Category Archives: Coronation Street Scene of the Week

Corrie Street 25 Feb. 2018

Living Donor

Thursday, a transplant unit assessor talks to Aiden about being a living donor. “We do like to shower people with pamphlets,” he chuckles when Aiden says he’d read all the pamphlets.assessor explains living donor process

It was a PSA, to be sure. Getting the information out there about the importance of being an organ donor. But also the risks and the seriousness of such a decision. A well done scene, and a well done public service announcement.

It’s not something we think about much, unless we’re faced with the situation. What would you do if your sibling or friend needed a part of you? And you could give it. Getting tested is one thing – then hoping against hope you’re not a match. But Aiden is a match for Carla. He can give her one of his kidneys. If all goes well, he will live just fine with one kidney and she will live just fine with the transplanted one.

If all goes well. That’s what the assessor is talking about. It might, but it also might not. There’s the operation itself, filled with risks as all surgery is. Then there’s the after. His health and abilities could be compromised. Carla’s body might reject the kidney. Even if it goes well, she could still have problems. And there’s the psychological aspects, before and after.

Do the right thing?

assessor-asks-if-any-pressure-put-onIs anyone pressuring him? Does he feel pressured by himself to ‘do the right thing’? Legitimate questions, and ones that might be overlooked in the midst of the trauma of a loved one facing death or long-term hospital treatment such as dialysis. You just want to help however possible as soon as possible. So these are good questions the man is posing. Do you feel obligated? How will you feel afterwards? And you can back out at any time prior to surgery without having to justify your change of mind to anyone, including the recipient.

Important information to convey to the public – the viewing audience – and to the character in the story being told. Coronation Street did it very well, I think, as did Tom Carter, who played the counsellor.

aiden-says-he-wants-to-do-itHis points are reinforced at the end of the episode, when Aiden tells Carla he’s good to go. She thanks him and promises “I will look after that kidney, you know. No late nights, no boozing sessions, no binges on pizza.” Paying respect to the magnitude of his action. Then she reestablishes their separate lives, despite anticipating having a shared organ. “Actually, who am I kidding? I’m going to drive that kidney like a Formula One race car.” Funny, and realistic. They’re going to have to negotiate the big issue of whose kidney is it. Carla is making a start at that already.

Corrie Street 18 Feb. 2018

Soup for Henry

gazpacho-over-henryFriday, Henry and his little game got unmasked. Not a big surprise, but done in a way that I found worth a replay. Soup dumped on his head. Not just one bowl but three. Gazpacho, then noodle soup and, lastly, cream of something.

In the lead-up to this at the Bistro, Gemma had her first encounter with cold soup. Gazpacho, a lovely concoction of cucumber and tomato, served cold. “Mingin”” was her opinion as she spat out a mouthful. Then she told Robert to microwave it.connor-table-watches

i don’t know why a restaurant would have gazpacho on its menu during the cold, damp English winter. But it had to be gazpacho, I guess, because it really cannot be heated up and remain edible. Vichyssoise, also served cold, could be heated maybe, becoming leek and potato soup instead.

Gemma and Henry are on a double-date with his friend Hugo and his streel of a date Carly. The cold soup moment gives Hugo something more to laugh at about Gemma. Turns out the two upper-crust boys have got a £5,000 bet that involves shocking their parents by bringing home unsuitable girls. Chesney overhears them talking about this while they’re at the bar.hugo watches noodle soup throw

Henry ought to know that Chesney is a friend of Gemma’s, and is within earshot. I don’t know if this was a writing oversight or a deliberate way of showing that, in Henry’s rarefied world, little people like Ches don’t matter.

Ches tells Gemma about the bet. She’s gutted. Carly hears too, and is more philosophical about it. Whatever this guys are playing out, she’s getting a fancy meal out of it. Meanwhile, back at the table, Henry has enough of Hugo’s class crassness and his amusement at Gemma’s expense. Henry is indeed falling for her.

Gemma hears Henry’s defence of her but she doesn’t care. She is furious. She grabs the bowl of gazpacho and there it goes, right over his head. Then she reaches around to the Connor’s table and grabs Aiden’s bowl of soup. Over Henry’s head. Excellent, I’m loving it.tracy hands gemma cream soup

Like everyone in the restaurant, Tracy is watching and enjoying the show. Then she steps nearer the action and picks up Johnny’s soup and hands it to Gemma. And Gemma throws that one over Henry’s head too.third-bowl-over-henry

Soup, beer or water, anything thrown over someone is generally always good. But that third move bumped the grade of execution of an old gag right to the top of the scale.

