Coronation Street: Review of the Year

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS

Here we are at the end of another year. The mince pies have been reduced to crumbs, the Christmas tree has turned from a symbol of festivity to a reminder of work to be done and we’re still recovering from the revelation that it wasn’t a good idea to let Aunty Brenda at the bottle of port.

But no matter how eventful our years have been, we can take comfort in the fact that we haven’t endured it on Coronation Street, whose residents have had a typically traumatic twelve months. With gambling addictions, rogue charity workers, cross dressers, hapless serial killers, car crashes, UFOs, infernos, fake weddings, heads stuck in railings, sledgehammer attacks, stolen fish, brutal rapes, miscarriages, robberies, jailings, on set births,  jiltings, affairs, babies left at photoshoots, lesbian love triangles, homelessness, alcoholism, dodgy car-lifts, clingy policewomen, brain tumours, salon wars, pet deaths, drug dealers locked in fridges, rejected proposals, tram crash memorials, sackings, meltdowns and Dev, it’s been a horrific time on Coronation Street.  But, as always the disasters have been lovingly interspersed with kitchen sink drama, unbeatable comedy, warm character driven moments and a real community feel. Here is a tongue in cheek reflection of 2011 on the cobbles.

We left 2010 with a bang as a rather large, screeching tram landed on the Street and failed, once again, to kill Rita. After an extremely melodramatic week of event television, the start of 2011 was destined to be low key and more reflective of true life…so we started the year with an attempted murder on the Barlow doorstep. As Coronation Street continued it’s unfaltering bid to better Eastenders (forgetting that it always has been better), a whodunit mystery unfolded among the shrill cries of Auld Lang Syne. Nobody was very surprised when Tracy Barlow was left in a pool of blood a mere week after her return, considering she was outdoing even herself in the pantomime villainy.

Claire Peacock, widow of minced butcher Ashley, was responsible for the frenzied attack (or light push as it later transpired) and, Tracy was determined that justice would be done. After the inevitable framing of Becky, the fuzz were all over Coronation Street like Peter Barlow is over an off licence. The community pulled the wool over the soap police (admittedly not a difficult thing to do as events later in the year will further prove) and Claire and her kids made a bid for freedom, leaving Evil Tracy snarling ‘Curses! Next time you’ll be mine!!’

So after the most normal couple in soap were given the most sensational exits possible courtesy of flying trains, attempted murders and criminal getaways (they should have moved to France!), what was in store for the remaining residents of Coronation Street? January continued quietly with another death, as Joy Fishwick suffered a heart attack after John Stape confessed to his life of crime. This was a story which reached the point of brilliance…and then just went that little bit too far in the end. I loved the wacky adventures of accidental killer John Stape, with particular highlights being the equally loopy Charlotte Hoyle and the introduction of abnormal headteacher Bryan, but there came a point where enjoyable black comedy became a little bit too silly.

Along came February and Peter Barlow was in the know about Leanne’s affair with the inexplicable woman magnet Nick Tilsley. Rather than calling off the wedding, however, Peter opted for a more traditional soap revenge…a public jilting at the altar. The audience delighted in watching Nick squirm as Peter wielded a crowbar at him in the destroyed Joinery, with the only downside being that he didn’t wield it hard enough.  But, infamous for his reckless changes of heart, it took Peter just a couple of days to have a change of heart and take Leanne back. It would only be a matter of months before he would have yet another change of heart…he changes his mind like Sophie Webster changes her sexuality.

Speaking of which, Sophie ended up where every person who’s downed a bottle of cheap cider ends up…atop a church roof. Having reached a stage where she was worried about Sian’s commitment to her, Sophie did the only sensible thing and fell from the church roof. It was a somewhat pointless plot development, added in I think because it had been several week since Corrie’s last ratings grabbing stunt.

