Tag Archives: Deirdre Barlow

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.

Corrie Street July 26/15

Blaming

all-because-of-you ken blaming tracyKen has a lot on his mind, things to sort out with Tracy. Despite his sniping during the funeral, he hadn’t intended on confronting – blaming – her right then, right after the funeral.

He is at the wake and leaves to come home to talk Tracy into coming back with him. There, he finds her and ex-husband Robert, half-dressed, “cavorting” on the couch. He sends Robert packing and explodes.

Ken Blaming Tracy

Tracy is stunned by his vehemence and what he tells her, that her too-ashamed-of-youmother died away because she was ashamed of her and didn’t want to face friends. But Tracy recovers and flips the guilt back on Ken. Maybe she had hurt her mother, but so had he.

They both give voice to present and past resentments, eddying way beyond Deirdre’s death. Ken lets loose, with no Deirdre to make him back off. Tracy retaliates, reminding him of how, and with whom, he had hurt Deirdre. And no Deirdre to make her stop.

where-have-you-beenInto that Peter walks, too late for the funeral but in time for the acrimony. Ken greets him with joy. Tracy is hurt by Ken’s ability to turn on a dime. The ‘prodigal son’ can do no wrong. Peter blames train delays. Anyone else would come the night before, Tracy points out, not leave something so important to the last minute. Doesn’t matter, Ken smooths and soothes, you’re here now.

tracy-annoyed-as-peter-and-ken-talkHaving just had strips torn off her by Ken, Tracy thinks Peter’s lateness does matter. She is not feeling charitable toward him or what she sees as a lack of respect for both her mother and his father.

Tracy Blaming Peter, Peter Blaming Tracy

she-was-my-motherThen Peter jumps in arguing Ken’s points, telling Tracy how much she hurt her mother and so many other people, how despicable she has been, and how people loathe her. She tells him just how much grief he too has caused people, including Deirdre, over the years.

you-and-your-ex-cavortingWe see parts of those years and lives all around the living room. The photos that frame Ken as he sits at the table. Everywhere the camera goes, we see pictures of the family as its three surviving adults vent their grievances and their sorrow.

one-of-two-thingsTired of it all, Ken goes for a lie-down. Standing at the top of the stairs, he listens to Peter and Tracy debate which of them is the worst human being and parent’s child.

gonna-changeLater, he returns. Feathers are smoothed and, having exhausted their cruelty, maybe the three can rebuild something in the absence of the mother.

Emma Hynes, at Bluenose Corrie, gives an eloquent assessment of the beauty of Friday’s episode.

Corrie Street 19 July 2015

Losses

Two episodes, two stories. Thursday, the news we’ve dreaded. Deirdre dies, while sitting in the sun in Bev’s garden looking forward to coming home.

Deirdre dies

news-of-deirdreThe actors had to go through their grief at the real life death of Anne Kirkbride in April without letting it show in their characters’ faces. Now, on our screens, they mourn the death of her character Deirdre. It was heartfelt.

Bluenose Corrie sees Bev handing Deirdre’s glasses to Ken as a bit ken takes glasses after deirdre diescontrived. That’s as may be, as Rita might say, but I saw it as a gift to viewers. Deirdre’s ‘specs’ were as important to us as they were to her. I’d like to see a shelf in the Barlow house with Deirdre’s eyewear over the decades lined up like a little shrine.

lollipop-manThey gave us another little gift of history. A close up of a photograph not often shown on the Barlow sideboard – Albert Tatlock in his lollipop man uniform. Fifty-five years of fictional and real lives and deaths.

Cathy hoards

The other storyline this week was Cathy’s house. Monday, Roy and roy-enters-hoarding-houseCarla walk into hoarding – the objects and the psychological minefield. Cathy is embarrassed by the stuff piled everywhere so, somewhere in her head, she knows this is not normal.

Her first explanation is an easy and obvious untruth: everything got out of hand after her husband died. Horsefeathers! That mountain of crap was there long before he died. Carla’s response is the polite one roy-and-carla-sit-amid-stuffto make, as she bravely settles in a spot she cleared on a couch she managed to locate. I collect shoes, she says, would I throw out a pair? No, by heck. Laughing it off as if it’s normal, as if we all secretly have houses filled to the rafters.

