Category Archives: Coronation Street

Corrie Street 10 Dec. 2017

Stoke on Trent

Monday, Moira and Colin left Weatherfield for Stoke on Trent. They have been the only bright spot for me the past few weeks. And they maintained their style right to the end.

moira-at-barThe telling of the tale in the Rovers, in blank verse. Undone by Cupid, Moira tells Liz and Steve, Norris and Mary. Stealing a vial of blood for a man. A man who knows how to kiss, oh, how he knows how to kiss.

liz-steve-norris-mary-speechlessBut now what future for her? Pastures new, perhaps, suggests Liz. Not what Moira wants to contemplate. But then the resolution. Enter Colin. He woos his lady and, on bended knee, he suggests love ever after in Stoke on Trent.

This was brilliant. Moira slipped easily into rhythmic Shakespearean style as she bemoaned her fate and her foolishness. The surprise came when Liz responded in kind. And then the others – Steve, Norris and Mary. None of them, except Mary, characters you’d associate with such a literary device. That’s maybe why it was so funny. Brian Packham, yes, joined by Ken and Roy. Maybe Norris too. He’d pooh-pooh it, of course, but he’d be able to fall into the cadence.

colin-talks-to-moiraLater Moira and Colin returned, bags packed and taxi waiting, and in natural speech said fare thee well. Waving them off out the door amid promises to visit Stoke on Trent as soon as – try stopping us – Liz and Steve heaved huge sighs of relief.

colin says come to stoke on trentThe loose ends of their stories had been tied up. Dr. Gaddas fired Moira for stealing Norris’ blood sample, despite Colin explaining why he had asked her to do it. Norris explained to Colin why his two weeks in Darlington in 1961 had been memorable. Not a fling, rather hospitalization due to a car crash. Colin sold the Kabin back to Norris. So, unencumbered, they were ready to exit the stage of Weatherfield.

moira-and-colin-kiss-at-barI preferred watching Moira and Colin to any of the other storylines at present. Not because they had become integral characters; rather, they remained unintegrated add-ons. However, even though you had to suspend disbelief a lot, they were more believable and pleasant than most everything else going on. A surprising thought in light of the stories they were given. Sketches, really, with sometimes a bit of framework thrown on to sort of explain the action. So, Stoke on Trent and Liz, your gain is my loss.

Corrie Street 3 Dec. 2017

Cheesecutter

back-room-kabinThursday, Moira comes bearing gifts for Colin. Norris’ blood sample, a flat cap, and herself.

The blood sample is so that Colin can find out if Norris is his dad. The flat cap – I don’t know why. Maybe Colin had been looking for one? It colin-puts-on cheesecutter capgave him the opportunity to say that in New Zealand, it’s called a Cheesecutter. Well, you just have to google that, don’t you? Yes, indeed, a Cheesecutter cap is a type of flat cap and you can learn more at Prohibition Hats NZ.

The third gift came from the hat. As Colin was about to try it on, Moira was overwhelmed by his lustrous locks. She ran her fingers through his hair, spurring him to do the same with her hair. “Titian” mutual-fingers-running-through-hairhe murmured, as he ruffled and mussed and apparently painfully tangled her hair, judging by her wince. Still, the flame of passion stayed alight. The last we see of them is a leg in the air as they fall to the floor in the Kabin’s back room.

I’ve said before that I think Moira and Colin are great. Comedy gold, you could say. However, it strikes me as significant that, in a week of dramatic and emotional events, this is the scene that stood out for me. Kate struck Robert with her car. Robert may have testicular moira-wincescancer. Kate and Rana became ‘Kana’. Sally was inaugurated as mayor. Bailiffs came to Sally’s door to collect on Gina’s debts. Sinead and Daniel did a mating dance. There’s more too probably, but they’ve all blurred into each other.

Adding on comedy

So only this one small scene stayed in my mind. And it is between two peripheral characters. Neither Colin nor Moira have been integrated well into the street, the show. The actors have done wonders with what’s been given them. Ok, you want us to do the comedy bits? We can do that.

colin-and-moira-sink-to-floorBut why is Colin there? I hope this is not a long-lost son storyline. We’ve done that with Mary just recently. Once might work, twice takes us way too far into American soap territory. A new person arrives in town; so how are we going to connect him/her to existing characters? I know! Father and son, mother and daughter, identical twins separated at birth. What I would rather know is why did Colin leave his presumably high-powered job that he had when we first met him at the radio station? Why did he buy The Kabin?

And Moira? She just recently left her husband. Doesn’t this distress her at all? Why have we heard nothing more about him or their relationship? He popped in to wrap up a contrived storyline with Liz and the vaping scam. That exposed him as Moira’s dearly beloved blur-of-a-footand most respected husband. In turn, that expanded Moira’s role outside the medical clinic. But, sadly, she is a vessel for funny lines more than a real character. Are she and Colin there simply so Corrie can say ‘oh yes, we still have comedy’? Extraneous characters there only for a laugh can work in a sitcom. But not here.

