Saturday, 9 July 2016

Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 8 July 2016

Sometimes an episode of Corrie comes along, or in this case, two, that leaves you punching the air with excitement that it is of such quality, and it was only apt that last night's double would be such considering the day that was in it.

Opening with Ken tactfully suggesting to Tracy that he bring Amy to the graveyard separately, and Tracy ruefully accepting, we were left in no doubt that Deirdre would be at the heart of it on what was her birthday and the first anniversary of her death. Every element of it appeared to be crafted with her in mind, with a big emphasis on great conversation, positivity and goodness, and we managed to see the best in almost everyone.

We had Robert agreeing to accompany Tracy to the graveyard so she wouldn’t be alone, and Todd sympathetic to her, making a beautiful bouquet to take with her. There was a lovely scene between Ken and Rita in the Rovers as they reminisced about old times, and a satisfying mention of Tricia Hopkins and her Deirdre-induced black eye, having spread false rumours about her then husband, and Tracy’s father, Ray Langton. Amy is upset to overhear them laughing, but is counselled by Robert who finds her crying on Maxine’s bench; another brilliant scene with excellent dialogue and performances which endeared Robert greatly. 

His sensitive suggestion that Tracy might be suffering provides Amy with food for thought, and as Tracy sits at Deirdre’s grave, upset and lonely, her reaction to the arrival of Robert and Amy would actually have you feeling sorry for her. While Amy seems intent on the day together not changing anything, an encounter with Ken, Rita, Eileen and Steve in the Rovers makes her realise how much her Mum needs her, and she decides to move home, much to Tracy’s gratitude and delight.

Every one of these scenes was a joy to watch and a credit to Deirdre's memory.

Not only was Tracy a sympathetic character on Friday night, she showed genuine feeling for Todd’s predicament with Billy, reminding him that, today of all days, she realises life is too short. Todd thinks stealing his mate’s boyfriend is a bridge too far, and even gives Billy the brush off when he drops by to talk about Todd's confession the night before. I loved this scene, especially Billy gently urging Todd to have respect, and not embarrass himself. It doesn’t work though, and Todd dismisses him.

Meanwhile, Sean is enthusiastically ironing no less than 15 shirts for their trip to London without any idea that Billy is about to break up with him after spotting Todd in the florist as they go by in the cab. An angry Eileen later tells Billy that Sean has gone to London anyway when they’re interrupted by matchmaker Tracy Barlow who drags him around to Todd in the shop and announces they’re both single before leaving them to it.

While I did feel sorry for Sean, I was positively giddy about the ensuing scenes in which Todd and Billy went around to number 11 so that he could pick up his things. The atmosphere was charged with chemistry, hesitation and desire before they finally gave in to their feelings. Todd asking Billy mid-kiss if he knew he was trouble, and Billy replying that he'd heard as much, had me rapt. Daniel Brocklebank and Bruno Langley played this to perfection, and it's marvellous for me to see something I've wanted come to pass.

A rather transformed Simon enjoys the banter with Leanne, and after she hurts her back at her loathed new job, he’s happy to go out with a delighted Nick instead so she can rest up. When he and Nick return, she’s amazed and grateful to see him so happy. Nick stays for a drink and massages her back in a scene which had me not quite knowing where to look and Leanne grinning like a Cheshire cat. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Simon who remarks that he was always the man for her, but she assures him they're just friends. Does this mark the conclusion of Simon's troubled ways? While it has all ended rather abruptly, I do hope so. The verdict is still out on whether Leanne and Nick reuniting would be a good move.

It’s lovely to see Bethany so excited about joining the gym considering her present woes, but Kylie finds her deflated when it turns out she needs her Mum to sign the form, and can’t afford the fees. Forging Sarah’s signature, Kylie marches her around to Gary to get a discount.

Meanwhile, Gemma is tormented in Prima Doner for free kebabs by Macca and newcomer Clayton. Chesney returns from Wolverhampton where he’s been helping Cilla after a fall, and the pair scurry out into the street just as Kylie and Bethany are passing. They can’t resist demanding to know how Callum was found in the Platt's and Kylie insists Bethany ignore them, that it’s all behind them. I enjoyed Kylie's outlook in these episodes, and her earlier scene with Gemma in which the pair made friends again. Having learned of that spoiler last week, it has certainly changed the viewing experience for me. I'm rather enjoying looking for clues everywhere as to what might happen, but remain with absolutely no idea. I'm glad about this, and happy to be sufficiently intrigued.

I had to watch these episodes twice I enjoyed them that much. Written by Mark Burt and Damon Rochefort, they were sensitive without being saccharine, and the humour was gentle; Steve's awkwardness in the face of Sean's break-up. and Tracy demanding to know what a man in the graveyard was looking at being two highlights. They had a perfect mix of normality and excitement, and a homeliness fitting of episodes marking the anniversary of a character such as Deirdre. As I've said before, Deirdre's special legacy is not just made up of memories on the Street, but the sense of what it was to know her. This double episode was crafted such that you could sense her everywhere, and you can't ask for a more fitting anniversary tribute.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites

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Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding cynical,I didn't like the anniversary of Deirdre's death being used as a sympathy ploy for Tracy who will be back to her scheming ways sooner than we think.
I'm also in the minority in the sense,I feel sorry for Sean for being betrayed by Billy and Todd whose lies about Tony murdering Callum to protect Sarah drove his brother to leave the Street fearing for his life.
I do agree with the comments about Kylie and wondered if Gemma will betray her friend in the end?