What you really want to say is: you’re crazy as a bedbug and you probably have a fine collection of them too! Maybe that should be said right off the bat. It would get to the next line of roy-amid-puzzles-milk-jugs-papershoarding defence faster – it’s mine, I do not have a problem, etc. As Roy finds out later, that will come anyway.

She’s a middle-of-the road-hoarder, I think. It’s not dirty or looking like vermin are running around unseen in it. But nothing is neatly arranged either, as if she’s preparing for potential sales. Those are two ends of the hoarding spectrum that I’ve seen.

should-rent-a-skipSome looks valuable – old board games for example. Some is not – empty milk jugs. But possession is its value for her, not market or historical worth. Losing that by clearing out? I doubt it.

Our Deirdre

Deirdre Barlow with EcclesAnne Kirkbride has died. Tonight, after a short illness, say the news reports on CBC and online. We know her best as Deirdre Barlow.

We last saw her flinging a trifle that didn’t set properly against the wall. Evidently being on the brink, she then went to visit a friend so that Anne could have a well-deserved break.

I have been hoping she’d soon return. The Barlow household, indeed the whole street, just isn’t the same without her.

Deirdre washing dishes & cryingMy condolences to her real-life family and her Coronation Street family. She will be sorely missed.

She will always be The Weatherfield One.

Amazon link for coronation street cookbookIn honour of Deirdre’s trifle and her signature stuffed marrow, here’s a link to The Coronation Street Cookbook by Graham Carlisle on Amazon.

 

 

Corrie Street Aug. 24/14

Shut Up

“Shut up shut up shut up!” Deirdre screamed at Ken as he continued to badger her about oh shut upnot having told him what was up with Peter. He is right, she ought to have told him. But, in the way that arguments do, it spiraled way past the actual issue to everything in their relationship.

She felt he was making it all her fault, and he felt she was making it all his fault. Her fault for not believing in Peter’s innocence and for not doing more to help him. His fault for not being there when his son needed him and when she needed him. And for never listening to her ever. And for always turning because-i-was-scaredthings around, in his clever way, to put her in the wrong. Just shut up. And he did.

He didn’t apologize to her, or acknowledge that he was often too quick to blame her. But he switched topics and altered the tenor of his voice from an accusatory screech to a reasonable tone for discussion. So they sat and talked about the circumstances of Peter’s arrest and what they could do, separately and together, for him.

even-then-you-did-not-callIt hasn’t been easy for Deirdre this past year, coping with everything on her own. It’s not easy for Ken, finding out how much he has not been kept in the loop. It hasn’t been easy for the writers either, not knowing for a long time when, indeed if, Ken would be returning. It is difficult to mesh storyline needs with real life exigencies and, overall, the writers have done a good job with Ken’s absence and return. But in the age of social media and online access to everything in the world all the time, there is quibble room.

deirdre and ken silentEven if we accept that neither his daughter nor grandchildren have thought about phoning or skyping Granddad in Canada and if we accept that Ken is not on Facebook or Twitter, wouldn’t he want to keep up on the UK news? He’s a newspaper junkie and I am sure he knows his way around a website. It’s a bit too much of a stretch to accept that the Weatherfield Gazette does not have an online edition and that former Ace Reporter Barlow would not check it just to get a sense of home.

We heard “shut up shut up shut up” again at the end of the week. It was directed to Peter, Jim-says-listen-to-me-peterto stop his whining and get on with getting a defence. No, it wasn’t Ken, although I suspect he’d have liked to. It was from Peter’s new best friend, purveyor of prison booze, The Landlord. It was Jim McDonald, so it was, talking sense in the big house.

Corrie Street May 12/13

Friends

oh Eileen says DeirdreFriday episode, Eileen in despair.  Paul is leaving for Yorkshire.  There’s nothing she can or will do about it.  Jason asks Deirdre to see her, maybe cheer her up.

Afternoon, a scene of long-time friends commiserating.  Deirdre sized up the situation on entry:  Eileen feeling sorry for herself, still lying on the couch.  Deirdre opens a bottle, pushes Eileen over so she has room to sit beside her and pours two glasses of red.

deirdre-and-eileenThey talk about Eileen’s bad luck with men.  Eileen gives a synopsis of her relationship history.  That is useful for newer viewers who may not know the story of the fathers of her sons or remember the wonderful Dennis.  For viewers like me who do remember, it was nice to hear about them again. But it was especially nice to see a simple quiet scene of two friends just being with each other.

second-bottleWe haven’t seen Deirdre and Eileen together much recently and it was a reminder that they are good friends and have shared a lot over the years.  We haven’t seen many quiet scenes of any two people lately so this one was a pleasant interlude between the strife and action that love-of-my-lifefollows most of the characters.

