Party time! Lots of familiar faces gather in The Rovers to cut the birthday cake and toast the programme. Who do you remember?
If Coronation Street had been a person, it would have got the vote in 1978 as it celebrated its 18th birthday on 9 December. It had been another enjoyable year of Street action, although the death of Ernest Bishop (Stephen Hancock), shot in the chest by young wages thieves at Mike Baldwin's denim factory, had been highly controversial.
This was also the year that the programme's production team tweaked the age of the Barlow twins, Susan and Peter, to fit in with a story line about Peter wishing to join the Royal Navy. The twins had been born during The Street's lifetime, in 1965 to be exact, but in 1978 the date was jiggled. Re-watching the relevant episodes, it all seems a little vague, but at times there are indications that Peter Barlow is already fifteen years old, and on at least one occasion it's stated he will be turning fifteen in 1979.
The Street's then archivist, Eric Rosser, was against the tweaking. A friend of my mother, a huge fan of Corrie, wrote to him to complain, stating that she found the continuity of The Street a great pleasure, and informing him that the "Barlow Twins Tweaking" had come as a great shock to her. Was there any point in following stories in the show any longer if they could be subject to rewriting years later, she asked? Mr Rosser sent her a charming letter, written on a manual typewriter, and made it plain that the tweaking had been none of his doing!
Of course it's happened again since then (probably more than once), and modern day fans seem more "sophisticated" (whatever that means) about such things. But the 1978 Barlow twins story line did not go down too well amongst many Street lovers, and in 1986 the situation was rectified as Susan and Peter celebrated their 21st birthday.