Saturday, 29 August 2015

Corrie celebrates Manchester Pride

This weekend, Manchester celebrates Pride and Coronation Street actors got on board a float again this year and joined the parade through the city centre streets.

Some of the stars that waved to the crowds included Daniel Brocklebank, Antony Cotton, Hayley Tamaddon, Kym Marsh, Shane Ward, Jennie McAlpine and Katie McGlynn. They joined other members of the crew and staff including writer Damon Rochefort.

Leading the parade this year was the esteemed Sir Ian McKellan who, you may all remember, played Mel Hutchwright on Coronation Street.

Photos are copyright Joel Goodman from the Manchester Evening News website.

 See more photos from the parade here.

There are photos here on the Mirror's website, too.

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Doing a Talk on Corrie

Sheffield, my hometown, is having a bit of a festival moment. As a result, I’ve been asked to do a talk. The only trouble is I don’t know when, but have been told to be ‘ready to roll’ from about 19th September.

There are several things that I could talk about but only one that I would really like to talk about –Coronation Street, of course, and our wonderful blog in particular, with  much gratitude to Glenda for starting the whole thing off.

My plan for the talk is essentially this -:

·      Beginnings - Tony Warren - his vision
·      Facts and figures – audience viewings, number of hotpots sold etc.
·      Issues raised in Corrie
·      The women  - in general
·      Characters – Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Hilda Ogden, Emily Bishop, Bet Lynch, Rita Tanner, Deirdre, Carla Connor, Mary Taylor – detailed character analysis and their individual speech styles
·      The men – holding back the women – general theme.
·      Details of men and their secondary role – as envisaged by Tony Warren
·      How the show has changed or not, through the decades.
·      Snobbery surrounding soaps, lighthearted comparison to the great dramatists
·      And then finally, some clips – including-: death of Stan Ogden - Hilda and the glasses, Death of Martha Longhurst, rows between Ena and Elsie. And some modern stuff.  There is SO much, it is difficult to be sure that you have the best bits.

I would be very grateful for your assistance here, my fellow bloggers and our much valued and loyal readers. Is there anything that you think is CRUCIAL in a talk about Corrie that I have not touched on?

Btw did you know that in 1990 Hilda Ogden was the 4th most recognizable woman in Britain, after the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Di?

And this – Blanche Hunt – ‘Good looks are a curse Deirdre. You and Kenneth have been very lucky.’

Very much looking forward to your comments. Thank you.
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Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 28 August 2015

Aidan: “It’ll take some getting used to working with a load of women. The banter’s different.”
Michelle: “Hm. It’s called intelligent conversation that babes.”
Steve: “Yeah, I often have chats about renaissance art with Beth Tinker.”

And so begins Friday’s double Corrie. Written by Chris Fewtrell, they continue in this vein, and are a treat for anyone who appreciates the joy of well woven storytelling and beautifully crafted dialogue.
“You are a prisoner of other people’s aesthetic prejudices” Mary informs Eileen, whose only experience of painting has involved a skirting board. Her pushy recruitment tactics nevertheless see the community centre filled with budding artists in anticipation of Cathy’s class. It’s always welcome to have a character representing the viewer, and Cathy’s reaction to both Mary and Yasmeen’s overbearing theatricality endears her even  more.
Tim’s playfulness, Craig’s artistic integrity and Roy’s assertion that “This is the land of Lowry” are small but wonderful details that add to the rich palette of the episode. All this provides the backdrop for Cathy regaining her lost confidence and faith in her abilities and crediting Roy with being the catalyst. In what is a touching scene between the pair, he tells her, “The worst has already happened to you and me, nothing that comes now will ever compare, so in a peculiar sort of way, that’s liberating.”
The class subject, a bunch of flowers, sees varied interpretations. Mary’s painting of the grim reaper “proferring a bunch of nettles” is glorious as she explains to a bewildered Cathy, “for me, cut flowers are synonymous with death and also betrayal. They’re a time honoured pathetic male gesture made in the wake of some act of infidelity, negligence or cruelty. The nettles therefore represent the hidden sting that lurks beneath every bouquet.” Magnificent.

