Tuesday, 29 December 2009

State of the Street - December 2009

It's the holiday season and tis the season on Coronation Street for either a birth or a wedding. We'll have Gail and Joe's wedding shortly after Christmas and tis also the season for the traditional disaster at Platt Towers and this Christmas, the potential certainly was there but it was all behind the scenes. David is still chasing Tina in spite of having a lovely girl, Zoe and the prodigal son, Nick is back. David ended up chasing Tina right into Nick's arms inadvertently. Now it's going to get tricky. Tina is with ex-Platt-son-in-law Jason and she used to live with David who is still obsessed with her as the "one that got away". It was bad enough that she ended up with Jason but if she and Jay split and she goes out with Nick? I don't think anyone in Weatherfield is safe. It'll make Gail's tumble down the stairs look like a run down the bunny hill at a children's ski resort.

The war of the Grandads heated up. Ken feels inferior and George keeps sticking his size 10s into Peter's business. Ken's sanctimonious posturing only made Peter run the other way, straight into George's pocketbook. It was inevitable. Why start the bar storyline in the first place if you weren't going to find a way to make it happen? It may or may not be a good idea for Peter to open a bar but it always upsets me that Ken never ever has a supportive word for Peter. Well, hardly ever. It just gives him a crusade and he's never happier when he's got one of them. No wonder Peter thinks he isn't good enough! And it's just as much about George's money in Ken's eyes as it is about Peter's potential risk with booze. And what difference does it make whether the neighbourhood has one bar, which it has had for 100 years nearly, or two?

I'll tell you what though, I'm not quite sure i trust George. I'm sure he took Simon to see "Santa" on purpose because he knew it was really Ken. It was a good way to get his own back and as he had probably hoped, Ken played right into his hands. He's taken every opportunity to undermine Ken and get one over on him, make himself look the better man in Peter's eyes and take advantage of the acrimony between father and son.

The Great Golf Game introduced Dev to a lovely new woman just as his ex and mother of his children, Sunita, came back onto the canvas. Bernie knew when she was up against the insurmountable. I want to know if Dev has been seeing his kids regularly, and there's no reason to think he hasn't, and if Matt is his friend, why he didn't know about Sunita's boyfriend *before* he became her fiance? What's up with that? Even if neither Matt or Sunita said anything to him, kids talk! I hate it when they write these things and don't pay attention to a detail like that. It's thrown Dev for six though.

Now. Gail is trying to sell the house to pay off Joe's debts. Other than Audrey noticing the sign, how long did it take for anyone else to mention it? Gail's best friend Sally lives two doors down and walks by the sign every day on the way to work but hasn't popped over to get the goss! Totally unrealistic. Audrey isn't too happy about Gail's choice and I can't really blame her. He might be an ordinary bloke, by his own words, and he loves Gail, but as a mother, Audrey sees that he has caused her daughter a lot of heartache and trouble and Joe has let Gail down time and again already. As viewers, we see he's still in deep and sinking (quite literally, by all accounts!).

The best thing about Rosie's short lived attempt at blackmailing Stape? Janice's reaction, giving her hell because lying about stuff like that makes it harder on the next woman who really does get assaulted and raped. Like Toyah. Ken Barlow is the most unlikely Santa i've ever seen. He even beats out Percy Sugden though he did sit high on his horse the same way, scolding kids for wanting so much and forgetting the real meaning of the season.

The shadow of Tony Gordon continued the first half of the month. Carla found out she didn't kill Jimmy after all, which, while I'm sure is a relief, also meant she got dropped in it well and good. Carla had to confess that she knew Tony killed Liam and said nothing but as usual, Michelle makes it all about her. Michelle's reaction really seemed a bit over the top and I started wondering if it all wasn't written to put that kissing incident with Ben in there. That aside, I can understand that finding out that Tony really did kill Liam and Carla knew etc. would upset Michelle but she seemed nearly in hysterics, for Maria's and Roy's sake. Eh? Maybe she should just be happy that Tony and Jimmy have been arrested. Meanwhile, we thought Carla had a big job trying to work on her destroyed reputation, which wasn't great to start with. Typically, she did manage to talk Roy and Hayley around to her side in about 5 minutes, and where Roy and Hayley support, the rest were sure to follow. Grudgingly. Don't want to lose their jobs, after all!

Kevin and Molly got bolder, sneaking sub-Sally's-duvet moments instead of going to the motel. It's came to ultimatum time. Affairs almost always do. Molly was getting itchy feet and stroppier with Tyrone by the minute. Problem with that is once they tell, the secrecy and thrill will be gone. But Kevin started to realize what he really had to lose, and started to back off. Molly played the oldest trick in the book. Told him to get stuffed so of course he came crawling back but just when they're going to go public, Sally gives Kevin devastating news that she's got to face breast cancer. I wonder if he's secretly relieved that he isn't forced to leave his marraige just yet even though he was on the verge of it? It also gave him the shock of his life and his priorities became crystal clear yet Molly wouldn't let it go, still hoping they can be together eventually.

It was hard listening to Sally tell Kevin, how she kept it to herself until she knew for sure and even then, she wanted to wait until after Christmas. When I say I'm looking forward to this storyline, I mean that I know Sally Whittaker will do an excellent job of it and Corrie writers are always so good at things like this that it will be well written and acted. I'm not even going to gripe about things like how soon test results get done or things like that. It's telly and they have to speed things up on the whole.

Claire and Becky? Mates? Stranger things have happened I suppose but it seemed unlikely yet even after the Panto, they seemed to stay on friendly terms. The first Street Panto in over 25 years and wasn't it all fun? I wish we'd seen more of the auditions and the show, though. Best part was Betty being the Fairy Godmother! It was put together in less than two weeks (Hayley must have sewn costumes until her fingers bled!) and the whole thing was non stop bickering and casting changes but they managed to get it on stage and it was good fun. Amy only managed one word instead of a song. "Bollocks" One word's nothing new, though, she never does speak more than that at a time. (They really need to get a new kid in that part!) Problem was, it wasn't the sort of word a child should be uttering. Fail!

We can't let this month's State of the Street pass without one last salute to Maggie Jones and Blanche Hunt. Maggie's death has echoed around the world in Corrie watching countries. In Canada, we have another 10 months to enjoy Blanche and it will be a bittersweet experience, knowing it will be coming to an end. Maggie will be missed and there will never be another Blanche Hunt.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Coronation Street episode update, Episode 1

A few years ago i wrote a summary of the very first episode of Corrie, broadcast on December 9, 1960. As today is the anniversary, i am reposting it here.

This is a street in the city of Weatherfield, not so far from Manchester. A short, narrow, cobbled street, lined on one side by a factory and Mission Hall. On the opposite side of the street stands 7 smoke-stained dark brick terraced houses, bookended by a pub on one end and a corner shop at the other. We see a group of children chanting a rhyme outside the shop where a middle aged woman is taking in a sign from the pavement and looking up at the name over the door. Elsie Lappin, it says. The woman re-enters the shop and says to another woman who is standing behind the counter, "Now the next thing you've got to do is get a sign writer in. That thing above the door'll have to be changed". The other woman's name is Florence Lindley, or Florrie, as she is preferably known. She has just bought the little shop from Mrs. Lappin and is already changing the look of some of the product displays to entice buyers. She thanks Mrs. Lappin for staying on until she gets settled and is helpfully warned to watch that breadman, he'll try to sell you the world!

