Tuesday, 11 August 2009

1981: Ken And Deirdre And Charles And Diana...

It's strange now to look back at 1981 and think how things turned out for the Royal wedded couple of that year. But, back then, the wedding was a bright spot in a highly turbulent year, and the public was entranced by what seemed a fairytale romance.

Fad-wise, 1981 had some real corkers, as illegal CB radio usage went into overdrive in the run-up to legalisation in November, and, after the arrival of the Rubik's Cube in late 1980, the UK was finally fully stocked with them (there had been a shortage) and the colourful puzzle took over 1981. They were everywhere. You could even get a Charles and Di version.

As an aside, the legalisation of CB radio in November 1981 led to romance in The Street in 1982 as Eddie Yeats (Geoffrey Hughes) joined the craze, adopting the "handle" "Slim Jim", and meeting the love of his life, "Stardust Lil", Marion Willis (Veronica Doran) over the airwaves.

A survey for the Walls Ice Cream Company came up with the findings that the Cube was 1981's favourite children's toy, and hide and seek was the favourite children's game.

Days of innocence...

Well, not really. They just seem it in comparison to now!

Coronation Street, of course, got another dose of wedding fever, as well as the royal one (Corrie characters tended to be royalists in those days) as Ken Barlow (William Roache) and Deirdre Langton (Anne Kirkbride) said "I Do" on 27 July, a couple of days before the royal nuptials.

From the Daily Mirror, 27 July, 1981:

The Street of smiles

Ken Barlow and his bride Deirdre Langton have ensured that their wedding won't be completely upstaged by holding it two days before the royal nuptials.

Deirdre is sure to cause a stir by dispensing with her horn-rimmed specs for the occasion.

"I thought most women would take off their glasses for the biggest day in their lives," said Anne.

"I wear contact lenses normally, but I took them out so I could get a better feeling of what it is like without them. I found it quite difficult to negotiate the aisle.

"I leaned on Alf Roberts's arm going up the aisle and held on firmly to Ken Barlow's coming down."

I sympathise with her - the world's a blur for me without me specs!

The ad on the same page brings back memories. VG shops! And to celebrate the Royal Wedding, they were offering Persil automatic at fifty-five-and-a-half pence, Domestos at thirty-nine-and-a-half pence, and Whiskas cat food (large tin) at thirty-and-a-half pence.

Oh, and you could win a Ford Fiesta in Mr VG's Royal Wedding Competition.

Those were the days...

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