Saturday, 30 April 2011

State of the Street - April 2011

The double wedding? Well I've already gone over that. No point in rehashing it. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy Kylie winding up Gail, though!

Then there's a lot of angst and handwringing that Maria's doing about Frank.
The War of the Websters continues with the recent windfall of Kevin's thanks to a lottery scratch ticket. He has been scurrying to win back Sally's favour and not doing well at all. Flowers. A car that she sold back for cash. But she still insists on half of the money he won. Well, he gave it all to her and she gave half back but I hope she took the cost of the car and the money she got for it in mind when she wrote that cheque. It didn't make Kevin very happy, though, it loosens his hold over her. I think it really is over between them and rightly so. Just too much water under the bridge.

Nobody really thought that Steve and Becky would end up leaving because we already knew Liz was going. It's too bad they had to have Jim try armed robbery to try to get the money to buy the pub. It was probably the worst thought out plan he could have devised. No mask, for one thing. Even if he'd managed to get out of the bank, there would have been CCTV footage of his face. All for the love of Liz, really, and now he's well and truly lost her because he's going to be behind bars for the rest of his life and though she said she'd be waiting for him, she's high-tailed it to Spain. She may come back for the trial and she seems to have given him some hope in a letter but really, I think they both know down deep it ain't gonna happen. Goodbye Liz! Off in a traditional black cab.

Steve really needs to get a solicitor and get access to Amy down in writing, especially now that Tracy has all that ammunition against him, not that Tracy would pay any mind to legal papers, I suppose. Tracy threatens to take Amy away and she could but down deep she still hopes that she'll get Steve back in her bed. He's such a lily livered weakling that he could succumb to temptation as far as sex goes but I'd be very disappointed if he ever got together with her properly, citing a long time "I just can't fight it anymore" feeling. For one thing, it was never like that, it was only ever about sex between them and for another, what makes her any different from Karen and Becky, really? Another "mad, bad and dangerous to know" woman, obviously the type he likes. Somehow I doubt even a solicitor is going to be much help now. He's mired in debt, made some impulsive choices. How is he going to get out from under? We hear he's hiring a new manager but he still has to be able to pay her.

The Yummy Mummy competition seemed to be a non-starter. Cheryl and Leanne at odds over their boys. As far as the school play goes, I would think Simon would be far better at getting into character than the morose and silent Russ. I don't know why some people are thinking this is a terrible storyline. Many of those are the same ones that moan because Corrie is one sensational ratings grabber after another. This type of storyline is the kind we always used to see on Corrie. No murders, no hostages, two women in an argy bargy over their kids. I don't think we'll see them rolling about on the cobbles but I for one am just itching to see Leanne grab a hunk of smug Cheryl's hair and give it a good yank! However, after all that, it seemed to fizzle out unless we're going to get more when the play actually happens.
Eddie seemed keen enough on adopting and then when Faye finally came to stay, he seemed like he was tired of the whole thing already. I suppose he was just going through it for Anna's sake and never thought it would actually happen but he seemed like he liked the little girl until she caused a bit of trouble stealing. Now he feels overwhelmed with it all. You'd think he would be used to that sort of behaviour. I'm quite sure Gary was not an easy child to raise, and he certainly got into trouble. So in the end, Eddie and Anna just had too many differences though they still love each other, I'm sure. It was so sad seeing them part and again, a few episodes later when she put the last of Eddie's cakes in the bin, closing the lid on their life together.

When you're dropped into a trouble child's life, it's not going to be easy and I think Eddie didn't really realize what it was going to be like. He now does in spades and is probably thinking he's too old to go through parenting a difficult child again.

Unfortunately, he's off to Germany, leaving Anna to hold the baby, so to speak. Will Social services let her keep Faye now that Eddie has gone, though? And if they take her, I'm hard pressed to see how Anna fits in to the community on her own, with Gary all grown. She'll have lost Eddie because of Faye and lost Faye anyway. She might as well go to Germany after all if that happens. I really like her though, and I hope they find reasons to keep her. They'll probably throw her at the first single bloke that happens by, probably Owen. Then she'd have Katy to fuss over. Good bye Eddie. I think it's a huge mistake to let Steve Huison go.

Roy's mum, Sylvia has arrived and I love, love, love her already! She's just the thing to put the cat among the pigeons. I hope we get to see her reaction when she finds out that Hayley used to be a fella. She's not a replacment for Blanche but I do think the show needs a cantankerous old biddy like her to keep people on their toes in the tradition of Blanche and Ena Sharples.

