Friday, 26 June 2009

Corrie Decade - 1960s

This was the decade that started it all. What made it a hit with the viewers was the humour and the strong women in its cast. Characters like Elsie Tanner and Ena Sharples would provide the mould for characters like Bet Lynch, Rita Fairclough, Ivy Tilsley and Blanche Hunt in later years. During the decade, most scenes were played out in the Rovers, Corner Shop, the terraced houses and the Mission Hall. Until 1969, the episodes were in black and white and one shows their age if they remember Coronation Street in black and white! Overall, it was a success in its first decade, but it had its critics. Some people commented that the serial didn’t portray 1960s Britain, but more so the 1950s. It would have to modernise itself if it was going to survive the 1970s.

Main Characters

Albert Tatlock, Martha Longhurst, Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell, Jack Walker, Annie Walker, Frank Barlow, Leonard Swindley, Stan Ogden, Harry Hewitt, Florrie Lindley, Elsie Tanner, Len Fairclough, Hilda Ogden, Concepta Riley/Hewitt, Emily Nugent, Ken Barlow, Jerry Booth, Valerie Tatlock/Barlow, Irma Ogden/Barlow, Ray Langton and Lucille Hewitt


· Albert Tatlock becomes involved with Alice Pickens and they plan to marry, but call it off when they believe they’re jinxed when the vicar’s car breaks down

· A controversial move by producers was to axe Martha Longhurst in 1964. She dies of a heart attack in the snug. She would be the first main character to be killed off. The production team later confessed that axing the character was a mistake

· Ena Sharples is sacked by pompous draper Leonard Swindley for drinking on the job. She protests to the teetotaller and is later reinstated. She worked as a caretaker at the Mission Hall. The Mission is demolished in 1968 and replaced by maisonettes, leaving Ena unemployed until 1971

· Minnie Caldwell becomes addicted to gambling and falls into debt. She leaves town and is later found in hospital by Ena, suffering from pneumonia. She returns to the street when fully recovered

· Jack Walker is blackmailed by Frank Turner after he sees Lucille Hewitt behind the Rovers bar at the age of sixteen. Jack suffers a breakdown and when the neighbours find out, they rally round. Frank is later beaten up by Jerry Booth

· Annie Walker accuses husband Jack of having an affair with the street’s siren Elsie Tanner. She is later proved wrong

· Frank Barlow is shocked when wife Ida is knocked by a bus in 1961. After dating Florrie Lindley, he becomes involved with Christine Hardman, who’s 26 years his junior. They become engaged, but burdened by local gossip, they call it off. He later retires to Cheshire

· Emily Nugent’s admiration for boss Leonard Swindley. After years working side by side at clothes shop Gamma Garments, Emily makes a leap year proposal and he accepts. She later has cold feet and jilts him

· Stan, Hilda and Irma Ogden move to the street in 1964 and quickly make their mark on the cobbles and on screen. Stan is soon seen as a layabout while cleaner wife Hilda is classed as a busybody. Irma, the same mould as Elsie Tanner, marries David Barlow and they buy the corner shop before immigrating to Australia

· Barmaid Concepta Riley is romanced by Harry Hewitt and they marry in 1961. They move to Ireland in 1964. When they visit Weatherfield for Elsie’s wedding to Steve Tanner, Harry is crushed under a van when the jack collapses, leaving Concepta widowed

· Florrie Lindley buys the corner shop in 1960. She soon feels lonely and suffers a breakdown in 1965. She had just refurbished the shop and opened a sub post office and had hired Irma Ogden as an assistant. Her estranged husband Norman returns and whisks her away to Canada

· Elsie Tanner’s liaisons with many men proved to be popular storylines. She eventually married in 1967 with an old flame, Steve Tanner. They moved to the USA, but she returned three months later. He followed her back and after she rejects him, he is later found at the bottom of her stairs. Both Elsie and her best friend Len Fairclough are suspected of his murder

· Len Fairclough is soon portrayed as a loudmouth builder who soon clashes with Ken Barlow. He buys the local builder’s yard and hires Jerry Booth and Ray Langton as apprentices. After his divorce from wife Nellie, he attempts to woo best friend Elsie, but she rejects him, stating that she prefers him as a friend more so than a husband

· Ken Barlow’s romance with Valerie Tatlock and they marry in 1962. Valerie later gives birth to twins Peter and Susan in 1965. They become the decade’s young couple and although both are unfaithful at one time, they become the soap’s first supercouple

· Shy Jerry Booth is bullied into marrying Myra Dickinson but the marriage soon crumbles after Myra has a stillbirth baby. He reunites with old girlfriend Sheila Birtles but they end the relationship when he finds out she’s pregnant with another man

· Ray Langton attempts to rape Lucille Hewitt and is jailed. He returns in 1968 a reformed man and is rehired by Len. In 1969, he has an affair with Audrey Fleming but it’s cut short when he becomes paralysed after the coach crash

· Lucille Hewitt was the first child on the cobbles. In the early years she caused trouble for dad Harry and his wife Concepta but as she grew, she matured into a pleasant young woman. After her parents move to Ireland, she is taken in by Jack and Annie. In 1968, she becomes involved with Gordon Clegg and they plan to marry but he jilts her

· Other storylines include Valerie Barlow being kept hostage by Frank Riley, the viaduct collapsing – burying Ena under the rubble and claiming Sonia Peters’ life, Number 7 collapsing in 1965 and the residents become involved in a coach trip accident leaving Jack Walker, Minnie Caldwell and Ray Langton seriously injured

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