Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The State of the Street - June

I really fail to see what Molly sees in Kevin! I've been dreading this thing between Kevin and Molly, I really have. If they had to do it, couldn't they just have Kevin with a one-sided crush and Molly firmly kicking him into touch? A crush, I can understand that happening. It can happen to anyone. Molly is loyal and she loves Tyrone and even him having trouble accepting Jack's friendship with Connie shouldn't be enough to push her into his best friend's coveralls, not even on a soap! But the more I think of it, you know... Molly does have form being the "other woman". She chased Kirk trying to take him off Fiz and she chased Tyrone as well, when he was still keen on Maria so maybe it's not so out of character after all! And Tyrone... Well I understand that he thinks the world of Jack and he misses Vera terribly but he has to understand that life moves on and he should be glad Jack is happy.

David set up Gary over the burglary and the Windasses try to band together with fake alibis, as per usual, until there's more serious charges then Len cuts and runs. You know, Gary as a character is settling in a bit and i do like Anna but the other two, Eddie and Len, can go pound sand and I don't think the family has gelled at all. Maybe that's why Len has already been chucked out of the house by his brother. I don't foresee them lasting the year out. Ted of course is ever the Voice of Reason, willing to forgive anyone (easy for him to say knowing it was David that set it all up and he wasn't about to turn David in, was he?)

A new romance gives Sue Cleaver some good storylines and this has been a good year for her. Nice to see Eileen having a bit of a romance for a change. It's probably not going to be a long term thing, Eileen is one of Corrie's love losers but wouldn't it be nice if this turned into the love of her life? It's also nice to see Jack finding some companionship as well. It's been a good year for all the senior cast members, really. Ken and Deirdre, Rita, Norris, Jack, Bill, and even Emily though she's mostly been the Greek chorus to everyone else's storyline but at least we've seen more of her. The only one that hasn't had a lot of storyline of that generation is Audrey who's been peripheral to things since she and Bill broke up, for the most part.

Pity we have to balance it out with a ludicrously contrived storyline about Stape giving Rosie the procedes from the sale of his granny's house just as Luke came up with an investment scheme for the staff! And by the way, Helen Flanagan's habit of delivering her lines in what she thinks is "uppity" and "snippy" is just speed-speaking and you can't understand half of what she's saying. You can still portray snotty and speak a little bit slower. In fact, it would make the condescension stand out more.

I think Fiz really has hit bottom, proposing to John. What have they done to this once-sparky redhead? I know i've said it before but it bears repeating. What are they doing to this character!!!

Further to the question about why Hayley hasn't had a storyline,Why did it take Hayley months to rip Pam an new one over selling sandwiches to the whole neighbourhood? Even Roy hadn't made any mention of it though the only reaction Hayley's had was a bit of a sneer once up until the last of June. Well leave it to Hayley to compromise instead of bringing the wrath of Health and Safety on Pam's head.

I'm continuing to enjoy Peter's struggle with alchohol. Um, let me put that another way. I'm enjoying the storylines and the performances. At the same time that Peter is struggling with recovery, Joe is sinking into the depths of prescription pain killer addiction. Another good performance here too. Doesn't Joe have a nasty mouth on him sometimes, though? But neither of them has been seen struggling later in June. I expect Joe's story will be ramping up now that Peter is coming to terms with his problem.

A refeshing change. Michelle had two fellas after her and didn't pick either one. Sensibly, she knew Peter still had a thing for Leanne and she wasn't over Steve. (But you know the best way to get over a fella is to get under one or two new ones! I guess that didn't work so well for her!) She's gone for awhile (while the actress gets new knockers and I guess we'll not see too much of Ryan either. But as I blogged over here, I'm guessing she'll be back early, pregnant and won't know who the father is.