Corrie Street 11 Feb. 2018

Secrets and Lies

Thursday’s episode starts with two stories packed full of secrets and lies. One is working for me, one is not. The one that works is Nicola conspiring with Gary and Seb to bring Phelan down. The one that doesn’t is Toyah and Eva deciding to pass Eva’s unwanted baby off as Toyah’s much wanted one.

gary-sees-seb-with-nicolaNicola returned to the Street this week, surprising Phelan and Eileen and me too. She says she got it all wrong about him and begs his forgiveness. Very disappointing because a) I thought she had figured him out and b) if he gets another supporter there’s going to be that many more people shouting at each other and his comeuppance is going to take that much longer.

Secret Agent Nicola

nicola-explains-planBut no! Next we see her she’s spiriting Gary off. She’s got a surprise for him. Seb went to ground at her place, and she believes what he tells her about Phelan. So she wants Gary’s help in bringing Phelan down. To that end, she will cozy up to dear old dad and get the dirt on him from the inside.

nicola-asks-are-you-certainGary wants to tell Sarah and Faye so that they won’t worry. They can keep a secret, he says. Ha! Sure they can! Nicola puts it a bit more diplomatically, and Gary gets the point. He’ll keep his mouth shut.

gary-wonders-about-danger versus secrets and liesI feel nervous for Nicola, and fear that it won’t go smoothly for her personally and for the plan. That’s how it should be. Although Nicola hasn’t been on the show long, she and this story are being written so that we do care and do fear for her. We also know there will be a lot of twists and turns and Phelan cold stares. It will be exciting, I think.

Baby Secrets

toyah-suggests-she-take-babyThe secrets and lies in the back room of the Rovers, however, I’m not looking forward to. Like a figure skater telegraphing a jump, you could see this baby swap coming a long way off. Except, evidently, for the principals.

It had to get right down to her being at the abortion clinic before Toyah suggested it. The suspense in this case was not killing me, only the dread that they were going to do yet another soap opera cliché. At least the writers had the decency to have Toyah say that she’d started thinking about it as soon she knew about Eva’s pregnancy.nurse-calls-eva-in

Toyah finds out their surrogate mother has lost the baby. So Toyah is grieving for that baby and any future baby. Then she finds out that Eva is pregnant by Aiden. Eva can’t see any good way of having, and raising, the baby of the man she defrauded and made a fool of. “I can’t have the baby you want,” she said to Toyah. Oh yes you can, I thought to myself, it happens all the time – in soap operas!eva-cancels-abortion

Already the secrets and lies have started. Toyah to Peter, and Eva to Shona, and plans are afoot for how they’re going to pull this off. Watch television or read a novel, I want to tell them, this never works!

Corrie Street 4 Feb. 2018

Metaphor in a T-shirt

Monday’s second episode, a bar fight. Must be on the production to-do roster, I thought. So now they can check that item off. Then it became a bit unusual, relatively highbrow. “Oh look, the bimbo used a metaphor,” Toyah sneers at Carla’s assertion that she is not interested in Peter.been-there-got-the-t-shirt

“Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. In fact, he was sick on the t-shirt,” Carla had said to her. “It wasn’t a metaphor, he actually did that,” she says as she throws a drink at Toyah.carla-throws-beer-on-toyah

So Toyah throws one back at Carla. Ken Barlow would be proud. The tutoring he gave Toyah all those years ago paid off. She can chuck drinks at someone while debating whether or not something is a metaphor.

In this case, it’s about Peter Barlow so it is both literal and metaphorical. Women and booze, the central parts of his life, consumed and flushed.peter-watches-fight

His relationships and his history, laid out right in front of him by his current and former squeezes. He’s got to be loving it. Four women fighting over him, the local king of two-timing, in his bar.carla-yells-michelle-glares

The fight was also a nice return to their roots for the Battersby and Connor women. They’ve dressed themselves up, literally and figuratively, but they all – Toyah and Leanne, Carla and Michelle – are hard cases. bimbo used a metaphor

Gemma Winter, the current Street guttersnipe, could take lessons from them. Gemma might be able to fight but she wouldn’t know a metaphor if it slapped her in the face. The Connor and Battersby women not only know, but can discuss what is and isn’t a metaphor while brawling in a bar. Toyah even owns the bar so she doesn’t have to throw herself or her sister out. Movin’ on up!toyah-throws-beer-on-carla.

Corrie Street 28 Jan. 2018

Register Registry

sinead-wedding-dressMonday it’s Chesney and Sinead’s wedding at the Register or Registry Office. Whichever, it didn’t happen. What a surprise – not!

