Coronation Street

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Coronation Street Library (July 28/16)

Coronation Street Library - Amazon for Coronation Street Colouring Book
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Seeing that a Coronation Street adult colouring book will soon be released made me think about how big the Coronation Street library is. Reams of paper about the fictional town of Weatherfield and its residents. Histories of the show, fictional backstories of the Street, socio-cultural analysis, and more.

It is not just paper. There is merchandise galore…

Tony Warren (Mar. 2/16)

My hanging out in Manchester buddy died yesterday. Tony Warren, Tony Warren youtube 50th anniversary digital spycreator of Coronation Street and my accidental tour guide, died at the age of 79.

One day, a long time ago, Tony Warren and I walked from Granada Studios to the city centre of Manchester. He took me around his city. It wasn’t planned. We went to a nearby shop for cigarettes and just kept going…

CBC Corrie Feb. 13th Specials

cbc-coronation-street-10-feb-15This Friday the 13th, there will be two episodes of Corrie and a special on Deirdre. It starts an hour earlier, at 6:30 pm and 7 pm in Newfoundland. If you’re brave enough to ride to Port Dover, be sure your pvr is set before you leave or find a television set in town – and have a great time!

Our Deirdre (Jan. 19/15)

Deirdre-with-EcclesAnne Kirkbride has died. Tonight, after a short illness, says the UK’s Mirror Online. We know her best as Deirdre Barlow.

We last saw her flinging a trifle that didn’t set properly against the wall. After that, Deirdre went to visit a friend so that Anne could have a well-deserved break. I have been hoping she’d soon return…

Christmas Week Corrie on CBC 2014

RitaNo Coronation Street on CBC December 25th, and no double episode. Only 4 episodes this week, and an added day behind for us. On Boxing Day, however, the ITV special about Barbara Knox, Rita and Me, will air on CBC immediately after Corrie.

Hayley Patterson Cropper (Jan. 23/14)

Hayley became a cornerstone of Coronation Street in her 16-year itv.com-roy-hayley-blackpooltenure.  She was brought on as a side story, maybe a funny story:  Roy, resident odd duck, finds a ladylove, and turns out the lady is a man.  A quirky tale for a quirky character.  But Hayley caught viewers’ attention and affection and the powers that be had the good sense to run with it…

Spoilers (July 31/13)

I hate spoilers.  It’s like walking into a movie as someone walks out of the previous Spoiler-Alert-kittensscreening and says “I would have never guessed it was the good guy that did it.”  Spoilers are like seeing your Christmas presents by accident.  When I was a kid I did not want even a clue about what I might be getting.  I still don’t.  And I don’t want to know what’s coming up on Coronation Street.  So I avoid UK Coronation Street sites.  I only read Canadian timeline sites said to be “spoiler-free”.  So imagine my disappointment when I learn something I didn’t want to know, whether it’s in a post, a comment or a tweet.  They may not be intentional spoilers, but they spoil anyway…

Corrie Catch-Up (Sept. 5/12)

CBC’s Coronation Street is now only two weeks behind the UK.  Wow!  We’ve never been Rovers Return front photo from CBC on RCithat close before.  In an RCI interview with Carmel Kilkenny, CBC Executive Director of Content Planning Christine Wilson said that we had got nine months behind (I think it was 10) because of accumulated time loss due to preemptions of the show…

Corrie Stars in London Ont. (Apr. 3/12)

I’m glad I didn’t bother putting mousse in my hair last Friday.  I hate the feel of it, but use it when it’s important to me that my hair looks good.  Fortunately it looked ok on Tales from the Street VIP ticketits own for me to meet the Corrie stars at Althouse Auditorium at UWO.  No one noticed my hair.

I’ve never been at a meet and greet so didn’t know what to expect.  I’d read a description of the Winnipeg show so knew that an autograph line was part of it.  The ‘VIP’ meet & greet tickets were $96 and included the $10 brochure; general admission tickets were $50…

Schmeichel, the Greatest Dane (Mar. 15/12)

The name Schmeichel is well-known to two groups of people, soccer Young Schmeichel and Chesfans and Coronation Street fans. Peter Schmeichel is a great Danish goalkeeper who played for Manchester United. It was in his honour that young Chesney Brown named his Great Dane puppy.

Schmeichel the dog has been on Coronation Street since 2003. We watched him grow up. Sometimes we wondered where he was when months would pass without sight of or reference to him. Then he’d reappear – and steal the scene…

Tales from The Street (Mar. 15/12)

The big Corrie bus has rolled into Canada:  McDonald father and son and the Peacocks.  Poster for Tales from The StreetCharles Lawson (Jim McDonald), Nicholas Cochrane (Andy McDonald), Stephen Arnold (Ashley Peacock) and Julia Howarth (Claire Peacock) started a tour of Ontario and Alberta last weekend.  They come to my area – Southwestern Ontario – at the end of March.  Yippee!..

