Brian Armstrong completed his six-month term as producer with Episode 1183 in May. His successor was Eric Prytherch, who had previously worked on the show as a director. From this point onwards, Coronation Street would get a new producer every two or three years, instead of every few months as before, thus giving each producer a greater chance to put their individual stamp on the series. Meanwhile, H.V. Kershaw returned to the role of executive producer for the last time with Episode 1222 on 2nd October.
Setting the stage
The year began with a change at the Corner Shop caused by Sandra Gough's sacking the year before. In May, a new assistant arrived in the form of Diana Davies as Norma Ford, who would become a surrogate daughter to Maggie Clegg. Norma's role was built up with the addition of her father Jacko, who crossed paths with Cyril Turpin as he made a life for himself outside Strangeways Prison. This was one of two return stints for Cyril, who wasn't seen again after July due to actor William Moore's disinterest in reprising the role.
The main addition to the cast was Barbara Mullaney as Rita Littlewood. Although this was eventually revealed to be the same character Mullaney played in Episode 415 in 1964, the role was originally an entirely new one named Mrs Bates, who had a husband named Harry and two children. It was only after Mullaney had been playing the part for several weeks that producers decided to link her characters together, giving Mrs Bates the first name Rita and tweaking her background, making her Harry's common-law wife and not the children's biological mother. This allowed writers to phase out the Bates family and instead concentrate on Rita's cabaret career and her romance with Len Fairclough. By the end of the year, Rita and Len were established as the programme's new power couple.
A stated aim of Prytherch's was to build Coronation Street's younger cast back up. Nothing ever came of these plans, though there were some new faces. Rita's storylines saw comic actor Roy Barraclough cast in his fourth and most famous role in the programme: theatrical agent Alec Gilroy. Barraclough was subsequently asked to play Alec full-time, but he didn't take up the offer until 1986. Another notable debut was 18-year-old Anne Kirkbride as Deirdre Hunt, seen in November as a "floozy" entertaining Alan Howard and Jimmy Frazer at The Vine pub. In this one-off appearance, Deirdre did not sport her famous glasses.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Farrington returned to filming as Billy Walker after taking six months off, original cast members Doreen Keogh and Daphne Oxenford briefly reprised their roles of Concepta Hewitt and Esther Hayes, with the latter appearing for the last time at Emily and Ernest Bishop's wedding, and Ivy Tilsley and Mavis Riley made further appearances prior to becoming regular characters later in the decade. In July, a replacement for the MIA Dave Smith was introduced in the form of Scouse bookie Benny Lewis, played by Jeremy Young. Benny later branched out into clubs when he opened The Capricorn with Jimmy Frazer, giving Rita a regular singing spot there. Despite their early prominence, both Benny and the Capricorn did not last long with neither appearing after February 1973.
An expansion of the Grape Street set occurred with the construction of the rears of the houses, the back yards and the ginnel. These locations had rarely featured since the debut of the outdoor set in 1968, as the programme abandoned studio recording for scenes set outdoors at the same time. Episode 1245 on 20th December was the first episode to include a ginnel scene.
A new Coronation Street spin-off was proposed in 1972. Entitled Rest Assured, the series was a comedy drama which would have been produced by Harry Kershaw and followed the misadventures of Ray Langton and Jerry Booth in their new jobs as insurance salesmen. A Kershaw-penned half-hour pilot episode Lift Off was shot, starring Neville Buswell, Graham Haberfield, Gwyneth Powell and Margaret Shevlin and Fred Feast. The episode made no mention of Ray and Jerry's lives in Weatherfield, making it unclear how it would have fitted in with Coronation Street had the series been commissioned.
One episode from 1972 - 1202, broadcast on 24th July - is missing from the ITV archive, and is the only standard episode of Coronation Street not confirmed to exist. An additional episode of the programme numbered 1203A does exist, which consists mostly of repeated material from Episode 1203 along with some eight minutes of reshot scenes which cover the necessary storylines from 1202. The most plausible explanation is that the only copy of 1202 was lost or destroyed at some point soon after transmission and these scenes were recorded in order to fill the narrative gap, as the programme could not be sold abroad otherwise.
The highest-rated installment of 1972 was Episode 1171, shown on 5th April, which was Emily and Ernest Bishop's wedding. The episode drew an audience of 18.26 million viewers. Overall, ratings dropped by nearly a million viewers from 1971 to an average of 14.82 million viewers. Both the peak and the average were the lowest since 1961. April was the only month to increase its audience from 1971, while February and December saw the biggest drops, of over 1.5 million viewers.
For the first time since Coronation Street was fully networked, none of the year's episodes reached number one in the viewing charts, a drop from 21 in 1971. In 1972, Granada started showing ATV's Crossroads, and as a result the Midlands soap became fully networked for the first time since it began in 1964. By 1972, its ratings were comparable with Coronation Street, and for a few years it regularly outrated the Granada serial. 1972 was the Street's ratings low point of its first twenty years, though things would soon improve.
