply to the nursing home for a job, she would have told him, he wouldn't even last five minutes. Martin takes umbrage at this, but she points out that she meant it as a compliment. She tells him that, with his wife on another continent, she shouldn't be telling him that she misses him, but she does - they all do on the ward, there's no-one to be daft anymore. Oh, that's another compliment, is it, he replies, but she points out that you need to have a laugh, it's the only way of coping in a hospital, otherwise you would become a basket-case. Yes, they did have some good laughs, he recalls. She tries to boost his mood - he is a good nurse, he would never have made a go of it in the nursing home, they cut corners, she knows him - he wouldn't stand for that, she tells him. He says that this is exactly what he was accused of, by the hospital - she replies that it was an emergency, but points out that he never gave them a chance, in fact, his actions made it difficult for them, pursuing their case. When he admits he regrets his actions, she tells him there are vacancies on her shift. He asks whether he might stand a chance of getting his job back if he grovels. If it was up to her and her colleagues, that wouldn't be a problem but he needs to convince the management, is her reply.
It is nearly opening time at the new Roy's Rolls. The place looks smart, all decked out. Everything is ready. "Perfect" says Roy, "just in time for the dinnertime rush.... What if no-one shows up?" Awwwww! That is so honest!! Behind the counter, Toyah and Nick are getting things ready - Toyah reassures him that all will be fine. They did well enough with the stall outside, in fact, it's a pity it has to go back, they enjoyed themselves. Roy looks at his watch. It's time to open up. He goes to the front door and flips over the "Open" sign. Tada!!! Through the door enters the first customer, Ken. Are they actually open or do they need their wellies and umbrella, he asks. Neither, announces Roy, proudly - in fact, as he is their first customer, what does he want, it's on the house! A bagel and cream cheese. Toyah asks if he wants anything to drink - a decaff coffee with skimmed milk, is Ken's order. "Right, one wimp special coming up" is Toyah's retort. ROTFL!!!! She explains that with that order he might as well have water - Ken decides to be bold. "Give it to me full strength" - if he gets snappy with the woman in the library, then he'll know who to blame it on, he tells her. Roy serves him with his bagel and Ken tells him that he hopes that the new café works out well for Roy. "Do you know, Ken, I think it will, I think it will" replies Roy, beaming with optimism.
Back at the Websters', that's a commodity in short supply. Kevin looks despondent as Alison gets him a drink. She has popped in at lunchtime and it's clear he hasn't had anything to eat, because he is so upset at the Court's decision. She tries to cheer him up, he will be able to have the kids at the weekend, they will only be across the road. Kevin understands the realities of life - Sally is only in rented accommodation, what if she moves away? What if she meets someone else, not from around here? What if she moves away, Australia maybe, what's the point of weekend access then? Alison tells him this is so unlikely, but in Kevin's eyes, he has lost them for good. He starts to torture himself mentally as he imagines the children's life from now on, Sally reading to them at night, tucking them in before they go to bed, checking on them before she goes to bed. He can't stand the thought of never doing that again. There is a knock at the door and Alison goes to answer it - guess who? Right in one - Sally!! She has come to talk to Kevin - when Alison tries to stop her because Kevin is in no fit state, Sally brushes past her - she has come to make arrangements to pick up the girls, she tells Kevin. He explodes in anger - he accuses her of not even being able to wait a couple of hours. He tells her that she deserted the kids for her fancy man and now he has gone she wants to play loving mummy again. How long for this time? Sally points out that both of them have made mistakes. "Mine was believing there is such a thing as justice" is Kevin's acrimonious reply. Sally tells him they have to stop their arguing for the girls' sake, he has to get used to the fact that they are staying with her. She wants him to bring them over after school, straight after school....... Kevin 0 - Sally 1!!........
