Tag Archives: James Cunningham

Corrie Street 23 Apr. 2017

Barlow Fecundity

Friday, Peter encourages Toyah about the baby quest: “You’ve got Barlow fertility on your side now. We’re famous for our fecundity.”beer and pizza - barlow fecundity

True! But, funny and kind of creepy as that remark is, it is not my choice of the week. I kept thinking of the beginning of the week. A scene that spotlighted the fruit of that Barlow fecundity.

tracy-with-beer-bottleThe Barlow kids, grandkids and significant others sitting around the dining room table – in a complete mess. I gasped in shock. In all the years of seeing that room and that dining table, never ever have I seen it look like that. What a mess! Deirdre would have had a fit. Ken too.

Home Alone

sinead looking guilty and daniel rolling eyesIt was funny in a ‘while the cat’s away, the mice will play’ kind of way. Pizza boxes piled high. Beer bottles and cans everywhere.

And them all sniping at each other. Who gets what in Dad’s will? Who tried to off Dad?toyah and peter look guilty

But that scene of the Barlow spawn, along with other recent scenes of them en masse prompts a question for TPTB at Corrie.

What about Ken’s other son and grandson? Remember Lawrence Cunningham and his son James?*Peter Barlow meeting new family in Rovers

They turned up in 2011, a complete surprise to viewers and indeed to Ken. He hadn’t known that Lawrence, Ken’s son with his first girlfriend Susan Cunningham, even existed. But Lawrence does exist, and he has kids susan cunningham with frank and david barlow in first episode(further evidence of that famous fecundity). Ken became involved in their lives for a time.

So where are they? Why has Ken not mentioned them? And are they in Ken’s will? Grandson James could even be a candidate for bashing Ken in the head. He has form, having knocked Ken in the head before.

Barlow fecundity and an apparent forgetfulness on all their parts of James fights Ken to get phone awayjust how many kids Ken actually has. Could lead to more character returns and even more suspects. As Audrey said last week, “There’s more than one member of that family that’s been up on a murder charge before”

*Both characters were played by William Roache’s sons, so having them back would be great at both the fictional and real levels. You can read more in my Scenes of the Week Family Trees (July 3/11) and The Real James (Jan. 8/12).

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Jan. 8/12)

The Real James

“Your little James is a psychopath!”  My husband said that at the end of Wednesday’s James at Roof and Refugeepisode, with some considerable glee. He’d been telling me for weeks that James was up to no good. “No no, he’s Ken’s grandson and he’s working at a homeless shelter.  He is good,”  I said adamantly. What I didn’t say so often is that he’s also Ken’s real-life son.Therefore, to me, he has to be a good character. Well, the actor James Roache who plays James is the son of William Roache who plays Ken Barlow.

Sophie transferring funds onlineIt has been clear for quite some time that something wasn’t quite right with James and his stated plan to expand from a soup kitchen to a home for the homeless. But I did the visual equivalent of putting my fingers in my ears and saying “lalala I can’t hear you!”

My attitude toward this has reminded me of an essay about soap opera audiences entitled “They killed off Marlena, but she’s on another show now”. (The title translates as “the writers killed off the character of Marlena and the actress who played her is now on another show.”) That paper is about the layers of viewing in which soap fans engage and the shorthand they use to discuss both the fictional and real-life stories. But in my refusal to accept that James could be a scam artist I was going way beyond that. I was headed into the realm of delusional fans who write real life letters to fictional people or worse.

Good for its own sake?

Sophie and Sian at refuge construction siteI’ve had to wake up and smell the plasterboard in the Roof & Refuge remodeling job. I still was hoping against hope that the invisible Rob, overall shelter manager or whatever, was scamming James. That it was Rob absconding with the money that Sophie stole from her father. But I’m afraid James is the bad guy.

Aside from him being Bill Roache’s son, James’ perfidy upsets me because I liked having a new character genuinely concerned with helping others. Yes, Emily works at the charity shop but that isn’t horribly surprising. She’s involved with her church and she believes it is her Christian duty to help others. It was nice to see someone else thinking the same way, but without the premise of religion behind it. Not since Emily’s nephew Spyder have we had someone who believed it was valuable to do good for its own sake.

And he’s a scam artist, and a practiced one at that it seems. The smooth steps by which he got Sophie so involved and guilt-ridden that she would commit the only real theft there has been – against her own father – suggests he has done this before. And he’s James telling Amy she will be left aloneBill Roache’s son. I am devastated.

And technically, he’s a sociopath. Although by his behaviour to poor little Amy on Friday’s episode, he might well veer to psychopath yet! “My secret friend can take Mummy away again, back to prison, and Grandma and Granddad and you’ll be left on your own – with me.”

“They killed off Marlena…” by Louise Spence is published in an excellent edited volume by Robert Allen (1995) To Be Continued…: Soap Operas Around the World.