Category Archives: Coronation Street Scene of the Week

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

Corrie Street 1 Oct. 2017

Hospital Corridor

Rita flat on her back, eyes wide open, being wheeled in a hospital bed along a hospital corridor. Visible to her only a white ceiling panel, a light panel, ceiling panel, light panel, repeat and repeat. hospital corridor - ceiling and light panels

My gut clenched. I’d been there. Walking alongside a hospital bed along a long white hospital panel. The elderly woman on the bed lying flat on her back, staring up at that same pattern of ceiling panel and light panel. Mewling with fear, trying to turn to see where she was – seeing only long walls of unbroken white. Screaming and struggling to get off the bed, to get away.rita-in-hospital-corridor

Me trying to figure out what was wrong, what was causing such profound fear. Aside from the anxiety that illness and hospitals engender, aside from dementia and hospital-administered sedatives. I looked up and kept my eyes up as I walked along. White ceiling panel, light panel, ceiling panel, light panel. Repeat and repeat, as far as you could see. It was terrifying. And I was walking, not ill, with all my wits about me.

Whoever created that small moment in Thursday’s episode has also been there, I think. Thank you. Hard job, to make something so quiet come so alive on screen. (Especially in the midst of the craziness of such a wonderful hen party as Eva’s!)rita cries

But that sigh -, that stark hospital corridor ceiling, seemingly never ending – conveys everything about the disorientation and fear felt by anyone in pain and anxious about what’s going to happen in a hospital.

For people with Alzheimer’s or any dementia, it must be horrible. Already disoriented maybe and in a new, strange place with no landmarks. Only a white ceiling interspersed with lights.corridor-ceiling

Hospital beds crank up to a sitting position. If the few seconds needed are available, doing so may ease the person in the bed. Seeing the context of the hallway – walls, floor, doorways – not just an unending ceiling going who knows where. Allowing the mind to paint unimaginable horrors on a blank white canvas that is really only ceiling and light panels. But you can’t see the whole when you’re flat on your back.

See my Seeing the World the Alzheimer’s Way for more on the long and winding roads of memory loss.

Corrie Street 24 Sept. 2017

Beer Launch

Thursday, Newton & Ridley held a launch for a new craft beer at the Rovers. More secrets than beer got spilled.beer launch at rovers return

Tracy and Ken arrived just in time to see Peter holding a pint up to his lips. They went into full ‘no, no, no, how could you Peter, I knew ken-and-tracy-walk-in-roversthis would happen’ mode. ‘Eh? What’s the problem?’ from the brewery rep. Evidently, Newton & Ridley doesn’t do extensive background checks on their licensees. They did not know Peter’s history with alcohol. Nor did they know about his time in jail. Steve, ever helpful, let that one slip.

Evidently, surrogacy agencies also don’t do extensive background checks on their applicants. In the background of the chaos that was jackie-listens-as-peter-explains-pintthe Rovers’ launch sat a potential surrogate mother for Toyah and Peter. She had come to meet them so she could decide if she wanted to carry a child for them. So the process had moved past the administrative level to the actual nuts and bolts of surrogacy, the woman with whom you’d be sharing a joint pregnancy.

Toyah and Peter are not going the private route that Izzy and Gary did, with getting their mate Tina to carry their baby. Toyah and Peter peter-sees-tracy-and-kenare doing it the official way, through an agency with presumably vetted surrogates and parents-to-be. The individuals’ backgrounds, family structure, support system, skeletons in the closet – I’d think the agency social workers would check all that out, not the surrogates themselves. A lot of omissions on Peter and Toyah’s application form seem to have slipped past the administrative office.

toyah-hears-surrogate-has-leftSo the surrogate, Jackie, get to see Peter and Toyah and the fam in their natural habitat. Leanne snarling, Ken preaching, Tracy snapping, Steve being – well – Steve. That makes it a lot more fun for us to watch, but I would stay away from that agency on either side of their service provision.toyah-runs-after-jackie

Jackie decides to be their surrogate after all. Maybe, after hearing just a fraction of the tangled hedgerow that is the Barlow-Battersby family tree, she figures a kid born by surrogacy will feel that he or she has the most normal and boring ancestry of them all.

Newton & Ridley too maybe should review their vetting process. If only the licensee’s suitability is significant, then only Toyah’s background should matter. If the licensee’s partner and/or family is brewery-reps-aghastconsidered to be part of the pub management, which is reasonable, then Peter’s history should not be a surprise to the brewery at this late date. And if the rep at the launch just isn’t in the brewery information loop, then alcoholism, baby daddies or anything else is not any of his business.

Corrie Street 17 Sept. 2017

Notes

I was going to pick the scene with Rita saying Len would be home soon. But then Friday, we saw her notes. Reminders to herself about who is who and important bits of information about them. Norris is allergic to nuts, Jenny is marrying Johnny.notes in cupboard

So Rita knows what’s happening to her. She won’t acknowledge it, maybe thinks it’s just normal forgetfulness. I thought that too, when her confusion and forgetting things started. But no, this week’s incidents seem to point only one direction – to Alzheimer’s or similar dementia.

rosie-reads-notesThe only people who are picking up on it are Gemma and Rosie, the two least likely to be listened to by anyone else. But maybe it’s good that it’s them. They both are compassionate. Both know how it feels to be dismissed and looked down on by others. They will take care of Rita, I think, and preserve her feelings and her dignity as best they can while also facing facts.

I like Gemma and Rosie together. That surprises me because, on their own, I find them exhausting to watch. So when they teamed up, I expected them to be doubly wearing. But that’s not the case. Their thickness rosie-and-gemma-read-remindersand their enthusiasm play well together. Maybe it’s because neither is always the ‘straight man’. Each of them can be the smart one compared to the other. Whatever it is, it works brilliantly.

The Lady of Law scene at the beginning of the week, where Rosie scared off Gemma’s horrible friends, showed how effective – and hilarious – their partnership can be. Now, with Rita, we’ll see new facets of Rosie and Gemma individually and together.

rosie-and-gemma-hear-rita-come-inIf it is an Alzheimer’s story, it’s going to be disturbing and very sad. But I’m happy if it plays out with Rosie and Gemma being the guides into it for Rita and the others. Maybe it’s because, of everyone on the street, Rosie and Gemma are most aware that they do not have the answers. And that is maybe the most important thing to know, and remember, when dealing with Alzheimer’s.

rosie-and-gemma-greet-ritaYou can’t change it, fix it or explain it. You can just go with it. Rosie and Gemma are already used to doing that in their own lives. I think they’ll be able to help Rita do it too. I hope so anyway.

See my ‘Look at Bingy’: Alzheimer’s and Distraction for more. Also, if you’re on CBC’s Coronation Street episodes site, be careful! The one marked Friday is a double. Monday’s first episode is in there too. Remember, we’ll now be getting two episodes on Mondays.