Monday, 20 July 2015
Coronation Street's past, present... and future
A guest blog post from Coronation Street Blog reader (and one of our Corrie fans of the week) ELK.
"Although it's not Chrismas, all of the recent posts about Tracy – whether she can be redeemed, whether she should be redeemed, etc – got me daydreaming about taking a tour of the cobbles with the ghosts of Corrie past, present, and future – in whatever mode you prefer, with a Dickensian flavour, or a more 1940s American It's a Wonderful Life – to see what everyone's favourite Street would look like if there were no Tracy Barlow.
Corrie Past: It's possible, had Tracy's pram remained outside the Rovers the day of the lorry crash, that Deirdre, so bereft at the loss of her only child, might actually have thrown herself into the canal. (A sad loss for viewers indeed!) On the other hand, had she recovered from this trauma and proceeded to date and/or marry the many men in her life (To all the men I've loved before - Deirdre's song) without Tracy's meddling the relationship with Dave Barton might have flourished or, for that matter, Samir, had he not been on his way to the hospital to donate a kidney to Deirdre's OD'd daughter, might still be alive – at least that's what Deirdre, in fits of anger, always told Tracy. Wally might have married Blanche. Roy and Hayley Cropper would have been up £20,000. Somebody else might have offed Charlie Stubbs (Bev perhaps?) If Steve had not succumbed to Tracy's seductions, he might still be with Becky. Certainly Steve and Liz would still be full owners of the pub.
So far, I have to say the case for Tracy Barlow's existence is pretty weak. Except for one thing, a very significant someone, who is hard to overlook – and that is Amy Barlow.
Corrie Present: Children are a mixed bag on the best of days, adorable, difficult, innocent, manipulative, hard to love, hard to hate, but one thing is unavoidable: in the face of mortality, they embody hope. Ken's eulogy for Deirdre rang truest for me when it turned to the grandkids, Amy and Simon, seated together in the family pew, the closest thing there is to a Barlow legacy. While the adults winced at Ken's reference to their parents' dubious credentials, the two kids looked pleased as punch to be singled out, to bask in the knowledge that their grandmother loved them, and implicitly, with the passing of an era, to come into their own as the heirs to all that. The funeral was a rite of passage for both of them.
Members of the 1 o'clock club remarked on Amy's uncanny resemblance to Blanche – never one to spare others' feelings – which, in its own way, was high praise, compared to Peter's warning that Amy, in a worst case scenario, might grow up to be as despised as her mum. For all the uncertainty surrounding who Amy Barlow will become in the future, her present importance is clear.
Ruth's recent blog about Mothers, non-mothers, children and future children... got me thinking about the fragility of couples on the street, who are in danger of dying out, like Mavis and Derek, if they have no children, or, like Stan and Hilda Ogden, of being forgotten if their children move away.
Ruth's blog also made me wonder what it feels like for young actors to be 'born' into a particular family on the street, each with its own distinct character, history, and, yes, dysfunction. Is being cast in one of those roles like putting on the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter? If Hogwarts has four houses, it could be said that Coronation Street, at present, has four dynasties: House of Barlow, House of Platt, House of Webster, and House of McDonald. With the exception of the Platt's, three of these main houses have taken hits in recent years, what with divorces, prison sentences, and the departure of close family members. However, as we have seen chez Webster, renewal is possible, along with new relationships and extended family units. Tim and Sally's connection not only allows us to enjoy the bromance between Tim and Kevin, but also creates a bridge, via FayE, between the Webster and Windass clans.
Returning to the subject of the Barlow's, Amy is the link joining two venerable households, the Barlows and McDonalds. Liz and Deirdre were not only best friends, they were also Amy's grandmothers. Now that Deirdre's gone, it's Steve and Liz who have taken a big role in comforting Ken.
Back to Corrie present sans Amy Barlow. Not only does Amy embody the next Barlow generation, calling up remembrances of Blanche and Deirdre, she also enlarges the family, if not through marriage, then through being Tracy and Steve's accidental love child. (On a side note, I really enjoyed seeing Amy and Simon together at the funeral as cousins united in loss rather than bad blood, so I hope the writers will continue to build on this relationship.) But that observation extends to Tracy as well, who is, after all, Deirdre's only child. Although Ken isn't her biological father, the three have been a unit for a very long time, with Tracy playing a key role in keeping her mum and stepdad together, as well as recently, according to Bev's report, keeping them apart. I think the only thing that would have been sadder at the end of Wednesday's episode than watching Ken go to bed without Deirdre in a house full of damaged, argumentative offspring, would have been to watch Ken, in a throwback to Uncle Albert, sitting alone in an armchair at Number 1, not only marking the end of an era, but the end of a family which has lived on the Street since its beginning.
I know viewers are alternatively skeptical and reluctant for Tracy to turn over a new leaf in Corrie future, but watching her bang about the kitchen in Friday's episode, cleaning, baking, fussing, brought back fond memories of Deirdre in her apron, keeping a cheerful demeanor while, at the same time, looking after Tracy, Ken, and Albert. Tracy will never be Deirdre, but, on a brighter note, thanks to surviving that lorry crash, there will be a future.
And as for Corrie's future? Ah, now there's a question!
Download our free App | Follow on Twitter @CoroStreetBlog | Like on Facebook | Visit Corrie.net
All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License
Our Top 10 Blog Posts in last 7 days (automatically updated)
Congratulations to Jennie McAlpine who has been married this week! Jennie, who plays Fiz Stape in Coronation Street, married her long-t...
