A woman walks into the Rovers with Kevin. If you had never watched an episode and just turned on the tv at that moment, I think you would know that her presence was significant. They stop just inside the doorway.
Between them is a photo montage. It’s been hanging there all along, visible but not really noted. In this shot, though, you can’t miss it. Snapshots cut out and arranged in a frame. The people we can see in it are from the McDonald publican era. Steve, Liz, Michelle, Sean. The people of the Rovers, of the neighbourhood. History and community, and their value to this place, celebrated permanently on its walls.
By the camera angle, and the tentative look on the face of the newcomer, you know she has a place in this history, an uncertain place. Jenny Bradley has returned to the street where she spent part of her adolescence twenty-odd years ago. She is nervous of seeing familiar faces, yet wants to reconnect with them and her past. Most of all, she is nervous of seeing Rita, her former foster mother whose trust she badly abused.
Later, another group comes through the Rovers’ door. Rita, Emily, Norris and Mary, milling about the entrance. The picture remains visible behind them. Like Jenny and Kevin, they do not notice it. Maybe they’re in it. They’ve been a continual part of Rovers’ history for a long time.
Only Norris takes a look into the room to see who is there. What he sees he doesn’t like. So he turns his attention back to Rita. She wants to catch up on everything, having just returned home from a trip. She figures she knows who is in the bar and will greet everyone once she gets settled in. He tells her there’s a bit of news he hadn’t yet told her, and turns toward the room.
Rita and the others look at the bar and see the newcomer. Shock visible on their faces, and especially Rita’s. Anger, sadness, regret and fondness all conveyed in her look: a wagonload of history. And still the camera keeps the photographs in its view.
If, like me, you didn’t watch when Jenny Bradley was on the show, there’s a recap of her story at Bluenose Corrie Blogger.