Thursday, 31 July 2014
1982: A New Regular At The Rovers!
"Oh, she's been a regular since last Wednesday!" says Bet.
So, what was that all about?
Well, the Queen had just officially opened the new exterior set of Coronation Street. Work had commenced in November 1981, and the set had been completed in 1982. It remained in use until the recent move.
The 1982 set was a vast improvement on the old, which had no chimneys and had been built in a strange dislocated fashion that looked nothing like real houses when viewed from the side.
Or certain other angles.
Try viewing footage of the sale of Minnie Caldwell's house from 1976. As the camera closes in on the "For Sale" sign, Emily Bishop's bedroom net curtain next door is fluttering in the cold breeze and there is a glimpse of scaffolding and sky behind it.
HV Kershaw wrote of the 1982 set: At last we had a real street!
It was larger, more life-size than the old, had a proper roof and back, and fibre glass chimneys with TV aerials fixed to them. The cobblestones were also properly aligned with the fronts of the houses. It was brilliant.
But the 1982 set also had one other major difference from the old frontage, established in the late 1960s, and that was the lack of graffiti round about, and smashed windows above the viaduct arches.
Was the Street going upwardly mobile? If so, 1982 was a little early in the decade.
It has to be pointed out that the old exterior looked more rundown and downright seedy than the production team intended as it had become a magnet for weekend vandals, who did a great deal of damage and left some pretty grotty evidence of their visits to be cleaned up.
Of course, the Street did go "upwardly mobile" as the 1980s progressed, with both the Rovers and the Corner Shop being refitted midway through the decade and the new side of the Street being built in 1989.
And 1989 also brought us the Duckworths' stone cladding.
Dead posh, eh, chuck?
But back to 1982 and the featured cartoon: I had to smile on noticing the "Rovers Return Vs Crossroads" darts match poster on the Snug partition. Crossroads, the Midlands-based motel soap, was the Street's main rival back in 1982. No EastEnders.
Flamin' Nora! Haven't times changed?