John is in a very bad way. It's the beginning of the end, we all know that from the spoilers and because it's Soap Law. The truth about Colin under the factory floor *has* to come out. John spent quite some time in hospital and he certainly didn't take things easy when he got out, dumping his pills in the bin as soon as he was away from the doctors and nurses' watchful eyes. It's that selfishness again. He knows what's best. Except he doesn't and he flipped out again when he found out about the money from Joy's estate. Poor Fiz is at the end of her rope and Chesney is upset, too, for her and there's nothing he can do, especially now he and Katy are pregnant. Doesn't that just make you shudder? 16, on their own, not making ends meet and now a baby? She'll be quitting school and living off the Social in no time if this keeps up. And Owen will be inside for murder because he will do one on Chesney! It'll peak in May and we'll see it all come out.

Easter in London... I liked it! But then I love London and it's very neat to see all the places I've been. I did wonder about Violet and Jamie though. Awhile back when Sean was first back in touch with her and got to see the little one, he said she and Jamie had broken up. I guess they got back together and it's obviously not been a smooth road. Sooooo nice to see Marcus again, too. He was a lovely character and he and Sean really worked as a couple. Toddley and Jools weren't all that much to write home about, I was hoping Jason would hit Todd just a little harder but he did manage to knock some sense into him verbally. That part of the Easter Sunday show all seemed kind of flat, really.

We've ended April with an immigration inspection to check whether Graeme and Xin are really married or not. They reckon someone told on them and that's what happened but even so, you would think there might have to be an interview anyway. Maybe not but leave it to Mary to stick her beak in. Tina and Graeme are falling apart, with suspicions telling them what they already know down deep. There's no going back. It's clear Xin is falling for Graeme and if he's continuing to have arguments with Tina, it's inevitable he'll fall for Xin too. She didn't get a job that she'd interviewed for but, with the near departure of Craig Gazey, I recon she'll get one that will take them somewhere else, London perhaps, or Wales. I can picture Graeme in Wales, can't you? It'll facilitate them moving away together and he'll have discovered he's got feelings for her after all, which most of us already suspect.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

How do you solve a problem like Maria's

It's all been he-said-she-said at the factory. Maria has been moaning and bitching about Frank for weeks and Carla has been pandering to him, keeping him sweet to keep the work on. Carla is in a tough spot, do you side with your staff and let the factory go under? Hard call. She's now believing that Maria overreacted and Maria blames Carla for making her go to Frank's that night, all dressed up. I'm kind of with Maria there. Work on his crush, get the order, not really the way to do business.

She certainly didn't ask for his attentions but he also picked up what he thought were signals. You fancy someone, they come to your house dressed in a sexy little number and share a few drinks. You might think you have a chance and move in. But no means no and he shouldn't have tried again. Frank just thinks he tried it on and got knocked back. Would he have raped her? I don't think so but obviously Maria didn't know that.

What Would Carla Do? If Carla had been in the same position, I think she'd have snogged him but manage to extricate herself before going further, leading Frank along and charming him until he thought that it was his idea to "wait". I don't really think Carla is all that savvy a business woman, like she thinks she is anyway. She never thought much of Maria in the past, why would she hire her? Maria might have been ok as a regular Assistant, much like Rosie was. Handle the phones, do some computer work, answer the mail, send out the bills. But handling a client? On her first day? Carla is as much to blame for the situation as Frank is!

Did Maria overreact? If you put yourself in her shoes, no she didn't. I think she's right in going to the police based on how she saw the situation but she should have gone straight away, not weeks later. Now the police dodn't see it her way and unfortunately, that's probably right. Frank certainly  wouldn't get convicted for attempted rape though possibly sexual assault.

These things can be very hard to prove in a court when you're a woman if there's no actual evidence...torn clothing or bruises and the like. The fact that she's kept it secret from most people rather than going straight to the police that same night would go against her too. Maria's not wrong for feeling the way she did. Frank should have taken the first No for an answer. No excuses. But I also think Maria overreacted a bit after all was said, done and apologized for. I do think Frank was genuine in his apology, realized he'd crossed the line and regretted it.

Where should Maria go now? Well, not back to the factory, that's for sure. Maybe Audrey (and David) will take her back at the salon. Maybe she can work with Peter now that John's freaked out and ran for the hills. Maybe something new? What do you think?

