|As Dennis Tanner might ask his mother, "Where's me t?"|
1: The older generation
Gamma Garments manager Leonard Swindley (Arthur Lowe) and his employee and fervent admirer Emily Nugent (Eileen Derbyshire) have arranged a party at the mission hall for the over-60s (50 years on, with Emily established for so many years as the wise woman of the Street, it's downright odd seeing her in her original incarnation as a comically lovelorn spinster eternally waiting for her pompous boss to notice her womanly charms).
|"Ooh, Mr Swindley, can I tempt you... to a salmon paste finger?"|
Much dancing follows. My favourite of the elderly extras is the dark haired lady in the snazzy dress. Clearly a goer. As is Martha, who pulls a large-nosed gentleman whose name we never learn (maybe she doesn't either, the harlot).
2: In the middle
Elsie Tanner (Patricia Phoenix) needs some work doing around the house. Len Fairclough's gormless apprentice Jerry Booth (Graham Haberfield) takes a look, but decides to get his boss to see to it in an attempt to matchmake between the pair. Little does he know that Len is the number one suspect in Elsie's investigation to find out who wrote to her landlord to inform him she's taken Christine Hardman in as a lodger. Len and Elsie are one of soap's great will-they-won't-they pairs, and their eventual confrontation, where Len scornfully protests his innocence, fairly simmers with sexual tension. There's clearly a great deal of chemistry between the pair: they even synchronise their facial expressions.
3: The younger generation
Well, they're meant to be young at least, but with today's eyes they all look pretty advanced in years. This episode showcases two of my favourite long-forgotten Corrie characters, Sheila Birtles and Doreen Lostock (Eileen Mayer and Angela Crow). I especially love Doreen, assistant at Gamma Garments, with her wonky beehive and perpetually startled expression.
Sheila and Doreen, along with their casual dates Jerry Booth and Jed Stone (Kenneth Cope) try to decide what to do with their evening. Doreen's up for going to exotic new coffee bar The Sphinx, but Jerry's not keen: "Well, if you're gonna sit in one of those black holes all night all choked up with smoke and drinking that frothy muck they call coffee you can count me out". It's a wonderful pen portrait of youth culture past. Jed tries to enthuse the gang during their stop at Jackson's chippy.
|"A bit of the old twist and twirl to the old cha-cha!"|
4: Between generations
As well as causing Elsie Tanner trouble as her lodger, Christine Hardman (Christine Hargreaves) has set tongues wagging in her own right by getting engaged to her old schoolfriend Ken Barlow's dad Frank (Frank Pemberton). Christine's thoroughly unenthusiastic attitude towards her fiancé suggests this may not be a true love match, however. Christine throws Frank into turmoil when she casually mentions that she'd rather not live in Coronation Street after their married. She's already on her way out of the Street, moving in with Esther Hayes (Daphne Oxenford), a former Corrie resident and regular visitor, whose hat is almost as remarkable as Elsie's top.
Perhaps the most delightfully quotidian bit of the episode is an involved conversation between Christine and Concepta Hewitt (Doreen Keogh) about the best bus route to take to get to Esther's house.
Well, I enjoyed that very much and now I'm off for a lie down with a salmon paste finger. Toodle-oo.