To celebrate the reopening of perhaps the most famous pub in Britain, we asked Corrie blogger Glenda Young, editor of the 'Coronation Street Blog', to share her top five Rovers moments.
1. The first ever Rovers death
The Rovers Return Inn was the scene of one of Coronation Street’s most shocking deaths, back in May 1964. Martha Longhurst was a cleaner at the Rovers Return and she’d been invited by her family on a holiday to Spain. As she sat in the Snug, passport in one hand and a sherry in the other, Martha suffered a heart attack and died in her seat in the pub. That night, for the first time in Corrie’s history, the credits rolled in silence at the end of the show. Instead of the usual exit sequence of chimney pots and roof tops, there was just a closing shot of a table top with Martha’s passport on it along with her glass of sherry and a pair of specs.
There was chaos and carnage at our favourite pub back in 1979, when a lorry crashed into the front of the Rovers. Deirdre Barlow had popped into the pub to see landlady Annie Walker about a knitting pattern, leaving 2-year-old Tracy Barlow outside of the pub in her pushchair. When the lorry smashed into the pub, Deirdre ran through the dust and smoke screaming for Tracy, only to find a pile of timber where she’d left her baby girl. When the emergency services arrived, they called for silence but couldn’t hear any crying from under the timber and the Fire Chief warned Deirdre her baby was probably dead. Fortunately for Tracy, she’d been snatched moments before by a mentally distressed woman. And as we all know, Tracy survived to grow up into the manipulative woman that we all love.
3. Inferno: Take 1
When the fuses kept blowing at the Rovers Return back in 1986, cellar man Jack Duckworth decided to replace the 5-amp fuse with a 30-amp one. DIY was never his strength. After the customers had left at the end of the night and landlady Bet Lynch was upstairs in bed, the fuse box burst into flames. Walking back home late at night from a date, it was Sally who first spotted the fire and Kevin who rescued unconscious Bet and saved her life, carrying her out of her smoke-filled room upstairs in the pub and down a ladder to safety.
4. The reign of the Duckies
The Rovers Return survived death and destruction, but could it survive the Duckworths? The unlikely publicans took over in 1995, when Jack was left a windfall by his brother Cliff. When Veronica Duckworth put her name as licensee above the door, it was the proudest day of her life. Together the Duckies felt respect from their community for the first time, but their moment of glory was cut short when debts from tax troubles caught up with them. They weren't away from the pub for long though, with Jack returning as cellar man, and Vera as a cleaner.
5. Sunita's murder
Jealous Karl Munro was revealed as the arsonist who started the devastating blaze earlier this year. In a bid to get revenge on love-rival Jason and win back his beloved ex Stella, Karl tried to frame Jason for the fire, claiming that the blaze would be blamed on faulty electrics which Jason had fitted in the pub. When Karl was caught in the act by Sunita, he knocked her down the stairs and left her unconscious with the life-threatening flames spreading around her.
And not forgetting... the legendary hotpot!
We can’t mention the Rovers Return without its best-selling pub grub – Betty’s hotpot. Fixtures and fittings may change as the pub is renovated after the fire, but one thing we hope will surely remain the same – Betty’s hotpot served up at the bar.
By Glenda Young, editor of www.coronationstreetupdates.blogspot.com