Friday, 22 April 2011

Nodding to Coronation Street history

We are being treated with another nod to the great history of this great show that we all love. Another character from the distant past is returning, played by the same actor and it's a wonderful thing! Everyone knows the name of Elsie Tanner and everyone remembers or remembers hearing about her wild child, Dennis.

Dennis Tanner, when we met him in episode one, was only a few weeks out of Borstal, a juvenile prison. He was a young man that had got into trouble. He wore his hair a little long, liked a leather jacket and had a slight air of danger about him but he was a pussycat really. He had big dreams and not always the means to make them happen successfully. He was the often the bane of his mother's life but everyone seemed to like the scallywag anyway.

There was always a rivalry between Dennis and neighbour Ken Barlow. The boys would have grown up together though Dennis was a couple of years younger, more the age of David Barlow. Ken was studious and smart, and he went to university. No doubt Dennis felt that his mother compared him unfavourably to Kenneth and Dennis did seem to have a chip on his shoulder about it all. I think Ken pretty much ignored Dennis as much as possible and did seem to look down on him. But then, Ken looked down on pretty much everyone in his working class world, somewhere he never thought he really belonged but couldn't quite seem to leave.

Emily Bishop knew Dennis. She was older than him by 13 years and an "old maid" or spinster. Women were supposed to be married and raising a family by the time they were Emily's age but Emily was not fortunate enough to find that life for herself. These days, most young women are discouraged from marrying too young and encouraged to establish some sort of career for themselves first. Indeed, women can decide not to marry and are not thought to be strange. But those were different times.

Although Emily seemed to have a crush on Leonard Swindly and even proposed to him in the leap year of 1964, she realized neither of them truly loved each other and backed out. She seemed to regard Dennis as a naughty schoolboy but I also think she might have harboured a little crush on the "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Dennis, the type of feeling where you look at a younger man, sigh and wish you were 10 years younger that maybe, just maybe, they might notice you.

Dennis knew Rita Littlewood, too. She was a club singer and exotic dancer and he was into managing entertainers though wasn't her manager. She, too, was about 10 years older than him but in her initial appearance, seen above from 1964, was said to be just a friend. She returned in 1972 as a regular character, several years after Dennis left in 1968. We never really knew how well she knew him but they were comfortable with each other so likely were "mates".

Jump forward, now, to 2011. We're about to encounter Dennis Tanner again, still played by the original actor, Philip Lowrie. Over the years, we would hear the occaisional remark from his mother, Elsie. We know he was in jail at one point for scamming senior citizens. He left the show with a new bride, Jenny, but very likely that didn't last. Rita is set to encounter him and will remember him and apparently Norris is not going to like this intrusion into his safe little life one little bit.

That brings me to my next point.

It seems to me that Norris has turned into Percy Sugden. Norris has very high regard for his landlady and good friend, Emily and we know he's harboured romantic unrequited feelings for his coworker Rita. She gently turned down his marraige proposal several years ago. Any time either of them makes friends or becomes close to another man, Norris feels threatened just as Percy did with his place in Emily's life. He seems to think his place in their lives is about to be usurped and decides that the offending man is only trying to scam one of his friends and is not genuine. Emily's friendship with Ed Jackson from her church did turn out badly when he revealed he was the one that killed her beloved Ernest though was trying to repent for his sin. I wouldn't say Norris had anything to crow about though he did anyway but Emily was barely able to forgive Ed.

Norris' half brother, Ramsey was the biggest threat. Emily fell in love with him and this, on top of the resentment Norris already felt towards the man he felt contributed to their mother's death, had him apopletic with insecurity and rage. Ramsay was genuine in his feelings for Emily and that probably scared Norris even more.

Jed Stone, another long time ago character, landed a temporary bed with Emily, too and Norris was highly suspicious. It wasn't really a problem with Jed, though, it was his contact with Tony Gordon that caused the problems and brought trouble to the house of Bishop. Ray Langton took advantage of Mrs. Bishop's good nature (in Norris' opinion)

He was right about Richard Hillman, however. Richard's financial scheme to fund Emily money and gain control of her house after her death is not an uncommon or illegal practice but when he tried to kill her to get his hands on it, well that most certainly is!  He's even felt that way about Spider Nugent, Emily's nephew and wasn't too happy when young Graeme was offered lodgings with Emily nor did he wholly approve of Tina staying with Rita and was proved right the second time when it was revealed that Tina and Graeme had staged their breakup to engineer an immigration scam.

