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Thursday 28 August 2014

Queen Carla - Classy, Competent and Compassionate

Alison King, who plays the tremendous force of nature that is Carla Connor, arrived on our screens as Carla on 1st December 2006. At that time she was married to Paul Connor. Since then, she has had various boyfriends/ husbands and different surnames including Connor, Gordon and Barlow. Before marriage, she was Donovan. Officially she is still Barlow but as she has made it clear to her staff and others, woe betide anyone who calls her Barlow.

There was no doubt that she loved Peter Barlow and she did not have an easy time ensnaring him. For a while, when Peter’s deserting of Leanne had settled down and Leanne  got together with Nick, it looked as if Peter and Carla would be together for good. Their dark heads of hair and their build made them seem to fit together very well. (Though I have realized recently that Carla’s hair is more red than black). In addition, after a very shaky start, the relationship between Carla and Simon gradually improved and they were  able to tolerate each other and were even beginning to enjoy each other’s company. Sadly for everyone, as we now know, in retrospect, Peter’s affair with Tina put paid to a blossoming relationship with Carla’s would-be stepson. Not to mention all the rest, which, of course, will now be mentioned.

Paul, her first husband was killed as was her lover Liam, Paul’s brother. Tony Gordon, her second husband was responsible for Liam’s death and a whole host of other crimes.

What strength Carla has shown. She is a survivor and mostly, a deserving one. True she’s no angel and the sisterhood doesn’t seem to mean that much to her as she is happy to purloin other women’s husbands, namely, Maria’s Liam and Leanne’s Peter. Now she has had a taste of how it feels to be cheated on, as her full betrayal by Peter came to light, shortly followed by the miscarriage of the baby, which she was at first certain she didn’t want. When she miscarried she was heartbroken and maybe that is her last chance of motherhood, though this is soap life not real life. (And anyway my sister in law had a baby aged 44 – she’ll be thrilled to to get a mention on the blog). Tina, she thought, was her friend and Carla was the embodiment of kindness to her. And, though she doesn’t know it yet, her brother is a murderer.

Carla is the business – so it is fitting that she is also a business woman and a  hardworking one at that. She has a tough love approach towards her staff . They are a little afraid of her but clearly respect her. She pays them for their work, so work they must. That, she makes crystal clear. She is fair too.

When Maddie asks her for a job, and messes it up. Carla says, ‘Right little charmer in’t she?’

Maybe, just maybe, she sees in Maddie what she herself was like as a teenager, until she found her niche.

When Carla is on screen, for me, there is never a dull second. Her presence, her wearing of black even in summer, which I sense she will wear until they discover a darker colour, her style, her confidence, her business acumen and above all her compassion. What a friend she was to Hayley – a masterstroke by the writing team to have Carla and Hayley as such friends. especially since they are so dissimilar.

All praise to Carla and just remember that if you find her too brusque, too outspoken or just too much, she will have Tracy Barlow as a sister in law – and we must feel some humanity towards a woman who has to suffer such a fate.

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Humpty Dumpty said...

Everything you say about Carla is true, Ruth, and yet she still doesn't work for me. Because she never laughs - a proper full-bodied laugh - and I could forgive almost anything a character does if they show a sense of humour. I don't want Carla to be a clown but she takes herself so-o-o seriously. She may not be the type to crack a joke but her brother could surely make her double up now and again. That would be her redeeming feature for me, and not the kindness and compassion. I get that from Emily. Strong Corrie women must have a sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

Was Carla's rape mentioned or did I miss it? It was a massive storyline for her character which led to her dependence on Peter.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget her compassion towards Sally too when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!! said...

I used to dislike Carla tremendously but I have to say that she has definitely grown on me over time.

I am glad to see that they have shown us other sides to her character. She essentially has a plausibly withdrawn nature about her, one where she needs to be in control and that includes her image and emotions. However, in many ways she is like some business women who seem very serious and withdrawn to most people but have another side underneath that is subtle.

