I've had to catch up with over a week's worth of Coronation Street as I was away on holiday so this review cover several episodes rather than the usual one or two.
The predominant theme this week was the return of old faces - in particular a tribute to one of the oldest and best loved faces of them all, as Coronation Street paid an emotional farewell toveteran Rovers' barmaid Betty Turpin. But also, you sensed, this was just as much a tribute to her alter ego, much loved nonagenarian actress Betty Driver,who died recently.
Betty's London-based son Gordon Clegg, played by the creator of the role, impresario and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, (last time Gordon was played by another actor and it just wasn't the same) came back to break the sad news of Betty's death. It was more than the character had done for Betty when she was still alive as he never graced the cobbles to see his mother for years on end.
There followed warm hearted tributes to Betty and sometimes humorous reminiscences all round (getting new character Stella in on the tributes seem a tad forced) as residents and old friends bade goodbye at a suitably heartfelt funeral and wake to the Street's no nonsense, hot pot cooking answer to the Queen Mother
Kenwright, who was close to Betty Driver in real life, looked genuinely upset at her passing and fitted in easily with the regular cast as he swapped Betty stories with the likes of her old chum Rita Sullivan - Barbara Knox on top form. Fussy Norris however was more concerned that Betty hadn't paid her paper bill! However in the end Betties Driver and Turpin both got a good send off. I found the storyline twist that Annie Walker had apparently secretly left Betty the Rovers years ago however very contrived - and no doubt all will be swiftly resolved, especially as Kenwright is only guest appearing in the Street.
Otherwise the other old face to return was villain Terry Duckworth - bigger (certainly round the waist, now we know who ate all the hot pots) and badder than ever as he returned in newfound businessman mode but ended up in a fight with the long lost son he, ahem, sold, Tommy Duckworth.
Nigel Pivaro's trademark lip curling and evil smile were in fine form - if he had a moustache, he'd be twirling it. When he learnt Tommy had got an inheritance, he decided to burn bridges, worming his way back into his son's affections and brandishing a baby picture of Tommy he claimed he'd cherished al these years. Nice but dim Tommy then clashed with Tyrone - who knows Terry's evil ways of old - and appeared to be softening towards his renegade father. Don't do it, Tommy! Pivaro isn''t the greatest actor and tends to declaim his lines but he and the scriptwriters wisely appear to be aiming Terry's evil ways just this side of comedy, which should work ( loved him referring to Roy as "rain man".) Like Kenwright, it was good to see him back.
Keen as mustard Sally's new found vocation as junior businesswoman annoyed Carla as her new business partner's interfering ways nearly ruined a meeting with Carla's client that she gatecrashed. Meanwhile Sunita may be fending off Kart's attentions verbally but her low cut and skin tight vampette outfits while she's at work in his presence speak otherwise, prompting Karl to drool how 'sexy" he finds her. A rematch of the bedroom kind seems inevitable.
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