Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Corrie stars light up Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

Coronation Street actors Paula Lane (Kylie Platt), Mikey North (Gary Windass) and Ian Puleston-Davies (Owen Armstrongs) joined patients at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to help switch-on their Christmas lights.

The Manchester Evening News report that crowds of patients, families and staff members gathered to watch the lights transform the hospital’s atrium during the event on Monday. There was also entertainment from the Ugly Sisters who are starring in Manchester Opera House’s production of Cinderella.

To make a donation to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital charity, visit their website at http://www.rmchcharity.org.uk

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Emily Bishop's leaving storyline revealed

As we found out this week, Eileen Derbyshire, who plays Emily Bishop on Coronation Street, is taking a break from the show.

Eileen will be taking 6 months leave at the beginning of 2016 and this has been confirmed by ITV.

On today's This Morning, soaps queen Sharon Marshall talked about this and confirmed how Emily would be written out of the show.

Emily will leave for deepest, darkest Peru to stay with her nephew Geoffrey (Spider) Nugent.  ITV have confirmed that Eileen Derbyshire plans to return to filming at the end of May next year.

Speaking of Peru, one of our VIP bloggers has a very special connection to Peru. Who is it? Have a look here!

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The Good, the Bad, the Flamin' Useless

Let's take a trip down memory lane. The curlers are in, the HP sauce, thickly buttered bread and a steaming mug of tea form the centre piece of a lovingly furnished dining table. Stan Ogden sits in wait until the fry-up eventually arrives accompanied by the chirping sounds of wife Hilda, mid-anecdote. She flutters about putting the world to rights whilst he pretends to listen, nodding every now and then to show he's paying attention. In what could be described as a typical working class marriage of that era, the Corrie husband served a purpose however useless he was and Stan was the epitome of that. 

"Pull my finger"
Following in Stan's footsteps, Jack Duckworth also personified the bone idle, but loveable Corrie male. The fondness for a pint or three at the Rovers, an eye for the ladies and an apparent allergy to a hard day's work meant that wife Vera was the ultimate long-suffering spouse, a situation which often led to a vicious cycle of misbehaviour, a rollocking from the missus, followed by a few pints to alleviate the stress caused by the rollocking from the missus, followed again by another rollocking from the missus for coming home blind drunk. It was glorious to watch and one wouldn't be the same without the other.

Also from the school of bone idle - Les Battersby. Although perhaps jail of bone idol is more accurate. The Battersbys were cartoon-like in how stereotypically common they were. With the family causing trouble right from the start, hapless Les was often at the centre of their problems. When put with Cilla that familiar Corrie theme of male failure, female disappointment and all the corresponding sound effects (screaming, shouting, insults etc) fall into place.

"I asked for two halves but they only had one glass"
Coronation Street is and probably always will be dominated by the female of the species, but without the lazy, good-for-nothing slobs who test their wives to the limit, the Street would not be the same. A more modern example of the flamin' usless is Kirk. Debateably a few cobbles short of a full street, Kirk is a more modern take on the sloth-like Corrie male. Not so much letting the women do all the cooking, cleaning and going out to work, but not entirely reliable in an emergency. He respects his better half though and 
isn't afraid to show that respect, something the more old fashioned Corrie men weren't so comfortable with.  

In what seems to be a bit of a transitional period for Coronation Street, the type of man described above, that has always been a staple of the show and that have helped make the strong women so prominent, seems to be dying out. New castings have meant that the Street is fully stocked up with new families such as the Connors and lots of new and younger male faces to see Corrie into the future, but will it be the same without the Jack Duckworths, the Stan Ogdens and even the Kirk Sutherland's of this world? If a couple of the most recent long term arrivals are anything to go by, probably not.

Take Andy. Entering on a great storyline of deceit, blackmail and heartbreak - literally in Michael's case - the character had promise. They dragged the initial storyline out a little bit too long but that gave us more time to get used to Andy (or Gavin as he temporarily was), but now he just seems to hover around the periphery of the show, contributing very little. He does indeed seem useless, but not in the comedic, scripted way we like, he's just a bit wet. 

