Monday, 30 November 2015

Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Monday 30 Nov

Monday 30th November
SARAH RETURNS TO WEATHERFIELD WITH A BANG An upbeat Sarah arrives at No.8 bearing gifts from Italy. David’s unconvinced by her apparent breeziness. David accuses Sarah of putting on an act and tests her by suggesting she goes into the annexe. Her fa├žade crumbling, Sarah flees. David’s fears are confirmed. David’s intrigued to witness flirtatious Aidan and Sarah setting up a date. Kylie orders him to leave Sarah alone but when he watches her flustered attempts to avoid talking to Billy, David urges her to go back to Milan before she cracks up. Sarah angrily snaps that she won’t let David dictate her life before letting rip to Kylie, issuing her with a stark warning about David...
IT’S FLAT-OUT WAR WITH THE CONNORS Michelle’s had enough of Aidan living at the pub and offers him the Streetcars flat. Aidan refuses, claiming it’s a dump. So when Johnny complains about the B&B he and Kate are staying in, Michelle offers to show him round the flat. But as Michelle gives Johnny and Kate a tour, Aidan arrives having had a change of heart. Kate backs Johnny as he argues with Aidan over who gets the flat. Arriving Carla’s forced to referee a game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ between Aidan and Johnny. Who will be victorious?
EILEEN WANTS MICHAEL TO STOP DOING IT HIMSELF Finding Michael asleep at the switch, Eileen’s annoyed and takes him to task for wasting all his energy running errands for Dee.
ELSEWHERE Caitlin turns up on the street to surprise Craig. He invites her back to No.5 but as they move in for a kiss they’re interrupted by the arrival of Faye. Sally’s saddened when Sophie announces she has no interest in celebrating Christmas without Maddie.

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Sunday, 29 November 2015

In Praise of Eva Price

I have been loving Catherine Tyldesley's performances as Eva Price recently. She is such a breath of fresh air and having her back has made me realise how much I've missed both the character and the actress.

Eva is without a doubt the best thing to come out of the Price family. Do you remember the rest of them? Eva provides great comic relief and is the kind of character that fits in all over the street. She is great in the factory with the rest of the girls, she fits in well behind the bar of the Rovers bantering with the punters, she is a reliable if unlikely friend to Kylie and a terrific support to half sister Leanne.

Indeed Catherine's recent scenes with Jane Danson have been superb. Given how much Eva and Leanne disliked each other when they first met, it's lovely to see these characters bond over their difficult lives. I have found Leanne and Simon hard to watch during this recent storyline but Eva's return and direct involvement has added a very welcome extra dimension. Her support and care for Leanne has been fantastic to watch.

Of course Eva's love life is often at the centre of her storylines. I really liked her with Jason Grimshaw and it's a shame that won't happen now that actor Ryan Thomas is leaving. New factory boss Aidan Connor has been sniffing round and although if I was Eva I'd jump in feet first (as it were), I get the feeling he's a love 'em and leave 'em type of man so perhaps she's better off steering well clear of him. 

I love seeing Eva behind the bar of the Rovers. I know comparisons have been made with the classic Rovers barmaid Raquel. This is probably unfair to both Catherine Tyldesley and Sarah Lancashire. Raquel is an iconic character, one of Corrie's best ever and played by a fabulous actress who has gone on to great success since leaving Weatherfield behind. While there are similarities between Raquel and Eva I think Eva has enough strengths for her to stand out on her own as a great Corrie woman.

I'm glad the powers that be had faith in the character and kept Eva on after the rest of her family departed. Catherine Tyldesley has really come into her own over the past year and long may she continue to brighten up our trips to Weatherfield. 

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82

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Zeedan to burst soap bubble?

It was interesting, but not surprising, to hear Zeedan express a wish to move on from the gym on Friday’s Corrie, when we promptly saw the managerial mantle pass to Gary.

Zeedan has fast become one of my favourite characters on the street at the moment. His development from a sullen, almost disdainful young man, into an intelligent, considerate, capable, respectful and responsible individual provides us with a great role model and an interesting character who is infinitely watchable thanks to the talents of Qasim Akhtar.

