Funny how the timing of fiction sometimes perfectly matches reality. Celebrity – its connotations and effects – has been all over the news the past week. And then, on our Canadian screens on Friday, it comes to Coronation Street.
Steve, Tim and Tyrone nearly swoon when they meet Weatherfield County footballer Tommy Orpington at the Rovers. He is there to meet with Michelle about his wedding. They happen to be there when he walks through from the back.
It’s Tommy Orpington!
Their mouths hang open when they see him. They can barely reply when he says hello and introduces himself. Then they follow him like ducklings, eyes like huge saucers. He takes it in stride, he’s used to it.
Probably the actors knew how to do the look of starstruck fans because they would see it on the faces of people who meet them in real life. The only thing that struck me as unrealistic was that everybody else in the bar wasn’t crowded around Tommy too or at least gawking more openly.
As for Michelle, Fiz and Audrey staying back from the cluster of men around Tommy, yes, I can see that. Michelle is trying to be professional in her business dealings with him. And although she’s not likely to say it, she believes fawning attention should be on her. Fiz appears to be struggling to deal with the fact that Tyrone slipped his leash. Instead of choosing to sit with her sipping his drink and discussing whatever, he took off like a shot to meet his hero. And Audrey? She’s just sitting back, enjoying the scenery, I think.
I googled Tommy Orpington to see if he is a real soccer player. He’s not. He’s actor Matt Milburn, formerly of Emmerdale. I’m surprised they didn’t get a real footballer to make a guest appearance. Celebrity cameos work well for the celebrity and the show, usually. They can come back to bite you if you don’t watch yourself. Donald Trump and Billy Bush found that out last week.
Still, the fictional star footballer Tommy Orpington has made me a fan of the fictional Weatherfield County team.
In sad real life, Jean Alexander died Friday at the age of 90 (here’s a Guardian tribute). She was for many years the incomparable Hilda Ogden. The rollers in her hair and the flying ducks on the “muriel” on her wall will never be forgotten.
In sad Corrie life, I was wrong last week about Maria’s reaction to Ozzy’s death. She and all did it beautifully. We will miss you, Ozzy,