Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bradley Winnings

Last night Jenny Bradley went from "quirky" to "psycho hose beast" in the course of an hour.  One minute she was Mary Poppins, floating around on a happy cloud of childminding love, the next she's bawling at passers by in the street, lying through her teeth, and belting the neighbours.  And yet my sympathies were always with her, not the victims of her rage.  How did that happen?

The easy answer is, she was smacking Maria in the face, and let's be honest, Maria could do with a bit of a slap every few months.  The more in depth answer is that Jenny Bradley is just plain ace.  Sally-Ann Matthews has been fantastic from the minute she returned to the Street.  She has an advantage, I suppose, in that it was all pretty familiar to her; a lot of the cast were around in her day, and the set might have moved to Salford but it still looks pretty much the same.

But on top of this, she's been a fascinating character.  A bit funny, a bit clever, a bit mouthy.  She's mellowed since she was last here - as you would hope anyone would after 20 years - but she's still recognisably the Jenny Bradley who left the Street during the John Major premiership.  There's a darkness there, of course.  We should remember that she was orphaned at an early age - her mum died in a car crash, and her dad turned out to be a nasty criminal who ended up under a Blackpool tram.  That's a not insignificant amount of youthful trauma to go through.

On top of that, her over-reactions to Jack's illnesses hint at a horrible secret.  I've avoided the spoilers, so I don't know what she's hiding, but I'm guessing at a dead child somewhere in her past.  I hope whatever it is comes out in a sympathetic way, and that Jenny gets the help she needs to overcome her demons.  I'd rather see that than, for example, a melodramatic kidnap of Jack followed by her falling into the canal.  I'd rather see her bond with Rita, put their differences aside, become like a mother and daughter again.  Since Dennis has gone forever, it'd be nice to give La Knox something to do. Perhaps she could take a job in the Kabin, or in the cafe now Anna is off playing happy families.  I'd like to see her behind the bar of the Rovers, not least because Sarah-Lou is grossly overqualified for that position (also, how can she see over the beer pumps?  Do they have a box back there for her?).

Basically, I want Jenny to stick around, because she's pretty marvelous.  No doubt Sophie Webster: Girl Detective will turn up some crucial evidence before long (I'd love to know what she expected to find in Jenny's handbag: a bloodied knife?  A detailed floor plan of a bank?  A copy of Child Rearing The Rosemary West Way?).  I hope, when she does, the revelation isn't completely destructive to Jenny and her burgeoning relationship with Kevin.

Alternatively she could just punch Maria in the chin every other week.  That'd cheer me up too.

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Flaming Nora said...

Couldn't agree more, Scott.

John from Corriepedia said...

Fully agree! A terrific return for the character so far.

Tvor said...

Yes, Jenny is a great character. I hope she doesn't descend into the non-redeemable realm. If she's going to have a breakdown and do something stupid, let her get help and come back from it like they did with Maria.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I actually like Maria (I know).. and can think of about 10 characters I would rather slap in the face first (Todd, Sarah, Bethanny, TRACY, Michelle.. I could go on), but fair enough!
I suspect that she had a child that died.. not based on spoilers, just a hunch.
Rebecca in TO

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this blog because until now I haven't been able to get a handle on Jenny Bradley. Maybe the hysterical woman archetype cuts too close to home:/ From now on, I'll try to see her through a more gothic lens - or "black comedy, camp, and ... hag horror" as Wikipedia calls it.

Humpty Dumpty said...

My concern is that the reveal will come in the final sensationalist scene. I'd rather see small hints along the way: a photo of a child in her handbag, Jenny swallowing a couple of pills behind Kevin's back every now and again. I feel we're supposed to assume that there was a baby death but it would be more interesting if that was a deliberate deceit. What about this messy divorce? There's a lot that could trickle out before the end.

Anonymous said...

Ive recently been watching old episodes on youtube where Jenny is featured and it makes it all the more obvious that her reappearance has been handled brilliantly. Of course she would have had a troubled twenty odd years since she left and its great that the writers are exploring this but even better is that Sally Ann Matthews is a cracking actress. Her reactions to the other characters, especially the most unchristian of all Sophie, is spot on and compelling viewing.- Micky

Anonymous said...

Okay, the first thing is that I agree that Sally Ann Matthews is an excellent actress.
However, I love Maria and feel she is dissed way too much on this blog, and agree with Anon. 15:56 with regard to the "slap" category.
I also feel that Sophie is getting bad-mouthed here, as she is only trying to protect her Dad.

Frosty the Snowman said...

Well as everyone knows Frosty doesnt like many people on the Street but he does like Jennybradley. An enigmatic character with that cascade of titan hair. Just sorry they have ruined her by going down the usual turning out to be a nutter route, when she would have made a good addition to the cast but hey let's get rid of her and bring back the pointless bland annoying Sarah Loo Platt. You know it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying Jenny's return. My only concern is that she'll end up being shunned and disappearing after performing an outrage, probably involving Jack. It's pretty obvious that her behaviour has something to do with losing a child, so there's a fairly compelling reason for her oddness. After all the "awareness raising" that's gone on in Steve's depression storyline, I think the writers have to be careful not to fall into the trap of having her labelled a "nutter" or a "psycho" and leaving it at that. Plus, I'd love her to stick around.

Nikki NZ said...

Yes yes yes. She's the best thing to happen in ages. Sally- Ann Matthews is not just a superb actress in her own right - she also brings out the best in everyone around her.

I hope that the writers have allowed for a more permanent role and that they're not already committed to a crash and burn "sensational" exit.

MartesBC said...

I can't believe that Kevin would leave his kid with a virtual stranger for child minding. No professional reference checks, etc. just a few weeks of dating. . Kevin is lucky he doesn't have a working mom Ex alive as this could be an issue.
... But I do love Jenny's hair and hope she finds salvation and redemption from what ails her on the street... But not at a cost to lil' Jack.

Anonymous said...

Kevin has known Jenny for twenty five years, just with a twenty year gap in the middle :)

Anonymous said...

I wish this story explored more about how Kevin and Jenny were on the Street back when they originally were there (did they ever interact, even?).

Maybe we'll find out that Jenny didn't lose a child but somehow caused it harm! Have they done Munchhausen by proxy syndrome before?

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