Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Week In Classic Corrie

MONDAY - Episodes first broadcast 9th and 14th November 1988

Yes, it finally happened: Miss Mavis Riley became Mrs Derek Wilton.  The wedding went off without a hitch, ending up in Emily's back room for the reception - a slightly grubby way to celebrate, made all the grubbier by Mavis confessing to a long-standing crush on Ken Barlow.  The only shadows at the celebration were Rita moping after Alan - you are way too good for him Reet - and Jack and Vera's continuing war over the microwave.  Jack had convinced a drunk Derek to take it off his hands for £200, but forgot to get any money, and now Vera wanted it back.  It's interesting to note that however irritating this storyline is for us in 2018, it must've been a lot worse in 1988, as the Jack and Vera war was now entering its fifth week.  In the cafe, meanwhile, Alma shimmied in wearing a designer suit and talking about a date with a very handsome man and put the kibosh on Gail and Gina's sandwich deliveries.  At least until the next episode, when she changed her mind and said it was fine, convincing Gail there must be a tidy profit to be made out of dropping off warm cheese and pickle to factory girls; she immediately handed in her notice to set up the business on her own, which'll really annoy Alf.  He'd already given a speech about the fine tradition of the corner shop serving barmcakes (dating back to the First World War) which Gail's new-fangled prawn sandwiches would destroy.  You wait until these people hear about Markies' hoisin duck wrap; they'll have to have a lie down in a darkened room to recover from the overstimulation.

TUESDAY - Episodes first broadcast 16th and 21st November 1988

Brian was distinctly unamused by the idea of Gail setting up on her own, while Gail was distinctly unamused by Brian full stop.  The whole thing was resolved when Alma realised it'd be far too much effort to get a new manager in and agreed to the sandwich round and splitting the profits.  (Corrie in this era has a nasty habit of resolving conflict this way; characters clash over a problem, then the problem is simply taken away without any proper conclusion).  Mavis and Derek returned from their honeymoon with an absolutely hideous vase for Rita; I wonder if it's still in her flat somewhere or if it was "accidentally" destroyed in the tram crash?  They didn't notice that their microwave was missing; Jack had conned Jenny into letting him upstairs to retrieve it, hopefully bringing this interminable plot to an end.  Terry took advantage of Mike taking an overnight trip to London to borrow his Jag to impress his latest bird; unfortunately, his latest bird's estranged husband didn't approve and spray painted STAY AWAY FROM MY WIFE on the side.  And Sandra Stubbs is still in this show, apparently; she had a couple of dates with a man Gloria and Bet swooned over, though who looked distinctly ordinary to me.  When Sandra couldn't make it to their date, he offered to give Gloria a ride home, which caused Betty to purse her lips disapprovingly.  I think we all know where that's heading.


WEDNESDAY - Episodes first broadcast 23rd and 28th November 1988

Perhaps I'm just harsh and unforgiving.  But if someone I was with walked out the door to take up with his mistress, I'd drop the deadbolt behind him and say good riddance.  Not our Rita, who tearfully threw herself at Alan and begged for him to come back, only for him to refuse.  She wasn't helped by most of the Street spending the episodes telling her he was bound to see sense, there was still hope, etc.  BIN.  HIM.  In other "duplicitous scumbag" news, Gloria was happily carrying on with Sandra's bloke, and Mike was convinced the abusive message on his Jag was meant for him because he was dallying with a married woman.  He soon worked out that it was Terry in the wrong and made him play night watchman at the factory, periodically phoning to make sure he hadn't skived off with his fancy piece.  Also everyone was making smutty remarks about Mavis and Derek's honeymoon and I really don't want to think about that thank you very much.

THURSDAY - Episodes first broadcast 30th November and 2nd December 1988

After yesterday's double bill of adultery, all the chickens came home to roost.  Gloria confessed to Sandra that she'd stolen her bloke - apparently they're in love (after only three episodes).  This lead to a slanging match in the Rovers and Gloria getting a full pint of ale square in the face.  Alec sacked Sandra; Gloria found a shred of decency and resigned instead.  And that was the end of her, with Sue Jenkins off to Brookside to play a character who actually got the odd plotline.  Terry, meanwhile, was canned by Baldwin, leading to yet more scenes of Vera bellowing at everyone - her son, her husband, Ivy, the postbox, a stray pigeon, and finally Mike himself.  He told her that Terry had been doing it with a married woman and she retreated to her home to stare at family portraits and dwell on the fact that her son was a bit of a git.  Speaking of people you wouldn't trust with your pet labradoodle, Alan went to the bank manager to get a loan to fund his new premises and was laughed out the door.  So he went back to Rita, and she welcomed him with open arms, because she's an idiot.  Everyone in the Rovers bought them drinks and said how happy they were to see them back together, because they're idiots too.  In the final scene, Rita asked Alan if he'd dropped his bit on the side.  "Of course," he lied, still reeking of Carole's Tweed by Lentheric.  What an absolute horrorshow of a man.  The sooner he gets a trip to Blackpool the better.

FRIDAY - Episode first broadcast 7th and 12th December 1988

Cock-of-the-walk Terry Duckworth decided to just plain walk.  With no prospects and no friends, he upped sticks for a job in Bournemouth, paying for the trip by flogging his tacky Seventies medallion to Jack.  Vera, of course, bellowed at them both, because she has no silent mode.  In number 7, Rita spotted that Alan had given up his plans to open a shop and was using the yard again.  Why, it's almost like he's after you for only one thing!  He packed Rita and Jenny off for some Christmas shopping then ransacked her parlour, turning up a set of deeds with Len Fairclough's name on them.  I'm sure he won't use them for anything nefarious.  Bet meanwhile was away at a health farm with Stella Rigby, except when Alec tried to phone her there he discovered she'd checked out ages ago.  Stella's husband, quite possibly the creepiest old lech I have ever seen - all handlebar moustache and oily lips and talk of "young lady friends" - oozed his way under the door of the Rovers to tell Alec their wives had gone to a country house hotel instead.  This made Alec less guilty over not telling Bet Gloria was gone, as he dropped enough hints about "couples keeping things from one another" to make her feel a bit shifty when she returned.  And finally, Deirdre put Councillor business over seeing Tracy's panto.  Tracy, incidentally, was making her first appearance for six months, having regenerated into Dawn Acton with a shiny shiny bob.  Ken exploded about Deirdre being a bad parent with messed up priorities, which was daft for two reasons: (a) there is never a bad reason to miss a primary school play and (b) Ken is of course the worst parent in the history of the show, having spent twenty odd years doing whatever he can do avoid being a father.  Deirdre was just missing one play, she wasn't sending Tracy off up to Scotland because her kid was getting in the way of her love life.


Please send any spare backbones for Rita care of the author on Twitter @merseytart



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