Another floater is Robert. The scenes this week with Simon in the Barlow's yard were touching, and gave us a little insight into Robert's own past, but again he seems weak and a little bit pointless. Perhaps when turbulent Tracy finally sends him over the edge we might see a bit of oomph from the sexy chef.

"It's like talking to a brick wall"
All is not lost however. Tyrone and Fiz have the potential to follow in the footsteps of Jack and Vera. Still quite young, they are already veterans of Coronation Street and the writers have the potential to make them true soap legends. Just imagine Tyrone is his 50s, complete with string vest and pigeons . And THANK GOD for Tim. And Sally for that matter. Their pairing is genius and the new comedy element to Sally's character is just perfect. Tim has quickly become a Corrie favourite and certainly shows elements of that classic, henpecked Corrie bloke. 

We've been a bit obsessed with men on the Coronation Street blog recently. Llifon has been counting down his all time favourite Corrie men, and over the summer Emma gave us some of her thoughts about Corrie's Mithered Men. I also wrote about What Makes a Corrie Man last year. Enjoy.


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Top 25 Favourite Corrie Males - No. 9


Duration: 1960-
Played by: William Roache
2012 character poll position (men): 9

The longest running character in the show’s history and the only original character to remain since the first episode (albeit a brief hiatus between 2013 and 2014). Viewers have seen him grow from a university student to caring grandfather to Simon and Amy.

Ken is the ultimate street Lothario. He has been married four times – Valerie (1962), Janet (1973) and Deirdre (1981 and 2005) and has had 25 girlfriends including Susan Cunningham, Wendy Nightingale, Wendy Crozier, Alma Sedgewick, Denise Osbourne and Martha Fraser. He’s even bedded our own Rita!!

He has fathered four children: Lawrence in 1961 (he found out in 2010), twins Peter and Susan in 1965 and then Daniel in 1995. I believe he’s the oldest man to become a father at 55. He also adopted Tracy in 1985. 

Known for his quiff and full head of hair, Ken is an intellectual who has always dreamt of leaving the street, but never has (well only briefly in 1990). He’s been a failure as a husband and father, but as a pillar of the community he is held in high regard. 

He’s had a long list of jobs as well: teacher, newspaper editor, taxi driver, community project manager, male escort, supermarket trolley pusher, columnist and shop assistant. But the job he loved the most was teaching.

Ken had a twenty year rivalry with factory tycoon Mike Baldwin. While they clashed about principles originally, the feud escalated when Mike had an affair with Deirdre in 1983. Ken and Mike had fought over Deirdre before Ken married her. Ken won the battle once more. Then the feud went into classic Dallas mode when Mike married Ken’s daughter Susan in 1986. Ken was pleased when the marriage failed in 1988. The feud would be revisited countless times over the years, mainly over Deirdre. Ken found out he had a grandson in 2001: Mike’s son Adam. Susan had said that she had an abortion. Ken and Mike fought a custody battle but by 2002 the rivalry thawed. Ironically, Mike died in Ken’s arms in 2006.

While Ken has always been classed as boring with his interests being literature and opera, he’s shared wonderful comic scenes with Uncle Albert and later Blanche. He has also maintained long running friendships with the likes of Emily, Rita, Alf, Bet, Mavis, Roy, Len, Elsie and Annie Walker.

Ken has recently had to come to terms with widowhood once more, having lost Deirdre earlier this year. He’s no stranger to being widowed (twice in 1971 and 1977 respectively). But now he’s older and wants companionship. I do still believe Ken has still got mileage in him left as a character. Although it has been said that he has escaped more assassination attempts than JR Ewing!!

Are you a fan of our Kenneth? 

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Spoilers for next week's Coronation Street, Nov 30 - Dec 4

Without any piffle, here's the storylines for the week ahead on Coronation Street, all wrapped up nicely in 50 words or less.

Week of Monday November 30 to Friday December 4
Note: Only one episode on Monday 30 November; one-hour episode on Wednesday 2 December

Nick proposes to Carla, Sarah’s pregnant, Beth invites Caitlin for dinner., Sally clocks a spark between Sophie and Kate.

