Wednesday, 30 July 2014

My disappointment in Dennis

Well, Dennis Tanner has gone! Will he be back? Who knows?

I have to say that since Dennis was re-introduced into Corrie over three years ago, I have been very disappointed at the way his character has been dealt with. And this is no fault of Philip Lowrie. It's in the hands of the powers that be. Here are some of my thoughts on the weaknesses of the charatcer.

His re-introduction

When I heard the news that Dennis Tanner was being re-introduced, I was a little apprehensive. Yes, I was thrilled they were thinking of bringing him back, but yet I questioned why? There were plenty of other characters to re-introduce, why Dennis Tanner? He hadn't appeared since 1968 and only two characters, three at a push would remember him.

Then we got more info on his comeback. He would return as a tramp which was an interesting angle. You would expect that maybe Emily would find him prowling around the charity shop. But oh no, it was Rita who found him while volunteering in a homeless shelter. The producers made a mountain out of a molehill, quite frankly, of their friendship. Yes, Rita was introduced as Dennis' friend in 1964, but that was about it. For me, it would have been better for Emily or Ken to come across him and then bring him home and for Rita to recognise him. What was also weird was that Dennis didn't comment on how the street had changed since he left. He didn't comment how the Rovers had changed - how the snug or select wasn't there any more.

Lack of historical references

As I said, I was apprehensive about his return. But what I was looking forward to were references to the past. Dennis was another link to the Corrie of the 1960s along with Ken and Emily. While we got told about Elsie's fate and a reference to Martha Longhurst, I have no recollection of Dennis making any references to past characters. He could've talked about Jack and Annie Walker, the snug trio, Albert Tatlock or Lucille Hewitt. Considering his links with Gamma Garments, he never talked about Swindley with Emily. He never discussed Emily having finally got married after years of being a spinster. 

His lack of scenes with Ken were a disappointment as well. Considering he was due to ruffle Ken's feathers, no such scenes were shown. There were two years before Ken left for Canada, so there were enough opportunities. Where were the scenes where Dennis and Ken reminisced about the past and about Elsie, Frank and Ida, David and Valerie? We never saw Dennis talk to Peter about his mum. A missed opportunity.

Why didn't Linda Cheveski re-appear? Or what about a reference to Dennis' first wife Jenny?

Confinement to Rita

This was the biggest mistake they did. Since 2011, his scenes have mainly been with Rita. But I don't know why the producers chose to confine him to just Rita. They could have always maintained Rita and Dennis' friendship, like her friendship with Alf, while Dennis could communicate with other characters. I was pleased when the producers recognised the ironic link that Eileen lived at Elsie's house and that Elsie's maiden name was also Grimshaw. And it was nice how Julie took Dennis in recently. 

I was also unhappy that they married Dennis and Rita. Rita mentioned time and again that she had always wanted to be Mrs Tanner. No reference was made before and it was odd considering Rita always said that her true love was Len. For years, she refused to remarry because she still loved Len. 

There was a lot of potential for Dennis to be linked with other characters. Yes he had a friendship with Sylvia and he ran off with Gloria, but what about Audrey? They could've talked about hairdressing - Dennis was interested at one time! And  despite Gail being Elsie's lodger, no scenes were done between the characters. He became a lollipop man which gave him a story with Steve, but all was forgotten.

While Rita had always had a fun-loving and humorous nature, her marriage to Dennis made her a miserable and boring shrew. When married to Len she could be a nag which was justified, but it was a change of personality for her to be so horrible to Dennis. It was no surprise that they finally separated but it was a shame that no effort was made to portray an old aged married couple. Not many have been portrayed in soaps so it would've been a change but alas the producers didn't have time. 

Ruination of a classic Corrie character

Maybe it was a mistake bringing him back. Too much time had passed. Although when they re-introduced Jed Stone, they didn't make a mess of things but he wasn't there long! Dennis could've brought some humour back to the OAP section of the show after the deaths of Blanche and Betty and would've been a brilliant double act with Sylvia. 

They made him totally dependant on Rita which was an error as he was a pensioner so received a pension. When he courted Rita, she was sweet but when they married, she turned into a harridan. He became henpecked like Jack Duckworth and Stan Ogden.

If not making him henpecked was enough, they made him an adulterer as well - running off with Gloria. He returned a desperate man but by the end he even retorted to even stealing money from The Kabin. 

