“This place doesn’t change a bit,” cooed Ken Barlow affectionately, as he disembarked from a (non-Streetcars!) taxi, cloaked in an American style white blazer, and smiling contently.
How wrong could he have been? Quite apart from the fact that the Street physically has changed due to the recent studio move, there has been a lot that has happened in his absence that Ken did not know about. By the end of Monday night’s double, he had ambled miserably and exhausted to bed without supper or wife, having finally been put in the full, sordid picture.
But while Ken ended up being unhappy with his welcome home, it was a treat for viewers who have felt something missing in the absence of Ken, the undisputed King of Coronation Street.
The scenes between Ken and Deirdre were classic Corrie, and comfortably reminiscent of their fiery relationship of yesteryear. Ken’s fury at Deirdre’s level of secret keeping and Deirdre’s devastation as the pressure she’s been under finally hit her allowed William Roache and Anne Kirkbride to do what they’ve been wanting to do for over a year; give stellar performances together once more.
Of course, Ken and Deirdre ham it up; when have the Barlows not been a tongue in cheek married couple? But Ken and Deirdre are as endeared to the British public almost as much as fish and chips and it was surprisingly comforting to see them reunited on screen. Continue reading
It’s been a distressing few weeks on Coronation Street lately. Between the hypocrite harlot that is Katy condemning Anna for a night of infidelity (yes, REALLY) the horror of whatever has happened to poor Gail’s hair recently (if only there were some hairdressers in the family), and Antony Cotton being handed a new contract (I kid, I kid…) there hasn’t been a lot to smile about recently.
Of course we have the equally traumatic events of Tina falling from a high balcony, grazing her knee and then further antagonising the man that caused her to fall. The result? Let’s just say that Rob’s temper combined with a metal bar led to blood and fake tan stains all over the cobbles.
Peter has hit the bottle again and is generally just going around being a nuisance, stressing Carla to the point of her collapsing in agony and tragically losing her baby. Being a prime suspect for Tina’s murder hasn’t helped lift her spirits much either, and spending a lot of time with mardy Michelle only exacerbates the gloom. Still, protective brother Rob is on hand to stand by her and he will do anything, ANYTHING, to help. Well, except for coming forward and admitting that he killed Tina, of course. Continue reading
“This is why no one watches Coronation Street,” PLA Jr will often (inaccurately) say. By “this,” she means that a lot of the characters are older people, some of them funny, frumpy, dowdy. The drama usually revolves around small-scale, human concerns.
There’s nobody frumpier and more dowdy than Roy and Hayley. Roy is eccentric, introverted and takes life almost painfully literally. Hayley struggled through a gender reassignment to become an odd little woman with a fine range of cardigans, a sly sense of humour and a heart as big as an ocean. They found each other, and the unit of “Roy and Hayley” turned into one of the most solid and realistic partnerships on TV.
And last night, the partnership ended when Hayley deliberately overdosed on her pain medication and slipped off the cast list in the hideously decorated bedroom that she’d happily shared with Roy all of those years. It was perfectly acted, obviously – Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson are both wonderful actors and they made sure that all of the complex, raw emotions of the situation were right there on their faces and in every tender touch. It was also beautifully written, with Hayley saying her goodbyes to the people close to her (with them unaware that it really was for the last time), ironing Roy’s best shirt so he’d look smart for her funeral. The final scene between Roy and Hayley was almost too painful to watch.
It was real and human, and this, in a nutshell, is why people watch Coronation Street.
They’re having more than their fair share of emotional turmoil in Coronation Street at the moment, with various strands of the aftermath of the Rovers Return fire still playing out (though in most respects you’d never have known there’d been a fire, they’ve so lovingly recreated the outdated ambience of the establishment). Eileen’s descent into sleep-deprived, alcohol-enhanced barminess due to her fear that firefighting boyfriend Paul might not come back from his next shift in one piece has been very amusing, not least when she got drunk with Deirdre Barlow and they had a discussion about Deirdre’s belts, which are purchased online apparently. “I can send you the link,” Deirdre offered. Eileen declined. No one wears a belt quite like Deirdre. Elsewhere, Dev is determined to prove that Sunita (or “Suniiiiiiiita-a-a-a-a!”) didn’t start the fire. His behaviour has become erratic even by his own erratic standards, which is making it easy for Karl, the real culprit, to discredit him as “losing it.”