As they depart, and Tim is reminded he was supposed to cut the grass for Sally, he asks Cathy’s permission to take the flowers with him; a marvellous validation of both Mary’s assertions and the intricacies of Chris Fewtrell’s fine storytelling. I was just as happy as Yasmeen to hear Cathy will be giving more classes.
Aidan is far from happy with Carla’s attitude towards the business. First, she refuses to attend another important meeting with him, and then he realises she’s lost another £500 to online gambling. They make up, but not without a firm telling off and a request that she allow those who care for her to help her. An increasingly burdened Tracy agrees, albeit reluctantly, to lend her support to Maddie’s charity night at the Bistro, and you'd wonder if her wish for Carla to move on from what was an accident speaks to her own desire to eradicate it from memory. Carla overhears and admits that she does blame herself for the deaths of Maddie and Kal, and always will.
Liz has spent the night with Lloyd, and her shifty behaviour leads Michelle to suspect that she’s hiding someone upstairs. Thinking it’s Tony, Steve calls Lloyd for back up only to hear his phone ringing as he sneaks down the stairs. The following scenes are comedy gold, and result in Steve giving the couple his reluctant, and comically unnecessary, blessing.
Unwilling Lloyd is cajoled by Steve into bringing her on a date, and despite confessing to Dev that he doesn’t want a relationship with Liz, both jaws hit the floor when she arrives out from behind the bar dressed to impress. However, as they are about to leave for the Bistro, Andrea arrives with a full on apology and the record she stole and sold. She begs him for another chance, but it’s too late for Lloyd who can’t trust her again. After he admits he slept with Liz, Andrea ends up crying in Eileen’s face on Maxine’s bench with zero regard for what she’s going through. Lovely.
Once Tony learns from Jason that Callum was responsible for his beating, he turns full alpha-male and returns the favour in the ginnel behind the Rovers. David Platt’s cheeky grin complete with protruding lollipop is hilarious. After a protracted tête-à-tête in which bloodied Callum wheezes and Tony exerts brute force, Liz interrupts, and convinces Tony that this isn’t the way. After Callum scuttles away shouting that Tony has made a big mistake, Liz counsels him. “You can still be a good father to him, but not like this” she says, but Tony is concerned that this is the only way he knows how and it’s all he can do for his son.
Todd is shocked to hear that Jason might need a kidney transplant and goes to the hospital to offer his. He cries tears of relief for his brother on learning that it won’t be needed, and he’ll make a full recovery. Eileen overhears, and asks him to stay, acknowledging that what he did took guts.
Todd is humble throughout, telling her “Some people don’t know me as well as they think they do, and some know me too well. I’m sorry about what I did. I know it makes no odds, I know you won’t believe me, but I am”. Eileen suggests that they try again and this reduces him to tears of gratitude. She hopes he doesn’t expect forgiveness, but he is nevertheless happy to be given this chance. For me, this absolutely has to constitute Todd’s final and complete redemption. If not, then we are left with a pantomime villain who does a disservice to the character’s potential. There is a role for him on the street as a good person who, at the very least, can enrich episodes with his wry slant on proceedings and witty asides.
Chris Fewtrell's double episode was a work of art in its own right and, as ever, I look forward to his next installment.
By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Friday, 28 August 2015

Fab Photo Friday, August 28th 2015

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. Yesterday's blog about killing off kids may seem a little maudlin but it's not real and today's picture shows how reverently ITV treat death on the cobbles. Here's a picture I took on a visit to the set, of baby Paul Connor's gravestone dumped round the back somewhere. I presume that the bottles of Shandy Bass are what's used in the Rovers for beer.

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Spot the Corrie prop - August 28th 2015

Congratulations this week go to Joseph Billington who was the first to guess that last week's doggy shopping list pad can be found in the Barlow's kitchen. Well done!

For this week's prop poser just tell us whereabouts on the Coronation Street set you would find this bee mosaic.

