Saturday, 21 January 2017

Outstaying your welcome on the Street

Farewell then to the lovely Steph as, case in hand, she departs the cobbles for sunnier climes. As pointed out once before, no one in Weatherfield ever moves to Eccles or Edinburgh. Oh no. The departure has to be some big production number, except for Carla Connor who rather than do exactly that, set off to potter around in a Devon tea shop.

When Steph first appeared in the show, she was a breath of fresh air, particularly as she was paired up with Tina 'young fogie' McIntyre. The Steph who has just departed was a wearier version, weighed down by a relationship with M'Lord of the Perpetual Frown, Andy Carver. Together they made a pretty couple although Steph was the stellar component of the duo. She shone brightly for both of them which was just as well because Andy was as effervescent as a black hole. You can only imagine that the powers-that-be found themselves shrugging when faced with the question 'what do we do with him now?' Poor old Andy trod the path from liar, to middling bar man, to half-hearted boyfriend, would-be author and then, inexplicably, to GBH-cum-arsonist merchant. In the end it was all too desperate and this blogger for one, didn't care. He could have machine-gunned wincing Nick dressed in one of Rita's cabaret frocks and I wouldn't have blinked. Bye Andy.

In Corrie terms though it was a mercifully quick ending. In days gone by, an Andy-like character would have flittered around the show for months before finally being shown the door (see the Mortons, St. Ella of the Back Room or even, several hundred years ago, the Hopkins family). Steph wasn't outstaying her welcome but for actor and production team alike, it must be a challenge knowing what to do next with a bubbly personality like hers. Have her serving miniature beef wellingtons into her dotage? Shove her in the Rovers for thirty years? Marry her off to Norris? Sadly her time had come and with fond remembrance, we'll remember Steph. Well, for a couple of months anyway.

At the other end of the scale though we have Chesney and Sinead, the 'Leon and June' of Weatherfield. Comfy and dependable but, unlike Leon and June, terribly dull. Somehow this duo has fallen foul of the Corrie Curse, whereby anyone under the age of thirty takes on the mannerisms of a pensioner. Out goes fun and in comes world-weary drudgery. Again we've seen Sinead morph from joyously off-beat candle-maker to frowsty knicker-sewer. Will hooking up with Daniel Osbourne relight her fire? Or will she be making cottage pie for his tea whilst he pores over the Weatherfield Gazette? Time will tell but both Sinead and Ches need a shot of adrenalin. Or personality.

It's also, arguably, time for Pat Phelan to jog on. There's a seat on the Weatherfield Wayfarer with his name on it. We all know that every soap has to have a baddie and bravo, he's been kept on the right side of moustache-twirling mad man. Another Tony Gordon would have been too much for anyone. Pat has his uses. He's now tethered to the eminently unlikable Eileen and there's a sense of schadenfreude as we take a ringside seat and watch her world collapse. Which it will at some point although we don't know when. Instead, there could be several decades of Pat doing his Scouse 'I'm mad, me' act. However, let's remind ourselves once more, 'this is a soap' and so under Rule 56D, he will get his comeuppance at the hands of either Eileen of the Miseries, scarface Todd, Anna screeching 'hiya' at him until he keels over or . . . how about a certain former bubbly waitress jetting in quickly and quietly from Portugal and exacting her revenge? She can bring mini beef wellingtons for the wake.

David Bridgman, twitter: @BridgLondon

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22 comments:

Krys said...

I doubt Pat will ever get his seeing as "Our Tracy" has gotten away with multiple murders, even though Robert knows she was responsible. Seems everyone has forgotten about Kal and Maddie :-(

Anonymous said...

Excellent - and funny - analysis. I agree with all of your comments except for the idea that Steph was ready to go. I feel she fills a void that no other Corrie character could occupy, and will miss her. She is just a victim of bad writing, and smart actress for looking for something better for herself. I am sure she will find it in a heartbeat.

Rapunzel said...

It is difficult for characters to survive on the street without a deeper connection to one of the families or "groupings" (e.g. The oldies) on the street. Steph was brought in as a sidekick to Katy, then moved onto being a sidekick for Tina. She then remained due to her partnership with GAndy who himself was a sidekick for Michael who did become part of an established family (or two). Once Michael kicked the bucket, the dominoes fell.

