When I sat watching the first episode of Coronation Street in 1960, still shocked that the Biggles series was not continuing, I was as impressed as I was when eventually I first sat watching, with innocent eyes, the first episode of Doctor Who three or four years later. I had already watched the soap opera ‘The Grove Famiily’ in the 1950s. And Corrie seemed to be an obvious apotheosis of that.
In those days, we had not yet had colour injections and the whole world around me was equally black and white. So that the black and white world of Corrie did not seem at all strange. (I am one of the few people left un-brainwashed about the world-beating campaign of first and booster colour injections around 1967.)


And my own grandmother (born, as Bowen was, in 1899, and who resembled an elegant Bowen in appearance, but also a working wartime barmaid, a woman equally in tune with Louie Lewis) could hold a cigarette in her mouth, thus…
“…kept a cigarette down to its last inch between his lips. Not a person did not betray, by one or another glaring peculiarity, the fact of being human:”

The elbow and cigarette dance, and the dance of war and espionage, love and synchronicity, and the power of hindsight of earlier involuntary lies.
This is surely the apotheosis of the fiction art and its own lies as truth and coincidence, and its freehold and leasehold plot mechanics that transcend the gratuitousness of life itself.

From my review of THE HEAT OF THE DAY by Elizabeth Bowen today:

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