Tag Archives: Claire Peacock

Tales from The Street

The big Corrie bus has rolled into Canada: McDonald father and son and the Peacocks.  Poster for Tales from The StreetCharles Lawson (Jim McDonald), Nicholas Cochrane (Andy McDonald), Stephen Arnold (Ashley Peacock) and Julia Howarth (Claire Peacock) started a tour of Ontario and Alberta last weekend. They come to my area – Southwestern Ontario – at the end of March. Yippee!

While none of the four are on the show now, Stephen is the only one for whom the door is closed with Ashley having died in the tram crash. So we can hope we’ll see the others on the cobbles again.

Nicholas Cochrane, or Andy McDonald

I had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas Cochrane years ago when I was researching Other Worlds. His character, Andy, was still a McDonald family Coronation Street 1989student and we talked at the school then used as Weatherfield Comp. Nicholas got the part of Andy right out of school and had no training other than high school drama class. Working on Coronation Street every day with actors who had a wide range of experience, he said, provided a great education.

Nicholas worked closely with Charles Lawson. Jim McDonald is maybe my favourite Corrie character and that is due to his portrayal by Charles Lawson. When you look at the parts of Jim, there really isn’t much to like. He isn’t a great father, you can hardly call him a good husband. He probably was a good soldier but he never found success or happiness in any other endeavour. He’s quick-tempered, even violent. But. He’s also witty, warm-hearted, generous with his time and love, and a guy you’d like as a friend. Charles Lawson plays the whole man, in all his complexity. Jim is kind of a Janus, so he is, and you see his good face and his bad face, sometimes at the same time.

McDonalds on the street – literally

Jim hauling Liz out of car 1996The Jim and Liz story I have never forgotten is when she told him about a long-ago affair she had with his Army buddy. He exploded, hauled her out of the car, hit her and left her on the pavement. It was shocking, as was the aftermath when she and he continued to deal with it. The violence was delved into, with his sons confronting him and also examining their own relationship with him, pre- and post-beating. It also showed Jim’s examination of himself and his relationship with his family.

Liz on ground after Jim drives awayI had those episodes on tape. I showed scenes to my Popular Culture class to illustrate how a “social issue” story can be presented effectively. Then I contrasted it to a wife abuse story on the American soap The Young and The Restless.

Y&R’s story involved a character, back after many years away, and her husband and daughter who never had been seen before. It said the right things and gave information about what a woman should do in a situation of domestic violence. But, while you were horrified, it didn’t really connect. These weren’t people you knew. And then they disappeared so you didn’t have to think about them, or the issue, again. With the McDonalds, all aspects of family violence were looked at without preaching, through the vehicle of a family you knew well and continued to see. You couldn’t help but care.

The Peacocks, I say, the Peacocks

Canada AM with Corrie stars CTVAnd the Peacocks – I look forward to seeing them. I’m so sorry that Ashley will never grow old on the Street and become the next Fred Elliot, I say, the next Fred Elliot.

For how it all went, see here. The book below is not about Coronation Street, but the people it talks about could well live on the Street. And the Steve mask? Come on, who isn’t Steve sometimes.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Aug. 14/11)

Little Englanders

Ashley Peacock just put himself in the ranks of splendid curmudgeons of Weatherfield. Claire and her mom with Ashley at kitchen tableIn a kitchen table scene Tuesday, Claire and her mother extolled the virtues of living in France. He listened to the advantages of bilingualism for the boys. Then he said what he really really thought when they talked about the possibility of him continuing to work in the meat business in France.

He argued that French butchers would not welcome him setting up shop in their midst and “it’s all union over there.” “When it comes to meat, trade over there never forgot what them farmers did to our sheep.” “That happened 20 years ago,” Claire said in reference to the diseased sheep and cattle tragedy and ban on British meat. “Some things you never Ashley saying 'some things you never forget'forget,”  he pointed out.

Claire’s mother said that the village where she lives is filled with British ex-pats who share his views. “You’ll have them queuing all the way to Paris” she said to encourage him. “Little Englanders” Claire said they called them. English people who shared Ashley’s world view, living happily away from English soil. No, not having any of it was Ashley. And this was when he truly joined the pantheon of unforgettable and timeless Street men.

