70s Street Fan asked on our twitter account for any more additional observations on the old episodes we watched last week at the BFI to enable us to update the pages on this site. As always, we divided and conquered with David watching one batch (mainly from 1971-5) and me watching episodes from 1969 to 1971. In truth, the episodes from 1969 and early 1970 we had seen before but at a time when we weren't logging places on the episode pages so I quickly went through these again to get that information. The first thing to note about episodes from late 1969 is that they are very studio based as the Grape Street set was out of commission as it was being rebuilt in brick in the last two months of 1969. There's a hilarious moment in Episode 938 (22nd December 1969) at the salon opening party where the camera has to move between two extras to get into shot two of the regulars in the background and the female extra looks straight to camera and pushes the guy out of the way to enable the camera through! Another noticeable thing about some episodes then was how often characters just walk in and out of each other's houses without knocking on the front door and you can't help but feel this was to reduce the need to have the hallway sets erected in studio as they are often not seen and doors into back rooms are placed such that they open towards the camera and you can't seen what lies beyond the main set.
Scenes on the Grape Street set in 1970 are a mixture of film and outside broadcast with the latter being used as the most frequent option. Scenes elsewhere are rarer but almost always on film. The gypsy encampment scenes (on film) look as if they were shot on waste land near to Moss Side but I can't be sure of that. Certainly you can see the construction of some typically horrible 1970s-style flats going on in the background. The scenes in the Victoria Street mission in February 1970 and the Salvation Army hall in September of the same year are studio sets and are quite large and elaborate ones at that. The fight on the gypsy encampment in September 1970 is on film but most of the scene is from the viewpoint inside the studio based caravan belonging to the Smiths with the fight carried on from the noise outside. Although I couldn't be sure as the shot is so quick, it looks suspiciously like Ray Langton is the one who puts the axe through the caravan window but this goes against his non-violence instruction to Eddie Pritchard.
Mark Howard is an interesting character who first appears to be charming and well-mannered (though with the most then-fashionable but hugest mutton chops you've ever seen this side of Amos Brearly!) but you sense something is not quite right with him. He slowly reveals what a nasty piece of work he is as the weeks wear on. I've seen these episodes in stages over several years now so I've got to piece together his character biog from scattered notes.
David and I both agree that a character who is a real revelation from this period is Albert Tatlock. He is so funny it just isn't true. Basically, he's a naughty child who gets away with it because of his age. He tells it like it is and Jack Howarth's comic timing is impeccable. Prior to this period he's a nice old man (which is dull) and in the late 1970s he becomes just a moaner (which is also dull). The funniest episode I saw was Episode 1055 (24th February 1971) where Irma Barlow's posh voice when she pretends to be the Howard's daughter (or "mommy and dard-eh" as she calls them) is a scream! A gem of an episode and, like the one before it, all the location filming is in black and white while the studio footage is in colour as a hangover from the ITV Colour Strike. By the way, we have just 8 more episodes to watch from 1970 and we've seen all 96 though some we have to go back for to get the aforementioned places. For 1971 to 1975 we have some 50 eps a year yet to see and verify our plots, credits and cast information.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 11:50, February 11, 2014 (UTC)
John,thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to write this piece. It's much appreciated,as I'm fascinated by this largely unrepeated,unreleased era of the series. Although episodes from this period may lack the raw energy of the 60s episodes or the pacier,more polished eps of the Podmore era,they're nonetheless an important part of the show's history with most of the legendary characters at the heart of the programme.
It's interesting to read that some of the Street scenes were being shot on film at this stage. Also interesting to rad your observations on Albert. It's fascinating to see how characters slowly change over the years. Usually,I feel that really long running characters get increasingly closer to the actor's real personality as the years go by.
Amazing that you've managed to see so many episodes already- only 8 left for 1970! Do you think that the most interesting episodes are generally selected for DVD release? It will be terrific if you manage to see all the 1970-76 eps eventually and amanage to confirm all the info. I guess it's going to be a lot more difficult to see the 1960s shows.
Anyway,keep up the good work. I'd love to read more observations on your future trips,if it's not too much trouble,
- Generally speaking, the choices for the DVD set were very good with the exception of 1975. I would definitely included this episode: Episode 1506 (23rd June 1975) and this one Episode 1482 (2nd April 1975) in place of some on that disc. One is possibly the funniest episode of the programme ever made whereas the latter is a barnstorming performance from Julie Goodyear.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 00:08, February 12, 2014 (UTC)
- I don't think the choices were all that great for all of 1970-5. It's true it's not quite as on fire as it was from 1976 onwards, but some of the episode choices are downright strange - Episode 1069 (14th April 1971), Episode 1321 (12th September 1973) and Episode 1481 (31st March 1975) spring to mind - they're not bad episodes, but the mind boggles what it is about them to made TPTB select them for the boxset (especially the last one being chosen over the episode after it). There's nothing of Elsie being run over in London, David and Darren's deaths, Gordon Clegg finding out his true parentage, the baby kidnap story in 1972, only one episode with Nellie Harvey when this was her glory period, and loads of episodes that stand out individually like Episode 1055 (24th February 1971). David (talk) 09:58, February 12, 2014 (UTC)
- Thanks guys for your thoughts on how representative the Network releases were for those particular years. I've always been rather intrigued as to why certain episodes have made onto the DVD sets whilst others haven't. Regarding 1975,I've sadly not seen 1506 but managed to see 1482 on the Granada Plus Bet Lynch specials. Another surprising omission is from '75 is 1519(Albert Tatlock's 80th Birthday Party)which works well as a stand alone type episode. I wonder were they conscious of not releasing all of the best episodes in case of further volumes for those years. Sometimes we got the episode leading up to a significant moment as in 1481. Perhaps they hoped to put 1482 on the next volume. Although if that was the case they probably would've opted for 1535(the Warehouse Fire)rather than the folllow up episode. Even allowing for the challenge of selecting just eight episodes out of 104 or so,there are usually some surprising decisions. Perhaps we will get some more releases at some point. Once again,thanks for sharing your thoughts guys. There can't be many people around who've seen so many shows from this period and it's great to hear what you think about them. Regards70s Fan (talk) 18:57, February 12, 2014 (UTC)
Visit: September 2014Edit
Hi David. Thanks for your message on my Talk Page. Don't mean to put you under any pressure,but I it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on any episodes or stories that you thought were noteworthy- as in particularly well done( or even not so well done!)or even worthy of DVD release. I'm especially interested in the ones you've seen from early 1976- the final ones from the Susi Hush era. I was also slightly curious as to why you don't seem to view all the episodes in sequence. I understand that you and John watch different episodes,and that you've already seen many of them previously. Anyway,thanks for your co operation,David. I'll look forward to reading anything you have to say on the subject.70s Fan (talk) 15:16, October 6, 2014 (UTC)
