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Wednesday 23 December 2015

Is Emily's exit a fitting farewell?

New Year's Day will see the temporary exit of longstanding Coronation Street character, Emily Bishop. Eileen Derbyshire, the actress who has played Emily for the past 55 years has asked for a six month leave of absence from the show and who can blame her for wanting to put her feet up for a while.

Yes, I know we hardly see Emily these days. As of 14 December, Corriepedia tells me she has only made 34 appearances and when you consider there have been more than 250 episodes produced so far in 2015, there have been long periods of absence for Emily already. Emily's exit is a defining moment though. As the longest serving female cast member, Eileen Derbyshire has contributed a huge amount to Corrie over the past five decades. Eileen is a superb actress who has kept true to her character over the years. The Emily we see today is exactly the Emily we would have expected all those years ago.

Emily's departure on 1st January will make the pool of Weatherfield veterans even smaller. We still have Ken, Norris, Rita, Audrey and Gail but not so long ago we also had Betty, Blanche, Deirdre, Jack and Vera. Times change and there are plenty of young characters coming through that give me hope, particularly Craig, Amy, Zeedan and Steph. So this isn't just another misty-eyed trot through past glories. 

Although ITV have made it clear Eileen Derbyshire is only taking some time off, there have been concerns from fans that we won't see Emily back on the cobbles. I would hate this to be true, but if that is what Eileen inevitably decides then we would have to respect it. Miss Derbyshire is now 84 and many actors would have given up the rigorous Corrie schedules years ago. 

When Emily does leave next week, it will be to travel to Peru to do volunteer work with her nephew, Spider. While I can believe Emily would want to do something like this, travelling to Peru at a week's notice is a bit more radical than climbing a tree on the Red Rec. In the show, Emily is actually two years older than Eileen. At 86, would Emily really embark on such an adventure? Maybe. What I like less is that the entire farewell storyline appears to be crammed into just six episodes. From emailing Spider on the Monday to setting off for the airport on New Year's Day, it all feels rather rushed to me. Granted, there may be reasons for this, but I admit to being a bit disappointed.

So what do you think about Emily's exit storyline? Do you think the idea does the character justice?

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Rapunzel said...

Thanks Graeme. The exit is unrealistically rushed but this is a TV drama where life speeds up to keep in time with the entertainment pace.

I do like that Emily is doing something that is unexpected and belies her age. Still waters have always proven to run deep with Emily. And it is certainly more interesting than retiring to St Anne's or Mayfield Court ...

Glenda Young said...

I think it's believable, you kind of want Emily to be doing something like this, so even if it's a stretch for us as fans, I think it's the sort of thing she'd like to do. I wish I didn't feel so rushed, however. And I very much hope it's not the end we see of Emily or of Eileen Derbyshire.

Anonymous said...

I think Emily's exit seems a bit rushed as she never spoken about Spider for months.What I mean is if Emily talked about Spider from time to time and mentioned him working in Peru then her exit wouldn't seem from out of nowhere.
That being said,I hope Emily does return and isn't killed offsecreen in Peru.

fendawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fendawg said...

Is it something of a Catch-22 though as we don't know (to my knowledge) how much warning Eileen gave of her desire/need for a break, so, unlike Brooke for example, who's given the best part of a year's notice, there wasn't time to write a longer, perhaps slightly more convincing, exit.

Humpty Dumpty said...

I posted something earlier which vanished due to Christmas gremlins on the internet, so I'll post a different comment. There are lots of things one has to do before setting off on a long trip and these will all be glossed over to make the story work. So the real point here is: why is Emily's departure being rushed? I think we'll find out that Eileen Derbyshire is having some medical treatment and needs six months recuperation. After that, she may feel up to coming back or she may not. The writers probably had very little to work with in terms of timescale and storyline options. At least, they've come up with something other than the sick relative overseas who needs looking after.

John McE said...

It sounds more like a plot dreamt up by the producers of Acorn Antiques, than Corrie.

As Emily is often not seen for months at a time, I don't really understand why they had to write her out at all, as she could easily have been referred to, but not seen, for six months. Failing that, if she was going to stay with Spider in Brighton, for instance, or even Freda, it would have been far more believable, IMHO.

Lee said...

I agree with you John McE; that is exactly what I was going to say. Peru is quite a distance; some charitable work within the UK would be a bit more plausible.

Tvor said...

Ah but Emily never did shirk an adventure. I'm only surprised she has a passport. Has she ever been out of the country? Never mind. It's pretty impressive than an 86 year old has the stamina to travel that distance! I have a sneaking suspicion her leave must be medically related, though, so I'm hoping for the best.

Lesley said...

IF Emily comes back, tell her to bring Spider with her. He is one of the few unforgettable characters Corrie has had! Seeing him come through The Rover's door would light up the whole street. He was amazing!


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