Tuesday, 10 September 2013
1982: Stardust Lil And Slim Jim - CB Radio Comes To Coronation Street, But Could Marion Really Talk The Lingo?
"Breaker break, good buddy! Hope you're hearing me wall to wall and tree top tall!"
Or summat like that.
CB radio was one of my top fave crazes of the 1980s. It was a decade packed full of crazes, Rubik's Cube, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, deelyboppers, dancing flowers, Trivial Pursuit, to name but a few, however CB stands out as one of my fondest memories.
Citizens' Band radio was invented in America by a man called Al Gross in the 1940s, and it had been up and running there since the 1950s. In England, CB usage had been known on a very small scale since the mid-1960s, but it was illegal. Films and songs like Convoy heightened interest in CB in the late 1970s, and in 1980 an illegal craze went spiralling out of control.
In 1981, the illegal CB craze had grown to such proportions that it was wreaking havoc in some quarters, with a hospital claiming it was interfering with heart monitoring machines, and a fire brigade desperate to track down a chattering CB'er who kept "fanning out" onto their frequency via a faulty CB. The UK Government decided to legalise CB during 1980, but this did not happen until 2 November 1981. Then, shops sold out of CB's and the craze went wide. It was at its peak in 1983, with 300,000 licences sold.
In 1982, the craze reached Coronation Street where Eddie Yeats (Geoffrey Hughes), former lovable bad lad turned binman, met the love of his life via CB... over to the TV Times, 2-8/10/1982:
CB slang and the language of love
Actress Veronica Doran has a problem with some of her fans - she can't understand a word they say.
It all started a few months back when, as Marion Willis in Coronation Street, she was driving a florist's van for a living which was fitted with a Citizens' Band radio.
Under the romantic call-sign of 'Stardust Lil' she made contact with another CB fan, the far from skinny 'Slim Jim', alias Eddie Yeats. And as every fan of the Street now knows, the language of the airways became the language of love as they met, fell for each other and became engaged.
"I still get a lot of mail from CB users,' says Veronica, 'and lots of invitations to their get-togethers.'
But Veronica is the first to admit that before the Coronation Street part she had never used a CB radio and the esoteric language of CB fanatics was a total mystery to her. Most of it still is.
'I had to tell one person on the phone that I hadn't the faintest idea what they were talking about," she says.
The Eddie/Marion romance is still fondly remembered, and, of course, the two finally married in 1983. I loved the way The Street sometimes tapped into crazes of the moment for story-lines. This was one of the very best examples.