... and the theme tune comes in, on cue for the end of part 1
I've not commented on ads for a while, but one aired during this break struck me as unusual - it was for Unison, the Public service workers' trade union. I cannot ever recall seeing an ad for a trades union before and very good it was too at getting its message across, that as a group they are heard. It kicks off with a solitary ant trying to attract the attention of a bear, without any luck. The ant co-opts a colleague, but even the two of them struggle to make their voice heard. The next shot is of the roar of an army of ants - they DO make themselves heard - the message "if you want to be heard, speak in Unison" - they could have gone for a boring style, but struck me as a wonderful way of getting their message across in an advert, with humour. Excellent stuff!!
After the ads, it's part 2
The second part of the programme commences at Roy's Rolls Mark II - Jim is complimenting Roy on his soup. Roy tells him it's a new recipe, "it's the oregano, it makes all the difference, just a pinch.. nothing more... adds a certain piquance.." "Oh, I see!! It's not out of a tin, then? Hahahahahah" quips Jim.
"If it tastes as good as out of a tin I'll have some for mine and Leanne's lunch" jests Sharon, but our earnest proprietor doesn't recognise it as a leg-pull until Sharon admits she's just teasing him.
Enter Hayley and Alma. H (in posh voice) - Could we have a table for two, please? R (equally posh) - I'm afraid, madam, we are fully subscribed.
Nick attracts Roy's attention "can I get some more barm cakes, because they're selling like....barm cakes, I suppose....." LOL!!
As they go to the counter, Alma tells Hayley that, at this rate, she will be honeymooning in the Bahamas. There is a minor exchange at the counter when Hayley orders two cappuccinos, Tyrone tells her that there is a queue and Alma hopes this he is not spending his rent money.
We cut to Sharon talking to Roy. At least she knows all the food in this place is fresh, she tells Roy, who confirms the position, fresh ingredients make all the difference. "Well, you want to try telling her in the Corner Shop" says Sharon, putting down the poison, "particularly as she is competing with you for sandwiches and that". Jim is earwigging her. When Roy says that he does not understand, she says that neither did she but "have you seen her prices? The only way she can be doing that is by selling stuff way past its sell-by date." Jim looks up again. Roy cannot imagine Nita doing that, being new to the area, the law's very strict." "Well, to be undercutting my prices the way there are - and yours - there can't be another reason, could there?"
At Kevin's place, he is packing the girls clothes. He is full of emotion as he recalls with them, a conversation he had with hem, the other day. Sometimes they spend some time with mummy and some times with daddy. Rosie says "yes, weekend with mum and the rest of the time with you." Kevin tells them they are having "a bit of a swap over." he explains that they are going to be spending most of their time with mummy - when Rosie asks why, Kevin pauses, falters and tearfully tells them "well, it's for the best." He bends down and holds them, saying "just think... double the fun, living in two houses." He hugs them tight, unconvinced by the white lie he has had to tell.
Vikram comes into the Corner Shop to ask Nita whether Maxine has been asking about him in the last day or so. Nita confirms this and when Vikram enquires further what Nita said, she says it was about how cute he was as a baby. Vikram tells her he is bothered because someone has been saying things about him not being an accountant. Nita points out that they always find out sooner or later, "usually when they find you stacking shelves, rather than fiddling books.
Jim has been browsing and comes over to her with some sandwiches. He explains he was just looking at the sell-by date - Nita confirms that they are fresh. Jim asks whether she has had any complaints. "No, should I have?" asks Nita. Jim goes on to say, that there is some local comment that the only way they are able to sell their goods so cheaply is because they are past their sell-by date. "It's a bit tricky getting off the lavvy" in his state, he tells her - when presses, he tells her he cannot recall who is making the statements. Nita tells him not to strain his memory, she has a fair idea of who it is.
At the Kabin, Sharon is telling Leanne how her comments about Nita in Roy's place, seem to have been heard. Leanne tells her that Sharon has no proof, but Sharon is insistent "oh, come on... we both know she's got to be doing that... or selling it at a loss..."