What about tick? Mrs. Lappin instructs her she'll have to use her own judgment but watch them Tanners at Number 11. Don't let them go over 10 bob or you won't see them from the end of one week to the next! Taken under advisement. Credit isn't advisable but the customers won't spend as much if you don't give it. A customer arrives, a young dark haired woman in her 20's and is introduced to Florrie as Linda Cheveski, Linda Tanner as was (with a meaningful tone of voice).

We next see the door of Number 11 and inside, Mrs. Elsie Tanner has charged her son Dennis with taking 2 bob out of her purse. Dennis, a handsome man of about 21, slicks back his ducktail hair and defends himself. Elsie is a curvaceous woman in her very early 40's, attractive in an obvious sort of way. Not content at that, she then nags him about getting a job but he's insistent that he's tried and nobody will hire him and she knows why. She can't quite say it but he does, prison. He's just 7 weeks out of Borstal and that's why no one will give him a chance. He shifts the chip that has settled on his shoulder and accuses his mother of preferring to have a son like "Kenneth Bahlow" at Number 3 (said with the utmost contempt, I might add). And what's wrong with him? at least he's got brains and will make something of himself. Elsie sighs and wishes her fractious family were more like the Barlows, at least they aren't rowing all the time. (ah but who knows what goes on behind closed doors?)

We're about to find out. Action shifts to Number 3 Coronation Street where Mrs. Ida Barlow, a tidy woman in her 40's serves up the tea for her husband Frank and her son Kenneth. Kenneth is a somewhat good looking clean cut young man of about 21 or so but he doesn't look best pleased when his mother hands him a bottle of brown sauce to pour on his meal. She thought he always liked it! Used to, he groans with embarrassment and a vague expression of contempt when he sees his father helping himself to the sauce and swilling his food down with cups of tea. His father notices and takes his son to task for looking down on his family with that snooty expression. Mother Barlow tries to steer the conversation elsewhere but it doesn't work. Father Barlow barks that his son thinks they're common, not good enough and keeps needling Kenneth in spite of Ida's protests. Bet he doesn't tell his poncy college friends where his mother works, slogging day after day doing the washing up for the Imperial Hotel. Ken defends himself. Of course he tells them... if they ask. The barrage continues and it sounds like Ken has been sporting a less than acceptable attitude for his father's taste since starting college, with Ken's habit of making condescending comments about how his family eats and lives in the back streets of a working class neighbourhood not going over well at all with his working class father.

Ida wonders where her younger son, David has got to and Ken takes this opportunity to tell his parents that he's going out tonight, meeting a female friend from college...er...at the Imperial Hotel. Oh no you're not, storms his father who forbids it! He's not throwing money back at the awful place his mother has to work so hard for so little wages. The subject appears to be closed, the master of the house has spoken and being the well brought up lad he is, it looks like Ken is going to obey his dad, not liking it one bit. Frank retires to his easy chair with that last cup of tea. Into this tension bounces David who is late because he's had a puncture. Mother fetches David's tea from the oven and heats up gravy while Father helpfully goes to look for the puncture kit. Left alone with his brother, David asks Ken what's up and is told about the Imperial Hotel disaster. David understands how "well" that went over. The brothers are obviously friends as well and there doesn't seem to be any sibling rivalry between the two though it seems to me that Dad favours the younger son over the older.

The next scene establishes that we are about to enter The Rovers Return. Inside, Ken is at the bar, dressed in a sport jacket and tie, hair carefully combed. He orders two ten-packs of cigarettes from the landlady, a small older woman named Annie Walker who runs the pub with her be-spectacled husband Jack. In slouches Dennis Tanner, looking tough in his grotty leather jacket and long hair, very James Dean. He orders a half and decides to order cigarettes as well but he hasn't enough money to pay for them so isn't allowed to have them. No credit, house rules he is informed. He and Ken strike up some semblance of a conversation. They have grown up together but have turned out very differently. Dennis makes a few caustically sarcastic remarks referring to scholarships and colleges. When Mrs. Walker goes to get Ken's change, Ken slides one of the packages across to Dennis, generously. (old times sake perhaps?) Dennis is surprised but doesn't turn him down nor offers to repay him at a later time. He chugs back his beer and leaves, nodding to Ken in a sort of thanks, cracking that it's all government money after all. Annie shakes her head at Ken's generosity and feels sorry for Dennis's mother, Elsie. "Oooh some mother's do 'ave 'em!".

Meanwhile, Elsie is observing her face in the small mirror of a compact, examining the signs of age. "Eh Elsie, just about ready fer the knacker yard" she mournfully exclaims. We hear a rattling from outside and she hollers out the window at some children who have knocked over her bins. Her daughter comes in with the few things she picked up at the corner shop but won't accept money from her mother. It was her that took the two bob from Elsie's purse! She gets a scolding. With the radio playing soft music in the background, the women talk about Dennis and his job finding efforts. The conversation turns to Linda's husband, Ivan. Elsie has guessed that Linda has left her husband and Linda confirms it. She won't really say why other than she is afraid of him when he gets so moody at times and they're always rowing. (sounds like that's a normal occurrence for this family!)

Linda looks in the mirror and wonders if she should go blonde. Elsie has sat down with the newspaper and is only half listening. Linda keeps interrupting her with comments about her marriage and seems to be wanting to tell her mother something but can't quite bring herself to do it. Instead she asks her mother if there's a job going at the department store where her mother works and is told possibly in millinery but it's only temporary until Christmas. Hopefully Linda will have a think by then and be back with her husband.

Back in the shop, the ex and current owners are restocking shelves and chatting about houses. Mrs. Lappin is retiring and buying herself a little bungalow but Mrs. Lindley prefers a house with an upstairs. It doesn't seem right, somehow, not going upstairs to sleep! Elsie decides to brew up and just as she goes into the flat, a stocky older woman with a face like an old bulldog comes in. She introduces herself as Ena Sharples who is caretaker of the Glad Tidings Mission across the street. It's her personal mission to find out all about the new shop owner and she begins, after gleaning Florrie's name, by asking where Florrie worships. Florrie is ambivalent which leads Mrs. Sharples to assume she's C of E and she launches into a narrative about her sister and her husband who turned C of E. Another ambivalently answered question about where she plans to be buried brings another lecture about avoiding the local crematorium whose musical director plays inappropriate hymns. Mrs. Sharples seems to have known of Florrie Lindley because she knows that Florrie was from Esmerelda Street, ("Very Bay Window down there, you'll find it different round here!") that she worked behind the bar at the Farrier for donkey's years, is a widow and has no children ("Better off without them"). In and amongst all this are several requests, commands really, for a packet of baking powder, a bottle of bleach and a half dozen of them fancies "No eclairs!". Ena also warns Florrie about the Tanners at Number 11 and then manages to get a replacement egg from the former owner, claiming the one she had this morning was off. And off she goes, expecting her purchases to go on the slate ("Don't worry, I'm not thinkin' of running away"), leaving the two women laughing. "She's quite morbid, in't she?" observes Florrie.