Like all of us, Zeedan is not perfect, and his momentary lapses ensure his complexity. Look no further than his attempt to vandalise Barlow's Buys on finding out Tracy started the fire which killed his father, and his altercation with Jason when the news broke that he had slept with Alya. The important thing about both instances was that he could be reasoned with and talked out of doing any damage.
The finest example of his positive traits, which far outweigh any negative ones, can be found in the support he continues to offer Leanne and his investment in Simon. In addition, his desire to honour his father’s memory by doing sterling work at the gym, and the manner in which he didn’t allow his initial anger at and disappointment in Alya to prevent him from comforting her, offering his support, and reassessing his initial perceptions of what she had done, showed great strength of character.

The question now is, where does Zeedan go from here?

My personal hope is that he honours his potential while remaining on the street. This would involve him breaking the mould and working or studying elsewhere, but returning home in the evenings and/or weekends. 

To be honest, I can’t understand why this isn’t the case for more characters. I know the various businesses need people behind their counters, but we did have a rare instance where Deirdre worked for the Council, and to my recollection, we never saw any scenes filmed there. Nor was the drama the poorer for it; we barely noticed. If anything, talk of somewhere ‘untelevised’ enhanced the realism; how many of us have any personal knowledge of the workplaces our friends and loved ones speak of, aside from their descriptions of them?

I like the fact that filming restricts itself to the street and its environs, with on-location shoots in the vast minority, but there's no reason why its characters can't temporarily inhabit other places.

The most fitting tribute to a character of Zeedan’s quality would be to see him spend his days elsewhere fulfilling his potential while at the same time enriching the street while he’s home with news of beyond its parameters, and his interactions with neighbours, friends and family. This is not to say he would be deprived of a storyline of his own; in our own lives, we find ourselves negotiating plenty of situations outside of work or university.

I think it would be a great loss to the programme if Zeedan’s desire for more meant he had to leave the street, like so many before him. In the wake of The Guardian asking why there aren’t more graduates on Corrie, and Scott’s excellent 2013 post on how young cobble-based folk attempting to better themselves do so at their peril, let Zeedan be the one who bursts this soap bubble.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Countdown to Corrie fans' all-time favourite fella

Our blogger Llifon has done a sterling job collating your votes in our recent polls asking for you to nominate your favourite Coronation Street man.

We whittled the list down to the 25 most popular men as voted by you and the countdown began some weeks ago when we blogged numbers 25 though to 6.

Starting tomorrow - Monday November 30th - we'll bring you the top 5 all-time favourite Corrie men as voted for by our readers!   On Monday we'll blog No. 5 in the poll and will count down one each day.  By Friday of next week you'll know who has been voted as Corrie fans' favourite all-time man.

Who do you think will be in the top 5 and at number 1?

Here's the run-down of the favourite Corrie men as voted for by our readers so far...

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Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 27 November 2015

Debts appear to be mounting for Tyrone, with Fiz none the wiser. Considering the manner in which she often treats him, I’m not surprised he’d try to deal with it privately, even though that probably isn’t the best idea. As the battle mounts between what he can afford, and what he wants to be able to, he buys an inflatable Santa for the front of the house, and makes Fiz believe it’s a gift.

The suggestion of help from Roy to inflate it is met with disdain from Tyrone and is followed by some deplorable treatment when they arrive home from the hospital to find it deflated. Sure, the money worries have him stressed, and he wants to give Hope a perfect Christmas, but none of this warranted his behaviour towards someone who has been consistently good to him and, as street residents go, is one of the very best. Nor was it typical of Tyrone, even in the worst of circumstances, to behave in such a fashion.

Cathy continues to be Roy’s champion, and not in the aggressive way some are on t’cobbles when it comes to defending their other halves. She is delicate and subtle, yet solid. Nor does she dismiss the offender, encouraging an awkward Tyrone to stay and chat with Roy over a brew. Her reaction is similar to Roy’s in that he forgives, and remains concerned about Tyrone despite his poor behaviour. Roy feels there might be more to the aggression than meets the eye, however, and guesses it might be money. Calling to their house, Roy tactfully and sensitively offers Tyrone financial assistance, but his pride won’t allow him to take it, and after Roy leaves hoping he hasn’t embarrassed him, Tyrone dials a loan company.

