Daily Archives: December 7, 2010

Coronation Street: And there was a tram crash as well

OMITN has already covered this subject (and happy birthday, OMITN!  I’ll be popping out to Roy’s for a cake order later in your honour – do you fancy a vanilla slice or an eclair?), but I can’t resist chipping in with my thoughts about it as well.

For me what was so great about these two episodes was how brilliantly the scriptwriters had contrived to have three major, long-running plots all climaxing at the same time. There was the Molly/Tyrone/Kevin/Baby Jack story, which has been going on for over a year (I have to pause here to say, in among a host of brilliant performances last night Alan Halsall’s shone out); the Stape/Charlotte story (the moment when he threw the hammer at her was brilliant. Should I be ashamed to say there was cheering in my house?); and the Leanne/Nick/Peter saga. So many of the cast members were involved in these three stories, whether they knew it (Carla, Ken) or not (Fiz, the other Websters, Peter).

As if that wasn’t enough drama for one evening, the writers added in a missing child, and a slightly drunk pensioner balanced precariously on a stool trying to reach a box of chocs. This would have been plenty to get me chewing away at my fingernails and counting the minutes till the next episode, but then the wine bar goes and blows up, taking half the viaduct with it, which results in a tram crashing onto the cobbles below. Flippin’ ‘eck.

Coronation Street writers, not for the first time I take off my Percy Sugden cap and salute you.

The two big-budget, stunt-filled, high definition episodes sandwiched a showing of the first ever episode, from 1960. What a contrast. I haven’t seen this episode before, and what I found fascinating was the way key characters were introduced. We already had a good idea about what sort of woman “that Elsie Tanner” was before we saw her. Ken Barlow very soon showed that he was a snob even as a lad, and I loved the scene where the girlfriend who he thought was too good for Weatherfield was happy to hunker down on the front room carpet and help his brother change a tyre on his bike. Even in the first half hour, Corrie’s trademarks of strong characters, realistic speech, strong women and comedy were already established. And Ena Sharples’ first appearance was funnier than anything even Victoria Wood could have dreamed up.

And the rest of the week promises even more drama, with Molly and the baby trapped, Stape having a body to dispose of, and the whole thing sparking off post traumatic stress disorder for injured soldier Gary Windass. And several of the cast members will not be on the payroll this time next week. Who goes? It’s for the genius scriptwriters to know, and us to find out.

Posted by PLA


Filed under Coronation Street

Corrie 50th: It begins…

Way back in July, when Coronation Street announced that they were ‘celebrating’ their anniversary with a tram crash, I struggled to comprehend just how they would pull it off. It seemed such a long time away but over the months, the suspense rose and tonight reached fever pitch to an extent I’ve never experienced with any television event of my lifetime (22 on this very day I’ll have you know! Birthday cheques can be sent to…)

So the question as 7.30 came round tonight was…can Corrie live up to the hype? There was never any worry as far as I was concerned.

Tonight’s episodes of Coronation Street were, in my view, phenomenal. And I’m not saying that as a bloodthirsty nut eager to see a horde of people splattered by a tram. I mean the full 60 minutes.

There was a different feel to these episodes. From the opening scenes which showed Weatherfield as part of Manchester for the first time to the various nods to the audience with lines like: ‘Let’s hope we all get lucky tonight!’ it was a rollercoaster (or tram?) of pure suspense.

So much was going on. The gloriously loopy Charlotte upping her campaign and being hammered by John. The heartbreaking scenes as Tyrone’s world fell apart. The hen and stag parties and the Rita scenes that made you fear that this was the last conversation she would have with somebody. It was fast paced, it remained humorous at times, it held on to the community feel which Corrie is famed for (The Webster scenes were a particular highlight, as always) and it was exciting!

I was on the edge of my seat, terrified for the characters I know and love.

The only negative responses I have seen were one or two who were underwhelmed by the stunt but I think the real impact from these episodes came from the fact that these are well written, well known characters who have been on the Street up to half a century and they are being hit by a disaster. That is automatically more emotional than any Hollywood stunt which involves characters you’ve known for an hour.

I was rendered speechless as the episode drew to a close. The Joinery burst into flames in the midst of the crescendos of various plotlines and a tram was sent careering off of the viaduct and into the two shops. True, there were some questionable moments for the nitpickers among us such as the fact it was obvious to people with some ICT graphic knowledge that some of the footage was CGI (obviously…as if the show would actually blow up a real tram!) but the impact was not lessened. The scenes were frightening, harrowing and seriously impressive for a British soap.

I’m very worried for Our Rita and I can’t wait to tune in the rest of the week. Emotions will be running high as we bid farewell to some favourites. This, I feel, is only just the beginning…

Posted By Our Man In The North (another review of the episode here)

Leave a comment

Filed under Coronation Street