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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Fallen Women

A month ago I wrote a blog post about how much I was enjoying Jenny Bradley's return to the Street.  In it, I said:

On top of that, her over-reactions to Jack's illnesses hint at a horrible secret.  I've avoided the spoilers, so I don't know what she's hiding, but I'm guessing at a dead child somewhere in her past.  I hope whatever it is comes out in a sympathetic way, and that Jenny gets the help she needs to overcome her demons.  I'd rather see that than, for example, a melodramatic kidnap of Jack followed by her falling into the canal.

I was completely wrong about that.  Apparently she's not going to fall in the canal.  She's going to kidnap Jack and then threaten to chuck herself off a balcony.

This is a completely different storyline to that time Casey kidnapped Freddie Peacock and threatened to chuck herself off a balcony.

It's also nothing like that time Brenda Fearns kidnapped Bethany Platt and threatened to chuck herself off a church roof.

Or the other time Bethany was kidnapped, when Alison Webster threatened to chuck herself under a truck.

Or when Sally Norton kidnapped Tracy Barlow from outside the Rovers and threatened to chuck herself in the canal.

No, this is completely different, because Jenny has red hair.  It's all very disheartening.  As I wrote back in April, Jenny has been a joy.  She's clearly got issues, but she could have worked them out with Kevin.  She could have told him that she lost a child once, had a cry, and the two of them could have got her the help she needed.  Kevin has also lost a child so he'd understand.  I'm sure Rita would have rushed to help too, not least because she always wanted children and could never have them.  All they had to do was act like mature adults.

Instead, they've gone sensationalist, and ruined it all.  Once again we're getting the vaguely misogynistic "women who lose a child immediately go nuts" storyline.  Once again a toddler is being threatened.  Once again the police are going to march off a potentially interesting character in handcuffs.

I'm left feeling cheated.  It's suddenly clear that the only reason they brought Jenny Bradley back was so they could skip the early stages of courtship.  Since Kevin and Jenny already knew each other, the writers didn't need to bother with her earning his trust - they could just jump straight to the bit where he leaves his son with a nutjob he's only been dating a couple of months.  I'm left feeling annoyed that Sophie Webster's petulant strops and childish behaviour is going to be presented as justifiable because she knew that Jenny was a wrong 'un.

Most of all I'm sad that we're probably going to lose a great, fun actress in Sally Ann Matthews because treating the audience as grown-ups who can appreciate an emotional storyline isn't as important as a dramatic picture on the front of Inside Soap.  Sally has been funny, sexy, clever, and now she's presumably being sent off to the Psychopath Wing of Weatherfield Women's Prison (a wing that must be suffering from terrible overcrowding by now).  But never mind: Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud is coming into the show!  And Paddy McGuinness!  And someone who used to be in The Bill!  And someone who used to be in Casualty!

Good times.

EDIT: Llywela pointed out in the comments that, after losing her own baby to meningitis, Zoe Tattersall kidnapped Morgan Middleton and threatened to chuck herself off a bridge.  Any further examples gratefully received.

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Anonymous said...

I seem to recall Zoe holding a baby on a bridge. Was it Judy and Gary's?

Glenda Young said...

I feel cheated too, Scott. I felt cheated when they turned Mary loopy. Where are the strong women the soap was built on? Where?

Humpty Dumpty said...

I keep thinking the reveal will come in shrieking outbursts from the rooftop. I would have preferred to see hints of what happened to Jenny and why(from the character's pov)she returned to the Street. She could have picked any guy with a toddler. I wish we'd seen more of her true feelings about Rita. We haven't seen any gurning to the camera when she's lied her head off. In soap law, that makes her a half-way sympathetic character except we can't feel sympathy for a character whose recent history we know nothing about. Sally Ann Matthews has been great and slotted straight back into her role. I guess she won't be staying much longer. What a pity.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I have to agree. I've said it before, but I feel pretty uncomfortable that they seem to be using the (probable) death of a child as a tool to turn Jenny into a "nutter" when we have had months of Steve's storyline supposedly drawing attention to the need not to stigmatise mental health issues. And I'm hacked off that Jenny most likely won't hang around when plenty of other dead wood keeps hanging off the tree. She's great!

Llywela said...

I seem to recall Zoe holding a baby on a bridge. Was it Judy and Gary's?
It was Fiona Middleton's baby, Morgan, I believe, snatched after Zoe's own baby (the one she'd given to Judy and Gary and then took back) died of meningitis.

Because women who lose a child always go psycho and steal someone else's child, obviously *big eyeroll*

Humpty Dumpty said...

Apologies if this comes up as a second post but my first one hasn't appeared yet.

What isn't clear is why Jenny returned to the Street, that is from the character's pov. She could have found any guy with a toddler on the dating website. I'd have liked more scenes with Rita where some of Jenny's backstory would have emerged. I suppose the big reveal will come from her outbursts on the rooftop. Sally Ann Matthews has been great. Shame that she won't be around for longer.

Anonymous said...

Typical terrible storyline that could have been good but the deep end we go with another character. It's crap.

Scott Willison said...

Strong women? Don't be daft. BITCHES BE CRAY.

AmandaB said...

Such a shame they've done this to Jenny, she would have been a real long term asset.

Lady Martini said...

Another lost opportunity. They messed up with Dennis, that could have been a brilliant storyline, sort of Last Tango in Halifax Corrie style
Now they missedvthe boat with Jenny. I would like to have seen an adult Jenny return and work out her past relationship with Rita. Life isnt always sensational.

Anonymous said...

Sally Anne Mathews - a superb actress - has been sadly misused here. I am getting very tired of SB's "sensational" story lines. Time for some new blood - and I don't mean actors or actresses.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that Sall Ann Matthews is a great actress. Her Jenny to me has been wooden. And I think Sophie has simply not been heard, and her behavour is valid (for once).

But I 100% agree with everything you wrote about the misogyny and laziness of portraying another woman who lost a child as crazy. Enough already.

maggie muggins said...

Flaming Nora said:
"Where are the strong women the soap was built on? Where?"

My thoughts exactly! This should be the main issue all the staff at Corrie are talking about for the foreseeable.

Carry On Blogging! said...

Just awful. What a waste of a great character and a great actress. Dreadful. I'm done.

Anonymous said...

Well at least this explains what's wrong with Bethany...

Being born to a child, had her life threatened more than once, lived under the same roof as David... and GAIL, that drugs business. How the hell could she possibly have turned out normal, even spending so many years away?


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