Before I am lambasted as a ‘bleeding heart, woolly liberal, too soft for my own good etc. etc.’ I will speak up for Simon. His father, Peter Barlow has consistently put his love interests before his son. Given that Lucy, Simon’s mother died when he was very young, it was incumbent on Peter to step up and do his best to compensate, as best he could, for the death of Lucy. He didn’t do that.
Alcohol and women took precedence over Simon, which is even less forgiveable given that Peter and his father, Ken, had an awkward relationship due to Peter’s resentment of Ken for not being more of a part of his life in his youth. Furthermore Peter and his twin Susan lost their mother when they were young, so Peter should perhaps have been more empathetic when Simon lost his mother.
Lucy, Simon’s biological mother, left all her money to Peter on condition that he take care of Simon. Lucy’s father, George Wilson, tried to gain custody of his grandson, believing that Peter was a bad influence on him. Had he gained custody, Simon might well have fared better. But then again, he might not have.
True – Simon is a nightmare at the moment and his behaviour towards Leanne, who is doing her best, is wholly unacceptable. Simon has been the target of some vituperative comments on social media and I wonder whether that is because some people just love to hate.
Ken is doing his best. Robert though is admirable in his efforts to talk to Simon. He asks Simon whose face is on the ball Simon is kicking so hard. Robert tells him about his own father who annoyed the life out of him. Robert tells Simon how he once kicked his ball so hard that it came back and hit him in the face, causing him to bleed. Robert’s dad came running out to help him and in that moment Robert knew that his dad loved him. This must have struck a note as it resulted in Simon crying and hugging Robert. Simon is no monster. He is just an angry adolescent. I’ve been involved in the education of 14-19 year olds for 25 years. Simon is not, by a long way, one of the worst.
Amy is no angel and is, disturbingly, becoming more and more like her mother each day. At the table in the Barlow’s house, Amy is deliberately annoying Simon, by repeatedly tapping her pencil while staring intently at him. She then pushes her stuff towards Simon in another bid to wind him up. Previously she called him Shrek. Tracy called him Face Ache. What is wrong with these people? Robert seems to have more compassion and understanding in his little finger.
Tracy states that after Simon hit Amy, she does not wasn’t him in the house. Ironic really – has she forgotten that she is a convicted murderer? Should she be allowed to be near her precious daughter? Whatever legal loophole allowed her to leave prison, we all saw her murder Charlie Stubbs.
It is so pleasing that Eva is there and unafraid of threatening to smack Tracy in the face. While she’s at it, perhaps she could save a smack for Nessa, who comments when it has nothing to do with her that, ‘That boy needs a good slap.’ Thank goodness Ken has the sense to dismiss Nessa at this point. Leanne reveals the truth about Simon hitting her and that he has been doing so for a while.
Tracy takes the opportunity to criticise Leanne’s parenting skills, which is rich of course and even refers to Simon as a monster. This is just Tracy’s way of making herself appear superior to Leanne, which clearly she is not. It has not escaped Robert’s notice either that Tracy is deficient, especially compared to Leanne, who is clearly trying hard. Some may say that Leanne shouldn’t have sent him to stay with Ken, nor should she and Eva go off shopping, which, as it happens, Simon witnessed. But isn’t a person allowed some pleasures? Even if they are mother to a difficult adolescent?
It was particularly pleasing that Robert went to see Leanne to see how things were. They will know each other quite well now as they have worked together for some time. It’s also good to hear that Simon is ‘sorry and quiet.’ Leanne tells Robert, I’m not going to give up on him.’ Maybe, in a few months, we will see Robert and Leanne together – Robert doing all he can to help Simon.
On his return from Leanne’s Tracy is making spag bol and is trying to regain Robert’s approval. She asks, ‘Where did you go?’ His answer, that he went to see Leanne and Simon, Tracy sees as a betrayal. ‘Do you fancy Leanne?’ Despite his answer, I would say he does, even if as yet, he does not realise it.
I’m really warming to Erica. I do hope that the writers do not feel the need to put her in a relationship with someone. Let’s see a single, middle aged, attractive, intelligent woman on the cobbles. I admire her independence, her toughness, but also, as we have seen evidenced with Liz, her loyal friendship. Tonight we see her kindness to Mary too, including her in the drink she and Dev are going for. Erica senses that Mary is less than keen on her so asks, ‘Are you in love with Dev?’ In her response, Mary claims never to have ‘harboured any romantic feelings’ towards Dev. Her concern is for the children. Sunita died just 3 years ago. Dev’s relationship with Julie was ruined by his ‘roving eye.’ Erica understands. She tells Mary that she has no wish for a relationship, and asks her if she and Mary can be friends. Mary gives a resounding yes.
All the ‘Luke racing and Jamie threatening to post indecent pictures of Steph’ story is hopefully coming to an end. So Jamie is in debt and has lost his job and Luke raced to save his sister’s modesty. Convincing reasons to an extent, but for me this whole saga simply did not work. What a shame to have two excellent actors, Tisha Merry and Dean Fagan wasted on such a very average story line. What’s more, I fear there’ll be more.
Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.
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