It's so awesome watching Tony, the control freak, losing his marbles little by little though he's been pretty stable lately. We know that exposing his misdeeds are going to be at the end of it all. Is he really falling for Maria, or is it another move in his master plan to win her away from her suspicions? Natasha was just a diversion. I maintain that Tony didn't feel guilty about killing Liam but he felt horribly guilty when he realized Maria was pregnant and that might be his one glimmer of redemption. HE'll still have to pay for his misdeeds at some point. Murderers cannot be seen to get away with their crime. Once Carla comes back, she'll make sure Tony pays.

Poppy all of a sudden can't get along with Betty who takes advantage who probably has been doing that for the last 15 years, I suppose, but firing Betty?!!! She can't get away with that. Betty comes with the pub, everyone knows that! When it comes down to an ultimatum, and without Liz there to back up her mate, Betty rules the roost because heaven knows Steve hasn't got the gumption to smack Betty down and he knows that though the younger punters might not appreciate her, all the regulars certainly do and you don't drive your regulars away, do you? What gets me is that Poppy was a perfectly reasonable person until the last few weeks. The Personality Transplant Fairies whacked her on the head because they have to have a reason for her to never darken the Rovers' door again.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Windass-ing me up

Spoilers say David Platt is going to get beaten to a pulp (yet again) after he takes his jealousy out on Jason. A comment on that post by Danny-K mentions how Gary's first beating of David was unusually brutal for early evening telly. Yes it was, but they'd been portraying him as a thug from the get go. Now, it seems, Gary isn't so thuggish. I guess that's the Powers That Be's way of softening him a bit because otherwise there would be no way to redeem him if they want the character to stay in the show for any time. And then there's Gary's "mentor", Uncle Len, also a thug but not quite so thick and ignorant as our younger ginger version.

Considering my experience watching soaps all these years, when there's a mystery and a crime is committed, the party accused is almost never the perpetrator. The guilt almost always lands on the expendable "crew member", aka "Ensign Toast". That goes back to Star Trek days when the "away" team to investige the new planet always ended up with one of them dead or evaporated into phasar bits and that was always the guy that you'd never seen before, never one of the main characters. The expendable crew member. He often wore a red shirt so some people call him Ensign Red Shirt. On soaps, there's always an Ensign Toast. It maybe a major character if the actor is leaving the show like Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow) or it's a villain that has hit the wall and there's no redeeming them. It may, on rare occasions, be a sympathetic main character in a moment of madness or self defence.

So who's going to be the one that beats up David? I reckon eyes will turn towards Jason but we all know Jason is a softie. Jason's a lover not a fighter. Will it be Joe, in a drug withdrawal rage, discovering that David has nicked his pills again? Not likely. It's going to have to be an expendable crew member and my money's on Len Windass in retaliation for David's lies that put Gary in jail. There's no earthly reason for Len to be in the show as he only ever seems to interact with his family, and occasionally Joe or Gail and there's really no redeeming value to him.

Does David deserve it? I don't think so. He deserves to go to prison himself for setting up someone else, mind you. If Len's the culprit, are we going to then see Joe's fists flying? He *might* be able to take on Len but in his current physical state, not likely. (Come back, Terry Duckworth, all is forgiven! ... well, when you need someone that can apply a good thumping to your everyday neighbourhood thug, Terry's yer man!) This whole "war in the hood" business between David and Gary (and Len) doesn't seem like it belongs on "our" Coronation Street. It's more "The Show That Shall Not Be Named", innit? I think it's a mistake trying to win over the fans of that other show, don't you? Coronation Street is never going to be anything but what it is and always has been. It's got it's own personality and vibe. You may lure a few fans into the fold but they won't stick around.

