Category Archives: Coronation Street

Leaving The Street

This week I only watched Monday’s double episode. I decided at the end of it that I’m leaving the Street. Not forever – I hope. But for now, until something changes that makes it enjoyable for me to watch again.

pvr-screen with watched corrie episodes checkedSince the late 1980s, I’ve watched consistently. I have loved it, and I’ve despaired of it. I’ve suffered through executive producers who were hell-bent on remaking it into something else. I have celebrated when it got back on track. Over those decades, I’ve watched it get more like an American soap. Younger and more beautiful actors taking centre stage. More explosive storylines, more action, less nuance of daily life of regular people. And I’ve stuck with it.

rosie-gemma-and-modelBut the past few months, I’ve more often found myself looking at the clock, wondering if it will be over soon. Looking at the remote, particularly the fast-forward button. Realizing I’m a couple episodes behind, oh dear, when will I be able to catch up. Thinking ‘get off my screen’ about too many characters.

Six episodes

Adding an episode, to six per week, did it for me. Just that extra half hour made watching, keeping caught up, feel like work.pat-points-gun-at-gary

Make time for small moments as well as big stories. That’s what executive producer Kate Oates said they would do with that extra episode. But that’s not what I’ve seen. Scads of new characters, high drama and PSA teaching storylines instead. I’m tired of it. Not any of those things individually, just all of them all the time.

Soap + Crime thriller + Sitcom

wedding-guests-in-bistroMonday’s second episode bounced between three different genres. Crime thriller with Phelan free and threatening again. Soap opera with Robert leaving Michelle and their wedding in the lurch. “Just talk to her, ya plank!” I said, without enthusiasm. So many soap clichés lately, you can’t even care. A sitcom scenario with Rosie, Gemma and somebody new planning the entrapment of somebody else new. (See today’s Scene of the Week for these three scenes.)

Public Service Announcements

shona-and-david-discuss-his-rapeDavid and male rape – a well done and valuable education story, yes. But we haven’t even dealt fully with the suicide and mental health PSA of Aiden. The spectre of grooming and sexual abuse still hovers over Bethany.

robert leaving for londonRobert still has ongoing storylines of a) testicular cancer and b) steroid use. (There’s also Michelle’s Lost and Found sons – straight out of How to Write a Soap Opera.) And remember Billy and his pain-induced heroin use? Has he had a miracle cure for both injury and addiction?

Way too many issues to explore in depth and realistically in terms of the characters’ lives. Plus it’s tiring to watch. Particularly now, when watching the news is a full out emotional rollercoaster ride, Coronation Street would be a nice place to go for a bit of respite.

Leaving for a bit of rest

I don’t think it can feel that much different in the UK than in Canada. Here we have Trump and his bully rants about trade tariffs. In the UK, you have that, as well as Brexit. Exhausting just keeping up. So to also need a score card to keep up with Corrie? No. I can’t do anything about real world politics. But I can control entertainment viewing. If Coronation Street has become as frustrating to watch as the news, it’s time to switch it off.leaving corrie with delete recordings tv screen

I am not advocating that Corrie opt out of the real world and become a bastion of old-fashioned cozy Britain. Just slow down a bit and return to your roots – in both story and storytelling methods. Coronation Street is not a crime drama, sitcom or American soap. It’s not a pulpit or a classroom. It’s a neighbourhood. When it goes back to that, I will be back with bells on!

Corrie Street 17 June 2018

Three Reasons

Three reasons on Monday to leave Coronation Street. Three scenes that too quickly reminded me too much of other types of television shows. So I made a decision that I’ve been thinking about for several months. I stopped watching. I did not watch the rest of the week’s episodes. It feels ok so far, so that’s it. I’m done. You can read more about my overall reasons here.

Crime Drama

reasons to leave - pat-looms-behind-gary-and-sarahA villain returns from the presumed dead. He’s caught, but people underestimate him. They dawdle and don’t pay attention. And surprise, he’s got himself loose and has a gun. Oh no, however will we get out of this alive! It can work – in a crime thriller. If if goes too far, with too many miraculous escapes and close calls, it becomes melodrama. That’s where this has gone.

