Sunday, 17 March 2013

The 1967 Dossier

I have, as those of you who have attended one of my Corrie talks will know, a fair collection of Corrie artefacts.  One  item I'm very pleased to have been able to give houseroom to is a file of notes compiled in October 1967.  Michael Cox had just taken over from Jack Rosenthal as producer and there was some debate as to the future of the show.  It was almost outgrowing itself and earlier in '67 there had been a great deal of difficulty filming the train crash scenes using the 7 year old indoor street set, a replica train and a real fire engine which towered over the houses, all but to scale.

So, at the end of 1967 there was a review carried out into the show's future and whether it was reflecting modern society.  The result was the building of an outdoor street set in 1968 and plans, overseen by Executive Producer Richard Everitt, to include more sex, pregnancy and drugs and homosexuality.  However, most of these stories were dropped for fear of upsetting viewers and instead a number of new characters were introduced to freshen up the show.

The document I have runs through the sets, the characters and the potential for bringing back old characters.  Here are some interesting snip-its:

Amongst the permanent sets available are listed: Jackson's Chop Shop, Miami Modes, Gamma Garments, Exterior Vestry, a stock room.
Listed as semi-permanent sets are: Raincoat factory, Loft, Mario's Café, Flying Horse, Roebuck Inn and Hotel Room.

There are sections on each regular character which includes these facts/descriptions:
The Rover's phone number was: Weatherfield 2271.
David Barlow - wealthiest member of the street with £1,000 in the bank.
Kenneth Barlow - the educated voice of reason - in conflict with more down to earth regulars.  A highbrow misfit. 
Valerie Barlow - note: is scared of wasps.
Emily Nugent - Lives over the corner shop.  Has a multitude of outside semi-educational interests, although she has played bingo with Florrie.  Plays the harmonium.  Nugent is looked upon by all members of the street with mild affection.  Possibly could get married and move away after June 1968.
Hilda Ogden - Kind and well meaning.  She has one weakness - Stan.  Hilda claims to be clairvoyant - her greatest triumph was foretelling the downfall of Kruschev.  She had a nervous breakdown in June and ran away to Liverpool frequenting clubs and cocktail bars.  There are research documents on this and it will not happen again.
Ena Sharples - Gossip and gardening are her hobbies.  Politics - will support first party to put pensions up.  Needs sharpening - make bitchy.
Elsie Tanner - Warm-hearted.  Interests - men, fashion, the pools.  Elsie met Steve in spring - engaged at Roebuck Inn.  Realises she married a dream.  Bring back toughness.
Dennis Tanner - Went to prison for 3 months - breaking and entering.  Has a yen for bright lights and show girls.  Not religious.  He is tolerated.  Will leave in June.
Albert Tatlock - Father figure. 
Annie Walker - enjoys a 'gracious' standard of living.  A tolerant superior. 

In the section on possible returning characters:
Frank Barlow - a note is made that 'actor cannot be used'.  This refers to Frank Pemberton being ill at the time.  He did return in 1971 for Val's funeral - it was his last appearance.
Ida Barlow - although she's on the list someone's helpfully noted in red ink that the character is dead.
Sheila Birtles -Not seen since 1966. Went out with Jerry Booth (a popular character who was in fact being lined up for a gay storyline which never came to pass)
Ivan and Linda Cheveski - Linda was Elsie's daughter.  They had been brought back for Elsie's wedding to Steve Tanner (they married her off to someone with the same surname so that viewers wouldn't be confused!) earlier in 1967.  Ivan didn't appear again but Linda returned in 1968 and 1984 when she cleared Elsie's things from her house and made a pass at Bill Webster before leaving for good.
Harry and Concepta Hewitt- Harry had actually been killed off in 1967 so why he's on the list is anyone's guess but Concepta returned a few times until the mid-70s.
Alf Roberts - had been seen in his job with the post office a few times in the '60s but had to wait until 1971 to return.  He became a regular and stayed in the show until 1999.
Jed Stone - a bit of a waster and friend of Dennis Tanner's he left in 1966.  He had to wait until 2008 to come back when he played a crucial role in the Tony Gordon storyline.

What actually happened:
Well, plans to have Emily leave the show were obviously dropped and then it was decided that Emily should fall pregnant by her blind Hungarian lover and that they would buy the corner shop.  This too was dropped.  Instead, a new family - the Clegg's - came in to run the shop.  We would eventually discover that Maggie Clegg's son Gordon was in fact Betty's son!  Ray Langton, who had been seen briefly in 1966, returned and eventually married Deirdre and fathered Tracey (and other crimes).  Dickie Fleming and Audrey Bright were introduced as a new young couple who had eloped aged 16.  The Mission was demolished and replaced by trendy new flats and the hippest couple of them all - Ken and Val moved in.  Hippies moved in to one house, Hilda became besotted with a park keeper, Dennis married and Steve Tanner was murdered.

Have things changed that much over the years?

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