Friday, 2 January 2015

A Very Corrie Christmas

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2014.)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Although in the UK it seemed to begin towards the end of October and has been hanging on for dear life ever since. For Corrie fans everywhere its time for a little mistletoe and misery. However, it should always be remembered that Corrie has never managed to kill of its leading character under a Christmas tree on Christmas Day (see the ghost of Pauline Fowler for more details . . .)

Some of the Corrie festive shenanigans have been a little on the grim side. Some have been heart-warming. Most seem to have been laced with alcohol. Let's join the Ghost of Corrie Christmas Past (played by Ivy Tilsley in an overall) as she drags us back down the decades.

The 1960s. Swinging, young and free. Unless you were jammed under Ena Sharples' hairnet. The game old bird was found collapsed, the worse for drunk in 1960 and the following year was gobbing out pre-decimal currency like a one-armed bandit, thanks to a misplaced sixpence in a pudding. Bless her, she also had to watch her own daughter, the weary Vera, edge towards death a few years later but had put all that behind her to belt out a rousing rendition of 'Cockles and Mussels' with Emily in 1969. Emily. If the history books are to believed, the woman floated through the sixties in a haze of alcohol and tranquilisers. In 1962 she combined both. If she wasn't offering up foul-mouthed sing-songs in the Rovers, then Emily was hurling herself at the clergy. Remember Christmas 1968 Miss Nugent? In her drug-addled state, probably not.

The 1970s  - the decade that taste forgot but did that extend to Weatherfield? Albert Tatlock had a miserable couple of Yuletides. His 1970 Christmas pantomime has to be cancelled following a suicide on the cobbles. Leading the kids on a hokey-cokey through pools of blood wouldn't have raised much of a titter. The following year poor old Albert was abandoned by Ken who travelled north to visit his children's Scottish accents. Plus there was some old nonsense about Stan selling a cocktail cabinet in order to afford booze. 1972 though was a vintage Corrie Christmas. The scene was set on the Rovers for Rita to do her 'Marlene' impression followed by Bet, Betty and Norma joining us in Apple Blossom Time. A moment's silence too for Emily, staggering past with a bowl of fruit on her head. There were no tranquilisers to blame this time either.

The festive storylines of the seventies continued with the usual rich mixture of farce (1975's panto featuring Tricia Hopkins with a lovely black eye, thanks to Deirdre) and even greater face. The 1974 Christmas Day battle between Blanche Hunt's hefty lunch and Annie Walker's heavy high tea was fun. Of course, people often get thrown into each other's company and Annie found herself hosting Albert and Fred gee one year. In 1979, Ivy clenched her teeth and invited the perennially gin-soaked, lazy Audrey to her festive table. Dear old Emily ran true to form in 1978 and necked a few glasses of Eddie's home-made 'wine'. Let's face it, the woman was a lush.

With the eighties being the decade of greed and high camp, would any of this rub off on the good folk of the Street? No. 1980 brought Elsie an irritating Brummie grandson. Worse still, it brought Hilda a hideous wig which she sported at her drinks party which ended with Fred and a bin man scrapping for Audrey's affections. By the middle of the decade, Aude had snared her 'Alfeh' and his wallet. No more drunken Christmas clinches for her. 1982'a community centre dance was like a low-rent Strictly Come Dancing. Taking to the floor were Emily (sober) and the lovely Victor Pendlebury who were up against couple number two, Elsie Tanner and, grabbing a handful of her wherever he could, Chalkie Whiteley. Couple number three, Deirdre and Mike, quick stepped to the bedroom.

For the Barlows of course, every Christmas brings a crisis. In 1985 it was Susan's liason dangereuse with oily old Mike. By 1988, Deirdre's perm had been kidnapped and was being held hostage, the whole saga traumatising Tracey-luv. That could explain the last two and a half decades. Deirdre's neck-muscles were on over-drive at Christmas 1989 when her special gift from Ken was his acknowledgement of an affair with town hall trollop, Wendy Crozier.

Elsewhere there was unrequited love for Sharon 'Kennels' Gaskell from the hapless Curly, a squashed plum pudding on Alfeh's backside and heated rollers for Hilda as we wished her luck as we waved her goodbye.

Rubbish gifts seemed to be littered around the tree during the 1990s and an honourable mention goes to Vera (a packet of cigarettes for Jack), Ashley (a kitten for Maxine) and Audrey (nothing at all for Alfeh). 'Tis the season . . . Jack delivered unto Terry a punch in 1993 and six years later, Gary Mallett also treated himself to whacking our Terry in the mush. Had he stayed around for a few more years, we might have had Maud Grimes queuing up for a go. The one-man misery-fest known as Don Brennan had differing consecutive Christmases - one year he bought partner Josie a lovely new bike and the following year he treated the family to a suicide attempt. Gail may be no Mary Berry but it seemed an extreme measure in order to avoid her gravy.

Some of the festive fare was a little wanting elsewhere too. The Duckworths settled for a tin of soup in 1995 which was perhaps a tastier prospect than the Battersby's road kill turkey in 1997.  Having the right company around your table is also important. Bet gathered together a poor man's version of Loose Women in 1992 with Raquel, Rita, Phyllis and Denise. By 1999 the same back room was playing host to the depressing spectacle of Natalie, Kevin, Jim and Curly. Party hats anyone? Thought not.

The first Christmas of the new Millennium saw Eileen get a special gift on the big day - the return of her first born. It made for a more pleasant vista than the frankly horrific scenes of Dev and Deirdre getting jiggy the following year. A gift no one wanted. Speaking of which, some people received less than joyous prezzies during the decade. Tracy luv was given a house, Cilla received a bone and Vera presented Jack with a burial plot. Christmas lunches seemed to come in for less than reverential treatment. Cilla managed to explode her turkey, taking most of a shop with it. A flying visit from Maureen Webster spelled the end of Gail's plum pudding. Violence was ever-present too thanks to rooftop altercations between Tracy and Karen, a punch up between Kev and flaky John Stape and the terrorising of Jed Stone by pantomime murderer Tony Gordon. The final Christmas of the decade saw Molly dead, Ashley dead and Rita trapped under precariously balanced boxes of Ferrero Rocher with a tram jammed in her wig.

A new decade and it all kicked off in 2011. Rather than setting light to the Christmas pud, Becky goes one further and torches her entire flat. Eileen's three-ringed circus enters town courtesy of her mawkish involvement with fireman Paul and his ill wife. By 2012, Leanne Barlow was on the verge of becoming Mrs Tilsley yet again, all tatty fake fur and tiara. Eva turned bunny boiler and wrecked the wedding. Nick bedded Kylie as a sort of consolation. Bad idea. Poor old Marcus not knowing if he was Arthur or Martha, invited his parents to meet his new other half. What better gift than to discover that their son had  settled down with the lovely and not unstable in any way whatsoever Maria.

Christmas 2013 on t'cobbles of doom were more bitter than sweet. Nick got into the swing of the festive season by thumping Leanne. Meanwhile Hayley was hurling her last snowball, Carla signed over a chunk of her business and Michelle took delight in receiving a green blouse. It had plenty of room in the arms to accommodate her regular 'folding' motion.

A Corrie Christmas  - like nothing else on earth. It's a day of high drama, jolly japes and fraught family meals. Sound familiar? Merry Christmas!

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