I also felt like who cares as long as it gets over with. The whole will- they-won’t-they triangle with Daniel seems to have gone on forever. Then on the actual wedding day, I mainly thought please, let it end because my eyes hurt looking at the dresses.

beth-sinead-and-mariaThose dresses were truly a marvel of tacky. They out-tackied Beth and Kirk’s wedding, where the theme was ’80s tacky. For Sinead’s day, Beth’s dress set the bar high. No other outfit could compete with that wall of sequins. The guests’ hats and accessories were back-up singers for the soloist of bling.

Sinead didn’t do bling with her dress. It would have been better if she had. At least it would have matched Beth’s. Instead, Sinead went retro-flower child. Absolutely the most hideous thing I have ever beth-dress-and-hair-bowsseen. When she and Beth came out the door, I didn’t know where to look. Beth’s dress was physically painful to look at, and Sinead’s was aesthetically painful. It was “ouch” followed by “WTF???”

So, good call on the costumes. But the rest of the wedding? It fell flat for me. All the components were there. The bride turning up late enough to cause worry. Threats of disruption, actual disruption, tears and confusion.

Components of a Corrie wedding

There was also the funny chatter among the guests, including a running joke. This one was about whether it’s Registry or Register sally-and-sophie-fascinatorsOffice. Ok, I googled it.  Officially it is the Register Office, commonly called the Registry Office. But no reason was given for several pairs of wedding guests to all have this linguistic quibble at once. The only explanation I could think of was this had been a debate at the writers’ table and someone said ‘we could write that in!’ Yes, you could. You could also write in an explanation so that we all get the joke.

at taxi to register office sinead-sees-danielI hadn’t really thought about Corrie weddings having definable elements, until I saw them. And that’s it – you shouldn’t see them. This was like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces weren’t cut smoothly. They fit together but the joins are visible.

The new production team at Coronation Street can do a wedding properly. Aiden and Eva’s wedding had all the elements I mention. daniel-watches-sinead-leaveBut the pieces were stitched together well so the seams didn’t show. The whole hung together as perfectly as Eva’s wedding dress. Sinead and Chesney’s? More like Sinead’s wedding outfit, I fear. The elements are there, but they don’t match.

Corrie Street 21 Jan. 2018

Dawn Light

dawn light kate-and-sophie-at-doorYou never see dawn light on Coronation Street. But in the first scene of Wednesday’s episode, there was the gray of dawn. Not from fog or drizzle. Just that brief morning twilight before the sun fully rises.

It was a little disconcerting, due to its unusualness and the eerie spell it cast on a familiar street. It also matched perfectly with the consternation – then and imminent – of the characters.kate-and-sophie-outside-door

Kate and Sophie were coming home from a night in the bars. Sophie didn’t know it, but Kate was distraught over Rana. She was totally fed up with Rana’s flip-flopping about leaving Zeedan. Sophie misread the situation totally and kissed Kate. Wrong move!

So while they were uncomfortably sorting out a changed dynamic between them, the door opened. It was Alya, thinking the noise she heard outside was Luke coming home. The night before he texted her that he’d gone to a pub with a mate. He hadn’t come home. She was angry and worried.alya-surprised-to-see-kate-and-sophie

He had gone to a pub, but not exactly to meet a mate. He was investigating the mysterious disappearance of Andy. So he went to the bar where Andy’s friend works. There, he saw Phelan having a word with that friend. When he confronted him, the guy admitted he had no idea of where Andy was.

That information led Luke to confront Phelan. A fight, a car chase, then Phelan’s handgun. He shot Luke, then shot the car’s gas tank. The car exploded, with Luke inside it.kate-and-sophie-kiss-interrupted

Soon enough, the police were once again on Coronation Street with the news of Luke’s death. No one knows of Phelan’s involvement of course, so the confusion continues. First with the simple disbelief that Luke could be alive one evening and dead the next morning, then the questions of who did it. There are obvious suspects, but no one except Seb suspects Phelan.

By this time, of course, the winter sun has long been fully risen. The viewer’s sense of disorientation has dissipated, so we can pay closer attention to the confusion reigning on the street.ayla-sadly-goes-back-inside

An effective use of time and light. It perfectly created a mood for the telling of the story. And technically difficult to do. That dawn light is very brief. Therefore a job to get all the takes needed before the light changes too much. If filters were used to smooth out the differences, it wasn’t noticeable. Thanks, camera people, it was beautiful.