Back at Number 3, David and his father are wrestling with the bicycle tyre, trying to determine where the puncture is. Frank seems to have a much easier relationship with his younger son than he does his elder. More in common perhaps. Even when Frank gets annoyed at David, it's more of a loving exasperation than it is the defensive position he seems to take with Kenneth. David steps out to hire a pump and Ida picks her way carefully past the parts on the floor, fetches her knitting and sits down. Frank looks at her sheepishly and whines that he can't back down and let Kenneth go to the Imperial now and thinks Ken should learn to live within his own class. He establishes that Ken is over at Number 1 visiting Mr. Tatlock and observes that his older son spends more time over there than at his own home these days. "We've certainly raised a rum 'un".

Inside Number 1, Mr. Albert Tatlock, a short round WW1 veteran is examining his coin collection and making small talk with young Kenneth. He realizes Ken has something on his mind and offers an ear to listen but is told he wouldn't understand. Thank you very much retorts Mr. Tatlock who already knows that Ken was forbidden to pick up his friend, Susan Cunningham, at the Imperial Hotel. Mrs. Barlow told him. He suggests that Ken go into town and collect her and bring her back here. Ken is aghast at that suggestion and couldn't possibly. Why not? Oh, well, (and in a voice dripping with boredom, contempt and snobbery) "Coronation Street"! When challenged, Ken does say that he admits where he comes from when asked but he doesn't fancy bringing Susan round to see it either. After they make a gentle joke at Ena Sharple's expense ("My place of worship is the Rovers Return!") Albert in no uncertain terms tells Kenneth that the college has turned him into a proper stuck up little snob. Ken begins to protest but his mother interrupts at the back door, with the news that Kenneth's friend, Susan has turned up at Number 3 to see him! Ken leaves skid marks on the floor in his haste to get back to do damage control and Ida and Albert share a chuckle.

Back in Number 3, Susan is watching Frank and David on the floor mending the flat tyre and offers her help. David establishes that they know someone in common and are just sharing a handshake when Ken comes in and if it wasn't black and white, i think his face would be beet red with embarrassment.

The credits roll!

Writer - Tony Warren
Director Derek Granger

Elsie Lappin - Maudie Edwards
Florrie Lindley - Betty Alberge
Linda Cheveski - Anne Cunningham
Elsie Tanner - Patricia Phoenix
Dennis Tanner - Philip Lowrie
Kenneth Barlow - William Roache
Frank Barlow - Frank Pemberton
Ida Barlow - Sandra Gough
David Barlow - Alan Rothwell
Annie Walker - Doris Speed
Ena Sharples - Violet Carson
Albert Tatlock - Jack Howarth
Susan Cunningham - Patricia Shakesby

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Do they still fit in?

A few days ago, commenter, "Ena's Hairnet", on this post on The Coronation Street Blog, suggested a topic for conversation. When a character leaves for an extended time, do they really fit in when they return? She mentioned characters like Carla, Hayley and Leanne. As this post was getting rather long, I've posted it here on my blog rather than clutter up the other one and linked back to it.

I do think in many cases when an actor returns from an absence, be it health related or maternity leave or when the character is written out but returns down the road, that the producers and writers have to have a clear idea of what they're going to do with the character. Sometimes, I agree, things do fall flat. It's taken over a year for Hayley to get back into the forefront with the fall of Tony Gordon and having her back in the factory (where she belongs!) It seemed like her last storyline before her exit, the revelation of her long lost son (an unfortunate rewrite of history), was a stumbling block for the character. She and Roy are such a wonderful, supportive couple and she deserved to be slotted back into the canvas rather than spend a year being a spare part. I'm hoping we'll see a lot more of Hayley from here on in.

Carla's character always seemed to me to be un-Corrielike. A lot of people have commented in a similar vein that they didn't think she fit in the show. After her long maternity leave, it seems a jolt to have her back for a lot of people that didn't like her anyway. She's only just back but has returned in the thick of a major story, the downfall of Tony and it remains to be seen if she'll continue to fit in. Now that she doesn't have Tony, with Leanne her only mate, will she be with us long term? She'll have to make a few more connections to have a reason to stick, I think.

Leanne has been on the canvas since 1997 and has been away from Corrie several times over the years in addition to two maternity leaves. I have found that she always seems to fit in and they always seem to be able to find a return storyline that features her that re-acclimatizes us to Leanne.

When a long time favourite has been gone a long time, people still like to think they could come back but most of them really wouldn't fit in well. Things move on without them and they lose their connections on the Street. Curly is a case in point. I loved Curly, he was always one of my favourites and yes, I'd like to see him back but only for a visit. Say, for a wedding or funeral. It always rubbed me the wrong way that he didn't return for Vera's funeral but it's down to the availability of the actor or whether ITV wants to pay for various and sundry to return for guest visits, as well, I suppose. Other than a visit, though, there really isn't anything there for Curly anymore aside from one or two friends.

Look what happened when they tried to bring Bet Lynch back! As much as I also liked her, I really don't know as she fit in either. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to find out because the actress found the new shooting schedule too difficult. It was still good to see her, though, for a short visit.

It isn't always the case, though. If the writers have a good storyline in mind to feature the returnee, it can work. Leanne is a case in point and upcoming, we will be seeing Sunita return. I don't know if it's for a long term or short term but I'm looking forward to it. She only has Dev as a connection, really, since her best mate, Shelley is gone, but she was a fixture on the Street for a long time and should slot back in nicely. They're also bringing back Ciaran who has a history with her as well as a history with Peter. Do you think he'll hit on Leanne like he did Shelley or has he learned that lesson? Nick Tilsley is also coming back with a new face. It will be interesting to see how that works.

So what is your opinion on returning characters after either short or long absences? Do they fit in again? Do the writers really need to know what they're going to do with them before they bring them back? (Especially characters who have been away more than a year)

Monday, 30 November 2009

State of the Street - November

The storyline of the month was the fall of Tony Gordon. Tony confessed to the moral conscience of the street. No, not Ken Barlow, that would be Roy Cropper. Will he go to the police or wouldn't he? Tony made an amazing recovery, didn't he? From "He might not make it through the night" to back on the factory floor, including torturing Roy and Hayley in a week! Tony survived the night and wasted no time sucking up to Roy, covering his backside hoping Roy will put the confession down to a drug induced hallucination. Didn't happen, did it? Roy went to the police, Tony escaped the initial inquisition but Tony got desperate because Maria believed the accusations and when Tony gets desperate, he strikes out. Roy survived the tussle and dip into the canal, thankfully, and Tony confessed it all and gave himself up and thus, Maria's world came down around her ears yet again. Poor lass, i can't imagine what she must be going through.

Everyone is dealing with the fallout. Ryan, who's lost so much, has gone spare and wants to get out of Weatherfield. Maria feels like she's lost Liam all over again and feels humiliated. Then she has to contend with Mammy Connor on a mission! Off she goes to Ireland to recover. Don't expect her to go to Cypress. I can't imagine her parents care one way or the other. Cruising instead of going to the wedding. No word from them after her first baby died. They didn't come visit after baby Liam was born and didn't even see him for 4 and a half months until Maria went to Cypress for a day or two until she had to come back when Tony had a heart attack. No. Ireland is it in spite of the Ivy-clone that is her mother-in-law from Hell.

Michelle...two words.. Street... Bike. Enough said. She doesn't think of about Ryan. She never does and even his low opinion of her didn't seem to make a huge dent in her conscience for more than five minutes.

