Friday, 3 July 2009

Corrie Decade - 1970s

To many, this was Coronation Street’s golden age, due to its mix of comedy and drama. Although the three main women (Ena, Annie and Elsie) were still there, younger characters such as Bet Lynch, Deirdre Hunt and Rita Littlewood became centre characters. Humour had a vital role during the seventies, thanks to Stan and Hilda Ogden, Mavis Riley and Eddie Yeats. The set changed over the course of the decade. While the terraced houses remained on the left throughout, maisonettes, a warehouse and a factory appeared on the right. And from 1973, the local newsagents called ‘The Kabin’, became the place to hear and receive the local gossip. The golden age would last until the early eighties, when long running and original characters would depart.

Main Characters

Albert Tatlock, Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell, Annie Walker, Stan Ogden, Betty Turpin, Elsie Tanner/Howard/Tanner, Len Fairclough, Hilda Ogden, Maggie Clegg/Cooke, Alf Roberts, Emily Nugent/Bishop, Ernest Bishop, Rita Littlewood/Fairclough, Mavis Riley, Billy Walker, Ken Barlow, Bet Lynch, Mike Baldwin, Ray Langton, Deirdre Hunt/Langton and Gail Potter/Tilsley


· After jilting Alice, Albert Tatlock sets his eyes on Minnie Caldwell and proposes in 1973. She accepts but soon gets fed up of his habits (drinking tea out of a saucer) and calls it off. They remain friends

· Ena Sharples is reinstated as the caretaker of the community centre, a post she holds until she retires in 1980

· In 1970, Minnie Caldwell was held hostage by the killer of Steve Tanner – Joe Donnelli. She was saved by Stan Ogden. After being briefly engaged to Albert Tatlock, she is wooed by Handel Gartside and leaves the street with him to Whaley Bridge in 1976

· Annie Walker became a widow in 1970 when husband Jack died suddenly. Her storylines revolved around her beloved pub including her future as landlady in the balance and the pub being burgled. By 1975, she relied heavily on her faithful staff – Betty Turpin, Bet Lynch and Fred Gee

· Stan Ogden began the decade as a hero, when he rescued Minnie and his daughter Irma from Joe Donnelli. For most of the decade, his storylines included going from job to job, coming up with different schemes and going on a second honeymoon with wife Hilda

· Betty Turpin suffered many blows between 1974 and 1975. Husband Cyril died of a heart attack, sister Maggie remarried and left to Zaire and Betty was revealed to be her ‘nephew’ Gordon’s mother

· Elsie Tanner met and married Alan Howard in 1970. Their marriage was burdened with Alan’s drinking. They left the street in 1973 for Newcastle but Elsie returned alone in 1976. She divorced Alan in 1978

· Len Fairclough fell for singer Rita Littlewood in 1972 and bought her the Kabin in 1973. They tied the knot in 1977

· Hilda Ogden’s storylines was mostly her worry about how much money she and Stan earned and her bickering with her neighbours. In 1976, she installed the famous mural of the Alps in Number 13’s front room

· Maggie Clegg divorced husband Les in 1970 and was soon wooed by Alf Roberts. She rejected his marriage proposal but in 1974, she met Ron Cooke and after a whirlwind romance they married and emigrated to Zaire

· Alf Roberts returned to the street after an eight year absence. In 1977, he became friends with the latest corner shop owner, Renee Bradshaw, and they married in 1978

· Emily Nugent found love in Ernest Bishop and they married in 1972. Ernest was hired as a wages clerk at the denim factory in 1976, which cost him his life in 1978, when he was shot dead in a wages snatch

· Rita Littlewood started off with Ken Barlow before moving on to Len Fairclough. She became manageress at ‘The Kabin’ and hired Mavis Riley as her assistant – a partnership that lasted 24 years

· Mavis Riley was originally hired as an assistant at ‘The Kabin’. Her storylines were often humorous but was also about Mavis’s on/off romance with Jerry Booth and the beginning of her long running courtship with Derek Wilton

· On the death of his father, Billy Walker returned to run the Rovers with his mother. His storylines included going into debt and an engagement with Deirdre Hunt that abruptly ended when Billy left for Jersey in 1975

· The decade began on a tragic note for Ken Barlow when wife Valerie was electrocuted in 1971. He married Janet Reid in 1973, but they were separated within a year. By the end of the decade, Ken was wooing his next wife, Deirdre Langton

· Bet Lynch was hired as a barmaid in 1970 and during the decade she had relationships with Len Fairclough, Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin. Her storylines compassed her numerous relationships

· Mike Baldwin came into the serial from London as the owner of the denim factory – Baldwin’s Casuals. He would soon catch the eye of Bet Lynch. Early storylines included Mike hiring and firing staff, business deals and relationships

· Ray Langton married Deirdre Hunt in 1975 and they had daughter Tracy in 1977. Ray had an affair with Janice Stubbs in 1978 and left Deirdre for Holland the same year

· Dollybird Deirdre Hunt caught the eye of Billy Walker. When he fled for Jersey in 1975, Deirdre found love in her boss Ray and they married the same year. She gave birth to Tracy in 1977. By 1978, Ray had left her for Holland and she became the latest woman in Ken Barlow’s life in 1979

· Gail Potter came into the serial as a warehouse employee. After wrecking the marriage of Ray Thornton, she found love with Brian Tilsley and they married in 1979


  1. I can't agree with this at all. Corrie had comedy and drama in the 1960s, and it's generally accepted that the first half of the 70s saw the comedy largely go missing and the ratings sank tremendously - even Bill Podmore commented on the problems in his autobiography. This is poorly researched work. 70s lies.

  2. The golden age was 1976-1984, so that included the 1970s. Poorly researched?! Try doing a better job!