The one chance for Steph's development as a character was having her brother around. Unfortunately the pair of them were like a couple of stray waifs. I don't hold out much hope now for Luke as with Steph gone, he is now completely rudderless.

Little of this has any bearing on the quality of the acting - it is all about character development

Anonymous said...

I would've preferred to see Sarah and Bethany leave rather than Steph.Sarah with her 'sleeping with anyone who smiles at her [and gets pregnant]'storylines and Bethany in a aomewhat recycling of her mother's internet pervert storyline are two characters who acted like spoilt brats at the best of times and yet remain because they're Platts!
Steph on the other hand was a breathe of fresh air,a kind genuine who didn't get a fair chance with storylines.
Her brother Luke remains for now because he's with Tracy but I think should they break up his days on the Street would be numbered as well.

Unknown said...

I personally hope that Phelan will leave as quickly as possible, no fault to the actor who plays him, but the storylines he's involved in are badly written and totally unbelievable...... here's hoping !

Tvor said...

I will miss Steph a lot.
Phelan has crossed the line now and his days are numbered. I am expecting him to be killed and there to be a "Who Killed Phelan" mystery. Heaven knows there are plenty of candidates even just among those on the show now. Kevin, Anna, Gary, Todd, Eileen and there's always Vinny who could return or his ex-wife.
I know Tracy's murder conviction did get overturned on a technicality but we know she was convicted and we know she spent several years in prison. While the fire she started did end up being the cause of Kal and Maddie's deaths, she didn't murder them nor did she start the fire on purpose.

Anonymous said...

What strikes me about the Phelan murder story line is not will Phelan be punished, but will Todd? Clearly Phelan will get his comeuppance after a few more months, max a half year, of terror on the street. His story line seems to be unfolding similarly to Stape's and Hillman's as he becomes increasingly psycho. But Todd--in keeping quiet about the scam and helping cover up Michael's suspicious death--has become partly responsible for Andy's death, the arson, the terrorizing of Anna, and any other upcoming misdeeds of Phelan's. Doubt if Todd will see jail time--but here's hoping, he, like Andy, receives the ultimate punishment and becomes another victim of Phelan! I find Todd's behaviour, at the moment, more repugnant than Tracy's--and morally he's responsible for Michael's and Andy's death, since they both arose out of the building scam that he supported. jeanie

Cobblestone said...

Todd is not remotely responsible for Michael or Andy's death. No court of law would ever convict him on these circumstances, and if we start tracing culpability for every outrage back through every inadvertent link of the chain of cause and effect, which of the characters will not be found wanting. You might as well claim Gail is responsible, because she got back with Michael, thus preventing him leaving again to sell 99s in Brighton. Phelan is solely responsible for these deaths, knowingly letting Michael die without helping him, and deliberately murdering Andy. No excuses; the blame is his alone.

Flo said...

I'm very sad about the departure of Steph and Andy. Two characters that they could have done so much with but didn't. I would rather have seen him kill Adam instead, he's a waste of screen time. The Phelan story line has run it's course in my book, time for him to get caught and leave. Yawn.

coconno196 said...

Tracy may not have started the fire on purpose, but she did try to let Carla take the blame rather than 'fess up.

Maricha said...

Not really though. No one was being blamed for the fire or was going to jail for it: it was, quite rightly, deemed an accident.
If Carla hadn't already been troubled, the guilt of the fire starting at her house while she was passed out drunk wouldn't have troubled her so much that Tracy admitted the truth to her so she wouldn't kill herself.
Then, Carla turned around and wanted to go to the authorities and get Tracy in trouble even though she knew that no criminal conviction would come if it. Who, being in Tracy's shoes and that late in the day, wouldn't deny having confessed to Carla?

Anonymous said...

It seems Todd's partly responsible for the deaths-not legally, but as I said morally. He knows Phelan scammed the Street and he knows he was involved in Michael's death. By covering for him and not revealing the truth--especially after Michael's death, he has left Phelan free to continue. To murder Andy and marry Eileen--whom I wouldn't be surprised to see as one of Phelan's potential victims a little ways down the road. If that isn't culpable I don't know what is. The relevance of the comparison to Gail escapes me. Gail acts in innocence and good faith, out of love. Todd knows Phelan is a dangerous, ruthless, and unscrupulous man and a picture perfect liar--and yet he says nothing--even when his own mother is planning to marry this psycho--to protect himself.Jeanie

Maricha said...

