Tag Archives: Norris Cole

Corrie Street 24 Dec. 2017


Roy Cropper was a complete flop as the community centre Santa – or Roy as PelznickelPelznickel as he chose to costume himself. The scenes of him in the café, for me, were also a complete flop. Indeed, I found it excruciating to watch. Poor David Neilson, having to take part in that travesty of “quirky Roy”.

“Have Roy do something odd with the idea of Santa Claus” you could almost hear someone say. Then somehow the job was given to someone who has never actually seen Roy in action before. And this is what they came up with.line-up-for-santa

So far over the top that it was embarrassing. Yes, Roy might go for a more folkloric representation of St. Nicholas. But taking it that far, and persisting in handing out fruit to children instead of candy and presents? No, he understands kids very well. Also he is a successful businessman and thus he knows the customer must be satisfied. Even Yasmeen has enough sense to know this is wrong.

Tell kids the history?

yasmeen-hands-orange-to-liamWhether Roy has questions about the origins and purposes of the red-suited ho-ho-ho happy Santa or not, he would find a happy medium. He’d give kids a bit of history perhaps. Then he would give them the gifts or candy they expected, along with some fruit.

Maria and Liam perhaps reacted realistically, certainly as they needed to react in order to have the “humour” of the situation maria complains about pelznickelpointed out. Maria’s snotty behaviour (“I want my money back!”) did nothing to endear her to me. Nor Liam’s, but he has the excuse of being a kid. By the time the unknown mother and her brat were yelling about horrible Santa, I was wishing Pelznickel would haul out that bunch of sticks and use them!

Roy as Pelznickel wasn’t the only horrifying moment in Monday’s grandfathers-4-justiceepisodes. Norris in a Batman suit with a placard on the roof of the factory. Oh good Lord! Same person must have said “Have Norris do something funny”. The person who has also never watched Norris before came up with this. Somehow, these scenes made it through the writing chain and actually got filmed. If anyone said “hey, this stuff isn’t in character,” evidently nobody listened.norris-on-factory-roof

I always look forward to the Christmas episodes of Coronation Street. They always push the boat out a bit with décor, a bit of nostalgia, and a lot of drama. This year, I’m dreading it. Watching over the past couple months – since soon after the sixth episode started – has felt like work. And this week was just too awful for words.

Good moments? Tracy’s ‘get well from testicular surgery’ cactus to Robert. Well done, too, get-well-cactusthat Michelle didn’t find it funny at all. Also Jude and Mary’s talks about the whys of Jude’s origins, especially the one on Wednesday. Jude’s blow-up at Mary on Monday was good too, but was overshadowed by being interspliced with the Pelznickel and Batman nightmares.

Corrie Street 15 Jan. 2017

Christmas Vigil

Amid the turkey dinners, Christmas crackers, laughter and caroling, an outdoor vigil on Tuesday brought a belated Christmas tear to my eye.Christmas vigil by Roy, Brian and NorrisNorris, Roy and Brian camp out in Dev’s back yard. Norris wants to see Mary, and Roy and Brian join him in solidarity. Mary is furious at Norris. She refused to join them for Christmas dinner at the café. So if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad – Norris will go to Mary. And he has no intention of leaving, he tells her through the closed door.

Roy tells Norris he will bring him provisions. He does that, and he also brings himself and a probably unwilling Brian. Christmas dinner was on the table at the café. Brian was happily digging in, filling his plate. He probably had time to get a few mouthfuls in before Roy dragged him away. But even Brian knows when something is more important than food and he joins the vigil for Mary without grumbling.

What Mary means

norris-talks-about-maryTo fill the time, and explain to Roy and Brian why they’re sitting outside in the cold, Norris tells them what Mary means to him.

“I know I have a caustic manner. People say I sit in judgement. Yeah, I often do. It’s safer, isn’t it. To watch from the touch line rather than get involved in the field of play.

Ah, but not Mary. She lives. She gets knocked down, sometimes trampled on. But she always gets back up. She never pulls on a protective shell. She goes out into the world. As innocent as a newborn baby. I think she’s one of the bravest people I know.”shot of backyard with roy brian and norris

Mary hears what he says and her heart melts. So does mine, so does everyone’s I should think.