The year also saw the transmission of the last Christmas Day edition of the programme until 1985, and the only one of the 1970s. Coronation Street traditionally rated badly at Christmas, and this year was no exception with an audience of 7,191,800 viewers (the lowest rating of the year). After this, no episode of the Street would be shown on Christmas even if it fell on a Monday or Wednesday.
|1||1144||Monday 3rd January||Tony Perrin||Desmond McCarthy||6,900,000|
|2||1145||Wednesday 5th January||Julian Roach||Desmond McCarthy||7,700,000|
|3||1146||Monday 10th January||Susan Pleat||Colin Cant||7,500,000|
|4||1147||Wednesday 12th January||Kay McManus||Colin Cant||7,900,000|
|5||1148||Monday 17th January||Malcolm Lynch||Roger Tucker||7,600,000|
|6||1149||Wednesday 19th January||Brian Finch||Roger Tucker||7,900,000|
|7||1150||Monday 24th January||Tony Perrin||Eric Prytherch||7,400,000|
|8||1151||Wednesday 26th January||Leslie Duxbury||Eric Prytherch||8,150,000|
|9||1152||Monday 31st January||Susan Pleat||Colin Cant||7,750,000|
|10||1153||Wednesday 2nd February||Malcolm Lynch||Colin Cant||7,850,000|
|11||1154||Monday 7th February||Brian Finch||Roger Tucker||7,750,000|
|12||1155||Wednesday 9th February||Leslie Duxbury||Roger Tucker||7,600,000|
|13||1156||Monday 14th February||Kay McManus||Carol Wilks||6,050,000|
|14||1157||Wednesday 16th February||Bernard Aspen||Carol Wilks||6,600,000|
|15||1158||Monday 21st February||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||7,100,000|
|16||1159||Wednesday 23rd February||Leslie Duxbury||Colin Cant||6,900,000|
|17||1160||Monday 28th February||Malcolm Lynch||Roger Tucker||7,050,000|
|18||1161||Wednesday 1st March||Barry Hill||Roger Tucker||7,000,000|
|19||1162||Monday 6th March||Malcolm Lynch||Eric Prytherch||7,600,000|
|20||1163||Wednesday 8th March||Brian Finch||Eric Prytherch||7,550,000|
|21||1164||Monday 13th March||Kay McManus|
|22||1165||Wednesday 15th March||Julian Roach||Tim Jones||7,550,000|
|23||1166||Monday 20th March||Malcolm Lynch||Desmond McCarthy||7,400,000|
|24||1167||Wednesday 22nd March||Leslie Duxbury||Desmond McCarthy||7,600,000|
|25||1168||Monday 27th March||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||7,750,000|
|26||1169||Wednesday 29th March||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||7,550,000|
|27||1170||Monday 3rd April||Susan Pleat||Eric Prytherch||5,850,000|
|28||1171||Wednesday 5th April||Leslie Duxbury||Eric Prytherch||8,300,000|
|29||1172||Monday 10th April||Kay McManus||Roger Tucker||7,400,000|
|30||1173||Wednesday 12th April||Adele Rose||Roger Tucker||7,450,000|
|31||1174||Monday 17th April||Brian Finch||Colin Cant||7,300,000|
|32||1175||Wednesday 19th April||Malcolm Lynch||Colin Cant||7,400,000|
|33||1176||Monday 24th April||Susan Pleat||Desmond McCarthy||7,400,000|
|34||1177||Wednesday 26th April||Leslie Duxbury||Desmond McCarthy||7,400,000|
|35||1178||Monday 1st May||Adele Rose||Eric Prytherch||7,100,000|
|36||1179||Wednesday 3rd May||Julian Roach||Eric Prytherch||7,200,000|
|37||1180||Monday 8th May||Adele Rose||Roger Tucker||7,100,000|
|38||1181||Wednesday 10th May||Brian Finch||Roger Tucker||7,200,000|
|39||1182||Monday 15th May||Kay McManus||Colin Cant||6,800,000|
|40||1183||Wednesday 17th May||Leslie Duxbury||Colin Cant||6,800,000|
|41||1184||Monday 22nd May||Julian Roach||Eric Prytherch||6,200,000|
|42||1185||Wednesday 24th May||Malcolm Lynch||Eric Prytherch||6,850,000|
|43||1186||Monday 29th May||Adele Rose||Roger Tucker||5,550,000|
|44||1187||Wednesday 31st May||Brian Finch||Roger Tucker||6,200,000|
|45||1188||Monday 5th June||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||6,000,000|
|46||1189||Wednesday 7th June||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||6,550,000|
|47||1190||Monday 12th June||Leslie Duxbury||Unknown||6,450,000|
|48||1191||Wednesday 14th June||Leslie Duxbury||Unknown||6,400,000|
|49||1192||Monday 19th June||Susan Pleat||Roger Tucker||6,300,000|
|50||1193||Wednesday 21st June||Leslie Duxbury||Roger Tucker||6,550,000|
|51||1194||Monday 26th June||Brian Finch||Colin Cant||6,550,000|
|52||1195||Wednesday 28th June||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||6,250,000|
|53||1196||Monday 3rd July||Malcolm Lynch||Gerry Mill||6,900,000|
