Thursday, August 11, 2005


Last night on Coronation Street, Dev Alahan was standing in front of an electric fan, mopping his face with a hanky (I might not have remembered these details correctly, so apologies to any pedants out there). Pretty unusual, as extreme weather never occurs in Weatherfield, presumably because of continuity and the fact that it would confuse viewers in other countries. The only reason for the sweltering corner shop I can think of is that the producers have taken the suggestion of an August heatwave to heart. This prediction appeared in the papers some 4 months ago and seems to have been conjured up out of thin air as the Met Office has denied it is possible to forecast more than about a week in advance. Viewers of weather forecasts will know it is often difficult for them to provide accurate information 24 hours in advance, but still ...

August 12th is going to be the hottest day on record in Britain, according to the predictions taken seriously by the Coronation Street crew, so viewers tomorrow night will no doubt think they are watching a Tennessee Williams play ... hmm. Fred Elliott's considerable girth encased in a cream linen suit with disgusting sweat patches under the arms, as he fans his face with a hat, nursing a bourbon and ranting drunkenly at Ashley about how he has always been a disappointment to him. It will make a change, I suppose.

Anyway, the real, not-that-extreme heatwave broke towards the end of July and all those gloomy forecasts of water shortages are now on the news backburner - for the next few days, at any rate. This is not going to top the infamous long dry summer of 1976.

The reason I remember the summer and the drought of '76 is that Max Bygraves did a song and dance routine a couple of years later in which he proclaimed "I'll never forget the summer and the drought of '76". The dance troupe was wearing dungarees and wellies and carrying buckets, and the routine was performed in a barn dance style. Unfortunately this has remained lodged in my memory where more useful information ought to reside. This is why I have never been a high achiever.

At the age of 83, Max is about to complete a farewell British tour in Belfast. Unfortunately, I have missed the opportunity to see him over here - and he played in Dartford on my birthday too! I would have loved to confront him backstage: "worro Max, I bet you haven't forgotten the summer and the drought of '76!"

At which point he would have looked puzzled, backed away and got his security men to evict me from the premises.

Stay cool, folks.

I hope you're pleased with yourself. I now have an image of Fred Elliot in a linen suit with sweat patches under his arms lodged in MY memory.

I think you deserve your Max Bygraves moment...
Like the Max link, Betty. He's looking better than me. Must be the black polo neck.
Mark - John Savident (aka Fred Elliott) is something of a luvvie with a great deal of experience in television and film under his 64 inch belt. I like to think he would have appeared in a Tennessee Williams play - if he could manage the Southern drawl, of course.

Geoff - as with Pete Murray (see Jacob's Ladder post) Max has proved you can age with dignity, panache and a decent hair weave. Black polo necks certainly hide all the nips and tucks.
Betty, I think there was a documentary on John Le Mesurier on Radio 4 this week - presented by Ian "Stupid Boy" Lavender. Did you manage to hear it?
I only manage to hear anything on the radio these days if it's recommended (with accompanying picture) in the Guardian Guide - a haphazard form of programme selection, I know. I might try the BBC radio "listen again" thing on their site but I'm not holding out much hope.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?