Doctor: “The tumour was benign.” Gemma, head down: “Flippin’ heck.” Rita: “No, that’s good news.” Gemma: “Oh!” And then the tears and hugs and laughter. Wonderfully touching. Brought tears to my eyes, so happy that our Rita is okay.
One of the best moments between her and Gemma too. Gemma barging into the doctor’s office, claiming to be her “daughter”. Rita apologizing to the doctor for her “daughter’s” behaviour, making invisible air quotes around the word. The doctor recognizing Gemma’s lie but knowing too that it really isn’t fiction.
They go from the doctor’s office to the Rovers, ready to celebrate. Already there, just by happenstance, are Gail, Audrey and Jenny. They talk about how worried they are about Rita and how they should react to whatever her news is the next day, when she’s said she has her doctor appointment. A party is called for. Obviously, if the news is good. But what if it’s not? What if the tumour is not benign? What then? Audrey gives it a think, decides a party will still be okay. Rita will want her friends around her, will want support and cheering up.
Then Rita and Gemma come in. The others hold their breath when they realize she had lied and has already got the results. You could almost feel the exhalation of pent-up breath when Rita said she’d got the all-clear. The rejoicing starts, and party plans are on.
Later in the week, two more moments of significance. Ones that should have been at least as emotional for characters and viewers. Norris’ last shift at the Kabin, and the celebration in the Rovers of his retirement. All the right people were in both scenes, all the right words were said. But somehow both fell flat for me. It was as if the writers had a checklist of “characters needed for momentous occasion” and cinematographic shots needed.
Leaving the Kabin, Rita gave the lingering look at her little empire, eyes scanning the shelves and jars of sweets. Then eyes forward, to the street and her future. At the Rovers, Ken Barlow gave the obligatory quote from Shakespeare. But he looked as uncomfortable as everyone else. That the others did is not surprising – Ken’s declamations can have that effect on people. But him looking like a schoolboy forced to recite words at the front of the classroom? Not like Ken at all.
On Friday, we saw the new Kabin management in action. Colin. I haven’t liked him so far. But I thought the exchange between him and Moira was brilliant on both their parts. And then Rosie! Absolutely fabulous by her, Colin and Moira. They were the bright spots of the week for me. That’s aside, of course, from Rita’s tumour being benign. And, flippin’ heck, that’s good news.