|54||1197||Wednesday 5th July||Adele Rose||Gerry Mill||5,650,000|
|55||1198||Monday 10th July||Julian Roach||Joe Boyer||6,100,000|
|56||1199||Wednesday 12th July||Malcolm Lynch||Joe Boyer||5,200,000|
|57||1200||Monday 17th July||Leslie Duxbury||Colin Cant||5,400,000|
|58||1201||Wednesday 19th July||Susan Pleat||Colin Cant||5,350,000|
|59||1202||Monday 24th July||Adele Rose||Gerry Mill||5,550,000|
|60||1203||Wednesday 26th July||Brian Finch||Gerry Mill||5,050,000|
|61||1204||Monday 31st July||Bernard Aspen||Joe Boyer||6,324,000|
|62||1205||Wednesday 2nd August||Adele Rose||Joe Boyer||5,436,000|
|63||1206||Monday 7th August||Adele Rose||Paul Bernard||6,279,000|
|64||1207||Wednesday 9th August||Leslie Duxbury||Paul Bernard||5,815,000|
|65||1208||Monday 14th August||Julian Roach||Nick Burrell-Davis||5,981,000|
|66||1209||Wednesday 16th August||Julian Roach||Nick Burrell-Davis||5,966,000|
|67||1210||Monday 21st August||Malcolm Lynch||Joe Boyer||5,915,000|
|68||1211||Wednesday 23rd August||Brian Finch||Joe Boyer||5,660,000|
|69||1212||Monday 28th August||Julian Roach||Paul Bernard||4,521,000|
|70||1213||Wednesday 30th August||Barry Hill||Paul Bernard||5,231,000|
|71||1214||Monday 4th September||Adele Rose||Nick Burrell-Davis||6,121,000|
|72||1215||Wednesday 6th September||Leslie Duxbury||Nick Burrell-Davis||5,843,000|
|73||1216||Monday 11th September||H.V. Kershaw||Colin Cant||6,664,000|
|74||1217||Wednesday 13th September||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||6,630,000|
|75||1218||Monday 18th September||Brian Finch||Joe Boyer||6,762,000|
|76||1219||Wednesday 20th September||Brian Finch||Joe Boyer||6,218,000|
|77||1220||Monday 25th September||Brian Finch||Nick Burrell-Davis||6,700,000|
|78||1221||Wednesday 27th September||Leslie Duxbury||Nick Burrell-Davis||6,500,000|
|79||1222||Monday 2nd October||Adele Rose||Colin Cant||7,200,000|
|80||1223||Wednesday 4th October||Kay McManus||Colin Cant||6,350,000|
|81||1224||Monday 9th October||Julian Roach||Oliver Horsbrugh||7,000,000|
|82||1225||Wednesday 11th October||Susan Pleat||Oliver Horsbrugh||6,600,000|
|83||1226||Monday 16th October||Leslie Duxbury||Nick Burrell-Davis||7,200,000|
|84||1227||Wednesday 18th October||Brian Finch||Nick Burrell-Davis||6,550,000|
|85||1228||Monday 23rd October||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||7,150,000|
|86||1229||Wednesday 25th October||Julian Roach||Colin Cant||6,900,000|
|87||1230||Monday 30th October||Brian Finch||Oliver Horsbrugh||7,150,000|
|88||1231||Wednesday 1st November||Brian Finch||Oliver Horsbrugh||6,800,000|
|89||1232||Monday 6th November||Leslie Duxbury||Joe Boyer||7,150,000|
|90||1233||Wednesday 8th November||Leslie Duxbury||Joe Boyer||6,600,000|
|91||1234||Monday 13th November||Susan Pleat||Colin Cant||7,350,000|
|92||1235||Wednesday 15th November||Bernard Aspen||Colin Cant||7,400,000|
|93||1236||Monday 20th November||Brian Finch||Oliver Horsbrugh||7,000,000|
|94||1237||Wednesday 22nd November||Stanley Wood||Oliver Horsbrugh||6,950,000|
|95||1238||Monday 27th November||Barry Hill||Joe Boyer||7,201,000|
|96||1239||Wednesday 29th November||Leslie Duxbury||Joe Boyer||7,224,000|
|97||1240||Monday 4th December||Leslie Duxbury||Colin Cant||6,973,000|
|98||1241||Wednesday 6th December||Barry Hill||Colin Cant||7,080,000|
|99||1242||Monday 11th December||Julian Roach||Oliver Horsbrugh||7,161,000|
|100||1243||Wednesday 13th December||Bernard Aspen||Oliver Horsbrugh||6,971,000|
|101||1244||Monday 18th December||Susan Pleat||Joe Boyer||7,068,000|
|102||1245||Wednesday 20th December||Kay McManus||Joe Boyer||7,122,000|
|103||1246||Monday 25th December||Brian Finch||Colin Cant||3,269,000|
|104||1247||Wednesday 27th December||Kay McManus||Colin Cant||5,963,000|
- Ernie Bishop is completing his assignment in Holland. Emily Nugent's Auntie May falls ill and she is forced to move her into the Camera Shop flat with her. Ernie returns and isn't pleased by the old lady's presence.
- Maggie Clegg and Lucille Hewitt scrub the slate as a New Year's resolution. Maggie needs a permanent assistant. Betty Turpin wants to help her but Annie Walker can't spare her from the Rovers. Betty wants to make the shop a family business.
- Gerald Prince courts Annie but they finish quickly when she tells him she only wants a friendship.