Christmas dinner is back on at Roy’s Rolls, with all four friends partaking. Then there’s an even happier ending. Gemma’s online plea for Mary starts to smileMary’s son found its mark. Jude saw it and comes to the café door. He meets his mother.

However, the bad thing to come out of all this is that he is going to take her away with him: to South Africa! But no, please, she can’t go. Like the twins said to her later, we’re your family, Mary.

Corrie Street 25 Dec. 2016

Mary’s son Jude

St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes. And of hope. Mary has a son named Jude. “A nurse called Maureen Nuttall found him on the steps his wife was back homeof St. Jude’s.” The nurse named the foundling after the hospital.

When Mary was 14, she was raped by a family friend, a member of the clergy. She babysat his and his wife’s children, and when driving her home one night he forced himself on her. During her pregnancy Mother hid her in the house, telling people that Mary was visiting an auntie. Mother, presumably, then left the newborn on the hospital steps.

I started getting biggerSitting amid the boxes and tissue paper behind the counter at Preston’s Petals, Mary tells Norris this part of her life. She has told no one before. But finding a lump in her breast made her think of her own mortality. It made her think of her family, especially the son she had seen only one time.

Looking for the nurse

Mary has been trying to find the nurse Maureen Nuttall. Hers is the only full name, and the only link, she has to the child.

Norris asks about her motherThe baby Jude was born 32 years ago, so 1984. At that time, there was no longer such a stigma attached to teenage motherhood and having a baby outside marriage. Hiding pregnant girls, sending them to relatives far away or to Homes for Unwed Mothers had pretty much stopped.

Mary’s story would have been the norm a few decades earlier. But then Mary herself seems from a different era. It is not surprising, then, that her mother too would be.

Almost Victorian

The story of Jude feels almost Victorian in its cast of characters and she told people I had gone to stay with my auntits evil. A clergyman, trusted member of society and family friend. A mother who feels only the shame that her daughter has brought to their home. So much so that she does not even ask how her teenage daughter feels about being raped, being pregnant, or having her baby disappear. And the child, wrapped in warm blankets and left outside a hospital. Someone will find him quickly there, and care for him. The choice made for relatively compassionate and guilt-free abandonment.

Jude such a lovely nameEven the name of the hospital, St. Jude’s. The saint to whom you pray when you’re hoping for the impossible. When you need a miracle.

Corrie Street 11 Dec. 2016


mother was locked in the church hallI had to look it up. A tombola is “a lottery in which tickets are drawn from a revolving drum.” In the case of Mary’s mother at the Scout Jamboree, it was food items in the drum rather than raffle tickets. Lucky for her. Tinned pilchards kept her alive when she was trapped overnight under the tombola.

what does that have to do with pilchardsNorris is wrong to cut Mary off in her storytelling. That was one of her best ones ever. Mother blindly reaching up into the drum, rooting around for a tin, then opening it with her teeth. It’s an image that will stay with me for a long time.

she would reach up into the tombolaA lovely scene, indeed a laugh out loud one. Brian, Norris, Rita and Mary all sat in the Rovers, talking about essentially nothing. What they can do with nothing!

Then they were joined by Ken. A good way to reintroduce him to the community of the street. Old friends. And, for him, a good way to get peter tells ken rovers is better than being homeaway from his lunatic family. It was nice, later, to see what Peter had done and to see Ken acknowledge it. Peter had used Ken’s absence to sort out his siblings about their incessant bickering and find alternate housing for the two new ones. So Adam and Daniel will be roomies in Dev’s flat over the shop. That gets the house back to normal, with only Ken, Tracy and Peter there and makes room for Amy again.

The Front Room

We got an explanation this week of how so many people can get norris leaves table for barsquashed into small houses. The front room. I’d forgotten about it. Ground floor, front of house – sometimes also called the parlour. We saw it in the Barlow house. It was Blanche’s room. When Kevin and Sally lived at No. 13, we occasionally saw the front room when someone wanted more privacy than the kitchen gave.

I can’t think of ever having seen the front room at Eileen’s house. But according to Norris, that is where Sean slept. I’m sure I remember mary, ken and rita listen to norris at barseeing Sean coming up or down the stairs to or from his room. Maybe some of them swapped rooms at some point, I don’t know. But it makes me feel much better, knowing that there is another room that can help accommodate the many people who happen by to spend the night under Eileen’s roof.

norris suggests new housing plan for sean and brianMaybe now we’ll see Emily’s front room and piano. With Sean and Brian in a bidding war, Norris has decided that they can have the two bedrooms. The extra money means he will be perfectly comfortable budged up by the piano.

