Wednesday 19 August 2009

High praise indeed

I've just *got* to bestow my praise and kudos to four actors in particular that have absolutely shone like a very shiny thing for me in recent episodes of Coronation Street.

The first storyline concerns Steve and Becky's current predicament. Now, logic tells us all that this will have a happy ending because, as far as we know, neither actor is leaving the show. In the meatime, we have to watch the frustration and pain of their backs against the wall in between where that rock and that hard place are. Becky went from feathery exuberance on her wedding day, determined not to mess up like the last time to about the lowest place she's ever been in her life. The rug was well and truly pulled out from under her white satin stilletos and add to that, the betrayal that the love of her life, her shiny new husband, didn't believe in her innocence. Steve, knowing how easy it is to fall back into shady deals and illegal measures, assumed the worst but when push came to shove, he realized she was set up and had a huge amount of groveling and making up to do. He was sincere about it too.

Becky spent her wedding night in the cell, had to endure Hooch's emotional torture and then had to face Steve in the morning. Steve and Becky sat in the car, he apologized, explained and groveled and she was very, very quiet. There was no shouting, no screaming recriminations. Just pain on both their parts.

Simon Gregson and Katherine Kelly were magnificent in both the wedding episode and in the aftermath, in my humble opinion. She was radiant in Friday's eps, just as her father-figure Roy said she was. She shook with pre-wedding nerves, held Roy captive with those big blue eyes when he had to convince her she wasn't ill nor dying, silently begging him to be right (he was, of course!). She practically danced down the short "aisle" of the registry office, excited and exuberantly giggling "I love it when he's gaggin' for it!" as Steve pulled her to the front so they could tie the knot. Simon played it just right. He and Becky have spark and fun together and this wedding certainly showed that up.

Later, when she was taken away in cuffs, as white as her dress, his face was grey with shock and you could almost feel that sick feeling in his gut when he seemed to think the worst, putting the wrong 2 and 2 together.

In the car the next day, they played it quietly. Katherine hardly looked at him at first, but had her face turned towards his side of the car, though looking past him to the back, towards where one of the cameras was. You could tell when he was finally getting through to her that he really did believe her and he really was sorry. She started glancing at him through her eyelashes and finally did look at him face to face, but you could feel the doubt, the weariness, the fear all etched into her expression. She put every ounce of vulnerability into that scene. Simon never took his eyes off her, pleading for her to forgive him but never whining, never in desperation, just earnestly and honestly. He wasn't blustering his excuses, he was stating where he was coming from and pledging to her that he really did believe her. He played it like a real grown up, something we haven't always seem Steve be when under pressure like this. He accepted his betrayal and was very sorry for it. He was gentle. He was patient. She had her defences up but didn't completely shut him away by turning her back on him. They didn't rush the scene. They nailed it.

The second storyline concerns Liz and Lloyd's breakup. The relationship was unexpected for both of them, starting off as two lonely friends reaching out. Lloyd is younger than Liz and is her son's best mate but he's older than Steve, too, probably about half way between Steve and Liz's age. Don't forget, Liz was only 17 when she had the twins so she really wouldn't be that much older than Lloyd, less than 10 years, is my guess. Still, she was never comfortable with the age difference since she was the older of the two. It mattered not at all to Lloyd and he seemed really taken with her, even moreso when she finally seemed to relax and enjoy their relationship. Even Steve seemed to come to terms with it and it all looked good. But then, Liz went to Spain to look after Andy and his bar while he was ill and stayed. And stayed. And it didn't look like she was going to come back. She stopped returning Lloyd's calls and messages leaving him bewildered and confused. Finally, she appeared in time for Steve and Becky's wedding and the stalled relationship whimpered to an end.

Many times when a couple breaks up there are rows and sobs, heart rending drama or cold, unfeeling declarations. This breakup was a little different than you usually see on telly. No rows, no name calling, but there were tears. There were tears, not only from Liz but from Lloyd, also unusual. Maybe that's because of the skill of the actor involved. Crying on screen is difficult for many actors and it doesn't always look very realistic. Craig Charles doesn't usually get dramatic scenes so you don't really realize how good an actor he can be. Lloyd is usually joking and silly with brief glimpses of anger depending on the situation. Bev Callard has always impressed me with her capabilities. This time she was playing it vulnerable, a bit confused, sad and maybe a little unsure she was doing the right thing. She bared her soul and was as honest as she could be, right down to having no makeup on and a very reserved tshirt and comfy trousers instead of her usual mask of makeup and tarty clothes. The tears on Craig Charles' face did look real and he put a truckload of emotion into their final breakup scene in the empty Rovers, the feathery, sparkly remains of the aborted wedding reception still on the walls around them. He gave Lloyd that reluctance to accept the end, the heartbreak of it and maybe, a little spark of hope against hope that someday she might change her mind. When Liz reminded Lloyd that Jim would soon be coming round, there was no puffed up blustering about being unafraid of the beligerent ex, just confidence and surprise that she might think he would be fearful. You get the feeling that he wouldn't be cowed so quickly as Vernon was by the face of Jim in a temper and could give as good as he gets. Lloyd might be a lover rather than a fighter but he'd be an even bet in most, I think.

That aside, it remains to be seen whether Lloyd and Liz will get back together though I'm guessing not. Steve and Becky will probably defeat Hooch and go at least some of the distance. I've long thought highly of Simon Gregson who has grown up into a really solid actor and he's really jumped up another level in my estimation lately. Craig Charles has jumped up several levels for me. I never thought he was a bad actor, but stretching to the emotional stuff really shows his acting chops off in a shining light. Bev Callard has always been solid and has always given us many sides of Liz. In one episode she showed her vulnerability and her rage and resentment towards her new daughter-in-law. Katherine Kelly just goes from peak to peak in her ability to portray Becky Granger McDonald as a loose cannon, a rough diamond who seems to gain confidence and self esteem only to have it thown out with the trash, sometimes by her own doing and sometimes not. She's cut from a similar cloth as Karen McDonald was but has a fiercer edge, a bit more desperation in her grasp to find some good in a life that didn't have a lot of it now that she realizes there are people who do believe in her and love her.

If you now ask me who my favourite character is, I will not be able to name just one. It'll be any one of these four though maybe Katherine Kelly has a slight edge.

1 comment:

BeaverDamsel said...

Very thoughtful. We have time to prepare ourselves for all this emotion.

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...