Fiz was almost as occupied as her serial killer husband. After it all got a bit too much for John and he had a little breakdown (bless his heart, which is in the right place as we were constantly reminded), Fiz was left holding the still somewhat ill baby. And, as money troubles grew and Chesney’s market stall was surprisingly unable to hold up an entire family, Fiz resorted to sneakily accepting the inheritance of the deceased Joy. I can’t imagine how that could come back and bite her on the backside…

To polish off March, we had more drama as if a mental breakdown and a church dive weren’t enough. As Becky lost ‘Maxie’, she blamed Kylie and went round to Gailie’s to attack her sister. David got in the way and got a large punch to the chops…to which I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to cheer. And the sleazy guy from the Bill made a move on Maria, and didn’t want to take no for an answer. That Frank’s a bad un, you mark my words. The signs were there…pity that everyone on Corrie is too blind to see that a dangerous sex pest is in their midst, along with an extremely obvious serial killer and a worryingly eccentric corner shop owner.

April is where things started to slip a little bit. We had the year’s most uninspiring story as Graeme Proctor fell for Xin Someone as he prepared to marry her to let her stay in the country. Norris knew the score, but for  the first and last time in his life, he didn’t actually drop them in it. Mad Mary did however, and they were left some explaining to do. Graeme and Xin celebrated wriggling out of it by having an affair and breaking Tina’s heart. But Tina was the only one to really care…I certainly didn’t.

Sean went to London in an episode packed with pointless cameos from past characters. Despite a rushed and admittedly abysmal episode, it heralded the return of Marcus, who makes mopey Sean slightly less irritating.

And then Jim McDonald returned for a bit, robbed a bank and went back to jail. This was getting so  tiresome even to Liz  that she packed up her stuff and moved away for good. And who can really blame her? Jim is in and out of jail like Marc was in and out of Audrey’s dressing table.

As May dawned, the past started to catch up with John and he reacted in the only way that he knew how…by keeping people hostage. Fiz soon knew the score however and was so horrified that she ran out in front of a van. As she lay in hospital, John cunningly dressed up as a doctor and took baby Hope onto the hospital roof. Sophie Webster could have warned him that walking on to high roofs in an emotional state doesn’t tend to end well and sure enough, within minutes, he was sprawled in a heap on the ground below. Minutes later, however, he was up and about again and Terminator Stape had disappeared into the night. He’ll Be Back…

Not content with other residents stealing the limelight, Becky decided to smash through Deirdre’s house with a sledgehammer as she blamed Tracy for Max being taken back by social services. In a very passable impression of Jack Nicholson from the Shining, Becky’s rampage left a trail of destruction. But, with Ken being the repairman that he is, there was no trace of damage the next day so all’s well that ends well. This finally heralded the end of Becky and Steve once and for all, leaving Tracy primed to close in on the balding, chubby, gurning, clown like taxi firm owner. We can see why women resort to hammer attacks and miscarriage lies to snare him…

There was a late entry in the ‘Who can be at the centre of the most destruction?’ contest as Kevin’s legs were crushed by a car lift which Tyrone had tampered with. But this couldn’t compare with attic dwelling serial killers falling off of hospital roofs or intermittently psychotic wannabe mums smashing up living rooms and besides Kev had just won it big on the scratchcard so he was due some bad luck. He thought that flashing the cash might win Sally back but she was having designs on the boring Jeff.  You know, Jeff? The character that set our screens on fire as if he were Mad Maya (Yeah, I do poetry as well as reviews)

Summer dawned and June and July centred on the arrival of Stella Price, played by Michelle Collins who had played some bird from Eastenders (not that that casting got much press coverage) It became quickly clear that the new bar manager was holding a secret and she took a great interest in Leanne, even rescuing her from an armed robber at the bookies (and no, it wasn’t Jim McDonald) By July, Stella had uttered the words that she was Leanne’s mum…making us imagine the fact that Cindy Beale had once slept with Les Battersby. Leanne wasn’t amused by this development and she wasn’t about to let Stella into her life. It only took a trip down the stairs and the loss of her baby to finally allow Leanne to let Stella through her defences. With all the excitement of Stella’s arrival, it could be easy to forget that she came with Karl and Eva…and to be honest it still is as they haven’t done a great deal since either.

