The traditional ways to leave Weatherfield (apart from being murdered by Tony Gordon or John Stape) are by taxi or Weatherfield Hopper, that curious little bus that only appears when someone needs it and has a driver who is happy to wait as long as you want while you have an argument or tearful goodbye with a loved one.
I doubt whether anyone ever in the history of Coronation Street has uttered their final lines on the show while drinking champagne in the first class section of a flight to Barbados. But that’s exactly the way Becky McDonald (Katherine Kelly) left the show last night, and it was brilliant.
Since her early appearances as a chain smoking, back stabbing petty criminal in 2006, Becky has morphed into one of the most loved characters in the show. I’ve not always been a fan of her tendency to go over the top (eg the drunken hysteria of her wedding to “Stevie” and the way she used to convey passion for the poor lad by applying herself to the front of him like the alien creature sticking itself to John Hurt’s face in Alien), but she’s always been quirky, vulnerable, feisty, loveable and infuriating in equal measure. Her relationship with the Croppers, no strangers to quirkiness themselves, has formed one of the most touching and convincing “families” ever seen on a soap, and I had a huge lump in my throat when she kissed them goodbye in last night’s episode.
Becky’s been through a lot in her time on the Street, and she hasn’t always come out of it well. Looting the Alahan’s safe in the aftermath of the tram crash to get the money to buy her nephew from her sister didn’t exactly cover her in glory, though we never doubted her motives sprang from a genuine need to love a child and give it the kind of support in life that she’d never known until she met Roy and Hayley.
The writers gave her an absolutely epic exit. Having been accused of pushing Tracy Barlow down the stairs and causing her to miscarry the twins she was expecting, Becky had finally got her hands on the proof that she was innocent. It wasn’t about revenge on Tracy or getting back at Steve, it was about proving to the world that Becky wasn’t the person some people would always think of her as. People thought, as she put it, that “You can take the girl out of the gutter but you can’t take the gutter out of the girl.” Would she stand up and make a huge scene during Tracy’s wedding to Becky’s beloved Steve? Norris was hoping so. But she didn’t, because she really has changed. She waited for the reception (at the Rovers, naturally) to hand Steve Tracy’s medical records, showing the miscarriage had already happened days before she fell down the stairs. Norris missed that one, as he’d already gone back to the Kabin, but it was a magnificent moment. For once, Becky was understated and restrained. She let the evidence do the talking and, the bomb having been dropped, left Steve to deal with the aftermath.
Then, after an emotional goodbye to sister Kylie and the Croppers, she was off to meet new man Danny and his little boy for a new life in Barbados. All Becky ever wanted was someone to love her and a child she could love – but a swimming pool and a tan has got to be a bonus.
Posted by PLA (more Coronation Street posts here)