Tuesday 24 January 2012

Bye Bye Becky, Goodbye

Becky Granger McDonald flew out of Weatherfield and Manchester last night in high style after wreaking havoc on the lives of Tracy and Steve McDonald. She cleared her name of the wrongful charges that she pushed Tracy down a flight of stairs causing a miscarraige and it looks like she's found love and a family of her own. Perfect!

Becky has always been one of my favourite characters. Not from day one, when she was pretty much a lowlife, making Kelly Crabtree's life hell. She left for awhile and when they brought her back, they put her under the wing of Roy and Hayley Cropper and it was golden from then on.

Becky came from a very rough  home life filled with neglect, abuse, years in and out of care and then survived on the streets as best she could. She was fierce and wild, drinking, drugs, sex, you name it. She was in and out of prison but she stood up for herself, too, when she was wronged. That big bald police officer discovered that to his career's expense. She had no confidence in herself and had no idea what love was or how anyone could ever love her when she hated herself.

Little by little, with the faith that Roy and Hayley found in her, she began to believe in herself. It took a long time, though. She had lots of setbacks and when she felt threatened, she would lash out violently. Time and again, though, Roy and Hayley would gently point her in the right direction. Little by Little she made a life for herself but it never seemed to be enough.

She nearly married Jason Grimshaw and it seemed like they would be a pretty good couple. But then came Steve McDonald, her white knight. He lied for her in court, saving her from another stint of time inside even though she really did do the crime. It ruined his relationship with Michelle but it turns out, he found himself massively attracted to this loose cannon, good time girl after the misery that was Michelle's life was dragging him down. It's not surprise, Becky was just like his last wife, Karen and not that far from his sparky mother, Liz. Seems like Steve often gravitates to the same type of woman.

Becky even managed to make some friends over the years, something else she didn't really have before. Not real, true friends. And the friends she did make, she defended with staunch loyalty. Roy and Hayley became like parents to her and she would brook no criticism of them. She would even face down Roy's mother and if anyone dared hurt Hayles, watch out. Hayley discovered she'd fathered a son when she was Harold but the son, Christian, didn't want to know her and he'd pushed her and bruised her. Becky returned the punishment in spades.

Claire Peacock, not the sort of person you would think Becky would have anything in common with at all, turned out to be a really good mate, especially when Becky first got pregnant and Claire was fully supportive when Becky herself miscarried. Becky was one of the instigators in helping Claire skip the country so she wouldn't be arrested for assault on Tracy Barlow (it was accidental but Tracy was pressing charges anyway).

Even her on again off again war with Liz had it's kind and gentle moments. Liz was there for Becky when she miscarried and Becky was kind to Liz after Jim was arrested for bank robbery. It was tenuous, but Becky knew when to back off and be giving. Becky and her sister Kylie even found a peace between them, putting their painful past behind them.

Steve really seemed to be exactly what Becky needed. His faith and love really made Becky bloom. She drove him mad, sometimes, because she still had that self destructive button that would go off when least expected, and it took them two tries to get wed but they made it in the end. Love's young dream didn't last long. The wars between Becky and Steve's mother, Liz, sparked off. The mother of Steve's daughter, Tracy, though she was in prison at first, caused as much trouble as she could and even more when she was let out. Becky suffered two miscarraiges and the subsequent adoption quest ended badly when her long lost sister bitterly gave a horrid reference.

Oh yes, Kylie, her sister came into the picture with a dear little boy Max who would prove to be Becky and Steve's final undoing. Becky, once she got her head around being a mother, was heartbroken that she couldn't carry a child and latched onto little Max, nominally to save him from being raised in care since Kylie had not been able to cope herself. She fell in love with the wee boy and did anything and everything she could to keep him, including giving in to Kylie's demands for money even though it put Steve in deep debt, even though Steve's father Jim decided to rob a bank to get the money to buy the pub which would help Steve out of that debt and ended up in jail, even though Becky stole cash from the Alahan's in the aftermath and wreckage from the tram crash to pay Kylie off one more time.

With Kylie's new husband David Platt making noises about wanting Max back for Kylie, and Tracy causing as much trouble as she could, blackmailing them because she knew about the payments, Steve broke. He called Social Services, thinking the truth, once out, would set them free and when they saw Max was being well cared for, nothing would change. How wrong could he be. When Becky lost Max to the Social, she lashed out with a sledghammer, thinking Tracy Barlow was behind the call. Finding out it was her husband? That was the end. The ultimate betrayal.

After that, even though both sides softened eventually, both sides apologized (at different times), they just couldn't make their way back together, especially once Steve turned to Tracy for temporary comfort and ended up getting her pregnant, another knife in Becky's heart.

Tracy miscarried but as "luck" would have it, she fell down the stairs at Becky's flat just a few days later, feeling wobbly and dizzy after an argument. She took full advantage, blamed Becky and Steve believed her. More betrayal. Becky couldn't understand how Steve could believe it. Everyone else believed it too, and that had more to do with her volatile past than their love for the tragic victim. It must have been a difficult choice, who to believe? Becky, who had caused a lot of damage and broken a few hearts, or a convicted liar and bitch?

Tracy, though she's a nightmare, was a lifelong resident of the community where Becky is not and it seemed most of the neighbours closed rants. Most, but not all. Kyle and Becky had made up their differences and with a little help from her friends, and Tracy's enemies, Becky cleared her name and threw Tracy's lies in Steve's face after he married Tracy.

Becky leaves Weatherfield in triumph, looking to the stars in hope for a bright future and I hope she gets it. She seems to know she's worthy of being loved, she has a lot more confidence in herself these days though you know the party girl is still close to the surface. Getting to be a step-mom to little Billy, son of the gorgeous Danny is going to be the making of her. She'll get to be a mom, something she wants with all her heart. Billy won't fill the Max-shaped hole but she knows Max is going to be ok with his mum and David now and Billy will make his own space in her heart as will delicious Danny.

Becky had to leave with her head up. I would have hated for her to leave with her name besmirched, her head hung low, without hope, tail between her legs. Katherine Kelly, the wonderful Katherine Kelly who played Becky, wanted to leave Coronation Street. She's spoken about how they would probably not have split up Steve and Becky if she hadn't wanted to go but she gave them plenty of notice to work up a good storyline, rather than slap something together half-hazardly.

Katherine Kelly is an amazing actress and she'll go far. She had chemistry with everyone she worked with and, for me, made Becky entirely believable. I know some people gave her stick for overacting, and they didn't like that Becky was always screeching and going off the rails, loud and violently, but I always felt that was entirely within character for Becky. Everyone has their own opinion but my place on Team Becky has never wavered.


maggie muggins said...

I can't think a thing to add, Tvor. This is a wonderful history of Becky, really getting to the heart of her voyage of self-discovery as a character. I think part of her charm is that she can be so warm and yet so horrible, both on the same day at times. I love the photo you've chosen, Steve just sweetly happy and Becks in a cloud of lerve.

I can hardly recall her time with Jason!

Tvor said...

Thanks maggie! While i did think, at the time, that she and Jason were suited, that was true for the character she was at the time. With Steve, though, I thought she bloomed. It's too bad that when she found out she couldn't have kids, that seemed to be the beginning of the end. It was a real knockback for her. She really felt a failure.

Anonymous said...

Nice work TVOR. Well written article!

Tvor said...

Thank you!

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