08 December 2010

Coronation Street 1980s - Part 4

Coronation Street is celebrating its 50th anniversary - half a century on-screen - and as a salute to the show, we've been taking a look at the Street in the 1980s, with a little help from our sister Blog, Back On The Street.

This week, we take a look at some of the events of 1987, when quite a lot of the drama centred around Corner Shop keeper Alf Roberts (Bryan Mosley). I was saddened by the demolition of the shop, the setting for the show's very first scene in 1960, during the 50th anniversary tram crash story-line. When I was a kid, I fantasised about owning the Corner Shop! Anyway, the shop survived the 1980s, and 1987 in Weatherfield saw no structural damage whatsoever!

Let's take a little trip back...

1987! This was the climactic year when the 1980s sealed their fate as being a one Prime Minister decade by electing Margaret Thatcher for a third term, and in Coronation Street the subject of women in politics was also on the agenda...

Ken Barlow (William Roache) had hoped to stand for the local council, but his position on The Weatherfield Recorder put paid to that when his boss raised objections. Ken contemplated chucking the job in and going ahead anyway, but decided he must back down, being a man with responsibilities.

Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) had already fallen out with Alf Roberts, the existing local Independent councillor, and her boss at the Corner Shop, over matters political. This had resulted in her walking out on the job as Alf's assistant at the shop, which she had held since 1980.

And the idea was then born... if Ken couldn't stand for the local council, why shouldn't Deirdre?

And so she did.

Enlisting the help of Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire), Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) and Susan Baldwin (Wendy Jane Walker), Deirdre sallied boldly forth.

Sally dropped out when she stepped into Deirdre's shoes at the Corner Shop. She couldn't very well campaign against her new boss. Deirdre totally approved.

Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) complimented Sally on her approach to work at the shop, and Sally was thrilled.

Having heard there was a flat above the shop, Sally asked Alf if she and Kevin (Michael Le Vell) could rent it, but Alf said no - it was being used as a store room.

Sally sought the aid of her current landlady, Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander), asking her to tell Alf that she and Kevin would shortly be moving away from the district. Alf, dreading finding a replacement during his busy campaigning period, gave in - and Kev and Sal moved into the shop flat.

When a local youngster was run over at a local accident black spot, where Deirdre was campaigning for a pedestrian crossing, her election campaign really took off. Ken used The Recorder to report the story, complete with a photograph of Deirdre and the unlucky youngster.

Deirdre won the election.

She celebrated her victory with a party at The Rovers, where she was hoisted by Ken and Pete Jackson (Ian Mercer) and paraded around the pub, whilst her supporters sang She's A Lassie From Lancashire around the piano.

Alf and Audrey (Sue Nicholls) had attended the party, at Audrey's insistence - she didn't want the neighbours thinking they were hiding away, crushed by defeat.

Alf, feeling unwell, left early.

And, alone at No 11, he collapsed with a heart attack.

Audrey found him on the floor when she returned from the party.

She was terrified. As Alf was stretchered into the ambulance, she said: "Please God let him be all right... just let him be all right..."

A crowd of onlookers had gathered in the dark street. Hilda was there, of course.

"What's happened?" asked Sally Webster.

"It's Alf Roberts," Hilda sucked in her breath. "It doesn't look good to me!"

"That's it, 'ilda, let's all look on the bright side, eh?!" said Betty Turpin (Betty Driver), scathingly.

Deidre was devastated - blaming herself for Alf's condition. If only she hadn't stood against him in the election.

With some changes to his diet and a decrease in stress levels, Alf was expected to make a full recovery, but Audrey still let Deirdre have it, both barrels, when she called at the Corner Shop to see if there was anything she could do to help:

"Getting 'im out so you could go in! Well, all I can say, lovey, is enjoy it while you can, because do you know life has a very funny way of comin' round - and one of these days somebody might just come along and do the same to you!"

When Audrey returned to the Street with Alf in a taxi, Deirdre was just leaving on her first official council function.

She greeted Alf warmly, and Alf returned the warmth, telling her he felt fine.

"You want to get 'im inside, he looks worn out!" said Percy Sugden (Bill Waddington) to Audrey.

Nobody could be more insensitive than well-meaning Percy, who then said of Deirdre and Ken:

"They're off to the mayor making, you know, where they elect the new mayor, then they decide who's going to be on various committees. Then they 'ave a slap-up lunch."

Talk about rubbing Alf's nose in it!

Alf's smile faded: "Yeah, well, I do know what a mayor making is. I've been to one or two in me time, Percy!"

Being at home at No 11, recuperating, got on Alf's nerves, particularly as Percy elected himself chief visitor. Deirdre also visited, and although Audrey was still frosty, Alf gave her advice about her position on the council and seemed to have accepted the situation.

But he wanted to get back to the Corner Shop. How he longed to get back to the Corner Shop! Audrey told him to stop worrying about the place, he'd be back there soon enough and anyway it would be there long after they'd both departed this mortal coil.

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