Sunday, 26 July 2009

1977: The Mystery Woman At Len And Rita's Wedding...

The wedding of Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson) and Rita Littlewood (Barbara Mullaney, now Knox) in April 1977 was occasion enough for a TV Times special souvenir magazine.

On-and-off like a flippin' light switch the relationship between them two... flamin' nora.

Then, in 1977, with the songbird from the Kabin about to fly off on a singing engagement abroad, wedding bells were suddenly in the offing.

And this time their relationship was definitely on.

What a grand wedding it was - complete with slap-up reception at the Greenvale Hotel.

Mrs Annie Walker commented: "What amused me was all that church business. Really! I mean, when all's said and done, he is rather uncouth. Still, I suppose they're well-suited."

But we, the viewers sat at home, liked it. Here's the happy couple at the altar... and there's the aforementioned Mrs Walker watching from her pew and... who's that curious blank-faced woman behind Albert Tatlock? She looks weird... no face... strangely outlined... like something out of this world...

Was Len and Rita's wedding being subjected to a Close Encounter?

Nay, lovey, rest assured.

The mystery woman was none other than Pat Phoenix as Elsie Tanner.

But Elsie did not attend Len and Rita's wedding, only the reception, I hear you say. Quite right. Pat Phoenix was ill and unable to attend the filming at the church. So Elsie had to miss the wedding. But the TV Times photographs of the event had been set up specially sometime before the actual filming of the wedding scenes, and as the original intention of the scriptwriters was that Elsie should attend the wedding, there she was, large as life, in the TV Times photographs.

So, when Pat Phoenix didn't make it to the church, and Elsie missed the wedding on-screen, some hasty editing of the TV Times photographs had to take place. As Elsie did not make it to the wedding ceremony on the telly, she certainly couldn't be seen to have made it to the wedding ceremony in the TV Times magazine.

Way back then, in those prehistoric, non-computerised days, correcting the situation was not easy. Pat's presence on a group photograph outside the church was eradicated with a simple snip and splice. But this was not possible with the church interior pics, so Pat, although still visible, was simply blanked out as best as possible.

1 comment:

  1. She did attend the reception, though, the brazen hussy!