Soap Opera

robert-leaving-in-vanSomeone sees something and misconstrues it. But that person doesn’t stay to listen to what else is said and therefore get the whole story. Neither does he (Robert) confront, or just ask, anyone about what he overheard. Instead, he goes off in a huff. At a critical juncture. All avoidable if you’d just ask what’s going on. Overused device even in American soaps.

Sitcom

rosie-gemma-and-modelPretty but ditzy women decide to be supersleuths. If they put their heads together, they decide, they can outsmart the bad guy. Hilarity ensues. Because, if they put their heads together, what they got is one big head of good hair. In romance and some mystery novels, this kind of heroine is described as “perky” and/or “sassy.” I don’t read books that use either of those adjectives.

So I’m sorry to say, dear readers, this is the final Scene of the Week. Please feel free to talk amongst yourselves here. I’d love to know what you think. Maybe you can tell me when it’s safe to return.

Corrie Street 10 June 2018

Stag

Robert’s stag do in Wednesday’s episode. Less than a handful of guys who don’t know Robert all that well gathered in the Rovers in mid-afternoon. On its own, a bit lame, even seeming a bit shoehorned in. But in costume? That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.five stag guys

There was a warning signal just before. Ryan told Steve – there’s a theme, come as a pop star. A heads up for the audience too. It might be good, some of them have been, I told myself. But events involving themed fancy dress have become somewhat of a Corrie trope.

The highlight, I suppose, was Michelle’s warring sons each coming as an Oasis Gallagher brother, in identical costumes. Totally coincidentally, according to Ali and Ryan when they saw the other. Oh sure, makes sense to independently choose to dress up as one of an always-linked warring duo.connor-brothers-as-gallagher

I restrained myself from turning off the television. Watch the rest of the episode, I told myself, can’t be too hasty.

Next episode, the hen party arrived. They too were in themed costumes. I’m not sure what the theme was, or what the costumes were for that matter. Michelle or Carla said, but I missed it. I was too busy trying to figure out their costumes. And I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to rewind and watch again. Maybe it was Robert?

jenny-dressed-as-robertI did catch Jenny telling Robert that his suit looked better on her. His suit? It fit her perfectly, and she’s half the size of him. What’d she do, stop at Underworld and recut and resew it?

Another need to restrain myself. Watch to the end of the episode. Watch to the end of the week. See how you feel. So I did, and felt the same way. Coronation Street has become too crazy. Watching is too much work.

Where’s Aiden?

Meanwhile, poor Aiden still isn’t buried! His funeral hasn’t even been discussed. I’ve lost track of how many episodes now equal one steve-as-boy-georgeWeatherfield day but it has to have been long enough to have him cleared for burial. He was mentioned a few times. Good thing too because I’d actually forgotten all about him. It feels like ages ago that he killed himself. It’s only been two weeks.

Corrie Street 3 June 2018

Royal Weddings

rita-and-liz-and-gemma-in-kabin - royal weddings talkThe chat in the Kabin on Wednesday about royal weddings and coronations. Liz and Rita remembering, Gemma trying desperately to remember her history lessons in school. Very funny.

Liz and Rita explained to Gemma that Coronation rita-remembers-1953-coronationStreet was renamed in 1902 for the coronation of Edward VII. Rita told Gemma that television existed in 1953 so they could watch Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. She heaved a sigh of exasperation at Gemma’s explanation for not knowing that because she didn’t know anything about “Victorian times”.

charles-and-diana-weddingRita and Liz reminisced about the other big Royal wedding they watched years back. That of Charles and Diana. Gemma was straining, trying to keep track of the who’s who. She and Rita both looked flummoxed when Liz proudly said she credited Diana’s example for developing her own fashion sense.

I had hoped they would not ignore the wedding of Harry and Meghan. They had done such a good job commemorating William gemma and rita-react-to-liz-on-fashion-influenceand Kate’s. It worked in nicely with other storylines at the time, about reasons for marriage. The nod to Harry and Meghan’s wedding was more a small interlude between ongoing stories.

And the good Lord knows we needed it! At least I did. All the pots were on full boil this week.

Week’s events

We’ve got the Connors still dealing with Aiden’s suicide. Early in the week, Johnny lashing out at Jenny then trying to make sense of what happened – perfect. Gut-wrenching and thought-provoking. And then it got crowded out by too much else.