The full weekly preview, with pictures is right here on Corrie.net 

Missed last week's Corrie?

Catch up with the Coronation Street Weekly Updates

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Monday, 23 November 2015

Coronation Street Double Episode Review Monday 23 November 2015

Before I am lambasted as a ‘bleeding heart, woolly liberal, too soft for my own good etc. etc.’ I will speak up for Simon. His father, Peter Barlow has consistently put his love interests before his son. Given that Lucy, Simon’s mother died when he was very young, it was incumbent on Peter to step up and do his best to compensate, as best he could, for the death of Lucy. He didn’t do that. 

Alcohol and women took precedence over Simon, which is even less forgiveable given that Peter and his father, Ken, had an awkward relationship due to Peter’s resentment of Ken for not being more of a part of his life in his youth. Furthermore Peter and his twin Susan lost their mother when they were young, so Peter should perhaps have been more empathetic when Simon lost his mother.

Lucy, Simon’s biological mother, left all her money to Peter on condition that he take care of Simon. Lucy’s father, George Wilson, tried to gain custody of his grandson, believing that Peter was a bad influence on him. Had he gained custody, Simon might well have fared better. But then again, he might not have.

True – Simon is a nightmare at the moment and his behaviour towards Leanne, who is doing her best, is wholly unacceptable. Simon has been the target of some vituperative comments on social media and I wonder whether that is because some people just love to hate.

Ken is doing his best. Robert though is admirable in his efforts to talk to Simon. He asks Simon whose face is on the ball Simon is kicking so hard. Robert tells him about his own father who annoyed the life out of him. Robert tells Simon how he once kicked his ball so hard that it came back and hit him in the face, causing him to bleed. Robert’s dad came running out to help him and in that moment Robert knew that his dad loved him. This must have struck a note as it resulted in Simon crying and hugging Robert. Simon is no monster. He is just an angry adolescent. I’ve been involved in the education of 14-19 year olds for 25 years. Simon is not, by a long way, one of the worst.

Amy is no angel and is, disturbingly, becoming more and more like her mother each day. At the table in the Barlow’s house, Amy is deliberately annoying Simon, by repeatedly tapping her pencil while staring intently at him. She then pushes her stuff towards Simon in another bid to wind him up. Previously she called him Shrek. Tracy called him Face Ache. What is wrong with these people? Robert seems to have more compassion and understanding in his little finger.

Tracy states that after Simon hit Amy, she does not wasn’t him in the house. Ironic really – has she forgotten that she is a convicted murderer? Should she be allowed to be near her precious daughter? Whatever legal loophole allowed her to leave prison, we all saw her murder Charlie Stubbs.

It is so pleasing that Eva is there and unafraid of threatening to smack Tracy in the face. While she’s at it, perhaps she could save a smack for Nessa, who comments when it has nothing to do with her that, ‘That boy needs a good slap.’ Thank goodness Ken has the sense to dismiss Nessa at this point. Leanne reveals the truth about Simon hitting her and that he has been doing so for a while.
Tracy takes the opportunity to criticise Leanne’s parenting skills, which is rich of course and even refers to Simon as a monster. This is just Tracy’s way of making herself appear superior to Leanne, which clearly she is not. It has not escaped Robert’s notice either that Tracy is deficient, especially compared to Leanne, who is clearly trying hard. Some may say that Leanne shouldn’t have sent him to stay with Ken, nor should she and Eva go off shopping, which, as it happens, Simon witnessed. But isn’t a person allowed some pleasures? Even if they are mother to a difficult adolescent?

It was particularly pleasing that Robert went to see Leanne to see how things were. They will know each other quite well now as they have worked together for some time. It’s also good to hear that Simon is ‘sorry and quiet.’ Leanne tells Robert, I’m not going to give up on him.’ Maybe, in a few months, we will see Robert and Leanne together – Robert doing all he can to help Simon.

On his return from Leanne’s Tracy is making spag bol and is trying to regain Robert’s approval.  She asks, ‘Where did you go?’ His answer, that he went to see Leanne and Simon, Tracy sees as a betrayal. ‘Do you fancy Leanne?’ Despite his answer, I would say he does, even if as yet, he does not realise it. 

