Thursday, 18 December 2008

Things That Made Us Go Hmmm... Part 1

Here's loving mother Deirdre Langton with her little daughter Tracy in 1979. She carefully parks Tracy's pushchair outside The Rovers Return...

... and disappears inside the pub...

... leaving the child outside on her own. Of course Tracy had to be left outside alone - it was all part of the story line as a lorry was about to career out of control and crash into the pub - leaving fears that Tracy was buried under the load of timber, the lorry's cargo, which had devastated the Rovers frontage.

But the notion of leaving a child unattended in this way was, even back in the 1970s, a bizarre one. No matter how we look back through rosy coloured specs, it was not the norm! We were living in the late 20th Century, not the Garden of Eden! Indeed, Coronation Street itself had featured the dangers of such actions in a 1962 story line, when young Christopher Hewitt was snatched from outside Gamma Garments.

In another 1979 episode, Deirdre left Tracy outside The Kabin whilst she went inside for a quick purchase and a good old natter with Rita and Mavis!

I still remember the reaction of my dear old Auntie Gladys to the spectacle of Deirdre's irresponsibility when the first of the lorry crash episodes was originally screened in 1979: "Well I've never seen anything so daft - silly cow - what is she doing?!!"

Auntie Gladys regarded calling somebody a "silly cow" as being highly offensive, so you can tell how rattled she was.

Nowadays not much makes me go "hmmm..." about the actions of soap opera characters. In fact, Tracy has turned out to be a murderer and Deirdre has had a very bizarre time in the 1990s and 2000s. Nobody could accuse either character of having much commonsense. But back in the '60s, '70s and '80s things were different - we expected some commonsense from our pals on screen. We expected them to be closer to real everyday life.

Many jokes were made about Deirdre's motherhood skills in the 1980s as Tracy was transformed from Christabel Finch to Holly Chamarette to Dawn Acton, often not appearing on screen for very long periods of time. Had Deirdre forgotten she had a daughter? the wags chorused.

Judging by her actions in 1979 I wouldn't be at all surprised...


  1. abandonment issues, clearly ;)
    Deirdre never did have the sense god gave a goose!

  2. LOL! What a great saying - I've never heard that one before!

    I enjoyed Deirdre's fiesty era with Ray but she quietened down a lot after he left.

    Ray and Deirdre were an excellent partnership in my opinion.

  3. If you check the episode where Deirdre leaves Tracey outside the Rovers, you'll also see flakes of snow are drifting down!