- Edna Gee and Ivy Tilsley try to bring Elsie Howard out of herself and take her out in the evening. Nevertheless she feels alone. Len Fairclough returns and refuses to console her, saying she's hurt him enough in the past. Unable to bear the separation any more, Elsie asks Alan to come home and they are reconciled.
- Billy Walker returns from London. The business in Chiswick fell through and he owes £3,000. Annie wants to give him the £2,000 she got from the insurance company when Jack Walker died but he refuses it. Billy tells Alan he's got to sell the Canal Garage and if he can come up with £2,500, it's his. Annie is delighted when Billy agrees to work at the Rovers and be on the pay roll.
- Lucille Hewitt and Lorraine Binks asks Ernie to take publicity photographs of their go-go dancing business and agree to let Ray Langton be their agent. He gets the girls a booking near Oldham.
- Ken starts at Bessie Street School. Headteacher Wilfred Perkins doesn't approve of his caring teaching techniques. Ken gives pupil Terry Bates detention without listening to his excuses and is rebuked by Perkins. Ken tells Terry to tell his mum not to work him so hard on domestic chores but to concentrate on schoolwork. Mrs Rita Bates is angry over Ken's interference and Ken visits her. He tells her he just wants Terry to do well. She promises not to work Terry too hard.
- Alan gets the money to buy the garage but is evasive as to its source. He tells Elsie he got the money from his accountant but Mr Vine tells a suspicious Elsie he couldn't raise it when she questions him. Elsie asks Len to find out where the money came from. She performs the opening ceremony and confronts Alan over the money. He tells her he got it from a business source but admits to Len that he got the money from ex-wife Laura Howard. Alan has to visit Laura to discuss the deal behind Elsie's back. She makes him promise to see their son Mark but also promises him that5 there are no strings attached to the loan.
- Stan Ogden promises to take Hilda anywhere she likes for her birthday. They arrange to go to Paris for the day however he is terrified of the thought of flying there.
- The Ogdens miss the plane to France when Stan panics in the terminal and needs fresh air. They get drunk in the airport bar and kid on they've been to France when they return home.
- Ken and Mrs Bates set to writing to each other over Terry.
- Billy takes an interest in Lorraine. Ray warns him off her but Lucille tells Ray he doesn't stand a chance himself.
- Maggie becomes very nosey suddenly about the residents and reveals she's enrolled in the Open University, taking a Social Services course.
- Len enquires about how Ena is coping at the Community Centre. She is put in charge of the new colour TV there which is stolen when she forgets to lock the door. The committee decides she will have to have a helper. Affronted, she scares off all who think of applying except for Albert Tatlock who is accepted as co-caretaker but Ena refuses to work with him until it is pointed out that if she doesn't she'll lose the job. She insists on being called 'Senior Caretaker'.
- Ernie wants to put Auntie May in a home but the old lady has a relapse and cannot be moved. Emily and Ernie despair as the wedding seems further away but decide on an Easter wedding when Ernie decides that May can live with them after all. However she refuses and Emily books her into the Bluebells old folks' home. They set the wedding date for 3rd April - Easter Monday.
- Maggie gets a letter from Irma Barlow. She's back in Llandudno and she wants all her money out of the shop. Cyril Turpin tells Betty they could become Maggie's partners. Betty is excited about the idea but Maggie tells Alf Roberts she could never work with Betty. Annie also enquires as to the selling price, thinking of buying the partnership for Lucille. Cyril tries to blackmail Maggie by using the fact that Betty came to look after her. Alf warns Cyril to stop putting pressure on Maggie and Billy stops them from fighting. Maggie feels beholden to the Turpins, but tells Betty she doesn't want her in the shop. Betty walks out, telling her to rot though they soon make up. Gordon Clegg offers to lend Maggie the money but she thinks it's his wedding money. Lucille tells Annie she doesn't want the shop. Annie tells Maggie the offer still stands - she will be a sleeping partner. Maggie tells Alf that whoever offers her the most can have the whole shop.
- Jerry Booth demands more housekeeping from Ray and Len. They decide to go shopping for themselves, not believing Jerry's excuse of the cost of living. Jerry, Len and Ray go to the supermarket to get their own shopping. Len's bill comes to £5.92, Ray's £5.30, both buying luxury items, and Jerry's is £3.44. Jerry demands £6 a week off Ray and Len or else he's packing in housekeeping and as they refuse to pay the increase, Jerry refuses to cook.
- Maggie plans to go and live in London but changes her mind. She summons the Turpins and Annie to the shop and tells them she's getting a bank loan to buy Irma's share for herself.
- Jerry takes up a hobby of building a boat in the Yard and gets annoyed when Len and Ray take over the job. He calls it Shangri-La and asks Freddie Baxter, the secretary of the Weatherfield Sailing Club on advice on sailing but Baxter is dismissive of his efforts. The sea cadets are more open to Jerry's questions. He gets upset when Ray varnishes the boat is christened with beer. Jerry tries to get out of sailing it but the regulars are adamant. They take it to Burmer Reservoir with Stan, Ray and Jerry sailing on its maiden voyage. Stan leans the wrong way and the boat overturns in the water. Stan catches flu from his ducking in the water.
- Paul Cheveski, recovering from flu, comes to stay at No.11. The Howards both enjoy his stay, although the boy exhausts them and their pockets. Alan and Paul play football in the Street and Alan smashes the Ogdens' window. Paul traumatises Bobby and when he hears that his stomach is off, almost poisons him by giving him liver salts. Fully recovered from his flu, he returns to Birmingham.