Corrie Street 26 Nov. 2017

Oddball

mary-meets-jude-at-doorOddball, Jude calls Mary. That, he says, was his defence of her when Angie complained to him about Mary’s interference and criticism. He goes on, while having it out with his mother, to tell her that she’s a freak, evil and should never be allowed near children. Wow!

jude-tells-mary-how-upset-he-isYes, Mary may be an oddball and her actions can be harmful despite being gussied up as love. But dangerous? I think not, but she did almost abduct baby George. Dev points out to her that she is wonderful with his twins and they love her dearly. But she points out to him the clincher: Dev’s children are his children, baby George is her grandson. So while she is able to maintain a normal and healthy distance with Asha and Aadi, she goes right off the deep end when it’s her own mary-says-she-found-a-pamphletflesh and blood (my words, not hers).

I don’t know how either Angie or Jude have tolerated her behaviour for as long as they have. Angie has let her animosity show, which is hardly surprising. But Jude has been happy, peacemaking and a loving son and husband. I’ve wondered what’s wrong with him. How could he subject himself and his wife to Mary’s overbearing presence in their lives? Also, how could he not know how upset Angie was about it? A quiet word with mother, perhaps, maybe you should back off a bit. After all, Norris and Dev have both said it straight out to her. Toyah has hinted at it.

Had Jude been a bit more proactive at drawing boundaries, maybe his scene with Mary on Tuesday could have been avoided. She will jude-calls-mary-an oddballpush and push until she is made to stop. He doesn’t know that, not having known her for long. But still, the damage she is doing had to be pretty evident. But he hasn’t known her for long – therefore hasn’t become inured to her ways as most people do with their parents. ‘Oh, that’s just Mom’ isn’t something he knows from years of exposure. Yes, he’s mary-dismayed-by-verbal-attacktrying to get to know his mother. He’s happy that his childhood dream has come true, to know his ‘real’ mother. And he’s trying to accept and love her.

Unfortunately, all those conflicting elements and emotions caused jude-says-mary-should-stay-awayhim to bury his head in the sand until they – and he – exploded. He was very cruel to Mary. I hope he apologizes and they can get on some kind of even track. But that will be up to Mary too.

In this storyline, she has not been the Mary I like, even admire. But I happened upon an old scene of the week, and saw Mary really hasn’t changed. In 2012 she pushed Roy over the edge. Then, as now, mary-devastated-by-judeshe justified herself by saying ‘I’m doing it for you,’ ‘I only meant to help’ – self-serving excuses for self-serving behaviour. Poor Angie has even been subjected to it second-hand. “She means well”, Toyah has told her. How can you argue with that, without sounding like a selfish cow yourself?

Corrie Street 19 Nov. 2017

Benign

rita-relieved-gemma-notDoctor: “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.

benign is good newsOne 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.

gemma-throws-her-arms-around-ritaThey 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 audrey-and-jenny-contemplate-bad-newsshe 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 audrey-reacts-to-newsthe 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.

celebrating-good-news-in-roversLeaving 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 rita-calls-for-a-party 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.

Corrie Street 12 Nov. 2017

Shoot

Thursday Phelan, Andy and Vinny in an abandoned paper mill somewhere. Phelan’s handgun. Time to shoot or be shot. Tense, dramatic. And so long overdue that I just didn’t care. Just please shoot somebody, anybody, so this can finally end!andy-turns-gun-on-pat

Phelan forces Andy to shoot Vinny. Andy turns the gun on Pat, but crumbles and hands it back. Phelan then shoots Andy. We don’t see that, just hear the shot while seeing the outside of the mill. We see Phelan dump the bodies in a pond, then walk through the rain to his van. Back behind the wheel, he watches his hands tremble.pat-points-gun-at-andy

Of course, the shootings won’t end the storyline. The whole thing will have to come out, and Phelan be caught. I am not looking forward to it. I’m even thinking about how much time Coronation Street consumes in my life. And wondering if that time could be better spent.