I guess Eileen has pulled another unreliable man. I had high hopes for Jesse, i really did. It looks very much like he's falling for, or at least lusting after Julie and Eileen will be left in the lurch yet again if she doesn't dump him first. Eileen doesn't even measure up in Family Boy's eyes, I think. He's still got his mother's apron strings hanging from his belt

Then there's Joe, Gail and the boat. A family that scrapes barnacles together, stays together, i guess. Even David seems a bit more human. Influence of the new girlfriend, Zoe? Or is it another calm before another storm? The last time we had a boat on the street, when it lived in Des Barnes' back garden, it ended disastrously. Joe has a lot of financial debt and the collector's coming knocking. I can't see how this is going to end well. "Gail Force" he's called the boat. That's about the size of it, isn't it? She is a bit of a disaster at times, isn't she?

So is Joe, though. Wanna bet that boat ends up in the debt collector's hands? God, we only had Smiling Joe for a couple of weeks and we're back to Pathetic Joe slinking around with a worried face and red eyes. At least he has told Gail about it. And yet, she's still not going to chuck him out. She's going to flaming sell the house!!!! I can't stand it!!!! Is she that desperate? (Don't answer that!)

Simon's other grandfather shows up out of the blue. He said he didn't even know he had a grandson and didn't know his daughter was dead until he tried to track her down. Must have been quite a shock. Peter should understand, though. He had a hard time adjusting to being a dad and really wanted to get it right once he got over the adjustment. So a new relative who has loads of money comes into Peter's life, just as he is looking for financing for the bar. Are you thinking what i'm thinking? If Peter falls off the wagon, will George swoop in and try to get custody of Simon out from under Peter's nose? Then there's the Grandpa Rivalry. Someone else to make Ken feel inadequate, as if Blanche doesn't do that for him on a regular basis!

Then there's the affair from hell...Molly wasn't too keen to hear about Kevin's other women. I don't know what she's got to complain about. She chased Tyrone away from Maria and she tried to chase Kirk away from Fiz. Kevin realized just how expensive a divorce can be. He also realized how much his affair would affect his children so he's putting off Molly's plans for them to be together for another year nearly (well, if it doesn't blow up in his face before then. A distinct possibility). It seems to be to be a stereotype typical soap affair, doesn't it? The man wants a bit on the side, thinks he's in love when he's really just in lust. He's fooling himself into thinking he'll ever leave his wife because really, he's comfortable in his life and only wanted a bit of excitement. That's all Molly really wants too, i'm convinced of it. These two don't strike me as having real true love and caring.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Dev Alahan: Is he silly or is he a snake?

We have just celebrated 10 years of Devendra Alahan on Coronation Street. He was introduced as a cousin to the Desai family, an owner of 7 corner shops and a man about town (i.e. playboy). He was *apparently* based in Birmingham but his back story was later changed, I presume, since, in 2005, it was revealed that he had several children of varying ages from mothers who had worked for him in his various shops. One of these children, Shereen, even has a child of her own so Playboy Dev is actually a granddad, a fact that is never mentioned!

Dev has always been a smooth operator where women are concerned. He fancies himself quite the ladies' man which has landed him in hot water a time or two. When he arrived, a girlfriend from Birminham, Amy, followed him to Manchester. She was upset because he dumped her after promising to marry her. She was relentless though Dev denied everything. She was later exposed as a liar after she pretended to have attempted to slash her wrists and said she was pregnant when she wasn't. Knowing Dev better now than I did then, I'm unconvinced that she was lying about his affections for her. Granted, she took things to extremes, but it's very possibly he wooed her and then left her high and dry. She just didn't take the rejection very well.

For all he thinks he's irresistable to women, he hasn't made the smartest choices, either. His ill-advised drunken Christams fling with older Deirdre Barlow turned many a viewer's stomach. "Mad" Maya nearly killed Dev and Sunita both after he rejected her for being a nutcase. He also had a relationship with Tracy Barlow and when he'd had enough of her madness, she destroyed all his clothes in fury! I bet he thanked his lucky stars for that escape when she later murdered Charlie Stubbs! Then there was the mother and daughter "tag team", Nina and Tara Mendel. Star struck Dev was flattered by former Bollywood star Nina's seduction and then fell for her daughter who seemed to me to be just as single minded as her mother and proved it with her revenge plot to publically humiliate Dev who had had a one night stand after he thought she'd dumped him.

He almost married Geena but between her interfering mother and his jealousy, that didn't work out. In the end, no matter how many women he dated or had one night stands with, the one he wanted to marry turned out to be a long time employee, Sunita, who was also a good Indian girl that Mother would Approve of. It didn't last. When she found out about all his children by accident, she dumped him. And rightly so. It's not really the kind of thing you should keep from someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.

I've just rewatched the episodes where Sunita discovered that Amber and the others were his children. He had romps with at least three women, gave them jobs and let them live rent free over the shops. I was always a bit surprised that Sunita never knew, before she was involved with Dev, since she worked at one of the shops for a long time. Surely the gossip would get around? The others seemed to know about each other. That's what happens when you rewrite history and skip the details, I guess.

But I digress. Even when Sunita confronted Dev with the evidence, he continued to lie and try to cover it up. It was only when he realized she thought he was having an affair and had fathered a baby with Shereen that he admitted Shereen was his daughter and he had no idea about her baby. He was *still* dismissive of his child and grandchild! His lackluster attitude appalled me and Sunita both and I never could blame her for chucking him out. He was very upset. His wife was pregnant with twins and threatening to keep him from seeing his children but he had never played a part in any of the other children's lives. He said that was down to their mothers but yet the mothers didn't have a problem accepting jobs and free rent so I always thought it had more to do with him not really wanting to be involved. It probably occurred to Sunita as well. Her children were different, you see. He was actually married to her, you see.

Dev is a snob as well. He rates himself as a sophisticated businessman. He plays golf (and surely could afford a membership to the country club in his own right rather than ride on the coattails of a guest membership?), he lives in a posh flat. Because he's a snob, his character ends up almost a parody of himself. He's often written as getting into situations that make him look a fool because he's a slave to his snobbery or when his high opinion of himself ends up landing him in a situation where he looks ridiculous. Being a father to a teenage girl has brought him down a peg or two. She doesn't bend to his will and often had him gasping in exasperation, and she often wrapped him around her little finger. That has often provided some amusement over the last few years. For all of his sophistication, real and imagined, he was flummoxed by a teenage girl, the one woman he couldn't win over by his big brown eyes and smooth dulcet tones!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Fall of Tony Gordon

It's been a year in the making. A jealous Tony fitted up Liam, his wife's lover, and had his mate Jimmy drive the death vehicle. He immediately had some regrets because he found out Maria was newly pregnant and then he lost Carla anyway. He had panic attacks and the guilt shook him up a little. Maria worked out the truth but he managed to wait her out and then took a new plan of attack...suck up to the widow and be helpful and sincere. It worked. Maria thought she was wrong and took Tony's offered hand of friendship and it turned into love.

I really was skeptical whether Tony actually loves Maria or if it was all an act to keep her off the trail. I expect it was at first but it does look like he really has developed feelings for Maria. Perhaps it's the lure of a real, ready made family. Wife, baby, dog. Tony's father died young and he probably wasn't very old when that happened so grew up without a male influence. Perhaps that's where the need to be controlling comes from, who knows? In this, he has a similar background to another former Corrie killer, Richard Hillman who also grew up without a father. As we blogged earlier this week, and I agree, you're either part of Tony's World of you aren't. Why that is, we will never know.