The wine, the talk, the reliving of past experiences prompts Eileen to action.  So the last we saw this week was her running down the station platform looking for Paul onboard the Yorkshire-bound train. Depending on how that turns out, she may need Deirdre’s shoulder to cry on once again.  Like the song says, that’s what get-to-the-stationfriends are for.

And the line of the week came from Deirdre when Jason stopped her on the street.  “Just the woman I’m looking for,” he said. She replied, “Can I have that on film and play it back on a daily basis?”

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Apr. 15/12)

Sin

Deirdre's guilty tears at Tracy's hen night in Rovers“Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).  Words that Tracy, Faye and Deirdre would do well to remember.  Friday saw the start of the unraveling of the lies surrounding two monstrous acts, one by Tracy with Deirdre’s collusion and the other by Faye all on her own.

After her insane jealousy brought about a miscarriage, Tracy had seen the silver lining in that cloud.  She could blame it on Becky, thereby ensuring that Steve would turn against “baby killer” Becky and stay with Tracy.  And she got her mother to go along with the lie.  I’m not sure which one of them I find more repellent for their actions in this.  Tracy has a purpose for hers, no matter how twisted it is.  Deirdre?  Protecting her child?  I’m sure serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother thought that there was good in him too.

Becky saying to Deirdre you know somethingBecky started putting two and two together and getting four.  Steve paying her off for her half of Streetcars, saying that Deirdre had urged him to give Becky a good settlement.  Deirdre’s visit to Becky in hospital.  To both things, she asked herself why.  And she gave Deirdre a chance to come clean, ambushing her out behind the Rovers and pleading for the truth.  I thought Deirdre would crack, but she’s a better liar than I thought.

Tracy and Deirdre leaving RoversFinally, Becky’s new man completed the adding up for her.  As manager of the hotel where Tracy had started to miscarry after running around like a madwoman, he had called the ambulance for her.  But he hadn’t connected Tracy with Steve and Becky.

Finally while dropping Becky home, he saw Tracy leaving the Rovers checking appointment calendar for Beckyafter her hen night.  “I’ve seen her before, she…”. And the pieces fell in place for Becky.  Oh, I look forward to seeing Deirdre’s face when this comes out!

Faye’s revenge

And the other monster of the week: Faye, willing to kill just because she didn’t get her own way.  Someone poisoned the fish by putting creosote in the pond water.  Owen Owen sorting Faye's laundryaccused David and Kylie and they, to him and each other, were appalled to think that he would accuse them of killing as part of a prank.  Faye’s little smirk, after Anna broke the sad news about the death of the fish, showed she had no such qualms.

I still believe that Owen and Anna should have had the sense to build her a shed instead of or in addition to the fishpond.  But killing fish to spite someone else?  Sin. I hope only that Anna does not decide to get Faye a kitten.

Owen smells creosote on Faye's sweaterWhile Anna is away overnight and Owen is looking after Faye he washes her clothes and smells creosote on her sweater.  Two and two get added correctly again.  He is furious, about her wanton killing as well as the destruction of what he had made with Anna’s consent.  I wish only that he had not laid a finger on her.  Not that she didn’t deserve a good spanking, but because I’m sure Owen spanks Fayeshe’s got Children Services, the police and probably Madame Defarge from beside the French guillotine all on speed-dial.  He, I fear, will end up in much more trouble than she will.  I do hope that Anna realizes she has a psychopath-in-training in her care and that she takes care herself around little Faye.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Apr. 1/12)

SPOILER

 

vicar at Webster houseThe minister comes to see Sophie and Sian about their blessing and goes to the Barlow house by mistake.  He talks to Tracy, she finds salvation and publicly confesses all her wrongdoings.

 

April Fool!  Unfortunately.

I’ve been amazed for a long time at what Deirdre will tolerate from Tracy.  I’ve been amazed at what she will do to protect her.  It has often seemed misguided and not really doing Tracy any favours.

