Gordon Lewis was sent by Newton & Ridley to manage the Rovers while Annie Walker was on a Mediterranean cruise in February 1981. Tall, stern and humourless, Gordon saw the Rovers as a sinking ship and started laying down the law, giving Bet Lynch and Betty Turpin extra responsibilities for no extra pay, barring Bet from smoking behind the bar and changing the way things were arranged in the cellar, much to Fred Gee's annoyance.
Gordon's dissatisfied staff rallied against him when he suspended Fred for stealing drinks and being threatening, with Bet and Betty walking out in sympathy. Gordon felt justified and put his case to Annie on her return - but Annie was angry to find Carole Fairbanks and Diane Hawkins behind the bar and immediately reinstated Fred. Gordon felt that Annie was too old to cope with running the Rovers but Annie put him in his place and reported him to the brewery. Once he'd gone, Annie reversed his changes and re-hired Bet and Betty.
In May 1984, Gordon returned as Rovers manager. The brewery were looking for a permanent manager as Annie had given up the tenancy, so Gordon wasted no time in putting his stamp on the place. He gave Bet a warning to dress more appropriately - she wore thick jumpers to annoy him. He befriended Hilda Ogden the cleaner getting all the inside information out of her to make use of the knowledge. Billy Walker then made a surprise return and, as the Walkers still owned the tenancy, the brewery insisted he take over the pub.
Billy didn't last long as landlord and in December 1984 Gordon returned as manager again. Gordon planned to modernise the Rovers and pitched to the brewery a plan to extend the pub and build another entrance in Rosamund Street. However Gordon was unpopular with the regulars and they persuaded Bet to go for the position of manager herself. Gordon and Bet were both interviewed by Sarah Ridley and she was impressed with both - but she felt that the Rovers had seen enough changes lately and gave Bet the job. Gordon was given the Dockers Arms and left the area.
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