Tag Archives: John Stape

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Mar. 4/12)

Fiz saying I love the sinner at John's death sceneJohn Stape’s death scene Friday was very touching. Despite him being a total nutbar, I will miss him. The character of John Stape was perfectly cast with Graeme Hawley. I guess I’m hoping a bit that, on Monday, John suddenly returns from flatlining and makes his escape from hospital.

John explaining to Rosie from graph what happenedEspecially for scenes like Thursday’s when he was schooling hostage Rosie in what to say to the court to exonerate Fiz. As he has said repeatedly as justification for his acts of crime and/or stupidity, he lives to teach.

So he had a bulletin board and markers and made a graph of all activities at the times of the deaths of the Fishwick mother and son and of Charlotte. He also had photos and diagrams showing what and where to help Rosie memorize the facts. During what had John marking Rosie's written testto be a very long night for both of them, he set Rosie homework about the sequence of events and tested her recall with written and oral quizzes. Rosie with duct tape over her mouth, John in front of her using a pen as pointer going over the highpoints of the nights in question. Then removing the tape so she could repeat the sequence back to him. Rosie, in a wonderful combination of fear and ditziness, was not the ideal student John hoped for. Oh, it was just perfect. A masterpiece of writing and acting by both of them.

Goodbye Mr. Chips

John in car booking flat viewingAlso perfect was the set up to this, his second kidnapping of Rosie. Sitting in his car, calling the real estate agent to set up a viewing of Jason’s flat, he had to come up with a name. He sees a guy walking down the street with a package of chips. “Mr. Chips,” he gave as his name. You knew that, even with her Oak Hill education, Rosie Webster would guy with container of chips walks past John's carnot think anything odd about that name. And Jason? No, he wouldn’t catch it. I thought maybe Kevin would. But it’s not really surprising that in the heat of the moment, realizing that his daughter is missing, Kevin wouldn’t take notice of such an iconic name in the world of fictional educators.

Amazon link for Mr Chips bookI did think, at some point, as John’s situation unraveled and more and more people became party, that someone would say ‘he called himself Mr. Chips?!’ But, so far, no one has so maybe it will remain John Stape’s final and personal literary pun.

There was another scene this week that was going to be my pick. But there will be more about it later, I believe, so I won’t tell what it was.

Also this week saw the real-life death of Davy Jones. He is known to teenyboppers as “the cute Davy Jones as Ena's grandson on Coronation StreetMonkee”, to connoisseurs of Corrie as a child actor portraying Ena Sharples’ grandson, and to the American and English horse racing world as a horse owner and former amateur steeplechase jockey. His horses, children and wife will miss him sorely and so will we all.

Coronation Street: A defence of John Stape

Ok, I know John Stape is a lying weasel who spends way too much time feeling sorry for himself and plotting John Stape close upnasty 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.

There aren’t that many of them on soaps, you know – people with arts degrees, teachers, people who enjoy being well-read.  On Coronation Street, Ken is all those things.  But for years, he’s also been whining about it – he wants to do more!!!  And Deirdre – well, you’d think reading the Guardian or whatever paper it is Ken prefers is the weirdest thing on the planet.  She’s constantly moaning about Ken having his nose buried in “his” papers or watching nature programming.  Maybe she ought to put her nose in his paper once in a while.  Knowledge and awareness of the world isn’t a bad thing for you, Deirdre.

At least Fiz appreciates John’s love of teaching.  Maybe, as Deirdre recently suggested, it would wear off over the years (assuming, for the moment, that John didn’t continue doing stupid things).  But leaving out his stupid actions and their consequences, even if Fiz doesn’t share his intellectual curiousity, she respects him for having it.

No one else on the street really cares about much outside their own little world.  Yes, there are a lot of people like that in the real world but that doesn’t make it the apex of human accomplishment.

Carl Hutchins, played by Charles KeatingOn American soaps, there occasionally have been characters interested in the arts and literature.  I think of Carl Hutchins, from years ago on Another World.  Cultured, refined and erudite (and also English) – he’d have made Audrey swoon!  He also was a millionaire, lived in a mansion full of artwork, and had connections with the big-scale criminal world.  Not, by any stretch, your average English teacher.

And that’s what John Stape is.  Take away the propensity to fall for overly-developed students like Rosie Webster and an apparent lack of understanding of the common English word “no” and you’ve got a regular guy who likes to read and also enjoys transmitting his knowledge and passion for literature to others.  That’s admirable, and rare in Coronation Street and all the other serials.