The Viva Las Vegas video

The cobbled streets of Weatherfield give way to the gaudy glamour of Las Vegas as Coronation Street hits the U.S for it's second video special. As we know the holiday came courtesy of Alec Gilroy and it's recipients were none other than Jack and Vera. Also along for the trip courtesy of another Gilroy special are Maxine and Fiona out for a bit of fun in the sun.

The two pairs meet up by accident almost immediately in one of the expansive gambling dens. Jack of course is eager to stay in touch with the pretty young girls but Vera has other ideas. In fact we discover she has come to Vegas with a definite agenda and nothing is going to get in her way. She has decided that after 40 years of wedded bliss to Jack it's time for them to renew their wedding vows in one of the many wedding chapels in Las Vegas.

Jack suddenly takes something of a dislike to the idea especially when he sees that Vera has already completed all the necessary paperwork back in England. It would seem Jack has something of a little confession to make to his "wife" of 40 years. Jack explains that all those years ago when they first met he was a young man eager to impress Vera and to do that he added two years to his age to make him seem more of a man of the world.

It was all well and good doing that but Jack never came clean about his real age so when they got married he had effectively lied on the wedding certificate and as a result Vera came to the conclusion she had been living in sin for the last 40 years.

There was only one way to resolve this situation and that was for them to get married all over again and do it right this time with the real details included on the wedding certificate. Jack begrudgingly gets down on one knee and proposes to his little swamp duck much to the rapturous applause of all the guests.

Fiona and Maxine by this time are relaxing by the pool but this isn't really Maxine's idea of heaven as she would rather be out and about living it up while she has the chance to do so. Maxine then accuses Fiona of being middle aged before her time which makes Fiona wonder if perhaps her best friend has indeed got a point. Fiona thus decides to get up off her sun lounger and hit Las Vegas like it's never been hit before for the duration of their holiday much to Maxine's pleasure.

The two of them decide to see the sights in style and Fiona hires a huge red Cadillac for them to cruise the Streets of Vegas in. Looking like an alternative version of Thelma and Louise it's not long before they attract the attention of a potential male admirer. The admirer is a one Stefano Delaney who pulls up along side the pair and invites them to a party that night.

Jack and Vera's surprise proposal appears to inspire loving feelings in other guests around the hotel they are staying in at the time. They meet Maxwell and Biddy a courting couple who thanks to Jack and Vera's on the spot romantic behaviour decide to tie the knot in Vegas as well. Maxwell is a millionaire who has made his fortune from woman's underwear while Biddy is something of a money grabbing Dynasty blonde bitch stereotype who appears to have been married a few times before (with hubbies mysteriously dying along the way).

The two couples hit it off after a fashion and compare "fortunes" over a drink in the bar with Vera painting the Rovers as a somewhat exclusive tavern for the well heeled drinker about town complete with a unique menu for the discerning gourmet.

It can't all go smoothly for long though and we switch back to the party which is about to take on a very dodgy appearance. Maxine of course is enjoying herself by entertaining people with a song at the piano while Fiona stands around looking very bored. She ends up speaking to an annoying little man (who is constantly eating) who begins to question why she is at the party.

The man begins to insinuate that she and Maxine must be prostitutes to be at such a gathering because there are essentially very few women there anyway. Fiona is offended and pushes the man into the pool and at that point we discover he is an undercover police man and the party is suddenly broken up by a invading force of cops. It would appear this was a gathering of gangsters that Maxine and Fiona had stumbled into.

The two of them plead their innocence but it's no good and they are thrown in the cells for the night with Fiona fearing they might be deported from the country. Maxine however sees the funny side of the situation but this only serves to make Fiona angry and the two of them have a blazing row which leaves neither side talking civilly to each other.

Meanwhile Jack is on the slot machines and shovelling money in for all he's worth. Vera comes sidling up to him asking him to help her choose a pair of earrings for their wedding. As Jack stands up to look at what she is showing him a man sits down at Jack's slot machine and puts one coin in and wins a million dollars.

To say Jack is deflated is an understatement, in the room later that night he has a row with Vera and blames her for costing him the million which could have ended their years of struggle. Her incessant yakking he claims has helped make his 40 years with her a living hell. Vera decides enough is enough and she throws Jack out after all they aren't officially married anyway.

Jack wanders down into the bar to find Maxwell who is looking somewhat despondent because his bride to be Biddy has dumped him. The two of them compare their stories and talk about life in general while hammering a bottle of whisky.

