Sunday, 5 July 2009

Corrie Decade - 1980s

When the eighties dawned, Coronation Street was still popular. But, during the first four years of the decade, the serial saw great change. By 1984, Ken Barlow was the only remaining character from the original cast after Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner and Albert Tatlock departed. Although Midlands soap Crossroads had been on air since 1964 and Yorkshire’s Emmerdale Farm since 1972, they weren’t a threat to Coronation Street. The 1980s brought that to our favourite soap when Liverpool based soap Brookside was introduced in 1982 and London’s EastEnders in 1985, bringing some controversial and gritty storylines, a contrast to the warm, close knit storylines of the cobbles. But it survived, thank goodness!

Main Characters

Albert Tatlock, Stan Ogden, Betty Turpin, Percy Sugden, Elsie Tanner, Hilda Ogden, Alf Roberts, Emily Bishop/Swain/Bishop, Rita Fairclough, Fred Gee, Ivy Tilsley/Brennan, Jack Duckworth, Mavis Riley/Wilton, Vera Duckworth, Ken Barlow, Bet Lynch/Gilroy, Mike Baldwin, Deirdre Langton/Barlow, Brian Tilsley, Gail Tilsley, Norman Watts and Kevin Webster


· By 1980, Albert was alone. In 1976, Minnie Caldwell had left the street and in 1980, Ena Sharples left for St. Anne’s. He was genuinely happy when lodger Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton in 1981 and thought they were a perfect match. Albert passed away in 1984 at daughter Beattie’s house

· Like Albert, Stan Ogden’s health deteriorated in 1980s. His storylines included scheming with lodger Eddie Yeats and celebrating 40 years of marriage to Hilda in 1983. In 1983, stubbed his toe and gangrene developed and he was rushed to hospital. Sadly, Stan’s heart gave in and he died in hospital, leaving Hilda lost

· The eighties proved quiet for Betty Turpin, although she did meet up with old flame Ted Farrell – revealed to be son Gordon’s dad. She starred in a hilarious scene when she was stranded in a lake with Bet and Fred in Annie Walker’s car

· Percy Sugden was intended to be the new Albert Tatlock, but as we know, there’s only one Mr Tatlock! Percy was the community centre’s caretaker and was soon chased by pensioner Phyllis Pearce and moved in with Emily Bishop in 1988

· In 1983, Elsie Tanner met up with old flame Bill Gregory who asked her to join him run a bar in Portugal. After much dithering, Elsie decided to leave the cobbles. She reminisced about her arguments with Ena Sharples, Annie Walker and son Dennis Tanner before leaving in a taxi in 1984

· Hilda Ogden’s life changed during the 1980s. By 1984, all the people she was primarily involved with during her time on the street (Stan, Elsie and Annie) had left or died. In 1987, she was offered to be a housekeeper at Doctor Harold Lowther’s home and on Christmas Day, her neighbours made her a party in the Rovers as she bid farewell by singing Gracie Fields’ song ‘Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye’. This episode is the highest rated in the soap’s five decade history

· Alf Roberts lost wife Renee in a car crash in 1980. After proposing and being rejected by Rita Fairclough, he met and married Audrey Potter in 1985. He suffered a heart attack in 1987 when his assistant at the corner shop Deirdre Barlow replaced him on the council

· Emily Bishop met and married Arnold Swain 1980. In a few months, he was revealed to be a bigamist. He held Emily hostage and when he was arrested he was admitted to a mental hospital where he died in 1981. For the rest of the decade, Emily’s life consisted of taking many lodgers, dating Arthur Dabner and working as a wages clerk at Baldwin’s Casuals

· Rita Fairclough’s marriage to husband Len ended in 1983, when he was killed in a car crash. In 1986, she fostered Jenny Bradley and starts dating her dad Alan. Over the course of three years, Alan would lie, steal, abuse and try to kill Rita. Rita fled to Blackpool only to be followed by Alan, and while chasing her on the promenade, he is fatally hit by a tram

· Fred Gee met and married Eunice Nuttall in 1981, as a way to own a pub. When they failed, the marriage ended. Fred was responsible for getting Bet, Betty and himself stuck in Mrs Walker’s car in a lake. In 1984, he was sacked from the Rovers by Annie Walker’s son Billy

· Ivy Tilsley didn’t hide her contempt towards daughter in law Gail. Their feud would last through the decade and until Ivy’s death in 1995. Ivy was the shop steward at Baldwin’s factory and led the girls when on strike. First husband Bert died of a stroke in 1984 and Ivy married Don Brennan in 1988, that soon turned sour before the decade ended

· Jack and Vera Duckworth moved into Number 9 in 1983 and soon were involved in the street goings on. Jack had numerous flings with bored housewives and Vera gossiped at the factory. Son Terry brought grief to them when he stole from neighbours and the corner shop

· Mavis Riley was involved in a love triangle in 1983 when both Derek Wilton and Victor Pendlebury wanted to marry her. Mavis chose Derek and planned to marry in 1984. But they both jilted each other! In 1988, they finally married

· Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton in 1981. In 1983, Deirdre had an affair with Mike Baldwin and thus began a 20 year old rivalry between Baldwin and Barlow. Ken’s blood was boiled further when Mike married daughter Susan. In 1989, Ken had an affair with Wendy Crozier and Deirdre kicked him out

· Bet Lynch became the Rovers landlady in 1985. She nearly died in the Rovers fire the following year. After the refurbishment of the pub, she found help in Alec Gilroy who she surprisingly married in 1987. Their marriage would last until 1992

· In 1982, Mike Baldwin began an affair with Deirdre Barlow, thus beginning a twenty year old rivalry with her hubby Ken. In 1986, he married Ken’s daughter Susan. The marriage ended in 1988. In 1989, his factory was demolished by Maurice Jones

· Gail Tilsley gave birth to son Nick in 1980. Gail and hubby Brian were burdened throughout the decade by Brian’s interfering mother Ivy. In 1986, Gail had an affair with Brian’s cousin Ian and when she fell pregnant the same year, she feared who was the father. It was revealed that Brian was Sarah’s dad. The marriage crumbled and they divorced. By 1988, they were married again. The marriage lasted a few months before Brian was stabbed to death outside a nightclub

· Norman Watts became a lodger with Emily Bishop and dated Elaine Pollard, Tina Wagstaff and Shirley Armitage. Originally a bin man, he worked with Terry Duckworth at Baldwin’s Casuals. By the end of the decade, he was lodging with the Duckworths and got a job at local supermarket Bettabuys, and thus began a double act between him and manager Reg Holdsworth

· Kevin Webster lodged with Hilda Ogden and met and married Selly Seddon in 1986. Hilda left the cobbles in 1987 and the Websters bought the house from her


  1. Coronation Street was "still popular" at the dawn of the '80s? Consistently, the ratings were higher than those for the '70s THROUGHOUT the '80s! That is an easily checkable fact. This is a nice blog, but PLEASE do check your facts before publishing! Write about things as they were, not as you'd like them to be.

  2. Corrie had no competition during the 1970s in comparison to the 1980s. And, I'm only 18! I don't even rememember the 1980s. We can't all be perfect!