- The reason we don't view all of the episodes in sequence is that you don't get them given to you in that way. If it's a recent transfer, you get a DVD with just that one episode on it. If it's an older transfer, you get a VHS tape with four episodes on it but they are not always in order. You'll sometimes even get a mixture of decades!! We have to take copious notes about a guest star but see their two appearances some months or even years apart and then somehow join them together to make one page. Both of us look at our notes and sometimes think "What the hell did I mean by that?". Yes, we do view different episodes rather than watch together but we do point out funny moments (usually Albert related) and things like that and I would say the mixture of new viewings v repeat viewings is currently 66%/33%. Aside from 1975, we have very little now to re-watch for places, etc, from 1969 to 1976. Anyway, this time I concentrated on 1970-71. Two great years for the show, IMHO. Both definitely strengthened by the presence of Irma Barlow - a great character and I can't help thinking that her sudden departure in December 1971 makes 1972 a bit more serious and duller by comparison. Albert was on top form again and between us we counted four instances where he conned "a drop of rum, if you're buying" out of someone in the Rovers, usually Ray Langton but Alf and Len also fell victim. The Joe Donelli storyline is better than I thought from fractured viewings of those episodes and you realise why Irma kept quiet for several weeks about the murderer of Steve Tanner: Shane Rimmer turns in a very creepy performance and the news of the way in which he beat up two other women, putting one in hospital for several weeks, scares the bejesus out of Irma. Production wise, very little to add about these episodes: nothing notably strange. The only think I would add is that in the 23rd December 1970 episode, the view of the van full of screaming kids in the street is shot looking down towards the gates of the Grape Street set and obviously shows the gates to the yard - a rare instance. As regards the floor managers words before recording starts and once it finishes, no background to any retakes or anything but 5th July 1971 is funny as he misses the countdown clock announcement totally and realises he has done so with seconds to go and just says, "Oh, missed it" while at the start of Part 2 of 14th July 1971 someone sneezes REALLY loudly and the FM says “My god, it’s Ewan dying in the wings over there.”. Over to David for his views.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 15:40, October 6, 2014 (UTC)
John,thank you so much for such an expansive answer to my request. Always fascinating to hear opinions as well as the actual facts and stats. I'm also a big Irma fan and find it disappointing that she never returned- as in perhaps after Stan's death. Also found it interesting what you said about seeing more of the Donelli story. With the DVDs,it's sometimes hard to get the full impact of a plotline when you only have one,maybe two eps from the story. Re.1970,I've wondered why they didn't release any eps concerning the death of David Barlow. Was it not,perhaps,particularly well executed or maybe there was some other issue? Anyway,thanks for your views John. Incidentally,will you be able to see all of the remaining 70-76 eps at the BFI? I do hope so. Regards70s Fan (talk) 16:07, October 6, 2014 (UTC)
- The David Barlow death episode is a superb one. The episode is set over one evening and is cleverly set up so that it revolves around the residents waiting for the call to Australia. It shows the value of the Corrie archive as a historical and social document as back in 1970 there was no direct dial to Australia and calls had to be booked. They also cost a £1 a minute which must have been a huge sum for the time. There's little that anyone can do until the call comes through and Ken's anxiety grows as the time gets near. I deliberately included the reference in the plot to him getting a cold shiver down his back (which occurs within the plot at 7.50pm, ten minutes before the call is due and at the point when David dies). It's obviously someone "walking over" Ken's grave - or David's - though that phrase isn't used as such. When the call comes through, Ken has to yell down the line to make himself heard and the camera is on a close-up of Bill Roache when he hears that his brother is dead. He tells the others as the camera pulls back and Val gasps (which is the exact moment our poor resolution screen shot is taken from). He then puts down the phone and Stan takes it over as Val hugs Ken. It's a very emotive moment. So is the ending of the next episode when the telegram comes through about Darren's death. Stan is swapping a few beers with that lovely man, Jack Walker, who has come round to make sure he is okay. Stan is stunned when he reads the telegram and passes it silently to Jack who reads it and who says mournfully "Not the babby too?" The scene changes to Hilda walking round an airport to catch her connecting flight from Heathrow, not knowing what's happened. I suspect the latter was filmed at Ringway - no need to go all the way down south to get that in the can. As regards your questions about what the BFI holds, they appear to have the old and - now redundant - master tapes of every episode of Corrie that was made on the old two-inch quad tape which was an industry standard that was dropped in the mid-1980s. This shows that every episode from Episode 891 (7th July 1969) survives on this format with one possible exception - Episode 904 (25th August 1969) which the BFI don't hold - although this isn't to say that the original tape isn't with ITV or that it only survives as a film recording as is the case with the majority of the 1960s episodes. Two 1970 tapes that the BFI hold have deteriorated to the point where they are no longer playable - Episode 994 (3rd August 1970) and Episode 995 (5th August 1970), but we've managed to information on the latter from another source as our page shows and we hope to do so on the former as well. We know of no other episode from 1970-76 that's missing or unplayable at the moment but the truth is that you only get to know once you order a viewing. I'd also like to view Emily's wedding and see if it is complete and doesn't cut off like the Network version.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 08:20, October 7, 2014 (UTC)
- Thank you John. Yes,they do sound like two very strong episodes. Makes it even more puzzling as to why they'd not been included on the 1970 DVD as it's such a major event- particular for that era of the programme. But,it's good to know that the episodes were well done. Also very interesting to hear about the BFI holdings. Let's hope that all the other episodes are there and are playable. I do envy you getting to see them all. Once again,thanks for all the info. I find it all very interesting.70s Fan (talk) 16:17, October 7, 2014 (UTC)
- That's quite a reply JT! To expand on John's point about the episodes we select - my choices nearly always depend on the guest cast. At first, I went for episodes with big guest casts, and episodes with characters who were totally unknown. Happily, there aren't many of those left, and I've been moving towards smaller guest casts and episodes with characters who we've seen a little of on the DVDs. There are certain characters who pop up in different years so, as John says, we had to compile our notes from episodes viewed years apart. One character in particular who stands out in this regard is Mrs Toft, the old busybody who you might remember took an (extremely short-lived) interest in Albert's ad for a housekeeper in Episode 1047 (27th January 1971). In the early 70s she pops up absolutely everywhere, being seemingly the go-to person when the writers needed a random old lady in a scene. UIn some cases you can make a good guess what a character did in a particular episode so viewing all of their appearances isn't essential but this isn't the case with Mrs Toft as she's never important enough to be mentioned in the plot. So, strange as it sounds, most of my choices this time were designed to mop up most of the remaining Mrs Toft appearances so we can get an article out (and even then, she managed to pop up twice when I wasn't expecting her).
- One thing we've noticed from our viewings - particularly from the 1972-3 period - the programme back then often contained long scenes featuring little or none of the regular cast, especially whenever the action moved away from the street itself. A huge part of Episode 1235 (15th November 1972) is about a clandestine meeting in Heaton Park between the Mayor and Alderman Rogers, who go on at length about the internal politics at the Town Hall, only mentioning Alf and Len as candidates for the next Mayor at the very end of their conversation. The robbery of Benny Lewis's flat in the same block of episodes also had minimal involvement from the regular cast, as the culprits, the man they framed, the victim, and the police investigating were all short-term characters. Don't get me wrong, this isn't something that happens constantly, but it's noticeable.
- Two standout episodes from this viewing were Episode 1265 (28th February 1973) and Episode 1266 (5th March 1973). You might remember Hilda Ogden's party from the 1973 DVD in Episode 1264 (26th February 1973) which ends with Edna Gee up in the Ogdens' bedroom with a mystery man. Well, the following two episodes are far better. The first is typical Hilda on the warpath, with additional laughs from Ernie (who, for some reason, is suddenly wearing a deerstalker) who is hungover after getting drunk for the first time ever and isn't sure himself whether he was man with Edna. The next episode has everyone evacuated to the Community Centre after Albert's accident with the gas cooker at No.1. it's just a nice episode with everyone herded up in one place, and some great lines firing back and forth. As I noted in the plot, Elsie has to sit there with her hair in a towel but what I didn't mention is that she quite bizarrely has a face full of make-up the entire episode.
- You asked about early 1976. This time I saw everything from the second episode of the year until the episode immediately before Bill Podmore took over. Note that these included four double-banked episodes and those are always slower paced but what I saw was solid, if unspectacular. It was nice to see Dave Smith back though but at the same time disappointing that he would return just months before Mike arrived as I'd have like to see them together - whether on the same side or not!
