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Saturday 8 October 2016

The tales of Corrie that never were

How are we enjoying our Corrie at the moment? There's a feeling that the new boss has given the cobbles a bit of a 'bottoming' and a much needed kick up the rear portions. Of course not everything has been rosy (as opposed to Rosie - let's not even get started on that!) down Weatherfield way and recently we've seen that real life can impact on our favourite fiction.

Unsavoury off-screen events mean that we will never get to see the full flowering of Sharif's never-mentioned-before affair with Yasmeen's sly best 'friend'. For that we should throw up our arms and rejoice. Viewers have been saved from months of dreary, unbelievable and unpalatable storytelling together with the continuing rubbishing of Alya. Instead, we might be treated to the sudden disappearance of slimy Sharif and a nice little death. Yasmeen will emerge as a brighter and stronger character. We can but hope.

The vagaries of real life have often resulted in the need for a swift piece of re-writing or a sudden explanation. Maybe it seems a bit easier these days yet years ago it could sometimes feel a little clunky. The more vintage viewers amongst us will recall the mid-seventies when ill-health forced Violet Carson out of the programme. For most of 1975 she was referred to as still being a vibrant part of Street life despite never being seen. There were even a few scenes of closing shop doors with people calling out "Bye Mrs Sharples" and that was that. We believed.

The sudden demise of a storyline or character can often lead us down the rocky road to ruin - the pondering over what might have been. Would Martha Lonhgurst still have been cleaning the Rovers during Bet's tenure and if so, would Hilda Ogden never have existed? Could Len Fairclough have coped with Norris Cole? Had she lived, would Valerie Barlow have been Secretary General of the United Nations?

One of the most tantalising non-stories was provided by the sudden exit of Billy Walker in 1975. Reading about this forty years on makes you wonder how something so major as a contract could have been overlooked. The actor Ken Farrington was approaching contract renewal  time and decided to leave the show. Meanwhile the writers and producers had blithely carried on with their preparations for Billy's marriage to Deirdre Hunt. Suddenly came the realisation that this wasn't going to happen. Had it done so, then we would have been looking at a very different future for Deirdre. She would have been the new Mrs Walker, no doubt battling with Annie and trying to keep the peace between the veteran landlady and the very lovely Blanche. With Deirdre Walker in place, there would have been no Ray, no Tracy, no Barlow wedding, no Barlow bust-ups, no Wendy flamin' Crozier. Deirdre probably wouldn't have ended up behind the counter at the Corner Shop, or shared a home with Emily. She might well have been the landlady of the Rovers Return. An odd and frankly scary alternative vision.

At the other end of the scale though is someone having the foresight to ditch a storyline when it isn't going well or simply doesn't feel right. The odd, if not displeasing, coupling of Ken and Audrey looked like it might end up in a lovely, feel-good festive wedding come this Christmas. Yet this doesn't appear to be so. Instead the relationship fizzled out before it had really begun and Audrey's getting her jollies staring through the Round Window with Derek Griffiths from Play School. The prospect of Audrey Barlow was a cosy, pleasing one in some ways. It would have brought her more firmly into the Corrie landscape. Remember, apart from four years at number 11, Aud has spent over a quarter of a century on Grasmere Drive. Having her at number 1 might have been fun but it now looks unlikely.

Therefore the non-story of a potential Audrey Barlow will be flung into the Corrie Cupboard of those other tales that never came to fruition - single mother Emily Nugent, gay Jerry Booth, George Greenwood taking over the Corner Shop, the missing Ogden children,  Ivy Tilsley's non-marriage to George Wardle, the Ken & Deirdre reconciliation of 1993, Irma Barlow's affair with Alan Howard, the kidnapping of Freddie Peacock . . . and there may be more.

Whether or not any of those lost stories would have seriously changed the course of Corrie history is debatable - but that's part of the fun.

David Bridgman, twitter @bridglondon

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MichaelAdamsUk said...

I seem to recall a lot of characters who were announced and never surfaced. One of them was Tim's disabled cousin. Can't remember his name but remember that he was described as wearing his heart on his sleeve.

Anonymous said...

T wondered what happened to the damp in Audrey's house that Owen was working on or the girlfriend that Alex was supposed to have?

corriefan said...

Maybe Sharif will decide to suddenly leave Weatherfield with his mistress. who he clearly has feelings for. I will miss him when he does go. His mistake in real life has affected so many.

Maricha said...

As I read this post I wonder why Corrie doesn't just recast and get on with a story as planned like American Soaps do.
Not that I was looking forward to Sharif's cheating storyline but I'd never clapped eyes on the actor playing Sharif before seeing him on Corrie and had nothing invested in it being him or another actor playing the role so why not hire a replacement?
They might even do it for established characters: if Tracy can be recast why not Carla instead of derailing so many other stories to explain one character's departure?

Humpty Dumpty said...

If the actor hadn't left Corrie twice in quick succession for personal reasons, Kevin and Sally would have reunited. Tim was surely brought in as Sally's lover for Kevin to snatch her back. As it turned out, Kevin went off 'to look after Bill' and Tim and Sally became an item. It all worked out fine in the end.

'Howie' was going to be Tim's difficult cousin and much was made of the auditions that took place. I guess with the Tim/Sally/Kevin storyline, Howie wasn't needed. Alex became the difficult nephew instead.

A great storyline would have been Peter & Leanne still married and Danny Baldwin returning to claim her. Would have continued the family feud started by Ken & Deirdre and Mike. Chris, Jane and Bradley would have been magic.

Anonymous said...

Honestly..some people don't know when to STFU. Look at Chris Fountian..sacked in a heartbeat and they had no problem writing him out..he just left town..etc..probably do the same with Sharif. The rest of his family can go as well..add nothing to the program IMO.

Tvor said...

I'm quite glad they never kept Audrey and Ken together. I thought they were horribly ill-suited. Audrey has quite enough drama dealing with her own family, anyway!

I know things like maternity leaves also often make for very awkward storylines leading to the actor's temporary departure.

Anonymous said...

I must say I am mourning the loss of the potential Aud/Ken coupling! She told him she loved him and now it's dead in th water, very odd!

njblas said...

There was an abandoned storyline years ago which would have seen Rita as landlady of the Rovers! After Bet's departure, Rita and Alec Gilroy were an item for a while. It was planned that they would marry and she would help him run the Rovers. But Roy Barraclough quit his role and that plan ended up on the scrapheap. Very similar circumstances to the earlier Billy/Deirdre storyline which was ditched when Ken Farrington quit...

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Clinkers (David) said...

I never knew about the Landlady Rita story! This place is a mine of information. I recall a newspaper piece, possibly late 1990s, which suggested that Rita would be confronted by her long-lost son. It then went on to say that Barbara Knox was, allegedly, furious about the storyline and it died a death.

Gillian said...

When are they going to show Fat Brenda? I think she's slim, and her surname is Phat.

Cobblestone said...

More recently, the storyline with Liz pretending to be Amy's mother to impress Amy's pal's 'dad' was jettisoned due to Bev Callard's health issues. We didn't even get the pay-off to the gag - that he was really the boy's grandad, playing the same game as Liz. He was a very different sort of chap for Liz, not her usual type at all, and I think it a shame it was dropped. I don't see why it can't be revived (assuming the actor is still available).


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