1 9 8 5 – 1 9 8 6 (UK)
100 x 30 minute episodes
Contrived by Granada as a sister show to Coronation Street, with the aim of lifting ITVs weekend schedules (it went out on Fridays and Sundays), Albion Market arrived with a bang and left with a whimper.
Much was made of the launch of this ambitious new series, but its poor audience ratings (beaten by Open All Hours and even Wogan!) resulted in some ITV regions moving it to even less-adventurous time-slots.
Although lavished with a £3 million budget Albion Market eventually shut up shop a year after it began, after exactly 100 episodes.
Set in a covered Manchester market (actually a converted Salford warehouse), the series monitored the complex lives of an ethnically mixed group of stall holders.
At the forefront of the action were hunky, cake-selling wide-boy Tony Fraser, his 19-year-old girlfriend Lisa O’Shea, her mum, Lynne Harrison who ran a domestic goods stall, and Lynne’s two-timing no-good husband Roy.
Lam Quoc Hoa and Ly Nhu Chan were Vietnamese refugee cousins, Raju and Jaz Sharma were expelled Ugandan denim merchants, and Morris and Miriam Ransome were the Jewish couple who ran the pottery stall.
Derek Owen was the harassed market supervisor, Phil was the West Indian who worked in the cafe, and Duane Rigg was the market’s resident teenage delinquent.
Towards the end of its run, two new personalities were introduced in an attempt to give the show a lift. Sixties pop singer Helen Shapiro played Viv, a hairdresser, and former Til Death Us Do Part “Scouse git” Tony Booth was seen as Ted Pilkington, licensee of the market’s local, The Waterman’s Arms.
Lam Quoc Hoa
Ly Nhu Chan