Sunday, 11 December 2016

Win a VIP Tour of Coronation Street set

Coronation Street sponsor are offerign fans the chance to win a VIP tour of the Coronation Street set.

To enter, you need to complete a fiendish quiz - it's here.  Good luck.

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Corrie weekly update - Tracy's tapes, sisters and Bros

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Tracy’s tapes turned up!  Remember all those years when Tracy Barlow was sent upstairs to listen to her tapes? Well, this week we saw said box of tapes on the Barlow kitchen table. Peter was sorting through Tracy’s old tapes and when he found a Bros tape, his eyes light up.  This wasn’t because Peter’s a fan of Luke and Matt, no. This was because Peter’s got plans for that Bros tape, plans that involve Leanne, perhaps?

Well, that’s what Nick thinks when he finds out that Leanne and Peter have gone Chrimbo shopping together.  Nick storms round to the Barlow house to warn Peter off seeing Leanne. While Nick’s there he has a dig at Peter, telling him that No. 1 Coronation Street is a great bachelor pad and what’s Peter doing, at his age, still living with his dad?  Peter does his best not to squirm but Nick’s words cut deep and we next see Peter in Anna’s flat telling her he wants her to move out ‘cos he wants his flat back.  As for that Bros tape? We’ll find out soon enough.
At Preston’s Petals, Mary breaks down and confides in Norris that she was raped when she was just 14 – and she has a son.  Norris encourages Mary to find her son but Mary’s not so sure.   This was a truly wonderful scene between Mary and Norris, really lovely.
The Loch Nessa monster returned this week for her sister Cathy’s wedding to Roy. Unfortunately for Roy, the stress of the wedding brings him out in a rash and he starts sleepwalking too – into Nessa’s bedroom.  He’s really unhappy with all the talk of wedding and so when Cathy tells Roy that she’s not sure if they should wed because she blames herself for her late husband Alan canoodling with Nessa, a relieved Roy is happy to cancel all their arrangements.  Immediately, Roy’s rash clears up. When Cathy realises what’s going on, she’s annoyed at Roy for not talking her out of cancelling their wedding. Roy then decides to honour the promise he’s made to Cathy and the wedding’s back on – and so is Roy’s rash. Worse is to come when Roy suffers a panic attack in the Bistro too.

Cathy practises her wedding vows with the help of a Dictaphone which she leaves on Roy’s kitchen table when she goes to spend the night at Yasmeen’s.  As the Dictaphone carries on recording, Brian and Tyrone come into Roy’s flat to try to talk him out of the wedding and make him see sense, it’s clearly not something he really wants to go through with.  And Roy’s words about how he feels obliged to honour his promise to Cathy are captured on the Dictaphone. Oh dear.
More shenanigans this week between Aidan and Maria with Eva unaware of what’s going on.  Eva’s in full-on Christmas mode, ordering Eva and Aidan Christmas cards to send to all their friend. Aidan’s heart might be with Maria but when Eva turns up in sexy lingerie for Aidan, the rest of him is somewhere else entirely.

Speaking of Maria, she’s had her head turned by Adam Barlow – but it’s just to make Aidan jealous.
Over at the Barlows’ there was a lovely scene between Peter and Daniel as Daniel reveals that his mum Denise left him six years ago; she just upped and walked out. Peter takes Daniel to the cops and they report Denise missing. Better late than never, I suppose.

Billy tells the Bishop he’s decided to leave the church and stop being a vicar. The Bishop begs him to reconsider but Billy’s mind is made up. He wants to love and be loved for who he is, not for what the church thinks he should be.  Getting bladdered in the Rovers on cheap shots, Billy takes a phone call and he’s offered a new job as a receptionist in a drugs clinic in town.

And finally this week, Eileen gets a poison-pen letter pushed through the door at No. 11 and Tyrone doesn’t know what a cooking apple is.

And that’s just about that for this week. 

Remember, you can sign up to get these Corrie weekly updates by email at

This week’s writers Mark Burt and John Kerr (Monday double); Susan Oudot (Wednesday and Thursday); Simon Crowther and Jonathan Harvey (Friday double). Find out all about the Coronation Street writing team at

Glenda Young
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First-look pics: Toyah and Leanne's Christmas Day reunion

Here are some preview pictures from the Chrsitmas Day episode of Coronation Street.

As Nick and Leanne exchange gifts, they’re taken aback when Toyah pulls up in her car and announces Christmas is off.