Corrie Street 14 Jan. 2018

Team Acts

Carla and Roy. Roy and Brian. Carla, Roy and Brian. Maybe add Cathy to any or all of these team acts. Friday, all four were in Roy’s kitchen. It was the moving of Brian out and Carla in.brian-proposes-toast-to-roy team acts

All week Roy and Brian were dithering, each wanting to tell the other that it was time for Brian to move on. Brian wants to move, with Cathy, into the flat that he evidently still owns. Roy wants Carla carla with cup of teato move in with him, platonically of course, so that he can take care of her. But neither Roy nor Brian knew how to bring the topic up to the other. Both assumed that the other wanted their arrangement to continue.

Finally, it got sorted. But it took a lot of scenes between the various duos before that happened. I enjoyed every one of them.

Carla and Roy – characters and actors – are so comfortable with each other. Theirs is an odd friendship but I believe it. It came out of Carla’s friendship with Hayley – also odd but believable. After her death, Carla and Roy came to rely on each other a lot and their friendship has matured into deep and comfortable affection for each other.brian-grabs-council-coaster

Brian and Roy? Can’t really say Roy likes Brian but he tolerates him, maybe is amused by him. Certainly, I think he recognizes Brian as another odd duck and maybe makes allowances for him. Brian has intellectual curiousity so I think Roy would find conversation with him to be enjoyable. When he isn’t being irritating, of course. And they – characters and actors – are comfortable with each other.cathy-roy-carla team acts

Carla and Brian don’t have a lot of history, but they share familiarity with Roy and his apartment. So maybe the three of them will hang out now. And Cathy. While she doesn’t have a lot of history with Carla, she fits well with the two men. So maybe with Carla too. Based on the scenes with all four this week, I’m looking forward to their continued team acts.

Corrie Street 7 Jan. 2018

Let it bleed

peter-holds-cloth-on-legPeter presses down on Billy’s leg wound to stop the bleeding. Then he takes away his hands. He lets it bleed. Billy has been telling him a story, a confession. He has told him that he was responsible for Peter’s sister’s death.

Peter is driving Billy home from court. Billy got off with a warning for attacking Peter. Outside the courthouse, a young guy got mouthy with them and pushed Billy into the side of a car. Billy winced in pain. Turns out the four leaf clover Summer had made for him wasn’t so lucky. Its rough edges pierced his leg. Hit an artery.peter-listens-to-billy

Peter calls for an ambulance and keeps compression on the wound. Billy is losing consciousness. Talk to me, Peter says. So he does and, thinking he’s dying, he confesses.

Peter’s face changes, as he hears Billy’s words. He focusses on the leg-wound-let it bleedstory instead of just wanting to hear the voice to know that Billy is still conscious. When what Billy is saying sinks in, he lifts his hands. Peter sees the blood pour out of Billy’s leg. He seems to decide, ok, let it bleed. Let him bleed to death right here. Justice served.

Then he hears the siren nearing. He puts his hands back on the peter-looks-back-at-legwound, increasing pressure again. Is it because he realizes he can’t just sit and watch a man die? Or is it because he doesn’t want to explain to the paramedics that he did nothing to help a bleeding man? We don’t know and that’s the beauty of this scene.

That was Wednesday, first episode. Corrie is back on track! Understated, powerful, a whole story told in a gesture.peter-puts-compression-on-leg

Three episodes later, high drama took over. Atop a very high cliff, Peter teases Billy with death. Billy is in the trunk of Peter’s cab, Peter says he’s going to put the car in reverse and rev the engine. Is Billy ready to die?

peter-reaches-for-billyInstead he puts the car in first gear. It shoots forward. Peter hauls Billy out of the trunk and unties him. Cliff-edge confrontation: ‘how did it feel?’ Then Billy falls over the cliff, hangs on the edge, Peter tries to pull him up, can’t. Billy plunges way, way down. No one could survive that fall.

But Billy does. “A miracle,” a rescuer tells Ken. It reminded me of what Michael Zaslow said about the return of himself and his character to the American soap Guiding Light: “They said, ‘But he fell off a cliff!’ Eventually, they viewed the tape and decided that he bounced.” (Soap Opera Digest 4 Jul 1995:51)billy-falls-off-cliff

Zaslow’s tongue-in-cheek recount of his return to the show after a decade away recognizes the absurdity sometimes needed in soap writing. But Billy’s “miracle” happened within a couple of episodes.

