Let's move to where pies still rule the earth! This week: Wigan

What’s it about?

Wigan’s been around for a very long time, which suggests its poor reputation is long-earned. The Celts, the Romans, the Vikings; everyone’s had a go and pissed off.

The Industrial Revolution turned things around, making Wigan the centre of the textile industry and known throughout the world for shite working conditions and child labour.

George Orwell detailed the period in The Road To Wigan Pier, originally titled The Road To Wigan Pie until an extra ‘r’ fell on during printing.

Still, it might be shit but at least it’s not Bolton.

Any good points?

Pies. Pies are to the residents of Wigan what pasta is to Italians, if pasta was sure to kill you. Bakers in Wigan are like Starbucks in Seattle or Prets in London; there’s one on every fucking corner. The Rolling Pin Bakery in Newton is where the locals clog their arteries.

This is also the town that invented the Wigan Slappy or Wiganburger: a pie served inside a sliced barm cake. A pie sandwich. It has failed to catch on internationally.

Residents talk about the DW Stadium, formerly the JJB Stadium and still called that by half the pricks here, like it’s Madison Square Garden and not just because it was built in 1999 so it’s the newest thing in town.

Home to football team Wigan Athletic, which like most small-town clubs is the bane of its supporters’ lives because it just can’t stop being shit. It’s also the where Wigan Warriors play, the most successful rugby league team in the country with an impressive three rivals: they hate Leeds, Warrington and St Helens equally.

Wonderful landscape?

Tired of boarded-up shops? Derelict factories not really doing it for you? Why not take a stroll down the Leeds-Liverpool Canal?

Nothing improves the mood like filthy water where empty crisp packets bob amid the shopping carts and the absolute certainty there’s a body in there somewhere.

If you have the stomach to see the walk through to the end you will find yourself at the famous Wigan pier, the only pier in the country to not actually have a pier in it. It’s a dock. No one thought to point that out in 1891 and the name stuck.

Hang out at…

Like any small town where there’s nothing to do but slowly drink yourself to death, there’s no shortage of pubs, bars, and clubs in Wigan.

Artisan pubs and local brewers are here in the form of Sherrington’s and Wigan Central, but for the authentic Wigan experience do as the Wiganers do, put on a Ted Baker shirt and get pissed out of your mind to early 90s dance.

Northern Soul? Where athletic dancers liberally covered in talcum powder threw themselves around to hyper-obscure American soul records? Nah. Wigan Casino’s gone. There’s a shopping centre there now.

Pure is the biggest nightclub in town and for the people of Wigan it’s the only way to end a night. Other than a fight, obviously. And a pie for the walk home.

Where to buy?

Somewhere else. There’s no reason to move to Wigan unless you get a job in the Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball factory. If you work in Manchester or Liverpool, both are within a short train journey. Except TransPennine Express doesn’t do short train journeys. They’re delayed or they’re cancelled, that’s your choice.

It’s pretty much all cheap, compared to the rest of the country; Ashton-in-Makerfield’s halfway fancy, Skelmersdale’s cheerfully grim. If you’re moving from more than a mile away, be prepared to be considered an outsider for the rest of your life.

From the streets:

Steve Malley, aged 54, warehouse supervisor: “George Formby’s from here. The lad with the ukelele. He liked a pie.”

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Ask Carol Vorderman: I'm 93. Should I start an OnlyFans to pay my heating bill?

Carol Vorderman, former Countdown presenter turned left-wing glamour model, answers your queries

Dear Carol,

You’re an expert on numbers and I’m dealing with a few of them. I’m 93 next month, I remember the Blitz and rationing and the Swinging Sixties, but I don’t remember ever facing energy bills as high as these.

I’ve tried to keep an open mind even about changes I’ve disagreed with, like motorways and the polio vaccine, and I’ve heard about this new invention called OnlyFans. Are you familiar with it? Apparently you upload explicit images from the comfort of your own home and men pay you for it.

I’m dreadfully worried about these bills and the price of Felix pouches, so I wondered if I might bite the bullet and start shaking my titties online. My laptop comes with a camera so technology-wise I’m ready to go. You’ve got a head for figures, and according to my middle-aged son Alan a figure for head, so I thought you’d be able to help.

With all best wishes,

Margaret Gerving

Dear Margaret,

Before I go on, may I just say congratulations on reaching such an advanced age. I hope I one day reach 93, a factor of two of my favourite primes.

And speaking of impressive numbers, you’re right in thinking there’s a good living in OnlyFans, but it’s also a lot of hard work.

Men are prodigious voyeurs and subscribers require daily updates in order to stay interested in your assets and not be wooed by anyone else’s. Even a niche GILF market like the one you’ll be catering to has competition, particularly as the weather turns.

How much time do you really want to dedicate to your own nudity? And to finding different poses and backgrounds? Just as men get bored with seeing the same old fannies every day, they won’t be slow to complain about your taupe walls and outdated dado rail.

At your age, flexibility and mobility will also be an issue. Will you have help to snap those hard-to-reach nether areas? Would Alan be available?

Just as we used to film Countdown in week-long blocks, I’d recommend spending a couple of days doing nothing but nudes then releasing them over a couple of weeks to maintain a steady stream of scintillating and titillating content. That way you can keep up with Doctors as it builds to its explosive finale while maintaining a captive audience of paypigs for your wrinkly bosoms.

I sincerely hope that this helps and I can’t wait to see how it all goes. Might I recommend a screen name along the lines of ‘GrannyGarden69’? Just a suggestion.


Carol Vorderman