  • Summer and Billy’s PSA-type campaign fund-raiser for a “Speak and Save” hotline for men. (In their royals chat, Gemma mentions “the interview,” about Heads Together presumably)
  • Kate, wanting to get wasted with friends, and ending up with a guy attacking them. Then in the course of saving Kate and Rana from him, Zeedan nearly killed the guy. Now they’re trying to hide their involvement.
  • Eileen came back, so Pat Phelan is lurking around too.
  • Abi started work at the garage, so heroin addiction is likely to return somehow. So too is a jealous Fiz.
  • The threat of Ryan, Michelle’s non-bio-son, returning for her wedding. NO!!!!
  • At the week’s end, it looks like Robert is having a heart attack.

This makes a three ring circus look like watching paint dry. And we haven’t even buried poor Aiden yet.

Friday, Alya to Zeedan: “It’s big, it’s gonna take time.” Words of wisdom for the writers here. Just throwing all the spaghetti at the wall at once doesn’t allow time to savour and digest each strand.

rita-says-diana-so-elegantAfter watching it, I expected I’d choose Johnny’s outburst at Jenny as my scene. But at end of the week, all that still stood out for me was Liz, Rita and Gemma talking about royal weddings.

Corrie Street 27 May 2018

After a suicide

Tuesday’s episode – that’s my pick of the week. People on the street are trying to wrap their heads around Aiden’s suicide. So there’s the johnny's hands on body bag - after suicidestory of the suicide and the intersection of it with other stories. My only criticism is that its story arc is more like a spike. Johnny and all can’t be the only ones wondering when and why Aiden decided to kill himself. Still, despite the ‘huh?’ element in the storytelling, it is done brilliantly.

Gail’s Monologue

gail-looks-out-at-streetGail looks out her front window and says to her mother, “Forty-odd years I’ve lived on this street…” She continues to speak, but we see other people, other houses. People reacting to the news that Aiden has killed himself. “Oh no, American soap trick again,” I thought. But it quickly drew me in.

maria-prepares-to-tell-liamHer words were powerful. Wondering what exactly you were doing when someone else was going through the worst crisis imaginable. Thinking your problems are the worst in the world, only to find out someone else’s were far worse.

Listening to Gail while watching the faces of others as they tried to absorb what they were hearing. The factory. Maria telling Liam. You gail-says-aiden-not-coming-homedidn’t need to hear – you knew what they were saying. It’s what you’d say yourself. So very effective dramatically. Also time-effective in terms of storytelling. It conveyed an important message in Gail’s words and showed all those who were feeling what she was saying.

Pub Postmortem

table-full-in-rovers discuss suicideEveryone gathered, like you would, in the neighbourhood pub. They hashed out their thoughts on suicide. Tragic? Selfish? Who is hurt the most by it? Could it have been prevented? All the thoughts that we all have, if we’ve been touched by suicide or not. Important sentiments to have voiced.

“I don’t half love you”

johnny-looks-at-aiden-in-body-bagThe morgue attendants taking Aiden out, covered completely in a body bag. Johnny asks them to stop for a minute. He touches his hands to where his son’s face is, inside the bag. “I don’t half love you,” he tells him. I lost it then. Twenty minutes of pent-up emotion spilled out in my tears for Johnny. For Aiden. For everyone so deeply affected by this action.

“I was raped”

David heard about Aiden as he is leaving for court and possibly david-tells-shona-about-rapeprison for his attack on Gary Windass. He takes off. Shona finds him. Finally the words he needs to say come out of him: I was raped. He tells her what happened with Josh. For him, his personal hell has become entwined with what must have been Aiden’s own hell. But he says, he’s realized he wants to live.

There’s a good article on BBC about the writing of the two episodes of Aiden’s suicide.

Corrie Street 20 May 2018

Mother and Baby

eva looks at mother and baby photoGlossy 8×10 photos of mother and baby, what Eva believes will be her only reminder of that single day she was a mother. From now on, she says, she’s Auntie Eva to baby Susie.

She had to sneak around to get those pictures. A photographer came toyah-questions-eva-having-photosinto her room on the maternity ward. Did she want some photos of the baby? Yes, he said, camera phones had been very hard on his business. But some nice pics with a real camera? No no, Eva said, not necessary. But later, when Toyah wasn’t there, she asked him to take some pictures.