- Yours is also a quite a reply,David. Thank you. Some fascinating information there. I'll have to check out 1047 to reaquaint myself with Mrs. Toft. Episode 1266 sounds right up my street- I aways
- liked those ones where most of the cast are together- like Episode 16 and Ep 1536. There's actually a photograph of 1266 in the 25th Anniversary book in the month-by-month section. Sounds like a contender for DVD,although I realise it must have been a challenge choosing just 8 for each year. Once again,thanks for going to the trouble of noting your observations. It's so interesting to read additional info on these "obscure" eps. Regards,70s Fan (talk) 16:31, October 7, 2014 (UTC)
Visit: February 2015Edit
Hi John- I noticed you made some additions to a number of episodes from 1971-2,and 1975-6 over the past week. I presume you've seen some more episodes at the BFI. I've always really enjoyed reading your and David's observations on eps you've seen on your past visits. So any additional info or thoughts on the ones you've seen would be gratefully received. 70s Fan (talk) 00:57, February 27, 2015 (UTC)
- Okay - this was very much a tidying up exercise to close 1971 and do some more in 72 and 76. The comments made over the studio clocks are on the episode pages for 15/11/71 and 9/6/71 (although I didn't bother to note that Jack Howarth has to repeat his comment as the floor manager didn't understand it first time round - also I can't recall any other occasion where the "studio" clock is actually taken out on location and read out there!! Location, of course, being just the Grape Street set and not out on the streets.). I didn't bother to note on the pages - though I did on my notes- that somebody casts a moving shadow on the Part 2 caption card and the closing caption card on the 31/1/72 episode! The Red Lion in the 5/1/72 episode was not a studio set but a rare (for the time) inside OB recording. The sequences in the last four eps of 1971 of Annie at the Robin Hood and then the Windermere Rooms are all on film and feature quite an extensive location shoot with a lot of extras and a full band on the stage. Doris Speed is only in studio for the 3rd of the 4 eps (i.e. 27/12/71) and on film only for all the rest. I'd love to know when they were filmed and how they fitted in with rehearsals and recording of the studio sessions. Perhaps one day. The final scene in the 8/3/72 episode is a very weird one! It starts off on dark grainy film, probably filmed on a miserable day, as everyone waves Paul off to the station in Alan's car. Lucille and Maggie have a couple of lines as they walk towards the warehouse and then - on shiny video - Stan walks round the corner from the shop, pane of glass in hand, shouts a comment after the now unseen Lucille and then starts work on installing the pane in place of the smashed window. I have no problem with exteriors being on film and studios on videotape but this contrast was a bit extreme. As I said on the community comment, we've now watched every episode from 1971 at the BFI and bar some plot extensions that we'll have to go back for, that year is now done. We've got every episode noted from the Granada Plus showings in April 1976 and the BFI's holdings are only from 7/7/69 onwards when the master tapes survive. Our %s for each of the other years watched and verified are currently 1970 (98.96% - one episode to go which the BFI have, Ep 994 if you're interested, but the copy of the master tape they hold can no longer be played) 1972 (67%) 1973 (54%) 1974 (60%) 1975 (82%) and 1976 (97% - just three episodes left to verify). Now some of these we have to go back and rewatch to get places - which we only started collating in 2012. For instance, we have another 6 episodes from 1970 to rewatch for this purpose and we definitely have a lot of episodes, even from 1971, to expand the plotlines on. But bearing in mind the above numbers, my personal view is that 1971 is the best year of the early 1970s for the programme. It has a sharpness and a humour that can be missing from the other years - 72 and 73 in particular. The cast are settled down with good storylines and the addition of the Warehouse brings a new focus for the programme although it's still not as well handled as Baldwin's Casuals was in the late 70s and early 80s. Albert's on absolute top form, as are the Ogdens, and the Howards are not yet into the stage of one tedious row after another, although the writing's on the wall for that by year end. Nellie Harvey appears enough to bring a smile to your face every time she walks into the Rovers with that fake smile of hers and Irma brightens up the corner shop. It really is a classic year for me.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 09:40, February 27, 2015 (UTC)
- John,thank you so much for the above piece. It's always fascinating to read all those additional bits of technical info that didn't make the notes on the episode pages. Very interesting the read about the OB recording for the Red Lion,as well as the extensive location shoot for the Christmas 71 eps. Also the mix of film and video on 8/3/72 does indeed sound bizarre. From the ones I've seen,they nearly always shot the Grape Street scenes on video in the early 70s.
- It's great that you and David have made such headway for the 1969-76 period. Hopefully,you'll be able to see the ITV copy of 994 at some point. Let's hope that that was a one-off at the BFI.
- I'm also fascinated to read that you rate 1971 so highly. I don't suppose anyone,except for Daran Little,has maknaged to see-in recent decades- so many episodes from the 69-76 era.Most people tend to(as they have to,I guess) lump the early 70s into a whole,and can't really say which periods were particularly strong or otherwise. Personally,from the relatively few I've seen,I think I preferred '72- with the arrival of Rita and Norma(a character I always liked)and the return of Billy Walker for the entire year. I also liked '73 with Deirdre and Mavis- and the Kabin- becoming regular fixtures. But,of course,you're in a much better position to have a firm opinion. Incidentally,do you rate '71 as highly as 1975- another year that I think you regard more highly than the received view?
- Once again,thanks for going to the time and trouble of writing the above piece. Much appreciated.70s Fan (talk) 12:39, February 27, 2015 (UTC)
- Hi 70s Fan, to add my twopence to the discussion. I wasn't at the BFI this time but over the years I've now seen a good spread of episodes from 1969-75 and only 1972 stands out as weak. The episodes for that DVD were well chosen. Of the other big storylines, you have the Jason Lomax kidnap storyline, which fell flat me as the focus of the storyline is never Ena - everyone is away at the Preston Guild for the first half of the story, and the actors playing Ena's son and daughter-in-law were very wooden, and when Ena does arrive back in Coronation Street, the police investigation dominates the screentime, although a surprisingly big deal is made of Annie blaming herself for insisting they left Jason outside, but not wanting to admit her guilt publicly. I can't say I share your love of Norma Ford, her and Jacko mark one of the low points of the early 70s for me, the other one being all the stuff with Ray and the Flemings in 1970 (the episode on the 1970 DVD being a prime example). Conversely, the Hopkins get much more stick but they actually add a lot of spice to the show for the short time they're around.
- I haven't seen as much from 1970/1 as JT and I'm not quite as enamoured with those years though I agree they're very good. My estimation of 1973 rises with every BFI visit though. Eric Prytherch seems to have improved as he went on. The showbusiness stuff with Rita is greatly scaled back, you have the beginnings of Rita and Mavis, and Deirdre is now around, as well as the last gasp of Ena and Minnie, Lucille and Elsie vol 1. Episodes from 1973 just seemed to have a lot more going on and more energy to them than 1972, and were telling more stories which were actually about the main characters. Early 1974 continues in this vein - although one surprising point which I wasn't aware of until I watched these is that Mavis leaves in the first week of 1974 and Lucille takes her job at the Kabin, so it's only because Jennifer Moss left when she did that we had that wonderful and enduring parternship of Rita and Mavis. Strongest year from this period is still 1975 for me. The only thing that makes me pause for thought is that a lot of my favourites such as Ena, Irma, Elsie and Lucille only appear earlier or in Ena's case, were better before (with apologies to Violet Carson, Ena was a shadow of her former self when Carson came back after her stroke, lovely as it was to still have her around). David (talk) 14:04, February 27, 2015 (UTC
- David,thanks very much for adding your views. Again,as with John,I defer to your opinion on these years as my views are primarily from the DVD selections,the relatively few from this era repeated on Granada Plus and my very hazy views of seeing some of them on their original broadcasts.
- It's interesting that you share John's lack of enthusiasm for '72. I'll have to rewatch that DVD again.
- As you say,perhaps they chose the episodes particularly well for that disc. I do like Norma. Again,I remember her from first time round,and have always liked actress Diana Davies in anything she's been in. I always find her a warm and truthful actress. Perhaps,the show didn't utilise her talents to their best,tending to paint her as a rather sad character in some ways whereas she can be very funny.
- Like you,I didn't recall Mavis' lengthy absence from the show in the first part of 1974,until I noticed it on her list of appearances here on Corriepedia. Although I liked Lucille in the '60s episodes,I think she was probably the weakest link in the cast of the early 70s- perhaps,in part due to the sad things that were happening to the actress in real life at this time.
- Like you I am a big fan of the 1975 episodes. Although Ena wasn't the force she was in the 60s,I still very much enjoy her appearances. She is mellower,but also wiser. I reckon the reason the Susi Hush era is sometimes unfairly criticised is because it just comes immediately before the mighty 76-84 era,probably the show's finest ever period. But there's still much to enjoy there.
