Fred Elliott started a new promotion in November 2003 for “Dracula Pies”, extolling to the “full-bloodied” element of his product. Kirk Sutherland bought the last two of a day’s stock for himself and Les Battersby’s tea and soon afterwards the pair came down with upset tummies which they put down to the pies, despite Fred’s angry denials and protestations.
Fred had the idea of publicising his pies by a promotion covered by the Weatherfield Gazette. Their reporter, Nicola Stratton, turned up at the event outside the Victoria Street shop at which Fred would hand out free samples and make a speech. Les and Kirk also turned up and heckled the event, saying that the pies gave them salmonella poisoning. Ms Stratton turned the tables on Fred by asking him to respond to the allegations and Fred countered that in finest John Selwyn Gummer fashion, he would feed some to his grandson, Joshua Peacock. At that, Joshua’s nanny, Claire Casey, stepped in, saying that she was responsible for Joshua’s well-being and she wouldn’t allow him to be used as a guinea pig. Fred was left humiliated and a day or so later, when he discovered that Les and Kirk’s stomach problems had actually been caused by blagging a free pint from Ciaran McCarthy which came from the bottom of a barrel, he threw them out of the Rovers and gave his barman a dressing down.