They are in her purse, not shared with Toyah. Back at the cottage, in eva-reassures-toyah-with-sad-hugWednesday’s episode, Toyah is ready to leave. Baby Susie is packed up in her carrier, baby bag is packed. Eva reaches for something and knocks her purse over. The photos spill out. Toyah picks them up. Sees what they are.

baby-susieShe is upset. Does this mean that Eva wants to keep the baby? No, Eva says, she just wanted to have this little visible memory of what happened. It’s not like she’s can pretend that she didn’t give birth, after all, with or without photos. She’ll get rid of them, she tells Toyah.

But she doesn’t, of course. She looks at them and cries her heart out. Sometime, she’s going to have to come back to Weatherfield. She’ll eva-cries-over-photoshave to meet her ‘niece’ Susie. That’s the plan at least, the way it could work out best. But it’s all going to explode before then, I’ll bet. Mother and baby might be reunited. My guess, based on soap law.

Corrie Street 13 May 2018

Life Sucks

summer - rest of my life sucks“It’s not the hot chocolate. It’s just the rest of my life that sucks.” Summer expresses what recent events have shown her. Life sucks. I felt sorry for her but also relieved to hear her say it. I’ve wondered how she could so blithely accept all the changes in her life in just one year without batting an eye. Or that’s how it seemed.

Her real dad, Drew, died not that long ago. He knew he was dying but did nothing to arrange her future until the last minute. So he shona-asks-do-you-feel-let-downapproached his ex, Billy, and arranged for him and Todd to have custody of her. Billy hadn’t seen her since she was a baby, Todd had never seen her. Todd didn’t know about Drew, and vice versa. Granny, someone Summer did know, made all the trouble she possibly could about this arrangement. Her actions and attitudes effectively killed all affection Summer could have for her – the only familiar person left in her world. (See Nov. 5/17 Scene for a family overview)

But Summer accepted Billy and Todd as her new real dads, and all three loved each other. Then Todd disappeared, with little warning summer lost-my-homeand no explanation. Summer continued to love Billy as her dad. Next he gets hooked on heroin, and abandons her. She’s shuffled off to Eileen and Pat Phelan. She’s happy with them, her new stand-in parents. Then Pat is exposed as a murderer. And Eileen – well, Eileen can barely look after herself let alone a child. Especially a child for whom every adult she has trusted and relied on has disappeared.

Now Billy is back and clean, and Tracy throws him and Summer out of their apartment. Billy assures Summer he will look after her, everything will be fine, just you wait and see. Sure, Summer has every reason to believe that!

shona-says-billy-saved-meSo finally we see this eternally optimistic and trusting girl crack. Life sucks big time. Shona’s talk with her is good. She points out the good points of Billy using her own history with him as illustration. She shows Summer the shades of grey in Billy. Summer understands complexity.

Actress Matilda Freeman shows complexity too in her reactions to him. She gives a lovely nuanced portrayal over this week. Summer not-what-my-dad-wantedtries to believe in Billy and their future together, but the doubt shows in her eyes. She gives up trying and tells Billy that she will be out of there as soon as she legally can. That confrontation is done in a much more mature way than simply screaming ‘you’re not my real dad anyway’. It’s all the more shocking for that.

Another ‘buck up, it’ll get better’ talk from Shona, and Summer tries again with Billy. I’m liking this story – Summer – a lot right now. And I think Shona should adopt her. They’re a good match.

Corrie Street 6 May 2018

Relations

A lot of good stuff this week. Phelan, of course. And especially the reintroduction of Seb’s mother. David unravelling. But my favourite scene was Roy offering to diagram Connor kinship for Jenny. To jenny asks how are they relatedshow the relationship of those having relations, so to speak.

Monday, the nice dinner party at Michelle and Robert’s ended abruptly. Michelle saw Ali and Carla canoodling in the hallway. Her son and her best friend, sister-in-law and cousin. So she exploded at them. Everyone else scuttled off quickly.

roy says i can draw it out for youIn the safety of the Rovers, Jenny said “how are they related again?” Roy said the words so welcome to the ears of genealogy researchers. “I’ve got a paper and pencil, I can draw it out for you.” But Robert stopped him. “I don’t think it’s quite the time, Roy.” Oh Robert, of course it’s the time. Let’s see it so I don’t have to do it myself.

robert says not quite the timeI was trying to remember how Carla and Ali are related when Jenny asked Roy the question. So, with Robert cutting him off, I got out my pencil and paper and drew the family tree. Michelle’s dad Barry and Carla’s dad Johnny are first cousins, according to ITV. So here is the chart that Roy would have made, given half a chance.

connor family tree by d stewart - corrie relations(Whether you call Carla and Ali second cousins once removed or third cousins is discussed on the Coronation Street Blog. Look in the comments.)