The door opens and ... one guess.. yep, right.. it's Nita. She is furious at the rumours Sharon has been spreading. Sharon, on the other hand, initially plays dumb. Nita tells her she is angry at Sharon giving the impression she is spreading food poisoning. Sharon quips "oh, that's something we haven't thought of - free food poisoning with every sandwich". When Nita accuses er, again Sharon plays dumb. Nita tells her that if she wants to fight dirty that's fine by her, but Sharon is in full flight, slagging mode - Nita would know all about fighting dirty, judging by the state of that shop, she tells her.
Leanne breaks up the argument by saying that if they are going to have a fight, why don't they have it outside "so we can flog tickets." Nita storms out. Leanne continues "one of the few things I learned from me dad is - if you can't win a fight, don't start one. And once you're in it, make sure you win it.. whatever it takes" and pats Sharon patronisingly on the shoulder, "preferably before Rita gets back..... cup of tea?" LOL!!!
Meanwhile, back at Battersby Battlements, the front door opens to reveal Les peeping in. He has some squeezy mops in his hand. Oh no!!! Not another payment in kind!! (By the way, have the storyline researchers never heard of the Laws of Tort which state that it is illegal to pay in kind? I know it would deprive them of a storyline, but.... ) Les sneaks in, but he might as well not have bothered. "Good evening", Toyah greets him jauntily. This catches him unawares and he stumbles on his way up the stairs. "I do hope you're not gonna tell me them are your wages!" says Janice. Three - two - one - Les announces that they're worth a fiver each and goes on to say that there is more good news. "Do you think we take even more?" asks Toyah!. Les tells them the good news - Charlie's got him a new job - "management - well, foreman." Proper money, lot's of it, he crows. It's at an heritage restoration project - enhancing the environment - dredging the canal. "You mean the only job smellier than shovelling horse-muck?" quips Toyah, "do you think next time, Charlie will be able to pay you in deodorant?" With Janice telling Les "you're pathetic" the scene ends.
Martin and Steve are having a drink at the bar, when Nita and Vikram come in. Nita orders the drinks, Steve offers to pay, Natalie serves.
Vikram sees Maxine on her own and goes over to her - he offers to buy her a drink. She has the sulks and asks him whether it's tax deductible, he apologies, she tells him to get lost. She tells him she has a chance of proving herself while Audrey is away and doesn't intend spending her time on wasters like him. She finishes her drink and leaves the pub.
Vikram rejoins the main group. Steve gives him his drink "a pint for you there, it'll last longer than Maxine." Vikram asks Steve whether he was the one responsible for Maxine blowing him out, because he wasn't qualified. Steve denies all knowledge. When asked Nita admits responsibility. She tells him he has to start being honest with people - she has enough on her hands without her brother developing a reputation as a liar. Steve explains that Maxine likes to think that she's hard to get, but give it a couple of days and she will be asking herself. Vikram wonders whether Steve is in competition - Steve pours cold water on that suggestion but Nita is quick. She wonders whether the two of them have a history. Steve shuffles uncomfortably and that prompts her to ask whether Maxine dumped him. Steve denies this and goes on to say he has won more than he has lost. Nita asks him whether that is how he sees the battle of the sexes, "winning and losing"? Steve explains that when a girl meets the perfect man, she wants to change him and he's not changing for anyone. ROTFL!! "So, you're the perfect man?" asks Nita sarcastically... "and are you the perfect woman?" replies Steve. "I'm not fighting with a man with love bites on his mirror" is the trump card from Nita, "I couldn't compete"!!! ROTFLMAO!! Smirks all round as Natalie tells Steve it looks like his round again.
Kevin has brought the girls over to Sally's. She wastes no time in sounding off at him, is that all he has bought, she asks. He snaps at her to give him a break. She tells the girls to go upstairs (sigh..) and then informs him that the whole issue can be as hard or easy as he wants to make it., but it's going to happen. He asks what is next, maintenance? The rent on this place cannot be cheap, he comments. He tells her she cannot get blood out of a stone. She pauses and then goes on to drop her bombshell - number 13 is as much hers as his. He asks her what she is saying. She starts to reply "my solicitor says... ". "Stuff what your solicitor says" replies Kevin angrily, "what are you saying?" "Okay, well now I've got custody of the girls, I've got a cast-iron case for the family home as well" is her response. She tells him they can work something out, she will give him time to find somewhere else. Kevin is gobsmacked. "Just go to hell, Sal, go to hell." As he storms out, we see the youngsters on the stairs - they have Ben listening to the row all along.
