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Sunday 31 October 2010

50 Years Of Corrie In 50 Days – 1972

Day 12 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.

1972 saw the arrival of a new producer, Eric Prytherch, and he decided that the current cast was getting a bit long in the tooth and needed some younger characters. To this end he brought in Diana Davies to play Norma Ford and Anne Kirkbride as dolly-bird Deirdre Hunt. Diana was a northern actress who had been seen regularly in Family at War and so was a well known face to TV viewers. As soon as the series finished, Prytherch snapped her up. Eighteen-year-old Anne, like many Street actors, had trained at Oldham Repertory Theatre though she had been spotted in TV play Another Sunday and Sweet FA, written for Granada by Jack Rosenthal. She was originally given just one episode but was such a hit that her part was built up over the next year with the plan to be a love interest for Ray Langton.

Barbara Mullaney (now Knox) had appeared in an episode in 1964 but 1972 saw her return, retaining the same first name she’d had in her first appearance. Following the marriage of Elsie Tanner to Alan Howard, it was felt that Rita Littelewood could step into the role of sexy redhead which was now vacant (back in the 70s it was impossible for a married woman to be sexy apparently). The original description of Rita reads: ‘In mid-thirties, Very attractive in a blowsy way. A sentimental good-time lady. Irresponsible, with muddled values but in a good way.’
On April 3rd, Miss Emily Nugent, spinster of this parish married, Mr Ernest Bishop. Ernest caused some worries amongst the bridal party by nearly being late for the wedding. Wracked with last minute nerves he had to be driven round and round Mawdsley Street Chapel several times before steeling himself for the ceremony. The wedding went without any other hitches and after honeymooning in Edale, the Bishops took up residence in No. 3.

Also in 1972: Elsie Tanner gets a pink bathroom suite (about which Hilda Ogden said: ‘Only a Jezebel would have a pink bath. That’s not a flipping bath, it’s phonographic’); Alec Gilroy makes his first appearance; Stan Ogden is accused of being a peeping Tom; Billy Walker is offered the tenancy of the Rovers but turns it down.


John M said...

I remember Diana Davies, not from Coronation Street though. She was in an ITV Schools programme during the late 70s/early 80s called "How We Used To Live" about life during the 2nd World War. Probably the only thing I paid attention too at school... Heh Heh.

Scott Willison said...

Only in the 70s would dolly birds be called Norma, Deirdre and Rita... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Well, Rita made her first appearance in 1964... I think it's a great name for the character... but Norma and Deirdre? That IS funny!

Anonymous said...

The point should be made that Alec was not a regular character at this point of course, he just appeared in a couple of episodes. He started "full time" in 1986, I believe, and the character was then "fleshed out". Bill Podmore said Roy Barraclough was restless at times even after that. Also Rita returned as "Rita Bates", not Littlewood. She was using her common-law husband's surname initially.


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