In short, Carla is both cousin and aunt to Ali. She is his 2nd cousin once removed through Johnny, her bio-dad. Through her late husband Paul, Michelle’s brother, Carla is Ali’s aunt by marriage.

There’s an ick factor there, but they didn’t grow up knowing they were family. Ali is Michelle’s bio-kid but she didn’t raise him. Carla is jenny asks what was for dinnerthe child of a long-kept secret affair between her mother and Johnny. She grew up thinking of another man as her father. So maybe that’s the greatest ick factor – all these people carrying on with each other not knowing that they’re related. Having relations with my relations – could be a country and western song.

Diane of Bluenose Corrie

tvor diane-williams-coronationstreetupdates
Tvor, Diane Johnson Williams (photo Coronation Street Blog)

My condolences to the family and friends of Diane Johnson Williams. Diane passed away in Dartmouth NS on March 28th. Many of us knew Diane as Tvor and author of Bluenose Corrie Blog. Tvor, I found out, stands for “The Voice of Reason.” That is what she was for her fellow Coronation Street bloggers and friends, according to a tribute on Coronation Street Blog. Diane was co-editor of that blog, which follows the British air time.

I knew her only from her Bluenose Corrie Blog. She wrote it for us, her fellow Canadian fans. With a new post almost every day, and a weekly summary, I enjoyed reading it and checked in regularly. Seeing no new posts for a while, I started wondering. Googling her, I learned the very sad news of her death at the age of 59.

Diane was a long time and very knowledgeable viewer of Coronation Street. She knew not only about story and character history, but also the production side of it. An important part of the Canadian and British Coronation Street community, she shared her knowledge and love for the show both online and in real life.

Bluenose Corrie Blog still has a wealth of information about the show. You can read more about Diane’s history as a Coronation Street fan, her photography, travelogues and photography on The Voice of Reason.

The tribute to Diane written by Glenda is here, as well as her obituary. She will be greatly missed by us all.

Corrie Street 29 Apr. 2018

Reading

Sitting in comfortable chairs, reading. A pleasant, relaxing break at the end of a busy day. That was the case for Carla and Roy, and me, on Tuesday. Busy day? More like busy week on the Street. So how nice to just chill for a bit.carla and roy reading

Such moments of downtime, of pure nothingness, have become rare enough on Coronation Street to be noteworthy. Maybe Carla and Roy are now among the very few people we see doing essentially nothing.

Well, not nothing. Carla was reading her trashy romance novel. Roy was learning about the process of turning pig iron into wrought iron and the effect of that development in the Industrial Revolution.

Carla was also thinking about the mess she’s getting herself into. Wanting to talk to Roy about it, but not wanting to tell him any carla-talks-about-her-book-and-lifedetails. She wanted him to reassure her. Just tell her she’s “doing the right thing”. So he did. He realized she did not want to discuss what it is she’s doing. She didn’t want to analyze it with him. She just wanted his support. He’s learned a lot from Carla, and from Hayley. He did as she asked, then went back to his book. Both were content.

The elements on Carla’s ongoing story with Ali were in that little roy-asks-what-she-is-talking-aboutscene. That is the situation she wanted reassurance on. What to do about her sleeping with her best friend’s son. She knows it’s best to end it. It’s not a situation that is going to end well. She knows that is what Roy would tell her, so she doesn’t tell him. She doesn’t need to. But she needs to feel his friendship and strength behind her.

carla-looks-at-roy-as-he-readsSo it wasn’t simply a scene – or a conversation – about nothing. It wasn’t played for laughs. It was just a nice breather, with things thought about, even discussed without words. But done in a quiet way in a quiet space. A small moment of peace before climbing back on the roller-coaster. For Carla and Roy, yes, but also for all of us getting tired on the ride along.

Below is a link to the book by Christian Wolmar that Roy was reading.  Unfortunately, Carla’s book – The Tempted House by Edwina Haverson – seems to not exist.