Corrie Street 23 Oct 2016

Dance Instructor

norris-tells-freddie-much-betterNorris Cole, Ballroom Dance Instructor is back. And it is so nice to see him. On Monday, amid the stories of angst and intrigue, deceit and vengefulness, he was a small oasis of civility. Also a harking back to bittersweet memories of Roy and Haley and the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool.

Three years ago, Roy wanted to give Hayley an item on her bucket norris dance instructor with freddielist – dancing at the Tower Ballroom. Hayley had taken dance lessons and could dance beautifully. But Roy could not. Norris therefore offered Roy his services as dance instructor. Norris has hidden talents, one of which is experience in competitive ballroom dancing. So he became the fairy godmother for a magical time for Hayley and Roy on the dance floor.

begin-spinAnd now, he’s doing the same, I hope, for Freddie and Audrey. Freddie thinks he has the moves – and he probably did during the nights of the Zambezi nightclub. But ballroom dancing? Not his thing then, and a lot of time has passed since his dancing days.

Garage dancing

But Audrey has said she’d like him to take her dancing. So he must freddie-spins-outsharpen up his moves. At the garage, Luke helps him out. They think they are doing quite well. Until Norris happens along and tells them just how atrocious they both are.

tyrone-luke-and-norris-shockedSo he takes over. With his instruction, Freddie gets the hang of it. Until they attempt a spin, and off Freddie goes across the floor. Right over a tool box. He breaks his wrist.

Dance plans obviously are on hold until his arm heals. He passes on Audrey’s offer to stay with her, opting instead to stay with Tyrone freddie-on-floorand Fiz. But I hope the dancing storyline doesn’t end there. I hope we get to see Freddie and Audrey out on the tiles.

Corrie Street Mar. 16/14

Old Friends

I’m sorry it took Rita’s marriage ending to see some lovely scenes with her and Norris. In particular, the two of them having tea and a heart-to-heart was good for all of us and showed how very much he cares for her and vice versa.said-rita-now friends Norris and Rita talk over tea

So often we just see him being nosy and judgemental about everyone and everything on the street. We forget that he too has lived a full life, and has loved and dreamed. He even carries a bit of a torch for Rita. She relies on him, more than she usually is willing to admit. We don’t often see them speak of personal and emotional matters though.

norris-listensNorris believes in being the button-downed man. Even when he is concerned and being supportive, he rarely verbalizes his feelings or wishes to hear the minutiae of another’s emotional state. While he loves gossip, he doesn’t really want the emotional backstory to it.

We’ve seen a couple wonderful Norris moments lately. Both were due to Hayley really and involved ballroom dancing, a passion they shared. Norris taught Roy to dance before Roy took Haley for her big surprise in the Blackpool ballroom. And, at Hayley’s wake, he saw something amiss with Mary and followed her out to the Rover’s patio. He saw her dancing alone to music only she heard and he offered to partner her.

Now, with Rita heart-broken and feeling foolish, he alone of her concerned friends actually gets her to talk about it. Emily and Mary had come offering sympathy and words of advice, she drove them out of the shop. She didn’t want a fuss, didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. Norris quietly put on the kettle and sat her down with tea and biscuits. And out it all poured. He just let her talk.

incredibly-luckyAt the end of it, she realized she had been horribly rude to two very good friends. She invited Emily, Mary and Audrey to join her and Norris at the Rovers. They had a good evening together, celebrating Rita’s birthday, yes. But more importantly celebrating their long-standing friendship.

Most of the current storylines of cheating, intrigue and nastiness are unsoftened by you-are-strongercompassion. So it is especially nice to see one – the abrupt departure of Dennis with Gloria – followed by some quiet reflection and affection. Rita herself might ask, why should it always be the young’uns having all the high drama? It is not only the young ones who can break hearts and have theirs broken. But viewers might also ask, why is it being left only to the older characters to give us those necessary but increasingly rare glimpses of shared history and friendship?

late-husband-lawrenceDifferent topic, but I have to mention it.

Looking at the tiny urn of bingo lady’s husband’s ashes, Beth asks, “was he quite a little fella?” LOL!

