Coronation Street has always had its moments of humour and laughter.
But one of its longest-serving stars Sally Dynevor – Weatherfield councillor Sally Metcalfe – believes that the soap has lost its comedy edge.
And I agree with her. The only thing on the show that’s amusing me at the moment is Sean Tully’s utterly unbelievable homelessness storyline.
So, as a reminder of Corrie’s fine tradition of making viewers laugh, here is my Top 10 comedy scenes of all time.
Les and Cilla’s hot tub falls through the ceiling (2004)
When the hapless Battersbys got their hands on a heavyweight hot tub it was always going to end badly.
As Cilla and Les enjoyed pizza upstairs in the tub, Fiz, Chesney and Kirk returned home with a ravenous Schmeichel. The smell of the takeaway proved too much for the Great Dane who hurtled upstairs and jumped in too.
It proved to be the final straw for the already sagging ceiling – and they all crashed down into the living room.
Still, at least Schmeichel got fed.
Blanche at Peter Barlow’s AA meeting (2009)
The Barlow family “supporting” Peter at his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting not only features one of the soap’s premier families, it also sees Weatherfield legend Blanche Hunt (the late Maggie Jones) at the very top of her game.
It starts with Blanche throwing political correctness out of the window as she decides one of Peter’s fellow AA members “needs telling”.
Then, as the tension in the room builds, Ken and Deirdre’s dirty laundry suffers a very public airing.
This leads to my favourite exchange. Blanche: “Ken recently had an affair with an actress… She lived on a tug boat.” Ken: “It was a barge, not a tug boat!” Blanche’s hilarious insensitivity probably wouldn’t be broadcast today without warnings – which pretty much sums up where Corrie is at these days.
Stan and Hilda Ogden’s second honeymoon (1977)
This episode not only makes you laugh, it also leaves you feeling all warm inside.
Plus, it contains Hilda’s most famous line. After a few sips of champagne, she finally persuades Stan to show his romantic side with a quick kiss.
When Stan asks, “What’s that lipstick taste of?” Hilda answers, “Woman, Stanley. Woman.”
It doesn’t look much written down, but with the late Jean Alexander’s perfect timing it says everything.
Unfortunately for Hilda, following a hearty meal, poor old Stan falls asleep. “Ah well,” sighs Hilda. “You can’t have everything, can yer?”
On this occasion, soap fans might disagree with her.
Rita and Emily confront Norris about his knickers (2008)
Emily found some ladies’ knickers in her charity bag so she and Rita grilled Norris about it. Flabbergasted by accusations of cross-dressing, he was forced to confess his real secret. He was addicted to competitions.
“I won them by writing about my dream date with Pierce Brosnan,” he explained. “I signed it Noretta Cole.”
And what was his – sorry, Noretta’s – dream date? “Oysters in a seafood bar. Salsa dancing till dawn. And a balloon trip across the East Lancs Road.”
Emily and Rita’s faces were a real picture.
Deirdre throws a proper wobbly (2014)
Poignantly, this turned out to be Anne Kirkbride’s final scene.
Tension was high during a traditional Barlow family meal as Peter was awaiting trial for Tina McIntyre’s murder. Deirdre was tipped over the edge when she realised the jelly in her trifle hadn’t set.
“Jelly shouldn’t run, it should wobble!” she yelled as she launched the offending trifle at the wall.
The fact that we really shouldn’t have been laughing made it even funnier.
Jack and Vera Duckworth’s blind date (1983)
Vera’s no-good hubby Jack signed up for a dating agency using the eye-catching pseudonym Vince St Clair.
Unfortunately for him, it caught the eye of Vera’s good pal Bet.
Instead of having it straight out with him, Vera signed up for the agency as widower Carole Munroe.
The ensuing date was pure Duckworth gold. Jack was hilariously indignant, yelling, “You’re no flamin’ widow!”
As ever, Vera had the last laugh. Setting about him with her handbag, she replied, “No! But I will be 10 minutes after I get you home.”
Reg Holdsworth’s water bed springs a leak (1993)
Pure slapstick from two more Corrie legends as Reg attempted to christen his new water bed with Maureen.
Maureen’s mum Maud was determined to scupper Reg’s plans, and her prayers were answered when Derek Wilton chose exactly the right moment to drill up through the ceiling below. Cue floods of tears of laughter from 15 million viewers.
Eileen and Gail’s street brawl: round one (2004)
Gail and Eileen’s fights are now a Corrie staple, but this row over Eileen’s gay son Todd coming out despite having a pregnant girlfriend – Gail’s daughter Sarah Lou – was the original and the best.
Everything was perfect. From Eileen’s opening line, “We don’t want to be fighting on the doorstep” (Er, we want you to be, Eileen), and Gail’s primeval screech as she launched herself at Eileen’s curly head, to the perfectly timed arrival of Todd’s brother Jason wearing a safety helmet.
This allowed Gail to deliver the killer line: “Oh, here’s the other one. The rest of the Village People.”
Fred’s car rolls into a lake with Bet and Betty inside (1983)
Rovers potman Fred Gee planned to spend some alone time with the object of his desires.
Bet Lynch wasn’t too keen on the idea, so she invited Betty Turpin to join them on the picnic. “Sorry Fred,” Bet teased. “I thought you would’ve wanted Betty to come. She is nearer your age after all.”
Things got worse for Fred when the car ended up rolling into a lake, with Bet and Betty still inside.
Fred carried them both to safety – and then promptly set Bet down in a fresh cow pat.
Fred Elliott falls down Audrey’s hole (2005)
What made Fred Elliott so funny was the way John Savident delivered his countless double entendres and his “I say” catchphrase.
This showed he could do slapstick as well, though.
Fred had decided to give Audrey Roberts a statue for her garden. He was looking for a suitable spot when all of a sudden, a hole opened up and he fell right into it… needing the fire brigade to pull him out.
It was impossible not to laugh at the sight of the giant bald butcher’s head popping out of a grassy hole like an angry mole in a swimming cap.
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