Humpty Dumpty said...

I keep seeing Stuart B's name as producer on the credits and I'm getting to the point where I can't wait for it to change to the new one (announced so long ago, I've forgotten her name). Ends are being soooo stretched before they get tied up, the great reveal can't come quick enough for me. Then perhaps we can get on with some proper stories.

Couldn't give a flying fig about Tracy's redemption, but unfortunately looks like we're stuck with the character. Oh, Leanne, just get back with Nick and be done with it. Todd and Billy, very unbelievable, Billy would have too much honour; much better if he lusted after Todd from a distance. Likewise, Peter and Carla should have gone that route but the writers stuck them together and it was painful to watch. The only pair that keeps me interested in Corrie is Tim and Sally.

Cobblestone said...

I entirely agree, Emma. Lovely writing and superb performances from Daniel Brocklebank's and Bruno Langley, who have crackling chemistry. I do find this pairing entirely believable (it's rather old fashioned to speak of Billy's honour - he may be a vicar but he's told us before that he was no stranger to the gay club scene before being ordained, and he didn't dump Sean 'for' Todd (that took atracy's intervention) but because he'd realised he didn't reciprocate Sean's feelings. That IS an honourable thing to do, rather than stringing him along further. What's more, he finished with Sean while believing Todd wasn't an alternative option) I'd better not hear one word of criticism from Eileen, though, since it's exactly what she did to Michael, and that was knowing Phelan was waiting in the wings for her. Got to confess, I feel not one jot of sympathy for Sean, largely because he has the emotional depth of a pop-up book and I never believed his relationship with Billy in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement with Cobblestone in that I have zero sympathy for Sean. He is little more than a self-absorbed child and it was utterly unbelievable that he and Billy found a connection in the first place... aside from Sean's belief that they were the "only gay[s] in the village". The Todd and Billy pairing has so much more potential. As far as Todd dumping Tony in it to protect Sarah, I think it shows a level of caring that is caught up in his darkness. He may be willing to do anything to get his way but underneath it all he is doing it from a place of good. Unlike Tracy, I think there is now potential to find some type of redemption (or likability, really) in Todd.

Linda Shockley said...

I find everything Billy does comes across as unrealistic.

Linda Shockley said...

"At the risk of sounding cynical,I didn't like the anniversary of Deirdre's death being used as a sympathy ploy for Tracy who will be back to her scheming ways sooner than we think."

But isn't it Tracy's MO, to use whatever she can to get sympathy?

Joseph Billington said...

Okay, I didn't mind tonight's episodes. The scenes between Tracy and Todd were very genuine and I agree Emma, Deirdre's anniversary was definitely at the heart of the episodes. I do see the potential between Todd and Billy but I thought that the relationship tonight felt forced. Billy would never leave Sean in such a heartbreaking way. The way he ordered the taxi to stop felt unnatural. I'm sure a compassionate and very empathetic character like Billy would've chosen to dump Sean in a more considerate manner.

Tvor said...

I thought the episodes were quite good, too. It felt strange feeling sympathy for Tracy at the cemetery even if she did dress up thinking robert would be there. I also thought it was strange that Simon could change over so completely without a glare or a little flare up at all. Not a shadow of anger over his father forgetting his birthday present, no snarking when Leanne couldnt go out for their tea.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely Emma, much better episodes, well balanced and actually allowed me to feel for characters that previously I hadn't. The pairing of Todd and Tracey is brilliant, I hope they develop that and sustain it. Todd and Billy is, for me, totally believeable and right with more potential. Just axe plastic stereotype Sean now! I'm glad we're hopefully over nasty Simon. The world isn't all nastyness shouting and bickering, leave that to EastEnders!

Jim Royle said...

It was noticeable to me that Eileen, supposedly a close friend of Deirdre's - never once mentioned her anniversary, or looked remotely sad, during the whole of the first episode on Friday. It was only during the last few minutes of the second episode, when she happened to be in the Rovers at the same time as Ken, that she even mentioned her. And that was only because Ken did.

Close friend my arse!

Anonymous said...

That kiss between Billy & Todd was a bit graphic. I know we should accept gay love as normal, but really I believe a lot of people - not me I hasten to add - could have found it offensive.

maggie muggins said...

I love your thoughtful blog-posts, Emma, and this was no exception. These 2 episodes did have a special feel to them, remembering the loss of both the actress and character of Deirdre, and undertones of next week's huuuge spoiler of a sudden death.

I like Sean, so hope the focus on him is not lost in the drama of Billy and Todd. Maybe this will actually give him a more emotional tone, which can help characters that are Marmite to fans. Like Sarah's recent explosive performances.

That kiss was a tad too close-up for this old fart's tastes lately too. Oddly, I can't recall a straight kiss that was so intense on the show. Still, I applaud Corrie for keeping the rainbow flag flying, and hope gay stories get better and better as time passes.

Anonymous said...

Those two thugs were laughable - they couldn't knock the skin off a rice рudding! :)

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