However it happened, Tony did fall in love with Maria and she with him. He thought they would have a future but Carla found out about them and she came back and Tony has become afraid that it will all fall apart. Carla knows the truth and it's only a matter of time. Tony coerced Jimmy into trying to kill Carla since nobody knew she was back (except the friend she was staying with, i should imagine!) and then when she managed to get the upper hand, he convinced Carla she'd killed him. She flees but he knows it could still all be a matter of time and the stress builds and builds until he's writing on the cobbles with a heart attack.

Enter Roy Cropper.

Roy saves Tony's life and between the drugs and the guilt, a confession slips through Tony's lips. Once he knows he's going to survive, Tony wastes no time sucking up and trying to convince Roy it was all a myth, drug induced ramblings, and a big mistake. He sends lavish gifts, he offers Hayley a good job, he even calls Roy's bluff to his face. Roy has become Tony's conscience. He presents the facts of Tony's guilt. Maria, Liam's widow. Liam, the son of the dead man.

MEN's Ian Wylie has published an excellent interview with producer Kim Crowther on his blog, The Life of Wylie, where she says "His relationship with Maria and becoming a father figure to baby Liam has been all about him trying to absolve his guilt and trying to be re-born. It’s all about redemption" and that of course, is it all in a nutshell. I never believed Tony was truly in love with Maria, and i always knew he felt guilty over Liam's death but only when he found out Maria was pregnant. Once he had her off the track and she thought she was mistaken about his misdeeds, he began to go over the top in typical Tony fashion to atone. When it all crashed and burned, he had nowhere to go but down.

Roy knows. Roy continues to poke Tony with a figurative stick and it's very clear to Roy that Tony is guilty. Tony is a murderer and cannot be allowed to get away with it. Black is black and white is white in Roy's world and in the world of a soap.

Hayley, naive and optimistic, never believes the worst of people. She sees all the grey areas but when Roy gets a bone, he is reluctant to let it go. Tony tried everything and continued to deny, deny, deny and Roy continued to poke, poke, poke. You know what happens when you poke a snake, right? He lashes out and this one certainly did.
Gifts turned into threats and the Croppers know when they have pushed a dangerous man too far. Hayley now realizes Roy was right and, scared for their own safety, they go to the police and then get out of Dodge City for the weekend and the last shreds of Tony's world pull apart.

I'm not quite sure why they came back since they were scared Tony was after them but I'm sure their responsibilities drew them home because they wouldn't have known that the police would have waited until the day they happened to return to question Tony. Tony managed to steal their keys so I guess only one of them took their keys away with them. But I digress. Why he didn't think Maria wouldn't find out that he was questioned, again, I don't know but once he realized Maria was told about the Croppers' suspicions, it was only a matter of time. Let's face it, the Croppers don't lie and everyone knows about Tony's sojourn at the cop shop.

Tony has nothing left to lose now that his beloved Maria knows the truth. He snapped. He nearly killed Hayley but Maria's presence kept him in the shadow. Roy's next and it came to a climax at the canal. It's ironic, that. Tony and Roy's animosity started with bats and it ended with them as well, nearly fatally as the two men grappled and Roy landed in the drink. It looked like it was all over for our hero-in-a-cardie but wait...maybe Tony thought that saving Roy would cancel Liam's murder, his last gesture of atonement since he knew it was over one way or another.

Tony turned himself in and confessed the lot. The door on the jail cell will clang shut and Tony's fate will be sealed. It was inevitable.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Character Study: Maria Sutherland Connor

We first met Maria Sutherland in 2000 when she was working at her family's kennels. Tyrone Dobbs went there to find a breeding stud for his greyhound, Monica and the two shy young people instantly liked each other. They were sweet together, holding hands and making doe-eyes and eventually cemented their love with a physical relationship which led to an engagement. Tyrone asked Maria to marry him while they visited the top of the Blackpool Tower. Jack and Vera approved and thought Maria was perfect for Ty. It wasn't a smooth ride, however. Tyrone's jealousy caused a few ructions when Maria made friends with both hunky Sam Kingston, a mechanic at the garage and Jason Grimshaw but she was faithful to Tyrone and proved he had nothing to fear. This changed, however, when Fiz Brown arrived and set her cap at Tyrone.

Tyrone's previous jealousy had made him more susceptible to Fiz's forceful pursuit and eventually Maria and Tyrone broke up. By this time, Maria was working in the salon, forging a new career for herself. She may have been meek but it didn't stop her from giving Fiz a hard time under the salon styling scissors. She also worked behind the bar at the Rovers.

She didn't lack for fellas, though. She went out with Jason for a while and moved into the salon flat with Toyah Battersby. She met Nick Tilsley at Richard and Gail's wedding and was instantly attracted. The feeling was mutual. Maria's always been impulsive and not always very smart about men but it seemed like Nick was "The One" so she decided to quit her job and move to Canada with him. She soon got bored and again, impulsively, left Nick and came back home without even telling him. She got her job back at the bar and decided to change her image and her life.

No more the shy, sweet girl, she started to dress as trendily as she could afford, and as skimpy as she dared. She wore short skirts and dated fast men. She moved back into the salon flat. Fiz had moved in while she was gone but the three girls managed to live together without too much contention. That is... until Maria fell under the spell of Toyah's two-timing boyfriend. John was a university instructor and enjoyed seeing how many lovely young college-age students he could seduce. The only problem was, Maria got pregnant. Unbeknownst to Toyah, it was, of course, John's baby. Toyah was a good friend and supported Maria through a termination but when she found out who the father of the baby was, she was so horrified that she left town.

Maria continued to party and her lacklustre time-keeping and personality clash with Shelley's mother, Bev, ended up getting her the sack from the bar. Audrey took her back on at the salon and she's been working there ever since.

Nick returned to town and after they worked out their differences, they got back together. They even got engaged but Nick's ex-wife returned to Weatherfield and when she met Maria, sparks flew. Leanne was intent on causing trouble as revenge for how Maria had treated her sister, Toyah and succeeded in breaking them up. Maria had been living in the flat over Streetcars with Nick and stayed on there, but Steve moved Liz in as her roommate. They rubbed along all right but eventually Maria moved back to the salon flat.

She and Tyrone went around a second time. But Maria, not being very clever, seemed to think Tyrone was not quite trendy enough and set about trying to change him, subjecting him to body waxes, new clothes and facial care. They were going to get married but Maria had another pregnancy scare. She admitted she didn't want a baby yet though Ty was over the moon at the idea. Tyrone eventually realized that he and Maria weren't really suited and finished with her.

Maria still hadn't got the message. She lurched from man to man and had a very ill-advised affair with Tracy Barlow's boyfriend, Charlie Stubbs. But this time, at least, when she realized that he had no intentions of being with her openly, she broke up with him and told Tracy about the affair. She moved back in the salon flat with Fiz once again, bemoaning her lack of sense when it came to men - which didn't last long as she then had a brief fling with Peter Barlow when he returned for Tracy's murder trial.

It wasn't long after that when she caught the eye of Liam Connor. He was also interested in his sister-in-law, Carla, who was recently widowed when Liam's brother Paul was killed in a car crash. Again, Maria showed about as much sense as a soap dish when she decided to present Liam with a puppy, quite a committment for a boyfriend she had only been seeing a few weeks. Then, once again, she got pregnant. They discussed what would happen and Maria had pretty much decided on having another termination but Liam suddenly proposed to Maria and it seems to the viewer that it was on the rebound, to show Carla that he didn't have feelings for her.