- Once again,thanks for contributing your thoughts on this whole era,David. You and John are more equipped to do so than just about anyone,and I really enjoy reading all your pieces on them.70s Fan (talk) 14:57, February 27, 2015 (UTC)
Visit: June 2015Edit
Hi John and David. I noticed you got more info on more 1970 episodes last week. I presume you were at the BFI again. Does this mean you've now seen them all- apart from 994,of course- now? That's a great achievement. Hopefully you'll get to see 994 at some stage. Keep up the good work.70s Fan (talk) 20:28, June 17, 2015 (UTC)
- Hi 70s Fan, yes we were at the BFI last week. We're still updating the site with the info so it'll be a little while before we post our thoughts/observations. David (talk) 23:38, June 17, 2015 (UTC)
Yes,David. I just spotted you'd made lots of additions from 1972 today,after I'd posted my query. Apologies for pbeing a bit premature. As always,I'm looking forward to reading what both you and John have to say.
- 994 is not available to us at the BFI. They have the original master tape but it's no longer playable. I don't think it's deteriorated to a very great degree but just perhaps needs very specialised equipment and expertise to get it to play. Quad tape could be, and still is, very tricky to align on the machines. I understand it used to take some 20 minutes to set up back in the day. There is, of course, a copy at the ITV archive. For my part, there's very little to say this time for the episodes that I watched. We both commented at the time that there was very little special to tell you about all that we saw. They were very standard. The only two points I would make are that 1148 has two sets of long montage shots - one of kids playing in the streets and school yard as Ken walks to Bessie Street and another over the end credits. The latter sees some of the most deprived kids you've ever seen in your life and I couldn't help but think the director looked specially for them - was he trying to make some sort of political statement at the time? I was a child on a council estate in Manchester in 1972 and we were far better turned out than those children. Our mothers, though on tight budgets, made damn sure we were. The other point is that the build up in 1150 and 1151 to Rita (or Mrs Bates) appearing makes her out to be a bit of a harridan - Mr Perkins especially tells Ken not to provoke her as he never wants to go through another interview with her again - but that's somewhat at odds with the Barbara Mullaney performance that eventually occurs in 1152.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 10:32, June 18, 2015 (UTC)
- Thanks John. So,is it usual for the BFI,rather than ITV,to have the master tape? Maybe you will be able to see the ITV copy of 994 at some point. Interesting question you raise about the director's motivations in those montage shots. Also fascinating to read about the build up to Rita's first appearance. I suppose it could be either a case of a different writer having another vision of the character,or Barbara playing slightly against the script. Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my request. It's always good to read on anything you've picked up from these episodes. I suppose completing 1972,'75 and '76 are within sight at this stage. Keep up the good work.70s Fan (talk) 18:38, June 18, 2015 (UTC)
- The master tape refers to the old 2-inch quad tapes used from the 1950s to the early 1980s which are no longer industry standard. ITV converted all of them to 1 inch tape and then digital and gave the old redundant originals to the BFI. The BBC did the same with all of their old tapes as well.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 16:25, June 20, 2015 (UTC)
Finally had the time to reply! My episodes were mostly from 1972 and 1974 with one from 1973. There were some curious episodes placements on tape which suggests it's not as random as we thought - Deirdre's first and second appearances were back-to-back even though they were four months apart in transmission. Deirdre's debut in 1236 was totally unexpected and I'd never seen it so as you can imagine, I was thrilled when I saw it was on there. I think it's Deirdre & Me - Forty Years on Coronation Street that states that she had three lines in the episode - she has more than that in fact, appearing in two scenes both set in The Vine club, although her role is still small as Elsie turns up and scares her off. I noticed as well that Ken is in her first scene, but on a different plotline so they don't interact. This being the early 70s, they wouldn't have built a set for The Vine just for two short scenes with Alan and Jimmy Frazer. No less than three plotlines take place there in the episode - Ken is investigating Benny Lewis's flat robbery and Len meets the mayor Harold Chapman there.
Oh, and do check out the article on Ep 1236 for an absolute classic Hilda line!
I've now seen all appearances by Archie Crabtree. To me it seemed that the plotline with No.13's porch was originally planned for Hilda & Stan, and the writers crossed out Stan on the script and wrote Archie. Archie is a slob and Hilda is always getting at him, even gets him to wear Stan's best suit to go to the Town Hall, and Len and Jerry make fun of him like they do to Stan. John Stratton is very good in the role though so they get away with it.
Annie getting her stomach pumped in 1221 was an interesting one. We were a little puzzled before based on the synopses from ITN Source why Annie has taken to her bed (as seen in Ep 1219 which is on DVD). Well, this follows on from the Jason Lomax kidnap storyline, and a big part of that plot was Annie's guilt at making the Lomaxs leave Jason outside the Rovers. Annie takes to her bed as a result of this, and in 1221 when Lucille thinks she's taken a full bottle of sleeping pills, the regulars discuss whether she was trying to kill herself because of the guilt. A tad melodramatic if you ask me, but nevertheless it's good to get the full picture and shows how much you gain from watching the stories unfold. By the way, Annie is carried through the bar (although I doubt it was Doris Speed under the cover!) and from the angle the paramedics come onto the screen, they must have walked through the wall with the dart board!
Jerry chasing Norma Ford chasing Ken was more fun than I expected. I commented to JT at the time that the genesis of Mavis and Derek Wilton can clearly be seen in Jerry and Norma's painfully obvious pursuit of the object of their affections by indirect means. Especially funny is a scene where Jerry - thinking Ken is tutoring Norma in history - asks Ken if he can join the lessons, only to be told that it's actually English lit she's learning. He now has to pretend that it was really English lit he was interested in all along and his u-turn is hilariously awkward. It's interesting that he went on to date Mavis and was himself replaced by Derek after Graham Haberfield's death. I'd never really thought of Norma as being like Mavis before, but the similarities are there (though Thelma Barlow's performance is far more endearing and funny). Jerry is a character I've really come to love since watching the early 70s. He's such a stand-up guy, you can't help but root for him even when he's being hopeless and patronising Mavis.
Also saw Concepta's return in Ep 1228. This follows 1227 which is the Pub Olympics episode on the DVD. The most striking thing about this episode is what's not in it - Annie is nowhere to be seen and her absence isn't remarked on, even though as you've seen in 1227, there's no indication she's about to go anywhere. This happens occasionally in the 70s but they usually explain where people have gone.
1392 from 1974 was an historic episode - unless I'm mistaken, it's the first time Alf dons the white shopkeeper coat. I just had to note down Annie's comment that he didn't have a natural aptitude for it. Tommy Deakin and Michael and their trip to the races was fun - more about that when I create a page for Michael and update Tommy's. The episodes following the Majorca trip weren't so great but I wasn't expecting much from the warehouse and police scenes with Tony Bolton and Paul Meggitt in the 1434 and 1435 - the first time I saw the Majorca episodes, I forgot that plotline was even there. It's not a bad story but it's quite dragged out for Corrie in the 70s. There was a lot of fun in Annie apologising to Blanche though - as I've said in the expanded synopsis, Annie realises she's wrongfully blamed Blanche for the Rovers serving after-hours but, as you can expect, going round and offering an apology is not Annie's style. She initially tells Betty to "send for" Blanche - her attitude enrages Billy, though Blanche doesn't mind so much, finding the situation more amusing than anything. Eventually Billy makes Annie go over to Blanche's, where to be fair she offers a genuine-sounding sorry. Blanche gets the last word, telling Annie that she didn't mind as she said to herself travelling all that way at her age, she was bound to be bad tempered. Shades of older Blanche there!
