Monday, 26 December 2016
Christmas Corrie: How was it for you?
I never really write reviews of Coronation Street episodes, that's the strength of many other wonderful bloggers here. However I wanted to jot a few lines down about this year's Christmas Day episode of Corrie. I watched it later in the evening after it was broadcast and although I'd had several glasses of Christmas cheer by that point, I genuinely enjoyed the hour long episode.
The main theme of the episode was the return of Georgia Taylor as Toyah Battersby. I was really looking forward to seeing Toyah again as I enjoyed the character a great deal during her original stint back in the late 1990s. Georgia has gone on to act in a wide range of productions and has really matured as an actress. She always had tremendous chemistry with her on-screen sister Leanne, played by the great Jane Danson so the chance to see them reunite after thirteen years was one not to be missed. I can't wait to hear more of Toyah's back story in the intervening years and it's already set to be a dramatic time for the character given yesterday's big reveal. Yes Peter Barlow's up to his old lothario tricks again.
Another highlight for me was the reigniting of the Nick and Peter feud. Until last night I'd found the whole thing extremely tedious, unsure of how much of this was down to Nick's brain injury and how much was down to him being an insecure, middle-aged prat. I feel little sympathy for Nick as anything that's been done to him over the years we can be sure he's also dolled out to others. He's hardly the innocent party. I don't mind Ben Price in the role, despite the significant ageing up that's gone on, however I can't help but laugh at "Angry Nick". This worked out fine with last night's scenes though as their scrapping in the street was fairly amusing, with Peter destroying Sally's front bush (Matron!) and lamping a retreating Nick on the bonse with her Mr Tufty! It made me laugh out loud and went a long way to balancing out Nick's smugness. Of course Nick has the wrong end of the stick where Peter and Leanne are concerned although the revelation when it comes will not spell the end of their troubles with Peter B.
Another aspect of the episode I enjoyed was Christmas lunch chez Roy's Rolls. The reintroduction of Brian Packham has been very well received by yours truly and the band of awkward brothers formed of Brian, Roy and Norris is Corrie gold and I love it. I instantly feel more at ease with Roy scenes now Brian is replacing Cathy and Alex, it just works so much better and feels much more Corrie to me. Norris has been shown in a new and more pleasing light in recent weeks as his involvement in Mary's storyline has developed. For too long the writers were taking Malcolm Hebden's character in an extremely unlikable direction as he became nasty, spiteful and plain old rude to all and sundry. Showing the humanity underneath the cantankerous old newsagent has worked wonders and the scenes of late between Mary and Norris have been genuine, touching and beautifully played. The end of last night's episode, focusing on Mary, was great and left a great hook for viewers to see what happens next.
Did the Christmas episode feel festive enough? Well there was plenty of classic Corrie drama and touches of down to earth comedy featuring Tim, Sally, Michelle and Steve, but for me the episode lacked enough scenes featuring the regulars gathering in the Rovers for a traditional knees up. I could have done without the Phelan and Andy hospital scenes for a start. Andy is a drip of a character and I'll now be glad when he departs. I'm no fan of Phelan but Connor McIntyre continues to do an outstanding job as the villain of the piece. And I still have absolutely no sympathy for Eileen, ploughing on with her wedding plans like a blinkered overgrown school girl.
Which brings me to the Sarah and Bethany dramatics. When will Sarah learn that embarrassing, humiliating and shouting at her teenage daughter will not get her to open up and engage in adult conversations? I feel much sympathy for Bethany and Lucy Fallon is doing a great job of carrying this rather difficult story. I fear for where it is heading with the arrival of the creepy Nathan. I found the Shona/Todd/Billy story to be pretty tedious and it felt a bit odd having church scenes in Corrie at Christmas without the presence of the lovely Eileen Derbyshire as the much-missed Emily. I cannot invest in Billy's storyline as I've never bought his character as a vicar in the first place. It just doesn't work for me and I'll be glad when the moment passes.
I did love the extended Barlow family all round the table at Ken's. It was great to see this pivotal house on the street full to bursting again after some lean years and notable departures. The new arrivals will never, ever replace Maggie Jones as Blanche and Anne Kirkbride as Deirdre but they keep the legacy alive. I am loving Rob Mallard's performances as Daniel and see great promise in this very different character for Corrie. Less interested, I must admit, in the return of Adam. I didn't like the character the first time around and I see little improvement so far on his second go at it. I get that they are trying to bring back a touch of the Mike Baldwins but it's nowhere close at present, despite the heavy symbolism of the camel coat, the cigar and the rented Jag.
Two minor points, where did that choir come from at the start of the episode? Was it ever explained and I just missed it? They were good but it seemed a little out of place. Also, we saw a continuation of the incidental music which has peppered a few other recent episodes. I don't know if the production team are just experimenting with something a little different or if this is a new style for Corrie, but I'm not keen and I don't think it adds anything.
Other than these niggles, I really enjoyed this episode and can't wait to see what happens next for Toyah, Peter and Mary. And will Peter fork out for a replacement Mr Tufty?!
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