There’s also been a side plot running about whether Marcus, who identifies himself as gay, can really be in love with Maria, who identifies herself as a hair stylist, while still being gay (Marcus, not Maria).
But the central storyline involves Tina McIntyre acting as a surrogate so that Izzy and Gary can have a baby. This was extremely well set up. Izzy, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, had a miscarriage and felt she couldn’t cope physically and emotionally with the trauma of trying to have another child, although she was desperate to be a mother. Up stepped Tina, who as well as being strapped for cash due to boyfriend Tommy’s stupidity, is quite a vulnerable person herself following the death of her father. Although she gives the impression of being very together and quite feisty, there’s something quite lost about her. She’s also radiantly beautiful. Continue reading
So the Rovers Return as we know it is no more. Gutted (or “ga’id” as they say on EastEnders) by a fire started by the ghastly Carl, which has claimed the life of expendable only-here-for-the-plot firefighter Toni and is presumably about to claim the life of Sunita (since Shobna Gulati is no longer working for Coronation Street). Presumably it’s also claimed the memorial picture of Betty Williams that used to hang on the wall, too.
The fire scenes were rather exciting and well done, and quite amusingly juxtaposed with the team of “stripping” firefighters over at Nick’s Bistro.
Actually, most of the heat generated from the fire episodes will have been from viewers cringing with embarrassment at the sight of the likes of Factory Owner Rob, Jason the Builder and Dr Carter gyrating toplessly (and cluelessly, in most cases). I was especially shocked by Dr Carter’s behaviour. I know he’s meant to be youngish and trendyish and has already been out with Tina McIntyre (who dumped him because he was boring), but would a GP really get involved in stripping in front of his patients? If there isn’t something in the Hippocratic Oath about that, there should be. I can only thank every deity you can name that my GP hasn’t thought of doing it. Ugh. Continue reading
Meerkats. They’re everywhere. And now they’re getting involved with Coronation Street as well. Compare the Market are taking over the sponsorship of Coronation Street, so those adorable, charming or just plain annoying (delete as applicable) critters will be popping up at either side of every segment of your favourite Manchester-based soap for the foreseeable future.
Watch below as they turn Eric Spear’s famous Corrie theme tune into a bit of a folksy toe-tapper.
Posted by PLA (more Coronation Street posts here)
Education’s not all it’s cracked up to be, is it? Michelle sent Our Ryan away to university thinking he would come back all educated and ready to earn an honest living and that, but what’s happened? His appearance has totally changed – indeed, one might even think he wasn’t the same person any more – and he’s been thrown out of college and has taken up a cocaine habit.
The morphing into a new actor bit is a considerable improvement. Our Ryan Mark 1 bore an unfortunate resemblance to a Playmobil character and he had the acting talents to match. Ryan Mark 2 (Sol Heras) is somewhat easier on the eye and has presumably been chosen because of that and because he can handle “adult” storylines.
On the subject of which, are the Street’s citizens all so naive that nobody noticed he kept disappearing to the toilet at regular intervals and always came back with rather more of a spring in his step than when he went in? The ghastly truth of his descent into drugs hell was revealed last night when Michelle caught him at it, hoovering white powder off a toilet seat in the Rovers. The Rovers! There’s been no Class A activity in there since Becky got framed by a corrupt copper. At least we can rely on Stella to keep her surfaces clean. Who knows what he’d have inhaled in the Flying Horse? It’s all such a shock it’s no wonder poor, innocent Kylie Platt practically had a fit of the vapours when he offered her a line. The former cage dancer has apparently never been exposed to such corruption and decadence.
Elsewhere, poor Izzy has had to contend with the double trouble of a miscarriage and all the men in her life being a tad intense. It can’t be easy to find Gary looming just inches from your face at any given time.
I expect Carl is starting to feel the same about Sunita, who is trying her hardest to ignore the fact that he’s obviously not that bothered about her or her Beautiful Children and is trying to pretend she has found True Love. Really, Sunita. We know Dev has his drawbacks – a tendency to yodel in times of high emotion, a hairstyle from the 70’s and a strange enthusiasm for golf, but these are not reasons to dump him in favour of a gambling-addicted Len Fairclough lookalike who’d rather be with another woman and/or in the bookies than be with you. Have some self respect, woman.
Posted by PLA (More Coronation Street here)