We can see what the writers needed to happen. Peter had to believe that he had killed Billy so the whole Barlow family could get involved in the revelations and cover-ups. And Billy needed to survive so that peter-turns-away-from-cliffthe whole Barlow family could get involved in the revelations and cover-ups. But surely there had to be another way! More time at the writing table might have got around a credibility gap as huge as that cliff.

Corrie Street 31 Dec. 2017

Chords of Melodrama

Tuesday the trampoline in Fiz and Tyrone’s back yard burns. Who did it? Had to be Beth, says Fiz. No, Liz gives Beth an alibi. So Fiz wonders, “what if somebody’s trying to scare us?”fiz-what-if-someone-is-trying-to-scare-us

Only a complete headcase would do that, Tyrone laughs. Fiz sees it! I  hear organ chords – the sound of old soap opera. That foreboding sound that signals the reveal of evil. It’s Kirsty! Tyrone’s ex, a headcase wreaking madness and mayhem.tyrone-complete-head-case

The organ thundered again in my head. It was warning me, I think, that Coronation Street is indeed crashing further down the dramatic scale to pure melodrama.

And thus the week began and ended. Contrived stupidity, dastardly deeds. Michelle’s ‘robbery’ of her own business. Kate and Rana sneaking around, asking to get caught. People overhearing incriminating conversations. Secrets shared in public places. Anna returning to the scene of the crime. Phelan lurking and smirking.

On Fiz’s accusations, not once did she wonder if either daughter (users of said trampoline) might have had a lighter or matches. And yes, indeed, after she and Tyrone had major ‘my daughter, your daughter’ fights, Fiz finds a lighter in Ruby’s stuff.fiz thinks and organ chords sound

Some stories don’t need resolving. Kirsty is one. The car accident of Susan Barlow is another. They are sufficiently finished.

And my wish for 2018? Being able to pick a scene of the week that I actually like. It wasn’t that long ago that I could. Can we go back or move on from this melodrama fest? Please, no more plots that conjure up the sound of crashing organ chords.

Corrie Street 24 Dec. 2017

Pelznickel

Roy Cropper was a complete flop as the community centre Santa – or Roy as PelznickelPelznickel as he chose to costume himself. The scenes of him in the café, for me, were also a complete flop. Indeed, I found it excruciating to watch. Poor David Neilson, having to take part in that travesty of “quirky Roy”.

“Have Roy do something odd with the idea of Santa Claus” you could almost hear someone say. Then somehow the job was given to someone who has never actually seen Roy in action before. And this is what they came up with.line-up-for-santa

So far over the top that it was embarrassing. Yes, Roy might go for a more folkloric representation of St. Nicholas. But taking it that far, and persisting in handing out fruit to children instead of candy and presents? No, he understands kids very well. Also he is a successful businessman and thus he knows the customer must be satisfied. Even Yasmeen has enough sense to know this is wrong.

yasmeen-hands-orange-to-liamWhether Roy has questions about the origins and purposes of the red-suited ho-ho-ho happy Santa or not, he would find a happy medium. He’d give kids a bit of history perhaps. Then he would give them the gifts or candy they expected, along with some fruit.

Maria and Liam perhaps reacted realistically, certainly as they needed to react in order to have the “humour” of the situation maria complains about pelznickelpointed out. Maria’s snotty behaviour (“I want my money back!”) did nothing to endear her to me. Nor Liam’s, but he has the excuse of being a kid. By the time the unknown mother and her brat were yelling about horrible Santa, I was wishing Pelznickel would haul out that bunch of sticks and use them!

Roy as Pelznickel wasn’t the only horrifying moment in Monday’s grandfathers-4-justiceepisodes. Norris in a Batman suit with a placard on the roof of the factory. Oh good Lord! Same person must have said “Have Norris do something funny”. The person who has also never watched Norris before came up with this. Somehow, these scenes made it through the writing chain and actually got filmed. If anyone said “hey, this stuff isn’t in character,” evidently nobody listened.norris-on-factory-roof

I always look forward to the Christmas episodes of Coronation Street. They always push the boat out a bit with décor, a bit of nostalgia, and a lot of drama. This year, I’m dreading it. Watching over the past couple months – since soon after the sixth episode started – has felt like work. And this week was just too awful for words.

Good moments? Tracy’s ‘get well from testicular surgery’ cactus to Robert. Well done, too, get-well-cactusthat Michelle didn’t find it funny at all. Also Jude and Mary’s talks about the whys of Jude’s origins, especially the one on Wednesday. Jude’s blow-up at Mary on Monday was good too, but was overshadowed by being interspliced with the Pelznickel and Batman nightmares.