Saturday, 26 December 2015

A Christmas Card from Weatherfield

As the muted daylight of another Christmas Day dissolved into evening, and our fairylights and firesides became all the brighter, we and the residents of our favourite fictional street invited one another into our homes via an hour long installment of Corrie.

There are many ingredients that go into creating a magical Christmas, and the care and attention with which this episode was crafted by writer Julie Jones and director Judith Dine brought us just that, capturing the spirit and the essence of the season.

In addition to the authenticity of the cosy, festive homes, Tyrone’s successful attempt at transforming the street into Lapland for Hope reminded us of the important things in life; friendship, community spirit, love, support, the collective creation of special memories, and the happiness that something beautiful can bring. Like a card, Weatherfield’s white Christmas adorned the episode’s cover, while the storylines unfolded within and, as is fitting for the festive season, love was at its core, for better or worse.

We saw Tyrone and Fiz get engaged, a rather lovely moment between Kevin and Anna in which they nearly kiss under the mistletoe, and Kylie seduce David in the Rovers.

Anyone paying close attention to the script will have noted its sprinkling of innuendo, and this made a welcome transition from talk to action in the case of Tim and Sally who spent the day trying to fit a bit of nookie in between the sprouts and charades.

I normally don’t like episodes in which residents hobble across the cobbles barely able to restrain themselves long enough to get inside the door, of which we’ve seen more than a few, but it worked on this occasion as it fitted with the playfulness and romance of the episode.

Where matters of the heart are concerned, we know all too well that love can give rise to pain, and this was felt keenly by Mary who, sitting beautiful in the glow of a plush hotel, learned her hardest lesson as she was stood up by Brendan. SinĂ©ad was deflated on realising that the engagement ring which popped from a cracker was not intended her, but rather Fiz, and it appeared as if Johnny’s heart would give in as Carla answered the phone to Rob, but his secret remained safe as brother and sister spoke for the first time since before his arrest.

Finally, Tracy got her comeuppance as a disgruntled Robert snapped the box shut on his proposal and revealed to the Rovers that he had intended asking her to marry him, but that her prison visits to Rob and declaration that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, had put paid to it.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a Rovers brawl, this time between Leanne and Tracy, but it was all rather amusing which ensured the episode remained light on the drama.

There was plenty of platonic love about too as friendship and family rested firmly at the heart of this special. The Platts managed to forget their woes for an hour which resulted in an amusingly typical Christmas family scene, and the action around various Christmas tables was suitably jovial.

Even in its saddest moments, we were heartened by the support the characters received from one another, particularly Mary whose tissue-like pretense at having enjoyed a lovely afternoon with Brendan gave rise to worried faces on the parts of Rita, Norris, Emily and Dev. We also saw Todd show concern for Tracy, and Beth give her a hug after she was thrown out by Ken for her deceit while the latter comforted Robert.

The dialogue sparkled with humour throughout, one of the highlights of which had to be ‘vegetarian’ Nessa getting caught tucking into the turkey and mumbling at Amy to get her purse to pay the princely sum of £10 in return for her silence.

We always speak of the suspension of disbelief that is required in order for a viewer to invest in a soap opera. On this occasion, it was absolutely essential, not just because in order to enjoy it to the full you had to, for example, forget about Callum, or whether or not you think Kevin is a good match for Anna, but because there was a point at which we transitioned from the actual business of the episode to scenes in which it was as if the characters were serenading us, the viewers, with the help of a brass band. In this distinctive episode, the characters rose out of the drama for a time to convey a special message; our street is your street, we are part of your lives and your homes, and we wish you a Merry Christmas.

People have complained about the proliferation of nastiness and high drama in Coronation Street over the past couple of years. While we've all spent time on the edge of our seats courtesy of some brilliant storylines, we called for more normality, community spirit, good-natured humour and action deriving from the hum-drum. This was Coronation Street’s Christmas present to us this year, and it was lovely. For me, we couldn't have asked for a better message at this time of year than that there is beauty in the normal, and at the heart of everything is our humanity.

I hope you, the readers of Coronation Street Blog, are enjoying a peaceful and Happy Christmas, and thank you for reading throughout the year.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Clinkers (David) said...

Oh spot on Emma! A lovely appraisal of a rather lovely episode. Yes, it was a bit mad in places but as you said, the suspension of disbelief was necessary. See - Corrie can do 'nice'!

Anonymous said...

WOW, WOW, WOW - I honestly loved this episode - Corrie really pushed the boat out on this one, the street was dressed beautifully, even all the houses were dressed to the nines, and as you said Emma, it was as if the cast were serenading us, the viewers. I also got the feeling that they were truly having a really good time themselves. !!!! And on the other side of all this warm & lovely feeling to our fellow men was Leanne smashing a handful of snow into the face of miss mardy pants in front of everybody in the pub. Corrie is going to have a really, really hard time topping this Christmas episode. Thank you Stuart Blackburn and all the cast and crew. Wonderful job.

Alison said...

Great write up as always. I enjoyed the episode, great that it actually focused on the characters celebrating Christmas rather than high octane drama. I did find it a bit too cheesy at times. It is being slated across the internet for being corny and boring - prob by the same people who complain about all the sensationalist plots!

lizzieizzard said...

Great write one I look forward to after our hectic yuletide happenings. Just what we needed a episode that made everyone feel elated and with christmas cheer. Here's to adventurous new year. Love from Oz.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, was sick and tired of the nastiness which occurred at Christmas on Corrie Street. This is going to be a very nice change; one which I hope will set a precedent.

abbyk said...

Any episode which begins with Sally being called Mrs. Bucket and ends with Ken kicking Tracy out is a good one. The stuff in the middle was fun, too, except for the lovely Sinead's cracker mishap, which was just mean (Mary isn't lovely so I don't care that she got stood up).

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you so much David, it sure can, and it's great to see.

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you Alison, glad you enjoyed the review.

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you lizzieizzard. I feel it was much needed too. Happy New Year to you.

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