FROM AN IDEA BY Tony Warren. And what an idea: backstreet Shakespeare with brown ale; a cobblestoned Greek tragedy in curlers. Despite the fact that they’re hymned to the heavens by Parkinson and Hattersley, those early shaky, grimy episodes remain the benchmark for earthy popular drama, crushing the likes of COMPACT and THE NEWCOMERS under the heel of Elsie Tanner’s stiletto. They had everything and the kitchen sink: not least a gallery of recognisable yet larger-than-life characters: regal pub matriarch Annie Walker, hairnetted harridan Ena Sharples, the jaded sexpot Elsie Tanner, the slightly menacing roguishness of Len Fairclough and the tedious, bookish, middlebrow Guardianista Ken Barlow, who’s been there ever since. Into the seventies, the emphasis on wayward youth was taken up a notch, with more emphasis on the likes of loveable Scouse petty crim and hare-brained scheme merchant Eddie Yeats and saucy peroxided “good time girl” Suzie Birchall to offset the pensionable perfidiousness of Fred Gee. Further up the family tree there was Hilda Ogden (complete with ludicrous prole-taste “muriel”, obtained from dubious sources by one E. Yeats), gaudy pub siren Bet Lynch and slippery cigar-toting rag trade wideboy Mike Baldwin stepping into a frequently genuinely dramatic world – the lorry smashing into the Rovers Return, and Deirdre’s search for her baby in the rubble; the gunpoint murder of Ernie Bishop and the car-smash death of Alf Roberts’ wife Renee. As the eighties wore on, Eddie copped off via a CB radio to humorous effect, many of the Street’s mainstays took their final bows, and the Newton and Ridley brew was watered down, with more episodes and more tedious longeurs (the courtship of Derek and Mavis for instance) breaking up the drama, such as the Ken-Deirdre-Mike love triangle: “Ken’s a good man, he deserves better”, proffered no less an authority than John Betjeman.
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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
We said the other week that very few bands came out of 1975 with critical and commercial success intact, and while we were mentioning Queen at the time we might suggest 10cc also fall into that category, making it to number one with a record they didn’t really think that much of and thought it stop their career in its tracks. Of course they initially got together as writers and producers rather than performers and spent much of their time experimenting with sound, to the extent Godley and Crème initially left the band to invent a new musical instrument. So the four are suitable subjects for this series. More from the lads later in the week.
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Points of View
- In 'Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Lifeforce', Darthflanflinger says: "… oh and Lenny Henry co-produced ‘Neverwhere’."
- In 'Big Trouble In Little China ', George White says: "Actually, that’s Victor Wong. Vincent Wong was in Who, Victor Wong was in Big Trouble."
- In 'Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Lifeforce', George White says: "The bloke, Bukovsky is Michael Gothard, Locque the speccy baddie in For Your Eyes Only, and was the sidekick in Arthur..."
- In 'Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Lifeforce', Darthflanflinger says: "Persian-chilli-jully-mumban is Bob Mills ‘In Bed With Medinner’ reference. Now. People. Do I get in..."
- In 'PICK OF THE DAY', Darthflanflinger says: "I listened. It was fantastic. Plus a clip from when he engaged in banter with Rikki Fulton. Cue memory of a Rikki Fulton documentary where..."