I don't think the Windass family is going to last on the Street, Anna is the only one that's somewhat sympathetic but she's ineffective and Eddie is just gross. Unwashed, a layabout, I didn't think it was possible to find a character more despicable than Les Battersby but they managed it. Mind you, the actor, Steve Huison, is doing a bang up job of portraying Eddie Windass and he's a far better actor than Bruce Jones was. I actually think if they softened Gary just a little and got rid of Len, that the family might be able to integrate with the neighbourhood but that's a big IF.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Ted Paige, The Voice of Reason

I'm quite fond of characters that are Voices of Reason. After all, that's what "Tvor" stands for! Emily Bishop is, of course, the Queen of Reason and Roy Cropper is the Prince. There's a new contender, though and that's Ted Paige. Ted quickly established himself as having both feet firmly on the ground. He's pragmatic, unjudgemental, loyal, insightful and he's not at all as boring as that sounds! He's just what the manic Platts need to haul them back down to ground when they go flying off in all directions, he is stability in the face of absolute mayhem.

He has made friends with the other almost-voice of reason, Ken Barlow (whose womanizing ways and overly superior attitude remove him from being one of the contenders, at least in my book). When he discovered Ken's most recent affair, he didn't judge. He didn't encourage it but he didn't tell Ken he shouldn't be doing it, either. He pointed out the issues, the plusses and minuses, but basically just supported Ken in whatever decision he came to. That's a true friend.

Lately, he's been the inadvertent victim of one of David's schemes to lay waste to the Windasses and even though he knows David is to blame, he forgives. He made it clear that he's very disappointed in his grandson and that probably hurt David more than his mother's hands off attitude because Ted is probably the one person that David respects. That's because Ted has had the measure of David from the first day they met, when David was banged up in the Youth detention centre and accepted him anyway yet making it clear he wouldn't stand for any of David's crap and attitude.

Even Gail stands up and takes notice when he speaks, and when he put his foot down and demanded the Platts and Windasses put the feuding behind them, even she grudgingly went along with it. He knows it's not fair to take it out on the parents for the error of their son's ways yet he didn't blame Gary for his heart attack either even though Gary broke into Audrey's house and nearly scared the life out of him, literally.

I like, no, I love Ted. He's the ideal granddad, he's a gentleman, he's a Voice of Reason and I hope we have him around for a long time. I think he adds greatly to the Platt canvass and that's definitely a good thing.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Character Study: Norman "Curly" Watts

Norman "Curly" Watts, so nicknamed because his hair was straight, was a Weatherfield lad though we never met him until he was an adult working on the bins with Eddie Yates and Chalkie Whitely. He lodged with Emily Bishop and set up business with Terry Duckworth, an association he would eventually regret. Poor Curly was a smart lad but a bit gormless, especially when it came to relations with the opposite sex. He was keen and eager to please, like a puppy and that seems to be how most women saw him. Each knock back didn't seem to put him off, though. He was ever the optimist looking for love.

He had his first proper girlfriend in factory worker, Shirley Armitage, round about the same time as he decided to go back to school and get some qualifications in business studies. Curly and Shirley split (how could they possibly have made it work with names that rhymed like that!) with very little warning, really, having overcome racial discrimination at the start of their relationship.

Curly lodged with the Duckworths and started his retail career in the Bettabuys empire with manager Reg Holdsworth as his mentor. Bettabuys was the source of two major relationships in his life. First, the righteous Kimberly Taylor, whom he dated and nearly married. Lucky escape there, I think, because I think he let himself be railroaded into the engagement thinking nobody else would ever have him.

His next relationship was a fantasy. He fell hard for Raquel Wolstenhulme who had her own ambitions and never appreciated the steady and faithful Curly. She would be continually hurt by other more "exciting" men and keep coming back to Curly to pick up the pieces until she finally married him on yet another rebound. Curly thought all his birthdays had come at once and thought that Raquel might grow to love him.

She didn't. Curly had his heart well and truly broken. He knew Raquel would leave him eventually though it didn't hurt any less when she left him after only a year. He thought he'd try to travel the world and rented out his house to Samantha Failsworth but was only gone for about 6 hours in the end.