I hate it when Norris is proven right! ;)

Now, Dennis is returning. An old friend of both Rita and Emily. Are we taking bets that perennial landlady Emily will offer Dennis the spare room much as she did Jed Stone? Are we wondering if Charmer Dennis might turn his affections to flame haired Rita? Norris is sure to get a case of the wobblies and go around moaning portents of doom, like he does. I dislike Norris, who's a jumped up, nosy, annoying  little berk, but this storyline will bring the veteran actors into the forefront and that's never a bad thing. I'll be interested to see Ken lording it over Dennis or Dennis snarking at Ken for his perfect life and the fact that he's still living one door down from the house where he was born. Dennis might have fallen on rough times but he'll have put in a lot more adventure into his life, no doubt. I'm looking forward to hearing the fate of Elsie, long dead, I'm guessing, but having lived the rest of her life, happy in the Portuguese sun with Bill Gregory.

With 50 years of history to draw in, it's wonderful when they remark on a character long gone or an incident that happened in the past. I've really enjoyed the short lived returns of past characters like these and it's especially nice when they're played by the original actors (there's a great blog post here about recasting characters). The more this happens and is well received, maybe the more we'll see pop up on our screens. Corrie uses the sensational storylines and the younger set to try to attract new viewers, but they need to show the long time fans appreciation too, and this is just the ticket! Balance the high drama by featuring the veteran actors who can be just as popular with the younger set as the teens. It makes everyone happy!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Bye Bye Becky

Yes, another post about Becky McDonald and Katherine Kelly!

I've never been shy about my support for both the character and the actor. A lot of people think Becky is over used and pushed into every storyline. They don't like her histrionics and they don't like her "me me me" attitude. I think because I like Katherine Kelly so much, I don't notice that it's "All Becky All the time" like some people do. I'm just as glad because I enjoy watching the character.

Now we've heard that Katherine Kelly is leaving the show by the end of the year or early next year. I"m gutted that she's leaving but I'm also not really all that surprised. Becky's been a loose cannon at the best of times and she's been spiraling into self destruct mode more and more, especially since Kylie showed up with Max and she persuaded Steve to get the money together to pay Kylie for custody. You just knew that was going to come back and bite her in the ass and it has, several times already. She's now got her worst enemy, Tracy, keeping her and Steve in line with threats of revealing her secret. Becky is being backed into a corner.

She's been dragging Steve down more and more. He's ended up covering for her, lying for her, putting himself in debt for her, and he's close to losing the pub and Streetcars, all because of her. The war with Tracy looks to be going the same way that Karen's war with Tracy went. Tracy pushed and pushed until Karen went over the edge and it looks like she's going to do the same thing to Becky. I reckon this marraige is going to end the same way, with Steve getting fed up finally and throwing her out, wondering why this keeps happening to him! Well, if you *will* keep marrying the same type of woman, exciting though she might be, you're just asking for trouble.

I just hope Tracy doesn't get her claws into Steve. I really *really* don't want them to end up together, and I don't care if it's for Amy. It's wrong, wrong, wrong but that isn't going to make Tracy stop trying. For her, Steve is the prize.

How will Becky leave? What will be her end-story? It's apparently going to be put in motion soon and carry out through the rest of the year, so says ITV. They say Becky will lose Max when Social Services finds out she bought him from her sister. We don't know yet who grassed her but she's going to think it's Tracy and is going to go on a rampage against Tracy. (see above). It could also be David, Kylie or even Gail if she finds out about the payments. Dev and Sunita know, too, as does Lloyd, Liz and Jim. That's a lot of places for it to leak out.

It's not all over yet between Becky and Kylie, either. They're either cut each other to pieces or maybe they'll make their peace before Becky leaves. I have a feeling that Kylie and David will end up with Max and maybe she'll grow up a bit and settle down. Or not. But she might. A bit. Being a dad might be just what David needs. 

Oooh, I just had a thought! Another way Tracy could get the upper hand in Steve's life... Tracy still has that money that Blanche left her (presumably). I bet she's going to invest in the Rovers! I don't imagine she's got enough money to completely clear his debts but she's got enough to keep him from sinking and it gives her more of a hold! Watch this space! Don't you think it's a possibility?

I love speculating!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

T'ra Elizabeth.

