Friday, 10 December 2010

Fond Farewell To The Corner Shop

So, the Corner Shop is no more. Destroyed by a tram in the Coronation Street 50th anniversary week episodes.

It all seems rather sad to me - after all, it was at the Corner Shop that the show's first scenes were set in 1960, with Elsie Lappin (Maudie Edwards) handing over the establishment to Florrie Lindley (Betty Alberge).

And I've sat through many enjoyable episodes featuring the shop.

When I was a kid, I actually wanted to run the place myself!

The Corner Shop used to be on a par with The Rovers Return, you thought of Coronation Street, and those two locations immediately sprang to mind. But over the years, more businesses have become a regular part of the story-lines, and the Corner Shop has been sidelined.

Still a shame to see its end, though.

My favourite Corner Shop era was the 1980s. Alf Roberts (Bryan Mosley) inherited the shop when his wife, Renee (Madge Hindle) died in a road accident in 1980. Poor Alf was utterly bereft, but over a year later a certain Miss Audrey Potter (Sue Nicholls) turned his head slightly. And so it was in late 1981 that Alf finally had Renee's name painted out on the shop sign and replaced with his own.

In 1980, Alf had taken on Dierdre Langton (Anne Kirkbride) as his assistant at the shop, and she lived in the shop flat with her daughter, Tracy, until her marriage to Ken Barlow (William Roache) in 1981.

In 1985, Alf wed Audrey, and the scene was set for many years of fun - Alf being a cautious stick-in-the-mud, Audrey a flighty money-waster.

Alf's reign as Corner Shop proprietor, beginning in the summer of 1980, gave the show some stability during what turned out to be a turbulent decade. And he was completely dedicated to the place. In 1985, he proudly presided over its expansion and modernisation into Alf's Mini Market - a trendy new name, although, emblazioned across the main sign, were, of course, the words CORNER SHOP.

Audrey never really understood Alf's addiction to the shop. But Alf declared that shops had souls. He was well stirred-up in 1988, when Gail Tilsley (Helen Worth) started a sandwich round at Jim's Cafe in Rosamund Street and threatened his barm cake trade.

Audrey told Alf that barm cakes were really not in keeping with a modern mini market, but Alf declared that Tommy Foyle had first produced them there during the First World War, and they were part of the soul of the place!

The barm cake trade continued.

When Alf suffered a heart attack in 1987, he couldn't wait to get back to the Shop afterwards. Audrey told him to rest and wait - the Corner Shop would still be there long after they'd both shaken off their mortal coils.

Bryan Mosley - dependable Alf Roberts of the Corner Shop.

Praise for Alf - from the TV Times, 27 September - 3 October 1986:

Alf's got it right

Grumbling may be one of the characteristics of Coronation Street's Alf Roberts, played by Bryan Mosley, but his corner store is top-of-the-shops for service according to a recent national survey.

A shopfitting group's study says Alf has got it just right with his sense of service, and many other grocers in the North of England follow his example.

With Percy Sugden (Bill Waddington) rampant and Audrey at her height, Alf found much to peturb him at the Corner Shop in the '80s, but it all made for great entertainment, and fond memories of one of Corrie's original main locations.

Times change...


  1. The Corner Shop has had its day. The Street is now crowded with other shops. Most unnatural.

  2. I always used to call it "The Cornie" when I was kid - "Ere, Mam, Bet's gone in the Cornie to see Alf!"