Maria soon realized that there was something between Carla and Liam but Liam denied it and stayed faithful to her. But her insecurities ran rampant when, after a hiking accident, Liam murmured Carla's name. Maria managed to move the wedding date up and though Carla tried to interfere and nearly succeeded, married Liam. Tragedy struck when the baby was born too early and didn't survive. In her shock and grief, and worry that she'd lose Liam, she didn't tell him for a couple of days and he found out from someone else. Her bad judgement nearly ended her marriage but they managed to pull together and recover their old feelings. At least, she thought so.

Maria and Liam tried for another baby and Liam sold his share of the factory to Carla's new man, Tony Gordon so that he could cut ties with Carla for Maria's sake. Unfortunately, Liam still had feelings for Carla though he did love Maria. During the few days after the baby's death and Maria returning to him, he had a short fling with Carla. Rosie Webster caught the pair snogging in the morning and before long, Tony found out the truth and exacted his revenge. He arranged for Liam to be killed in a hit and run accident. Maria had just become pregnant again and is going to have to face a future as a single mother whose husband hadn't had a chance to find out about the baby and who was about to leave her but was callously murdered by his lover's fiance. Pretty bleak as it stands now, but it's a soap.

Having said that, it seemed very weird seeing her first vehemently accuse Tony of the murder (she was right!) and then become dependent and the fall in love with Tony, her husband's murderer but grief and hormones can do funny things. Knowing what we know, we viewers gasped in horror when Tony proposed to Mary on the anniversary of Liam's death *at the cemetery, no less*!!! It's all going to go pear shaped, though, because Carla's back and Tony's getting desperate. She knows the truth and with Samia Smith soon on maternity leave herself, the truth is going to come out sooner than later and Maria is going to flee for the boggy moors of Ireland or to sunny Cypress in short order and Tony will be summarily dumped. Back to being a single mum for our Maria when her world comes crashing down. I'm hoping this will probably be the making of Maria, giving her the strength and maturity she was somewhat lacking before. But knowing Maria and her tendency to lean on men rather than be independent, I doubt that's what's going to happen. After all, one of her earlier loves, Nick Tilsley, will soon be back on the scene!

And so it goes.

Friday, 30 October 2009

State of the Street - October 2009

Rosie's an expert in twisting things and Luke would be twisting in the wind at a tribunal once Rosie was done with him so he did the only thing he could. He twisted her back. He got out of Dodge City, in a shiny red car and all of Rosie's money. By God it was good to see her face when she realized Luke stole all her money and her 9% probably wasn't Luke's to sell either! The country shook with the sound of 8 million viewers stomping and cheering! And that's the end of Luke Strong.

I always thought Leanne and Peter were a good match. Peter seems to be able to really be honest with her even if he's still a bit weak. So will this bar really work? Will he be tempted? Problem is, if things don't go well, if they have a row, he could very well be tempted again. Lots of people that run bars don't drink, it's true, but we all know what Peter's like. It always bothers me when Ken never seems to support his son. He is always so careful to be neutral with everyone else yet with Peter, it's negativity. I know Peter hasn't always proven himself worthy but aside from voicing a few concerns, would it kill Ken to offer support a bit more often? It's a vicious circle. Peter screws up because he figures his father expects him to and thus, his father always does expect Peter to screw up.

The worst storyline ever continues. Bleurgh. I wonder if Sally will actually find out? Oh of course she will, it's a standard soap opera plot. I'd love to see her take chunks out of Kevin and throw him out but spoilers say she's going to discover she's got breast cancer, later in the year. I reckon she won't find out until she recovers but Tyrone may find out before. He won't be able to tell because of Sally's health. That's my prediction. How could you cheat on this lovely sweet face of Tyrone's, Molly? And how can you make a reservation in a posh hotel without a credit card? Well you can't. So doesn't Sally check the bills? Meanwhile Molly is getting stroppier and stroppier and doing the classic cheater's stunt of avoiding relations with the spouse, guaranteed to make them suspicious, which Tyrone is. Funny you wouldn't think our dim little Ty would get suspicious before Sally does but maybe Kevin is more clever about covering his tracks.

Fiz married Prisoner 666 and it was my heart that broke. Don't get me wrong, i'm glad Chesney, Roy and Hayley supported her. I just don't see why it had to be in prison when he is getting out in a matter of weeks. He watched her leave with that little triumphant smirk on his face. I don't know if it's just his acting, if he was meant to be conveying utter besotted love, or if he's really as manipulative as i think. Or maybe i'm projecting. Chesney thinks Stape is sly and so do i. It's not going to be easy, living in the neighbourhood with Sally on the warpath but most of the others seem to be willing to live and let live.

By God it was chilling watching Maria sobbing over Liam's grave and pledging to move on with her life, standing by the man she now loves, her husband's murderer! And looky who's back! Carla!! As soon as Leanne clapped eyes on Tony snogging Maria in the pub, She was on the phone to Carla straight away and that's what brought her back to town. Just in time for the anniversary of Liam's death and the christening. Wasn't that confrontation great! Raised the hair on the back of my neck seeing the pair of them together nad her telling him what for. Don't think Carla didn't time that just so. Of course Tony tried to have Carla offed but thought the better of it. It's all been excellent viewing, from the edge of my seat!

The stress grew and grew and finally Tony was felled by a heart attack and he confesses to Roy Cropper because he thinks he's going to die. Now, what's Roy going to do with the confession? Tony will probably try to talk his way out of it but Roy will be convinced it's genuine because a dying man isn't likely to lie. I reckon he'll go to the police but will they believe him? Well, Gray O'Brien is going to be doing panto in Manchester over Christmas and Samia Smith is going on maternity leave (well, she's actually had her baby girl now!) so it looks like Tony's going to be nicked. He's been a great villain!

Liz and Lloyd nearly got back together but she keeps pushing him away, making silly excuses. She pushed him all the way to Teresa which was really strange but i guess booze has no conscience. It's a classic Soap Opera Plot isn't it? Mixed signals, misconceptions, star crossed lovers. I really like Liz and Lloyd together, I really think they work.

We've lost Darryl and we've lost Uncle Umed who freely and finally admitted he was a fantasist and believed his own stories because he couldn't face reality. I liked that little aside. And i liked Umed even though his tall tales were clearly bullshit. He was a buffoon, yes, but i still came to enjoy his little scenes.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Best week of Corrie ever!

OK, maybe not "ever" but it's been utterly fantastic stuff this week! One of the best weeks of Coronation Street in a very long time. I've already blogged about Monday's episode with Carla's return and it went onwards and upwards from there It was electrifying for me. Carla, Tony and Jimmy kept me riveted through every scene of theirs the rest of the week, too. Tony went back to Jimmy for another "job" and he didn't seem too pleased about it. He could very well be the weakest link. He doesn't want to kill Carla but he'd have no trouble at all offing Tony. Tony is a big bully and a coward, really. He won't do the dirty work himself, he pays someone else to do it.

Watching Tony's stony face through the whole baptism was riveting. He was almost robotic! Do you reject the devil? He does, knowing Jimmy is at that moment attempting to kill Carla who is drinking coffee from the same mug Tony used earlier. Tony finally bottled it but it was almost too late! Exciting stuff! Poor Jimmy ended up on the floor with his head bashed in and Carla believed Tony's lies that he wasn't to blame and that she killed Jimmy which she didn't. Kind of ironic, she used the candleholder to bash Jimmy, the very one that Liam gave to her and Paul. She's off in a black cab but we've not seen the end of Carla. I'm guessing we may not have seen the last of Jimmy either. Murderers don't get away with it.

