Tag Archives: Betty Williams

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Oct. 16/11)

The Good Soldier

Writing this after Monday’s episode, pretty sure nothing is going to top Gary’s Gary stops Izzy and apologizesdescription of what happened in Afghanistan.* Gary has been unraveling since he came home. He’s pushing his parents and Izzy away, missing physio appointments. Unable to cope, yet unable to tell anybody why or what happened when his patrol was attacked.

After Izzy has enough of rude Gary and leaves him in the street, he apologizes. They talk a bit. He says he hasn’t seen Quinny’s parents. She says “maybe that’s what you need to do.”

Anna serving tea to Gary and QuinnsHe phones them, but doesn’t tell his parents he has. Quinny’s parents come to the Windass house. Anna comes home unexpectedly, makes tea all around, offers to leave if that would make it easier for them all. No, Quinny’s dad says. No, Gary says, I want you to hear it too.

An IED exploded

Gary describing the explosionThen he tells about the IED that exploded under their vehicle. He ended up under Quinny, who was still alive. Some of the guys got out and ran to safety. Gary told Quinny to run but he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t leave Gary.

In the vehicle, they came under enemy fire. Sounded like rain on a caravan roof, Gary said, like he remembered from childhood. Quinny got him out, carried him, running for shelter. Almost Anna watches as Gary relives horror of shootingmade it, then Quinny fell. Someone pulled Gary to safety. Quinny was dead.

Gary has been carrying around the guilt of this, survivor guilt and the guilt that Quinny would still be alive if he had run when he first had the chance.

Anna holding Gary as he weeps and says I'm sorryIt was absolutely beautifully acted – real and heartfelt. You could see it as Gary talked. You could also see the agony he felt, at the time and now, safe in his living room. A soldier still, but a broken one, telling of the death of his friend.

I cried throughout it: for Gary and Quinny’s parents, for Anna who had to be thinking this could be the story of her son’s last minutes of life. And for all the Quinns crying as they listenreal-life soldiers who have lost their lives or been scarred by living through attacks just like this in Afghanistan and Iraq. The casualties, both living and dead, of these protracted wars.

Mikey North researched this storyline by talking with veterans of Afghanistan. They taught him well.

Gary telling CO I am a good soldier sirUnfortunately, this final picture is Gary pleading as much as a soldier can in front of his Commanding Officer. He was discharged from the Army. PTSD wasn’t sufficient reason to overlook a charge of assaulting a police officer. Too bad. And too bad having David Platt as a friend isn’t enough of an excuse.

Betty Driver in front of Rovers Return* Also unfortunately real life matched it.  Betty Driver, who has played Betty Turpin Williams, Rovers’ barmaid and hotpot cook since 1969, died Saturday Oct. 15th at the age of 91. What will we do without her?

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 28/10)

And he’s back!

There were a lot of “should be” scenes this week.  Some fell short, some have built over time, and an unlikely one happened right near the end.

The glorious Ciaran

At a restaurant, Ciaran toasts Peter's sobrietyThe thing that signaled ‘uh oh’ the most was the appearance from behind a restaurant kitchen door of the glorious Ciaran.  You knew his return was bad news for Peter and for whatever woman or women he encounters this time.

He is so lovely to look at and listen to, but he leaves a swath of destruction behind him.  And all the while, he just smiles with a “what – who, me?” look.  A poster on Corrie Canuck perhaps summarized him the best:  “As for Ciaran, he is not use, but he IS ornament”.  I would go further:  he is more than not “use”; he is a one-man wrecking crew of people’s lives.  But he certainly is ornament.

So you knew as soon as he appeared that Peter was going to fall off the wagon.  But, of course, it wasn’t really Ciaran’s doing.  Once he realized that Peter’s problem was serious, he vowed to help him keep the pledge.

Peter at bar openingBut, I think, just Ciaran’s presence made Peter think it was time to test his recovering/recovered status.  “Hmm, yes, I took a drink and then didn’t take another, so I’m ok.”  Then, at the new bar pre-opening party, he drank many glasses of champagne and seemingly thought of them all as “just one drink”.

In a “scene contender”, he came home after spending a long time in a bar supposedly trying to convince a journalist to not report his spectacular drunken display at the hard-hat party.  Leanne had fallen Peter back home, telling Leanne everything will be okasleep on the couch.  He wakes her, telling her in a drunken fashion, that he’s ok, he’ll be back on the wagon tomorrow, everything will blow over.  No it won’t, she says, it’s over; the bar and, I assume, their relationship and his life as he knows it.

Betty’s birthday

What I expected to be the big scene was Betty’s 90th birthday bash.  It was ok, but not as much history as I’d hoped for.  The introduction of the other elderly barmaid drinking milk stout was a nice reference back to the days of Ena Sharples and her friends.  I doubt if anyone has drank milk stout since then.  But I’m not sure if it’s going anywhere, other than just a little interlude of battling pensioners.

Betty, Steve & Liz celebrate, while the 91 year old disputes Betty's claimI was astounded to learn that Betty Driver, who plays Betty, actually turned 90 just a couple months after her character did.  I had thought the show’s attention to historical fiction accuracy had put them in a bit of a bind. Now, forty years after introducing a character as being a certain age, she’d have to be a barmaid of 90.  So I thought the actress was perhaps 80, and even that seemed like a stretch.  But, according to Wikipedia and Coronation Street sites, Betty Driver was born in 1920 and has been performing since she was a child.  What an amazing woman.

Joe’s farewell

So with history being celebrated through Betty, the big crescendo of Peter and his sobriety crashing down, literally, and the pleasure and trepidation in seeing Ciaran again, it surprised me that a little scene with Joe Joe hugging Tina goodbye, almost in tearstouched me the most.  Joe comes to Tina’s flat to tell her that he and Gail are going away for a few days.  His goodbye is very emotional, more so than Tina expects from her dad for his just going on a short vacation.  He tells her how much she means to him and says goodbye.  It sounded like a real goodbye, not a “see you soon”.

He’s been googling topographic information on depth of water in the Lake District. That caused Gail to say she thought it was a romantic getaway, not a natural sciences expedition.  She seems uneasy, reminding him she’s frightened of water (due to a previous psychopathic husband who also found himself in a financial bind).  So we’ve all been thinking it’s the newly life-insured Gail who will not be returning from this trip.  But Joe’s demeanour with Tina suggests he’s the one not coming back.  He also insured himself, I think.  Maybe he’ll solve his debt problem permanently by removing himself.  I don’t know, but his love for his daughter as he said goodbye felt real.  It was a touching moment between the two of them.