Tag Archives: william roache

Coronation Street in mourning: Anne Kirkbride 1954-2015

UK News 7-2I didn’t for a moment expect that this would be something I’d have to write anytime soon; like the rest of the UK and the fans of Coronation Street worldwide, I remain reeling with shock and despair at the passing of Anne Kirkbride after the news broke yesterday evening.

Anne, renowned for creating and portraying one of Coronation Street’s most endearing, iconic and popular characters of all time, has passed away at the young age of 60, after a short illness. Her final, now poignant appearance was in October 2014, when she took a 3 month break. We all expected to see Deirdre back sometime soon; how awful then that the unthinkable is now the case: we will never see Deirdre Barlow on Coronation Street again.  Continue reading

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EastEnders and Coronation Street preview: What a blast!

soaps-eastenders-moon-house-fire-2WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS. Please do not read further if you prefer to avoid them. 

The aroma of plump sausages sizzling on the barbie, the feel of sand trickling between your toes (and the crunch of it in your sandwiches) and the blazing heat of the one solitary warm day we had are all distant memories. Our thoughts are turning from foreign holidays and ice bucket challenges to how we are going to occupy the slowly darkening evenings.

Cue the ambitious soap producer, determined to reel their temporarily errant, sun worshipping fans back in with an action packed autumn of drama. And Coronation Street and EastEnders are both really going for it this year.   Continue reading

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Coronation Street: Murder and vegetarian double shocker as Ken returns

“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

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Lustbox: Linus Roache

How excited was I, watching Coronation Street the other night, to discover that Ken Barlow’s latest long-lost son is being played by his actual son, the very adorable Linus Roache.

Deirdre spotted the likeness immediately. “Even your mannerisms are the same,” she told her fecund husband. And they are! “Lawrence” is like a mini-me of Ken – handsome, with a lovely head of hair, and just a tiny bit tedious. Ok, very tedious. Lawrence is supposed to be an English Literature lecturer, and Ken is of course cockahoop about this. They have long, dull conversations in iambic pentameter, and Ken is in his element and couldn’t be more proud. It almost makes up for the other sons (Peter the alcoholic and the hairdresser’s kid Ken hardly ever sees).

Even better, Lawrence has a son, James, who is supposed to be the spitting image of Ken’s former girlfriend Susan (ie his gran), from which we can conclude that Susan looked like Charlie from Busted. And James is gay! What deep joy for Ken, who is very gay-friendly and has had a bit of a musical theatre void in his life since Gail’s gay dad went south. Not that Ken would stereotype, of course.

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Coronation Street: The homing child, and other stories

My word it was all kicking off in Coronation Street last night. Which other street in the space of an hour can boast a missing child, a funeral, an arrest for murder, a pregnancy announcement, a first date, a factory takeover and the return of a much-loved resident from a very long cruise?

Little Simon Barlow went AWOL on a trip to Blackpool with his Granddad George, after overhearing George’s intention not to let Simon’s alcoholic dad Peter anywhere near him ever again. Against the odds (the fact that he’s miserable, grumpy, chaotic and looks like he smells unpleasant), Simon is very fond of Peter, so off he trotted to lose himself among the fairground attractions of the pleasure capital of the north.

You can imagine all sorts of terrible fates awaiting a six year old under these circumstances, and that’s exactly what his various relatives were doing. The hunt for him was frantic and forlorn, and after searching all night, Peter, Leanne, Ken and Deirdre retreated home to Weatherfield to await news.

Then there was a knock on the door. Simon. He’d only managed to navigate his way from Blackpool to Manchester and then Weatherfield by himself! “How did you buy a ticket?” his elders wanted to know. Simon rolled his eyes. “Have you never heard of ticket machines?” Scriptwriters, darlings, have you never heard of plausibility? It was all a tiny bit lazy, but there was so much going on elsewhere that there wasn’t really time to ponder it. We were just all glad the wee mite was home safely.

Talking of wee mites, Molly is currently With Child (I don’t mean she’s started hanging out with Amy Barlow because no-one else will talk to her, I mean she’s pregnant). Kevin is presumed to be the father of the child, as he and Molly were at it like rabbits in motels and lay-bys just before Christmas, but I wouldn’t rule out Tyrone either. Karaoke can be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Anyway, Kevin’s response to the news was typically gracious. “Get rid!” he recommended, and said he’d pay for a private get-riddance, but if Molly decided to keep the baby he’d want nowt to do wi’ it. “You’d make a great father!” Molly protested, trying to block out of her mind the inconvenient truth that he already is one.

It was Joe’s funeral. Tina didn’t want Gail there, but she turned up anyway, and when Tina left the church to have a cry, Gail stepped up to deliver the eulogy that Tina had been going to do. This didn’t sit well with Tina, who called the police and told them Gail had asked her to lie about Joe.

Having just buried her husband, Gail was arrested for his murder. Continue reading

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Coronation Street: Ken Barlow kills Santa Claus

Poor Ken. All he was trying to do was to earn a bit of money to get his little grandson Simon a decent Christmas present. By “decent,” it had to have the equivalent or greater monetary value than the present Simon is due to receive from his other granddad, George, aka  Anthony Valentine from Colditz. He’s got a bob or two, has granddad George.

Ken, a man who acts like he has a superiority complex but who spends his whole futile life feeling thwarted and inferior, finds George very hard to take. Particularly as George (the father of the late Lucy The Florist) is bankrolling Ken’s alcoholic son Peter’s latest business venture – a wine bar. Ken understandably feels that this is just laying temptation in Peter’s way, and he has a point, as it seems only five minutes ago since Peter was slumped in a drunken stupor  in a burning flat and had to be rescued by Tony Gordon, of all people.

So there’s Ken, looking pretty authentically ho-ho-ho in the window of one of the finest department stores in the north, and along comes adorable little grandson Simon and the aforementioned Granddad George. Simon wants to see Santa, and despite being one of the brightest children ever to grace a TV screen outside of Outnumbered, he fails to notice that Father Christmas is in fact Granddad Ken. Until Ken and George start sniping at each other about the value of gifts, whereupon Ken’s beard comes off, and a traumatised Simon wonders what granddad is doing posing as Santa.

“He’s not the real Santa,” Granddad George reassures the people still queuing, before ushering the bewildered Simon away for a soothing burger and fries. Ken is sacked, and we leave him in his Santa suit, staring at a bleak winter sky and  possibly wondering why every good intention he ever has turns to rubble in his hands.

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Coronation Street legend Maggie Jones dies

Corrie will never be the same. Maggie Jones, who played the gloriously grumpy Blanche Hunt, has passed away.  She was 75.

There are some lovely tributes to her on ITV.com – her co-star William Roache (Ken Barlow) says, “She was a tower of strength, physically frail but mentally strong as an ox and sharp as someone half her age. She had an amazing dry wit and was as funny, if not funnier than Blanche.”

Maggie appeared in over 800 episodes of Coronation Street, and, with Anne Kirkbride as  her long-suffering daughter Deirdre, she formed one of the classic comedy partnerships in soap history. Her one-liners were legendary, but she also brought great heart to the show and was truly an actress who could make you laugh and cry.

She’ll be missed.

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