Sunday, 9 August 2015

Corrie's criminal characters

Don't worry yourselves - this isn't a comprehensive rundown of all the Weatherfield folk who have donned the orange tabard of doom whilst residing at Her Majesty's pleasure. No. This was more inspired by the slice of joy known as Callum. Callum of the Camp.

Recently, I'm beginning to see the hopeless drug baron as something of a guilty pleasure. His very wrong-ness has become his greatest asset. Take last week when he was called to storm across the cobbles to threaten Sarah. He may as well have swooshed across in a Vera Wang gown. Lots of laughs in my household and Callum, job well done. He is a fantastically terrible character but is he the worst? In my ever-so-humble opinion, Callum may have a way to go before he eclipses any of the following . . .

Amy Burton
Poor old Corrie was in a bit of a pickle, harridan-wise, following the departure of Ena Sharples in 1980. Phyllis Pearce had been wheeled in as a potential replacement gorgon during 1982 and though much-heralded in the tabloids as being the new Ena, she never really reached those dizzy heights. Fast-forward to 1987 and the introduction of Vera Duckworth's mother, Amy Burton. Oh dear. This was a disaster from the off. Fanny Carby, much like the early performances of Shelly King, decided that the only way to deliver the lines was to the back row of the theatre. More importantly though, Amy was an unlovely old trout. Sly, thieving and hectoring, she was shoe-horned into Hilda Ogden's old char-lady job at the Rovers. The comparisons were unfavourable. The producers had her perform every scene dressed in some daft turban. By March 1988 enough was enough and the old drear disappeared forever.

Lauren Wilson
Towards the end of 2007, an attempt was made to brighten up the life of eternal dull-fest Violet Wilson by providing her with a 'fun' younger sister. Enter the incredibly annoying Lauren, a thick-skinned trollette who, we were assured, had been a big hit in the bars of Ayia Napa. She had a grand total of zero redeeming qualities as she blagged free digs from Eileen, used Darryl Morton as her personal ATM and strong-armed Sean into taking her on holiday. He returned from Spain alone and one can only surmise that an unclaimed baggage is still travelling the carousel at Malaga International.

Ravi Desai
Awful, lecherous old goat who took over the Corner Shop in early 1999 and was gone by the end of summer. Another 'booming' performance brought numerous scenes with women being addressed as 'dear lady'. Ravi seemed to alienate his worthy if dull daughter Nita and clashed with son Vik over his dalliance with Leanne Tilsley. Thankfully Ravi sold the shop on to his shy and retiring nephew, Dev Alahan.

Andrea Clayton
Three cheers for Weatherfield's weariest teen, Andrea Clayton. The achingly boring Claytons took up residence at number 11 in early 1985. It soon became apparent to the viewer that we would be treated to many months of Andrea agonising about her forthcoming exams. On she droned as days turned into weeks that seemingly turned into millennia. By summer, the UK crossed its collective fingers and prayed for three straight fails. Sadly Andrea got her three A-levels plus a little something extra from Terry Duckworth. Not that we cared.

Greg Kelly
As unlikely a character you could ever meet. Supposedly Greg was the long, lost son of Street ne'er-do-well Les Battersby. He apparently hailed from somewhere in the north west although his accent hovered between Watford Gap and Brighton Pride. Greg was an unlikely . . . make that 'totally unbelievable' ladies man who dallied with Maxine Heavey before moving on to gullible Sally Webster and her £50K inheritance. Greg also inherited 'the girls' aka Roseh and Sopheh who he pouted at and ignored.His life seemed to be lived in a state of dull hysteria, a fair bit of flouncing and barely disguised moments of camp. Which brings us nicely back to . ..

Callum. Compared to the selection of mediocrity listed above, maybe our Cal isn't quite so bad. He at least has a loyal companion in the form of Vicky Pollard Gemma and he dotes on Maxeh. Is he bad or  bland? Earlier this week I noticed that he had a lengthy tattoo down one arm. If it belongs to the actor, the it could be something quite meaningful. If it belongs to Callum, then it's probably a recipe for a Victoria sponge.