- Lucille gets a job as wages clerk at the warehouse but using a forged reference from Maggie. Furious at the deception, she nevertheless backs her up when the warehouse makes additional enquiries.
- Emily gives wedding present lists to everyone and reaches the decision that she could never live in Ernie's old house in Eccles as he never sees his neighbours. Ernie wants to hang onto it but Maggie advises him to start somewhere new. Emily moves back into the Rovers in readiness for the wedding and Ernie tells Emily he's going to sell his house. They agree to take over No.3 from Ken. Ernie gets in touch with Audrey Fleming about buying the house and tells Ray that she is coming to see them. In the end she sends friend Vicki Bright in her place who agrees to the sale of No.3. Ken plans to move in with Albert for £3 a week. Ray and Vicki take a liking to each other and persuades her to stay around for a bit. Ray tells Vicki he's fallen for her.
- Minnie worries when she is two weeks behind with the rent. Albert lends her the money.
- The residents plan a stag and hen party. The men take Ernie on a pub crawl whilst Annie lays on a party for Emily. Ernie gets drunk and is horrified when Stan reveals how Emily jilted Leonard Swindley in 1964.
- Ernie worries that Emily won't turn up to the Mawdsley Street Chapel. Annie takes charge of Emily, to Norah Seddon's annoyance. The guests arrive for the wedding including Esther Hayes, down from Scotland and Mavis Riley. Ernie is very nervous and keeps driving round the church whilst Emily waits in the Rovers for the all clear. She refuses to let the delay upset her and she sets out for the service, surprising everyone. Ernie follows Emily to the church and they are married. At the reception, Mavis takes a shine to Jerry. Ken reads the telegrams from Dave Smith, Jed Stone and Dennis Tanner. The Bishops honeymoon walking in Edale.
- Ray asks Vicki to marry him and she tells him she's pregnant. He leaves Vicki to make up her mind; the offer is still there but she leaves to go back to Preston. She later returns tells Ray she might have the baby adopted. Ena makes Ray realise that Vicky will always miss her child and he tells Vicki her that he wants the child too. However Len tries to put Vicki off marrying Ray and she leaves Weatherfield.
- The decorators let Annie down in finishing off the work at No.3 before the Bishops return and Annie threatens to bar the regulars if they don't all lend a hand. The residents finish the job, painting the living room purple but don't complete the work, alarming the happy couple when they see it. Alf paints the ceiling white for them.
- Ken is made temporary and reluctant sports master in order that Bessie Street can beat Regent's Road in football. Albert talks Ivy into washing the football team's kit and he and Ken train the team. On the day of the match Terry Bates disappears when he's needed but Bessie Street still manages to win. Ken goes to Mrs Bates's home as he thinks she had Terry running errands but finds that's not the case. Ken tells Rita he's a widower. When Rita threatens to tell Terry's dad, Harry Bates, about him disappearing from the match, Terry threatens to tell him Rita is interested in Ken. Perkins sees pupil Mark Hillkirk writing comments about Ken and Rita on the blackboard.
- Ivy Tilsley catches husband Jack with his fancy woman Cheryl Crowther in her Inkerman Street house and walks out, dumping herself on the Howards. Alan feels that she is in the way. Elsie tries to get rid of her by pointing out that Jack will be all on his own with Cheryl but she only ends up returning with her bags. Ivy rows with Edna Gee for not taking her in and goes for her when she suggests romance is in the air with her and Alan. Warehouse boss, Johnny Fitzpatrick, catches them and summons Elsie. He advises her to throw Ivy out. Ivy goes out with warehouseman George Harrop and he invites her to come and live with him. Alan gets Jack to take Ivy back and Elsie tells her to leave No.11. She returns to Jack.
- Stan goes back working on the lorries but almost immediately is hospitalised after a crash and being covered with bananas.
- Hilda's brother Archie Crabtree turns up to look after her. She has plans for a porch on the outside of No.13 and Archie completes it for her but Jerry tells him they'll need planning permission. Archie goes to Weatherfield Town Hall where Councillor Warburton tells Archie the porch has to come down but the entire shoddy structure goes mysteriously missing.
- Perkins warns Ken about his involvement with Rita. She tells the headteacher to keep his nose out of her business as there's nothing between Ken and her. True to her word, she starts to go out with Len who entertains her at No.9. She finds out that he is a councillor and asks for his help as her house is due for demolition and Len is on the housing committee. She introduces Len to Harry Bates, convinced Len will get them a house. The Bates are offered a flat but need to produce a marriage certificate. They reveal to Len that they are not really married and he refuses to pull strings for them. Harry kicks Rita out, thinking she's carrying on with Len, and she dumps herself on him. He goes to see Harry at his roadworks to persuade him to take her back and he agrees, but not before they fight, watched by housing committee rival Councillor Warburton from afar. When Ken lectures Rita about the kids' welfare, she tells him they're not hers. Rita goes back to Harry.
- A lonely Maggie goes to visit Gordon and Billy and Ray plan to use the shop flat as a love nest in her absence. They trick Alf into giving them the key but the girls stand them up.
