Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nancy Banks-Smith on the death of Vera Duckworth

I lived without a television for several years in the 1990s, but I always knew which programmes I would and would not have liked because I read Nancy Banks-Smith's reviews in the Guardian.

Here she is this morning on the death of Coronation Street's Vera Duckworth:

Jack (Bill Tarbey) is a bit of a bar-room baritone. When I was a child, I would stand on the stairs of my parents' Lancashire pub and listen to those hoarse, sweet, soaring Irish tenors promising to take Eileen home again to where her heart would feel no pain. Last night, with his fingers entwined in Vera's cold hand, Jack sang to her as though he had truly taken her to her land of heart's desire, Blackpool. "Oh, my lass! My lovely lass! You're all right now. That's us. Allus was ... Nothing to mar our joy. There will be such wonderful things to do. I will say such wonderful things to you. If you were the only girl in the world. And I were ..." Then his voice failed him.

He brushed her hair ("Pretty as a picture"); put on her bedroom slippers ("There you go, Cinderella"); laid his coat over her ("I don't like her cold. She hates it cold"); and, holding the world at bay for a few minutes, told no one else.

The first caller was a pigeon. "She always made out she didn't like them," said Jack. "It was the mess. I knew she used to sneak out to talk to them. I used to pretend I didn't know." And he gave the pigeon a message to carry. It was something he had never said directly to Vera: "Oh, you are beautiful! You are a pretty one! I love you."

Darling, I simply howled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll take you home again Kathleen, not Eileen.

Picky, I know...