Day 26 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.
The producers wanted to give the Rovers a facelift and asked the writing team if they could write some episodes without the pub so that the set designers could have a chance to update the interior. The writers didn’t think it was feasible as the pub was such a pivotal part of the Coronation Street community but agreed that something needed to be done and came up with the idea of a fire which would mean that the Rovers would have to be closed while it was refurbished.
The story had Jack Duckworth changing a fuse but causing a small fire to break out in the fuse box which flared up after the Rovers had closed. Bet was trapped upstairs in her bedroom awoken by the smoke, she had to crawl out to the stairs and scream as she saw the flames lapping up the stairwell. When it came to film the scene the stairs had completely burnt out by the time she got to them and everything had to be reset.
Julie Goodyear has this to say about the subsequent action: ‘It was real fear the second time; I’d seen what fire could do. The fire brigade gave me oxygen every four minutes because the smoke was real.’ Floor manager John Friend Newman gave Julie the cue and she staggered towards the stairs, saw the flames and screamed. John shouted ‘Cut!’ then rushed forward, threw Julie to the floor and started beating out the flames round her feet. The director had been working so intently on getting the shot that he failed to notice that Julie’s nightdress was on fire. ‘I can assure you that the scream at the top of the staircase was authentic.’
Young mechanic Kevin Webster was driving the works van one January morning and drove through a puddle, splashing Sally Seddon who was on her way to a job interview. She flew into a rage as Kevin looked on dumbstruck and he took her back to Hilda’s to dry out. Romance blossomed but Hilda thought that Kevin could do better as the Seddon’s had a reputation for being common, rough and criminal. When Sally was thrown out by her parents, Hilda agreed to her moving in to no. 13, provided there was no shenanigans: ‘You know what I mean. I don’t have to draw no diagrams.’ Hilda eventually warmed to Sally and was as proud as punch when Kevin and Sally got married in October 1986.
Also in 1986: Rita Fairclough fosters Jenny Bradley; Susan Barlow marries Mike Baldwin; Ken Barlow hits Mike; Pat Phoenix dies; Vera Duckworth wins a car in a ‘Husband of the Year’ competition; Gail Tilsley has an affair with Ian Latimer; Terry Duckworth finds out he’s a father to Paul Clayton; Ken adopts Tracy.