Michelle is in stark need of three little words to assure her everything is alright, and this morning, as I settled in to my Corrie catch-up, I got mine: Chris Fewtrell double. Yes, one of my favourite Coronation Street writers weaves his magic wand yet again, and the result is a vibrant, compelling and thoughtful pair of Friday episodes. Praise be!
It’s Michelle’s 40th birthday and she lives in hope that the beautiful bouquet before her is from Steve. No such luck. As she reads the card from Will, she’s clearly upset and storms out leaving Liz to rummage in the bin and have her worst fears confirmed. I’m not an Anna fan, but it always amuses me when she tries to linger around the Rovers for a few crumbs of gossip and has to be sent packing.
Will follows up his floral tribute with a visit, a cupcake, and an invitation to his place for the night, as Saskia is away, and Liz’s disgust is palpable on finding the pair together. As Michelle struggles with whether to go to her own party, for which preparations are well underway, or take Will up on his offer, Tim lets slip that Steve is coming home and she’s overjoyed. However, when he doesn’t show up on the flight, it makes her feel even worse than before, and despite Carla trying to convince her otherwise, she heads for Will’s ample abode.
It’s not long before they kiss, and make it as far as the bedroom when pictures of Saskia and Will see her call a halt, declare she loves Steve, and run for the Rovers. Little does she know Steve is already there, straw donkey with a 40 balloon around its neck in hand. She’s stunned to find him in the back room and cries as he hugs her and says that he can’t live without her and is sorry.
I'm so happy to see Steve back. While I was rather enjoying the new excitement in Michelle's life, I hope the time she and Steve have spent apart will inject a bit of this into their relationship if they are to stay together.
Another prodigal partner returns in the form of Caz, and it’s apparently not enough for her that Kate would take her in when nobody else would so she can recover from her injury. Moaning and complaining, not eating the food Kate makes her, she continues to endear herself. It seems her gripe is the arrival of Sophie on the scene the minute she gets out of the cab, and this leads to Kate telling Soph she loves Caz, and they can’t be around one another, even though she and Caz are no longer together. I have zero investment in Caz and Kate, and I'm not sure I want to see Kate and Sophie together either, as Kate has proven herself to be something of a wimp over the whole affair.
I'm beginning to reach Audrey's dizzying heights when it comes to Luke fandom, and very much welcome his presence on the Street. I like that he's not one of these characters who only deals with their direct connections on the Street, and as such, he has properly installed himself in the community. He’s worried for Bethany, and proves her knight in shining armour as he drives up in a sports car to collect her just as she’s being bullied, leaving the cretins agape. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on the situation.
Alex is late for his shift at the cafe, and worried Cathy is relieved but annoyed to find him hungover with a bad tattoo. He reveals he's being neglected by Nessa in favour of a new man, and who’s surprised by that. Cathy is suitably concerned while Anna makes faces and giggles throughout which proves jarring. Believing Alex is gone home, Cathy is later shocked to find him drinking in the Rovers with Tim and Aidan and accompanies him home. Liam Bairstow is a most welcome addition to the Street, and I hope he's here to stay.
Tim excels in the role of mithered male as he’s berated by Sally for failing to deliver her public consultation leaflets about the plans for the new Freshco development. But never mind, pints await at the Rovers where he puts his decorating skills to good use for Michelle’s party, provides a drinking buddy for Alex, and a darts opponent for Todd. I'm genuinely wondering if Sally and Tim will go the distance at the moment. I've been a fan of their relationship from day one, but they have never seemed less compatible to me as they do now.
I’m guaranteed to enjoy any episode which sees Phelan take centre stage, and the combination of Connor McIntyre’s performance and Chris Fewtrell’s writing is a delight. A master manipulator with his sights on the Freshco development and more besides, he uses information gleaned from Rita to infiltrate the meeting at the Community Centre at the preparation stages.
A great villain always has the measure of their victim and cleverly uses their traits against them without them being aware of it. He's exemplary at flattering Councillor Metcalfe’s ego and takes her for a coffee in the Bistro where he agrees to distribute her leaflets to allow her prepare for the meeting. After binning the lot, he moves on to Yasmeen to assess where she stands. Finally, he breaks into Jamila House and trashes the place before installing himself across the road to lie in wait for the discovery to be made. A few moments after a shocked Yasmeen goes cautiously through the broken door, he enters stage left to condemn the act and offer to clean up at a knockdown price. Yasmeen is grateful, but Sally doesn’t endear herself by complaining that the meeting can’t go ahead.
The idea of having Phelan and Todd as equally matched opponents is a master stroke, and I loved the scenes between the pair as Todd copped his involvement and Phelan warned him off. As above, Connor McIntyre is a triumph, as is Bruno Langley, and I strongly feel it's the part Todd was born to play. This is demonstrative of what happens when great writing, strong performances and plausible storylines combine, and I genuinely can't wait to see this all play out.
I started this blog with three little words, and I end on one. Encore!
By Emma Hynes