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Sept. 2/12)

Eve at an eat as much as you like buffet

Soap operas are about emotions, relationships and the vicissitudes of human interaction. Roy and Hayley as motorhome returnsSo there are many powerful scenes that involve love and loss. As a viewer, you expect to be moved.

Tuesday and Wednesday had some of the most moving and thought-provoking scenes that have been on recently. And I think, on balance, the past months have been excellent with many good and emotionally gripping stories. But the tales told by four characters this week was extraordinary. Mary, Roy, Hayley and Norris.

Mary and Roy

emotions - Mary and Roy outside church for concertTuesday I thought I had my scene when Mary realized that no subterfuge was going to keep Roy in her motorhome overnight. When she realized that all he wanted was to be with Hayley after her dance competition. And was even willing to walk out of the encores for the Elgar performance. Like Anna, we knew what she was trying to do with her chess games and invitations to concerts and maybe booking hotel rooms, maybe not.

But Roy talked so clearly and feelingly about why it was important he be there for Hayley that she folded her tent, so to speak, and gave up her assault on him. Nothing can top that, I thought.Mary and Roy going to motorhome

Hayley and Mary

Then Hayley, realizing that her suspicions about Mary’s intentions are justified, goes to confront her. Another absolutely Mary telling Hayley her feelings for Roybeautiful piece of theatre – the two of them in the motorhome, Mary talking about her feelings of invisibility, her longing for someone to think about her as Roy does about Hayley. Hayley’s delight in hearing what she means to Roy from someone else. Nothing could top it. And I don’t know if anything did, but two more scenes on Wednesday matched it.

Mary and Norris

Mary telling Norris she is leaving WeatherfieldMary, tired of losing at love in Weatherfield, decides to leave and tells Norris. Norris, who likes her despite himself and despite her actions, clearly not wanting her to leave but not able to tell her. Mary clearly waiting only for a word, a syllable, a pause at the right moment – anything to show her that he wants her to stay. But he doesn’t give it.

Hayley hears that Mary is leaving and knows it’s because of their talk. Again she goes to the motorhome. The two of them in the front seats, drinking coffee or something. Talking about emotions, life and love and relationships. They forge a friendship and quietly do wonders for each other’s self-esteem.

Emotions and misfits

Hayley wanting to talk to MaryAll four of these people are misfits. They have quirks, old-fashioned standards, all are laughed at by many in the street. All have been, or are, desperately lonely. It hasn’t been easy for any of them.

Norris with his dreadful ex-wife the late unlamented Roy explains his love for Hayley to MaryAngela, Roy with Aspergers or whatever it is, Hayley having started life as Harold, and Mary with her Mary telling Hayley about feeling invisiblemother and the burden of being Mary. Yet all of them this week had so much to say about loneliness, love and the human condition. The acuity of their observations about themselves and each other spoke to the heart of the need for human contact. And it was polite and with restraint, befitting the personalities of the characters.

Mary tells Norris why they returned early from concertIt is too bad for Steve and Tracy’s new domestic mess that it was sandwiched in between these other scenes. Without the counterpoint of the Roy-Mary story, they would have been fine. But as it was, for me, they were just dross.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Jan. 29/12)

Sitcom du Jour

A double-date at Roy’s Rolls, or four platonic pals enjoying a meal as Norris preferred party of four dining at cafeto think of it. Either way, Mary was spectacular. Her partner in spectacularness was Sylvia, known for that evening as The Waitress.

Mary, Norris, Emily and Dennis enjoyed a three-course meal courtesy of Roy. The free meal was the price Mary exacted for Sylvia having locked Norris, deliberately, in the café washroom overnight. Sylvia as their waitress, hand and foot, was the penance Mary exacted of her.

Sylvia glaring at Mary and Roy placating bothEmily offering to pay for her meal since Dennis had joined the original aggrieved three. Roy, white towel over arm, graciously saying you all are welcome. Mary in grande dame fashion, eagle-eying Sylvia just as Sylvia was eagle-eying her.

“Locate your inner cow”

soup du jour Mary asks Sylvia about menu“What is your soup du jour?” Sylvia refuses to answer Mary’s question if it’s not in “the Queen’s English.” Roy says “leek and potato.” “I want to hear it from The Waitress,” Mary trills, gimlet eyes on Sylvia. “It’s up there, sur le board” is as far as Sylvia will go in reply.