At the Battersbys, Les is all dolled up in his Ziggy Stardust outfit, applying his stage makeup. Janice comes downstairs - she is all dolled up too, a fact which doesn't go unnoticed by Les. She's coming with him, she tells him. Oh no you're not, starts off the pantomime. He tells her that she doesn't understand, when he's at a gig, he's not Les Battersby, he's someone else, like an actor on a stage - "If you're there, it'll be like trying to drive with the handbrake on". She reminds him "for someone who's lost their licence for smashing into the back of a police car drunk, it's probably a good thing." Touché!! He tries to assert his authority, but she has no intention on staying in waiting for the lecky meter to go off. He tries a final stab at winning the argument - she has complained about how little money he makes, but if she's there boozing away all night, he'll be well out of pocket, he tells her. "But for once, Les, it'll be me who'll be drunk and doesn't care and you can do the worrying, for one night." Ace of trumps well played by Janice. After telling him to hurry up, she tells him "oh by the way, you look a right burke"... "smudged me makeup now" whimpers Les.
It is dark outside, as Kevin purposefully strides across the street to Sally's. He bangs on her door. He is very agitated as he waits for Sally. She opens the door and starts telling him off, she is just getting the girls settled and doesn't want a scene. "Tough", he replies. She doesn't want to argue in front of the girls and tells him to go home. "Home? You're taking that as well, remember? Here! Have it!!!" He throws his door keys at her and walks off - when she asks what he is doing, his reply is "as though you care. There's nowt left for me round here anymore." Sally asks "what about the girls, you can't just walk out on them." His furious reply is to the point "they're better off with their mother, remember?" He pauses looking for words, then finds them ".....just... tell them I love them...." He gets into his van and starts it up. With a screech of tyres, he drives off rapidly, leaving Sally in the middle of the street, calling after him.....
.....and with that.... it is the cue for music and credits
Episode written by David Lane.
All material is, and remains, copyright property of Granada Television.
Well, how was it for me? I suppose two things stood out, the obvious one being the custody storyline, more of which later, the other facet being the quality of the one-liners. Before we get onto those, a quick look at the rest of the plot. Roy's Rolls Mark II now open for business, apparently getting off to a good start. Martin receiving some support and comfort from Nurse Delaney - I did wonder, after an episode aired earlier in the week, whether she would be Martin's new love interest and, after this episode, I feel this even more so, given the comments she was making - it could be the classic "my wife doesn't understand me" storyline. Time will tell.
The feud between the Corner Shop and the Kabin escalated another notch, with Sharon taking it on herself to spread some wild rumours about sell-by dates. I know time does things to people and it was 1983 when Sharon left the Street previously, a wilful teenager, but she wasn't malicious in those days. She was always a fiery, sparky youngster and a bit of a handful and therefore an interesting character, so it's good to have her back for a while, but I don't really like the "dirty" streak which has developed.
Turning to Nita and Vikram, I suppose I am a little bit disappointed in them - sure there is some storyline potential, but she is a bit of a cold fish and I have a slight problem with someone of her obvious education and intelligence running a Corner shop - I could visualise her as a professional person, e.g. a doctor or a lawyer, but I'm struggling with her in the role she is portraying. Vikram, too, could have great potential as a wheeler-dealer "Del-boy" (Only Fools and Horses) or "Arthur Daley" (Minder) type of character, but he comes over as too weak somehow. Their father Ravi, played by Saeed Jaffrey is outstanding and the only really credible character of the trio.
Coming to humour, this episode was exceptionally good for one-liners with them being sprinkled all over the place - Toyah's "bog-rolls and tissues", "wimp special" and "Les being paid in deodorant", Janice's "North Sea ferry", Jim's "soup out of a tin" and Nita's "love bites on the mirror" were all excellent one-liners, amongst others.
