Sunday, 20 December 2015

A Christmas on the cobbles

It always feels as though Corrie has been an integral part of Christmas Day forever. There it sits, occupying a regal slot in the schedule, post Doctor Who and pre-mince pies and Downton Abbey. This wasn't always the case though and the Street only appeared on the big day once in the 1960s (1961) and then only once in the 1970s (1972). The latter was the fabled 1940s revue in the ever-expanding Rovers' concert hall which appeared to seat around two thousand. As reviewed earlier, this was an odd little episode, with characters suddenly in cabaret mode, entertaining a throng of odd-looking extras with mad hair.

The next Corrie Christmas, unbelievably, didn't occur until 1985 when viewers happened upon oily barman Frank Mills making merry with deluded Gloria Todd behind Bet's back. There was the usual Barlow misery (save for Tracy who seemed pleased enough with her dull gifts), some irritating nonsense about Sam Tindall's missing plum pudding and Emily hosting one of her fraught Christmas dinners. Festive though, it was.

Although most fans must have watched it several hundred times, the Hilda Ogden departure episode in 1987 remains a delight. This has all there quintessential elements of a good festive drama. Lots of characters bustling around with their preparations. Hilda was lighting the oven one final time in her grim scullery, Audrey pottered into Ivy's full of bonhomie and made a quick exit to the pub where Bet and Alec traded gifts and insults. Plus we had the lovely scenes at number 7 where a giddy Mavis got slowly plastered as the day progressed, much to the amusement of Alan and Jenny. Even minus the sentimentality of Hilda's departure, this stands as a joyous little Christmas Day outing.

Christmas has remained on the cobbles ever since and often followed a certain pattern. There would always be an unlikely gathering around a dinner table such as Emily entertaining Bet and Alec Gilroy or Natalie Barnes sitting down to lunch with Kevin Webster and Jim MacDonald. A crisis might be on the offing - Gail giving birth, Deirdre being kidnapped or Don Brennan attempting suicide.  Comedy has often been at the fore though with the Battersby's gloomily ignoring their road kill turkey, the Duckworths barricading themselves in their bedroom in order to escape Alec Gilroy or Maureen Webster single-handedly destroying the Platt's festive table. All joyous slapstick.

The Corrie Christmas can often descend into corny sentimentality but it has probably been the soap most loyal to the idea of the big day. Unlike the much-maligned Crossroads, it never had a lead character belting out 'We Need a Little Christmas' with the rest of the cast on backing vocals and although Corrie has never reached the dizzy heights of the 1986 EastEnders festive edition (31 million), it has also never killed off one of the show's main characters on Christmas Day. Under a Christmas tree. It's simply not the Weatherfield way.

A few days to go then until, slumped under a surfeit of turkey and sprouts, we see the cobbles transformed into yet another winter wonderland and watch a Christmas crisis with the Connors. We wouldn't have it any other way.


Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter @CoroStreetBlog

Download our free App | Visit Corrie.net



Creative Commons Licence All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

1 comment:

David said...

There were actually four Christmas Day episode of Corrie in 60s - 1961, 1963, 1967 and 1968.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Our Top 10 Blog Posts in last 7 days (automatically updated)

Click on a name to find out more about your Corrie favourites!

