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Monday 16 April 2012

Celebrity Corrie Blogger - TV's Jon Connell

Jon Connell is a TV presenter, writer and life long Corrie fan.  He has worked alongside Russell Brand on Big Brother's Big Mouth and more recently presented for BBC1's The ONE Show.  He also spent two years as Sneak magazine's official reality TV columnist and is currently a blogger for The Huffington Post.  If you'd like some more info, you can see Jon's biography here: and a sample of Jon's TV work here on YouTube.

Jon's taken up our challenge for a celebrity to write about their love of Coronation Street. And in return we're donating £10 to Jon's charity of choice which is St Joseph's Hospice, Thornton.   If you'd like to write a celebrity Corrie Blog post for us, all the details are here.

And now, it's over to Jon.... 

Jon Connell: A love letter to Coronation Street

A north-west lad born and bred, it’s mandatory for Coronation Street to be embedded in my DNA.  Born 1989 – the year in which a record 27 million viewers watched the Alan Bradley saga unfold and a fresh-faced 15 year old Steve McDonald first landed on the cobbles – I can’t remember a time when a regular dose of Corrie wasn’t part of my weekly routine.

Some of my earliest Corrie memories are grisly ones – the canal-side attack on Samir Rachid (on my 6th birthday!), Anne Malone’s fatal final night inside one of Firman’s Freezers, and Derek Wilton’s tragic demise in the shadow of his paperclip-bedecked green Corsa.

But it’s the humour, the warmth and the heart within Coronation Street that has always resonated most strongly with me. I fondly remember purple-rinsed Phyllis Pearce haplessly pursuing Percy Sugden, the shop floor bromance between Curly and Reg, the Kabin counter coalition of Mavis and Rita, the endearingly dippy Raquel, and, of course, the Street’s answer to Fred and Ginger, Jack and Vera Duckworth.

When it comes to favourite characters, Steve and Norris are the names that immediately spring to mind.  I have great affection for the old guard – Ken, Deirdre, Gail, Audrey – and dearly miss Blanche and Betty, but am also a fan of some of the more recent additions. I love the eternally effervescent Julie and her beau Brian, the delightfully eccentric Mary never fails to crack me up, and I can’t deny my soft spot for Tina.  I also adore Sylvia who, thanks to the deadly combination of Stephanie Cole’s brilliant comic sensibility and the scriptwriters’ knack for crafting wonderfully withering one-liners, continues the tradition of the acid-tongued, sharp-witted, blunt Northern battleaxe that has existed since Corrie’s inception.

John Stape was, in my view, one of soap’s greatest creations.  At the heart of the murderous farce was an ultimately decent but tragically flawed man ruined by catastrophic misfortune – a character Shakespearean in its quality, Grecian in its epic tragedy.  “All I ever wanted to do was teach...”

Corrie hasn’t been short of classic storylines and memorable moments in 2012.  Becky’s exit stands out as one of the best hours of telly I’ve seen this year, I was gripped by Frank Foster’s villainous ways and their repercussions on Carla and Peter, and have been thoroughly absorbed by the complex dynamic between Paul and Eileen.  I can’t wait to see what the return of Terry Duckworth brings, as well as the introduction of the magnificent Sue Johnston later this year.

I loved Jonathan Harvey’s play Corrie! at the Liverpool Empire last year and am really looking forward to seeing new musical, Street Of Dreams, at Manchester Arena next month.  I’m relishing the prospect of Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Annie Walker, and Hilda and Stan Ogden being brought back to life on stage, as well as witnessing in person Bet in her trademark leopard print attire, Tricky Dicky Hillman unleashing his reign of terror, not forgetting sage of the Street, Ken Barlow himself.

At its best, Corrie is as dramatic as any drama, as comic as any sitcom and as real as any reality show.  It still provides as many laughs per episode as ever, without skimping on drama or shying away from tackling tough social issues.  It’s the ability to strike this delicate balance that has always set Weatherfield apart in the crowded landscape of soapland.

Governments will fall, taxes will rise, fads will come and go, but the cobbles will always have a place in my – and the nation’s – heart.  Here’s to the next 50 years of Coronation Street – I’ll raise a pint of Newton & Ridley to that!

Jon Connell
April 2012

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Llifon said...

What a wonderful post! 'Kabin counter coalition'. Brilliant! And I agree with him, the mix of humour and drama is Corrie's main strength. And the mix of sadness/comedy as expressed in tonight's episode with the regulars reminiscing about Betty and Norris wondering who'll be going next. The other soaps can't compare!

Tvor said...

Wonderful! And i'm with you 100% on John Stape!


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