When Emily tsks tsks, Mary suggests, “for tonight leave your Christianity at home and locate your inner cow.”  When Emily continues being apologetic to Roy and Mary telling Emily to locate her inner cowSylvia, Mary whispers “imagine John McCarthy.” “Hostage John McCarthy?” asks Emily. The British journalist held hostage for over five years in Lebanon by the Islamic Jihad.

The scene was a good payoff for a week of OTT plots. Truly enjoying Sylvia, I’d looked Sylvia putting priced sachets on counterforward to her taking over the café. “I survived the Blitz and four Labour governments” she said when Roy asked if she could handle it. A new classic! Carping about portion sizes and about Becky laying about the café as if it were her living room was believable and funny. But charging for condiments and milk for tea? Nah. Even if she tried, Roy would have stopped it immediately. It got too silly.

Norris looking through washroom window at SylviaOf course, the writers had to do all that to get to the big event – Norris flouting the new rule of paying for washroom use. And Sylvia locking him in all night, hence the free dinner. I’m glad the dinner scene was worth it because I hadn’t been too happy up to that point.

Julie and Brian OTT

Even with my other favourites, Julie and Brian, I felt let down. It started wonderfully, Julie in that fabulous ’40s dress and hat needing Julie in Bistro accusing Brian of flirtinga bit of Rovers’ courage to get her through her date and plan to get Brian into bed. And she was great in the Bistro, the unsteady walk, the near miss with the chair when she sat down. But again, it then went too far in silliness. Not the actors’ doing – they were brilliant. But it seemed like the writers were writing for a laugh track.

Julie and Brian’s date spiraling out of control was plausible. But it became a sitcom scene. Sylvia instituting new rules in the café –not even plausible, at least not beyond snatching back a strip of bacon from a full English breakfast.

Norris Poirot

Norris ColeDavid Suchet as PoirotBut a new image stuck in your mind forever? When thinking of how to find the missing Norris, Mary suggests a recreation of the scene. “Who should play Norris? One of the Suchet brothers, I think. The one who plays Hercule Poirot.” Emily: “David, but he’s a very big actor now.” Bwahahaha.  Watching Poirot will never be the same.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Feb. 20/11)


Audrey & Lewis, the morning afterSo many strange pairings this week, so many good scenes. Lots of story building.

A biggie with Audrey and Lewis. What is he doing? Is he smitten or is he taking her for a ride? If so, what kind? Is he tired of the escort business, of being nice to people like that dreadful accountant lady with the twins? Or does he have a sideline in emotion-driven financial fraud?

Natasha at Rovers, stood up againSian & Sophie - see you, girlfriend  Gary & David, in Platt kitchen

Natasha and Nick. Is he smitten or just unable to avoid her? Girlfriends Sophie and Sian. Is Sian really smitten or is she just between boyfriends? Gary and David. Not smitten, but some powerful moments in beautifully staged scenes.

Mary: Smitten or scary?

And the couple that has to take the prize for weirdness: Mary and Norris in Brontë country. Mary is becoming more like Kathy Bates’ character in the movie Misery than she is Cathy in Wuthering Heights. But she’s funnier than both characters.

Norris & Mary leaving in RVWatching her and Norris on this vacation has been frightening and entertaining in a ghoulish way. Every scene has been so wonderful it’s hard to pick. Leaving in the motor home with Mary’s choice of music, of course, being Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ – a wonderful eerie song made terrifying by it being Mary’s choice.

Mary’s dinner served in resplendent style in the Brontë-esque Mary serving dinner - toad in the ole!cottage: toad-in-the-olé. The two of them happily working on magazine puzzle and slogan contests. Norris, of all indoor people, going stir-crazy wanting to go out and walk in the brisk country air. And Mary wanting no part of it, only wanting him to keep working on contests so they can win vacations to other wonderful lands. “We can walk in the Florida Keys.” Mary breaking into song, Susan Boyle’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ .

Norris sleeping, with puzzles, Mary smitten or scaryAnd Friday’s finale, when it gets truly scary. She hides the laces to Norris’ boots so he can’t walk. Then she, oops, accidentally breaks the wiring box for the telephone. And remember, Norris was complaining when they got there about only getting one bar on his cell phone. “There’s a land line,” Mary said. Run, Norris, run, with or without  your boot laces.