Sunday, 5 February 2017
Sisters are doing it for themselves
What a tangled web those Battersby sisters weave. Leanne and Toyah have never opted to live a straight forward existence and twenty years on from their first appearance in Weatherfield, they don't seem to have learned from past mistakes. At present both sisters are mired deep down in lies, deception, babies and blokes. It does make for entertaining viewing though and gives Jane Danson and the returning Georgia Taylor something to get their dramatic teeth stuck right into.
While I'm enjoying the new Battersby storyline there are certain aspects which don't quite add up and that's mainly down to a degree of artistic license to ensure as much drama as possible. In the real world, if Leanne had found herself pregnant by the local bad lad turned publican she might have packed her bags and moved away. Not our Leanne Anika Battersby. She insists on living on opposite Steve and Michelle even though it tears her apart and tears her up every time she bumps (now quite literally) into Michelle. I know it creates dramatic peaks and moments of real poignancy but you really wouldn't do that to yourself would you?
And yes Leanne has been honest with Nick but I'm not sure how far that's really going to get her. Nick is and always has been a petty, childish, grudge-bearing mummy's boy with an alarming tendency towards unnecessary unpleasantness. Above all that, let's remember he's the son of Brian Tilsley and therefore directly descended from peroxide, cardigan wearing, God fearing Ivy. You just wouldn't go there, would you? Yet she has and he's committed to her and bringing up another man's child even though he's doing a lot of quiet, unhinged seething in a business suit. Nothing will go wrong there I'm sure.
Enter Toyah on Christmas Day, bringing into the mix a festive Battersby massacre of the kind not seen since the short-lived reign of Theresa the Turkey. Yes Toyah decides to pitch up on Leanne's doorstep safe in the knowledge that she's having an affair with Leanne's all-round straight up, no-nonsense, completely uncontroversial ex, Peter Barlow. Now Toyah's an educated woman so why hasn't even she asked Peter during one of their bouts of pillow talk why he came back from Scotland without so much as a hint of a Scottish accent?
I can understand that Toyah's been in a difficult place. The recent scenes explaining her IVF journey and desperate need for her own baby have been beautifully played by Taylor and you can't help but be moved by this story. You can almost forgive her for falling into the arms of Mr Barlow. Almost, but not quite. Given the tumultuous time he gave her sister, she's not exactly wandering into this relationship without knowing the facts. The two sisters must have talked about it surely? Also, it's one thing to start dating your sister's ex, but you wouldn't suddenly turn up on her doorstep and carry on the affair right under her nose, would you? You would explain it all away from a safe distance. Toyah must have read some counselling books before actually becoming a therapist. She should know this isn't cool.
I've never been quite sure why so many women fall for Peter Barlow. Even this past week he had cab passenger Chloe paying him extra to share a flat white with her. I just don't get it. Leanne's taste was always in question as she's plonked herself with the spawn of Gail not once, not twice but (I think) three times now. Toyah on the other hand has previously faired much better. First of all there was kind hearted eco-warrior Spider and more recently there's been the lovely Toby. Yes I know Toby was quite unpleasant on his last appearance but he's been dragged through the IVF process too and has found himself dumped for a Barlow. I feel sorry for the poor man and hope we see the character again.
What I've loved about reuniting the Battersby sisters is that it allows Coronation Street to revisit one of its most popular periods from recent times. When the Battersby family arrived in 1997, times were certainly a changing and Corrie was dragged kicking and screaming towards the new millennium. The sisters were always gobby trouble and thankfully they still are but their relationship has matured as you'd expect and this is evident on screen in 2017. It's recognisably them but it has clearly also moved on. Jane Danson and Georgia Taylor are a joy to watch and the addition of Catherine Tyldesley as Eva provides an interesting new dimension and Eva and Toyah size each other up. Whatever happens next, it certainly won't be dull.
You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82
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