As he gained more confidence in his job, he started moving up the career ladder but had a bit of trouble with obsessive stalker, Anne Malone, who framed him after he rejected her amorous advances. This did have him saying good bye to Weatherfield for a time, hoping to find Raquel. He never did find her but in the process, seemed to have finally found himself. He discovered that he was a dad when Raquel returned to ask for a divorce, revealing that she had had his baby, now a three year old little girl called Alice. It seems like about this time, Curly came into his own and lost most of that daftness he used to have. He even had a makeover and it seemed to do the trick!

Before long, all-grown-up-Norman met police officer Emma Taylor and found the first real mutual love of his life. He turned to local politics and was elected town councillor where he really tried to do some good. Curly always had strong principles and a social conscience and this was a way to bring some good to help people. After he and Emma got married, they had baby Ben and his dream of being a full time dad was realized. He and Emma went through a rocky patch when her career nearly faltered because an unethical situation she got into clashed with those principles but they reconciled and moved away to Newcastle to start again.

We haven't heard from or about Curly since. I like to think he and Emma had another baby. Maybe he's involved in local politics or some other local group that works to better the lives of people that need help. Maybe he's running a Citizen's Advice Bureau!

What was your favourite Curly moment? Was it when he gave Raquel her own personal star in the sky? Was it the Reg and Curly storylines? What about when he freaked out on the Battersbys and ended up getting nutted in the head by Les? Wouldn't it be great to see Curly again?

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Corrie Character "Spare Parts" list

I know that not every character can be on screen all the time. There are usually a couple of major storylines and a couple of minor ones on the go at any given time and you see characters involved in those ones and some peripheral characters as well. There are also characters that seem to be around all the time but never or rarely have a storyline. I call them "Spare Parts". Mostly, they're great actors and their characters have so much potential that it's a shame they are wasted. They have had storylines in the past and they no doubt will again but it seems like they aren't front and centre too often.

These days, one of the "spare part" characters that I've noticed is Kelly Crabtree. I think Kelly is a fun character to watch. She's selfish and vain and thinks she's all that but she's not always very bright and she can be nasty, too. Yet she can also be perceptive and I think she could be a really good friend. Mainly, she seems to be around to strut her long legged stuff or gob off in the factory. You would never know that she and Becky used to be adversaries for the most part though there was a sharp mouthy exchange around the time Steve and Becky's relationship went public. I'd like to see Kelly get a proper storyline again!

Hayley Cropper is sadly reduced to spare part status these days, ever since she returned from Africa. The occasional shoulder lent to Becky or Fiz and a sometimes appearance in the cafe, we don't see very much of her these days. There was a flurry of activity when she returned, when she'd had a crush on her do-gooder-turned-love-rat volunteer team leader and she tried to find herself a new job or volunteer position but then...nothing. Let's see her get more involved in a friendship with Anna or have she and Roy finally plan a wedding now it's legal for them to do so!

They've brought Teresa back to the Street but really haven't done anything with her, nor with Darryl and Amber lately. Amber may be gone to London to attend uni and will anyone miss her? She's not been involved in much for awhile. Will this mean the end of Darryl and Teresa or will someone give them something to do? Dev has gone underground after his humiliation but that's understandable.

Another character that seems to be "resting" is Sean Tully who hasn't had a storyline of his own since he and Marcus broke up. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing, though, as he was front and centre for quite awhile for a couple of years. Michelle Connor is another of those characters that seemed to be the storyline darling for a couple of years and hasn't really left stage centre until her recent departure on tour with JD's band. There always seems to be one character that the Powers That Be seem to focus on and who gets storyline after storyline, but that's probably an essay best left to another post sometime!

In some cases, especially with the older members of the cast, they seem to be semi retired and only appear once in awhile as supporting members. This is often the case with Emily, Rita and Betty though Blanche always seems to find her way into someone else's business ;) What a joy when they are seen though, as they always have something to add to a scene. Even Jack Duckworth, though he's got a new storyline and friendship with Connie is only seen on occasion.

