Thursday 24 September 2015

#CorrieLive - Top Marks

Coronation Street broadcast live last night and there was a lot of publicity leading up to it. Fears, anticipation, and Old Trafford all factored in. (There was a football match less than a mile away, the media howled about hearing the noise from the crowds). The actors that were interviewed in various media outlets all expressed pretty much the same thing: I hope I'm not the one that messes up, I'm nervous but excited, too.

It would be different, broadcasting television live vs being on stage. For one thing, on a stage, you're in one small are, with actors coming on and off as per their cues. For another, in a stage production, you get to do the same lines over and over every night and each night's audience is a few hundred to maybe a few thousand, depending on the venue. Television broadcasts to millions. And there are multiple sets, indoors and outdoors. The technical logistics alone must be a nightmare. For the cast, the ones that have done stage work understand how it feels but even for them, the idea that one little mistake will be splashed all over the media the next day must be daunting.

I'm happy to say that the actors all hit the mark and nobody made a mistake, that I could tell. There were several storylines running, with the Platt vs Callum Logan one taking centre stage. The three regular cast members, Jack P. Shepherd, Tina O'Brien and Paula Lane, were superb, the best I've ever seen them. I was especially impressed by Tina because she's never really had high drama or heavy stuff to do. Teen pregnancy, yes, but even then her young age and inexperience showed. I never rated her over much as an actor but last night sure proved she's come a long way. Her confrontation with Callum was harrowing and her shock afterwards was dead on. (pun intended. Sorry).

Paula Lane and Jack P. Shepherd have put in powerhouse performances before and this one pushed the envelope even further. Top marks to them, I say. There was some petty media remarks about being able to see "Callum" breathing on the floor after Kylie killed him and one newspaper called Sean Ward's acting wooden. A. I don't care if someone sees an actor breathing even if their character is supposed to be dead. As long as it isn't great gasps, I'm sure the actor is doing their best to keep it minimumly obvious. Get a grip. and B. I didn't think his acting was wooden, though during this storyline it's pretty much always been a bit camp and over the top. I and most viewers never really bought into him being frightening. He's no Jez Quigley.

I really didn't expect Kylie to be the one that killed Callum though I have known for months that Callum would end up dead. It's just a soap rule, not any inside knowledge. Callum had to go. End of story. I thought perhaps Gemma, as the "expendable crew member", might be the one to do it. Now Kylie has killed someone and though it was to save Sarah, it's still manslaughter. She'll have to pay at some point.

One sub plot that was contrived and faintly ridiculous was the Dynamic Duo, Tony and Todd, stealing Callum's car that David had conveniently started and left running while they tried to get Callum's body out into the boot. T&T ran over to the car and Tony ran his keys over the hood. Good grief. My jaw dropped and I rubbed my eyes. No, he's not 12, he's a 50+ year old man. That was his revenge??? Todd, that bright little spark, had the idea to steal it and blow it up. Better than Tony's idea, but still not really that damaging to Callum himself. Too bad they didn't wait a few more minutes. Callum would have been in the back of the car and would have been blown up along with the vehicle. That would have been much more understandable.

It was manipulated so that David and Kylie had to put Callum's body down that manhole pit under Gail's new granny flat. You remember, that manhole that Tony conveniently found the other day? Veteran soap watchers know that sort of thing doesn't get mentioned for no reason. It was pretty obvious right then and there where the body would be buried.

I read a comment on the Coronation Street blog to the effect that Tony's fingerprints would be on the car, what's left of it, (and Todd's), and Tony would probably be filling in the manhole with concrete the next day. That kind of action could be misconstrued as guilt and Tony has good reason to want Callum gone after Callum nearly killed Jason. I wonder if Tony's going to get stitched up, leaving Kylie feeling even more guilty.

Ok, enough of the Platts.

Let's turn our attention to Roy. Monday, Cathy took Roy to Blackpool which has a lot of memories for him, and her too, from what she said. Still, she was willing to make new memories with him but he was clearly shutting down, not handling his own memories and grief too well. When she suggested a paddle in the water, he vanished. I did find that to be a major WTF moment. They were out in the middle of the beach. She turned her back for about a minute. There's no way Roy could have disappeared without a trace in that space of time. She'd see him walking away back to the road, surely. The sand didn't open up and swallow him whole.

Be that as it may, he went back to Weatherfield by bus and was so distraught he took it out on the bus driver and was driven to exclamation marks when he finally got a web chat agent, aiming to complain. I love that Carla was the one that put his world to rights. When he paddled in the water with Hayley before she died, Hayley wanted him to do it again someday, with someone else. When faced with the opportunity, as Carla said, he actually wanted to and it scared him. He wasn't able to face it so he fled. He is starting to have feelings for Cathy as she is for him and it's a major turning point for both of the, learning that they can move on with their lives with someone else, while never forgetting their beloved spouses.

I did feel bad for Cathy. It wasn't her fault that her choice of a surprise touched a still-raw nerve with Roy. She had no idea and didn't ask anyone else before she arranged it. She had good intentions and Roy knows that. At last they started to communicate and maybe this will be the start of something beautiful. It will be difficult to see Roy with someone else but I think Hayley would approve of Cathy. I hope it lasts but Melanie Hill is a popular actor. I guess it will depend on how long she plans to stay with the show.

In other news, Sally got her comeuppance for the kiss she had with Kevin. She and Anna have been sniping more than usual at each other over the past few shows and then, with Sally's sheets conveniently hanging out on the line to hide Anna who was in the Nazir back garden on a break from wedding planning, Sally and Sophie spoke about the kiss. Anna heard it all and Anna has always been one for being unable to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as that. She got drunk, Sally took one shot too many and the truth came tumbling out.

It *was* just a kiss and it's frustrating on one had that a relationship busts up over something that minor. That also happened with Chesney and Katy. He wouldn't forgive her so she ended up with Ryan anyway. In this case, the difference is that Sally was the instigator and Kevin is Tim's best mate. It's not just that your fiancee betrayed you, but your best friend broke his loyalty as well. I do hope they get back together eventually, though. Sally and Tim are Corrie gold.

There were also a few smaller moments. Craig got stood up on a date after dressing up very sharp. And Steve hiding away, drunk, unable to face saying goodbye to Lloyd was explained by Liz as probably related to his recent struggle with depression. Her worry for her son was evident while Lloyd comforted her. I always liked Liz and Lloyd as a couple when they were together. It was a nice scene, that.

Lastly, we say goodbye to Lloyd and Andrea, off to start a new life and family in Jersey. I never warmed up to her, I have to say. She was ok, I didn't dislike her, but I didn't find her all that interesting either. It never felt like she and Lloyd had that special chemistry. Lloyd will be missed. He was truly a nice guy. I always liked that Lloyd was able to show emotion, and even cry when it was called for. I like that he was confident enough to show his emotions rather than suppress them. He was funny, he was loyal, he was steady. I loved the friendship he and Steve and Eileen had together and that's a cornerstone of comedy that really will be lacking in the show.

Wow, a long blog post this time but there was a lot to say. I really enjoyed the live episode. Sure, there were a couple of things that clunked (Tony and Todd especially, and the Keystone Cops scrambling to get rid of Callum's body, fending off the neighbours several times) but I can't fault the actors or the production (aside from a few seconds of silence when the sound didn't kick in straight away). There was romance, excitement and heartbreak.

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