(Oh no! She hasn't run over Theresa the turkey, again, has she?)

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Saturday, 10 December 2016

The abandoned Barlow Brothers

(Reposted from State of the Street with permission)

Peter Barlow lost his mother to an electrical appliance when he was only a small boy. That's going to affect any child but then his father gave up trying to look after twin children and gave them over to their grandparents who raised them in Scotland. If you watched Corrie through the 70s and early 80s, you will know that Ken rarely visited them and rarely had them back home to visit him. They were mentioned from time to time and I'm sure he sent them birthday cards and Christmas gifts even if it wasn't shown on screen.

Daniel Osbourne's father, Ken Barlow, barely had a look in when he was growing up and his mother went walkabout 6 years ago, with no further sight nor sound. These two men certainly have a lot in common and I think they've kind of bonded over that.

Peter, especially in his Chris Gascoyne incarnation, has shown all the signs of having abandonment issues which have manifested themselves in a fondness for the drink. He's also got his father's "any woman any time" gene and finds it difficult to make a long standing commitment.  He regularly berates his father for dumping him and blames a lot of his failings on his father's non-participation in his life yet has always craved approval from his one remaining parent and yet resented the hell out of him at the same time.

Daniel is very secretive born from having to pretend his mother was not gone while he was too young, really, to be living on his own. Should the authorities have found out, he'd have been taken into care. He obviously had no contact or relationship with his mother's sister (she whose husband Denise had an affair with back in the day) and no other family it seems. He's been on his own for a long time. We don't know if he's got abandonment issues as such but he's bound to when you think of it. We just haven't seen how they've manifested themselves yet.

Children take on so much and learn what they see.  Neither of them ever had a father figure that was ever present in their lives. Peter certainly didn't grow up learning how to be a good father and so has never found it easy being one himself, often at a loss when things get difficult. He grew up seeing or knowing that his father flitted from woman to woman and he mirrored that behaviour. We don't know why his first marriage broke up though he has been known to blame his absences due to being in the navy but I think there's a pretty good chance he had a welcoming bed in every port.

Peter's been a lifelong screw up, or at least as long as he's been an adult from what we know and what we've seen. Just maybe, though, he's starting to take responsibility and grow up. A bit. His father's sudden illness seems to have affected him deeply. It seems like Daniel's reaction has been to  take refuge in books and in his schoolwork and keep his head down.

Daniel was an unplanned child but Ken in his middle age was anxious to do things right this time around. He and Denise were not love's young dream nor were they soul mates in any form. In fact, in the cold harsh reality of the aftermath of the affair, Denise realized she was most definitely unsuited to life with Ken and a baby so she left the baby with Ken initially and walked. Ken tried, he really did but he was a single middle aged man who had no clue how to deal with an infant. He hired a nanny and that helped but he never had the chance to see if he could make a go of this parenting thing. Denise returned and took baby Daniel away, to Scotland because her sister's husband happened to be from that country.

Ken tried to make an effort  at first but gave it up as a lost cause and thus, Daniel really had no memory of him.  Yet another of Ken's children was lost and cut loose from a paternal influence. We next saw Daniel when he was a boy of about 10. Ken and Deirdre were having difficulties and Ken began to think he'd like to make an effort with his son. His son resented Ken's efforts as too little too late and Ken soon gave up again. We would hear Daniel's name on occasion over the intervening years, usually when Tracy or Peter wanted to call Ken's parenting into question.

But Ken apparently had a contact number for Denise in his address book. After he had the stroke, Peter went through the book to contact family and left a message with Denise, or so the dialogue went. Daniel got the message eventually and came to see his father. Before you think this was a plot hole, it's very possible that telephone number was the landline in the flat where Daniel was living. Since he didn't want people to know he was living alone under aged, he would have left the answering machine message on there that his mother recorded.

And where was his mother? Daniel says they weren't getting along, typical teenage stuff and she became more and more agitated and decided to leave. He thought she was coming back but she never did nor did she ever get in contact. It does seem strange. On comment I've seen suggested she could have been bipolar and could have ended up on the streets. That would be an interesting way to take this. Her abandonment had to have been devastating to him.

He's been keeping secrets so long that it's no wonder he's reluctant to open up now. Peter has taken him in hand and has been very supportive. He's a big brother and he's also old enough to be a father figure, really, and Peter seems to really like his little brother. It really seems like there's a weight finally lifting off Daniel's shoulders, relieved to have told the truth and to have someone that he might actually be able to depend on (he doesn't know Peter well yet!) for once in his life.  He was almost in tears when Peter assured him he would be there, as if Peter was a lifeline to a young man near the end of his rope that sorely needed one.

