Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Make Time For Wine At The Rovers

The Rovers before the 1980s. You couldn't have wine - unless Mrs Walker sent out for it - but you could have Champagne!

When was wine first available at The Rovers Return? asks Peter. A book he read suggests 1978, but he has all the 1978 episodes on DVD, taped from Granada Plus, he's studied them, and there's certainly no sign of it!

Quite right, Peter - don't rely on books, rely on the episodes! I have the 1978 episodes too, and The Rovers did not stock wine then, indeed it had been stated shortly before that there was no demand for it.

Many backstreet pubs never used to serve wine, and The Rovers was typical.

We lower-working class folk were all far too down to earth, unsophisticated and utterly downright lovely back then to want that poncy muck.

In 1976, when Renee Bradshaw (Madge Hindle) applied for an off-licence for the Corner Shop, the fact emerged that The Rovers did not stock wine, due to lack of demand.

In 1978, Harry Payne (Max Wall) asked Mrs Walker (Doris Speed) for Champagne - which she immediately supplied - and I think this is where the confusion comes in with the book you mention. Many humble pubs which did not stock ordinary wine kept a bottle of two of Champers on standby - for special events such as engagements. Of course, they hardly ever sold any!

Annie Walker, being of a better class than most landlords and landladies, had made sure The Rovers could rise to the occasion for many years.

As for ordinary wine, it made its presence felt in The Rovers in the mid-to-late 1980s, with wine by the glass available (a prominent "Make Time For Wine" sign appeared behind the bar). This reflected real life trends.

Things were upwardly mobile.

In 1987, my local boozer had a conservatory put on and suddenly went all posh.

It was a sign of the times.

And Corrie tends to reflect the trends of the times.

Which is why watching old episodes is so fascinating!

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