Wednesday it was so sad seeing Sylvia depart. Sad for her, for Roy and for me. I’ve come to like her so much. And she and Roy really need to sort out their differences, get past their history and acknowledge their affection for each other – if not for themselves then for Hayley and all of us.
So it was wonderful to see her come back to the café, bag and baggage. She left the airport before her flight boarded, overwhelmed by being surrounded by far too many Americans. Loud – “they don’t need telephones in America, they can go coast to coast from their bedroom windows.” One American, Milton “my Yankee Doodle Dandy”, was ok, a planeload of them far too much, and the thought of an entire country full of them – well, back to Coronation Street she came.
I think in their own Cropper way, Roy and his mother have resolved the problems of their history. And it has been a delight to watch. Understated performances by both actors, in keeping with the personalities of both. We don’t know their backstory, as we do with other long-time characters’ parent and child relationships, but we’ve gleaned a lot of it from the characters as they are today. There’s not been a lot of discussion of their past, either with each other or with other characters, but there’s been just enough that you can picture it: Sylvia’s previous life as a wife and mother with social aspirations, Roy’s as a “loner” and possibly a lonely child awkward in the company of anyone.
Hayley is a good glue between the two, having had a traumatic childhood herself as a boy who wanted to be a girl. Herself somewhat socially awkward, she has a natural demonstrativeness that has come out as she has become comfortable in her own skin. So she understands the reserve that both Roy and Sylvia hold dear to their hearts, yet she is willing to storm the walls of it.
I am sorry to see the departure of Robert Vaughn as Milton, but I am glad that Sylvia decided that a back street Salford (or Weatherfield) café was better suited to her than the golf courses of Palm Springs, California. Development of the past, present and future of Cropper mother and son is one of the best stories on Coronation Street.
As for the week’s other mother and child reunion, with Katie returning from her baby-free walkabout to find the household in an uproar after a near fire – she handled that by making an already bad situation even worse. She took off, leaving a note saying ‘you’ll all be better off without me.’ Good one, Katie, that really solves the problem!