Meanwhile, Fiz was off on her summer holidays, paid for by the taxpayer as she lounged in jail and got into scraps with drug dealers. It gave Fiz an excuse to whine and cry more than usual, which is just what we needed. Tyrone, Kirk, Tommy and Gary (aka the oafs of Weatherfield) fancied themselves as vigilantes in August and they kidnapped a relative of the drug dealer giving Fiz hassle. They cunningly locked him in a fridge in the butcher shop but luckily, the heroic Norris released him and was jailed for the night for his troubles. So that all worked out well then…

Carla was getting on very well with Frank but there was still a yearning for Peter, which meant only a half hearted acceptance of a marriage proposal (after rejecting him initially in front of everyone) Frank excitedly started planning for the wedding that Carla didn’t want and Peter continued to put off trying for another baby with Leanne.

Meanwhile, wife beating builder Chris started getting a pain in the head (other than Maria) and was told that he had a brain tumour. This caused him to throw over a table and move back in with drippy Cheryl, much to Lloyd’s dismay.

As the nights got darker in September, so did the storylines as a drunk Carla lost control of her car and ploughed into both Stella and the bookies. Admirable Frank decided to take the rap for Carla but he didn’t remain admirable for long. When Carla called off the wedding at the last minute, Frank snapped and subjected her to a brutal sexual attack. Alison King gave a superb performance as Carla attempted to come to terms with the horror. Frank was arrested but promptly bailed and even a violent attack from Peter didn’t wipe the smug confidence from his face. The evil businessman went on to take his half of the factory and send in his battleaxe mother to put pressure on Carla. It all became too much and Carla took an overdose but thankfully survived.

Stella came round and nearly losing her mum caused Leanne to open to her even more. But Leanne had other worries to contend with as Peter’s support for Carla became too much and she jumped to the conclusion that Peter was cheating on her. She was wrong…but not for long (there’s that poetry again)

Speaking of evil, Tracy returned from a welcome hiatus with the news that she was pregnant with Steve’s twins. Naturally this didn’t go down too well with Becky, particularly when Steve took the wise move of reuniting with the acclaimed liar and murderer. Tracy was jealous from the off, constantly wondering where Steve was popping out to and whether he still had feelings for Becky and she eyed up a blunt instrument on the side table each time he peed her off. Mind you, he could do with a blow to the head to knock some sense into him.

While all of this misery was underway, Anna had reason to smile as she embarked on a relationship with Owen. But he soon became more concerned with digging a fish pond and cutting off salon electricity.

In October, the John Stape drama FINALLY reached some sort of conclusion, but not before a final kidnap. His first abduction of Rosie had gone so well that he decided to do it again and he talked her through the witness statement she was going to say at Fiz’s trial to get her off the hook. But, disaster soon struck as he transported Rosie and lost control of the car. John was rushed to hospital where,        with moments to live, he said goodbye to Fiz and Hope, and confessed to his crimes (the abridged version of course…he’d have needed a week to live to explain the whole thing)

With Fiz home and a baby on the way, things were looking up for Chesney, despite his growing debt. But he was soon forced to say goodbye to his best friend. Not Kirk, but the more intelligent one, Schmeichal. Schmeichal was getting on in years and Chesney struggled to accept that he was heading to mutt heaven where he would enjoy Pedigree Chum in abundance and as many tails to chase as he could ever wish for.

In other November news, Ciaran returned, gambled away some money and left again. ‘Nuff said on that one really.

And finally we come to December, where the inevitable happened and Peter Barlow remembered the fun of his bigamy days and embarked on a secret affair with Carla, who really should have more pride. As his alcoholism teased him again and Carla continued to suffer in the aftermath of her rape, the couple sought comfort in eachother but what started off as an almost understanding buckle into temptation soon became a sneaky and seedy affair. It won’t be long before it comes undone; sleuth-like Stella is already suspicious that Peter has given a necklace to the wrong woman and palmed Leanne off with a mere Sony Ericsson.

