The feature length episode kicks off with an introduction to the various characters involved in the story so what we get is snippets of old Corrie episodes involving Curly & Raquel, Mavis & Rita and Alec Gilroy.
It all kicks off with Rita & Mavis on board anticipating their cruise ship holiday and Mavis celebrating the fact that going on a cruise makes her and Rita somewhat exclusive from the other residents of Weatherfield. She holds with that opinion till she spies a somewhat dishevelled Curly and Raquel getting out of a cab at the docks where they are meeting the Entertainment's Manager Alec Gilroy they have apparently had a terrible journey with the train leaving them stranded all night. Alec is painted as the somewhat shady character to a greater degree than he used to be. He has arranged a cabin for Curly and Raquel which it has to be said is the height of luxury. Alec then leaves the honeymooners to settle in to their new surroundings in comfort( At this point Curly slips a negligee under the pillow for Raquel). It must be noted that Raquel is still somewhat muted following her wedding and as Curly notices she has hardly said a word since they got hitched. They are both tired and the subject of "going to bed" rears it's head leaving them both a tad embarrassed.
Meanwhile Mavis is dithering about what to wear on her first night aboard the ship and is torn between two outfits. We never usually see her this concerned about fashion but then again this a special occasion. At this point it is revealed why Curly has received his cabin so cheap. It belongs to Alec's boss who is supposedly on leave but in truth she has returned to the ship unexpectedly and it's her cabin that Curly and Raquel are staying in. Hence it's panic stations for Alec as he has to relocate the honeymoon couple quickly and keep them out of his bosses way. Incidentally the name of his boss is Mrs. Bligh and at first appearances she is as hard as her Mutiny On The Bounty namesake. It seems the only way that Alec can cover his own back and keep Raquel and Curly secret is by making them pose as actual staff on board the ship. Raquel is thus gainfully employed in the mermaid bar and is effectively kitted out in a somewhat gaudy mermaid costume complete with huge fish tail. Whereas Curly is placed down below looking after and supervising the kids games area. Curly is fully apologetic of this situation but Raquel doesn't seem to mind too much and she seems to start coming to life around this point. The only problem that remains is the sleeping arrangements whilst Raquel is bunked up in the barmaid's quarters. Alec has to arrange with the ships Padre to sleep in the "church" quarters. In fact Alec spins the underworked vicar a story about Curly being something of a soul in need of salvation to get his attention and to get Curly a bed.
Meanwhile Rita has met a fresh character in the bar by the name of Henri de Vence who is apparently a Count. He is something of an archetypal oily Frenchman type who attempts to make moves on Rita with his smooth lines. However Rita is no mug and is sufficiently wise to his tricks for his efforts to go to waste. However she decides to have a bit of fun with Mavis by telling Henri she is a rich carpet heiress who has been unlucky in love so many times she has built a complex fabrication of a life around herself. Apparently she calls herself Mrs. Wilton to ward of interested men and has even invented a husband called Derek. This must all sound a lot more callous than it actually is however Mavis does keep stating to Rita she almost wishes she could encounter romance on this trip. When Mavis meets Henri he invites her to dance and what happens next is a somewhat overlong dance sequence which is completely out of character for Mavis as Henri seems to have his hands going everywhere and some of the moves whilst not being in the same degree as Dirty Dancing are certainly flamboyant to say the least. It is obvious at this point that Henri is most definitely interested and he attempts to chat Mavis up on the deck with some of the oldest lines in the book and it must be considered that he does have more success with Mavis than he did with Rita. She positively melts at his words completely taken and later confides to Rita how she hates to hurt him this way and is basically breaking his heart. Whilst all this is going on Rita has a chat with Alec and the subject of the good old days come up. Rita cajoles Alec about his inability as an agent always booking her into fleapit venues.
Now at this point I will introduce Melody Lane who is the ships resident cabaret singer/kids entertainer. She is thoroughly terrible at both things and Rita thinks that she only works on the ships because she is doing Alec "favours". In truth what transpires is the fact that she is Alec's sister whom he didn't meet until she was 26. Alec always puts a bit of work her way when he can but she tells Rita she hates showbiz and her true calling is that of a medium.
Meanwhile Curly has an argument with Raquel and in a somewhat heated exchange she declares perhaps it was a mistake that they got married in the first place. Curly obviously hurt wanders off dejected and confesses his problems to the vicar he is sharing quarters with. The Vicar makes matters worse by suggesting the circumstances of their marriage might have been brought on by the fact she is pregnant by another man. Curly is somewhat visibly worried by this possibility and no matter how much the vicar reassures him it's obviously shaken him somewhat. It comes to light around the same time that the Vicar's faith is somewhat shaky and thus Curly decides it might be a good idea if they pray together. Meanwhile in the barmaid's quarters Raquel's roommate offers her room for Raquel and Curly if they want to be alone but Raquel declines.
Meanwhile by this stage Henri is coming on somewhat strong to Mavis in the jacuzzi, of all places. He promises her a life of luxury (Riley ? ) in his French chateau and tells her to forget her previous life of paper shops and Derek. Meanwhile amongst all this Alec's boss is now showing interest in him (she's found the negligee under the pillow and thinks it's from him).
Alec meanwhile under the cajoling of Rita surrenders his cabin to Raquel and Curly for the remainder of the cruise. They return there and Curly angrily wants to know what is going on and why she is behaving oddly. Raquel breaks down and cries and confesses all to Curly about her fling with Des. As predicted on here before now Curly is understanding and states that what is important now is the fact that they have the rest of their lives together. They then kiss quite passionately and there is even a scene of them engaging small talk between the sheets later on. The fact of the matter is that they are reconciled and now like star crossed lovers. In fact Curly shows Raquel her star again and then with the help of the vicar they renew their wedding vows.
Meanwhile Alec and Rita talk again and clear the air about their past. Alec confesses he fiddled Rita out of her wages years ago when she was a singer and even held her career back when a London agent wanted to sign her. However all is forgiven and the air is cleared between them. As a favour to Alec, Rita even performs a song on the final night.
Meanwhile Mavis says goodbye to Henri in a typical romantic
movie setting (he light two cigarettes and gives on to her plus
some nice chit chat) situation. They all then disembark and after
Rita and Alec say goodbye all go home but not before it is revealed
to Rita that Henri is a professional seducer called Sid from Birmingham
who is employed to charm the ladies on board but what the heck
as Mavis will never know.
So that's it basically a nice enough story which alleviates any fears we might have had about Des throwing a spanner in the works because the romance between Raquel and Curly seemed very strong at the end. It was a bit slow to get going but once the story got under way it was entertaining enough.
There was the usual class performance from Sarah Lancashire and Kevin Kennedy and everyone else for that matter. A nice blend of humour and some drama topped it all off with some excellent dialogue. It made me realise how much I miss Alec's character for a start off and this presentation really did show him in a new light. Supporting players were also god in the shape of the Nicky Henson as Henri who was a joy to watch with his cod French accent as well as The Vicar played by Berwick Kaler. I could even envisage these characters turning up in the Street at some point, especially Alec's sister.