The scenes with Andy and Vinny in the cellar and the van were great. It crossed my mind that add a bit to them and you would have a great short play. But a good Corrie? Not for me. The basement business went on too long. I’d come to dread seeing those stairs or that lightbuib. Please, no, I don’t wanna go down there again!andy-pleads-with-pat

Pat Phelan is a wonderful character and Connor McIntyre is brilliant at portraying his many sides. So I can sympathize with the writers’ problem. They have created a great character and fan favourite. But he is a villain. He cannot switch to being Nice Pat and just go on living on the street. He must have his comeuppance. I don’t know how long that’s going to take. Or how much more convoluted it’s going to get. Too long, too much, I suspect.pat-after-he-shot-andy

It would be ok with me if they just did a “Dallas on Phelan and have it all be a dream. He or Eileen would wake up and say “what a horrible dream I had. I was (you were) a really clever conman who ripped off a whole lot of people and held nice Andy prisoner for a year then killed him and my (your) evil partner Vinny. Wow, won’t they get a good laugh when I tell them!” There, problem solved.pat-in-van-hands-shaking-after shoot

Corrie Street 5 Nov. 2017

A Few Genuflects

“Just say a few genuflects and you’ll be fine.” Todd tries to restore normality to his new household. What better way than to be irreverent, especially toward his Reverend? Wednesday, Todd and Summer try to play happy families, make everything right again. todd-suggests-meal-out

Billy, sitting nearby, doesn’t even hear their chatter. He is immersed in mental and spiritual conflict. A vicar, and now a dad. But a dad whose child can be taken away from him at any time. He and Todd have custody of Summer but social workers and the legal system can still deem what is best for her. That might mean her going to foster parents or to her grandparents.summer-looks-at-billy

And Vicar Billy has just punched the lights out of Peter Barlow. Simon blabbed that to the social worker. Fortunately, Simon told Peter what he had done and Peter did his best to be proactive. He told the social worker that it was nothing, that he’d asked for it, that it was just two fathers steamed up about what their kids had done. No problem, no official complaint, let’s forget it, eh?

That was enough for the social worker, for the time being at least. She made that clear. We’ll be watching you. It was not enough for billy-faces-summerBilly himself, though. He also has to answer to his God. Set an example, live by his principles. Letting a rage come over him to the extent that he batters another person nearly to a pulp before he regains control of himself? He can’t reconcile those two parts of himself so easily.

just-say-a-few genuflectsTodd tries to jolly Billy into getting over it. He knows how important it is for Billy to forgive himself, for Summer to feel secure in their love for her and for each other. He also knows the tenuousness of their situation as her guardians.

Summer also wants Billy and Todd to be happy with each other and with themselves, as well as with her. She knows she jeopardized all of that. Her sorrow about her late dad Drew was brought up afresh summer-looks-worriedon his birthday, and that coincided with Simon’s stupid dare about the “spice” drug. And Billy and Todd being at odds with each other. She knows she risks losing her new happy home.

So Summer and Todd team up to show Billy all is well with their world. That he should not rock the boat by not accepting Peter’s smoothing over the waters. Peter understands, God understands, it’s only social services that you can’t count on. Take the support you’ve been given and hope that’s the end of it. Keeping their family together is now the most important thing to Todd, and genuflects won’t work with social services. Unfortunately, it won’t work for Billy either.billy-deep-in-thought

Corrie Street 29 Oct. 2017

The Appletons

The Appletons – Jude, Angie and baby – have moved to Weatherfield from South Africa. On Friday, Mary was making them breakfast, delightedly cooing at baby and delightedly talking with Jude about house hunting, job hunting and whatever else.mary-brings-coffee-to appletons

Angie looked like she was going to strangle everyone, starting with Mary. Just to stop the incessant chirpiness. I would help her.

I haven’t warmed to Angie, either on their previous visit or this one. She has looked ticked off with everyone and everything since they got out of the cab from the airport on Thursday. My first thought was please knock that chip off your shoulder, lady!

But the few minutes I saw of breakfast with Mary was way more than enough for me. So when I thought about Angie faced with living with that, day in and day out, her surliness made perfect sense.mary-goes-to-baby

I am not looking forward to this story. There is going to be tension and fights among them all and Mary trying to mediate. I love Mary, but I don’t look forward to more scenes like this one. And with the Appletons set up as they are now, I don’t see how such scenes can be avoided.

Angie doesn’t want to be in England at all, and she especially doesn’t want to play happy families with Jude’s newly found mother and Norris. Jude will have his own issues of adjustment, I’m sure. Mary will drive everyone around the bend, cooing over the baby and hovering over them all. And Norris? He generally never makes any sticky situation better.angie-goes-to-kitchen

I hope this week isn’t a harbinger of what adding a sixth episode is really going to be like. More and more people with more and more convoluted schemes and angst. Six episodes a week already feels like work. Keeping track of complicated nastiness makes it not even pleasant work.

Corrie Street 22 Oct. 2017

Courtroom

bethany-and-sarah-walk-out-of courtroomThe end of Tuesday’s episode: Bethany and Sarah leaving the courtroom at the end of Nathan’s trial. Arm in arm, walking through the lobby to the door. We could still hear the voices in the courtroom.

“Do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?” the judge asks. The jury foreman reading out the verdicts on the charges against Nathan and his fellow sexual predators. Guilty, guilty, guilty.bethany-and-sarah-in-courthouse-hall

Coronation Street rarely overlays a soundtrack that does not fit within the setting. I am thankful for that. It takes away from a scene’s realism to have sound – whether music or speech – that cannot be traced to a logical source. So the ambient sound makes visual sense.

