Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Mini-bus slippery slope

Holy crap, Batman! I knew the minibus was going to crash (who didn't?) but wow, didn't it look convincing? I didn't doubt it would be great to watch, visually, after what they were able to pull off with the tram crash. Well, they actually did flip the bus with a stunt driver so it was real in that respect. This might not have been quite as dramatic as the tram crash but it still caught my breath. The Manchester Evening News has an article on the night shoots and some behind the scenes info here.

Here's a run down with lots of screen captures:

It's awards night and everyone's up for a party. But Beth gets drunk and misses the bus.

Never mind, Tracy Barlow bags her spot. In case you forgot, Tracy used to be an Underworld packer. I suppose the only reason she wanted to go was the free booze and drinks because I can't see any other reason she'd want to celebrate her arch enemy's success! Michelle is also an ex-employee and contributed significantly to the factory's success. She's also Carla's best mate so her presence made more sense.

We're all in the bus and off on a road trip! I'm surprised nobody started a round of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. I bet they would have if Beth had been there!

Oh dear, joyriders acting like pillocks on the road. (I absolutely detest that term "boy racers" and have nothing but contempt for it!). Steve is cut off and loses control of the vehicle which flips over onto the side of the road.

Which.... we discover, slopes down dangerously to a cliff. With no guard rail whatsoever and if I was in that van, I'd be suing the heck out of anyone from as many government agencies as possible. Maybe the bus might still have flipped but a good, strong guard rail might also have prevented it, bouncing the bus back onto the road, who knows?

Sinead had undone her seatbelt to retrieve a phone. Texting, kills, people! Ok, she's not dead but she's very badly injured. Everyone else is mainly bruised and battered. Great stunts here, with people hanging upside down inside the bus.

Steve is the first one to regain conciousness. Looking back, he probably thought he was in hell, in a bus full of his dead friends. He crept out, completely in shock.

Julie and Sean are next out of the bus and all they can see is a spaced out Steve who, after passing Julie his phone, gets up and walks off. He can't handle it. He's probably blaming himself but we know there was nothing he could have done. Walking away isn't going to look good on him but in his current state, this kind of shock very likely could break him completely.

Maddie and Julie are the heroes of the hour, taking charge and organizing everyone.

Everyone is milling about, helping to get the last few out of the bus, freaking out as it creaks and wobbles on the edge, comforting each other while Julie hollers at the Emergency operator to come now, when she's got a signal that is. Terrifying! Kirk is frantic. Everyone has regained consciousness except Sinead. They have to move her, they can't leave her in the bus so they must risk further injury to get her out.

Michelle has gone off to find Steve and find him she does, huddled in a pile of brush. He's sitting but he's bent over himself in an upright fetal position, clearly distressed.

But where's Carla? They all think she's been thrown clear or was the first one out. No, we can see she's wedged under a seat. Tracy's out of the bus and walking around to the edge and sees her through the window. Carla's trapped and whispers to her "Help me!" going by the look on Tracy's face, we're not sure if she's going to. Will she let her worst enemy go down with the ship? We have to wait for Wednesday to find out.

It's Wednesday, now. 
Tracy saves Carla's life. The others want to help but Tracy can feel the bus rocking while she's in there trying to help Carla out. You didn't think she'd let her go over the edge, did you? It might seem odd to you but think about it. She *saved Carla's life*. Carla now owes her. That, my friends, is the ultimate leverage. Tracy will be milking that for some time to come!

But Holy Crap, it was tense. Tracy pulled Carla out but then got caught herself, a seatbelt tangling around her boot! She nearly got dragged over the edge with the bus! That's Tracy's face after she managed to get out just in time
 .while watching the bus do this. Everyone is out and that last shift in weight is all the bus needs. It goes crashing over the gorge and down, smashing at the bottom. Empty, thank Heavens.

Out in the forest, we can hear the approaching sirens of the emergency vehicles as Steve is babbling about Lloyd's heart attack and Tina's death and none of it makes any sense to Michelle who can't talk Steve into getting up. But help finally arrives (they must have been told Steve went off and Michelle off to find him)

I love listening to the background music as it's often very much related to what's going on. In the pub, just as Beth is taking the call and the news then spreads about the accident, we can  hear Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer from the jukebox. They all rush to the hospital to find out what's happened to their loved ones.

For the passengers of the bus, mostly, everyone's ok, bruised and shocked and shaky, but ok.