Can't you be charged with being an accessory after the fact in GB? Phelan didn't call an ambulance for Michael because letting him live would mean his part in the scam would be discovered.By not reporting the scam to the authorities or his belief that there was more than meets the eye to Michael's death, Todd is allowing Phelan to continue his crime spree. Surely that's not nothing, especially since the main reason why he's keeping quiet is that he had joined in on the scam with Vinny and Phelan.

Gale said...

They need to stay.
Carla needs to come back with lawyers and the police to say that Tracy confessed to her while trying to kill her, and the police say rag the forensic backlog has been cleared, they found her fingerprints on surfaces to be named and that Michelle remembers her going into the private area and coming out empty handed and Michelle's keys, that were there an hour earlier when she came in but gone after Tracy left.
And Todd should go to police with Andy to tell them about the scam and how he has been blackmailing Andy because he wants money from him or he will blame him for the attack, even though he didn't do it (little white lie permissible), and then hand over the laptop phelan wanted him to dispose of, with phelan getting arrested, and to get even with Todd, say Eileen was fully involved with the scam.
That would make for good watching, especially as Eileen has been very accusatory and judgemental, and just about everyone on the street can turn against her, especially Gail.

Gale said...

And if they want a long distance writer that can attend meetings via skype, I am willing.

Maricha said...

Tracy confessed to Carla because Carla was suicidal not because Tracy was trying to kill her. They were on the edge of a cliff and if Tracy had wanted to, she could have just let Carla jump to her death instead of preventing it.
Tracy is a murderer (of her ex) but not in this case.

Aussie Pete said...

We never actually saw Andy dead, I'm hoping he didn't actually die, Pat assumed he had and went off to bury him and Andy came to and disappeared to plan the full takedown of Pat once and for all.........Well, I can only hope...

Maricha said...

That would be perfect. A mud covered Andy turning up on the cobbles with a few policemen and the laptop under his arm. Lol!

Anonymous said...

To Gale - TPTB may not want to hire you as a writer, but I bet if you took a poll on this blog page you would be a 100% first choice. I'm sure a lot of viewers who follow this blog page could be better writers than the bunch we have now. At least they would make it more interesting rather than so predictable and mundane that we are getting now.

Cobblestone said...

All Todd could be charged with is conspiracy to defraud. The subsequent deaths were not a direct result of the scam. They were an indirect result, but culpability for both lies with Phelan because of his deliberate actions ( or inaction in the case of Michael). Also, let's not forget that Todd has absolutely no idea that Phelan was responsible for the deaths of two men; if he had, I suspect he'd have turned him in.

Cobblestone said...

I'm referring to the chain of cause and effect when I invoke Gail. (It's a mode of philosophical argument called Reductio ad Absurdum). Todd IS guilty of not turning Phelan in, so is culpable for his neighbours' loss of money. But the deaths at Phelan's hands is an incidental result of his remaining quiet. He has no certain knowledge that Phelan was responsible, even if he harbours dark suspicions with regard to Michael (with not a shred of evidence, he'd look ridiculous trying to report him to the police - as he had once already). As I recall from my moral philosophy course at university, ethical blame cannot, in the view of most philosophers, be attached to inadvertent, or incidental consequences. None of us would like to be held responsible for unforeseen tragic results that have resulted from a chain of cause and effect that could putatively be traced back to something we had done at some point in the past.
If you don't like the Gail argument, let me try again with Eileen (who is tather more compromised than Gail.) Knowing, or suspecting, Phelan was somehow involved with the scam, she still allowed him to move back in. Had she not, he would have left the neighbourhood and Andy would be alive. Is it therefore right to apportion some of the blame for Andy's death to Eileen? No, of course not. She could never have reasonably been able to foresee the indirect consequences of her decision. Therefore, she is morally not culpable for this particular event.

Jack Downey said...

Steph was a brilliant character if she was paired with someone like Zeedan or even Luke if he wasn't her brother. I always thought Freddie could be Luke and Stephs Dad officially not. I don't see much hope now for Luke as his relationship with Tracy Barlow is boring. I hope Kate Oates makes characters more stable and interesting under her era , and King Phelan to rule the cobbles forever !

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