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Episode 288
Episode288
Production code P228/288
ITV transmission date 16th September 1963 (Monday)
Stories by Harry Driver
Writer H.V. Kershaw
Designer Denis Parkin
Director Christopher McMaster
Producer Margaret Morris
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PlotEdit

Sheila is in a trance with the remainder of the pills before her. Lucille looks for Sheila. Florrie tells her not to disturb her. Doreen returns home for change but decides not to chance disturbing her friend. Lucille wants to return some magazines to Sheila but after getting no answer from the flat door, Florrie chases her away. Dennis calls to borrow the girls' record player and grows concerned when he can't get an answer from the door. He alerts Lucille and Elsie who, in turn, call on the menfolk for help. Dennis gets a ladder and smashes a window to get in as Len and Harry break the door down. They find Sheila. Dr. Aston is summoned as Lucille breaks down. Sheila is brought round as the residents wait to for news. Dr. Aston gives Sheila a sedative as she tells him that Neil told her to get lost and her resultant intention to kill herself. Aston arranges for Sheila to be taken to hospital. He congratulates Dennis on his actions and sees that he's badly cut his arm and is covered in blood. The regulars ponder if Sheila meant to kill herself. Doreen calls into the Rovers, unaware of events and Elsie tells her what's happened. Annie buys Dennis a drink as a reward for his actions. Len offers Elsie a no-strings relationship but she refuses. Doreen feels guilty for not helping Sheila more but Ena tells her it's not her fault. Swindley feels a sense of responsibility for leaving Gamma Garments's Rosamund Street branch and not being able to prevent events. He complains to Ena about the cleanliness of the Mission Hall but she's unconcerned. Len repairs the flat window. Frank's formidable shop flat tenant Ethel Tyson comes to the Rovers in search for him. He's just put her rent up but she tells him that she's refusing to pay it.

CastEdit

Regular castEdit

Guest castEdit

PlacesEdit

NotesEdit

  • This episode was heavily rewritten to avoid depicting the death by suicide of Sheila Birtles after news of the plotline leaked and Granada Television received protests from, among others, the Deputy Coroner of Manchester. Faced with a barrage of media interest, producer Margaret Morris was pressured by senior management to change her intentions and not show Sheila as having died. It therefore begins with a shot of Sheila in a catatonic trance with the remainder of the pills and the clock on the table before her. This is set to 8.10pm, which was the exact same time it displayed in the untransmitted scene in the previous episode when Sheila vomited the pills up and instead began to gas herself. These changes were made at the very last minute and led to action by union members who threatened to declare the production "black" as reported by the Daily Mirror on 13th September 1963, the last day in studio for this and the next episode, which effectively meant that they refused to work on it. This protest was supposedly in protest at the pressure placed upon director Christopher McMaster although the man himself was quoted as being happy with the situation. The paper reported that senior Granada Television executives had stepped in to try and resolve the situation. In another Daily Mirror article, published on the day that this episode was transmitted, written by Ken Irwin and entitled Isn't it time they pulled down Coronation Street?, the writer stated that it was the first time in the programme's history that it almost didn't make it to the screen, forgetting strike action which had prevented scheduled transmissions on 10th February and 8th March 1961.
  • Kathy Staff appears as an extra, ten years before making her debut as Vera Hopkins.
  • From Episode 172 (6th August 1962) to Episode 459 (5th May 1965) the programme featured a standardised cast list for the regular characters. This means that in this episode the following were credited but did not appear: Jack Walker (Arthur Leslie), Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant), Martha Longhurst (Lynne Carol) and Miss Nugent (Eileen Derbyshire).
  • TV Times synopsis: Dennis plays an unaccustomed role, and Mrs. Tyson fires off her first salvo
  • Viewing Figures: First UK broadcast - 8,418,000 homes (1st place).
  • This episode was included in the Network DVD collection Coronation Street: The Best of 1960-1969, released on 31st July 2006.

Notable dialogueEdit

Leonard Swindley: "We've had our little brushes from time to time over the years. Minor skirmishes in the battle of life. Due in the main, and I freely admit this, to very high standard which I've set for myself and on which I insist in others. Some people have called me finicky..."
Ena Sharples: "I've 'eard 'em."

September 1963 episodes
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