Coronation Street 50th (Sept. 21st, 2011)

Ena Sharples and Alf Roberts displays at Coronation Street museumCoronation Street began due to a government mandate for home-grown television programming. A Canadian producer at Granada, the late Harry Elton, knew the popularity and longevity of American soaps and their production cost-effectiveness. He met a young writer at Granada, Tony Warren, who knew the stories and people of the North…

Meeting Jack Duckworth (Aug. 31, 2011)

In 1992 I went to Salford to research Coronation Street for a CBC Radio Ideas documentary on British and American soaps.

Jack and Vera, from tv.sky.com/coronation-street-Feb10-4At Granada, I watched the taping of a scene on the street and interviewed writers, production people and cast members.  When I was told the names of two actors I was about to meet, I was struck dumb with awe and terror – Bill Tarmey and Elizabeth Dawn aka Jack and Vera Duckworth…

A (cat) star is born! (Mar. 27, 2011)

Wednesday we saw the new title sequence, done in honour of the show’s 50th anniversary and the move to high-New orange Coronation Street catdefinition.  There’s a new cat, a new rendition of the theme music, new introductory scene shots.  At first, I found the music jarring – more high pitched and ‘thinner’ than my ears like.  According to internet sites from Canada’s viewing time and from last year in UK viewing time, I wasn’t alone…

A defence of John Stape (Feb. 9 2011)

Ok, I know John Stape is a lying weasel who spends way too much time feeling sorry for himself and plottingJohn Stape close up nasty schemes.  But, at heart, he is a high school teacher who loves to teach.  He likes to read and likes to talk about literature and teaching.  He isn’t pining to write the great English novel.  He isn’t wishing he were teaching at university level or at some fancy school.  He loves teaching English to ordinary kids in ordinary schools.    He isn’t pompous in his knowledge or interests, and he isn’t too well-read.  He’s an ordinary guy with a BA in English who got a teaching degree…

Scene of the Week (Oct. 29, 2010)

I’m starting a new Coronation Street feature this week.  It’s an assignment I gave students when I taught about soaps. Pick a scene that’s particularly moving and explain why, in terms of the storyline and the emotions or situation it evokes for you. They only had to do one scene for the entire semester whereas I will be doing this every week. So maybe sometimes I won’t find one and sometimes I’ll find more than one. My picks may not be yours, so feel free to tell me what yours is.

My Introduction to “The Stories”

Every soap fan has a story about how they started watching. Some watched as kids with their mom or grandma. Others started watching during an illness when they had nothing to do but watch tv. Some began in university where watching was a communal experience in a dorm or student lounge.

I started watching while doing my first stint of anthropology field work. In the village I was in, people talked about Mac and Rachel and Iris and other people I didn’t know. But I was new in town and didn’t know all the residents yet. I figured Mac and Rachel Corey were people I hadn’t met yet. But when something hideous happened – an accident or attack or something like that – I was upset. Were they all right? Could we help? Before I got too panicked, someone realized I didn’t know these were tv characters. The world of the NBC soap Another World was explained to me.

I had realized that there was a time mid-afternoon when going to people’s houses to interview them was not a good idea. Everyone had the television on and did not want to be interrupted. I was welcome if I sat quietly and watched the show. I recognized it as a soap, but I didn’t watch soaps. Never had, never planned to. But it became necessary to know who was who in Another World‘s Bay City, so I watched and asked questions about its residents as well as the residents of the village I was living in.

When I left, I quit watching. The next summer, new fieldwork in another small town in a different province. But Mac and Rachel were on the tv screens every day there too. So I picked it up again, and the other local favourite General Hospital. I got hooked. Back at university, I planned my day around Another World and General Hospital. Friends were surprised, a little incredulous and, yes, some disgusted. Some, though, said quietly that they “used” to watch and then would talk about the story with surprisingly current knowledge of story lines for people who “used” to watch.

Somewhere along the line, I started watching England’s Coronation Street on CBC. I had met it years before. When I lived in New Zealand, my boyfriend’s mother religiously followed Coronation Street. She was an ex-pat from the north of England. NZBC’s broadcasts were over two years behind the UK broadcasts. She had subscriptions to English women’s magazines, so she knew “spoilers” from them. I watched with her but never got thoroughly hooked. But finding it again many years later, I started watching and I still am. Religiously.

My own watching of American soaps and Coronation Street and talking with other people about them got me interested in the audiences of continuing serials and their creation. So I did a two part documentary on them for CBC Radio. It was called Other Worlds. Then I turned that material into a book, Other Worlds: Society seen through soap opera, for Broadview Press.

I was teaching part-time then in the Anthropology Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. At the suggestion of the Department Head, I added other aspects of television, entertainment and news consumption to soaps and created a course on Media and Popular Culture. I taught it on-campus and as a distance education course. I had a lot of fun. My students did too, at least most of them. Some complained that “watching the stories is a lot easier than analyzing them.” That is true, but you miss a lot. Most soap fans, I believe, actually spend more time analyzing the stories, their construction and their industry underpinnings than do consumers of other tv entertainment and news programming.

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Newfoundland Mi'kmaq, family history, Coronation Street, etc.