It was a shame that he was axed - a real shame. What will Rita do now? Get a divorce and revert back to Sullivan? Who knows? Rita's not having the best luck with her old friends is she? She's fallen out with Bet Lynch, Alec Gilroy and Sharon Gaskell and now Dennis! Thank goodness she's still got Mavis!

You rarely disappoint me Corrie, but this time you have.

What about you? Were you disappointed with how Dennis was dealt with? Did you have hopes for him? Leave your comments!

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Which Corrie baddie should return to Coronation Street?

I haven't watched EastEnders in years, but news this week that Nick Cotton is returning to the show (even though he's dead) made me smile.  I remember him being a thoroughly nasty piece of work - and great fun to watch.

It got me thinking about the Corrie bad lads and villains, murderers and scum bags that have walked the cobbles over the years.

Which one, if you had to choose just one, would you like to return (even from the dead)?

My vote would go to the wonderful Jez Quigley. "Steve McDonald... come on down!"

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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Weds 30 July

WEDNESDAY 30TH JULY 2014
AUDREY TRIES TO HEAL THE RIFT IN THE PLATTS. Gail confronts Nick about vandalising
Michael’s van,will he admit to seeing red after spotting them kissing? And how will Nick
react when Audrey summons him to a family meeting to iron out their differences? Will Nick accept Michael or will Gail be made to choose between her family and the new man in her life?
THE SCALES FALL FROM RITA’S EYES AS DENNIS LEAVES.Julie begs Rita to give Dennis one
more chance. It looks like she’s wavering until she witnesses a nasty altercation between
Dennis and Norris, hasDennis sealed his fate?
THE RESIDENTS PULL TOGETHER FOR THE LIBRARY SIT-IN. Yasmeen, Roy, Emily, Mary and
Craig arrive at the library to stage their protest at its closure. But who will stay after hours
and get locked in for the night?
ELSEWHERE Maddie and Simon get on well as she and Sophie look after him.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Kirk and Beth set for a Street summer wedding?

With thanks to the fab Inside Soap magazine (check their website out, they've changed it and it's great), we can reveal details of a possible proposal for Beth, from Kirkeh!

In next week's Coronation Street, Beth comes out in a rash after she tries a new soap product which Sinead's made.  It's a serious rash that worries Beth something rotten. She rushes to see the doctor and Krik's beside himself with worry.

Beth turns out to be ok, but the incident makes Kirkeh think on.  He confides in Chesney that he's going to propose to Beth as he wants to marry her.

Let's hope Beth says yes - and we have the biggest, tackiest wedding that Coronation Stret's ever had. With Craig as best man, of course.

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Meet Alison King at Southport Flower Show

Alison King, Coronation Street's Carla Connor, will be appearing at this year's Southport Flower Show.

She will appear at Southport on Saturday August 16th and is the latest celebrity guest confirmed in the line-up at this year’s show.

Alison said: “It will be my first visit to the Southport Flower Show but I have heard so much about it from friends and colleagues. I’m sure it will be a wonderful day out and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at the show.”

For more up to date information on the show, celebrity appearances, details and ticket bookings visit www.southportflowershow.co.uk


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Coronation Street event at Manchester Pride 2014

There's a Coronation Street event at Manchester Pride this year. 

Join creator of Coronation Street, Tony Warren, actress Brooke Vincent (Sophie Webster) and writers Jonathan Harvey, Damon Rochefort and Debbie Oates as they discuss the concept of characters in soaps coming out and how the story moves from script to screen.

The event will take place on Tuesday 19 Aug 2014 7pm - 10pm.  It costs £5 and takes place at The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ


For tickets, book online here.

If you go to this event and would like to write about it for us here at the Coronation Street Blog, do please let me know.  We'd love to hear all about it from a fan.

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He's back, so he is, Jim McDonald returns

What a joy to interview Charlie Lawson and how fantastic that he will soon be back on our screens, albeit in jail.  His first appearance is scheduled for August 8th.

I met with ‘Jim’ so I did, at a press event earlier this month at Media City in Salford.  My impression of actor Charlie Lawson was of an easy-going man, who didn’t allow the vagaries of life to trouble him too much and who was very much enjoying himself. He also looked remarkably well and a good bit younger than his 54 years.  As he spoke, I caught myself wondering whether there was a more easily identifiable accent in the whole of UK soap opera than the Northern Irish of Jim. I would welcome your thoughts.  There was no doubt that Charlie was very willing to talk about his return to our favourite soap and was delighted to be doing so.