One by one, they emerge to the arms of their family and loved ones. Julie is a mess, no, she's not ok, and clearly suffering from delayed shock. Sally and Maddy are surrounded by Tim and Sophie and even Kevin comes to make sure they're ok. Kal is determined never to let Alya cross the street without holding his hand ever again! (He did try to contact Gary but Gary's phone was left in the Rovers Gents' and Jason wasn't contactable either... Gary and Jason had gone into town). Beth hugs her new husband who's really worried about Sinead.  Steve is having a panic attack and he finally admits to Michelle  that he needs help and the penny drops and all the pieces now fit together. Steve has just hit bottom as hard as that empty bus did when it finally slid down the cliff and shattered on the quarry floor.

At the end, Sinead is finally awake but she's got a back injury. Kirk worries that they had to move her to get her out but there isn't anything else he could have done. She'd have gone over with the bus if they hadn't moved her. She is scared stiff and admits to Chesney that she can't feel her legs!

So we wait for the fallout (no pun intended) and the recovery. Looks like Sinead has an uphill battle in front of her.

Steve will probably face accusations of his friends for not helping get people out of the bus. I'm sure they realize down deep that the accident isn't his fault though he will blame himself anyway. Walking away while people are trapped, though. That's cold (in their eyes), something you do when you don't care about your friends. It might be something you do when you're in deep shock and in a shattered state of mind. It might take some time but they'll realize it eventually. Steve also has an uphill battle for his recovery, a very different road than Sinead will have.

I don't mind telling you, my heart was in my throat during the crash and later, while Tracy was getting Carla out. though I knew everyone would be rescued. It was a close call, though. Real edge-of-your seat stuff. Coronation Street really pulled off an exciting few shows this week. The star of the week, though, has to be Simon Gregson for his portrayal of Steve. I think it was the best stuff I've ever seen him do and he sure knocked it right out of the ballpark. (forgive me, what's the UK expression? "Back of the net" just doesn't seem enough here. )

Superb stuff. Top notch stunts and effects. All the actors nailed it, true to their individual characters and situations. Full marks, ITV, cast and crew.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Rest in Peace Anne Kirkbride

People die every day and it's always sad and heartbreaking. When someone well known/famous dies, the media goes over the top commemorating their career and it doesn't seem fair to all those people who pass away without mention.

When it's an actor that you've followed for a long time, admired and respected, that suddenly dies, people do pay attention. Tributes pour in and there's a lot of attention. It must be difficult and comforting as well for the loved ones left behind to see their beloved splashed all over the front pages of all the newspapers and on all the news shows but it must also be nice to read all the nice things about how that person brought a little joy into the lives of fans.

Anne Kirkbride played Deirdre Barlow for over 40 years on Coronation Street and she died last night, after a "short illness". They haven't said what that was and it doesn't really matter. She was an iconic character on the show. You would be if you were in it that long.

Deirdre was a quirky character and much loved. She was known for her huge glasses frames and her husky voice. She had a bad perm in the 80s and she had her share of fellas, ultimately going back and forth to Ken Barlow mostly.

The actress asked for a leave of absence last fall and it seemed odd that she would have timed it that she'd have missed some crucial storylines. I assumed it might be a bout of depression brought on by overwork but perhaps it was the illness that eventually killed her.

 They will write her death into the storyline (where she's currently away visiting a friend) but it will take a few months before we see it on screen. They film 6 - 8 weeks in advance and need lead time to devise the story and aftermath so i doubt we'll see anything until late spring earliest.

 Her character will be missed on the show, very much and of course the actor herself will be missed by her loved ones and friends.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Is Anna Windass channelling Vera Duckworth?

You know how Corrie fans and the media alike tend to refer to various characters as "the new...." whoever? For instance, several characters have been touted as new Elsie Tanners including Denise Osbourne and, currently, Carla Connor. A number of couples have been likened to Stan and Hilda Ogden or Jack and Vera Duckworth, especially if they're scrappy, with gossipy women and feckless fellas.

Eddie and Anna Windass were likened to Jack and Vera, as well, back when they first arrived. With talk of Blanche's ghost haunting the street and watching Anna turn on faithful Roy for his attack on Gary, I'm starting to see a lot of Vera coming out in Anna. Perhaps Vera's ghost is haunting Anna Windass? Seriously, though, Vera was a much loved character but if you think back, Vera could be a right nasty cow, taking against people she's known for years in an instant and thinking her husband, Jack or her son, Terry, could do not wrong, even when, deep down, she knows both of them were a screw up.