Because she is a soap character, like so many others, everything she does eventually reaches OTT levels. However, the essence of her personality is not that unrealistic or unpleasant.

abbyk said...

All that, and she is Tracy Barlow's sister-in-law already, legally, until they get a divorce squared away. I did not like her when she was a bored rich wifey and I still don't like when she lets herself drink too much. But as factory boss, she has become one of my favorite characters. She needs another 40ish lady who's bright and driven like herself for a BFF. Maybe it's time for a new doctor at the medical center?

The.HR.Doctor said...

...and babelicious, to boot.

SC said...

Great post!

Carla Connor is the queen as far as I'm concerned and she can do no wrong. Seriously though, she is one of the best fictional characters portrayed by an actress who understands her perfectly.

Even when the writing has been somewhat questionable, Carla and Alison King have still shone. She lights up the screen.

I loved the Carla and Hayley friendship and I love the way Carla's friendship with Roy is developing. Alison King and David Neilson are exceptional so I'm looking forward to them having more scenes together.

Ruth owen said...

Oh yes, Abby K she is already Tracy's sister in law, overlooked that. Thank you

Ruth owen said...

That's true Humpty, she doesn't laugh unless in an ironic way. Maybe that will change...though when she discovers that Rob is a murderer she will have even less to laugh about.

Anonymous said...

Carla certainly made Hayley laugh! She brightened up even the darkest of days for Hayley.

I genuinely LOVE Carla. She's a fighter, she's gone through incredible heartbreak and she has immense strength. I love seeing her vulnerable side and it was a genius move by the writers to have her grow so close to Hayley and now Roy.

Carla and Peter have been very compelling to watch. It's always seemed like viewers have been rooting for them to fight their demons together. I'm quoting one of your bloggers when I say that the sparks between Alison King and Chris Gascoyne explode off the screen. They're just superb on-screen together. I think it's a shame that Chris G has had to spend his last few months on Corrie filming repetitive prison scenes. His scenes with Alison, especially after the affair reveal/murder, were so powerful and brilliant.

Going back to Carla... I did wonder if there is a point to the recent Carla and Maddie scenes. I'd like to think the writers intend to keep delving into Carla's background and childhood so maybe her scenes with Maddie could somehow facilitate that...?

Anonymous said...

I doubt I'd be laughing all that much either if I'd been through what Carla has recently. Having said that, Ali is a great comedy actress on the rare occasions she's given the chance to be, and I'd definitely like to see more of that side to her once all this murder stuff is over and done with.

I've always adored Carla, but I think the equal number of corrie fans who seems to despise her says a lot about the character: you can't not have an opinion on her. She's never someone who sinks into the background, and she elicits strong feeling in the vast majority of fans I've ever spoken to. And that takes some doing on a five-episodes-a-week soap, with a cast as big as it currently is.

David Parsnips said...

Carla or "Cruella" as we lovingly call her I think has grown on everyone and is well on the way to becoming a Corrie Icon. This is also down to Alison King being a great actor.

Anonymous said...

Geesh, all this Carla love. It seems you all forget she is an accomplice to the death of Kasia. She ran illegal night shifts of the Underworld staff to make money for herself and Paul, and didn't bother to even call an ambulance, even though she didn't know Kasia wasn't already dead after she fell down the stairs exhausted from double shifts. Some Corrie Icon.

Anonymous said...

Yes, she's also had an affair with her brother-in-law (Liam). The point is not that she's the moral icon of the Street but that she's not a two-dimensional character and has been written to evolve since her arrival, and for the better.

Anonymous said...

I've probably always liked Carla because Alison King portrays her so brilliantly but over the last few years she has undoubtedly become my favourite character. I watch all the soaps but it's impossible to find another character anywhere near as fascinating as Carla is.

Her flaws, past mistakes, her bad decisions to the compassion she showed Hayley and Roy today, her love for Peter, her struggle to cope after she was raped, her strength, the way she has handled Peter's betrayal, her relationships and unlikely friendships etc, have all helped shape the character she is today and I for one am very grateful for that.


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