Tracy was up to her old tricks as Becky and Steve grew close again. Facing the fact that Steve doesn’t truly love her (because of the fact that she’s not really a loveable person), Tracy chased them to a hotel, the stress of which caused her to miscarry the twins. And only Tracy Barlow can use her own miscarriage as a weapon against someone else. After falling down the stairs in Becky’s flat, Tracy spread the rumour that Becky had pushed her and caused the miscarriage. This led Becky into a pit of despair, to a point where her house caught fire and she almost died, but fireman/bistro owner Nick leapt through the flames to the rescue. The brush with death got Becky’s fighting spirit up again…and she vowed not to let Tracy get away with her deceit.

There was also the traditional Christmas birth as Katy went into labour whilst playing the virgin Mary. She took the role so seriously that she even popped out a real baby, while Chesney (dressed as an elf naturally) looked on proudly.

And also the less than traditional lesbian wedding took place, without a great deal of success. Isn’t it annoying when Sally is right? Apparantely Sophie and Sian aren’t mature enough to last and Sian took a one way ticket out of Weatherfield and Sophie’s life. And an obsessive internet fanbase comprised of romantic girls and thrilled old men were reduced to inconsolable tears. Never mind guys. It’s not real…*sniff*

But that’s not all that’s been going on in our favourite fictional Street (besides Quality that is) over the year. We’ve had hot headed Gary going a bit clingy on Izzy to the point where he almost did a John Stape and kept her prisoner. Eileen has also had a turbulent year. She started it off by trying to filter money out of Owen and ended it as the third wheel in the marriage of Paul and his Alzheimers suffering wife Lesley. Ken’s grandson turned up again but turned out to be a bit of a bad egg. After stealing money from a charity soup kitchen, he gave Ken a bump on the noggin and fled.

Roy Cropper’s acid tongued mother, Sylvia, turned up and straight away rubbed locals up the wrong way by charging them to use the toilet, upping the prices of a bacon and sausage bap and by trying to replace the irreplaceable Blanche Hunt. Julie found romance with Bryan and the pair have enjoyed drunken restaurant rows, passion under the stars and a plastic UFO attack courtesy of Tommy Duckworth. There was romance in the air for Tyrone too but there seems to be something a bit amiss with that Kirsty. Whether it’s the fact that she seems to appear every time Tyrone so much as blinks at another female or the fact that she waged a one woman vendetta against Rita’s car, she doesn’t seem like she will provide Tyrone with the happy ever after that he deserves. She was even threatened by Tina walking round in a towel…we can’t think why, no man could ever be tempted by that, surely. We lost the loudmouth Janice as she set off for a new life with former bin emptying bloke Trev whilst we gained the charming Dennis Tanner, who last appeared as Rita’s flame from the 60s. It looks like the sparks of that flame are starting to fly again…

What a year it’s been! But what might 2012 have in store for our favourite locals? Here are my predicitions for the year ahead…

I predict…

-That a revelation at a trial will lead to heartbreak for Leanne…

-That a car accident will leave Tina fearing for Tyrone’s future more than ever…

-That Sally’s new romance will see her playing with fire…

-That Eileen’s involvement with Paul will step up a gear when she offers to be Lesley’s carer…

-That Audrey will receive a blast from the past…

-That a wedding will be torn apart by the truth behind a web of lies…

-That a local will be murdered in cold blood…and there will be no shortage of culprits…

-That Owen’s temper could land him in hot water after an altercation with young Faye…

-That one long suffering lady might finally find happiness…but it will lead her away from the Street for good…

-That the Rovers will have a new name above the door…

I’ve never been wrong before, have I!?

Let me take the opportunity to wish you all a brilliant New Year and I hope that 2012 will bring you plenty of happiness. I doubt it will for the hard done by residents of Coronation Street…

 Posted By Our Man In The North

4 Comments

Filed under Coronation Street

4 responses to “Coronation Street: Review of the Year

  1. katiesnan

    Great review! :o)

  2. May I put this on the Coronation Street Blog please with full credit and link to you of course?

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