The major storyline, of course, was the custody battle. I feel that this is being exceptionally well portrayed with some fine, very realistic scripts and good acting from both lead characters in the plot. We are now getting into another nasty phase as the acrimony shifts up a gear. Kevin's fear of losing his children is real enough - the statistics on family breakdown are horrific, in terms of how many fathers eventually lose contact with their own children. People's lives do move on and, if the custodial partner moves away, then contact tends to break down very quickly indeed. Full marks to Granada for bringing this out and to Michael le Vell for a very touching performance, bringing it to life. To see him snapping at the end of the episode is very realistic given the emotional investment during a custody battle. I haven't been through one myself, but have seen it happen to close friends, so I do have an understanding of the issues and dynamics involved. You can argue till the cows come home as to whose fault it all is, but it doesn't solve the problem - a marriage has broken down, for whatever reason and some youngsters are caught up in the middle of it all.
All in all, a good solid episode, containing a nice balance of emotion and humour.
Anyway that's it for now.. Until the next time, take care... Tubby greetings and Tinkyluv from the Tinkster in Glorious Glossop....
Emm Eye Cee, Kay Eee Why, Emm Ohh You Ess Eee, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse... Guess where we've been, then ?
While Jane Rice has been glued to her TV, her video and her PC, filling in so capably for me, yep, we've been to Disney World. And Universal Studios, Wet'n'Wild, Sea World, Kennedy Space Center, and a whole host of other places.
Highly recommended !!
And this update is, as a result of unforeseen circumstances, very very late, so without further ado, it's down to business...
A rare visit to the supermarket for openers today, where Lorraine encounters Ashley. Still struggling for some credibility as a hunk, he remarks he likes making sparks fly as he sharpens his butchers knives. And where has she been hiding herself since the night of the disco ? College, apparently. But, she muses, perhaps it's time she had a night off. And before you know it, the Lurve Doctor has got himself a "date" at the pictures that night.
In a scene familiar to many new fathers, Gary arrives home with the twins and finds Judy asleep on the couch. She hadn't even noticed that he had gone out ! Gary looks a bit awkward when Judy asks where he has been, and finally admits that he came back via a local church, where he has, ahem, had a word with the vicar about getting the twins christened. To Judy's increasing alarm, he explains that christenings [or baptisms if you like] are not done every Sunday, but only every now and again. As there was one coming up next week, he's booked them in. Judy's jaw drops, and she starts to protest about the organising to be done, and the expense of it all, but Gary calms her down saying that it doesn't have to be a big "do", and that it's really about giving the babies names in church and godparents to look after them should anything happen to him and Judy. She agrees to think about it, half won round already. [As I write this, I'm chuckling at the memory of the last christening we went to, in Bootle. Bootle is just to the north of, or probably part of, Liverpool. I think it's fair to say I hadn't seen quite so much exposed flesh and pierced navels at christenings before that !]
Lorraine returns from her shopping to find Natalie and Jack in the back room. She asks for the night off, "to finish my essay", and Natalie agrees. Betty appears at the back door, clutching a tea-towel which has been hanging in the yard to dry, but which is now covered in pigeon muck. Natalie reminds Jack that he has to move his birds, and soon. Vera brings in the inevitable round of tea, in time to hear Jack protesting that his pigeons are currently afflicted with "pigeon blight" and can't be moved, which she promptly dismisses as pure fiction. Natalie tells Jack he has until the end of the week to move the coop before the occupants end up as pigeon pie.
Around the other side of the pub, Jim tries to engage Martin in conversation, but Florence is on another planet. Finally making contact, Jim discovers that after his sacking from the rest home, Martin is thinking of trying to get his old job back at Weatherfield General. The medical staff would have him back in an instant, but the management, well... He thinks he might have to resort to apologising. "It's a small price to pay", counsels Jim, "pride has been my downfall on many an occasion".
