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
It’s 33 years, almost to the week, since Kraftwerk became probably the unlikeliest act ever to appear at number one in the charts, especially as only a few years before that they were a massive novelty, appearing on Tomorrow’s World and seeming to be as far removed from pop music as you could get. By the time they got to the top slot, though, their sound had appeared frequently in the charts thanks to umpteen bands finding them a total inspiration, many of whom will talk about them on this documentary, though sadly none of the actual band will.
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Points of View
- In 'Creamvote #10 The most unforgettable game show theme!', THX 1139 says: "Larry’s second theme was the old Judy Garland standard The Man That Got Away, well, it was never the..."
- In 'Creamvote #9 The most unforgettable kids’ drama theme!', Des E says: "Now that the poll has closed and ‘Chicken Man’ has taken its expected huge win, may I admit..."
- In 'Marsaud, La famille', Ian says: "I remember my big sister having books at secondary school in the 70s featuring La Famile Marsaud and teaching me what she had learned when I was 4 or..."
- In '58) “Ringo Starr film by Michael Hurll”', Lee M says: "Wherever they are now I salute the ladies of Slough Technical College for their noble terpsichorean efforts in..."
- In 'Pirate Reading Scheme', Errol or Mr M. says: "I used the series of books with the children I taught in the Seventies.I have the full reading scheme and intend to use them with my..."