Saturday, 31 December 2016

Coronation Street episode review, Friday 30 December 2016

It’s New Year’s Eve on the cobbles, a time for celebrations, revelations, secret escapes and public farewells.

Mary certainly called it when she said it had been a whirlwind Christmas as she prepares to leave for a new life in South Africa with Jude and his pregnant wife. Having warned Jude to look after her, Norris continues to struggle with the departure of his friend. I despaired when Norris descended into a spiteful, sadly nasty individual during the year, believing he was better than that, and so it’s a relief to see his good side shine through at last. 

One of the highlights of the episode is a tender scene in the Rovers in which he grapples with the prospect of losing another dear friend after the departure of Emily. As Mary struggles to hear him, he says the line twice, thus evoking more sympathy. With a light delivery deliberately designed to belie the depth of what she’s saying, she asks why he hasn’t tried to talk her out of it, and in a similar way, Norris asks if she would want him to, and as they evade what they really want to say, it all comes to nothing. It’s a beautiful dance between the pair, and one of their most moving scenes to date. 

She also shares a very touching scene with Dev, and while the children make her a gift and beg her not to go, their recent antics have me thinking she’s better off in that sense at least. For me, this storyline has moved all too quickly, but I’m very much enjoying the fact that we don’t know if Mary is actually leaving.
Peter is caught on the back foot having learned from an angry Simon that his drone picked up footage of him kissing Toyah in the ginnel. As Simon sees it, it’s proof that Peter came back for her, and not him. Instead of simply saying ‘Toyah wasn’t even here when I came back son, she followed me here, remember?’ Peter fails to deny it, and Simon storms out, vowing to tell Leanne at the first opportunity. The verdict is out with regard to Peter and Toyah, as I’m not quite seeing the chemistry there which he had with Carla, Leanne and Tina, but it’s early days yet, and maybe if their secret is revealed, we'll see more of it.

While we haven’t had the (dis)pleasure of witnessing it first hand, it sounds as if life with Jenny and Gemma in Rita’s is colourful to say the least, but Jenny has had enough and Johnny asks her to move in with him. As they plan to celebrate with champagne, however, he’s called away in a last ditch attempt to save a valuable order in time for the New Year’s sales. I very much enjoyed Jenny's reaction as she is told she must step into the breach and entertain Johnny's guests at this and future Victoria Court soirees. Head cocked and standing a little taller, it was a moment worthy of Sally Webster.

The sight of that Seb sets me on edge, and the part is being played brilliantly by Harry Visinoni. I’m surprised Anna let Faye stay at his place to ring in the New Year, and with Kevin also offside helping Johnny with his broken down van, Anna and Jack are alone when she falls down the stairs coming to help him with his drink. When he can’t wake her, Jack walks out on to the street and we are treated to sad little boy close up number two of recent times as he looks up at the fireworks much in the way Liam blinked through tears with his Llandudno snowglobe. It's great to see both boys getting to put in these performances.

I loved the scene in which Eileen casually revealed over the counter in Roy’s that Phelan is to get out of hospital that day, and reality independently and silently dawns on both Andy and Anna as they sit nursing cuppas.

Fear stricken Andy decides to move to Newcastle that very night, but is caught in the act of making arrangements by the man himself. Andy’s panic is palpable as Phelan threatens him with death in the dark of the ginnel, and is clearly uncomfortable as he moves from the Rovers to the Bistro to continue partying with Steph, Luke and Tracy. Claiming to feel queasy, Andy makes his excuses but his loaded farewell to Steph has her feeling suspicious. 

I loved the shot of her standing alone amid the revellers, and I thought the overhead angle as Phelan and Eileen simultaneously pulled party poppers in the Bistro was great, but, the music. As Andy departed in slow motion to the soundtrack of Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts, it then carried on over the above scenes, and an unconscious Anna lying at the bottom of the stairs, and it just didn’t work. If I had been watching another programme I might have thought the combination of that song and the accompanying shots was evocative and nicely done, but this is Coronation Street, and it simply does not fit the programme. Every one of its actors, writers and directors is well capable of giving us poignant scenes without soundtracks; Corrie has been doing it for 56 years.

I recently wrote about the importance of experimentation and innovation, so I am not averse to change, but this is not a right fit. It jolts me out of the realism that has formed part of the very fabric of the programme since its inception, and if I had one Corrie wish for the New Year, it's that the inclusion of incidental music becomes a thing of the past.

As this is my last review of 2016, I wish you all peace, health, happiness and joy in 2017, and thank you, as ever, for reading. 

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes


Anonymous said...