Apple and Tree

But Thursday’s episode when Deirdre continued to keep her Deirdre keeping quiet while Becky begs for truth - apple and treemouth firmly clamped shut about the truth of Tracy’s miscarriage absolutely appalled me. I don’t think the writers are changing Deirdre’s character in this storyline; it’s just taking what she has done before to a new level of scary motherhood.

Becky at the Barlow house, with only Tracy and Deirdre there and all three of them knowing most of the truth, and Deirdre allowed Tracy to continue blaming Becky for the miscarriage.  Becky, heart in her eyes, pleading for Tracy to tell the truth, saying Tracy ok you’ve won, you’ve got Steve.  Deirdre very upset about not speaking up, but not speaking up.  Not saying Tracy enough is enough, you can’t do this.  Oh, she said it Tracy telling Deirdre to say quietafterward to Tracy when they were alone, but not really very forcefully.  And one manipulative little peep from Tracy about “I’ll have nothing to live for” was enough to shut her up.

I don’t believe it’s fair to automatically blame the mother, or father, when a child goes horribly bad.  But if Deirdre can help Tracy conceal the truth about this, well, I think we’re seeing where Tracy learned her conniving and lying skills – from her mother.  Deirdre’s silence makes her as culpable as Tracy.

Deirdre glaring at Tracy after confrontation at school playIf anyone knows the depths of Tracy’s inner psychotic self, it is Deirdre.  And that’s not just because Deirdre is her mother, but because she is the only other person that knows that Tracy killed in cold blood.  Tracy told her mother, with a smirk if I remember correctly, that Charlie Stubbs had not been attacking her when she killed him, that she just killed him.  It was pretty hard for me to accept as reasonable that Deirdre would keep that information to herself.  But Charlie was dead and sending Tracy to prison for life wouldn’t bring him back.  You still might want to think about whether you are doing the right thing in “protecting” a murderer even if she is your daughter.  You might be next in her sights.  So ok, Deirdre has a misguided notion of a Steve tells Becky 'best performance' while Tracy acts fearfulmother’s protective role.

But totally scuppering Becky’s life and reputation?  I do not see that doing that, or allowing that to happen, is justifiable in any way.  And this incident with Becky and even the murder of Charlie Stubbs, are not the only horrible things that Tracy has done to destroy other people’s lives and that Deirdre knows about.  Deirdre is harbouring a sociopath and by doing so she’s made me think that, this time, it is fair to blame the mother.  The tree is likely to be near where the apple lands.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (June 5/11)

The Accumulator

A five race accumulator is a bet in which you pick the horses to win in five different races on a given race day.  Your winnings compound from race to race, but if all five horses do not win, neither do you.

accumulator - Peter waving Lewis' betting slip "4 flaming grand"Lewis “won” his first ever accumulator.  Not impossible but pretty hard to do, especially based on pure beginner’s luck as he so blithely told Leanne.  Such a win, whether by a neophyte or a better with a good system for picking, is a great day for the better and a bad day for the bookie.

Peter guessed Lewis must have known something he shouldn’t have known based on the winner of the fourth race.  The combined odds of Allagoggin actually winning and of somebody choosing him in an accumulator were so astronomically long that Peter was Watching the tape in the bookie shopsuspicious, not just hopeful, that there was something wrong about Lewis’ ‘luck’.  Nothing in Allagoggin’s past performance, or form, would suggest him as anything but a very long shot.  Leanne didn’t catch it right off the bat because, while she may be a quick study of peoples’ form, she doesn’t know that of horses.

the kiss on tapeSo the moment of watching the security camera tape!  Poor Deirdre.  And of course Ken would be there.  Not that he wouldn’t have found out, but being right there watching the whole tawdry thing!  As she said many times, it would have been better if there’d been sound.  But, if she remembered all of what she said, it wouldn’t have improved it much.

Manchester Tart

The Barlows confront Audrey at Gail’s farewell do for Platts and Barlows watching the dvdher and the no-show Lewis.  Gail is deranged, turning on Deirdre and all the Barlows, defending all members, real or putative, of her seriously disturbed brood.  Then let’s look at the tape.  The battery in the remote is low so Peter can’t stop it after they’ve seen Lewis’ fingers in the till, and the kiss unfolds.  Deirdre humiliated again, Audrey humiliated anew.  A pastry – a Manchester tart – that Audrey had been saving for Lewis instead was thrown by Gail in Deirdre’s face.  It was horrible.  And Claudia enjoying theLewis meeting new woman at airport bar whole show.  I’m so glad she was there.

