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RAY EVANS
Albion Market
Book Two: Thorns & Roses


click to enlarge

Grafton, London, 1986
(price: 1.95; 160 pages)


The blurb on the back:

Romance on Albion Market held more thorns than roses...
While Derek Owen, the market superintendent, worried about how the closure of yet another local factory would affect trade, his dozy assistant Keith pined after young Carol.
All she did was insult him. It was obvious she fancied handsome Jaz Sharma.
But Jaz had problems of his own. Who'd have thought he would fall for Meena, the girl his older brother Raju was pushing him to marry?
The trouble was that Meena didn't believe in arranged marriages either - she wanted to break away from her strict parents and be independent.
Meanwhile lonely Keith jumped at the chance to meet some real Speedway riders - even if they did have some funny ideas about politics.
It was true he had no time for his rival Jaz - but at Oliver Shawcross's sinister prompting, things started to get a bit out of hand.


For every Eastenders, there are so many more soaps that never make the grade: from Gems to El Dorado to ... well, to Albion Market. Coming out of Granada, Albion Market was supposed to be the weekend equivalent of Coronation Street - only without the frankly racist refusal to have black or Asian families on it. Indeed Albion Market was ostentatiously a multi-cultural series, the title making it clear that this was supposed to be a microcosm of British society.

As it turned out, the series was simply not up to scratch. It ran for 100 episodes in 1985-86 (screened Fridays and Sundays), and then got pulled as the mass audience simply turned its collective back and shrugged. It may have been grim up North, but nobody wanted to see it at teatime. Helen Shapiro and Tony Booth were added to the cast towards the end, but - surprisingly, I think - none of the regular cast members made it big in TV after the series ended. And so it disappeared, and is now barely remembered.

This book was the second (shockingly there was to be a third) spin-off and frankly it's no better than the show was. Never mind, eh?

PS The other books were titled Ticket of Leave and Settling Debts and were also by Ray Evans.

PPS Don't be fooled by albionmarket.com, which turns out to be some kind of financial/investment site and nothing to do with the series at all.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 1/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
2/5


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