She had a weep. She knew she wouldn't keep her promises to Jim. Lying alone in a cell, I think he knew it too, down deep.  She sends Steve and Becky to bed and listens to the echos of her past.

Then it's last orders and turn out the lights

The inevitable and traditional taxi, red shiny case in hand.

"Airport, please.... Go for it"

And off she goes. Good luck, Elizabeth!

Character study: Elizabeth Jane McDonald

Now that we're about to say goodbye to Liz McDonald, it's fitting that we look back on her life on Coronation Street.

We first met red headed Liz McDonald in 1989 when she and her family moved to Coronation Street. Her husband, Jim, had just got out of the army and was determined to give his loved ones a more stable family life and a fresh start. Liz and Jim were married very young when Liz got pregnant for twins at 16 and by all accounts they've always been passionate people, both in love and marital war. Jim had a violent temper but Liz had a fire to her too and their battles were legendary. Liz was a strong woman, having to be both father and mother to her two energetic tearaway boys because Jim was off on maneuvers and courses much of the time.

During their first few years on the show, It was never stated for a fact that he was physically abusive to her or the children. Later on, it was implied that he sometimes would get a bit physical, maybe a bit of pushing around, especially when he was drinking. Liz was definitely not beaten down and victimized by Jim, so I always believed that he did more shouting and wall-punching than knocking her or the children around. Liz has never said that Jim was an abuser, either and she was not afraid of him. She would stand up to him toe to toe if the situation called for it, especially if she was defending one of her chicks and wasn't above a roundhouse slap across the chops when he really messed up. Most of the time, Jim seemed to know just how far he could push her and mostly only crossed the line when he was roaring drunk.

She stoutly defended her lads but she also knew when they were to blame, as one or the other would often get into trouble. When they arrived, the lads broke Alf Roberts' shop window twice accidentally. They later started a pirate radio station that made fun of local teacher, "Captain" Kenny "carpet slippers" Barlow. As they got older, Steve emerged as the main cause of trouble, getting on the wrong side of the law more than once. The stress of this may have caused Liz to go into early labour when she was pregnant unexpectedly. The baby, wee Katie, was born too early and died. Liz still has moments of grief for her lost daughter.

In 1993, she was hired by Alec Gilroy to help with the food in the pub and often worked behind the bar as well. This eventually led to an offer to run a Newton and Ridley pub, the Queens. Liz was thrilled. Finally, something she could find of her own! She had spent years being wife and mother and now that Steve and Andy were grown, this was something that she could do and do well. But Jim's endless jealous rages spoiled it for her and after a blazing row, she threw him out and handled the pub on her own. On the rebound, she even had a fling with Des Barnes' brother, Colin. She had to give up the pub when Jim knocked ten bells out of a brewery executive but she eventually forgave Jim and they gave things another try. (In a little nod to history, this was actually revisited recently when Liz and Jim met with the manager, Richard Willmore and Betty Williams told Tina behind the bar about the time Jim gave him a thumping.)

It wasn't to last. On the way home from an army reunion, Jim discovered that Liz had had a brief affair years ago with his best mate, Johnny. In a drunken rage, he lashed out and hit her, leaving her on the side of the road at night. That was the end of their marraige. Spitefully, Liz even enhanced the bruise to mke it look worse and went out in public so people could see what he'd done. Liz struck out on her own, barely tolerating Jim when he would turn up, wanting to reconcile. She'd have none of it or his temper anymore. His jealousy and temper were dragging her down. The lads waivered their support between their parents but mainly disapproved of their father's antics, especially when he broke into the house in another rage. She had him arrested for that.

To be fair, Liz had done her fair share attracting attentions of other men and though she didn't do it deliberately while she was married, she also knew it would bait Jim, both before their split and after. She worked in the betting shop for awhile. Flirtations with Des Barnes and his boss, Sean Skinner caused Des to lose his job.

Liz always kept herself in shape and always dressed attractively. But as she got older, she's clearly decided that she is fighting advancing age with her hair and wardrobe choices. She continues to wear the same trendy hair do's that women in their early 20s sport and continues to wedge herself into short tight skirts and low cut tops.

At one point, she became involved with criminal Fraser Henderson who had been in prison with Steve. Fraser's interest in her then got Sean Skinner beaten up as a warning to leave Liz alone. She worked for Fraser later in his wine bar, and though knew he was on the shady side of the law, didn't seem to realize how deep he was in. When she did, she half heartedly passed on information to a police detective, Alan McKenna who was dating Fiona Middleton, another of Steve's on-again off-again girlfriends. It all blew up when Fraser skipped town and his henchman held Liz and Andy hostage. Never one to cower, Liz helped take him down with a lethal stiletto!