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Preview of tonight's double Corrie - Friday 28 August

Friday 28th August
TONY FINALLY GETS HIS HANDS ON CALLUM Todd overhears Sean and Billy discussing Jason’s condition and how he might need a kidney transplant. Jason remembers being kicked over and over again, and thinks that the voice that he heard was Callum’s. As Callum approaches his car, Tony grabs him and drags him into the ginnel. Tony gives Callum a beating and demands the names of his two accomplices.
STEVE PUTS LLOYD IN AN IMPOSSIBLE POSITION As Steve, Michelle and Aidan chat over breakfast, Liz looks shifty. Lloyd tries to creep down the Rovers stairs to make his exit but Steve appears and Lloyd beats a hasty retreat. Steve and Michelle realise that Liz is hiding someone upstairs. How will Steve react when a sheepish Lloyd descends down the stairs? And how does Lloyd feel about Liz’s belief that they could have a future together?
CATHY LOSES ART AT THE COMMUNITY CENTRE Mary cajoles Emily, Craig and Tim into signing up for Cathy’s art class. Cathy appears nervous and Roy’s sympathetic.
ELSEWHERE Liz has a change of heart about Rover and so Steve proudly declares himself as the dog’s owner. Unimpressed when again, Carla leaves him to manage a client meeting alone, Aidan confronts her over her gambling problem. Will Carla listen to his calls for her to seek help?

Friday 28th August
ROY SAVES THE DAY AT THE COMMUNITY CENTRE Roy finds Cathy at the bus stop and persuades her to return to the art class. Cathy’s art class proves a huge success and Emily, Tim, Mary and Craig enjoy themselves immensely. Cathy thanks Roy for giving her the confidence to do it. Yasmeen’s delighted when Cathy agrees to take some more art classes.
LLOYD BREAKS ANDREA’S HEART TO PROTECT STEVE Under pressure from Steve, Lloyd invites Liz to dinner at the bistro. Lloyd confesses to Dev that he doesn’t want a relationship with Liz, but knows if he comes clean, she’ll be upset and Steve will be furious. As Lloyd and Liz prepare to leave for their date, Andrea sweeps into the pub and begs him to take her back. Leading Andrea into the back yard, Lloyd admits there’s nothing he’d like more than to start again – will they reconcile?
CALLUM ESCAPES TONY’S CLUTCHES – FOR NOW Liz finds Tony terrorising Callum in the ginnel and orders him to stop, pointing out he’ll be no use to Jason if he ends up in prison. Callum slinks away.
ELSEWHERE A guilty Tracy reluctantly agrees to support Robert at Maddie’s charity evening at the bistro. Aidan and Carla put their differences aside, but Michelle is concerned as Carla knocks back the wine. Carla admits to Michelle and Aidan that she blames herself for the deaths of Maddie and Kal. Todd calls at the hospital and offers to donate a kidney to save Jason. Eileen’s touched when she overhears Todd, will the family be able to bury the hatchet and move forward?

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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Coronation Street episode review, Thursday 27 August

Hello, I'm Rachel from That London and I'll be your Thursday reviewer from now until TPTB decide that a Thursday trip to the cobbles is an episode too far. I'm a relative Corrie newbie, having only tuned in fifteen years ago, but I've appeared on the Coronation Street Blog before as guest reviewer of a revival of (my favourite Corrie writer) Jonathan Harvey's play, Beautiful Thing, and as Fan of the Week.

Anyway, enough about me; on with the show....

We start off with Jason and family in the hospital. Tony is stressed by the lack of action from the police and he takes it out on Lloyd in the pub, leading to some sparks flying between Tony and Liz as they argue in the back room. By the end of the ep, Jason has woken up and is starting his recovery, albeit with a swelling on his kidney, presumably where Camp Callum kicked him. Between the claims and counter-claims, the Weatherfield plods must be more confused than ever about whodunnit. Michael suggests that Eileen and Tony "leave it to the police to work it out", but that'd probably mean that Kylie would end up arrested for the attack on Jason.

It's a real pity that Lloyd will soon be departing the Street, as he makes a great pairing with any McDonald, whether it be Steve ("If you ever turn up here in a pink dress or a string of pearls, you and me are finished!") or Liz, as they rekindle their romance over spring rolls from Wong's and The Real Housewives of Cheshire on ITVBe, although I do get the impression that it was her earlier fingering of Tony's shirt that leads Liz to a little light Lloyd petting in the back room.