What was said in that courtroom could not have been heard outside its closed doors unless the courthouse has paper thin walls. And that’s not likely. So there’s no way Bethany and Sarah would have heard the verdicts being read outside the courtroom. bethany-and-sarah-hug-at-door

But the voiceover of courtroom call and response in this scene worked beautifully. It heightened the dramatic power of both the process and the personal. It allowed us to relish the moment of hearing the verdicts while we could also see a poignant moment of relief and release for these two women. Everything Bethany and Sarah have been through showed clearly in their walk along the hallway. We didn’t need their words.  We heard “guilty” over and over, and we saw mother and daughter supporting each other as they walked toward the door.

Walking out of a nightmare. The stone walls they are leaving are maybe both bethany-cries-as-they-walk-outconfinement and protection. They are heading outside to the light of day. No longer feeling confined, no longer needing protection. Bethany won. Nathan and his nasty cohort of child sexual abusers are going down. Hurray.

Corrie Street 15 Oct. 2017

Conflict Management

You could see it coming a mile away. Still it was good. Conflict between the bar staff, and Toyah asserting her credentials: I’ve got a diploma in conflict management. Liz, present customer and former bar manager, rolling her eyes.sean-snipes-about-eva.

Tuesday, Eva and Sean are in a snit with each other. It’s about a lot more than who’s going to replace the empty keg. It’s Eva feeling guilty about Sean and her other mates being out of a job at the factory due to her revenge plot. Although he doesn’t know for sure, Sean suspects that Eva had something to do with the factory break-in and the subsequent loss of jobs. At least she should clear the air, he seems to think, say for sure one way or the other what she knew and when she knew it.

sean-flicks-towel-at-evaSo they’re sniping at each other about bartending minutiae – clearing tables, washing glasses, replacing kegs. Their sniping is not subtle. Both are too much the prima donna to do any performance low-key.

Their spat is embarrassing for Toyah and Peter, still finding their way as pub owners and staff managers. Especially with Liz there. They, you know, can see an invisible clipboard in her hand, checking off what they are doing wrong and how the whole place is going to pot.

conflict management with toyahLiz offers to sort things out with Sean and Eva. No, Toyah says, I can do it. I’m a trained therapist, trained in conflict management. Liz snickers. Come on, Sean, come on Eva, let’s sit down and talk this through.

Toyah put her therapist voice on and tried to initiate discussion. To little avail, Sean and Eva sat sullen and silent. Maybe Toyah would have had better luck if she’d used a talking stick, as Sally has done with her cat pepper mill. This method of facilitating discussion also worked surprisingly well for Sophie in mediation efforts.eva-and-sean-make-up

But instead of Sally and her cat stick swooping in, Liz did. Look you two, leave your differences the other side of the bar, slap a smile on and get on with your job. Now! And Eva and Sean apologized, said they hated liz-with-arm-around-toyahfalling out with each other, babe, and got back to work. Toyah seethed.

Book-learning versus old-school common sense, in the traditional Corrie mode. An easy jab, maybe, but still a funny moment.

Corrie Street 8 Oct. 2017

Wedding Dress

eva in wedding dress about to wed aidenThe star of the Connor double wedding was the dress. Eva’s wedding dress. In the back room of the Rovers, in Adam’s law office, at the altar, in the water fountain and finally on the window ledge. The wedding really became the tale of the adventures of a wedding dress. It was a character in its own right over three episodes at the beginning of the week.eva-and-maria-in-fountain

Eva could wear a burlap sack and make it look good. But the dress did look magnificent on her, and she in it. A lot of story was written around the actual events of the wedding. Tense and sad and funny – a lot happened during a double wedding that didn’t happen.eva-in-wet-dress

But pretty much I just watched the dress. Its last appearance was it falling into a sheet being held by wedding guests. That was Tyrone’s emergency plan to catch Eva if she fell or jumped.

Standing on the window ledge, shouting that she loved Aiden, her foot slipped. She panicked and froze, unable to get herself back in the room. Aiden ran upstairs to pull her in. But the lace on the dress skirt snagged on the window frame.eva-in-window-sill

Eva cared about her fabric comrade in arms so wouldn’t let Aiden just pull it and her through the window. She did not want to rip the lace. So she told Aiden to untie the back and pull her out of the dress back into the room. Without her in it, the lace unsnagged and the dress came loose and fell to safety.dress caught on wires

According to an interview with Catherine Tyldesley in what’sontv, Eva’s wedding dress had five stunt doubles. I hope costume protection observers ensured that none of the six dresses were harmed in the making of these episodes. I hope too that the beautiful location survived as well. It is Kingsley Hall, home of the Earl and Countess of Derby, in Prescot, Merseyside.dress falls