This chemistry between the two brothers who seem to have bonded quickly, able to relate to what the other has been through over their lives is evident. We've long admired Chris Gascoyne's acting abilities and the young man playing Daniel, Rob Mallard, is really showing his acting chops, too.

It will be interesting to see where they take this.

Tvor, twitter: @tvordlj

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Carla Connor's return - why now isn't the right time

Tabloid rumours were rife this week about a possible return of Carla Connor to Coronation Street.   However, it was not to be (yet?) and ITV quashed the tabloid tale - read more on that here.

The rumours fired up one Carla Connor fan in New Zealand to pen a blog post about why she loves Carla Connor so much.  And so, it's over to Deena, who you can follow on twitter @deenabarnesx

"Everyone has their favourite characters in coronation street and for me it's a no brainer - Carla Connor.

I've grown up watching Corrie and I've always loved her. I think she's possibly the strongest character to ever live on those cobbles seeing as she's almost experienced everything. For me the Underworld siege in 2010 was when I really noticed the incredible acting ability in Alison King, and I saw how strong Carla was as a character. The most outstanding storyline for me has to be Carla's rape because Alison was beyond incredible and portrayed the story, which is extremely sensitive, to millions of viewers all around the world. Carla can show her emotions without even saying a word and this became evident during the rape storyline on many different occasions.

Carla's almost been burnt alive twice, been involved in car & bus crashes, raped, tried to kill herself, cheated on, had a miscarriage, dragged along the cobbles by a car, she's almost had it all, but she's still standing. To me that shows just how strong she is, and she's really helped me and many other people be ourselves and get through challenging life situations.

I'd love to see Carla return one day, but honestly, right now I don't think is the right time. She only left just over 6 months ago and her return wouldn't have a huge impact on the other residents as of yet. If Alison ever decides to return I'm all for it, because is Corrie really Corrie at all without Carla Connor?

The reason why I love Carla so much is because she's strong, she's independent and doesn't rely on others to keep her afloat, she's brave, she's a level headed businesswoman and overall shes someone who many many people admire.

For me she takes the crown as one of Corrie's most legendary characters."

Deena, twitter: @deenabarnesx

If you'd like to write a guest blog post for us on any subject close to your heart relating to Coronation Street, do please get in touch and let us know!

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Vicky Entwistle - from Corrie to Carabosse in a perfect panto

There are two kinds of people in this world - those who love pantomime and those who don't. I fall firmly into the first category. I adore pantomime and go every year to my local theatre, the Sunderland Empire.  And what could be better than seeing a pantomime at my favourite theatre? Seeing a pantomime that stars an ex-Coronation Street actor. 

Last year's panto at the Sunderland Empire was Aladdin and it starred Terence Maynard, better known to Corrie fans as Tony Stewart.  Terence was wonderful in his panto role and he hammed it up in perfect panto style - my review of last year's panto is here.

This year's panto is Sleeping Beauty with Corrie's Janice Battersby - actress Vicky Entwistle - playing the part of the evil Carabosse.  What joy it was to boo and hiss every time she came on stage. She really was wonderful in the role, it's the first time I've seen Vicky in anything outside of Coronation Street and she looked as if she was enjoying playing the panto baddie a great deal.  She absolutely stole the show during Carabosse's song and dance routine, singing the song "I'm a bad fairy"... wonderful stuff.

Since leaving Coronation Street as Janice Battersby, Vicky has appeared in numerous stage productions including the UK tours of Funny Peculiar, The Vagina Monologues, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and made her West End debut playing Madame Thernardier in Les Miserables.  She has recently played the role of Francis Whittaker in Father Brown series five for the BBC. 

I do wonder, now that Toyah is returning to Coronation Street this Christmas, whether this might herald the return of Janice as Toyah's mum some time in the future? Let's hope so.

There were a couple of Corrie-related references thrown in to the pantomime from Vicky's character. But the best was when the story had to move 100 years into the future, after which the King asked: "I wonder if Ken Barlow is still in Coronation Street?"

The panto this year at the Sunderland Empire was one of the best I've seen there in the last few years. Trying to pin down what makes it so special is a little like trying to say what's magical about Christmas. I just can't quite put my finger on what made it so good. The whole panto cast were magnificient, and it was a very strong performance from all of them.

