Friday, 9 November 2012

Cheers Bill

I came here to write something completely different, but as I was signing in I heard that Bill Tarmey has died. Bill played long-suffering husband and pigeon fancier, Jack Duckworth in the classic UK soap Coronation Street, which I've watched since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

My mum used to let me stay up to watch the cat in the opening sequence before I was packed off to bed. I think the only times I haven't watched Corrie is when I was at University and didn't have a TV and when I've lived overseas. Even then I would get updates on what was going on from my mum.



Now you may be groaning, thinking soaps are a load of crap, which yes, a lot of them are, but there's something a little bit different about Corrie. There's a real northern warmth about the writing and a heck of a lot of humour. Whenever I catch glimpses of miserable Eastenders, seemingly filmed in grey, the only expression being a downturned grimace or tedious shouting of "leave it aaah, 'e aint werf it", I change the channel and think fondly of Rita's Cabin, where daft gossip is interspersed with comedy gold or the ongoing Ken-Deidre-Tracy sagas and Deirdre's timeless cries of "Oh, Tracy love".

I've just had a quick pop over to twitter and saw Joanne Harris, the writer, had shared her favourite Jack Duckworth quip:


That gentle humour is one of the things I admire about t'Street, which, by the way, attracts such theatrical luminaries as Nigel Havers and Ian McKellen. Yes, that's right, Gandalf has been in Corrie. I was recently on holiday in Malysia and Indonesia where I picked up what may have been the oddest thing I have ever brought abroad. We were in Kuala Lumpur central station, waiting for a train idly browsing a book sale in the station, when I found this:

Corrie book

Yes,  I bought a 1980's Coronation Street album while in Malaysia  It's awesome - if you like Corrie, obviously - and is packed full of facts and good interviews, not like novelty books today where most of the writing seems to have been left out. It's from the era when I first started watching Corrie, when I was deemed old enough to stay awake beyond the cat, so I've had fun dipping into it and dredging up old Corrie facts. If I ever go on Mastermind Coronation Street might well be my specialist subject. I just hope one of the answers would be "Oh Tracy love!"


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