The weird travel agents where Alec and Deirdre worked for a while in the 1990s
No.1 in a VERY occasional series
When showbiz-agent-turned-pub-landlord Alec Gilroy left the Street in 1992, he ditched wife Bet for a glamorous life at sea, booking turns for the Sunliners cruise ship fleet. By 1996, the glitter had faded and he found himself stuck in Sunliners’ dreariest outpost – a travel agents shop in Rosamund Street. It wasn’t all bad though – he had Deirdre Barlow for company, and there were many laughs as she was unwittingly drawn into his various schemes.
The set itself was a drab, brown affair that looked like it had been thrown up in half an hour on a wet Wednesday. Arguably, that’s a good thing – one look at its beige walls and dated furniture would cause anyone to think “Bugger it, I’m off for two weeks all-inclusive round the Med”. Unfortunately the sight of it must have had a similar effect on viewers, and its appearances became less frequent until, about a year later, Alec got his cards and poor Deirdre was left there to suffer alone.
One thing that Coronation Street’s producers seem to do quite often is introduce a new shop or business, then realise about six months in that hardly any of their characters ever have any need to go there. This was certainly the case with Sunliners – no matter how much of a joy it was to see Roy Barraclough and Anne Kirkbride sitting in the back room talking about nothing in particular, nothing very dramatic or interesting ever happened within its three flimsy walls. After Deirdre was herself sacked due to her association with fake pilot Jon Lindsay, the shop was never seen again, and zero tears were shed. Until now. Sob!
- You can see Sunliners Travel Agency in all its grimy glory in this clip, which sees Alec’s granddaughter Vicki in the thick of yet another of her forgettable storylines.