Helen Connor being a mardy cow all week was fun to watch. Sniping, sarcasm and bullying non stop. She plays the part well!

The spirit of the late Des Barnes wafted through the Street with the arrival of a boat in back nick needing a face and body lift. The ever optimistic Joe doesn't see the disaster, he sees potential. I think he's running away from the reality that is his disaster of a life. The last boat ended up going up in flames. I wonder where this one will meet it's maker? At least it's winding up Norris and that's never a bad thing.

Rosie's comeuppance was truly a joy to watch.
Molly's birthday... where was Auntie Pam?
Did Carla not notice the broken office door?
Nice touch having the thunder crash just after Carla left Tony at the church.
When Carla first rang Tony it said unknown number. By the end of the night the phone was showing her name. Did he actually have time to save the number and store it?
Tony lived in the flat for a long time before they got married yet the only name on the door is "Connor"
Maria's calling Tony "Daddy". She's got an awful shock coming to her.

Character Study: Kevin John Webster

Kevin Webster is one of the more underrated characters on Coronation Street. He's been on the show for close to 25 years and has been a rock steady character for most of that time. Kevin is a family man, a mechanic, a business owner. He's reliable, dependable. He is a "voice of reason" most of the time though sometimes is a bit quick with his fists, but only if he's provoked. He's seen sometimes by fans as a bit of a doormat but he's a loyal friend and husband (even when he has been messed about!). He's a good guy but he's not perfect. He's been unfaithful but learned from his mistake. He's played very ably by Michael LeVell.

Some may say that Kevin is a bit of a doormat or a fool, willing to put up with Sally's shenanigans. Indeed, sometimes I have wondered over the years why he puts up with it. I am sure they have both found a way to love each other after all their individual lapses but I think maybe Kevin would just rather be with Sally and the girls than without them, even if he may not trust her. I think he understands her, probably better than she understands herself sometimes. I do cringe when Sally hurls insults about her little life in a little back street and Kevin must do so as well. It must make him feel like she doesn't think he ever did enough for his family when in fact, he has given them a solid foundation, a good roof over their heads and security.

When we first met Kevin, he was a fledgling mechanic. The Websters bought Elsie Tanner's house at Number 11 after she scarpered to Portugal in the middle of the night in early 1983. Mother Webster had died and Father webster, Bill, bought Len's old builder's yard. Also in the family was younger teen daughter Debbie but we never really got to know her very well. Kevin was fun loving but responsible, intent on learning his trade. He made friends with Curly Watts, Martin Platt and Terry Duckworth and dated one or two girls before he met Sally Seddon, quite suddenly, by driving through a puddle and soaking her. The rest is history and the pair married in 1986.

Kevin took his responsibilities seriously. By now he was working in Brian Tilsley's garage. He was dependable, hard working and was a good husband to Sally. Although there were some periods where he didn't work for a local (on screen) garage, he usually put in the hours under one owner or another, including Brian, Tom Casey, Mike Baldwin (who bought a garage unit on Coronation Street, conveniently right across the road from Kevin and Sally's house) and Don Brennan. Although Sally pushed him to buy the garage several times, Kevin wasn't ready to be his own boss and was quite content to work for someone else, much to Sally's chagrin. Eventually though, the opportunity and price were right and he went into partnership with Tony Horrocks.

Kevin made a go of the business but it was to be the downfall of his marraige when Tony's mother, Natalie, took over her son's share of the business and moved in on Kevin at a vulnerable time. Sally was away nursing her mother and Natalie had no compunctions about seducing a married man. Kevin fell for her line, hook, line and spanner and when Sally found out, he was out on his ear. The worst part of it was the effect it had on his children, Rosie and Sophie. Kevin was a good dad and loved his kids and it broke his heart when Sally, out of bitterness, made it very difficult for him to have access. By the time Sally softened enough to try to get him back, though, Kevin had moved in with Natalie so Sally moved on as well and finding out that she had a fling with his employee, hunky Chris Collins, made him see red and green at the same time. Jealousy reared it's ugly head but let's face it, Kev, what's good for the goose and all that!

Seeing that, Kevin realized that his affair with Natalie wasn't long-lasting love, only lust. In the end, Sally took Kevin back, mainly for the girls' sake but that wasn't to last. She was then seduced by the dangerous charm of Greg Kelly and this time, Kevin threw *her* out. Greg used her money (inherited from her recently deceased Mum) and then abused her. It was all over in a flash but Kevin wasn't taking her back. Not yet.

Kevin still had lingering feelings for Sally even though they had both moved on to new partners and the night before Kevin was to marry pregnant Alison, he and Sally had a roll in the hay for old times' sake. Nothing like that can be kept a secret for long and though Kevin did marry Alison, the secret came out before Sally married Danny who then left her. Kevin was further devastated when his new baby boy died and Alison flung herself under a truck in her demented grief. The stage was set for Kevin and Sally's reunion.

Kevin and Sally remarried, but not before she nearly ran off with a decorator. Kevin knew this but married her anyway and she said I Do, again, seemingly for the sake of her girls. It seemed Kevin was willing to look the other way and it wouldn't be the last time he'd have to do it. He loved Sally and loved his family even more. Sally had another affair with her boss, Ian Davenport which Kevin again overlooked, pretending to believe Sally's lies that nothing actually happened. Sally also had a flirtation with her tutor,and if Kevin suspected, he said nowt.

Kevin could be very jealous too and that temper has got him into trouble more than once, most recently when he decked 17 year old Rosie's older lover, John Stape and spent 14 days in the nick for his bruises. It's not the first time he spoke with his fists either. Ian Davenport felt the knuckles of Kevin's suspicions as did Chris Collins, Martin Platt and a few more of Sally's bits on the side even if he wasn't married to her at the time.

Kevin himself has been steadfastly faithful up until 2009 when an affair with his best friend and co-partner Tyrone's wife, Molly, seemed to come out of nowhere. Seemingly out of character for Kevin, have the Personality Transplant Fairies kicked him up the backside? It seems like it's not so out of the realms of possibility that he could develop a crush but when Molly encouraged it, finding her own new marraige a bit boring, Kevin jumped in with both feet. Perhaps he's just tired of Sally's nagging and social climbing or maybe the 20+ years of wedded unbliss has finally got to him. It might be a midlife crisis but it seems like Kevin would *never* go after his friend's wife, and one so much younger, not after all the upset with the older John Stape's affair with his teenage daughter. He even went to prison for that and now here he is running after 20-something Molly. I don't buy it but there you are. It's a soap.

Kevin loves his family. He is loyal to his dad but has always seemed to be led around by the nose by his wife who has always been a bit on the pushy, bossy side. When she gets too focussed at the detriment of one or the other of her children, Kevin provides the balance with a joke or an extra bit of attention to the daughter that's not directly in Sally's radar, usually Sophie. Maybe Kevin overlooks Sally's indiscretions because he's desparate to keep his family together because above all, Kevin is a nice guy and a family man.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

And verdict on Kevin and Molly is NAY

Wow, there certainly is a lot of strong reaction to the Kevin and Molly storyline, as you can read over in the comments to this post on another blog. Almost all the reaction has been firmly negative with one or two exceptions. I think that's probably reflective of the general viewing public, too. I may be echoing many of the sentiments of the commenters but that's because I agree with their opinions. One commenter mentioned the Jamie/Frankie Baldwin fiasco. Most people were against that but they had their fans as well. That storyline was, at least, mercifully brief. This is set to drag on and on into the New Year, more's the pity.