- Sid Bolton, Newton & Ridley rep, asks Billy if he's thought of running the Rovers. Billy tells Annie about the brewery's offer and she calls him a Judas. She goes to the brewery while Billy turns down the idea. Annie is reassured of the brewery's faith in her.
- Stan celebrates his fiftieth birthday in hospital and discharges himself soon afterwards. Hilda throws Archie out before Stan comes home. Stan begs Len and Ray for his old job back but they refuse. He takes up window-cleaning again. Ray sells him his old ladders back and Alan gives him an old handcart in return for free cleaning for six months.
- Ernie starts up a street orchestra with himself on piano, Billy and Ken on trumpets and Alan on guitar.
- Maggie advertises for an assistant. She gives Ellen Page a trial but she reminds Maggie of Betty too much. Norma Ford applies for the job but Maggie feels obliged to Mrs Page so Norma poses as Maggie's niece to let Mrs Page down gently and Maggie takes her on.
- Len is summoned by Mayorm Harold Chapman who tells him to be careful after the Harry Bates fight incident as he wouldn't like to see him lose a seat because of someone like Warburton.
- An endowment policy on Dennis Tanner that Elsie opened comes up and she has £296 to spend. She uses it to have Len and Jerry install a pink bathroom suite. A jealous Hilda and Elsie argue over Hilda's snide comments about the suite.
- The Yard does some work for Silcock's Shirts where Ray takes a fancy to owner's daughter Sue Silcock and her flashy car. After fixing her car so that it breaks down on her - giving him a chance to chat her up,- they make a date. She takes him home to meet her father Tommy and the two men take a liking to each other. Tommy asks Ray to work for him. Ray wants to become engaged to Sue but she only wants fun and tells him to stick with Tommy.
- Ernie is forced to disband the orchestra through lack of interest although they have promised a concert for the Darby and Joan club. Ernie decides to give a silent film show instead of the concert. Ena plays piano for it until the film breaks, but the Bishops and Ken enjoy it more than the old folks.
- Norma is annoyed when old acquaintance Ritchie Levitt turns up to see her. Norma tells Ritchie she doesn't want her dad, Jacko, to know where she is. Without telling anyone, Norma goes to Strangeways Jail to visit her father but, ashamed, tells Maggie her father is in a miner's home. Ritchie tells Norma that Jacko is coming out and knows where she is. Maggie forces Norma to tell her the truth. Norma rows with the customers in an attempt to get Maggie to sack her but she refuses to. Jacko turns up and Maggie tells Norma he can stay with her. Jacko swears he's a reformed character and Maggie feels he ought to be given a chance to prove himself. Jacko agrees to leave Norma alone.
- When the binmen boycott No.13 the Ogdens dump their rubbish in the Yard in protest at Len's lack of action as a councillor.
- Len gets tickets from Alec Gilroy for the opening of the new Victoria Street Working Men's Club and invites the Howards. Elsie is well overdressed, to her embarrassment. Len is shocked when Rita appears on stage, singing. Len wants to get to know her again. She agrees.
- Albert organises a trip to the Preston Guild.
- Stan thinks someone is pinching his customers and goes on the war path. Ray tells him that the thuggish Henshaw brothers have pinched his patch but Stan doesn't believe him. The big Henshaws call on Stan. They agree to swap one of Stan's streets for a bigger one but he later discovers his new patch has being demolished as part of a slum clearance.
- The police look for Jacko over a break-in at a jewellers in Longsight.
- Annie organises a Preston trip from the Rovers while Albert organises one from the Community Centre. Annie refuses to advertise Albert's trip in the Rovers and Emily and Alf are forced to come down against her, however Annie receives a separate invitation to the Guild from the Lady Victuallers and hands over the organisation of the outing to Albert.
- Norma refuses to give Jacko a false alibi but Maggie believes he didn't commit the robbery. PC Conway and the police take Jacko away and Norma reveals she shopped him. Subsequently, the police catch the real crook and release Jacko. Maggie lets him stay and sleep in the stock room.
- Rita cooks for the lads at No.9 but Jerry doesn't like the idea of having her around as he thinks she's is a gold digger. Len spends the night with her.
- Billy and Bet discover they've booked in at the same villa in Italy at the same time. Lucille thinks they've planned a dirty holiday. They both change their plans.
- Annie takes Jacko on as a potman. He confesses to the Bishops he's just out of Strangeways. Norma recognises Cyril Turpin as a policeman and then discovers Betty is married to him. Jacko tells Cyril he's going straight and asks him not to reveal he's been inside. Cyril tells Betty that Jacko is a petty thief. Maggie asks her to keep quiet but, feeling pressurised, Jacko tells Annie he's done time. She sacks him. Norma and Ernie persuade her to take him back. Betty is worried about being alone with Jacko when the Walkers plan a night out. Billy tells her he's going to prove that Jacko is going straight.
- Londoner Benny Lewis opens a new betting shop in Dave Smith's old premises, keeping clerk Ted Loftus on. Benny's hostess Carol Webb gets drunk at the opening function and flirts with Billy. When she tells Det Insp Patterson that Benny doesn't bank his money he sacks her. He talks Rita into an afternoon job as hostess and Len thinks he's got designs on her. He also takes on Lucille behind the counter and Hilda on as a cleaner. Ray and Jerry get a job to transform his flat into a bachelor pad.
