|Viva Las Vegas!|
|Release date|| 17th November 1997 (VHS)|
2nd July 2000 (Sunday)
|Writer||Russell T. Davies, based on a story by Adele Rose|
|Running time||110 min (VHS) 75 min (TV)|
Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas! is a feature-length spin-off released exclusively on VHS on 17th November 1997. The special focused on Jack Duckworth and wife Vera as they flew to Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows. Hairdressers Maxine Heavey and Fiona Middleton featured in a story of their own, as their attempts to find fun in Vegas often backfired.
Written by Coronation Street fan Russell T. Davies, it featured a cameo appearance from actor Neville Buswell, who had given up his long-time role in the programme as Ray Langton twenty-one years earlier. Joan Collins made a cameo appearance. The special was shown on television on Sunday 2nd July 2000 at 5.00pm in an edited version running to 75 minutes with adverts. This was not shown in the regions covered by Scottish Television, Border Television or Grampian Television.
The special was recorded in Las Vegas, and a number of American or Canadian actors played supporting roles, including Michael McShane (Maxwell Baxter), Gwen Humble (Biddy Baxter), Rolf Saxon (Stephano Delaney), and Lou Hirsch (Dino Di Catalono).
Jack and Vera Duckworth, married 40 years, decide to fly to Las Vegas for a vow renewal ceremony. After their arrival they're surprised by Fiona Middleton and Maxine Heavey, who got the money for the trip from Alec Gilroy to surprise the Duckworths and do Vera's hair for the service.
Jack soon confesses to Vera that he added two years to his age when they met, to impress her, and thus their wedding certificate was not valid. Vera was upset to learn they were not legally married, and insists Jack get on one knee and propose to her in the hotel dining room. Jack's proposal inspires a nearby couple, Maxwell Baxter and his partner, Biddy. The two couples have a drink and Maxwell tells Jack and Vera he is a millionaire, due to his bra design business. Jack and Vera inflate their own wealth so as to not seem inferior.
Jack goes to play the slot machines, and steps away from one to talk to an insistent Vera about her earrings. While he's busy, another man takes over the machine, and wins one million dollars. An angry Jack vents to Vera about what she's cost them and how thanks to her they will be in debt until they die. Vera is reduced to tears, and although Jack apologises, Vera throws him out of their room, saying she does not want to marry him. Jack runs into Maxwell, who has split up with Biddy after questioning her about why her five previous husbands died under odd circumstances.
Vera drowns her sorrows with Biddy. They run into Ray Langton, now working as a waiter. Vera talks about the events that have happened on the Street since he left, mentioning Deirdre Barlow's marriage to Samir Rachid and his death, Rita Fairclough's marriage to and the death of Alan Bradley, and Emily Bishop's marriage to Arnold Swain, among other topics. Ray, thinking she's exaggerating, tells them he's now married to a man named Raymond, adopted three Vietnamese boat people with him, and is hiding from his evil twin. After he leaves the table, he tells their waiter to stop serving the "sad old drunk."
Biddy becomes interested in Jack when Vera says he has an inheritance. Biddy convinces Vera that Jack is finished with her, and begins to pursue Jack for herself.
Meanwhile, Maxine convinces Fiona to stop being boring and try to enjoy Vegas. While driving around in a sports car, a man named Stephano Delaney pulls up beside them, asking them to join him at a party. Maxine dares Fiona into agreeing. Maxine is the centre of attention, while Fiona talks to Dino Di Catalono. When Dino calls her a prostitute, Fiona pushes him into the pool. The police show up around the same time, and Dino reveals himself as a police officer, taking everyone at the party down to the station. Maxine and Fiona spend a night in jail and clash over Maxine's belief that Fiona has everything handed to her. The next morning, after they're released, Maxine goes to a party with Stephano. Fiona stays behind at the hotel, only to run into an apologetic Dino, who wants to take her out to dinner. They have a friendly meal, but when she tells him of Maxine's whereabouts, he reveals that Stephano is involved in various criminal activities, the most recent being a counterfeit design scheme. Stephano pulls this scheme on a bereft Maxwell Baxter, an assistant stealing the briefcase and designs while Maxwell is talking to Stephano. Maxine, using a camcorder she'd brought with her, records various moments of the counterfeiting process. Fiona shows up to warn her about what's going on, and Stephano suspects the women are working against him.
In Biddy's room, she attempts to work her magic on Jack, but stops when he tells her he doesn't have any money. Maxwell offers Vera marriage and money, but Vera encourages him to find his true happiness with Biddy, even if she can't with Jack. Maxwell then knocks on Biddy's door, begging for another chance. Jack hides in a closet, then crawls under a dinner cart as Biddy distracts Maxwell. The cart makes its way up to Stephano's suite, where Fiona quickly hands Jack the incriminating tape of Stephano before Stephano can search her.
Fiona sprays water in Stephano's face and she and Maxine run for it. Maxine is recaptured, but Fiona manages to escape. A chase ensues, as Maxwell, Biddy, and Vera run after Stephano and his men, and Fiona has a taxi follow the men as they drive off with Maxine. Dino and the police soon stop the criminals, but Stephano taunts them over lack of evidence. Just as he threatens to sue everyone, the dinner cart rolls outside, and Jack emerges, giving the tape to the police. Stephano and his men are arrested. Jack manages to win Vera back by shouting his love for her through a megaphone.
Maxwell and Biddy wed in a chapel, followed by Jack and Vera. They say their goodbyes, and Biddy begins to plot Maxwell's murder. Jack and Vera fly home, upgraded to first class by the police. Jack accidentally causes Vera to spill her drink all over herself. Joan Collins walks by, assuring Vera that it will wash out, saying, "I should know."
- Vera Duckworth - Elizabeth Dawn
- Jack Duckworth - William Tarmey
- Fiona Middleton - Angela Griffin
- Maxine Heavey - Tracy Shaw
- Maxwell Baxter - Michael McShane
- Biddy Baxter - Gwen Humble
- Stephano Delaney - Lou Hirsch
- Ray Langton - Neville Buswell
- Big Ed - Jo La Co-Co
- Registrar/Herself - Charolette Richards
- Miss Joan Collins (credited as "special appearance")
- Most of the special was recorded in Las Vegas. El Nino was plaguing the city at the time, meaning the wind and rain had to be removed from the final production.
- Neville Buswell reprised his role of Ray Langton for the first time in nearly two decades. Neville had left acting along with the Street and become a bank manager in Las Vegas. In 2005, after returning to England, he would make a short term return to the Street. His Vegas appearance wasn't referenced on his return.
- The events of this video were not referenced in the series proper, bar Jack and Vera discussing how they would keep the details of their Las Vegas adventure their own secret shortly before the wedding of Fred and Maureen Elliott.
- While the planning of Jack and Vera's trip was featured in the series' storyline, no reference was made to Maxine and Fiona's trip. This was explained in the film by Fiona saying that they had to keep things quiet as the holiday was from Alec Gilroy in lieu of owed money.
- Perhaps in honour of Joan Collins, the credits for Viva Las Vegas! were done in the style of Dynasty, with each character involved in a parody of some glamorous pose (with champagne, turning around dramatically, and so on). The music was a jazzed up version of the usual theme.
- Joan Collins's reference to the drink washing out of Vera's dress was a reference to a famous series of adverts she appeared in from 1978 to 1983 in which she always ended up with a drink being accidentally spilt over her by Leonard Rossiter.
- A 20-minute behind the scenes documentary accompanied the 90 minute film.