In fashion news, it's good to see the return of the zig-zag necklace.

Talking of returns, Michelle is back from Ireland with "the Blarney stone and several gallons of Irish stout" in her bag. The Connor clan plus Steve celebrate her return with dinner at the Bistro, the purpose of which seems to be to set up some conflict between Aidan and Robert. Hopefully, Robert will stay in the kitchen from now on, rather than trying to garner praise (or ketchup requests) from the punters.

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of Aidan so far; he seems like the poor man's Luke Strong and I'm very unsure about the casting. The most endearing and enduring Corrie actors are those who've come up through the Street's Youth Academy, so to speak, such as Jack P. Shepherd and Alan Halsall, or those who were relatively unknown before Corrie (Katherine Kelly, Suranne Jones, Paula Lane), rather than celebs from other fields. Whilst I have gradually warmed to Kym Marsh, I am unconvinced by stunt casting unless it's for a short term role (I enjoyed Paddy McGuinness last week, but he would have been annoying as a long-term, one-note character), and I'm not quite sure which demographic the producer and casting directors are hoping to attract by casting someone who came to fame ten years ago.

Tim chats to Craig in the cafe about The Karate Kid ("my squeegees are my nunchucks" - maybe they will take over the banter from Steve and Lloyd when the latter departs) and then asks Craig if he wants to come with him to pick up baby Miley, but Craig prefers to clean out Daryl's cage (funnily enough, I was just reading about female rats anogenitally licking their pups, but let's not go there), although really he's phoning Caitlin. Perhaps she will return as a character in her own right sans Dougie?

Finally, Cathy is steamrollered by Mary and Yasmee into teaching art classes at the Community Centre. It's good to see Cathy getting to do something other than annoy Roy with her cutlery combining and toast crumbs. Art triumphs once again.

Thanks for reading, and thank you to Glenda and the gang for giving me the opportunity to review my favourite soap!

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Cobbles and coffins - killing off kids in soap

There have been some good comments left on my speculatory blog post about Max being hit by Nick's car in Coronation Street.  Will Max live or die?  My guess is he'll live because Coronation Street wouldn't kill off two kids in one year, would it?

Mind you, we don't know for sure if Hope will live or die. All we know is that Fiz and Tyrone will have a very sad Christmas. Therefore, losing any children on Coronation Street in the future is a matter of pure speculation. But it has prompted us to think about whether Corrie would, could or should kill off little Max.

Corrie's past record suggests that Max won't be killed off because they haven't killed off any children in the past on screen before, as far as we know. Corrie has had baby deaths from still-births, premature births and disease, but never a grown child being killed off.

It's brought a lump to my throat writing this blog post. It's possibly one of the saddest blog posts I've ever written... here's a look back at some of the sad stories when children of the cobbles have passed away. 

After David and Irma Barlow emigrated to Australia in 1969, David was killed in a car crash there in 1970. David and Irma's 18 month son, Darren also died in the crash.  We never saw Darren on screen in Corrie as he was born in Australia.

In 1992 Liz McDonald lost her premature baby Katherine (Katie) soon after she was born on 1 January. The scene is on YouTube here. I remember this storyline vividly and with great sadness. Liz's grand-daughter Amy Barlow has Katherine as her middle name in honour of Liz's baby.

In 1998 Zoe Tattersall lost her daughter Shannon to meningitis.  The grief of her baby's death unhinged Zoe and she kidnapped Fiona Middleton's baby, Morgan. Morgan's dad was Alan McKenna.
In 2000, Jake Webster was born but died from the disease Strep B.  His parents were Kevin and Alison Webster.  This is the storyline which Corrie recently forgot.

In 2004 baby Billy Platt, the prematurely born son of Sarah and Todd Grimshaw passed away.

In 2008 Maria Connor gave birth to a still-born baby son. The baby's dad was Liam Connor and they named their baby Paul.

It remains to be seen if little Hope Stape will survive neuroblastoma, a rare cancer.

And will Max dodge his uncle Nick's car? 
Watch the video trailer here and see what you think.

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