- Ernie tells Emily he wants her at home, not in the Camera Shop. She thinks he wants her out of the way.
- Hilda suspects Stan of seeing Clara Regan of 19 Inkerman Street again.
- Ena gets Benny to ban Minnie from the shop. She is furious and tells Ena she's had enough of her interfering - their friendship is over. Emily tries to sort things out between them by getting Benny to put a 50p a week limit on Minnie he refuses. Ena and Minnie both turn on Emily telling her she can't boss them around.
- Len plans a romantic evening with Rita but has to attend an emergency meeting so Benny entertains her. The two start to see each other.
- Laura phones for Alan. He finally tells Elsie he got the money for the garage from Laura. Laura tells Alan she's coming to see him but Elsie is determined to make sure she doesn't get Alan back.
- Elsie takes the day off work to prepare herself for Laura's arrival. They meet and respect each other. Laura tells them she's getting married and wants to drop the loan but Elsie refuses to let her. Elsie later admits she was wrong over the money as it was only what Laura owed Alan but Alan makes her stand by her decision.
- Annie and Emily are appalled when Billy tests Jacko's honesty by planting £3 under the phone. Jacko discovers what he's up to and resigns from the Rovers, moving away from the street.
- The female residents, including Lucille, Emily and Elsie, are terrorised by a peeping tom in the area. A vigilante committee is formed which patrols the area and catches Stan down the backing. The Street turn on him but decide not to call in the police over Stan. Hilda sticks by him. Hilda tells the residents what she thinks of them and spits on the Rovers' floor. PC Conway tells the residents they've caught the man in Bessie Street. Billy waits for the man to be charged before he believes that Stan is innocent. The Ogdens talk about moving as Stan loses some customers. After they receive anonymous hate mail, Hilda decides to fight her ground and decides a put a notice in the Gazette threatening legal action against slanderers. The Ogdens read of the arrest of Edwin Blakely Ferguson - the real peeping tom. Hilda storms round to the Rovers with the paper. A shame-faced Billy calls at No.13 and apologises but Stan and Hilda feel no better. They continue to spurn the residents but Albert refuses to give them a refund on their Preston Guild tickets. Finally, the Ogdens call into the Rovers, thinking the regulars will be uneasy at seeing them but, aside from a drink on the house from Billy, no one bats an eye lid.
- Len tells Benny he's got no serious intentions towards Rita but Len also tells her to choose between him and Benny. Benny asks Rita to marry him and she accepts him. He presents her with an expensive engagement ring but asks to see Len and tells him that he's not certain Rita wants to marry him and that she and Len are meant for each other. He wants Len to confess his feelings to Rita. Len tells Rita that Benny is backing out and leaving the field open for him. He confesses he needs her and Rita goes off with him, leaving a disappointed Benny behind. Len insists that Rita give Benny his ring back. The residents get the wrong idea and think that Len is marrying Rita. Benny tells Rita to keep the ring.
- Alf's wife Phyllis is taken into hospital. Tests are conducted but her condition deteriorates. She is put on the danger list and goes into a coma.
- Nellie Harvey tells Annie that the National President of the Licenced Victuallers Association, Ethne Willoughby, is to call on her. Annie insists that the regulars wear ties in the pub for when she is due to call. The unpretentious Ethne arrives with Nellie and gets on well with Annie. She shows an interest in the Preston Guild and Nellie promises to get her a ticket but then discovers all the tickets have been taken. Annie gives up her ticket for her.
- A travelling salesman offers to take Maggie to the Rovers but it's only to discuss business. She is depressed at being on her own. Norma puts an advert in the paper's personal column for her but only advises her when she receives some letters. Maggie gets a letter from Ron Cooke she likes but is unsure about getting in touch with him. Norma persuades her to phone Ron and he calls round in his dinner hour. They both like each other and feel they need more excitement in their lives. They go out for the evening. Maggie introduces Alf to Ron but Alf wants Maggie on her own so he can pour out his troubles about Phyllis. Ron tells Maggie he's an alcoholic and asks her for help.
- Maggie doesn't know what to do about Ron but eventually tells him that she can’t take him on.
- Ena, Minnie and many of the residents go to the Preston Guild on a coach trip. Whilst they are gone, Colin and Karen Lomax with baby Jason turn up from Hartlepool to visit Ena only to find she is away. Annie refuses to let them bring the baby into licenced premises so they put him outside the Rovers in his pram from where he is taken. Karen becomes hysterical as the residents search for him. Annie blames herself as the police are called in. They contact the army to help with the search. Ena is shocked when she is summoned from Preston. The police set up a mobile HQ on Victoria Street and frogmen drag the River Irwell. Ena breaks down. Margaret Beecham tells the police how she took Jason and after killing him, buried him. The police follow up her story but she is obviously ill. Emily and Betty continue to search and find the pram on waste ground. Minnie overhears Billy on the phone to Betty and tells the Lomax's that Jason has been found. They arrive with the police to find Jason asleep in the pram. Ena thanks the residents for their help, and leads them in a hymn to God. Karen wants to go home but they haven't the fare so Alan drives them home.
