Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Victor Pendlebury - A Romantic Soul

In 1983, when Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) and Victor Pendlebury (Christopher Coll) set out for the Lake District, everything seemed set fair, despite one or two misgivings from Mavis.

Upon return, their views of what had passed were so different. Victor, a true romantic, deemed it a great success; Mavis, a true romantic but only when surrounded by her creature comforts, deemed it a failure.

But what about the owl, THEIR owl, looking down on them one night, Victor asked. Hadn't Mavis felt that the owl wanted them to be together?

"It was raining!" was all Mavis could say.


Christopher Coll played Victor Pendlebury, dubbed "The Saddleworth Sage" by Rita Fairclough, in the 1980s.

What If... Coronation Street had 21st Century Style Story-lines In The '60s, '70s and '80s?

"That new couple from Mawdsley Street seem nice. She works in't kitchens at Imperial Hotel. He's a dry cleaner by day, serial killer by night."

Imagine if 21st Century-style Corrie story-lines had run rampant in the show's early years, wreaking a trail of explosions, serial killers, dark secrets and ghostly visitations across the first three decades.

Would viewers have switched off in droves, or been desperate for more? Here's how a few TV listing magazine synopsis for our favourite soap may have looked in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s:


Myra Booth's marriage is in trouble. She decides to murder Jerry - and the pot dog on the mantelpiece may be the perfect weapon.

Len murders Nellie and says she has run off with the insurance man.

Florrie Lindley has a nervous breakdown and blows up the Corner Shop.

Jack Walker continues to psychologically abuse Annie.

Stan suspects that Alan, Elsie's new boyfriend, is the serial killer.

Evil young builder Ray Langton meets a nasty end when Lucille Hewitt gets on his case.

The Vestry is devastated by a huge explosion. 


Shock for Emily...

A power cut is the perfect time for a serial killer to strike...

Pulled from the flaming rubble of her maisonette, a dying Valerie Barlow confesses to Emily Bishop that Ernest is the father of the twins.

Renee Bradshaw admits that Suzie Birchall is her long-lost daughter.

Sick to the back teeth of men, Bet decides to kill Stan Ogden. She goes to prison, but is released quickly on a technicality, and returns to the Street to continue her reign of nastiness.

It's not snowing anywhere else in England, but the Street has a white Christmas.

Steve Fisher reveals his dark side (typical man!).

A flying duck ornament becomes a murder weapon.

Where was Ken when the murders took place?

Rita is taken hostage at the Kabin.


Eeek - Mavis turns.

Deranged Fred Gee drives Annie Walker into the canal.

As the factory blows up, Mavis murders Derek and Victor, and decides to use the explosion to cover her actions.

Curly buys a gun.

The Claytons beat a hasty retreat before Connie's terrifying secrets can be revealed...

Nasty Alan Bradley comes unstuck when his business is blown up by a deranged ex-girlfriend.

Hilda is comforted by a visit from Stan's ghost.

As Percy tries to find out who sat on his Christmas pudding, he begins to suspect that it might have been a serial killer.

Driven mad by Corner Shop assistant Sally Webster's nasal twang and smug ways, Alf Roberts picks up a tin of pineapple chunks and...

Monday, 21 November 2011

The New Houses - Completed In 1989

In Coronation Street, it seemed that the building of the new side of the street began in September 1989 and most of the building work was completed before the end of the decade. We've been exploring that story-line recently, but Ian has recently studied all the relevant episodes and has written to tell us that, in reality, all the building work on that side of the street began and ended in 1989.

I now have all the episodes from August 1989 to January 1990 and have been able to study the building of the new houses, the story-line time frame and the real time frame, bearing in mind that the show was recorded at least three to four weeks in advance. I've read your stuff on here, and would like to add my findings - made whilst studying the episodes concerned this week.

It was a great story because here was the Street undergoing immense change. New Exec Producer David Liddiment had decided to update the show in the summer of 1989 and had travelled around real Coronation Street terrace disticts where he saw modern houses and industrial units springing up beside the old houses. This seemed perfect for Coronation Street, with the show about to go three times a week, allowing much more story-line potential. In the story, the factory and community centre frontages were demolished in September 1989 (in reality, August 1989). That side of the Street was then boarded off and the production team teased us with very occasional glimpses of the new side of the Street going up.