However, for me, Bobby Crush as panto dame Nurse Nelly was an abolute delight. I grew up watching Bobby on telly playing his piano and as a panto dame he's one of the best I've seen. Faye Tozer as the Good Fairy puts in a great performance with the kids (and me) in the audience going wild when she did a Steps-medley including Tragedy!

And I have to give full credit to Andrew Agnew who played Silly Billy (and also directed the panto). I've never watched Balamory for which Andrew is most well-known, but his presence on stage is magical and I was clapping and singing along with him everytime he appeared - and doing the jazz hands too. What a treat he was.

In short - this is one of the best pantos I've seen in recent years at the Sunderland Empire.  Vicky Entwistle is definitely worth watching on stage and I'd be very keen to see more of her in different productions on stage after having seen her in panto.

If you live in or close to Sunderland, Sleeping Beauty at the Sunderland Empire is definitely worth a visit. Tickets and more details here.

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Friday, 9 December 2016

Interest and Intrigue in Weatherfield - excellent storylines

So, where to begin? It probably has to be with the revelation of Mary Taylor's baby son. Baby Jude was born when Mary was just 14 years old. The father was a minister, a pillar of the community, someone for whom Mary baby sat. Driving her home one night he stopped the car and raped her. She told no one, but then, inevitably, her pregnancy began to show. Her mother never once asked if her pregnant daughter, at the tender age of 14, was alright. Instead, her mother wept with disappointment and Mary wept too, for causing her mother distress. What a terrible secret for Mary to harbour. And though it was possible that something of this order may descend into melodrama, in Patti Clare's capable hands, there was no suggestion of it.

There was a surprise too, by the way in which Norris appeared genuinely concerned. Aware of his reputation for inquisitiveness, this sincere concern is of a different order to his general day to day meddling. Mary is his friend and he does care about her. Norris asks 'Why now,' and Mary's answer is as quick as a flash. 'Ken.' she states. This reaction is psychologically convincing. She has observed Ken's family gather round and recognises with great sadness that the same would not happen for her in similar circumstances.

And now to Peter and the question we would all like answering - Who exactly is his mystery woman?
Could it possibly be Leanne? He says it's complicated, which, if Leanne was the mystery woman, that would indeed be the case. Let us remind ourselves that she is pregnant with Steve Macdonald's baby, but people believe it is Nick's baby. Nick and Leanne are back together for the third or fourth time. Has Peter realised that, after all, it is Leanne he wants? Out shopping, weren't they getting on well! Leanne was laughing and reminiscing about her and Toyah and their adoration of Bros. Very cosy, it seemed,  and they didn't even seem to mind too much that the car was clamped. While waiting to be unclamped Peter and Leanne were relaxed and contented. Must make a nice change for Leanne after Nick's dark, brooding expressions when ever Peter is near. Is Nick paranoid? Or does he have good reason to be wary of Peter's motives. Certainly if he had seen Peter reach over to Leanne when they were in the car, he would have been furious but perhaps grateful too, to the unclamper for arriving just at the point where Peter reached across.

Is this all ridiculous speculation? Maniacal conjecture? Maybe, but where women and Peter are concerned, nothing is impossible. There may well be a woman we've never met, just
 waiting in the wings...

Further intrigue concerns Daniel and his mother Denise. Why did she leave? Why did Daniel lie about the last time he saw her? Why did Denise, according to Daniel, shout a lot? Was Daniel really relieved, as he claimed he was, that as a result of  her departure, their home was now calm. Where is she now?

Have I missed something or is Roy still bothered by a rash? And just when will Nessa behave in an age appropriate manner? No, scrap that. When will she learn to behave in a reasonable way for someone of any age? And who will she throw her cap at? Mature (and maybe not so mature) gentlemen of Weatherfield, beware.

And then there's Adam. What does he do exactly? We've witnessed him engaged in what seemed to be a dodgy phone call. He's annoyed his family members, he's keen on Maria and he is even keener on himself.

The recent storylines, creating interest and intrigue throughout Weatherfield are first class. Thank you to Kate Oates and the writing team for upping their game.

Ruth Owen, twitter: @Ruth1722

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Spot the Corrie prop - December 9th 2016

Congratulations this week go to one of our anonymous contributors for correctly spotting that last week's Rubik's cube themed storage boxes can be found in Chesney's house. Well done.

For this week's prop puzzle, all you have to do is tell us whereabouts on the Coronation Street set you would find these odd ornaments.

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