That’s 26.65 million people all seated around their television watching that final scene together. That shows the power of television back in the 1980s.
Those ratings are a thing of the past nowadays given the amount of choice that we now have, but still incredible to think of viewers in that scale.
Recently I attended a Coronation Street event to celebrate 60 years of Granada which was held at HOME in Manchester. I love Coronation Street and all that it encompasses.
In attendance were Sally Dyvenor (Sally Metcalfe but she’ll always be Sally Webster to me), Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, arguably the best soap villain since Richard Hillman and Jez Quigly), writers Debbie Oates and John Stevenson, Exec Producer Kieron Roberts and voice of Granada Charles Foster.
What followed was a truly, indulgent Corrie fest featuring TV clips from the past, voiced by the people who create the show.
I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I became watching some of those clips as they transported back to the era in my life when those characters played a central function to me. I watched Annie Walker and Bet Lynch heading up the Rovers through my young eyes, then into my late teens as Bet Lynch became Bet Gilroy and her side-kick was Alec ‘Tiger’ Gilroy.
Then onto all grown-up and responsible me as the audience were treated to a preview of Nick Tilsley and Peter Barlow fighting on the street in the 2016 Christmas Day special. It resembled the scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary when Hugh Grant and Colin Firth collided in fisticuffs in a middle-class British bust up, but instead of snow there were cobbles and gnomes.
For me, watching Hilda and Stan frantically searching a land-fill site for abandoned underwear with the hilarious Eddie Yeates was a delight for a die-hard Corrie fan such as myself. I sat in silence as I lapped up this nostalgic evening and realising how much this television soap has become such a big part of my life.
The first times that I was affected emotionally through television and characters were through Starsky and Hutch and Coronation Street.
I can recall feeling desperately anxious that Hutch was going to die from the plague in an old two-part episode in the 70s which I think was titled ‘Plague’. It caused no end of stress for my sister and I who loved the character of Hutch, so we were all behind Starsky as he began his race against time to save his partner. We were there every second of the way with him as he bravely fought the ‘baddies’ to find a cure. The relief those two little girls felt when Hutch finally awoke from his coma was huge.
Secondly, I can vividly recall watching the Ken, Deirdre and Mike love triangle unfold and feeling such anger towards Deirdre for cheating on Ken with Mike Baldwin. How dare she do that to Ken! So when Mike turned up on her doorstep I was right behind Ken Barlow and secretly praying that Deirdre would come to her senses and quickly.
And so at six years old began my love of television and characters who invoke emotion in me that continue to this day.
Coronation Street and their larger than life characters have been with me throughout school, college, becoming a young parent, through loneliness, depression, career building and now into my forties. It is a comforting friend who is always there no matter where I am in my own journey.
I’ve fallen in and out of love with the characters and can relate to it’s stories, humour, northern-ness and now I work across the water from where it is made. I often see Nick Tilsley going for his run in the morning as I walk to work, have ordered a pint next to Tyrone and queued up for the toilet behind Carla.
I thank Granada for delighting me with this trip down memory lane, a remarkable evening celebrating the past and the future of the street. I think my love for Weatherfield will continue past retirement and into my twilight years.
It might never reach 26.65 million viewers again, but it definitely has its die-hard fans who’ll stick with it through their own milestones in life.
MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE
Two very different subjects to be discussed in todays blog for the letter M in the April A-Z challenge.
Think late 1950s/early 1960s New York and a certain television show set not only in that era but on the legendary Madison Avenue. The characters Don Draper, Pete Campbell and Peggy Olsen will spring to mind if you are a big Mad Men fan like myself.
The Mad Men are tailored to perfection and adored by their women both in the office and at home. They work hard, play hard and drink even harder. It’s hard not to love each character as although some of them are plain male chauvinists, you can’t help but feel compassion towards them as they show the audience their flaws. That’s what makes a great television show I suppose.
Being a fan of the show meant that of course I booked a place on the Mad Men Tour in New York City. Whilst husband and son adventured around Central Park Zoo I took part in this tour which I’d booked when I first found out that we were going to New York.
The tour guide whose name I can’t even remember met me outside one of the swanky Central Park hotels. He informed me that there should have been a party of ten people also taking the tour but they’d had to cancel. So, it was just the tour guide and me.
Anyone who knows me will know that I spent the first twenty minutes checking out the route that we were going, and making sure that this “tour-guide” wasn’t some crazy psycho who was going to lead me into the Waldorf-Astoria and drag me into one of the suites where I would be bound and tortured.
It was in fact a tour of some of the hotels which featured in Mad Men, and ended at the Blue Oyster bar in Grand Central Station where the guide bought me a beer and we chatted about acting and screenwriting. Not sure it was worth the $45 that I paid but I was certainly glad I went on it.
When I think of Mad Men I think of the glitz and glamour of working in Sterling Cooper Pryce Draper advertising agency.
Then I think of the Mets. Tight pants, fat arses, overweight men swinging a club about trying to hit a ball on a large field which let’s face it, it’s really just fancy rounders isn’t it?
We’d never been to a baseball game before so before we left the UK we’d already bought tickets to see the New York Mets.
The Mets are the professional baseball club based in Queens, New York.
One thing that amused us is that the stadium is on the flightpath from La Guardia airport (well we presume it is that one). Planes were taking off every couple of minutes which amused us as we sat there cacking ourselves watching these massive silverbirds flying over the top of us.
We didn’t really understand what was going on, but we joined in anyway. We were amazed by the different goodies that were for sale and were brought around by various vendors. You didn’t need to get up off your seat for anything (apart from using the toilets). There was a beer guy, a hot dog guy, crisps guy, candy floss guy and a popcorn guy. I bet there were other goodies guys in the stadium too (it was a big stadium).