More activity around the back of the bar, as Betty shows Ian into the back room. Natalie looks pleased to see him. "Hello, stranger !", she says. He's had a busy week it appears, what with his job and... breaking off his engagement. Natalie lends a sympathetic ear. How had she taken it ? "I'm sorry", she says, "what was her name ?" Nicola. Nicola ?? [The cad. The bounder. What's been a-going on while I've been away ?] So, this fictional Nicola is devastated, her family is hopping mad, and he feels like a heel. And Natalie looks completely taken in.
Back to the front of the house again, and Betty asks after the twins. Gary tells her about the christening coming up, how he's trying to keep it simple and that. A nice tea, and something to wet the babys' heads. You'll be needing six godparents, she points out. Les, ever nosey, offers to help out. Gary says he'll think about it. [By the time the words are out of his mouth, he's already thought about, and dismissed it. Well, I would.]
Returning to the back of the Rovers, Ian is pacing the sitting room, trying to explain to Natalie how bad he feels because the wedding is so close. She is concerned that he has broken off the engagement because of his involvement with her. "It hasn't felt right for a long time", he says, "you've made me realise that, that's all." Still claiming confusion, he admits to Natalie that he feels there's a spark between them. "Me too", she replies. A kiss ensues. [Is this the first ? I'm lost in the plot here, and I'm supposed to be explaining it to *you* !!]
I definitely wasn't looking at the adverts, this week.
Even further out back, in the Rovers yard, Jack is talking to his pigeons, telling them how he's tried every excuse he knows, but it still looks as if he will have to find them a new home. The back door opens, and Ian and Natalie appear. Neither party has seen the other. Ian invites Natalie out to dinner, and kisses her again before saying goodbye. On the way out, he kicks a bottle on the ground, and Jack turns round. They exchange a brief "hello", but Jack appears too wrapped up in his own thoughts to make anything of it.
Gary returns home, and tells Judy what folks had been saying to him in the pub, about getting the twins christened. Fred had been particularly negative. "I thought you'd be pleased to hear that." But Gary has forgotten about Judy's right to change her mind [or alternatively, to be as damned awkward and unpredictable as any other woman !]. She's all for it now, and suggests as godparents, Jack, Vera and Jim. Gary's pleased and they hug. [They're so natural and unforced, these two, it's a shame they don't figure as more central characters. And an interesting twist that it's the mother who, at first, is cool on the idea of the christening.]
Ashley drives up the Street in his passion wagon. Before he reaches the Rovers, he encounters Lorraine who is waiting well away from the pub, to avoid being seen by Natalie. They don't go unnoticed, however, by Fred, who subtle as ever, insists on knowing where they're off to. "The pictures, eh !! I used to do a lot of my courting there. In the *back* row, if you know what I mean !". Lorraine, despite her faults, manages to look suitably offended at his leery manner. "It's just a date", she says, "no, not even that". Ashley drives off before things get worse. Of course, the departure of one vehicle demands the arrival of another, and a taxi draws up outside the Kabin. Rita has returned from the Lake District. In the blink of an eye, Nita spots her and rushes out of the corner shop to ask if this is "reinforcements", or whether she's come back to "call off her dogs". She adds that she is ready to use legal redress if there's any more accusations of food poisoning. Rita, bewildered, goes into her shop. Sharon greets her and asks if she's had a nice time away. Never mind that now, Rita snaps back, what's that Nita on about ? Sharon mumbles something about a price war. Rita spots the bread on sale, and demands to know what's going on. To make things worse, Maxine enters at this point, to complain about the video she'd rented, which wasn't playing properly. Sharon tries to palm her off with another copy, but Maxine insists on her money back. Rita takes it out of the till, and Maxine leaves. "I think we need to have a little chat", says Rita, ominously, and Sharon gurns in fine style as she wonders how to get out of this one.