I would have said Claire Peacock was a spare part too but she's been popping up more recently now that Josh is a budding footballer and she's about to have her own summer crisis storyline so she's off the spare part list on which she's been malingering. Lots of people find her boring but I don't. She comes across as meek and mild but she's pushy, has got a temper and an iron will when there's something she wants. She isn't that far removed from Maxine in that respect.

Who else are your favourite characters that haven't seen the light of a script page for all too long?

Monday, 8 June 2009

Corrie Ambulance Chasers 2009, Part 1

Last year on Corrieblog, I kept a running tally of the number of times someone got slapped in the face because it seemed like there was an awful lot of people getting smacked. 2009 is the year of the ambulance chasers. How many people have had medical emergencies where either an ambulance was involved or they had to seek medical attention? Here are the unlucky thirteen incidents for the first half of 2009, some with ambulances and some without.

January proves to be the busiest month for doctors and nurses for the first half of 2009. The new year comes in with a bang when Auntie Pam's stash of cooking oil catches a spark and explodes, leaving her and Darryl surrounded by pigeon feathers and smoke.

A few weeks later, Maria, at the end of her rope with nobody willing to believe that Tony Gordon killed her Liam and possibly Jed Stone,drove straight at Tony but swerved at the last second and crashed the car against the steps of Underworld. She had knocked Tony over and her airbag deployed. Ambulances were called and both were taken to hospital to be checked over. Maria's baby was unharmed and Tony was only bruised and scratched. The month ends with Gary goading David into a fight but though David throws the first punch, Gary makes a mess of David's face and an ambulance is called. David begins to plot revenge on Gary. A minor January incident sees Tyrone fainting at his own wedding but, like a trooper, he stands up and says I Do.

In a February non-999 call, a hospital patient that Janice befriended while on her community service, collapsed and died. Janice then decided she'd like to study to be a nurse or nursing assistant. She was keen for awhile bit her interest seems to have faded.

In March a drunken Peter sets fire to the flat over the betting shop. Peter and Simon are rescued by Tony and Luke and rushed to hospital. Peter is ok, but Simon has serious smoke inhalation damage but recovers quickly. Also in March, Graeme drops a bag of potting soil on Norris' neck, resulting in a neck brace for our friendly neighbourhood hypochondriac.

Just one incident in April which sees Joe collapse after putting his back out. He doesn't go to hospital but the doctor comes to the house and diagnoses a slipped disk. Painful! But at least it's got Gail and Joe back together, much to the chagrin of both Tina and David who have broken up by this time.

May had one ambulance appearance and, presumably, another one that we didn't see on screen. After all the revelations surrounding Colin, Paula and Julie, Colin collapses while trying to explain himself to Eileen. Colin subsequently dies of a stroke. Off screeen, an imprisoned John Stape was beaten up and taken to hospital, which tugged at Fiz's heartstrings even more when she saw his swollen bruised face afterwards.

June starts off with a bang but the month ends quietly. David set Gary Windass up to burgle Audrey's empty house. Only, he didn't realize Ted was going to house sit and Gary pushed a startled Ted around trying to get out of the house. Later on in the evening, back at Platt Towers, Ted has a heart attack and is whooshed away to the hospital by NeeNaw. Also this week, Maria has false labour pains and is seen to in the maternity ward.

A minor June incident has David hiding Joe's pain pills and when he can't find them, Joe goes beserk and threatens David who holds his ground. The next day, Joe tells David he spent 4 hours in A&E to get a shot and some more pills.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Corrie Cone of Silence

I was watching the show on Friday night and noticed something that i've noticed before. There seems to be a Cone of Silence over the Platt kitchen or at least a sound barrier between the kitchen and the living room. It happened a lot last night as David was home with Joe, but on the phone frequently with, first Gary and then mostly Graeme. He was circumspect with Gary but when on the phone with Graeme, he was using their code names and giving him instructions to "stay there" etc. yet Joe was in the living room watching telly with David just 10 feet away in the kitchen. Or vice versa. The two of them were in various locations between the two rooms yet Joe never questioned David or noticed anything really weird other than saying David was jumpy.