Jim had an accident that left him in a wheelchair for awhile and it seemed like Liz's sympathies were leaning his way. Jim even bought a ring to ask her to marry him again but by that time, Liz was having it off with Jim's physical therapist. She broke Jim's heart when she left town with Michael Wall. We didn't see her again until a few years later though we did hear that she and Steve's new wife, Karen, absolutely did not get on well. Too much alike, I would hazard to guess. I think Liz saw a lot of herself in Karen and it seems like Steve basically married a woman just like his mother!

In 2000, Steve was badly beaten by Jez Quigley. In retaliation, Jim beat Jez badly who then died of his injuries. Jim confessed and was sent to prison. Liz returned to see him and the old spark was still there. They remarried in prison and Liz vowed to wait for him. She worked in the Rovers for awhile but ended up leaving town again to move closer to the prison where Jim was transferred.

She popped up on our screens a couple of years after that, in a bar in Blackpool. Jim had been suspicious of her relationship with her boss and escaped prison to confront her. Liz was indeed having relations. You can't keep a passionate woman down for long, so it seemed. In the end, Liz decided to try to run off with her husband but they were thwarted when, on a boat to Ireland, they encountered the young Peacock family in trouble in a small boat. They rescued them and Jim was arrested on the wharf and sent packing back to the nick. Liz went to Brighton with Bet Lynch for a time.

She returned in 2004 for Karen and Steve's second wedding. There was a bit of upset because she was spending time with her new granddaughter and Karen didn't like that one little bit. It also caused a bit of tension between Liz and her old best mate, Deirdre who was little Amy's other grandmother. Liz worked at the Rovers for awhile until she came along the wrong side of Charlie Stubbs who was living with Shelley at the time. She left there for the Weatherfield Arms and roomed with Maria for awhile in the flat over the cab office since it was owned by Steve. She also tried to get Steve and Tracy together, for Amy's sake but Steve was having none of that until he thought it might get him custody.

Eventually, she divorced Jim again because his temper kept getting him into trouble in prison, and his sentence was extended. She was lonely and wanted to find someone new. She had a few disastrous dates but has landed with a musician, drummer Vernon Tomlin who is the complete opposite of Jim in temperment. Vernon is mild and peaceful, if a bit feckless. The only problem is, he's also a lot less passionate than Liz herself and Liz was often bored and less than respectful of Vernon who cared for her quite a bit.

She had a fling with a delivery man, Derek but finished that when his wife found out. Vernon wasn't too happy about it either but forgave her and she decided to accept his marraige proposal, thinking that at her age, she really did need to settle down in a stable relationship, even if it wasn't as full of fire as she was used to.

Finally, too, she had her dream job. Steve bought the Rovers from Fred Elliott and Liz was the one that got to have her name over the door. There was one hiccup when Jim was released from prison just before her wedding. He seemed to have changed. He seemed to have accepted that she moved on.

Liz always remained close to her lads, as they grew up and settled down. She has always been fiercely loyal and though does admit that they don't always make the smartest choices, will defend them with every last breath, even if she's smacking one of them up the earhole for doing something stupid (usually Steve!). She's never really got on with any of Steve's wives. Karen was probably the most like her but Becky is just over the top troube, in Liz's eyes. She maybe right. Time will tell.

But Big Jim still loved Liz and so he always would. When he tried to convince her that she shouldn't marry Vernon, Vernon caught him attempting to kiss Liz and pulled him away. Red rag... bull... Vernon got a bloody nose for his trouble and Liz ejected Jim from her life altogether. Although she still had doubts about marrying Vernon, she knew she would never reunite with Jim either. She nearly called off the wedding but after Vernon took an injury for her, knew she couldn't hurt him and married him. He discovered she was going to call it off and was very hurt but they seem to have made up their differences and they were happy for a short while.

Liz was yet again tempted by a handsome man and realized that Vernon really wasn't the man for her, even though good looking bookie Harry wasn't either. Liz has found herself with affable Lloyd for a time but in the end, felt he wasn't the right one for her, either. Rough and Ready Owen might have been the closest to being someone Liz could really fall for, since he's cut from much the same cloth as Big Jim but due to Bev Callard's absence, that died a quiet death as did a potential clash between Owen and a brief return by Jim.

