Sunday, 30 June 2013

Evil '80s: Part 1 - Sally Seddon/Webster

"Go into business on your own account, Kev, let's get our own house, Kev, brush that scambled egg out of your 'tache, Kev..."

Many moons ago, I began a series on this blog entitled Sadistic '60s, Savage '70s, Evil '80s. Those posts were designed to highlight the darker side of each decade as it was lived in Weatherfield. But, as regular Back On the Street readers know, blog posts here tend to be few and far between. However, having already launched the Sadistic '60s and Savage '70s strands ages ago, I'm now ready to give you the first glimpse of the evil side of '80s life as experienced in that little back street sandwiched between Viaduct Street and Rosamund Street.

And what is my first topic of conversation here? Betty Turpin being mugged? Suzie attempting to bed Gail's Brian? Hilda being knocked on the head by a burglar? Rita nearly being smothered by Alan Bradley? Nope. It's Sally Seddon/Webster. I have the greatest respect and even liking (if her interviews are anything to go by) for actress Sally Dynevor, who made her screen debut as the other Sally in early 1986, but Ms Seddon/Mrs Webster drove me up the wall from the start. And I wondered at the calculated cruelty of the Corrie production team for foisting her on us. It was pure wickedness, I reckoned.

And here's why...

Sally made her debut when she was splashed by Kevin Webster as he motored through a puddle whilst she was stood on the pavement. From then on, Kev's life changed drastically. And so did the lives of the viewers as squawking Sally, with her horrifying nasal twang, became a Weatherfield regular.

What was up with the girl? For a start, her family were considered to be dog rough, but that was nothing to judge her by. No, give everybody a fair chance, that's what I say. But Sally quickly developed from a squawky, possible vixen type into a squawky, smugly married type, and, whilst her gloriously wayward sister, Gina, sometimes dreamt of being a yuppie, Sally went all out to push her hubby up the upward mobility ladder. Surely he should have his own business, instead of working for Brian Tilsley? Surely they should have their own house, instead of living in the Corner Shop flat? And so on. She wanted it all. And she wanted it now.

On top of that, Sally invaded the aforementioned Corner Shop in 1987, getting a job behind the counter, and squawking "Mr Roberts" this and "Mr Roberts!" that all day. Despite her crawling way of calling him "Mr Roberts", she could sometimes be incredibly patronising, even downright rude, to her employer, who was old enough to be her father and, as the Corner Shop cornerstone of the Street, deserved respect, and her dreadful smugness increased to such an extent we wanted to fetch up our nouvelle cuisine.

And as for being a modern Miss/Mrs... what the hell was Sally doing squawking away to Shakin' Stevens's Lipstick, Powder and Paint at a party in late 1987? I mean, good grief! No House Nation? Nope. Was she simple? And whilst both Kev and Sal were supposed to be contemporaries of mine, it never seemed at all obvious to me when it came to their attitudes. What a pair of young fogies! When Sally squawked in the Corner Shop in the early 1990s that children were much cheekier than when she was at school, I was amazed. Sally was born in 1967. Me in 1965. When I was at school, the kids' language would make a docker blush, some terrorised local people, we striked and rioted at the comprehensive school I attended, and Sid Vicious and glue sniffing were trendy. Where on earth had Sally gone to school? One did wonder if some of the scriptwriters were getting a bit past it, putting rubbish like that in young characters' dialogue.

So, whenever Sally appeared, I wanted to squawk myself - "OH MY GAWD! NO!" - and run from the room.

Having said all that, what a fabulous actress Sally Dynevor is! I approached on-line interviews with her in more recent years with great trepidation, expecting that Sally D just had to be Sally W in reality, so convincing was that dreadful screen entity. But far from it, she seems self-effacing, witty and downright nice.

If only Sally W could have been!

But then again, characters who make us want to lob a brick through the TV screen are a highly necessary part of soap opera. And I haven't watched Corrie or any other soap since the late 1990s, so Sally W might be absolutely lovely by now. She might have mellowed into a real luv.

Although I somehow doubt it!

She's definitely a fitting topic for the first in our Evil '80s strand.

More on the Sadistic '60s and Savage '70s soon.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Alf Roberts Voted Favourite Corner Shop Owner

Alf Roberts was wedded to the Corner Shop in Coronation Street from 1980 when he inherited it from his wife, Renee, until the early 1990s. In 1985, Alf dragged the Corner Shop out of the mid-1960s and into the mid-1980s by converting it into "Alf's Mini-Market", but the words "CORNER SHOP" appeared for the very first time on the main sign above the door - and remained there. When he retired, he took the bacon slicer with him as a souvenir. So devoted was he, that he bought the shop back again after the untimely death of its new owner in 1993!

Well, this news is slightly out-of-date, in fact it happened in May, but we're finally doing some updates here and, as you know, being a retro Coronation Street blog, our updates usually concern the past, and this one is no different!

We were delighted to discover that Alf Roberts was voted by Coronation Street Blog readers as their favourite Corner Shop owner (read all about it here). Alf, played by Bryan Mosley, inherited the Corner Shop when his wife Renee was tragically killed in a road accident in the summer of 1980, and from then on was wedded to it - even after he married Audrey Potter in 1985! We sang Alf's praises in 2010 on this blog (here) and we're so happy that his time as owner of the Corner Shop is so fondly remembered by Coronation Street Blog fans too.

Here's to the memory of Alf, and Bryan Mosley - the actor who brought him to life on-screen.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Back On The Street - The Big Question: " 'Oo's She?"

Well, lovey, we couldn't be bothered with a Sunday roast. Bought some barm cakes from Alf Roberts at the Corner Shop yesterday and 'ad 'em for our dinner today - three 'am, two cheese 'n' a corn beef. We've sided pots and we're just puttin' our feet up with a nice box of mint imperials. Before we settle down to a lovely evening in front o't telly, we thought we'd give yer a little bit of a brain teaser: here's a young madam who lived in Weatherfield many moons ago. She were nowt but trouble - yer can ask anyone, ask Ida Clough - but who were she? Ooh, nasty perm. But they were all the rage when she lived 'ere.

Alf Roberts from the Corner Shop - "Three 'am, two cheese, 'n' a corn beef". He knows who she was.