Tag Archives: Billy Mayhew

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 1 Apr. 2018

Rehab

They tried to make me go to rehab
But I said no, no, no 
(Amy Winehouse, 2006)

Phelan holds billy down and tells him he is a junkieGive Phelan a few minutes with anyone, and rehab starts to look good. Billy found that out on Tuesday. He started with no, no, no, but after a talking to by Phelan, it was yes, yes, yes.

phelan rehab techniqueSo if the bottom falls out of the building industry, and if Phelan avoids jail, maybe that’s a career path for him. Counsellor at a rehab facility. If he does get caught, maybe it’s still his future. Jailhouse rehab counsellor. He’s good at it.

Billy broke into Eileen’s house, planned to steal the money in the biscuit tin. Got caught by Peter, who tried his hand at sponsorship and counselling. But then he left Billy alone. He did take the precaution of locking him in, but Billy broke out.

billy-crawls-on-couchThey found him again, and that’s when Phelan told Eileen that he’d keep an eye on him. As soon as she was gone, he made Billy wish he’d stayed a long, long way away from that house.

phelan-says-no-more-chancesWhen Eileen returned, Phelan was seated alongside Billy. His hand resting on Billy’s arm, as if comforting and supporting him. Oh yes, they’d had a nice conversation and, yes, Billy was willing to go to rehab. Billy looked willing to go anywhere that Pat Phelan was not. His frantic wish for a fix was well and truly supplanted by fear of Phelan. Good job, Pat. I think he’ll remember you for quite a long time. If nothing else motivates him to get his act together, that memory will.eileen-consoles-billy and pat looks angelic

I wonder what our trained therapist Toyah would say about Phelan’s counselling approach. She is using her professional skills to guide Eva toward healthy pregnancy choices. And that’s working so well!

Shocker scene: mate-rape

Josh date- or mate-rapes David. Josh has become increasingly creepy. With so much talk of Martin and Gail’s other husbands, I wondered if Josh was the son of one of them. There is some reason we’re having this wander down memory lane.david-on-bed-and-josh

It was clear that Josh had an agenda for David and/or his family. His beating up of Lee also showed he enjoys violence. So looking for revenge for his childhood and his dad disappearing? His roaming hands showed the direction he was going. But out-and-out rape? Wow, didn’t see that coming!

Corrie Street 18 Mar. 2018

Heroin

Oh my God! Billy and Lee bliss out in the church. Lying in the aisle, propped up by the ends of pews. All in the name of pain relief, at least for Billy. For Lee, it’s just Monday. ‘Smack. Horse. Heroin.”

billy and lee heroin in church“This must be what heaven feels like,” Lee says in dreamy awe. It’s not the first time he has experienced this. So imagine what it must feel like for Billy. Billy the Vicar, in the church, meeting what may become his new god. What an incredibly powerful image.

I immediately thought of Trainspotting, a great movie from 1996. “Take the best orgasm you’ve ever had, multiply it by a thousand, and you’re still nowhere near it.” That’s how Mark Renton, the film’s protagonist, describes heroin.

That explains the lure of heroin. He also shows the reality of chasing that lure. Renton lives in absolute squalor, with junkie friends who look as bad as he does. There is nothing transcendental about their lives, actions or thoughts.

The way they live shows the real price of heroin. But they also give the reasons they choose it. Both for that über-orgasm, or “heaven”, and because they prefer it to the options they see. “Life” as they see it defined for them.

Billy should have watched Trainspotting. No matter the pain he’s in, he might then have resisted Lee’s offer. Yes, it does relieve the pain – and then there’s a great big “But…”

A fabulously beautiful and chilling scene, immediately followed in the next episode by a more depressing and squalid one. Billy and Lee, passed out, amid a mess of beer cans and leftover food in Billy’s living room. That’s beginning to look more like the Trainspotting guys.

The Heaven/Hell equation begins to go the other way. And, probably like Billy, we didn’t have to wait long. However, according to  Bluenose Corrie, the scene in the church provoked 82 complaints immediately after it aired. Misguided complaints, I think. But then I think Trainspotting is the best “Just Say No” message ever made.

“Choose Life” by Renton

Corrie Street 4 Mar. 2018

Helpful Hints

Monday and Tuesday episodes were like Hints from Heloise – what to do and what not to do.

1. Empty pockets before doing a wash.helpful hints summer puts hoodie in washer

Summer puts clothes in the laundry, including Billy’s hoodie. We know he never lets it out of his sight. It’s comfortable and it’s also where he keeps his painkillers. But he’s asleep. After he wakes and she’s gone and the laundry is done, he finds it in the washer. Only the pill package remains in the pocket. The painkillers dissolved into the water system.billy-finds-dissolved-pills

2. Why let perfectly good flowers go to waste?

craig-bins-rosesCraig put the beautiful roses he’d bought Bethany in the garbage bin. And just then Jude came along, holding a couple Valentine’s balloons.

jude-with-rosesWhat would go well with red heart-shaped balloons? Red roses. Will they do it? Yes! Next we see him, Jude’s walking off-screen with the balloons and the roses. Good man! Just don’t tell Angie!

