Elsie is in a bad mood about Ena and takes it out on Dennis. Elsie knows that Ena will have something up her sleeve and determines to get in first. She's thrown when Ena is friendly to her and disarms her. Elsie nevertheless gives her a list of repairs she wants doing to No.11. Hilda is furious when Stan fills the house with paper. Albert gets the name of a paper merchant that Stan can do business with. Irma is still off with Stan for the way he treated David. Emily hands out leaflets for the Gamma GarmentsJanuary sale and drops hints that Swindley has a great gimmick up his sleeve. Charlie sees in the paper that Len is advertising for a live-in housekeeper/cook. Annie approves while Minnie rushes to tell Ena. The menfolk take the mickey out of Len when he turns up in the Rovers, doubting his true motives. Minnie worries that Ena will make her spy on Len to make sure that nothing untoward is happening. Charlie, Hilda and Albert wait for the results of Stan's visit to the paper merchant. They find he was only offered £5 a ton instead of the market price of £7. Len and Lucille prepare his house for the housekeeper interviews. Mrs Ainsworth, one of Len's applicants, asks directions to Mawdsley Street from Ena who invites her into the Vestry for a chat. Dennis shows a shocked Elsie the advert. She's about to go round and stop him making a fool of himself but changes her mind and decides to leave well alone. Charlie, Albert and Stan come round to help Len "judge" his applicants but he throws them out. Hilda throws all the paper into the back yard. Irma is at a loose end with nothing to do on her night off. Dennis makes a bet with her to force her to apply to Len for the post of housekeeper. Mrs Ainsworth gets annoyed at Ena's intensive questioning. Ena tells her she'll tell her all about Len. She later tells the regulars that she's saved Len a great deal of trouble, as he'll be finding out about now, and he'll later thank her for it but she won't reveal exactly what she's said or done to anyone.
The storyline featured in Episodes 426 to 429, that of Len Fairclough's search for a housekeeper, is almost unique in the programme’s history in that it came about not as a result of a story conference with the writers and the production team but from a viewer's suggestion. ProducerH.V. Kershaw, in his 1981 autobiography The Street Where I Live states that such suggestions were never encouraged and always politely refused, in part to avoid accusations of plagiarism. On this occasion one of the actresses in the programme (Kershaw doesn’t state which one) rang in sick one Tuesday morning and her character was involved in a major storyline in that week’s episodes: "There was only one thing to do - rewrite. Whilst my secretary contacted both the writers involved and told them to hotfoot it to the studios I had a quick flip through the scripts to see if any ideas sprang to mind. None did, so I settled down to wait for the arrival of the writers in the hope that three heads would be better than one. Whilst I waited, with my mind on the problem, I read the morning’s mail. Suddenly, in front of me, in crabbed handwriting on cheap notepaper, lay the solution. A letter from an elderly lady in North London (with no address but with an apologetic postscript giving a telephone number 'just in case') pointed the way to salvation. Why not, wrote the lady, let Len Fairclough, then a lonely widower, advertise for a housekeeper? What usually happened, the lady added, was that at least one of the applicants would have either left her husband or have been thrown out by him and would rely on such a job to provide a roof over her head. Holding my breath I checked the scripts. Yes, Peter Adamson...was in that week’s cast. What was more, his 'living room' was one of the five sets to be used. Had the old lady been in the room I would have hugged her. By the time the writers arrived I had worked out the bare bones of the story, our casting director had been alerted to find the necessary extra artists to play successful and unsuccessful applicants and by mid-afternoon the amended scripts were in the typing pool awaiting duplication. Before they went home that night each artist was given the rewritten material to learn for the following morning. On that day the new artists joined us and two days later, on the Friday, two episodes were made containing a story which had not been thought of before that fateful Tuesday, only seventy two hours previously." Kershaw went on to relate that he contacted the amazed old lady and offered to buy her storyline at the professional going rate for such contributions. He however explained that it was down to pure luck that her idea had been taken up and Granada would be grateful if she would not proffer such ideas in the future - which as far as he knew, she didn’t.
A radio announcer is uncredited.
TV Times synopsis: Len's New Year resolution - "cherchez la femme!"