Hi David. Once again,thanks for taking the time to give so much additional info on the eps you saw. I do appreciate it. Sounds like you had another productive visit. You must have seen most of 1972 by now. I presume that you're still of the opinion that it was the Street's weakest year of the 70s. Some of those eps sound intriguing though- Annie getting her stomach pumped,and being carried through the bar. Sounds uncharacteristically melodramatic for the period. Her absence from Concepta's comeback week is a strange one. She seems to be missing from the following week's cast also,and only appears in Concepta's final week of that 1972 stint. I wonder if Doris Speed was poorly. Great to read that Ken was there in Deirdre's first scene,and also amusing to read about Alf's first time working in the Corner Shop. I was interested to read about your observations on Norma and Jerry. As I've mentioned before,I like Norma,but would never have thought of her as a predecessor of Mavis. I hope that you've warmed more to her character in these episodes. I'd also like to see the Archie Crabtree episodes- I've seen the actor in other things and always liked him. You mentioned that the post Majorca eps being not so great. Was this primarily because of the warehouse plot? I would have thought that the scenes with the women's return would have been entertaining. Personally,I always felt that the Majorca eps were slightly marred by the Warehouse plot back home. Particularly on DVD for the more casual fan. Interesting about your final comment on Blanche. The later incarnation obviously became an all time Street legend,but as someone who has an aversion to personality changes I could see little,if any,of the 70s Blanche in her. Thanks again David for your kindness in sharing your observations.70s Fan (talk) 18:12, June 27, 2015 (UTC) 18:11, June 27, 2015 (UTC)
- The women have gone their separate ways since Majorca when we first see them. We see Annie, Betty and Emily return to the street in a taxi late at night (Hilda doesn't appear this week), leading to Annie catching Blanche serving after hours. The next scene takes place the following morning and the only bit of business left from the holiday is Bet being missing. These episodes did seem weaker to me (with the exception of the Annie/Blanche scenes which were a riot) but this may be because they were the last four I watched in a session of 20 episodes over two days - I was worn out by then! David (talk) 20:14, June 27, 2015 (UTC)
Visit: September 2015Edit
Hope I'm not being a nuisance,but I noticed additional info being posted on a lot of 1972 eps recently. Presumably down to another BFI visit. Just wondered have you nearly seen all the eps from that year now? I know both of you previously mentioned that you thought 1972 was the weakest year of the early 70s. I suppose you're now in a better position to judge the year as a whole. Also,if you have any other additional info on the eps you've recently seen,it would be great to read.70s Fan (talk) 18:01, September 27, 2015 (UTC)
- Yes, JT was there earlier this month to take us closer to completing 1972. We've now written all guest character articles for that year, and have five episodes still unseen and a few more to rewatch for places (I don't know how many but JT will).
- If you haven't seen them yet, check out the notes attached to Episode 1183 (17th May 1972) and Episode 907 (3rd September 1969). Both discoveries were made by us at the BFI. The latter particularly blew me away when the episode started! David (talk) 20:53, September 27, 2015 (UTC)
Hi David. Thanks for your reply. Yes,I had seen those notes. Both very interesting discoveries that haven't been reported elsewhere. Great to hear that you 're so close to completing 1972 and also 76,I think. Two more significant achievements almost accomplished.Thanks for all the hard work done by you and the others. I continue to enjoy reading all the updates every day.
- There weren't many surprises this time round. I chose episodes from 1972 where TV Times led us to believe there were guest cast - as indeed there were - but there may be very minor guest cast in the few episodes we're yet to see that we're unaware of at the moment. The omnibus abridgement of 1202/3 is a strange one. It's a contemporary one but a cursory check doesn't say why it was done: anticipated strikes perhaps (this was the 1970s remember and the militants were out in force) but I can't find anything in the press for the month concerned, for potential foreign sale maybe, Who knows? One thing I've picked up from this period is how many episodes have incidental music. Nothing like the Australian soaps, of course, but for a UK soap (Hollyoaks aside), there's a fair number of episodes in this period which have the odd spot of stock music. As regards 1972 not being as good as 1971, I still hold to that view - David doesn't as much as he's seen more of 72/3 than me so the jury's still out and will probably never reach a unanimous verdict!! Thank you for your comments of appreciation. It's a lot of hard work and - where trips into London are concerned - a lot of money to do our researches but it makes it all worthwhile when we get comments like yours. You might like to know that you personally keep my on my toes listening out for countdown clock chatter and the like when we're watching episodes to note anything of interest. I see that clock and I think of your previous comments and appreciation!!--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 13:12, September 29, 2015 (UTC)
Thank you John. Rest assured all your efforts are appreciated. You and the others have achieved so much. It's fantastic that you're so close to finalising the main info on both 72 and 76. I hope that you and David are getting enough enjoyment from watching the BFI episodes to compensate for all the time and expense that you incur. And thanks for taking the time out to add your thoughts on this page. Always fascinating to hear any additional bits of info while they're still fresh in your mind.70s Fan (talk) 15:18, September 30, 2015 (UTC)
- I would never, ever pretend that watching old episodes is a chore. It's a treat and a privilege that we both enjoy but you have to multi-task and watch it on so many levels at once (expand plotline, verify casts, take guest cast notes, get places and look for the unusual that's worth noting) that you feel frazzled after two/three days of the exercise. How Daran Little watched 14 episodes a day over a year or so is beyond me.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 17:39, September 30, 2015 (UTC)
- Pot luck. JT frequently chooses episodes to rewatch for places. I'm more character-focused and getting the places is a by-product of watching for guest characters. Both of us normally finish our episodes with time to spare though so we get to spend the last hour or so watching a couple of the other's episodes purely for pleasure. JT is also at the BFI way more than me as we live in opposite ends of the country. David (talk) 20:07, October 1, 2015 (UTC)
Visit: January 2016Edit
- I watched in the main early 1973 and was pleasantly surprised how enjoyable it was. It was the closure of the Jason Lomax kidnap case with the arrest of Christine Peters, the nomination of Alf as mayor and a bit from later on in the year about Norman Leech's assault on Bet. An interesting bit of countdown clock gossip occurs in Episode 1250 (8th January 1973), as I've related in the notes. The only other thing to mention is the two occurances when they film in the back yards of the Grape Street set, doubling as the back yards of other streets, particularly 19 Inkerman Street. There's no way they could have got away with doing that say, a year later, but at this time - early 1973 - the we think that it had only been shown the once in late 1972 so it wouldn't be familiar to viewers. We recognised it immediately though!--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 21:47, January 17, 2016 (UTC)
We were there two weeks ago (and JT was back at the Reuben library last week). If you've read the pages, you'll know that our episodes this time were concentrated in 1973-5; we now have only 59 episodes to verify from the 1970s and 65 characters to do from 1973-5 (that we know of). I commented to JT as we left the BFI that despite us prioritising the "interesting" episodes, for want of a better word, and are now mostly plugging gaps, the quality hasn't gone down compared with the episodes we saw years ago. 1973 in particular stands out for me (and JT agreed) as an eventful year with a great cast - prompted by a scene between Mavis and Ena in the Kabin, it suddenly occurred to me that this was the only time we had pre-stroke Ena, original stint Elsie, plus Lucille, Mavis AND Deirdre in the cast. 1974 doesn't shine quite as much but purely because of half of those people being missing and putting Lucille with Rita in the Kabin which does nothing for either character.
Of particular interest to me this time - and hence the first episodes I watched - was Elsie's 1973 departure. The way it's handled is worth mentioning here as it's difficult to put it across on the episode page. It's not the centrepiece of the episodes that you'd expect it to be. We only get two scenes were it's mentioned, both in the same episode. In the first, Lucille moans about working in the betting shop, feeling despondent about her prospects. This prompts Elsie to mention the new branch of Mark Brittain that she's been asked to set up (her actual role at the new place is kept quite vague, as is how long she's expected to be there - I suspect the writers didn't know themselves how long Pat Phoenix would be away). Later, she tells Alan about it, but says she's not going to accept. He realises she wants to take it and encourages her, offering to drive her there. It's not mentioned again despite the Howards appearing in a later scene in the Rovers, which revolves around the syndicate various residents have set up, with them all quitting smoking and putting their money together with the rather optimistic goal of buying a villa in Spain (which was good fun btw - in the previous episode, the Ogdens chair a meeting with the Howards, Bet, Norma, Ray, Ken, Lucille and Alf, giving Hilda a chance to play mine host). Annie gets a bigger send-off whenever she goes off to Derby!
There's a rare insight into Rita's past in Ep 1328 when, after overhearing Ray slagging her off, she tells Mavis how her dad rejected her and told her mum that she was wasting her time with her.