Best of British

Ashley off for British hotpotHe got red of face as he said, “If being a Little Englander means proper weather, proper ale, proper footie, proper – I don’t know, you name it – then I’m guilty as charged. Now I’m off to Rovers for a nice pint of warm ale and a plate of Betty’s Best of British hotpot.”

It was like seeing his father when Fred was being the quintessential “English butcher” in attitude. Stan Ogden, Albert Tatlock, Ken Barlow’s dad. All were proud Englishmen from the the early years of the show. All men happy to pronounce on what was right with England and wrong with everywhere else.

Riots – not Ashley’s England

Burning_car_Manchester_riots-(by-Richard-Hopkins)It’s ironic that this episode, broadcast in the UK in October 2010, aired 10 months later in Canada on same day as Salford and Manchester were going up in smoke. The riots that started the weekend before in London spread north. Young rioters smashing windows, firebombing cars and buildings, looting stores. I heard a CBC radio news interview on the street with a young fellow in Manchester. Everybody’s doing it, he said, so he had just joined in. Wonder what Ashley – and Albert Tatlock – would have to say about that.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Jan. 23/11)

Movin’ on down

Peacocks & Allahans look at listing for house Dev likesA scene I liked in a storyline that’s not up to par. First, the scene (a two-parter): Sunita and Dev in the Rovers talking to Ashley and Claire about living on the side of the street that has, as Dev says, “outdoor loos”. (Sunita had learned from Kirk that Maria is planning to put her house up for sale.)

Claire and Ashley have lived on both sides of the street, and know whereof they speak. Claire defends her house, that it’s not “pokey”. Ashley takes the middle of the road – yes it is “a bit” but it’s all right.

I was touched when Dev came around to the idea of living on the street by Sunita’s argument that the moneyDev agrees to call Maria about her house saved could help put the twins through university. You could see the Dream on his face; his kids doing what perhaps he wished he had. Now, I just remembered he’s already got one kid, Amber, who has recently started university in London. Still, I guess you have dreams for all of them and, at times, those dreams can seem impossible and enticing. And with these kids, he hopes, he’ll see what he didn’t see with Amber: the childhood before university.

Plot-driving Sunita

But the storyline: it’s a plot-driven clunker. Throughout it, I’ve been embarrassed for Sunita. She is bright and level-headed, yet nothing that has come out of her mouth about this mania to move has made a lick of sense. Since the beginning, you could see the writers’ planning meetings behind it and you should not be able to see that. With Sunita back, they want to put her and Dev more in the centre of things, and that means physically closer to the Street. Ok, they’ve got some mileage out of the unsuitability of Dev’s flat. Although I don’t remember it ever being described as small before. It’s a luxury apartment, not a pokey little flat.  Even as that, it may well not be suitable for kids.

Sunita arguing for saving moneyBut Sunita’s arguments that the twins need stability, that their present house means nothing to them. It’s the only house they’ve known! What would have no meaning for them whatsoever is Coronation Street! They were infants when they moved into that house. And she and Dev moved into it, so it wasn’t too far from the shop before. Plus, Dev has seven shops. Why should he be closer to one than the others?

You could pick holes in Sunita’s arguments forever, but the point clearly – too clearly – has been the need to have Sunita and Dev back in the Street. Ok, but please write it in a way that keeps Sunita’s brain evident. It’s been bad enough to watch Dev, formerly Mr. Cool and Suave, turn into a buffoon, but now Sunita?

Plot-driving Jason too

Having, in the same episode, Jason fall and suffer amnesia so that he doesn’t remember that Tina has broken up with him? Everybody has to tippy-toe around to not upset him. Perhaps it was just an unfortunate coincidence of writing ideas.

But Sunita’s storyline already had me thinking too much about Days of our Lives’ writing. Please, character-driven, not plot-driven! There are other ways, more true to character, to get Dev and Sunita to buy Maria’s house.