He did express a little nostalgia for times gone by – Jim joined in 1989 - when there were only 2 episodes a week  -on a Monday and a Friday. (How did we bear it?)   Back then, Charlie told us, there was time to socialise, because the pace of filming was much slower. There was even a Coronation Street cricket team. As with life, so with soaps – the pace has increased dramatically and now that there are five episodes a week, with some of the cast filming as many as 16 scenes a week, the social side of Coronation Street has dwindled as the episode production has increased involving intensive work, so that people now do their work, then go home. Nothing stays the same. Charlie referred to himself as ‘an old dinosaur’ as he much enjoyed what once was.

Charlie has close friends on the cast, past and present. He mentioned the extremely talented Sarah Lancashire, who once played Raquel and Simon Gregson, Steve, to whom he is very close.

Since leaving Coronation Street Charlie has been involved in theatre. One part he particularly enjoyed was the part of Frank, the university lecturer, which was played by Michael Caine in the film of Educating Rita. He was also in a run of Rain Man with Neil Morrissey, probably best known for Men Behaving Badly.  He’s also been to Canada, filming a BBC documentary about The Titanic.  

Charlie also runs a farm shop in Prestbury, Cheshire, with his wife, Debbie, but doesn’t serve customers as he cannot work the till, he volunteered to tell us. He does engage with customers though, doing front of house and talking about his produce. Asked if he feels tempted to give up acting and just work in the shop, he simply replied, ‘Once an actor, always an actor.’ Good news for us then. Jim will be on screen until September and will play about thirty episodes.

Charlie very much enjoys playing the role of Jim. Initially the writers had no idea exactly who they were writing for, so when Jim got the part he added in his Northern Irish dialect, at times telling the writers that Jim wouldn’t say various Mancunian phrases. Charlie told the writers what he would say hence the phrases we know so well from Jim’s repertoire, including ‘Catch yourself on, so you are, so it is, and what about you.’

As we all know, Jim is in prison for his attempt to rob a bank. He is though making the best of his time there and is known as The Landlord - the Mr. Big of the prison. From Jim, prisoners can get virtually anything as no one seems incorruptible. He is well-respected by both prisoners and prison officers, as an ex-soldier.  Peter of course is in prison and is seeking alcohol. Inevitably Peter meets Jim. These two characters have never previously done a scene together.  

It is a mutually beneficial encounter, as through Peter, Jim can have Peter ask Deirdre to ask Liz to visit him. In return Peter can have whatever he wants. Jim is feeling very cut off from his family. Liz promised him she would wait for him, but that promise seems as if it was more for appeasement purposes than anything else.

In fact as the story develops, it is Jim who saves Peter’s life. Peter has found out where the ‘drop zone’ is for all manner of illicit goods and as miserable as it is possible to be, Peter knocks back a huge amount of alcohol. Jim comes to his rescue and Peter is saved. Redemption for Jim? Maybe…

Follow Ruth on twitter @ruth1722


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40 years of Corrie's Gail

Another Corrie star reaches a significant milestone today.

Yes, Gail Potter-Tilsley-Tilsley-Platt-Hillman-McIntyre made her first appearance in Coronation Street exactly 40 years ago today! 


Have a look at her five husbands here.

Gail's life has been one long misery, although Helen Worth always seems so chirpy and cheerful. I don't know how she does it! I love Gail, a true Corrie stalwart. I hope she is around for many more years to come. 

So while many of us think of the catastrophes that litter Gail's life in Weatherfield, whether it Brian Tilsley and his mother Ivy, Richard Hillman trying to bump off half the street or Joe McIntyre accidentally bumping off himself, I'd rather capture Gail in lighter mood with this tribute. 

First of all, the wonderful onscreen relationship between Gail and her mam, Audrey: 




And now, one of my favourite Corrie funny moments of recent years. Oh yes, I give you Gail, Deirdre and a Manchester Tart....



"Oh Ken, do something!"

And if that wasn't enough, possibly the best of all. Gail and Eileen scrapping on the cobbles!




However long Gail stays in Weatherfield, we know one thing for sure: it will always be eventful! 

Happy anniversary to both Gail and Helen! 

Follow me on Twitter: @GraemeN82 



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