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


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2 responses to “Coronation Street: And there was a tram crash as well

  1. Rosemary

    It has all been a backdrop to our lives – a national treasure

    • Paul

      I don’t normally watch Corrie – but I made a point of looking at that first episode, and was amazed at the quality of it. It was like a little playlet, the way the contrasting families and their dynamics were introduced, along with the idea that the shop was just under new management, hence the need for the old shop-owner to explain to the incoming one who all her new neighbours and customers were.

      Also noticed that while ITV apparently have a sharp, cleaned-up image that reminds me of my black-and-white era Doctor Who DVDs, every mention of the anniversary in the news on ‘tother side showed an ancient, fuzzy copy – did ITV really not make the cleanup up version available to anyone else? Or was it just laziness on the part of the people putting those mentions together.

      PPS – loved the mention of Dot “wanting to go and watch Coronation Street” on the episode of EastEnders that went out on the actual day of the anniversary, December 9th – who knew that Dot Cotton was a big fan of Corrie?