Vera as it happens does the same with Biddy who she finds in another bar upstairs. The two of them sit and drink themselves silly while having an opposing conversation about their menfolk. All of a sudden a surprise face from the past turns up waiting the tables. It's none other than Dreary's ex husband Ray Langton a few years older and with a lot less hair than when we last saw him in 1978. Vera takes the opportunity to allow a shell shocked Ray the chance to catch up with happenings in Weatherfield since he left. As it happens Ray can't wait

to get away from Vera who he describes as a "sad old drunk" mainly because he can't believe all the stories she is telling him for example her being the landlady of the Rovers and Dreary marrying a Moroccan toy boy.

The morning sees Fiona and Maxine free from jail but still not on speaking terms with each other while Vera nurses a hangover from hell. In conversation with Biddy she mentions Jack and the inheritance he got from his brother Cliff a few years ago. Biddy latches on to this and thinks that she might latch on to Jack as well if he has got a bit of money to his name. So she deceitfully leaves Vera and sneaks of to meet an unwitting Jack who in truth just wants his wife back.

Biddy continues to flirt with Jack and even invites him up to her room to play the seduction game but Jack truly loves Vera and explains that his inheritance was not as much as she thought it might be which immediately dulls Biddy's interest in him altogether. In the meantime Vera is declining an offer of marriage from Maxwell because she in truth still wants her beloved Jack back.

As a result of these circumstances Vera manages to get Maxwell and Biddy back on marital intention terms even though she can't fix her own battered marital circumstances. While all this is going on in Biddy's room Jack is hidden in the wardrobe and only manages to escape by hiding in a large serving trolley which is dutifully wheeled out of the room by the waiter.

Maxine by this time has split off from her estranged friend Fiona and gone to a party being held by Stefano Delaney. She is having the time of her life while Fiona is having dinner with Dino the police man she chucked in the pool the night before. When Dino finds out where Maxine is he explains that Stefano is in fact a very nasty person to know. His current scam involves ripping off top designers and selling their designs to sweat shops so illegal copies can be lost on the market for half price figures.

As it happens Maxine has evidence of all this because she had been unwittingly wandering round the party with her and Fiona's Video Camera. Fiona decides she has to help her friend out by getting her away from the party. However things don't work out easily this way either because one of Stefano's thugs sees her dining with Dino and has her marked as a police plant.

Stefano finds this out and immediately takes Fiona and Maxine "hostage" with views to having them killed so they can't interfere in his plans. However the plan takes a twist as the waiter brings champagne on a trolley for Stefano it is discovered that the trolley is the one containing Jack.

While Stefano is not looking Fiona gives Jack the video evidence just before the trolley is wheeled out of the room. Fiona and Maxine then make a run for it leading to a very Benny Hill style chase round the floors of one of Las Vegas's top hotels. Before long everyone is involved including Vera and Maxwell and Biddy as they are all either trying to chase the criminals or get away from them.

Maxine manages to get caught again and bundled into a limo which is waiting to speed the criminals away from the hotel. However it's no good because the police are waiting for them and their escape is blocked, for a moment though it looks like Stefano will get away with his crimes because of lack of evidence until the trolley poor Jack has been stuck in trundles up and Jack pops out with the video tape.

With the situation resolved Jack and Vera along with Maxwell and Biddy get married at a Las Vegas chapel. Maxine and Fiona resolve to not tell anyone about how Jack and Vera had been living in sin for 40 years while Fiona explains how nobody could ever believe their story of busting an international gang of criminals so they had best keep quiet.

It looks like Maxwell would come to a sad end though as Biddy sent him to get the car. It looked like she had cut the brakes as she threw a pair of cutters away meaning her new husband would disappear like all the rest.

The show ends on the plane ride home with Jack and Vera travelling first class. Vera relaxes in her chair and spills her drink down herself. At that point Joan Collins pops up and tells her the drink should wash out because she should know.....

All in all : Mixed

At the end of the day i'm not sure the Weatherfield crowd mixed that well in the States although certain combinations of characters did grow on you especially Jack and Maxwell (Mike McShane from Whose Line Is It Anyway amongst other things). There was some funny bits but there were also some pretty poor ones as well especially watching Ray Langton trying his hand at acting again.

There was some awful moments of gross advertising especially when Vera said she fancied a cup of British Tea and held up a box of "Yorkshire Tea" for a painful duration of time. The same applied when she had a hangover and a box of "Hedex" lingered in shot for bloody ages.

Written by Adrian Carter

Back to updates
index page

Back to