Actors don't really mind what they have to do most of the time and they're only pleased that they have something challenging to do and something that features them on screen in a front-burner storyline. I'm sure that sometimes even they realize the storyline is out of character and may have a hard time with it but they're all professionals and will do the best with it, whether the writing is bad or the storyline really clunks. We've had phases on Coronation Street in the past where there have been a lot of poor storylines and even not-great writing but a new producer often cleans up the act and things get better.

Producer Kim Crowther has mainly been firing on all cylinders, giving us some great stuff over the past year or two and introducing fab new characters as well. The writing has shone brightly and the performances have risen to the challenge. That makes this current storyline of Kevin and Molly's affair stand out even more like a major dud. The concept is just so wrong! Kevin has been unfaithful to Sally before, with Natalie Horrocks and if you will think back, it wasn't really provoked. Sally was away for some time looking after her ill mother (I think the actress was on a maternity leave at the time) and Kevin didn't have his needs looked after and strayed when Natalie decided she wanted him.

But Natalie was an independent, the mother of his coworker and his business partner for a time. The only person he was betraying was his wife. Bad enough, yes, but now he's also betraying his best mate, coworker and business partner, Tyrone. Kevin has always been a loyal friend to his mates. He just wouldn't do this, ever! He was pissed when Sally had a fling with Martin, his other best friend and they were divorced at the time.

We don't know Molly as well as we know Kevin. She does seem impulsive, and she seems stroppy and headstrong. She did entice Tyrone away from Maria without a blink of an eye and went after Kirk to try to get back at Fiz for bullying her in school. When she found out that Kevin fancied her, I think she decided to encourage it. I don't think it's all that out of character for her even if she was a newlywed. It does seem a bit, though, because she was so crazy about Tyrone. He isn't the most exciting bloke but he's a real keeper. I suppose she's doing it for the excitement.

It doesn't really have as much to do with the age difference because older men/younger women couples happen all the time. There is and was nearly 20 years difference between Deirdre and most of the men she's ever been with, Ken Barlow, Mike Baldwin, Ray Langton and Billy Walker and she was only 18 when she was engaged to Billy and not much older when she married Ray and both men were well into their 30s at the time. It does seem pretty hypocritical that Kevin is blustering about John Stape after his affair with 17 year old Rosie, his daughter, though when he's shagging Molly who is also just about young enough to be his daughter too.

One of the commenters over on t'other blog mentioned that the actors don't seem to be acting this very well, that they seem uncomfortable and I agree. I think they feel that the storyline just doesn't work and the writing seems strained as a result. And as a result their performances are strained a bit. It seems like they are trying to do their best to make the best of an awkward situation and it is starting to show. Both of the actors are talented and they are doing the best they can. Unfortunately, the storyline isn't worthy of their talents and the majority of the viewers feel the same way.

The reveal and reactions of Tyrone and Sally will be good and I hope the fallout really makes them pay. I have a fear that Molly won't really do much pennance. Tyrone will go around looking hurt but will probably not leave her in the end. I hope he thumps Kevin, though. Sally will be all righteous even though she's been unfaithful to Kevin more than he has on her and I hope Kevin throws Ian Davenport in her face. I'm still on Sally's side on this one, though.

Thing is, Sally only remarried Kevin for the girls' sake and it took her a long time to get to where she really regained that affection for him. Even now, she often seems unsatisfied with her life and as a result, her ambitions have been pushed on her children. This could break their marraige for good but Sally is also due to have a bout of illness so she may not have the energy to fight it out. This time, also, the girls are old enough to know what's going on and hear the gossip. I'm betting Kevin will be more hurt by their reactions and rejections of him and that's going to be punishing. I think the fallout will be far more watchable than the actual affair, at least. But it's going to be painful getting to that point.

Some affairs work because the characters have chemistry. They are believable because of the circumstances that lead up to it. They are accepted because the viewers can understand the motivation. This feels like it was done purely for the sensationalism and the shock. It feels like it's taken a page out of the American Soap book of rules but we don't want our show to be like that! If we want to watch an American soap, we'll watch one! This isn't Desperate Housewives, it's Coronation Street!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Down Corrie memory lane

I was perusing the listings on one of the UK television download sites, I forget whether it was UKNova or TheBox, but there was a Classic Coronation Street show listed from January 1993. I thought it was a classic episode and went ahead and downloaded it. Most of the classic episodes that i've got this way are copied to digital format from a VHS tape so the quality is a bit spotty but most of them aren't too bad.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when this turned out to be a copy of a television special from that date, not an episode. It featured a lot of classic clips from the show, plus a couple of interviews as well. There was a feature on Ena Sharples as narrated by Les Dawson who donned a hairnet and mugged for the camera. Don't you think he looks just like Ena?? Ena was one of the most wonderful characters ever. They wrote such amazing dialogue for her and Vi Carson delivered it with a rhythm that just flowed with sublime timing.

They had both William Roache and Johnny Briggs on stage to talk about the Mike and Ken feud, which, at the time, was about to enter another phase. Ken had just discovered that his new lady, Maggie, was Mike's ex and the mother of his son, Mark. There were all the classic clips to this story that you've seen many times including several punch ups between the two men.

There was a medly of clips from a Street variety show which had this unlikely trio of performers. That's Eddie Yates on the left and Fred Gee on the right! We also saw Rita singing Lily Marlene as Marlene Deitrich, Bet, Norma and Betty as the Andrews Sisters and Uncle Albert reciting a poem about kissing a lass under the stairs!

There was a section of clips that viewers had written in requesting and i was tickled that one of my absolute favourites was included. You may or may not remember Boris, the Mexican mouse eating spider that Alec hoped would make him a pile of money. AT the same time, the kitchen was being renovated on orders by the Health Inspectors. The huge spider of course, escaped and turned up on the kitchen worktop at the same time the Inspector was...er... inspecting. I remember being in hysterics watching this big hairy spider delicately toeing it's way past the tomatoes! Alex cornered it between his hands behind his back before the inspector saw it and it was clear by the end and the spasms Alec was going through that he had to squash it. His face was green after the man left!!! Brilliant stuff!

Other requested clips included the one where Bet saw that Jack Duckworth had joined a video dating service as Vince St. Claire, Hilda, Stan and Eddie digging through heaps of rubbish looking for her accidentally discarded laundry and Albert and Minnie deciding not to marry after all.

Lots of clips of Ena of course, and of Annie Walker, ruler of the Rovers Return. This was the piece de resistence, however. The show ended with a short introduction and a few words with the actors that played Billy Walker and Annie Walker, Ken Farringdon and Doris Speed!!! Wow! YouTube clip of it is here. This was aired in January 1993 when she was about to turn 94, probably her last appearance, I'm guessing. She was dressed and fully made up and looked wonderful, even if a little frail. I think she may have been a bit deaf because the interviewer raised her voice a bit and Doris' answers weren't quite the answers to the questions but it was still fab to see this icon of Coronation Street one last time!

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