The first batch of 1974 episodes I watched concentrated on the redevelopment scheme, where the council was planning to sell their properties to a London developer fronted by Douglas Wormold. Unlike the Wormolds who appear in the 1960s, Douglas is a younger man and quite a smooth-talking gentleman although it's Len who cops most of the blame by the residents. Here he comes off as a bit of an arsehole, clearly just thinking about how much he can get for selling his home and business. He throws Alf to the wolves by not turning up to the public meeting organised by Ken, leaving Alf to field everyone's questions, and doesn't at any point show guilt or doubt. The meeting is a pretty raucous affair, with Vera Hopkins shouting over everyone and heckling Alf. Vera's inclusion as a member of the public is strange as just a month later she appeared on the centre committee interviewing the Ogdens to be the new caretakers. I'd like to know what the thought process was when introducing the Hopkins family as it seems difficult to reconcile these appearances despite them occurring in a short space of time! Also in these episodes you had the cracks appearing in Ken and Janet's relationship, with Janet deciding she doesn't want to raise the twins after a conversation with her snobby child-hating friend (who is just ghastly btw). I don't know how much you've seen with Janet but despite disliking the character I always look forward to her scenes as Judith Barker plays her so well. Ken and Janet are very much a couple who know they're ill-suited but are fighting against the inevitable.
Some episodes from 1975 were next. Not much to report from those, except that Bill Tarmey appears as an extra in 1541 (his earliest known appearance). His "character" is seen talking to Ken in the background.
The other 1973 episodes concerned the fallout from Bet's mugging. This was linked to a storyline from earlier in the year where Alf hit a woman with his car, and was unusual for the period in that you had to know the backstory to properly follow it. The best scene in the episode is the one I mentioned where the photos are mixed up in the paper - Albert's reaction to having Ken's words put in his mouth is priceless! Elsie's train ride with the chroma-keyed backdrop was a surprise but apart from that I have nothing to add to what I put on the episode page. Seeing Hilda on the train with a similarly green-screened background right afterwards was purely coincidence! (Thankfully JT was there to identify both Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations for me).
Not much to say about the second block of 1974 episodes either - it's all on the pages. The actor playing Lucille's boyfriend Danny Burrows was pretty wooden, although it was nice to see Annie supporting them (it's made clear though that she expects Lucille to soon come to her senses). The loss of Violet Carson is also dealt with here as Minnie relates her plans to stay with Mr. Foster at St. Anne's to everyone else. I don't know if they were expecting her back soon afterwards as there's a scene in No.5's front room (the only time I've ever seen it) where Gertie Robson suggests that Minnie put Ena up in there to give each of them their own space, and Minnie seems open to the idea.
Remembered two things: Bet's name is given as Teresa Elizabeth Lynch in 1305 both by the police and the Gazette, much to Bet's fury. Can I also draw your attention to the note on Episode 1262 (19th February 1973) which was JT's discovery but I found it very interesting. David (talk) 23:14, January 17, 2016 (UTC)
Thank you both. I always read the new notes on any episodes from this era,so it's great to hear any additional nuggets of info that wouldn't be included there,or any general observations.
It's good to hear that you only have 59 eps left to verify from the 70s. Have you already seen some of these on your early visits to the BFI? I was wondering how the 59 broke down over the years 1972-76? Or maybe you've finished 1972 now?
I'm pleased that you both feel that the standard is still as high in the recent eps you've seen,although they may be less significant than some of the ones you've seen earlier. Although I was rather intrigued as to why John was pleasantly surprised by what you saw of early 1973. Perhaps this was on the back of 1972,which I know you both felt was the least strong year of the 70s. Or maybe it was the conclusion of the Jason Lomax saga,which I remember you(David) being unenthusiastic about it earlier on.
It was interesting to see when Bill Tarmey's earliest appearance( of the ones you've seen) occurred,although I do recall seeing him in a couple of the earliest episodes repeated on Granada Plus(April '76)- so maybe not too surprising that he appeared in 1975.
I agree that Judith Barker is a fine actress,and Janet an interesting character. One of the things I most like about the pre 90s Street is that you don't have one dimensional baddies. Janet wasn't a likeable woman,but she was a very believable character. That seems so much more sophisticated than the panto style baddies we often get in soap nowadays.
I was particularly interested in your information on Elsie's exit in 1973. It does seem strange,even in those less dramatic times,that her exit would be so low key. As far as I'm aware she was leaving the show,not just taking a break. So,it seems very surprising that they didn't make more of it. It's almost as if they were hoping that the viewers wouldn't notice that she was actually going. Or perhaps they were peeved that she had decided to leave,and didn't want to give her a big exit. Or maybe,it was just part of the low key,more realistic form of storytelling that was the norm back then? I've never really seen it mentioned in any of the books written about the programme. Even Daran Little never commented on it,and he must have interviewed some of the writers and producers from that era.70s Fan (talk) 18:47, January 20, 2016 (UTC)
Interesting also to note your observation about Vera Hopkins two conflicting roles over such a short period. You would imagine that they would simply write a different character in. I know that Kathy Staff mentioned in interviews that she played 9 or 10 different parts in the show,although that the evidence we have shows this not to be the case. Perhaps some were non speaking parts,as I think she did some "extra" work earlier in her career. Maybe she was someone they liked to use a lot,because she was available and reliable? But,I can't see something like that happening even a few years later.
Anyway,thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts on this latest batch of episodes. I always look forward to reading them. It's exciting news that you have managed to see so many from this 1969-76 era,and I hope that you will get to see all the remaining ones. 70s Fan (talk) 16:19, January 18, 2016 (UTC)
- The breakdown of episodes yet to see is as follows: 1972 (1 episode, which the BFI don't have: it's 1202), 1973 (19 episodes), 1974 (26 episodes), 1975 (10 episodes), 1976 (3 episodes). There's a huge caveat here though in that a fair number of the first half of 1975 episodes were scrolled through very quickly back in 2009/10 when we first started our BFI viewings just to get cast lists as TV Times couldn't be used, indeed, that was the very reason I investigated and found this treasure trove in the first place. We need to go back and properly watch them, We know which ones they are as they don't have places.
- More on 1262. The prolonged football match goes on for about three or more minutes with no scripted dialogue and very few shot changes. The establishing shots of the street total another 2-3 minutes and the whole thing must, I'm sure, have had viewers wondering what the hell was going on back in 1973!
- More on Bill Tarmey's first appearance as an extra. When we usually say someone is in the background, we mean just that. Look at the screenshot on episode 1037 of Beatrice Neild (Mrs Toft) to see what we mean as a good example but Bill Tarmey is almost "mid-ground" in his first appearance as he eats a meal at the bar and chats to Ken. I sat there half-expecting him to have dialogue!!--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 22:12, January 18, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks John. That's disappointing,that they don't have 1202. I see on the episode pages that an edited omnibus version of this and the following episode exist. I assume you saw this,as there is some dialogue on the ep.page for 1202. It would seem likely that the reason that they don't have this episode is in some way connected with the omnibus edition. Do you know if there is definitely an existing copy of the full episode with ITV? I do hope so,as it would be a shame if there are missing episodes.
I assume the reason you needed to check out the early 1975 cast lists was connected with the fact that the 2 episodes screened each week during this period had different casts due to the fact that the production week did not coincide with the broadcast week( if you understand what I mean?).
1262 does sound bizarre. It does sound like Doris Speed must have pulled out of the recording at the 11th hour!
- At the moment we're fairly certain ITV do have a copy (the BFI archive has one or two gaps in their 1969-83 run) and yes, I do know you mean about 1975 and that was the very reason why! 1979 has a similar problem from July to Dec, not counting the strike period.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 21:55, January 19, 2016 (UTC)
- Thanks John. Do the BFI only hold episodes up to 1983? Re. the other issue,I think it happened again for a shorter period at the end of 1975. Do you know if these are the only instances where this happened for an extended period?70s Fan (talk) 18:48, January 20, 2016 (UTC)
Visit: March 2016Edit
Just a quick summary this time of the points of interest in my episodes. Again, they were all from 1973-6.