Sound familiar? I think the worst of Vera is living in Anna, especially these days. Anna and Vera both had big hearts but they could/can also turn on anyone indiscriminately, at the drop of a hat, especially if they're defending their loved ones, whether they deserve defending or not.  Vera was allowed to castigate poor, feckless Jack or shout at her beloved son but if anyone outside the doors of Number 9 did then it was war. That's what you do, right? Support your family through thick and thin. There might be a harsh word for your loved one that's disappointed you or even worse, betrayed you, but in public, it's us against the world.

I guess in some respects, that's a good thing. You want to know you can count on your family being there when you screw up. It's different if your loved ones are wearing blinders, ignoring the worst things you do, things you really aren't sorry for like many of the things Terry Duckworth has done over the ensuing years. Deirdre Barlow is famous for this where Tracy is concerned. She's calling Tracy on her stuff a bit more these days but if push came to shove, she'd back Tracy all the way. The difference is that Deirdre isn't as likely to turn on a friend, either. Gary isn't a man that does things out of malice, he just has a volatile temper and a very strong impulse gene.

Anna has gotten a vicious and spiteful attitude towards Roy since this whole incident happened. Be angry, but understand where Roy came from. Carla knows. Roy has punished himself far more than any long arm of the law could and Gary himself takes all the blame. What I want to see is Gary call his mother on the carpet for her lousy attitude.

When Anna's life crashes down around her (again), and it will, she'll expect Roy to be there for her as if nothing happened. The sad thing is, he will be because he's decent and Anna's got a very short memory.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Be afraid, Tony, be very afraid

Did you see the way Tracy took that yob out the other night? He sold off stolen goods, fancy countertop mixers, and when Tony told her they were stolen, somehow she got hold of the seller and told him she wanted her money back. He wasn't about to and she provoked him into roughing her up. If that had been Todd, he'd have given the man the keys to the kingdom and run away screaming but not our Tracy.

It pains me to admit it, but I had to admire her. She's not afraid of anyone much less a posturing little toerag like this guy. She's brought down bigger and badder men that that with a blunt instrument and she used another one, her knee, to reduce this one to a snivelling muppet. Tony set the whole thing up. as we discovered, and his plan was to be the hero, saving Tracy from a dire fate worse than death. But there she was, all red lippy and defiance flashing in her eye and his plan went south. You can't really rescue a dame that can hold her own in the ring and yours in her handbag.

Tony's just going to have to get his hands on her business some other way but if I was him, I'd rethink that plan. He might think he's not stupid enough to fall for any of her tricks but he doesn't know Tracy Barlow like we do. She may end up allowing him to own part of the business so that she doesn't go bankrupt and she may end up coercing him into her bed so that she's not cold at night, but I reckon Tracy will get the upper hand in the end, don't you?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Back to the 80s - Beth and Kirk's wedding

Everyone thinks Beth and Kirk are the best couple, right? We have all been waiting with bated breath to see what their wedding would look like. Posh was just not right for them and we all knew it was going to be fun and quirky, just like them, and it was!

But who knew the normally confident Kirk would get cold feet? Kirk is confident, normally. He is very comfortable in his own skin and knows who he is. He never seems to think badly of himself or have self esteem issues. Kirk is loyal, kind, honest, a hard worker, loves dogs, and if he's not the sharpest tool in the box, he makes up for it by sticking with the people he loves through thick and thin. It broke my heart, therefore, when Beth's gobby family (but you didn't think she'd have any other kind, did you?) decided he was not good enough for her. Beth stoutly defended him but it seemed to have cut Kirk to the quick. When he overheard Beth's relatives really slagging him off, I thought he was going to cry.

He expressed doubts to his friends, thought he wasn't good enough for her and was scared to pieces about having to dance and make a speech, not wanting to let her down. But describing how he felt about Beth to Chesney, like the sun just burst in his chest when he sees her, that right there is the kind of love you want someone to feel for you and who cares if he packs boxes for a living? You don't get that kind of love very often and you're damn lucky if you do. I loved how Chesney told him that he was his hero, with "Superman" stuck to his head. He really is a hero.

But, on the day of the wedding, he went walkabout.

