Day 11 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.
1971 promised a fresh start for Ken Barlow and family as he accepted a job as a teacher in Jamaica. Valerie was concerned about leaving Uncle Albert behind but the thought of a better lifestyle away from Weatherfield for her and the twins won her over to the idea. They sold their car, bid farewell to the family and left the twins with Uncle Albert so they could enjoy their last night on the Street partying with their neighbours in the Rovers. Ken waited in the pub while Valerie got ready at home. She tried to mend the plug on her hairdryer with a vegetable peeler but this didn’t work and she ended up jamming the plug into an already overloaded socket. She let out a single gasp as the electricity shot through her and as she fell, she knocked an electric fire into a packing case. The credits rolled as flames licked around a teddy bear.
The fire at the Barlow’s gave the writers the chance to demolish the maisonettes which had never really fitted into the show. They were demolished after serious structural faults were brought to light by the fire and were replaced by a community centre and a mail order warehouse. These locations gave the writers much more scope for storylines and the introduction of new characters. The community centre soon became a hub for local activity with night classes, flower shows and amateur dramatics and new employees at the warehouse included Ivy Tilsley and Mavis Riley.
Also in 1971: Barlow twins move to Scotland; Annie Walker serves watered down gin; Irma Barlow (nee Ogden) leaves; Jerry Booth returns; Ernest Bishop proposes to Emily Nugent; Stan Ogden forms SODU (Stan Ogden District Union).