Natalie, on her way out for the evening, is wished well by Betty. Before she makes it to the front door, though, she has bumped into Fred who is ordering a double, celebrating the early arrival of Spring. How do you know Spring's arrived, Fred. Well, when youths feel the sap rising, it must be Spring, he opines. Natalie guesses that he's not referring to himself here [although Fred's sap seems to spring eternal] but she's not best pleased to hear that he's thinking of young Ashley, "he's got over that Moony, and is off to the pictures with a nice girl - your niece, Lorraine". "She's supposed to be writing an essay", says Natalie. "Not in the back row she isn't !!"
Next up is some hearty banging. No, no, it's Sally trying to hammer down Kevin's door. Martin is attracted over by the noise, and she asks him if he has seen the moustachely-challenged one. No, he hasn't. She explains they had a row, and Kevin has disappeared, saying he wasn't returning neither. Showing rare concern, she hopes he hasn't done anything daft. Martin suggests she simply go inside and see if Kevin has left a note of any kind. She'd rather not, [what if his decaying body is lying there, seems to be on her mind] and Martin offers to go in with her. Maybe later, she decides.
Time for a visit to Weatherfield's one and only restaurant [as featured in all "meal out" scenes] where Natalie and Ian are getting on like a house on fire. They raise a toast to "better luck next time". Natalie pointedly remarks that he'd better not have any other nasty surprises hidden up his sleeve. [I said his *sleeve*, you filthy lot !] There was a bit more chit-chat, but it was rather inconsequential. Suffice to say Ian didn't want to talk much more about himself, probably lest Natalie should discover that he's still getting married in a week's time.
The rather spun-out story of the Duckworths' temporary residence at Eunice Gee's bed'n'breakfast continues [I can't honestly see how they can afford to stay here long without depleting their savings], with Jack admiring a bird ornament and suggesting that while the house is very pleasant, there's something missing. Something, let's see, pet-shaped ! It's not long before Vera rumbles him, and tells Eunice that he's trying to relocate his pigeon loft. Eunice smartly declines, especially after Jack helpfully suggests that they would scare off any mice. "I haven't got mice !", she protests, offended.
Sharon is receiving a severe dressing-down from Rita, in her flat. Big Red points out the difference between healthy competition and childish games, and rues having gone away at all. Before it all gets completely out of hand, Ian arrives, and the situation defuses briefly. He asks Rita how her holiday went, and is Sharon ready to go out ? Sharon comments that she can smell alcohol, has Ian been out drinking already ? Oops, she's hit a very raw nerve there, right on the guilt spot in fact, and Ian berates her for suggesting that he can't go out at all just because she's working all hours in the shop. Rita looks concerned, as Ian goes off to "wait in the car". Sharon tries to laugh it off as pre-wedding nerves. Not very well.
Sally has given up waiting for the unlikely return of her estranged husband, and uses her keys to let herself and Martin into Kevin's house. He goes off upstairs [checking for a body !] while she roots about on the various tables and shelves. Martin has nothing to report from upstairs, indeed there seems to be plenty of Kevin's stuff still there, while Sally has found no note or any other clue as to his whereabouts. Surprise, the phone rings ! The answering machine starts to rewind, and Sally realises that it must be Kevin calling, as he knows how to check his messages from another phone. She goes to pick up the receiver, but the caller hangs up before she gets there. She explains to Martin that it only takes a few seconds to verify that there are no messages waiting. Martin suggests that she dial 1471 to find out where he was calling from, but again fate steps in and the phone rings again. This time it's Alison, also looking for Kevin. As 1471 only works on the *last* call, Sally has missed her chance. "At least you know he's still out there", says Martin. Sally is worried [don't know why, she's been raging at him for so long it's difficult to believe she cares at all] - "but what kind of state is he in ?"
This episode was written by Martin Allen.
Despite the fact that two weeks of missing episodes rendered some of the developments in the plot somewhat mystifying to me, this was an enjoyable episode. I'm a bit worried about Ashley though, I think they might be overdoing this stud-muffin act and turning him into a caricature.
Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ***
I'll be back in no time at all (hopefully) with the hour-long special featuring... the wedding !
See you then.