Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Week In Classic Corrie

MONDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 14th and 19th December 1988

It was nearly Christmas, so festive arrangements were on everyone's mind.  Ivy was mithering because she'd catered for the Tilsley-Roberts clan the year before, and considered it Audrey's turn.  That would also mean she wouldn't have to invite Don's mum.  Audrey, on the other hand, couldn't face the idea of watching Ivy shovel bread sauce in her gob, so she decided she was going to a hotel with Alfie and forced Gail to swoop in and save the day.  Meanwhile, Bet wanted to close up for Christmas, but Alec saw the potential for sweet profits and offered Jack time and a half to work on the 25th.  Personally I think you should probably lock in your staffing rotas more than six days from a bank holiday, but there you go.  Alan went to the building society for a £15,000 mortgage on number 7, a handy reminder that house prices have gone insane in the last thirty years.  He gave his name as "Leonard Fairclough" and got a big dramatic zoom into the closing credits for his trouble.  At number 1, Ken was being an absolute pig.  In his opinion, Deirdre was doing far too much work as a councillor and neglecting him and Tracy.  His case was then helped by Tracy letting in one of Deirdre's aggravated constituents while she was out.  Ken was worried he could've done anything to the little girl, but let's be honest, any time it's just Tracy and a man in a room, it's the poor bloke who should be worried.  There's a really nasty streak to all of Ken's rants which essentially boils down to "stay at home and keep quiet Mrs Barlow."

TUESDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 21st and 25th December 1988

"Oh Corrie in 2018 is so miserable and dark, not like the good old days!"  Meanwhile Christmas Day 1988 opens with Deirdre being held hostage by a desperate man in a grim tower block.  It was her down on his luck constituent, aggravated by his wife walking out on him, and not taking too kindly to Deirdre dropping off cuddly toys for his kids.  She escaped by threatening to throw his telly out the window and ran home, but there's still an unlikeable edge to all this - it feels like the show's comeuppance for Deirdre devoting so much time to being a councillor rather than staying a loyal wife and mother.  Elsewhere, Vera was causing havoc, as is her wont; she gatecrashed Mavis's sophisticated drinks party with a bottle of cooking sherry, then ruined Jack's plan to escape her festive friskiness by joining him behind the bar at the Rovers.  Apparently she promised to teach Derek "how to do the hokey cokey the Huddersfield way"; I don't know what that means but it sounds filthy.  Bet supplied Percy with a large turkey so that she wouldn't have to cook, meaning the Gilroys joined the prissy quartet of Emily, Percy, Mavis and Derek for a distinctly dry looking Christmas dinner.  Fortunately, Phyllis Pearce gatecrashed, because everything is better when Phyllis Pearce is there.  But most important of all, in the course of the cracker opening, Mavis actually said "I don't really know."  Somewhere in 1988 Les Dennis punched the air in excitement.

WEDNESDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 26th and 28th December 1988

Deirdre was still recovering from her traumatic experience at the hands of Mr Roscoe, an experience not made any better by (a) Ken being a general twat about it as usual and (b) a woman from Social Services turning up and telling her to stop being a nosey goody two shoes and to go away and leave the caring to them.  Unsurprisingly she was deeply upset, and cried on Bet's shoulder about how scared she was and the bad things men could do.  It was a long conversation about sexual assault, but the show didn't have the courage to actually say rape; there were a lot of euphemisms, which seemed particularly cowardly given Sheila in Brookside was raped in 1986 and Kathy in EastEnders had been assaulted only six months earlier.  There was lighter fare elsewhere in the Street as Audrey and Alf came back from their posh hotel early due to an outbreak of food poisoning.  Audrey tried to keep it quiet but rumours began to spread about Alf succumbing to the turkey pate from his shop so he stood up in the Rovers and announced what caused his dicky tummy.  The Duckworths and the Brennans had a Boxing Day at the races, which turned into a poker game with Mike Baldwin of all people; Don won £60 off Mike, and was so cocky about beating him that he agreed to another game a couple of days later.  Of course Mike raised the stakes so high Don threw his taxi in the ring, and of course Mike won handily.  The final shot was an extremely impressive spin around the table, taking in Mike's smug face, Alan and Jack looking shocked, and Don deciding to try running Baldwin over with his own MG in about nine years' time.


THURSDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 2nd and 4th January 1989

It's 1989!  Goodness that went fast.  It seemed like only yesterday Hilda was waving us off and now there's Jack wishing his pigeons happy new year.  After a little light begging from Don, Mike gave him his taxi keys back in exchange for a promise that he'd pay the £1000 he owed.  Vera managed to go almost the entire episode before she blabbed to Ivy, which was a new record let's be honest; Ivy went to Mike and offered to pay off the debt a tenner a week, not knowing the amount involved, and eventually dipped into her savings to clear it.  She told Don that it didn't matter and they wouldn't mention it again, but this is clearly the beggining of the Emasculation of Mr Brennan, and she'll be hurling that debt back at him in a bile-infused argument before long.  Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Wilton - who are so loved up they turn your stomach - were viewing houses with a view to moving out of the "grimy inner city" and into green suburbia.  Of course we know that they'll actually end up in number 4, but we'll endure Mavis being thrilled by doorchimes that play London Bridge Is Falling Down until then.  Len, I'm sorry, Alan took time out from his busy day of telling Martin to get out of the yard so he could make private phone calls to arrange for the valuer to call at number 7.  He tried a bit of subterfuge to make sure Rita was out of the way but, yikes!  She announced she'd take the afternoon off to be with him.  What will he do?  Something horrible no doubt.

FRIDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 9th and 11th January 1989

A few things happened in these two episodes.  Alan got his survey on number 7.  Vera considered getting stone cladding.  Sally's dad died in a lorry crash.  But all of this was utterly irrelevant compared to the new barman in the Rovers, a former ventriloquist named Charlie Bracewell.  Played by Peter Bayliss, he was a whirlwind of camp nonsense, and an absolute joy.  He immediately annoyed everyone behind and in front of the bar - especially Percy Sugden, so that's five thousand bonus points - with his boring chat and his interminable stories.  His wife had his dog put down, he thought sugar killed Albie Fenwick the fire eater - all tedious, all brilliant, and all causing Bet to pull a face like she was sucking a lemon.  At the end of the second episode he'd set his sights on seducing Betty.  I can't wait.


If you ask @merseytart, there's no way Vera would ever get stone cladding.  The very idea!



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3 comments:

Louby said...

Great summary thanks! I have about 50 episodes of old Corrie to catch 5on but I did see the imprisoned Deirdre bit the other day.

I do still look back on the stories and characters of years gone by with great fondness, but having seen quite a lot now, I have to concede that it could be very dull and slow!

David said...

I'm pretty sure Deidre says I could have been raped to Bet.

Dave Phillips said...

When Deirdre was talking about ‘all the nastiness on her doorstep,’ or something to that effect she seems to be foreshadowing the darker storylines that were coming up in the first part of 1989. Namely, Brian Tilsley’s murder and Alan’s brutal attack on Rita. I don’t know whether these two storylines were already planned when the episode was filmed (they occurred in February and March respectively).
Deirdre’s ordeal seemed like something you would more likely see in EastEnders and Brookside.

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