Coronation Street: 25 Years 1960-1985

Since July 9 last year every book that I have read from my own personal collection has been discarded or given away after I finished reading it. My book decluttering project continues with Coronation Street: 25 Years 1960-1985. I have been a faithful viewer of this show since 1985, and have rarely missed an episode. My late mother taped (on VHS) every episode when I was away in Finland during the summer of 2000, diligently rewinding and reviewing the opening credits to ensure that CBC didn’t alter its omnibus schedule for the following Sunday. I also never missed an episode when I was away in Tristan da Cunha in 2013 and 2017. I had to resist watching the show when I was on the island as their broadcast schedule was synched to the British timetable and wasn’t two weeks behind as it is in Canada. That said, I am indeed a religious fan and have had the pleasure even to meet some of the cast. I acquired this book as an unwanted library donation. It was not in the best of shape when we received it and it fell apart on me mid-read. The spine was on its last legs when I got it and the book is sorrowfully in two pieces now. 

The book profiled all the regular characters during the show’s first twenty-five years, and I recognized two names that were blasts from the past. Jane Hazlegrove, who is currently on the show in the role of Bernie Winter, was first cast in the role of Sue Clayton back in 1985. And Sue Devaney, who played Kevin Webster’s sister Debbie back in 1984-85, returned to the role in 2019. The script for the very first episode, broadcast on 9 December 1960, was included. I replayed that episode in my mind as I read the script. I own the VHS tape of the premiere episode and have watched it many times.

What I found hard to understand were the Briticisms that I, as a speaker of Canadian English, could not decipher by context alone. For example, in the short biography of Frank Barlow:

“Like many of his generation he was strongly against hire purchase, and proudly believed in ‘paying his way’.” 

I had no idea what “hire purchase” meant until I checked on-line. It is indeed a British term, as is the expression below in single quotations:

“…Brewery painters, sent to give the pub a face-lift, are sacked for doing a ‘foreigner’ at the Bishops.”

The book ended with a month-by-month account of plot developments from the start of 1961 to the time of publication in the summer of 1985. Plenty of colour and black-and-white photos filled the book. 

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