- Maggie is alarmed to discover Dirty Dick and Tommy Deakin have reopened the viaduct stables for Dolores. Dick and Tommy row over who is the legal owner of her. Ray tells Tommy to let Dolores decide for herself and tips off the newspaper about the contest. Tommy and Dick try to lure Dolores to each of them in the Street but she goes to sleep. Tommy gives Dolores to Dick but then tricks the illiterate man into signing a form and then announces Dick's plan to sell Dolores to the slaughterhouse for £30. Minnie starts the 'Save Dolores Fund' to enable Tommy to buy Dolores off Dick. Minnie collects £30 for Tommy. Dick reveals Tommy is lying and they give the money to Dick to install a stove in the stables.
- Annie can't forgive herself for Jason’s kidnapping. She refuses to leave her bed so Billy calls in Dr. Mitchell who gives her sleeping tablets but he tells Billy they have to get Annie up and about. Billy goes to London in an attempt to get Annie behind the bar. Annie takes four sleeping tablets but Lucille thinks she has taken the whole bottle. She is rushed to hospital. Ena blames herself for being cold with Annie, as do a lot of the regulars. Lucille reveals Annie only took four tablets and has had her stomach pumped. Annie puts a brave face on her ordeal. She thanks Lucille for her concern and tells her she feels years younger.
- Alf breaks down and tells Jerry that Phyllis has died. Maggie is upset that Alf hasn't told himselfs. Alf tells Maggie that he can't see so much of her because of his feelings towards her.
- Norma confesses that she fancies Ken.
- Rita tells Len that her landlady Lena Norris has told her she can't have men visitors. Len sets up a rota so he can have time alone with Rita at No.9.
- Albert takes to his bed with his old war wound.
- Ken agrees to teach Norma English Literature for 50p an hour. Jerry decides he wants a relationship with Norma. Ken takes Jerry on at the lessons as well, much to Norma's annoyance. Jerry can't find anywhere quiet to study and Maggie tells him he's gooseberrying between Norma and Ken. As a result, he packs up the lessons. Norma tries to persuade him to change his mind but he's adamant.
- Ray takes Mandy Taylor out but she spends all his money and he gets nowhere with her.
- Maggie and Alf find Jacko in Salford. He returns to the Street and makes an appearance at the Rovers. Maggie takes him in and he accepts the Rovers' job back.
- The Yard get the contract to finish Benny's flat in his absence, and Ray arranges to entertain barmaid Sharon Duffy there, claiming it's "his" luxury pad but he finds it difficult keeping the truth from her. Crook Franny Slater tells Sharon the truth about the penthouse. Franny takes a copy of Ray's key, planning to rob it. Sharon wants Ray to take the blame but Franny wants to stick it on Jacko, getting Freddie Slack to drive him into the country so he hasn't an alibi. Whilst Jacko is stranded in the middle of nowhere with a drunk, Franny wrecks the flat. Benny returns from Spain and finds that nearly £5,000 has been stolen. Norma catches Jacko with £30 and he tells her he won it in a card game. She doesn't believe him. The police tell Benny it's an inside job because someone used a key to turn the alarm off.
- Annie enters the Rovers in the pub Olympics against the Flying Horse. Ernie agrees to captain the Rovers' team, forgetting that it's taking place on Emily's birthday. Emily tries to drop hints about the matter but in the end Ena has to remind him. He resigns as Captain but the residents refuse to accept his decision and offer to throw a party for Emily after the contest has taken place. Stan goes into training for the pint drinking event. Len and Ray bet against him winning and ply him with drinks the night before in order to sabotage his efforts. The next morning he has alcoholic poisoning. Hilda discovers that his mates have bet against him and fires him up to succeed. Stan wins the beer drinking, Betty wins the darts contest and Ena wins dominos but Jacko loses at crib and Len loses at billiards. The Rovers wins the overall event.
- Businessman Jimmy Frazer tries to interest Alan into starting to sell used cars. Alan agrees to him setting up the money for the deal but is alarmed when Jimmy gets two good time girls to entertain them for the evening. Elsie rows with her husband over his the matter.
- Concepta Hewitt arrives for a visit with Annie and Lucille. She reveals she's getting married to a younger man - Sean Regan. Lucille is convinced that her step-mother is being taken for a mug. Billy tells Concepta that Sean can come to stay. When he arrives, the residents give him an after-hours welcome but Lucille thinks Concepta is buying his love with Harry Hewitt's garage.
Who lives where
- Rovers Return Inn - Annie Walker and Lucille Hewitt. Emily Nugent (until January, March to April). Billy Walker (from January onwards).
- 1 Coronation Street - Albert Tatlock. Ken Barlow (from April onwards).
- 3 Coronation Street - Ken Barlow (until April). Ernest and Emily Bishop (from April onwards)
- 5 Coronation Street - Minnie Caldwell.
- 9 Coronation Street - Len Fairclough, Ray Langton and Jerry Booth.
- 11 Coronation Street - Elsie and Alan Howard. Ivy Tilsley (April only).
- 13 Coronation Street - Stan and Hilda Ogden. Archie Crabtree (May only).
- Corner Shop (No.15) - Maggie Clegg. Jacko Ford (July to August and October to December).
- Corner Shop flat (No.15a) - Norma Ford (from May onwards).
- Community Centre flat - Ena Sharples.
|Coronation Street in the 1970s|
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