Was he really convinced Beth would be better off without him? We were left at one point, at the registry office, wondering if Kirk would show up. As much as you might think, this was just contrived to add a bit of drama to the day and he'd show up suited, booted and bewigged with a goofy smile on his face, there was that niggling little doubt. Kirk doesn't have wobblers as a rule. And so he did, wanting to make Beth's day just that much more special by coming as Adam Ant, her favourite!

Here's a look at the wedding day:

Kirk doesn't want to get anything wrong and is convinced he's going to do it all wrong. The bridesmaids look awesome and Number 5 is poisonous with hairspray fumes.

 Julie's sweating over the cake, it's Mary to the rescue and they nearly overturn it on the street.

Here's the problem, Kirk walked out of the house and nobody knows where he is!

Now what? Bride's worst nightmare. She's so upset that she's insulted her future in-laws!

Oh never mind, he's here and he changed his costume from another Blues Brother to Beth's favourite, Adam Ant and all is forgiven.

Ooh and they even decorated the room! Brilliant! Though if they'd lost their slot, the lesbians from Levenshulme mightn't have been too keen.

The wedding was wonderful! Beth wrote her vows and of course Kirk just couldn't do it but spoke from the heart. Brief, simple and true and there wasn't a dry eye in the house, me included!

Kirk's parents were looking on, were they emotional or just horrified? I don't know but it doesn't matter, does it? A wedding that was as excellent and unique as I hoped for!

Meanwhile, what's up with Sally Webster? She and Tim got all hot and bothered at Carla and Peter's wedding and this time, they didn't even make it to the wedding! Tim must be way hotter in bed than Kevin!

Steve, meanwhile, is doing his bit for the 80s, fiddling with a real Rubik's cube and off with the fairies. Irresponsibly, Liz decided that she had to do some shopping before visiting Andy in Spain. Even more irresponsible, Michelle, even if she's ticked off at Steve, should be sacked by leaving Steve alone in the bar to handle a wedding reception while she goes on a date. She knows she can't be sacked if her name is over the door but if anyone's pushing Steve over the edge on this day, at least, it's her. Of course Steve can't cope and he just leaves the pub to the punters to it, free booze and he couldn't care less.

The first dance was supposed to be Lionel Ritchie's All Night Long but Beth's mam hit the wrong button, probably on purpose, and they had to make do with Push It!

Kirk's dad, Eric, was even getting jiggy with it!

It certainly got the audience jumping, including, surprisingly, Kirk's dad who was very flirtatious with Tracy Barlow!  The In-laws' gift is free tickets to Cypress where they live. Ok. Romantic honeymoon in a donkey sanctuary with the in-laws? Um....

Most of the reception went smoothly except Sinead's mother latched on to Dev who was flattered but Julie sizzled and fumed until she blew. BACK OFF, LADEH! Dev understood and they're ok with it all.

Kirk kept freezing up over doing a speech so Beth had to do some damage control. They had some "us" time in the back yard of the pub that Kirk decorated with lights and a romantic table for two, and made some very special vows to each other.

Julie caught the bouquet, much to Mary's chagrin.

Carla gave the couple a night in a very posh country hotel and Tyrone lent them his car, decorated, to get there. On getting in it, Beth promised Kirk the best ride ever! Kirk's reply? Why d'you think I married her!!!

Awwww this is the best Corrie wedding ever!

But there were tears, too. Tracy was reminded of her failed wedding.

Julie was upset after the fight with a love rival. Steve withdrew inside himself.

Sean was sad because Billy never showed up until the very end. Liz has finally started to realize that she really should be worried about Steve.

Maria still blowing hot and cold at Luke. She's angry he ended up at the reception, made it clear she didn't want anything serious and then asked him back to her empty flat for a shag. Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold. Make it stop please.


We wedding cake! Frankie Goes to Hollywood style
The Bride was done up like 80s Madonna and the Groom was Adam Ant and looked great!

and there were two other Madonnas too, and Beth did "get th'ump" even if she pretended she didn't. The best man and Beth's Craig are the Blues Brothers.

There are gaudy shell suits. Sean is an early Wham era George Michael but for some reason is toting a tennis racket, sure to confuse.

Dev is a Ghostbuster while Mary is Molly Ringwald in pink and Mary has imagined herself as Sheena Easton though Julie reckons she's trying to match Dev. A happy coincidence, I think, on Mary's part.

Eileen looked awesome as Boy George in her Frankie goes to Hollywood tshirt and matched the wedding cake!

And just a few more snaps

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