3. “Proper disposal” of medication is not down the sink.

eva-holds-pills-that-billy-wantsEva finds the dodgy pills that Adam gave Billy. He says they’re an old prescription he found way back in the cupboard, way way back. He’ll put them in the bin, he says. She’s not letting him touch them, so says she’ll do it properly. Down the sink. No no no! See #1. They contaminate the water system. Take them to a pharmacy where they will do whatever they do to safely dispose of them.

4. Keep track of your kids so we can too.

liz-surprisedLiz is shocked to see that the new doctor at the medical clinic is Michelle’s son. So am I. I had to google to find out which one Alex is. Is he the biological son or the one she raised?

alex-or-aliEither way, I’d hoped we’d never see either of them again. It was a horrible ‘switched at birth’ story that was soapy both in construction and presentation – complete with recasting at the time and again now. So the present face wouldn’t help even if you could, or wanted to, remember Alex.

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 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.

Smoothing the waters

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 22 Jan 2017

Shona the Needy

Todd enters kitchen where Billy is making teaAn interesting scene Wednesday was Todd and Billy and their takes on helping the needy. The needy in this case being Shona – a presently homeless scam artist and thief.

Billy: “Where’s your social conscience? Your heart?” Todd: “At the bottom of David Platt’s wallet.” (The wallet that Shona stole.)

Shona rolls eyes as Todd confronts BillyShe is bringing out all Billy’s instincts to HELP people. This despite her not actually asking for help. She is also bringing out all Todd’s instincts to be on guard and safeguard the silverware. I think Todd’s approach is the better choice and probably of more use to Shona in the long run.

Billy means well but, aside from the risk of getting ripped off by her, he maybe is objectifying her. He sees not Shona, but ‘person in need’ todd says it is time for her to leave– vulnerable and at risk. All very nice, but it translates as seeing her as helpless, and him as having the strength of morality and love that can save her.

Shona does not strike me as helpless. Nor does Todd look at her that way. He doesn’t trust her, like her or want her around. Not the milk of human kindness, for sure, but it does respect her. Todd sees an individual, not a social category. He considers Shona to have a mind of her own and the ability to look after herself.

Shona walks to doorBilly has gone through a crisis of faith in his church lately, not in his deity but in the earthly representation of it that he chose for his belief system and his vocation. His options, other than cleric, were in the social work line. A suicide hotline counselor I think was the job he had an interview for.

He decided to return to the church. But maybe the “social worker” mindset is still predominant in his head. A lost waif crosses his path and he’s all over it, wanting to save her.

Billy goes to door, looks back at ToddHe even spends the night sleeping in a bus shelter with Shona so that she will come to no harm. Sorry, Billy, but I think if something bad had happened that night, more likely Shona would be saving Billy.

Shona, I think, is tough as nails. Todd knows that. Billy, overcome with Christian mercy and charity, doesn’t want to see it. He just Todd watches them leavewants to save someone. Even to the point of bulldozing over the fact that it is not his house to offer as shelter. Todd rightly points out to him that it is Eileen’s house, and therefore Eileen’s decision on who stays there. And it’s Eileen’s silverware in the drawers.

Corrie Street Oct. 2/16

In All His Glory

He had me fooled. But I’m enjoying seeing the real Todd back. I liked the nice Todd too, the Todd who cared about his family and wanted todd-says-billy-has-himto be a good boyfriend to the Vicar. I felt good about Todd turning over a new leaf or returning to his original leaf – the nice, bright and conscientious boy he was before he went to that London.

But he’s not. It turns out it was Todd who “complained” to the Bishop about said Vicar and boyfriend cohabiting. He did it with Billy’s best interests in mind, so he says and Billy believes. Make Billy think about the restrictions that he was living with in order to be part of a billy-says-todd-made-him-doubtchurch that would not fully accept him.

Billy ends it. He tells Todd “I always thought your lack of empathy was a defence mechanism. But this is the real you, the real Todd in all his glory.”

Sooo, that’s the end of Todd and Billy. But not the end of Billy having the scales lifted from his eyes. He tells Sean that, despite how it was done, he is questioning his vocation.

The Real Todd

Todd is genuinely upset that he couldn’t keep the good person up front in his psyche and actions. He wishes he were the person Billy the real todd in all his glorythought he was or could be. But, if you are bad, you might as well be full-bore bad.

He joins forces with Phelan. He has tried to convince his mother that Phelan is scamming her and Jason and anyone in Weatherfield foolish enough to buy into their flat conversion. She tells him that he is being vindictive and hateful and just wants to ruin her happiness.