I’m really warming to Erica. I do hope that the writers do not feel the need to put her in a relationship with someone. Let’s see a single, middle aged, attractive, intelligent woman on the cobbles. I admire her independence, her toughness, but also, as we have seen evidenced with Liz, her loyal friendship. Tonight we see her kindness to Mary too, including her in the drink she and Dev are going for. Erica senses that Mary is less than keen on her so asks, ‘Are you in love with Dev?’ In her response, Mary claims never to have ‘harboured any romantic feelings’ towards Dev. Her concern is for the children. Sunita died just 3 years ago. Dev’s relationship with Julie was ruined by his ‘roving eye.’ Erica understands. She tells Mary that she has no wish for a relationship, and asks her if she and Mary can be friends. Mary gives a resounding yes.

All the ‘Luke racing and Jamie threatening to post indecent pictures of Steph’ story is hopefully coming to an end. So Jamie is in debt and has lost his job and Luke raced to save his sister’s modesty. Convincing reasons to an extent, but for me this whole saga simply did not work. What a shame to have two excellent actors, Tisha Merry and Dean Fagan wasted on such a very average story line.  What’s more, I fear there’ll be more.

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Coronation Street: a bunch of Muppets

I missed Flaming Nora’s blog post last week about the Warburton’s Christmas advert, and I saw the ad for the first time last night. I’m trying to cut down on bread so I hope it’s the first and last time I see it, but it was great to know some of Hollywood’s biggest stuffed stars are Corrie fans.

It also got me wondering what Corrie would look like if the characters were replaced with muppets. In some cases, I’m sure you’ll agree, we wouldn’t know the difference...                                                                                                                         

Beth Tinker                                                                  Miss Piggy


                              Ken Barlow                                                        Sam the Eagle


                                         Norris Cole                                   Dr Bunsen Honeydew


                               Roy Cropper                                                        Guy Smiley


                                Rowlf the Dog                                                       Fiz


                                   Janice                                                                   Erica


                                          Kermit the Frog                                     Gail McIntyre

And my favourite...

Rita & Mavis

      Zobi & Kami

Can you think of any other Muppet / Corrie likenesses?


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Top 25 Favourite Corrie Males - No. 10


Duration: 1989-2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
Played by: Charles Lawson
2012 character poll position (men): 13

A former Irish soldier who was introduced as the head of the McDonald family who bought No11 from Alf and Audrey Roberts. 

Married to Liz for 28 years (on and off) and father to Steve and Andy and the late Katie. His marriage to Liz ended in 1996 when his temper got the better of him and he beat Liz up for having an affair with an army mate. They re-married in 2000 but Jim spent the marriage in prison and Liz called for a divorce in 2005. They attempted at a reconciliation in 2011 but to no avail. Many wish for them to reunite and run the Rovers together.

By trade, Jim had a number of jobs: builder, mechanic, barman and bar manager. He was in a building partnership with Bill Webster before Bill left for Germany in 1997.

Apart from Liz, Jim’s conquests included Fiona Middleton and Gwen Davies.

In 1998, Jim was confined to a wheelchair after falling in a brawl with Steve on scaffolding. He wrongly thought that he and Liz were to reunite when she cared for him, but in reality she was having an affair with his therapist Michael Wall.

In 2000, Jim sought revenge on Jez Quigley for nearly beating Steve to death. He beat Jez up and he died of his injuries. Jim was then jailed for manslaughter. 

Over the next 14 years or so, Jim would re-appear on the show, either trying to escape prison, having been released from prison or back in prison again.

Jim was a stereotypical Irishman – liked his drink and also used many Irish sayings like ‘so it is’, ‘what about you?’ and calling characters with their full name – Elizabeth (Liz), Steven (Steve), Andrew (Andy), William (Bill), Michael (Mike) but called Alec Gilroy ‘Sandy’. His Irish dialect and his alpha male role has made him popular amongst fans. 

Would you like Jim to make a permanent comeback?

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