Liz returned from Spain and walked into a financial crisis. Steve and Becky were backed into a corner,having got themselves way over their heads in debt because Becky's sister, Kylie, insisted on 20,000 pounds to let them have her little boy Max. Becky stole an additional 3000 from Dev and Sunita's safe, which was broken open after the tram crashed into the corner shop. Tracy, recently released from prison, found out about Max and was holding it against them, using it to keep Amy from Steve.

Jim came back into the picture. It looked very much like there was a reconciliation on the books. Jim suggested that Liz buy the pub off them but she was unable to raise the cash. They tried to get the brewery to buy it back and when that was unsuccessful, Jim tried to get Kevin Webster to invest some of his recent lottery win. No dice. In desperation to give his beloved Elizabeth her dream, Jim committed armed robbery, was caught and went back to prison. There is nothing left for Liz in Weatherfield now. She blames Becky for all the bad things that have brought her to this point and there's no pub, no Jim and no dream.

Spain beckons and she's answering the call once and for all.

Digital Spy has a good gallery of McDonald photos.
ITV has a nice good-bye gallery here.

The postitive aspects of Coronation Street

Coronation Street evokes strong feelings in it's fans. The show has been around for 50 years and for the most part, has been brilliant even when it's not been about a big dramatic story. These days it seems more about sensational stuff than every day stuff but they've pretty much got to do more of it to keep the increasingly fickle audience. People have so much more choice as to what to watch and the stakes are higher these days.

I know there's been a huge amount of negative reaction to recent storylines and a lot of people are saying that Coronation Street is barely worth watching anymore. I would disagree. Although I can be critical of the show, of plot holes, of dull or ill-thought out storylines, overall I still think Coronation Street is the best thing on tv and I wouldn't consider ceasing to watch, not in the least. If  a storyline or characters are not very interesting, I can skip over them. This too shall pass. You can't please everyone with every single storyline.

Maybe I'm just easy to please. For all the people that say Corrie is crap, they mostly stick with it because they know it can still be so good and they wait for it to get back to what they know it can be. For me, it does sometimes have periods where it's in a bit of a slump but it always comes back up again. Storylines don't always have to be sensational or dramatic but neither do they always have to be high comedy either. It's true it seems like they reuse plot lines but then, after 50 years, it must be difficult to come up with something completely new. Sometimes the best you can do is take something similar and put different aspects to it or tell it from a different point of view. What's wrong with that?

They have a really large cast and you've got to give everyone a turn so sometimes your not-favourite characters are featured and you probably won't like that storyline. My main pet peeves are when I have to assume background information, such as when Lloyd and Cheryl seemed to be a loved up couple when there really wasn't any warning or discussion between them to stop being just friends/roomies. Someone suggested that when he thought she was trapped in the Joinery in the crash, and got out safely, they realized their feelings for each other. That's probably true but there was nothing on screen about it before they were snogging and giggling together. I hate it when I double take and say "Wait... What???"

Plot holes do annoy me (see above) but it's the nature of the beast. Sometimes they have to speed up a storyline for various reasons. Hearing Vicky Binns speak here in Halifax the other night, she said that the affair between she and Kevin was meant to work up over a lot longer, starting from friends and seeing them get closer etc. But the storyline leaked and the decision was made to jump right into it since it was already out in the media. I think that probably happens a lot and forces their hand. She said they know there are leaks but they never really know who or how they get out.

Anyway, I just wanted to defend the show. I'm still enjoying it in spite of finding one or two storylines disappointing. There are others that provide the interest while waiting for the ones i don't like to finish.  There are always little moments where you laugh out loud and moments that echo your own every day life and conversations with friends that you find yourself nodding at the screen.

I do think it may be trying to find it's feet again and keep up to the high of the anniversary peak. Maybe they're trying a bit too hard but I also don't think it's as bad as a lot of people see it. They are certainly allowed to have their own opinions if they aren't enjoying the show but I wanted to put a little positivity out there, too. I love the characters and the actors playing them.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Corrie locations visited: Ryecroft Hall

There are often outside-the-studio locations used for Coronation Street. We often see weddings and funerals and christenings in a real church. We have also seen this registry office used a number of times for non-religious weddings.

The actual location is , near Salford. Last year when I was in Manchester, I took a coach tour around the area visiting various locations used in filming Coronation Street. Our sometimes blogger Mark Llewellin was the guide. He does many of these tours through the year and our group had booked him and had a great day out.