I started with three randoms from 1973. 1311 had another train carriage scene (I seem to keep getting these!) which was unusual in that voices were played over a shot of Alan sitting alone in contemplation. I had no way of knowing if these were newly recorded or played in from previous episodes although I suspect the former as all of the actors heard were in studio that day. At one point, a stretcher being pushed through a hospital corridor very noisily bumps into a chair but of course they carried on shooting. I can imagine this being reshot if it had happened a few years later. The cricket club bar is only seen through a large window frame where Ken is sitting, with Elaine holding court at the bar inside - directorial choice to emphasis the gulf between Ken and Elaine, maybe? I often find there has been more thought put into the location shots.
Another gap filler from Halloween 1973 (an event which is not mentioned in the episode). After that 1493 which was Billy's last episode in 1975. We see him make plans to leave, but he gets no goodbye scene. Nice appearance from Alec too. At one point in the Kabin he sees Jerry looking shifty and warns Rita that one of the raincoat brigade has rolled up!
Then onto a block from April 1973. Rita has come to work as a rep for Ernie and, this being before the Kabin, Emily doesn't think much of her and is quite bitchy towards her in these episodes (although without betraying her character). To her credit, Rita never rises to it and Emily comes off quite badly. The best scene of the whole two days was Annie's elocution lesson with Sybil Cudlipp. Sybil is even more grand dame than Annie. There is a clash between them as Annie thinks her breathing exercises are a waste of time. After this they put their tongues to the roofs of their mouths and hummed, while Bet listened with her ear to the wall in the hall trying to stop herself from bursting out laughing. I was in stitches!
Alan gets a lot to do in his last episode in 1974 and Alan Browning looks thrilled to be there. Poor guy.
Betty is very quiet throughout Cyril's funeral episodes, with Maggie making all of the arrangements on her behalf. We don't see her turning up at Mr Porter's house asking for Cyril, and by the next episode Maggie has put her to bed. Deirdre helped out at the Rovers in this episode so that's another person to add to the list of Rovers barmaids.
No big surprises in these episodes and I know these years pretty well now. I still feel 1973 and 1975 are almost up there with the Podmore years and can only improve if I got the chance to watch them in order. David (talk) 11:58, March 29, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks David. Good to see you're still enjoying the episodes from that period. Re.your comment on the location shots,I suppose they had a little more time to experiment whereas there were much pressures and restrictions in a studio situation at that time. I think I recall reading that Ken Farrington's decision to leave in 75 was very last minute,due to a contract dispute- so they probably wanted to keep rewrites to a minimum,hence the lack of a farewell scene. Nobody does-or did- barely disguised disapproval better than Eileen Derbyshire. I think I vaguely remember some of those scenes from first time round! The Sybil Cudlipp scenes do sound funny. I think I've seen a photo from that story in one of the Daran Little books. I also think that I vaguely recall Deirdre being named as a one time Rovers barmaid in a TVTimes article from the late 80s.I wondered when that was. So now we know. Am I right in thinking that you've completed the 1976 episodes now? Also wondering where do you now stand stats wise with the 73-75 years? Thanks again David. I appreciate you taking the time,as always.70s Fan (talk) 16:44, March 29, 2016 (UTC)
- I'll answer the questions on the stats. You're right on the nail as regards 1976. Current stats for 1970s episodes which we have yet to see are 1972 (1), 1973 (11), 1974 (23) and 1975 (8) though the 18/1 caveat of above still stands. Overall, including the 1960s, we have 755 episodes to verify. I also saw mostly 1973 on this visit. A couple of points of interest: in the episode for 20th June 1973, the camera suddenly pulls back from the End of Part One caption to show it set up on stand in the set for the Ogden's back room! It's quite a large picture (it's the one of the dog in the ginnel) and would easily cover the top of Hilda's dining table! Another point of interest are the last two episodes in March 1976. They are double-banked ones with I think the smallest casts ever for the programme bar some two-hander types in the 2000s. Now I am biased in that I dislike the two-hander format. The resultant episodes are just not as interesting as standard ones and these ones are, I'm afraid, no exception. The highlights are easily the performances of Barbara Knox and Julie Goodyear: Rita is at her verbal sparring best with Len and the two really do shine with each other, far better for me than Len is in the much vaunted relationship with Elsie. It's a "Bet being brittle and hurt" episode for Julie but very good for it. Aside from that, I can't say they're for me special episodes. They're two restricted and can't breathe, the Harry Bates bit comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere, same with Tom Russell, and the way in which Deirdre goes from tears to acceptance is a bit too quick to be real for me.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 09:29, March 30, 2016 (UTC)
- Thanks John. Great to see those figures coming down all the time,and to get another year verified in full.
- Do the 755 only include pre 76 episodes? Yes,I'm familiar with those 1976 episodes you mentioned. I actually remember watching them on transmission,and being aware of how atypical they seemed. So,I was particularly interested in reading the plot expansion on the ep.pages and also to hear your thoughts on those. I've actually made some observations in the past on the talk page for those eps. I'm convinced that they're double banked,but not with the week on either side,as is the norm. I think they may have been recorded on the same week as 1562 and 1563(check the casts and places),and may have initially been held aside,possibly to have a spare couple of episodes to slot into a week whenever required. There are two other occasions of double banking between January and April 1976. So,I think they must have fallen behind in the period between recording and transmission in 1975 and were keen to build up some breathing space during this period. Perhaps they always intended to slot them in for transmission at the point when they did go out. The production codes would suggest that they did. I wonder if the copyright dates on the Granada caption were 1975(as I reckon they may have been recorded in December '75,although even if they were the date on the caption may have still been 1976). I know this is all pure speculation at this stage,and of no real consequence. But,I just think it would make sense of the fact the stories are all unusually stand alone ( apart from the Langton false preganancy which is a secondary story thread the following week),the cast is so small,the producer is Susi Hush,the writers are Kershaw and Duxbury( who would never normally have to write so many episodes in a normal cycle,if you check the writing credits for the previous and subsequent weeks),and the fact that they're not double banked with the weeks on either side. Hopefully I haven't confused or bored you to tears with my theory,but I just thought I'd mention it,as you noted the small cast,the unusual two hander nature of the episodes,and the fact that the Harry Bates proposal came out of nowhere. Thanks again John.70s Fan (talk) 14:56, March 30, 2016 (UTC)
Again, forgive the late reply. The 755 figure is (now) from 1961 to 1975. You don't bore me with theories like that - I find that sort of thing fascinating and would love to be able to gain access to the records to prove them right! Who knows? One day perhaps.... --Jtomlin1uk (talk) 11:51, April 10, 2016 (UTC) Thanks John. Yes,I hope you do too. I think I read somewhere that they were back to recording one week prior to transmission at some point in 1975,so I suppose that was the reason for all the double banking weeks in the early part of 1976.