It was largely depressing. Just how far are we supposed to believe of Anna's misfortunes?
I absolutely hated the end with that soundtrack and slow-mo effect.
If this is the future for Corrie, I'm out of it, and I say this with a heavy heart.

Maya Anaokar said...

Coronation Street benefits from some great actors, such as Malcolm Hebden, who still make it a good watch but the last few months have been dire, with sloppy plotting and scenarios worthy of the convoluted nature of American daytime soaps. Peter and Toyah -- really? Michelle and Robert making eyes at each other -- yes of course she's going to jump into bed while pregnant with the man that drove her best friend from the street. And Phelan is once again holding a young man to ransom who clonked him over the head? Is that the best the script writers can give us?

On the plus side I've enjoyed them allowing Mary to become more than a figure of fun to a character loved and valued by her neighbours and who gets some of the best comedy lines in the programme, I always like a Corrie bad girl transformation to a good girl (Gemma), and the machinations of Phelan's flat scam was a welcome relief to the story lines constantly driven by who's sleeping with whom. The tribute to Jean Alexander, I'm afraid, shows up the current plots in a very poor line. Frankly, the cast deserve better.

Louby said...

Thanks Emma. I'm really hoping that Mary won't go, or will go but will return fairly soon. I found the episode mostly quite miserable, although I thought Alex Bain did a grand job, Simon tearing a strip off Peter like that.

Tvor said...

The episode felt a bit choppy to me. Cathy hasn't been seen for weeks and pops up in the pub with Roy and Brian. Simon's talking about Leanne visiting Janice but Toyah's talking about her in the hospital which is where she was. If they lied to Simon about where his mother was, we didn't see the scene and it felt like a continuity fail. And why are they still treating that kid like a 6 year old? They wonder why he acts out when he catches them in yet another lie. Johnny gets a call that an order hasn't been delivered. On New Year's Eve which technically is a Saturday, not a Friday even though the episode went out on a Friday. And he filled it with general stock, so they didn't even get what they actually ordered.

Anna was going to put Jack to bed, the next scene in the pub was apparently 10 minutes to midnight so Jack seemed to be up awfully late, bright and alert, not drowsy like most 6 year olds. Minutes later we have a scene where he's up out of bed getting a glass of water in the dark and it's only gone midnight in the pub. That was quick.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Didn't Nick ask Peter to take care of Simon and not say anything about Leanne being in hospital? Nick suggests he tells Simon that Leanne's gone to visit Janice in a kind of 'tell him anything' way to stop him worrying. But Simon is 13 and surely he ought to be told that his mum's in hospital.

Anonymous said...

This is half the problem at the moment - people doing and saying things which are beyond normal logic or common sense for some irritating and contrived plot devices. Thinking back to Cathy and her dictaphone - who on earth would be doing that anyway?!

Pat said...

Happy New Year to you, Emma. Keep on blogging!

Linda Shockley said...

To anonymous: I agree with you about the dictaphone. It should not have been set to record anyway, since Cathy was playing something back!

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you, Pat. Happy New Year to you too!

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching last night's episode and as much as I wasn't really thrilled with most of it, I actually did like the ending with the "incidental music" and the camera shots of the characters. It was wonderfully done. It packed much more "wallop" than any words could have conveyed and was a fitting ending for midnight.

Anonymous said...

The unrelated music crashing over the end totally ruined it. If they'd had Auld Lang Syne being sung in the Rovers and continued across the other scenes, then ending in the Rovers, it would have been relevant and poignant.
It's being turned into a cheesy teen soap.

Flo said...

I had mixed feelings about the episode. However, the scene where Andy tells Steph "You know I think the world of you"--I wanted to cry. That was just so sad, and I thought that Oliver Farnsworth really did do a good job, particularly with that. I know that not everyone here has been a fan of his, but he has been underutilized.

Anonymous said...

While I don't think the incidental music worked for me either, it was nice to see them make a bit of an effort for a new year episode. I can't remember the last time Corrie went out around new year where it actually felt like it was something a bit special. Agree with anonymous @ 8:54 though with the Auld Lang Syne comment. I do think that would have been a better touch even though I think it has been done a few times before.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought that line of Andy's was poignant too, a lot of pain and love. Wish they had done more with him and with his relationship with Steph. But he came in on a preposterous story line (fake son for no reason) and after that petered out, the writers didn't seem to know where to take him. This "story" with Phelan is the final indignity. But he was always out of place on the street--no real family and a presence more in line with the gorgeously melancholy Belgian refugee/musician of Selfridge :) jeanie

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