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LAST NIGHT'S VIEW : Street siege's soul survivors.

THE Freshco siege in Coronation Street (ITV) ended in tragedy.

I'm not talking about the police bullet that left one of the armed robbers about to gasp his last. But the fact that Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) and Ken Barlow (William Roache) came out of the ordeal the best of friends.

The heart-to-heart they had when they were tied up alone together ended the longest-running feud in soap. No wonder the hour-long special was screened after the watershed. Seeing them being nice to each other after all those years was not for the squeamish.

The robbery must go down as the daftest in criminal history. The two teenage crooks, who were armed with a handgun and a hunting knife, were forced to keep eight people hostage for hours when they discovered the safe with most of the takings had a timelock.

They passed the time scoffing ice- cream, playing ten-pin bowling with items off the shelves and having a barbecue, which set off the smoke detectors and raised the alarm.

Mike, who only dropped in to pick up Alma and a bottle of scotch, was his usual stroppy self and called the thugs names to wind them up. Ken tried the softly softly approach.

When he said: "Excuse me. Can I have a word?" I was convinced he was going to bore them to death and it would all be over in a matter of minutes.

Instead the lippy pair were locked away in a storeroom where the miracle bonding took place. They started off by hurling insults at each other. Mike called Ken a loser and Ken called Mike arrogant, smug, vain and cocky. He always did have the wider vocabulary.

Then Mike had a panic attack and know-all Ken, who must watch Casualty, told him to take deep breaths. Mike calmed down and they both came to their senses.

"We needed something like this to see how silly our little squabbles really are," said Ken. Silly little squabbles my eye. Their arguments were epic.

We can only hope their new-found friendship won't last.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Purnell, Tony
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 12, 2000
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