But Lewis, gigolo with a heart of gold as he turned out to be, didn’t rip off Audrey.  He stopped the transfer from her bank account to their new joint account.  He left for Greece with only Peter’s  £4,000, but accumulated a new ‘mark’ at the airport.

Ken and Deirdre at dining room tableAnd Ken!  During his and Deirdre’s post-mortem of the whole thing, he shows that his days of contrition about Martha and sympathy about Blanche’s death are well and truly over.  “Would you mind finishing that outside?” he says as Deirdre smokes a cigarette in her house.  “Why, no I wouldn’t – as I’m passing your bags to you on your way out the door” is what I’d have liked to hear Deirdre reply.

PS – I wrote this after Thursday’s episode.  Friday saw Ken continue his ‘my way’ campaign.  As Deirdre listens to a pop radio station, he walks past and turns the dial to a classical station.  Done without a word to her.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Apr. 24/11)

The Dinner Party

Sean touching his son’s face onscreen, Cheryl after her husband battered her – moving moments.  But Ken telling pre-dinner party in Roversdinner guests Audrey and Lewis, “Tracey always says how much she misses her mother’s home cooking, her stuffed marrow in particular.”  Like Audrey, I knew:  “yum yum.”  This is going to be good!

What followed Ken’s statement was a tiny three-act play. Set into Tuesday and Wednesday’s episodes, it starred Ken and Deirdre, Audrey and Lewis.

The Barlow dining room, after their (and our) appetites had been whetted in the Rovers.  Not really Audrey’s though.  She seems to not be a fan of stuffed marrow.  (I don’t know why the writers picked on the poor squash, any type of which is delicious when stuffed and baked.  I guess it just sounds funny – yum yum, marrow!!)

dinner party in Barlow dining roomAudrey seems on edge with Deirdre.  And something’s been whetted for Deirdre; she’s sparkling with rapier-like wit and flirtatious asides to Lewis.  Audrey glowers at both her stuffed marrow and Deirdre.  Ken figures a discussion about the last election will loosen things up around the old dinner table.  Lewis, with his usual insouciance, simply says, “I didn’t vote.”  Well, Ken comes up out of his chair – “not vote!!??”  Things are not improved when Ken gives Lewis his clincher argument – “how can we complain about how the country’s run?” and Lewis simply smiles his lovely gigolo smile and says “But I don’t.”  And there you have it, that topic of conversation done.

From there on, although it doesn’t seem possible, it goes from bad to worse.  Deirdre provides conversational distraction by asking if Audrey wants ketchup, then asking if the marrow isn’t too runny.  Audrey says “I must get the recipe”.  Deirdre is dying to bring Lewis’ line of work into conversation, so says that Ken used to be a male escort.  They all nearly choke on their teeth, or marrow.  Ken accuses Deirdre of being a tad tiddly and suggests she just drink straight from the bottle, Deirdre lighting Lewis' cigarettesaying “you’re turning into your mother”.

Mercifully, the meal and after-dinner chat finally end.  The third act of this little comedy of manners occurs outside as Deirdre is having a well-earned cigarette.  Lewis, the man for all women, apparently also indulges from time to time.  He lights that cigarette like a true smoker.  Deirdre says she’s been naughty teasing about escort work, Lewis says “a very naughty girl.”  Deirdre, with a smoldering look, says, “if I had to pay for your services or his, I know who I’d choose.”  Lewis smolders right back.

Audrey, coughing, saying taxi is hereAudrey comes outside right then and is horrified to see him sucking back on the smoke.  She coughs, flaps her arms to keep the smoke away, “oh, put that out, oh oh” etc etc.  Deirdre offers to copy the marrow recipe right then, Audrey looks like a treed animal.  She makes her escape into the house.  With a wonderful come-hither look over his shoulder to Deirdre, Lewis follows her in.  Deirdre looks very pleased with herself, it’s been a good night’s work.  Presumably Ken is inside, wondering if he ought to raise the ceilings so that a library ladder in his new study is justified.