Friday, 23 November 2018

This Is Weatherfield ’90

Image photoshopped by Gary Wadsworth, a fantastic artist who draws beautifully at 

Yesterday, ITV3 showed the last Coronation Street episode of 1990 - quite a year for Weatherfield and England as a whole.

Margaret Thatcher has just left Downing Street, John Major is Prime Minister and the country will soon be deep in recession.

Things are certainly bleak in Weatherfield. As noted by Alf Roberts, “nobody’s got any money” and Ken ends the year with a suicide attempt. This is Weatherfield ’90 and it makes a Shane Meadows miniseries look like Jackanory.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. The new houses have been completed on Coronation Street and Steph and Des Barnes are the new yuppies on the block, all young and flash. Oh, and Kev has lost his ’tache.

Manchester is a pretty cool place to be in 1990. Rave culture is in full swing and the local music scene has gone global. Manchester Vibes are In The Area.

It has been a joy to re-watch the Corrie of 1990. I turned eight that summer and I remember it fondly, mainly for the World Cup. I can remember certain storylines now and I have loved all the pop culture references and the Manchester zeitgeist.

Take the hallway of 7 Coronation Street, for example. At this point, Rita owns the house but Jenny Bradley has turned it into student digs. In 1990, a poster of one of my favourite Manchester bands, The Stone Roses, hangs next to the coat hooks.

The Roses were so hot in 1990 that a teenage Steve McDonald used them to woo Joanne Khan downtown: “there’s a brilliant record shop in town that sells records… you know”. Great chat, Steve: you’ve always had a way with the ladies!

The spirit of Madchester is captured magnificently in this scene in Jim’s Cafe, as a trio of ravers gather around the jukebox to listen to ‘Step On’ by Happy Mondays:

They’d probably just stumbled out of the Haçienda and they’re putting Percy Sugden off his cup of tea and toasted teacake. They’re twisting his melon, man!

To round it all off, this is wonderful. The McDonald lads are playing the fruity in the cafe and Steve’s wearing Joe Bloggs... a now defunct Manchester fashion label that was synonymous with the Madchester and acid house scenes. Playing in the background is ‘World in Motion’ by New Order, the official England song for Italia ’90:

It’s just a shame that this episode was broadcast on 6 July 1990; two days after England were beaten in the semi-final on penalties by West Germany.

Oh well, that was England in 1990 and that was Weatherfield in 1990. There were euphoric highs followed by crashing lows. To quote the current female Prime Minister in the middle of a leadership crisis, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

By Martin Leay
Twitter @mpleay
Corrie Blogs @

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


Laura said...

I never knew that Ken had attempted suicide

Louby said...

He didn't get very far Laura, I think he had the pills lined up in front of him but Bet arrived and talked him out of it before any damage was done.

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