If you put his refusal to take help down to anything, it must be the manner in which he’s regularly emasculated by those around him, including his own partner. It follows that his inability to stand up to those he should sees him assert himself with one he shouldn’t. I feel the real Tyrone, finding himself in the circumstances he’s in, would swallow his pride, and take Roy's assistance; after all, the consequences for his family of not doing so are too great.
Things go from bad to worse for Steph as she begins receiving messages from friends who have seen the pictures Jamie disseminated online, and her parents find out. As she cries in the Bistro kitchen, Leanne shares her own stories of humiliation, offering words of encouragement about how she can deal with it.

Meanwhile Luke and Andy are roughing Jamie up at his local and revealing his true colours in front of a potential next victim who tips a pint over his head before storming out. As they leave, Steph, Leanne and the police conveniently converge, and Jamie is arrested.

While this was an interesting and important subject to tackle, I’ve not really enjoyed this storyline, namely because of the manner in which it has played out. From the start it has struck me as an issue seeking a plot.

In any event, I found it questionable that, following Jamie’s arrest and Andy’s suggestion of a weekend away, Steph would joke about going somewhere without internet access. I half expected to hear canned laughter followed by some comedy exit music and the credits rolling over a freeze frame. It would have been far better, and more realistic, to see Steph escorted away in tears as she prepares for a period ahead of coping and coming to terms with it all, but thankfully surrounded by those prepared to support her through it. Instead, I fear we will see her back to normal by Monday, breezing around the Bistro in the refreshing way she normally does. I do, however, look forward to many more stories involving the brilliant Steph.
I love how Jonathan Harvey writes for Mary, and she looked positively glowing as she enjoyed a drink with Brendan in the Rovers. She’s overjoyed to be asked to accompany him to a convention; that is until he rather slyly drops the bombshell that he’s married. Patti Clare’s performance was second to none as Mary’s heart broke in her eyes, and she fled to the bathroom. Her dignity in the face of being so cruelly deceived spoke volumes as to her character and showed Mary at her best.
It’s a shame that Norris and Rita have incessantly sneered at her new found joy, and in the aftermath of Brendan’s revelation, Dev proves himself to be a better friend than either of them. There was thankfully nothing patronising about the scene in which he respectfully offered her kindness and a shoulder to cry on if needed without embarrassing her by putting words on it.

I think I was as disappointed as Mary to learn Brendan was married; not so much because I thought they were well paired, but because I feel it high time that Mary had some joy and a storyline that brings out the best in her. I hope she’s whisked off her feet by someone better deserving as she picks herself up from this inexplicable disappointment.

Meanwhile Simon has been to counselling but Leanne tells Robert and Eva that he remained silent throughout. I do love Eva, but it’s as if her funny laugh and often inappropriately timed gags have become 'a thing' now, and I’d find it regrettable if she was to slide into the 'comedy Gail' category. She’s better than that; and so is Gail.

Over at the gym, Sharif still has reservations about Gary, but Zeedan encourages his grandfather to give him a chance, reminding him that it was Alya, not Gary, that compromised their relationship, and telling him that he no longer wants to work there himself. While Sharif accepts his grandson’s desire to move on, what really seems to resonate is Zeedan’s talk of Gary's connection to Kal through the army.

Bolstered by Gary’s discovery and eviction of a gym goer on steroids, and without taking any time to think about the situation, Sharif promptly offers him the job of manager, and Zeedan tosses his badge in his direction. Failing to think has Sharif in a situation where he has offered an irrevocable contract to someone he has doubts about, and so I thought he might at least sleep on this latest decision. In any event, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for Zeedan as he departs the gym. I have high hopes for one that has fast become one of my favourite characters to watch.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Corrie weekly awards for Nov. 23 - 27

Life of the Party award: "Bren Bren" apparently bores for England.

A Woman of all trades award: Now that's what we like to see...a woman (Erica) that knows how to use the business end of a drill!

You're new here award: Robert thinks his clashes with his own father, they getting on each other's nerves is anything at all similar to all the loss and tragedy Simon's had in his short life.

Pathetic Loser award: Jamie.