By David Bridgman
Twitter: @BridgLondon


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18 comments:

Flaming Nora said...

Wonderful stuff, David. I agree about Callum, it's the joy of watching him camp it up and still manage to scare the living daylights out of the whole of Weatherfield that makes him so watchable.

Anonymous said...

I cannot stand him - his voice in particular and the peculiar way he speaks.

Dreadful character played by a very poor actor.

Emma Hynes said...

I second that! Brilliant blog David, as ever, a joy to read.

Humpty Dumpty said...

The writers know that we think Callum's camp and are beginning to enjoy some in-joke writing. I can't believe for a minute that Callum's scene in the gym, complaining to Luke about the lack of towels, was written straight. Get Tracy to sort him out.

Tvor said...

Brilliant and you know, by these standards, Callum isn't that bad after all. I think of the ones you mentioned, Greg Kelly was the worst, so wooden and camp! I still find Callum pretty bland, though I do love Gemma! She's one of those occasional characters that works for me. She's a little like Becky was when she first arrived and I'd love to have her stick around, even just as an occaisional character though I don't see how she could be fit in. Maybe she could work in packing wtih Kirkey though she might be a bit scary working with a box cutter!

Clinkers (David) said...

The idea of Gemma and a box cutter is brilliant! Be afraid Weatherfield! Thanks for the feedback too everyone.

Pootle5 said...

Great piece. "An accent that hovered between Watford Gap and Brighton Pride" - brilliant!!

Clinkers (David) said...

Many thanks Pootle5!

AmandaB said...

Brilliant reminder of some dreadful characters. I actually think Callum works really well with his camp smarmyness, especially the one liners which puts the fear of God into the Platts. What I don't like is this on going dreadful custody borefest and the incessant Plattification of every episode.

Anonymous said...

I envy viewers who find Callum remotely amusing or entertaining. I just find him (and therefore large chunks of whole episodes) unwatchable. I'm pleased at least some people are being entertained.

Jo CG said...

I love Callum - Corrie's always had a knack for producing comic villains, and it's one of the things I love most about the show. I still pine for Tony Gordon, I really do. Granted, Callum's in no way realistic, neither are his cronies and that dingy pub, but I think the writers are aware of that, and realise that he doesn't need to be a 'serious' bad guy. Eastenders does that 'serious' baddie schtick, and that's why I don't watch it! Callum's swagger and delivery make him a great bit of light relief for me. I really hope they find a way of keeping him in the Street after the (pretty boring) custody battle is over and done with.

Clinkers (David) said...

JO CG - I get the feeling that Max will be approaching adulthood before this storyline grinds to a halt!

Pippa Dee said...

Oh I don't Jo CG - I hope they kill him off asap. Awful character, and the problem is, although some people might find him mildly amusing (which I don't, I find him cringeworthy), he isn't meant to be amusing. The writers aren't that clever I'm afraid.

Kill him off I say, and send Sarah & Bethany back to Milan for good.

Zagg said...

Well, I certainly find no joy in watching Callum on screen.He just isn't a good enough actor to even pull off effective "camp". I really don't think the writers had comedy in mind at all. He is just so bad that it looks funny to some, pathetic to others.After reading tons of online comments, a LARGE majority want to see the backside of him as soon as possible.
I wonder if he is related to someone on the Corrie staff. His CV is less than impressive and it is puzzling why they would cast him in the first place.
Here's hoping they kill him off in some manner in the near future. His story line has been a debacle.

Anonymous said...

Callum seems both realistic and effective as a bad guy --not camp but a flash cool guy who dresses well, lives well, speaks well, and so is brilliant at grooming and recruiting troubled teenagers for prostitution and misfits (Gemma, Macca) for drug runs. A bad guy doesn't have to be a "hard man" to be frightening--that's a bit dated. He can be a posh, sharply dressed pimp/drug dealer who likes his creature comforts and whose smarmy manner hides the violent-tempered psychopath beneath. Both the character and the actor bring this Callum to life for me.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 16:51: Interesting point and a good new take on Callum.

Emma Hynes said...

This is closer to my take on him too Anon.

Anonymous said...

Lovely write up of Amy Burton!!

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