This isn't the first time it happened. Quite often someone will have a conversation sat at the living room couch which, if Gail in the kitchen had heard, would have made her hair stand on end and her eyebrows disappear into that massive 'do on her head. It's all open plan, there's no way it's that sound proof. Nobody whispers. Nobody is discreet. Yet it's only ever overheard if the plot line requires it but it's very unrealistic. All those houses are tiny and walls are thin. You can hear someone clearly when they're outside with a closed door between them and whoever is inside, yet they can't hear someone in the next room with no door and only part of a wall.

It happens in the pub too. The booths along the front of the pub are only about four steps from the bar but does anyone ever overhear conversations between either place? Rarely and most of the time, the pub doesn't seem that noisy nor is the music from the juke that loud. Yet you see people in the booth staring suspiciously at someone at the bar who's talking to one of the barmaids, or someone behind the bar watches a group in a booth with a guarded expression, wondering if the conversation is about them or not. Are they telling my secret? are they talking about me behind my back?

Gah. Soaps!!! I know, i know, i think too much and expect too much. Most of the time it doesn't bother me unless it's *really* obvious like David sighing loudly and calling Graeme by his code name over the phone just steps from Joe. Then it gets on my last nerve.

That is all.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Eileen, Loser in Love

It doesn't usually behoove soaps to have happy couples. There's no drama in that. Even Coronation Street's happiest couple, Roy and Hayley, have had their trouble and strife and the newlyweds, Tyrone and Molly, are about to have an upset too which I personally think is a terrible thing to do to them!. Some characters seem to be perennially losers in love. Curly Watts was one, and so was Fred "Serial Proposer" Elliot. The irony was, when Fred finally seemed to find the right one, he died on his wedding day!

That brings me to Eileen. Eileen has always been portrayed as a Love Loser. She always talked about how she could never keep a man in her back history. We've seen her have several romances over the years and they all ended badly. Dennis Stringer left her for Janice Battersby, Phil the Foot Doctor preferred Gail, Jerry Morton had too much family to take care of and Pat was a love rat from the get go (said he was married but he wasn't, just pretended so that all of the women he was after wouldn't get to close!). Now, we hear that the fella that played the cowboy to Eileen's Indian maiden is coming back. That was Jesse, if you will recall. His wife had just left him and the act in the lurch.

There was a spark between them but Jesse had other professional committments. He's going to come back and into Eileen's life. Only, he's being played by a well known actor, John Thompson which pretty much guarantees he's not going to be joining the cast as a permanent fixture. That means Eileen is going to lose out again and that makes me very sad.

Why can't they let her have a fella for at least more than a few months? Have someone want to marry her (and isn't looking for a "green card" to stay in the country). Have someone sweep her off her feet (and not have a wife in Leeds and another one in Prestwich). Even her rival, Gail Platt, gets to have real romances even if they are serial killers or prescription drug addicts!

Maybe they'll have this romance go a little distance. Maybe Eileen could have a relationship with Jesse even though he's off doing his children's act all over the country. She could go visit him where he's working. He could be a recurring character and visit her and he wouldn't even have to be on screen. They could just write her away for a "dirty weekend" in a nice hotel in town or at his flat. We could see her getting to terms with a computer and chatting to him online with a webcam. Why not?

I have always loved the character and Sue Cleaver, who plays Eileen, is really brilliant. whether she's being sarcastic, or covering up a deep hurt, whether she's defending her chicks or berating them for another stupid move (usually Jason), whether she's dealing with her whole world turned upside down or she's lending a shoulder to a friend, Eileen has been one of Coronation Street's real strengths. Long may she rule the roost!

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