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Albion Market

IT HAD a fantastic theme tune, if you watched closely sometimes you could see the back of Granada’s studios, and DAVID “SCIENCE WORKSHOP” HARGREAVES was in it. Apart from that, ALBION MARKET was your archetypal one-dimensional, craply acted and totally confusing affair created solely for the sake of it. Centrepiece “covered market” location looked like a shitty warehouse, which was no surprise given it was Granada’s old prop store. Too many characters and too much hype pissed off viewers and ITV schedulers, especially LWT who hated having to show it on Friday nights, erstwhile home of Brucie and patented big fuck-off LE bollocks. Sunday night episode died on its arse thanks to being up against OPEN ALL HOURS. Two months after launch saw a desperate TV Times devoting pages to plugging the characters, profiling them as if no-one had heard of them before, which was to a degree completely true. Despite mobilisation of terribly self-conscious “icons” (TONY BOOTH and HELEN SHAPIRO for fuck’s sake), the whole thing was put out of its misery precisely 100 episodes after it began with a wedding and someone being born.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    June 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    This was supposed to run for 25 years but died after 12 months almost unnoticed. Ironically the set became Coronation St and, for all LWT hated having to show a soap on a Friday night, Corrie started a Friday night episode in 1989 with little complaint from LWT who were desperate to win back viewers from BBC1. Nowadays Friday nights are dominated by soaps betwween 7 and 9pm and light entertainment is mostly a Saturday thing.

  2. flotsky

    June 16, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Simon Hickson confirmed on his blog a while ago that Trev and Simon were extras on Albion Market.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    June 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher could have been extras, or even main characters, on Albion Market but so few people watched it they wouldn’t have been noticed. Trev and Simon could have murdered the entire cast and set fire to Granada and still they wouldn;t have been recognised or even charged. Albion What was the common reaction, it was the biggest flop of the eighties.

  4. televisualcabbage

    January 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Maybe as cheap as the clothes they sold on the market, me thinks?

    Compared to this, it makes Doctors look like an oscar winner!

    Then again Glenn, those stalwarts of Granada…. Richard and Judy could have appeared and everyone would have though that This Morning had gone on for a long time that day!

  5. Simon Hickson

    July 27, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I like to think I was partly responsible for its demise.

  6. sb2009

    July 28, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    The actual ‘Albion Market’ gates you see were there until at least the late 90’s. I can see the bind weed now.

    I always remember people thinking it was a p*ss poor Corrie.

  7. Andrew Barton

    October 13, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Albion Market, was like Eldorado and the American sitcom Sibs later, of the thinking the public would watch these shows because it was from a successful team.

    (Coronation Street for Albion Market, EastEnders\Verity Lambert for Eldorado, and The Tracey Ullman Show for Sibs. The same theme composers were used for Eldorado and Sibs).

    And they all tanked in the ratings. (Sibs never aired their full 22 episode run in the US).

    Following a pattern too, some of the Albion Market cast faded into obscurity, Dan Castellaneta never got a main primetime live action role afterwards(guest roles yes, but not a main regular role)and has concentrated on voice work since. And we all know about Kathy Pitkin ref Eldorado.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    October 17, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    ITV had been rattled by Eastenders, which was soaring in popularity after a shaky start, and decided they needed some new soaps. Albion Market, copying the idea of a market from Eastenders, was touted as being as big a hit as Coronation St and would last 25 years. Instead the ham acting, miserable setting and an attempt at serious storylines like racism saw viewers switch off in droves. Also being shown opposite Open All Hours on Sunday nights saw Albion Market crushed in the ratings.
    Then Granada decided on a medical soap at the same time, seeing that the BBC had cancelled Angels and having no competition. The Practice started OK, with 8 million viewers, but wooden acting, miserable storylines and being on a Friday night, when viewers expected entertainment, saw ratings tumble and it was axed quickly. Granada then decided wisely that investing more in their most popular soap was a better idea.

  9. Richardpd

    October 17, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    Oddly I was reading about The Practice earlier this week.

    As mentioned above the Friday episode of Coronation Street was a fairly painless option for ITV to get people to switch over early in the evening & hopefully stay there!

    Another good idea was to bring Emmerdale was brought into prime time in the late 1980s after dropping the Farm.

    I think some ITV regions tried Take The High Road in a slightly later time slot at one time. Also the last push to make a moribund Crossroads more in touch with the 1980s 2-3 years before it’s axing.

    It seems that starting soaps with a lot of unknown actors is a gamble that rarely pays off, Eastenders was a rare time it paid off.

  10. Glenn Aylett

    October 17, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Border always showed Take The High Road in a peak time slot due to half the region being in Scotland. Other ITV regions usually showed the soap in daytime and it was dropped by some regions in the nineties as ratings were too low. Eventually STV dropped Take The High Road when audience research revealed the average age of a viewer was 73 and the audience was dying out.
    Emmerdale nearly got the boot in the early nineties for similar reasons, an elderly audience and low ratings in many regions, but a reboot in 1994 saw ratings double and the soap becoming a top five regular in the second half of the nineties.

    • Richardpd

      October 17, 2021 at 10:16 pm

      It seems that Scottish, Grampian & Ulster also showed Take The High Road at prime time, I can’t remember Granada showing it much, probably at lunchtimes when I was at school.

      Emmerdale made an effort in the early 1990s to shed it’s “Archers In Vision” image, the plane crash was one of many ratings grabbing storylines.

  11. Andrew Barton

    June 18, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    Interestingly, Noreen Kershaw, who played Lynne Harrison and later played Emma Wray’s mother on Watching, was once the daughter in law of Sheila Florance, aka Lizzie Birdsworth from Prisoner Cell Block H.

    Noreen was married to Peter Oyston, Sheila Florance’s son.

  12. Glenn Aylett

    June 19, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Helen Shapiro had an unexpected career boost through Albion Market and a useful income for six months, but her acting abilities were hammy to say the least and she decided to return to singing when the soap was axed. Also the one time teen pop sensation found employment singing on a radio show hosted by Ernie Wise.

  13. Richardpd

    June 19, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Anthony Booth also was brought in to attempt to drum up some interest in the series, but to no avail.

  14. Glenn Aylett

    June 19, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    @ Richardpd, Mr Pat Phoenix by then, of course, but even someone with a fine acting pedigree like Tony Booth couldn’t save such a poor show. Maybe he could have played a similar character to Mike in Till Death Us Do Part, or even revived the character, and Albion Market could have been worth a look.

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