aidan connor alan halsall alex bain alison king alison sinclair all about soap awards amy barlow amy kelly andrea beckett andrew paul andy carver andy whyment anna windass anne kirkbride antony cotton audrey roberts awards barbara knox barlows battleaxes becky mcdonald behind the scenes ben price ben tagoe bet gilroy bet lynch beth tinker bethany platt betty driver betty turpin betty williams betty's hotpot bev callard bev unwin beverley callard bill roache bill tarmey billy mayhew billy the vicar blanche hunt brooke vincent bruno langley Callum Logan can i visit the coronation street set Canada canadian coronation street fans cardy o'donnell carla barlow carla connor carmel morgan catherine tyldesley cathy matthews celebrities on coronation street characters joining coronation street characters leaving coronation street charlie condou cherylee houston chesney brown chris fewtrell chris gascoyne claire king classic corrie clothes worn on coronation street colson smith competition conversation street coronation street art coronation street fan events coronation street fan of the week coronation street fans coronation street funerals coronation street history coronation street in canada coronation street look-a-like coronation street map coronation street men coronation street merchandise coronation street news coronation street spoilers Coronation Street The Tour coronation street weekly update coronation street weekly updates coronation street writers craig charles damon rochefort daran little david neilson david platt debbie oates debbie rush deirdre barlow deirdre hunt deirdre Langton deirdre perm deirdre rachid Dennis Tanner dev alahan eileen derbyshire eileen grimshaw ellie-louise leach elsie tanner emily bishop emily nugent ena sharples exclusive interview famous people who have been in corrie fat brenda faye windass fiz brown fiz stape flaming nora florizel street flying ducks gail hillman Gail McIntyre gail platt gail potter gail rodwell gail tilsley gary windass gary's army diaries gay and lesbians gay men in coronation street gay men in soaps gay women in soaps granada manchester coronation street set granada studios gurn of the week helen worth hilda ogden hilda ogden's curlers Hope Stape hot pot how to contact coronation street inside soap magazine izzy armstrong jack and vera duckworth jack p shepherd jane danson jane danson's husband jason grimshaw jennie mcalpine jigsaw jimmi harkishin job vacancies at coronation street julie carp julie goodyear julie hesmondhalgh julie jones julie walters kabin karen mcdonald kate ford katherine kelly kathy jones katie mcglynn Katy Cavanagh ken barlow kevin webster kim crowther kirk sutherland kylie platt kylie turner kym marsh kym ryder leanne barlow leanne battersby leanne tilsley leanne's real mother les dennis lisa george liz mcdonald lloyd mullaney maggie jones malcolm hebden maria connor maria gordon maria sutherland mark llewellin maxine's bench michael le vell michelle connor mikey north mikey north miley windass minnie caldwell Morrissey mothers on the cobbles new set newton and ridley nick tilsley nick's bistro nigel pivaro no.1 Coronation Street no.11 coronation street no.13 coronation street no.3 coronation street no.5 coronation street no.6 coronation street no.7 coronation street no.9 coronation street norris cole norris cole's brother nuttalls brewery odd side of the street official coronation street website oldham coliseum on location outside broadcast paddy mcguinness pat phoenix patti claire patti clare paula lane peter barlow peter gunn pets on coronation street phil collinson Philip Lowrie pickled jo pictures of the coronation street set pigeons pillars of the community platt family props qasim akhtar returning characters rita fairclough rita littlewood rita sullivan road to coronation street rovers bosses rovers fire rovers return rovers return barmaids rovers return fire rovers return landlady roy and hayley roy cropper roys rolls ryan thomas sally webster sally and tim sally dynevor sally webster sally whittaker sam aston samia smith sarah platt schmeichel sean tully simon barlow simon crowther simon gregson sinead tinker sophie webster state of the street steve mcdonald storyline speculation storylines streetcars stuart blackburn stuffed marrow sue cleaver sue johnston sue nicholls sylvia cropper sylvia goodwin terence maynard terry duckworth the corrie years the kabin the road to coronation street through the years tina mcintyre todd grimshaw tony warren Tony Warren inspiration tours of coronation street tracy barlow trafford set tram crash tricia hopkins tyrone dobbs underworld underworld sign unofficial book vera duckworth victoria court fire walking tours weatherfield weatherfield arms weatherfield council weatherfield county weatherfield county football club weatherfield fire station weatherfield gazette weatherfield haulage Weatherfield Open Days weatherfield style weatherfield wayfarer wedding wedding dress weddings weekly awards weekly update where have you seen william roache William Roache Interview window cleaners writers for soaps