Day 17 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.
In 1977, Ken Barlow’s estranged wife, Janet, returned to the Street. Kicked out by her lover, she turned up on Ken’s doorstep and begged him to take her back. He refused her advances but said that she could stay the night. Upstairs alone and frightened, she opened a bottle of pills and took the lot. Ken found her dead in the morning and initially the police suspected him of murdering her. Ken felt that death was stalking him, having lost his mother, father, brother and two wives. He turned to Rita Littlewood for comfort: ‘We’ve all had our nightmares Ken. We’re all the walking wounded, love. It’s just that some of us get more wounded than others.’
Suzie Birchall arrived on the Street fleeing her violent, abusive father. She talked Mike Baldwin into employing her in his boutique, ‘The Western Front’ and Elsie Tanner into letting her share a room with Gail Potter at no. 11. Elsie was amused by Suzie as she saw a lot of her younger self in her, which is probably why she let her get away with so much. She was an assertive, bubbly, forthright and fun-loving woman who liked men like Mike Baldwin who could show her a good time and had numerous flings during her time on the Street.
Convinced that she could be a big success as a model, she decided to try her luck in the bright lights of London. Instead she ended up working in pubs and burger bars. While there she met and fell in love with Terry Goodwin and got married. His true colours soon showed however as he became abusive so she returned to the safety of Weatherfield where Elsie took her in again. Terry came after her but Elsie protected her and made him see that there was no future in their marriage.
Suzie took a job as barmaid at the Rovers and threw herself at Mike again but he wasn’t interested. While she’d been away, her best friend Gail had settled down to married life with Brian and had had a son, Nicky. Jealous of her happiness, Suzie tried to seduce Gail’s husband but her plan backfired when he resisted her and told Gail. Elsie was disgusted and threw her out but Suzie thought her a hypocrite: ‘Come on Elsie, maybe I did go over the top but it’s not like you to take this high moral tone. I mean, Elsie Tanner, she used to be the biggest slag of the lot!’ She stormed away from the Street and, unfortunately, has not been seen again.
Also in 1977: Tracy Langton is born, Len Fairclough and Rita Littlewood tie the knot; Doris Speed receives the MBE; the residents hold a Silver Jubilee carnival; no. 13 becomes no. 12A; Annie Walker celebrates 40 years in the Rovers.