Anyway. I digress. I wanted to show you some screen shots from the most recent use of the hall for the double wedding of David and Kylie, Graeme and Xin and compare them with the photos I took inside and outside the building.

First the exterior:

Next: You may have noticed a stained glass window behind Rita and Norris. This is beside a staircase on the right.

This shot is down through the railings under the skylight

And my shot from the ground up where you can see the lovely plaster work

Finally from the back of the room looking towards the front

And a photo towards the same part of the room, showing, again, more plasterwork

Wedding Album

I'm bringing you a few photos from the festivities from last night's double wedding. The hen night was not without it's events, either. Kylie, as expected, got bladdered.

The mother-in-law from hell tried to pay off the bride to leave her son waiting at the altar. She checks back over her shoulder after handing Kylie 1000 pounds, will she take it and run?

No, she will not. She took her time about getting to the registry office on time but she made it and the two couples stood and swore they'd love, honour and ... well, maybe not obey, unless it means David obeying Kylie!

Graeme and Xin looking not quite so much the happy couple.  Xin managed to crack a bit of a nervous smile. Graeme was just nervous and sweating buckets, I'll bet! They really won't be able to pull this off, will they? Faced with the authorities interviewing them to verify their relationship, they'll crumble like last week's cheese!

David and Kylie's relationship, on the other hand, may not last long but it will never be boring!

Graeme and Xin might be signing their lives away, for sure! Contrast the two couples if you will. I would pay money to see these wedding photos!

How ironic was it that Tina caught the bouquet?

Graeme's tender speech about his soul mate was directed a tad to the left of the bride who almost looks like she really does believe his loving words. I think the bride is developing a bit of a crush on the groom, don't you?

But alas, Norris found out the truth and told Rita, who felt very betrayed and gave them both a full blast of her disappointment!

They felt the weight of their guilt, and rightly so!Nice shot of them in front of a target! The irony is not lost on me!

Meanwhile, Kylie is up on the tables again, sticking the knife into Gail's back by acting all sweetness and light and she even wants to call Gail 'Mum'. You can see how happy that makes Gail!

Awwwww! Mum and Daughter-in-law time will make such treasured memories!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Praising Paula Lane

Kylie Turner burst into Weatherfield like a hurricane, causing havoc by selling her little son Max to Becky and Steve and blackmailing them whenever she wants. It seems her main motivation for anything is money, whether scheming to get cash off Becks or urging Xin to pay Graeme to marry her (with a cut for Kylie, of course).

We have seen a few cracks in her flinty shell before. She does seem to have genuine feelings for Max but shoves them deep away because she doesn't think she's good enough to be a mum. She's young and selfish, she's tough and she's had to be a survivor.

This past week, we got a glimpse behind the shell when she described her childhood in horrifyingly brief but descriptive detail. An alcoholic mother and an abusive father who beat and molested her and Becky both, while their mother slept off another hangover, I should imagine. She was pregnant at a very young age and had to try to survive on the streets. No wonder Social Services took Max.

Then, later,  she took a deep breath and asked Becky to come to her wedding and was rejected. I think she really does want to make a go of the marraige even if it's partly because it gives her security. I do think she is, at least, infatuated with David and sees him as a kindred spirit. We know Gail is going to offer her cash to leave David at the altar. I think the odds are pretty good that she takes the money and marries him anyway and uses the payoff to blackmail Gail who won't want her precious son to know what she's done.

Kylie could have been another tearaway, another Becky with a wild temper and no self control but we're seeing a different sort of woman. Kylie is hard, at least on the outside, she's greedy because she has nothing, she has no respect for anyone because she's had none herself, she's out to feather her own nest because she wasn't really given much of one to grow up in. She could be a real nightmare to watch but she isn't because Paula Lane, who plays her, is a fantastic young actor who brings electricity to the screen whenever Kylie is on it.

I felt that way right from the start, too. Sometimes it takes awhile to warm up to a character but there's an amazing chemistry between Paula and everyone she's been in scenes with so far. She just sparks off them all and lights up the screen. Kylie isn't a likeable person, but she's most definitely one that I am loving to hate and that's all down to Paula's performance.

Kylie and David might be the couple from hell but I think they're a perfect match. Unfortunately, they're probably too much alike to go the distance but it will be fun watching them rock and roll through their and Gail's world for awhile.

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