This isn't so much a spoiler, as (sort of) confirmation of a rumour. That's easy to understand, isn't it? I really should try...
Here is our updated list of those characters and actors we know about who are joining, returning or leaving the show. LEAVING Unconf...
There's a very sad story coming up within the next few weeks for Steve and Michelle when Coronation Street explores late miscarriage....
As always with these spoilers from the tabloids, take things with a large pinch of salt. The Sun this week posted a story that said Sine...
Guest blog post from Coronation Street fan Rob Coates. Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here! Steve McDonald. Lazy? La...
Now then, normally when I title a blog post with "Guess who..." it normally means I'll be revealing who the who is, if you k...
Well, this could knock the smirk off Toyah's face. Inside Soap magazine this week have paparazzi pictures showing Peter Barlow arm i...
Reposted from State of the Street by permission Ah yes, nitpicking on things that ITV would rather we just ignore because they can't b...
Corrie weekly updates from 1995 All the wit and warmth of Weatherfield None of the waffle Available from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com T...
Click on a name to find out more about your Corrie favourites!
aidan connor alan halsall alex bain alison king alison sinclair all about soap awards amy barlow amy kelly andrea beckett andrew paul andy carver andy whyment anna windass anne kirkbride antony cotton audrey roberts awards barbara knox barlows battleaxes becky mcdonald behind the scenes ben price ben tagoe bet gilroy bet lynch beth tinker bethany platt betty driver betty turpin betty williams betty's hotpot bev callard bev unwin beverley callard bill roache bill tarmey billy mayhew billy the vicar blanche hunt brooke vincent bruno langley Callum Logan can i visit the coronation street set Canada canadian coronation street fans cardy o'donnell carla barlow carla connor carmel morgan catherine tyldesley cathy matthews celebrities on coronation street characters joining coronation street characters leaving coronation street charlie condou cherylee houston chesney brown chris fewtrell chris gascoyne claire king classic corrie clothes worn on coronation street colson smith competition conversation street coronation street art coronation street fan events coronation street fan of the week coronation street fans coronation street funerals coronation street history coronation street in canada coronation street look-a-like coronation street map coronation street men coronation street merchandise coronation street news coronation street spoilers Coronation Street The Tour coronation street weekly update coronation street weekly updates coronation street writers craig charles damon rochefort daran little david neilson david platt debbie oates debbie rush deirdre barlow deirdre hunt deirdre Langton deirdre perm deirdre rachid Dennis Tanner dev alahan eileen derbyshire eileen grimshaw ellie-louise leach elsie tanner emily bishop emily nugent ena sharples exclusive interview famous people who have been in corrie fat brenda faye windass fiz brown fiz stape flaming nora florizel street flying ducks gail hillman Gail McIntyre gail platt gail potter gail rodwell gail tilsley gary windass gary's army diaries gay and lesbians gay men in coronation street gay men in soaps gay women in soaps granada manchester coronation street set granada studios gurn of the week helen worth hilda ogden hilda ogden's curlers Hope Stape hot pot how to contact coronation street inside soap magazine izzy armstrong jack and vera duckworth jack p shepherd jane danson jane danson's husband jason grimshaw jennie mcalpine jigsaw jimmi harkishin job vacancies at coronation street julie carp julie goodyear julie hesmondhalgh julie jones julie walters kabin karen mcdonald kate ford katherine kelly kathy jones katie mcglynn Katy Cavanagh ken barlow kevin webster kim crowther kirk sutherland kylie platt kylie turner kym marsh kym ryder leanne barlow leanne battersby leanne tilsley leanne's real mother les dennis lisa george liz mcdonald lloyd mullaney maggie jones malcolm hebden maria connor maria gordon maria sutherland mark llewellin maxine's bench michael le vell michelle connor mikey north mikey north miley windass minnie caldwell Morrissey mothers on the cobbles new set newton and ridley nick tilsley nick's bistro nigel pivaro no.1 Coronation Street no.11 coronation street no.13 coronation street no.3 coronation street no.5 coronation street no.6 coronation street no.7 coronation street no.9 coronation street norris cole norris cole's brother nuttalls brewery odd side of the street official coronation street website oldham coliseum on location outside broadcast paddy mcguinness pat phoenix patti claire patti clare paula lane peter barlow peter gunn pets on coronation street phil collinson Philip Lowrie pickled jo pictures of the coronation street set pigeons pillars of the community platt family props qasim akhtar returning characters rita fairclough rita littlewood rita sullivan road to coronation street rovers bosses rovers fire rovers return rovers return barmaids rovers return fire rovers return landlady roy and hayley roy cropper roys rolls ryan thomas sally webster sally and tim sally dynevor sally webster sally whittaker sam aston samia smith sarah platt schmeichel sean tully simon barlow simon crowther simon gregson sinead tinker sophie webster state of the street steve mcdonald storyline speculation storylines streetcars stuart blackburn stuffed marrow sue cleaver sue johnston sue nicholls sylvia cropper sylvia goodwin terence maynard terry duckworth the corrie years the kabin the road to coronation street through the years tina mcintyre todd grimshaw tony warren Tony Warren inspiration tours of coronation street tracy barlow trafford set tram crash tricia hopkins tyrone dobbs underworld underworld sign unofficial book vera duckworth victoria court fire walking tours weatherfield weatherfield arms weatherfield council weatherfield county weatherfield county football club weatherfield fire station weatherfield gazette weatherfield haulage Weatherfield Open Days weatherfield style weatherfield wayfarer wedding wedding dress weddings weekly awards weekly update where have you seen william roache William Roache Interview window cleaners writers for soaps