In an episode broadcast on 1 December 1989 (recorded November) we were treated to an aerial view of the site with work in progress. In an episode transmitted on 11 December 1989 (recorded November), we glimpsed the nearly completed salon. In an episode broadcast on 1 January 1990 (recorded November or December 1989) we saw Steve McDonald drive a JCB from what is now the yard in front of the factory unit and garage into the Corner Shop window - and glimpsed part of the frontage of what is now Gail's house. In an episode broadcast on 8 January 1990 (recorded December 1989), Ken Barlow drove up the Street to visit Deirdre and we glimpsed the completed Kabin, waiting to have its windows put in (I think one was already there).

The evidence points to the new side of the Street being built in reality from August to December 1989. In January 1990, teaser shots of the completed houses appeared in various magazines (in the story-line the finishing touches were being made) and in February 1990 Des and Steph Barnes moved in - the first new residents.

Thanks for that, Ian - I've received a few queries about the new houses and all now seems clear. It was a very ambitious project for the Street and I remember enjoying every moment as the girls struggled to get compensation for losing their jobs at the factory, the bulding site lads brawled in the Rovers, Alan Bradley used a job on the site to terrorise Rita and Tina Fowler became involved with labourer Eddie Ramsden. And I love the way we were "teased" with glimpses of what was being built.

A great era for the Street.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

1989: The New Side Of The Street

Opening shot from 1989 - a wet and misty morning in the street, with building work in full swing.

Chris has written:

When did work start on the new houses in the street? And how did the building work affect the program?

The factory and community centre were demolished in September 1989 in the story-line, Chris. As I wrote elsewhere on this blog recently, the programme was recorded some weeks in advance, so it's safe to assume that the demolition took place in reality at the latest in August and the building work on the new houses, shops and industrial units then began.

Interior daytime scenes in the old terrace then had building site noises as a background, and the site was used to introduce Eddie Ramsden (William Ivory), a worker there who became a love interest for Rovers barmaid Tina Fowler (Michelle Holmes), and as a place for ominous Alan Bradley (Mark Eden) to work and continue to terrorise Rita Fairclough (Barbara Knox). On December 1 1989, the police, believing that Alan had killed Rita and buried her body there, dug up part of the site filled in when Rita disappeared - which may have played host to a shallow grave! These scenes would actually have been recorded in November. In a scene broadcast on 11 December 1989, the salon is glimpsed nearing completion and recognisable as the building it is today. Once again, the episode would have been recorded in November.

Remembering that the show was recorded several weeks in advance, it is interesting to note that the first new residents moved in in February 1990.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Claytons - Being Boring?

Connie Clayton: "Eee, Andrea, don't take on, love. We're not boring. What with Sue and her lack of academic qualifications, me an' me dressmaking, you an' your lovely perm and your dad and his trombone, who could possibly call us boring?"

Thursday, 17 November 2011

More About The Pillar Box...

Post Office official souvenir cover - introduction of the new style posting box, 31 July, 1980.

We wrote about the poor old Coronation Street pillar box destroyed by a tram in the (then) latest story-line for sensation hungry viewers last year. Replaced with a new style box apparently from Planet Zog, we now discover that it is from Planet 1980s as Postmaster General has written with the details:

The original box from the sixties was a double ring box with the Victorian cipher. I think the box was a replica, possibly fibreglass, I did see a good closeup on youtube. The famous box that was destroyed by the tram was an odds and sods box. It was fitted with a George 5th door on a later Elizabeth 2nd body, made by Carron Company. The present box is known as a K-type, and this particular one is made by Carronade, I just caught a glimpse of the maker's name one day whilst watching. There were five makers through the years of this box, which started in 1980, finished 2000.

Many thanks. So, Coronation Street now has a 1980s-style pillar box, very like the one in Brookside Close way back then.