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Monday 20 May 2013

Corrie A-Z: D is for Double Acts

Coronation Street is known for its assortments of double acts or partnerships over the years. They have ranged from married couples to simply best friends and colleagues. The original double act was Jack and Annie Walker back in 1960 and they provided much humour in the show during the show’s first decade. Their success was due to their clashing personalities – Annie the snob and down-to-earth Jack.
Also a wonderful double act in the early years was Gamma Garments team Mr Swindley and Miss Nugent. The backbone of their partnership was Miss Nugent’s admiration and love for an unwitting Swindley. Like the Walkers, the duo had wonderful chemistry and provided the light relief in the early 1960s. Their musings in the snug over the goings-on of the street brought a smile to everyone. While the Swindley and Nugent partnership ended in 1965, the Walkers double act lasted until 1970.
By the 1970s, Stan and Hilda Ogden had established themselves as a great double act. Their arguments over various things provided many laughs and although the residents were exasperated by them, they were much loved by the nation. The Ogdens could do both humour and drama but it is the humour that they’re best remembered for with Hilda doing all the running while Stan sat supping at the Rovers or in his chair doing the pools regularly featured in episodes.
In 1973 another double act was born when feisty Rita Littlewood employed prissy Mavis Riley at the newly opened Kabin. Again it was the chalk and cheese personalities that cemented the partnership and made them well loved. The stationery duo lasted for 24 years and is second to the Duckworths for being the longest running double act on the cobbles. Rita and Mavis were the best of friends and were a rock to each other during their relationship troubles. Although the partnership lasted until 1997, I have to say, its golden age was the 1970s and 1980s.
While Mavis’ partnership with Rita was successful, she also enjoyed a wonderful double act with boyfriend and later hubby Derek Wilton. They first met in 1976 and enjoyed an on/off romance until their eventual wedding in 1988. The duo’s tenure ended upon Derek’s death in 1997.
With the Ogdens’ partnership coming to end in 1984 upon Stan’s death, there was a need to fill the void. And who better than Jack and Vera Duckworth? Echoing the Ogden partnership, the Duckworths were always seen arguing and often publicly, be it in the street or the Rovers. Their hilarious antics provided Corrie with some of its golden moments, be it with their stone cladding or their time behind the Rovers bar. The partnership lasted for 27 years and holds the record of longest running partnership and with the Ogdens, are the soap’s most popular couples.
Grocer Alf Roberts married gad-about Audrey Potter in 1985 and a wonderful partnership began as did happen when Rovers landlady Bet Lynch married bumbling nightclub manager Alec Gilroy in 1987. Alf’s penny pinching was a stark contrast to Audrey’s love of spending money on clothes and provided humour and the Gilroys’ sarcastic banter behind the Rovers bar was wonderful to watch.
When Bettabuys manager Reg Holdsworth and his assistant Curly Watts formed a partnership in 1989, they didn’t disappoint. They provided much humour on the shop floor alongside various staff.
And when Mavis left her post as Kabin assistant in 1997, Rita found it hard to find a suitable replacement. That replacement came in 1999 when ex-stationery rep Norris Cole came to the rescue. Their partnership has become one of the soap’s most successful. Norris also enjoys a double act with his landlady Emily and with Mary Taylor, who pines for him. I have to say that Norris acting the straight man to Mary’s eccentric personality does not bide well with me and I much prefer his rapport with both Rita and Emily.
There have been other double acts over the years that include Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell, Bet Lynch and Betty Turpin, Percy Sugden and Emily Bishop, Fred Elliott and Ashley Peacock, Gail Platt and Audrey Roberts, Steve McDonald and Eileen Grimshaw, Steve McDonald and Lloyd Mullaney, Roy Cropper and Becky Granger and Julie Carp and Brian Packham. They are also wonderful in their own way!
Can you think of any others?
Who's your favourite? Vote in the poll below. Voting closes on Monday, 27th May. There's still time to vote for your favourite Corrie grocer as well.

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Humpty Dumpty said...

I voted for Alec and Bet, but also loved Percy Sugden and Phyllis Pearce.

Anonymous said...

Hello?! What about Roy and HAYLEY!

Llifon said...

Hi Bev. I wouldn't regard Roy and Hayley as a double act, more of a partnership which is slightly different. Double acts are usually humorous and I actually looked at the term 'double act' and another word for it is 'comedy duo'. The Ogdens, Duckies and Wiltons were more or less involved in comic situations, whereas the Croppers are involved in serious plots. But without a doubt, if the poll asked about Corrie partnerships, then I'm sure that the Croppers would be very high up, like Ken and Deirdre would.

David said...

I love a good double act but they've been sadly lacking lately, despite the larger cast!

Zagg said...

They have been lacking lately that's for sure. I think it's Steve and Lloyd right now and that's it.
Eileen and Julie were a growing possibility, but they always made Eileen so nasty most of them time and now the Julie character is out for baby time, so that one is gone.
All of the younger characters are so self absorbed and back-stabbing, I can't see a double act emerging any time soon.

Anonymous said...

I loved them all and it was hard to vote but ended up with Curly and Reg. Yup, so much of the good old Coronation Street has gone and I don't think it will ever return. How sad.

Plutonian said...

Has to be Stan and Hilda - got it all: humour, pathos and a fantastic rapport between the two actors. Totally believable married couple..

Anonymous said...

Carla and Michelle


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