Sacrifice award: Steph called Jamie's bluff. He did it. But Luke is free from the blackmail *and* she had Jamie arrested!

Cat out of the bag award: Leanne finally admited what Simon's been doing and Luke finally admitted that Jamie was blackmailing him over Steph's photos.

San Weatherfield Fault award: I think Robert's discovering a very major fault under the foundations of what he thought was a reformed Tracy. (See the winning line of the week)

New View! We don't usually see Dev's living room from this angle, with the fireplace wall in the scene. The camera is usually shooting towards the couch from that wall.

Black or White award: In Tracy's world, things really are black or white. No shades of grey there. No compromise.

Soap cliche: Steph intended on lying to Andy about what's going on. Lies, lies and damned lies, they're a soap staple but they don't half wear me out.

Lines of the week: 

Winner: Robert to Tracy "Get out, you poisonous little bitch!" (OH!!!)
Tracy about Simon "I'm not having him shouting at my daughter. That's my job"
Tracy "Oh quick, Amy, go get your violin cause my heart's breaking here"
Mary about Dev "He's a charming if slightly delusional shopkeeper, not a serial killer"
Mary to Dev "I don't think Erica wants your hand upstairs or anywhere else, for that matter"
Ken to Tracy "When it comes to bad behaviour, I hardly think you can sit in judgement"
Gary "I'm swearing off women" (yeah, right)
Ken to Tracy "Amy runs rings round you. When she's not running rings round me"
Norris to Mary "You're like a walking Mills and Boon"
Leanne to Tracy "When it comes to self defence, you're a pro" and "I've been with Robert all day and he'd rather boil his own head than spend another second with you"
Mary to Norris "Reign in your rudeness, sweet cheeks"

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First-look pic: Rob Donovan returns to Coronation Street

Rob Donovan will set the cat amongst the pigeons once more on Coronation Street when he starts calling the shots from his prison cell!

As this exclusive picture shows, Marc Baylis will reprise his role as murderer Rob Donovan from Friday 4th December when viewers will see him in prison.

Rob will send a number of visiting orders to some of our favourite Weatherfield residents, a year after he got sent down for Tina McIntyre’s murder, after being arrested on his wedding day to Tracy Barlow.

Rob’s reappearance spells trouble and it soon becomes clear that he holds the key to a huge Connor family secret, one that he could use to his advantage.

What is Rob’s end game and could it throw a spanner in the works for Tracy and Robert’s relationship, just as it looks like Tracy’s put her past with Rob to bed and is moving on with her life!

Marc Baylis said: “Rob’s had a lot of time to think about things over the last year and ponder why he ended up where he is. He’s got a sternness to him, he’s a bit colder than he was before. Rob’s of the attitude that if he’s having it so hard for the foreseeable future then why should everyone else have it so easy. He feels that he’s been hard done by and he just wants a little bit of payback.”

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

State of the Street - November

I like to put the spotlight on some of the storylines that made an impression on me during a month, good or bad. This month, I've had a bit of a rant about Ken and Nessa, well...mostly about Nessa, a grasping and selfish woman. Would Ken have thrown himself into a new relationship so soon after Deirdre's death if Nessa hadn't thrown herself at him and presented herself on a plate? I think not.

I'm very glad Simon is getting the help he needs even if it does look like it's going to be an uphill battle with the boy. I hope Zeedan continues to be a big brother figure, Simon needs that. I'm not so sure he needs yet another father figure which may or may not be Robert. Tracy's attitude might push Robert right into Leanne's arms and that might not be so good for Simon in the long run if it's yet another doomed relationship. I'd like to see Leanne refuse to take anything more from Robert  other than friendship. He can still be a support for Simon without warming her bed.

The story with Jamie blackmailing Luke was fairly brief, brought in to add a bit of drama around Maria's exit but focussing on a very modern issue. I didn't mind the storyline and I really liked the way Steph handled things when she found out. She was upset, yes, but with support, she stood up and looked Jamie in the eye and had him arrested. The actor playing Jamie was great, suitably icky and creepy and played very well. Tisha Merry was top notch and I liked seeing more of the brother-sister relationship between Steph and Luke.

All this and more on this month's State of the Street.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

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