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Saturday 27 November 2010

50 Years Of Corrie In 50 Days – 1999

Day 39 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.

In August 1999 the country was gripped by all things celestial when the population of the UK were to get a chance to see a full solar eclipse. In Weatherfield, Spider Nugent and Toyah Battersby decided to spend a night under canvas on the Red Rec, hoping to catch a glimpse of the event themselves. Instead, something much more earthly happened. Back at Aunty Emily's, she asked them both how the evening had gone. "Er.. cosmic", said Toyah . But Spider wasn't so sure and spent most of the week afterwards trying to avoid her. Leanne told Spider if he didn't do the decent thing with Toyah she would threaten him with Les Battersby but Spider really did seem confused. Finally though, Toyah got her man after she stormed round to see him at Aunty Em's and demanded to know what was going on. After a couple of snogs the pair of them seemed a lot happier.

When Les found out who Toyah's new boyfriend was, he was less than pleased: "You mean that dozy crusty's sleeping wi' our Toyah?" he yelled before storming round to the café, intending to pull the legs off Spider before flushing him down the toilet, no doubt. Fortunately for Spider, all the shouting in the café brought Hayley downstairs and she sorted out the lot of them. Spider managed to sweet talk Aunty Em into letting Toyah stay there for a while after the fall-out with Les. Aunty Em agreed, on the understanding that no hanky panky went on under her roof. They both agreed, well, at least they tried to, but hormones being hormones and all, well Aunty Em was not best pleased when she found out what was going on and threw Toyah out. Curly let the young lovers use his spare room, while worried about incurring the wrath of Les next door.

In October 1999, Spider and Toyah set up home in a tent on the Red Rec but the sanitary arrangements left a lot to be desired, with no toilet or fresh water. When Audrey found out that "Mr Hippy, the armchair anarchist" had set up home in one of the parks she had control over in her role of councillor, she wasn't best pleased. Aunty Em went off on holiday with Maud Grimes and while she was away, Spider and Toyah moved back in to her house. While the two of them were upstairs playing battleships in the bath tub, a candle set fire to Aunty Em's curtains and the living room ended up with serious smoke damage. Spider enlisted Hayley to help out redecorating Aunty Em's front room after the fire, and while she got cracking making new curtains, Spider and Toyah did the wall-papering and the place looked ok again.

Hayley happened to mention that her old bedsit was free and so Spider and Toyah could have a home to call their own. Only one slight problem, they couldn't afford it, so Spider decided it was time he got himself a job. Off he went to the jobcentre and tried to get a job as park keeper but the job had already gone. However, Ernest in the jobcentre tried to find something suitable for him. He offered slaughterhouse work (no - he's vegetarian), pest control (no - he couldn't kill creepy crawlies), car park attendant (no - we all know the damage they do to the environment), baker (no - too many animal fats and GM foods) and canal dredger (no - he couldn't work with Toyah's dad). "Principles don't put bread on the table", Gail told him, so there was only one thing for it - he went for an interview with the establishment - the Benefits Agency itself. A bit nervous before the interview, he started talking to a guy who worked there, only to find it was fellow crusty, Ganja Tim. "There's something I should tell yer" said Spider, "I'm an anarchist". "So am I" replied Ganja Tim. It was a done deal, he got the job and planned to make the system work to help claimants with their benefits rather than becoming one of the establishment himself.
Spider uncovered evidence that showed Les Battersby was working while claiming benefits. He and Toyah decided to get rid of the incriminating evidence but he was caught by his boss, Miss Finch and had some explaining to do. Spider settled into a more responsible lifestyle, wearing a suit and tie for work each day, looked after Toyah and the pair of them entertained friends with vegetarian dinner parties in their bedsit. However, working at the Benefit Agency became too much for Spider when he had to refuse a single mother her benefits - and he walked out.

He headed home to sit around a candle and went 'um' in an unconvincing Buddhist way and told Toyah he'd booked them both on a spiritual journey. "Were not going to the Millennium Dome, are we?" she asked. “No, Toyah, you're going to India.” Well, Spider would have liked her to have gone to India with him, he'd bought two tickets after all, but it was too much for Toyah to take in, too sudden. She couldn't just up and leave, so in the end, finally, and tearfully she decided her own destiny, remaining in Weatherfield without him. And so he went, just like that. He said goodbye to Aunty Em, paid a month's rent in advance and left £100 in the bank for Toyah.

(With many thanks to Flaming Nora for her profile of Geoffrey ‘Spider’ Nugent. To read the whole profile click here.)

Also in 1999: Ashley Peacock finds out that Fred Elliott is not his uncle but his father; Ashley marries Maxine Heavey; Alf Roberts dies; Judy Mallett dies; the Desai family buy the corner shop; Rita Sullivan gives Sharon Gaskell the Kabin and then buys it back; Mike Baldwin is blackmailed by Julia Stone; Norris Cole returns and starts working at Kabin; Ken and Deirdre reconciled by Tracy; Nicky Tilsley bullies Leanne into having an abortion; Nicky leaves for Canada; Leanne gets involved with Jez Quigley and develops a cocaine habit.

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