Before everything comes undone with Billy, he got Phelan to admit todd-realizes-billy-is-leaving-himwhat he was doing. Yes, it’s a scam, don’t tell your mother. Phelan has some sort of plan to shut him up and calls him to meet at the building site. Phelan’s partner Vinnie has a simpler plan. He brings his toolbox to the site. Shut Todd up permanently.

On his way there, Todd meets Billy, finds out Billy knows about the phony complaint call, and whatever Todd had planned for the meeting changes. He’s in, he tells them. He stipulates his conditions, billy-walks-away-from-toddto protect Eileen and Jason. Phelan and Vinnie, gobsmacked, agree. It’s a partnership where all three partners would be advised to sleep with one eye open. But especially Phelan and Vinnie because, if I were a betting person, my money would be on Todd.

Corrie Street Sept. 25/16

The Vicarage

Billy and Todd sitting in the vicarage garden. What a beautiful place! Todd brings up the obvious, something I was hoping he wouldn’t do. billy and todd in vicarage gardenSomething I hoped he’d let Billy bring up, if he is thinking of it and he likely is. Should Billy leave the priesthood?

Looking at the vicarage, inside and out, I can’t help feeling that Sean would make a better vicar’s spouse than Todd would. Oh, he’d say and do things he shouldn’t but he’d at least make an effort to fit in with the congregation, no matter how unsuccessful that effort may prove to be. Todd? I don’t think so.

billy-looks-at-todd-in-frustrationFriday, I wondered if the complaint about Todd and Billy sharing the vicarage was because they are gay or because they are living together ‘without benefit of clergy’. Would it be ok if they were married? Would it be equally unacceptable to the complainant if it were a man and woman living together unmarried?

So I googled the Church of England, assuming that to be the church in question although it’s never been specified. If so, a married Vicar Billy isn’t an option. Gay clergy are required to be abstinent. todd-says-only-billy-can-decideMarriage or indeed living together in a same-sex relationship isn’t an option.

That’s too bad. Just in terms of this story, I was hoping for a wedding. I don’t think Billy and Todd would last five minutes together, but I enjoy a good wedding. I’d prefer it to be Billy and Sean, but I guess that ship’s sailed.

As it is, I don’t see anywhere for Billy’s story to go but for him to billy-thinks-about-optionsseriously contemplate leaving the church. And that would be a sin, not his but that of the situation that prevents him for reconciling his calling with his emotional life.

Corrie Street July 24/16

Remembering Deirdre

On Thursday and Friday, characters and audience were remembering Deirdre. They and we, of course, were also remembering her remembering deirdre tracy-at-gravestoneportrayer Anne Kirkbride. Her photo on the Barlow sideboard is never far from our view, but it was nice seeing it close up again.

More than words and a raised glass of red marked the passing of actress and character. Remembering Deirdre and communing with her brought dramatic action about. Reconciliation and new beginnings in honour of her spirit – in two storylines.

Tracy and Amy reconciled at her gravestone. Robert, acting as tracy-sees-robert-and-amypeacemaker and friend, brought Amy there and went out for pizza with them after. It had been Deirdre’s death that brought him back into the Barlow family and, for better or worse, he does care about all of them.

tracy-amy-and-robert-on-streetTracy brought Todd and Billy together, also for better or worse. She told them to sort themselves out. And she’s right. Despite the huge potential for damage, they need to end their dance around each other and their feelings.

The damage will be huge for Sean. A man dumps him again, a man who is good with and for him. He knows, despite Billy’s protestations, that someone else is involved. When he finds out it’s Todd! That doesn’t bear thinking about.

Todd, Billy, Sean

Watching Todd, Billy and Sean this week has been hard. Todd honestly doesn’t want to see Sean hurt. That evil-Todd-back-from-London has gone, at least for now. He isn’t toying with people, just tracy-takes-billy-to-toddtrying to mess up as many lives as possible, as he has done before. He does hurt Billy, but for the greater good, to keep things as they were. Todd denies the feelings he had admitted to when drunk, tells him he’d got the wrong end of the stick, and tells him to go away, go back to Sean. And that was to protect Sean, to make Billy stay with Sean, to keep them together.

And Billy, man of God, is torn between loyalty to the promises he’s billy-looks-at-toddmade to Sean and his new feelings for Todd. Lying about everything, hiding and deceiving everyone. His own duplicity and Sean’s present and future pain burdens him. But he can’t stop his feelings for Todd, and he knows that Todd reciprocates them.

Tracy acts as a catalyst, and not in her usual way of tattling to one person behind the other person’s back. She sees Billy and takes him tracy-by-deirdre-gravestoneto the flower shop where Todd is still working. Todd, meet Billy. Billy, meet Todd. Now talk. Was this direct approach to problem solving due to her long talk to Deirdre in the cemetery? I’d like to think so.