- That ties in well with my guesswork too, although it was a full week before and not the immediate Thursday/Friday before as it had been for many years up to 1971. According to my estimates, straight after the 1975 ITV Strike which saw the loss of episodes 503, 504 and 505, the first recording session took place on 6th June for Episode 1502 (18th June 1975) which was the only episode of that run to be directed by Keith Hack. Note that the episode was written by Leslie Duxbury when he was also script editor so he would have been well-placed to prune four episodes down to one, moving material forwards into other episodes or totally abandoning some storylines.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 17:03, May 10, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks John. I guess then that they were really working 2 weeks ahead in the sense that the cast would have started rehearsing on the Monday for the episodes that that would have been transmitted two weeks later,although obviously the episodes were only recorded 10-12 days ahead of broadcast. I know that in the late 70s and 80s they were generally 3 weeks ahead,although it was only 17-19 days from the dates of recording. Incidentally,I've never really understood why they sometimes would abandon an episode or episodes in situations like this. Why not just pick up where they left off,and move the subsequent episodes on to later in the schedule? I would have thought that this would necessitate less rewriting,and would mean that stories and scripts that had been planned and written could be played out properly. I suppose in some instances they might have to consider the issue of guest artists availability,or the regular cast that had been booked to work on that week. But,it would still seem something that could be worked around more easily,than just abandoning three complete episodes in this particular situation.70s Fan (talk) 23:53, May 10, 2016 (UTC)
- Take a look at Harry Kershaw's book - he specifically addresses that point. If was far harder to re-start than to skip.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 21:20, May 11, 2016 (UTC)
- No, there isn't at the moment - it's my intention to add something to the Production codes page about double episodes, extra episodes and unmade episodes (or missing episodes within the numbering sequence, if you like) but, very quickly, the latter are 372, 373, 1000, 1503, 1504, 1505, 1549 and 4984. Of these we think that only 372, 373 and 1503-5 were actually scripted but we're not sure yet. Perhaps Annie and Betty's Coronation Street Memories filled the gap made by the loss of 1549?--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 22:16, May 13, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the info John. Interesting that the May/June 1970 strike didn't result in any abandoned episodes.70s Fan (talk) 18:46, May 14, 2016 (UTC) I now wonder if the there was such a short gap between recording and transmission for the entire second half of 1975. The reason being Jerry Booth's final appearances were on 27 and 29 October,yet he died on 17 October,which under the previous theory would be the day on which those episodes were recorded. I don't know much about the circumstances of his death,but think it likely that it would have been mentioned had he been recording on the day or the day before his death?70s Fan (talk) 16:11, May 16, 2016 (UTC)
- VERY good point. I have tenative plans to be at the British Newspaper Library on Saturday and I've never actually checked the press coverage of that sad event. I'll do so (if I go) and see what clues it gives us.--Jtomlin1uk (talk) 22:17, May 16, 2016 (UTC)
Visit: September 2016Edit
Sorry for our tardiness this time! We've both had a lot on this past month. Again, I was watching a mix of episodes from between 1973 and 1975 all of which were first time viewings for me. All of my episode pages are now updated and here are my observations: (I won't cover every episode)
1322: Nothing extra to add, just that I really liked this one. A low-key episode centered around a raffle draw but in fine Corrie tradition it draws the community together in a way that causes sparks to fly but also results in plenty of humour. Albert is despicable to Emily in this scene, pouncing on her mistake of not putting his ticket in the drum, but you can't help but laugh at everybody's reactions especially Eileen Derbyshire's (at one point while Albert and Minnie are hurling insults at each other the camera cuts to Emily who wishes aloud that she were dead).
1323: It's said that Ena will be going straight from Mr. Foster's to Llandudno. This episode falls in the middle of a ten-episode absence by Violet Carson which despite being only five weeks long was enough to require Ena to have two holidays back-to-back to explain it! In this era if a character is away for more than a couple of episodes you can bank on an explanation being given. The no-smoking syndicate is an intriguing storyline and one that I would have liked to see succeed - imagine Elsie sharing a villa in Majorca with Hilda!
1324: We meet Tricia for the first time and are reunited with Janet Reid. Rita talks about the first time she smoked - when she was ten - which was interesting as I've never known her to be a big smoker. It wasn't clear why Deirdre put her glasses back on but it had to be mentioned so I made a guess based on Ray's reaction to Tricia (we're in 1973 when Deirdre liked Ray). Elsie seeing Janet is the cliffhanger only for her not to be bothered about Janet at all in the next episode.
1325: Annie's fantastic comeback to Vera Hopkins is quoted in full on the page. Luckily JT was there to identify the location in this episode. Its position in central Manchester standing in for a well-known building is curious as it's meant to be the Department of Education, but then it's never been clear what size Weatherfield is and its location relative to Manchester.
1374: The End of Part One photocaption appears with a wipe rather than a cut. We're told that the Rovers is left from the Kabin and second left on the corner which puts the Kabin on the block after Mawdsley Street but we've had other locations for it given over the years. Gertie Robson is a curious creation - I'm not sure if she was ever meant to last beyond July 1974 but she feels like a character thrown in for the sake of having a caretaker at the centre. She's just as much a non-entity to me having seen the majority of her appearances than she was just based on her appearances on DVD.
1378: Alf and Annie finishing their year in office only gets a small mention and Alf doesn't actually appear in the episode. Mavis tells the Bishops that Grange-over-Sands was too quiet for her - really, Mavis? The play rehearsals and Lucille's discovery about Danny felt quite dragged out and the former didn't quite bring in the laughs I was hoping for. Annie isn't there, being mainly concerned with getting Betty back in the Rovers in this episode.
1421: We get a good view down Viaduct Street in this episode when Bet and Stan come back to the street after riding the tandem. There is a tower in the background and the road becomes mossy and overgrown right past the part we normally see. Very grubby even for Coronation Street.
1423: Weatherfield Train Station makes its only known appearance (the entrance anyway) - normally they just use Victoria or Piccadilly. Hilda says she was attracted to Stan because he was spontaneous! The episode ends on a freeze-frame of Ray slumped on the ground after being thumped by Billy.
1432: Annie comparing Blanche to Elsie Tanner gave me a good laugh considering the Blanche of later years was about as far from Elsie as you can get. It made me wonder though if Blanche was ever viewed as a replacement for Elsie - she's got a grown up daughter, widowed rather than divorced but a steady stream of boyfriends and plenty of sass, and it would explain why she was disposed of just before Elsie came back. Despite her many arguments with Billy in the past, Annie considers him too good for Deirdre when really he's lucky to pull a woman of Deirdre's age. Hearing the character's thoughts aloud gave me a surprise. You get loopy things like that happening occasionally in the early 70s. Bet imagines (with awe) that she could end up going with Mrs Walker, while Annie gets the funniest reaction as she imagines "Bet Lynch... Rita Littlewood... Mrs Ogden!" sounding particularly horrified by the prospect of the last candidate.
1499: Like JT, I think Corrie was on fine form in 1975 but it was a very strange year as many episodes including this one have a single main story strand with just a few cutaways to other characters. A handful barely have any story at all and make up their runtime by having characters chat about something besides each other (an example is 1524 - the Martha ghost episode - when Len, Ray, Jerry and Alf ponder the subject of life after death). It has a more eccentric style to the later Podmore years and doesn't zip along as it does later so I can imagine many fans not sharing our high opinion of this year. 1973 is my favourite year between 1970 and 1975 but that is far more traditional. Anyway, during the VT clock for Part Two of this episode, someone shouts "it's a pantomime!" bringing the house down. This was just after the fight between Len and Ernie. David (talk) 12:35, October 31, 2016 (UTC)
Thank you David. Lots of interesting observations. Re.Gertie Robson,I suppose it was one of those situations where a character was introduced for a short period,and if she worked might have been kept on. I've always thought that the early Blanche did have elements of Elsie. I've never heard whether or not it was her own decision to leave in 1976. Although,I would have thought that had it been because of Elsie then she would have been there a little bit longer. Didn't I read somewhere that talks with Pat Phoenix only began after Bill Podmore got involved circa December 1975. Presumably,Blanche's exit in January 1976 would have been planned at least slightly earlier than that. I think that there was another example of a character thinking aloud in 1976 when Gail did so in a scene in Sylvia's. Do you mean that 1973 was your favourite year including 1970 and 1975? Also,do you think that those episodes with just one main storyline were unique to 1975? It's wonderful that you and John have been able to continue seeing all these episodes. Do you know how many that you now have left in each year for that 1973-75 period? Once again,thanks for continuing to add this additional information on here. Always so interesting to read.70s Fan (talk) 19:27, October 31, 2016 (UTC)
- Yep, I place 1973 above 1975. Sharp writing, pacey storylines, and the balance of characters is just right. The storytelling in 1975 was not as focused and a few such as the rates battle outstay their welcome, though the year is chock full of great moments. Episodes with one main story weren't unique to 1975 but it's about the only time I can imagine whole episodes being given over to a fight over the rates or a birthday party! Thanks for reminding me about the bit with Gail - I had forgotten about that. I'm not as familiar with the Podmore years as we have such a big focus on the 1969-76 period. As for the stats, JT's your man there. David (talk) 22:47, October 31, 2016 (UTC)