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Monday, 31 July 2017

Coronation Street Episode Review Monday 31st July


It's the end of July, but there's no end in sight yet for the Michelle/Robert/Rich storyline. The latter has an alibi for the vandalism and firebomb attack, which makes Michelle anxious. "Luckily I've got you her to protect me", she says to her beau. Famous last words, 'Chelle. Robert has other things to worry about, namely a breakfast meeting with Adam and Ches about compensation for the stabbing. Chesney's happy with Robert's £5K offer, Adam's not, and Robert's skint. Doesn't the Bistro have public liability insurance? Michelle again offers her dosh from the share of the pub, but Robert's still not interested. It's looking less like keeping Michelle's interfering mitts off the business and more like male pride. He takes money from the till and takes off to the casino. Robert! Remember what happened last time you went a-gambling! Michelle runs after Robert, but doesn't manage to persuade him to quit the roulette wheel. Luckily, he wins and pays Ches his compo. Cilla would be proud. But Robert's troubles aren't over yet as Michelle's car window gets smashed and he has to pay Luke £400 to go to Liverpool to get a new window to keep the break-in from his girlfriend. "Maybe everything's gonna be ok," says the oblivious Michelle. Maybe these are her famous last words.





Michelle, meanwhile, gives Maria permission to swipe right on (her ex) Will. Such a munificent woman, Michelle. They meet at the Rovers, all the better for Aidan to watch over them.
 

Michelle also trains up Erica for her first day on shift at the Bistro. Erica's intensely irritated by Dev (aren't we all, chuck) turning up to peer at her across the tables. Erica meanwhile is peering at (and flirting with) Zeedan in a rather icky way.

Eva's not impressed with Toyah asking Leanne to move out and says she and Baby Oliver can move in with her and Aidan. Leanne gets a better offer though: Steve asks her to move in with him to share childcare, whilst poor old Liz is kicked out to Dev and Erica's, although Erica is quite pleased to have a buffer between her and Dev. Dev has other things on his mind, as he gets an offer for the gym, an offer that involves screwing over Kevin's sale of the second garage, which pleases Ms Holroyd and she puts off dumping Dev for a second time.

Adam tells Eva she needs to get hold of the hard drive from Aidan's computer. Why not just upload everything to the cloud, or copy it onto a USB stick? Mind you, Eva's strength is Extreme Vengeance rather than IT. And what was that wistful look Adam gave Eva as she stalked off? Does someone have a little crush?

In minor storyline news, Billy and Todd are worried about Summer's grieving, as she locks herself in her room, Craig has a meeting with his seniors, but keeps his job with the police, and Alya and Luke continue to flirt over risotto, in a Man About The House kind of way.

Rachel Stevenson - on twitter.




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The Saints and Sinners of Summer's Corrie



Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been several weeks since my last blog. 

I’ve been enjoying reading rather than contributing to ‘The Blog’ these past few weeks. Through a combination of hectic work schedule and lack of inspiration I’ve not felt compelled to share my own thoughts on Corrie, but the musings of bloggers old and new have kept me fully in the loop on all things cobbled. I last blogged back in May about the lovely vigil for friend of the blog Martyn Hett, who died in the Manchester arena bomb. Not sure if these events triggered my blogger’s block, but as storylines build up to their autumn/winter crescendo, I thought I’d dip my toe in the water again and share some of my thoughts on Corrie’s current storylines.

Love thy neighbor

I’m not convinced by Kev and Erica’s little affair, they don’t seem well suited to me, sexually or emotionally. Their affair however has led to some more awesome performances from the brilliant Debbie Rush, who plays down in the dumps Anna Windass. Debbie plays anguish and torment so well, and Anna’s recent heart-to-heart with Kevin tugged at the heart strings. Her confrontation at the Bistro with Erica, where she laid down the law was also great – is Anna finally taking back control of her life?

The surreal but hilarious shenanigans from Norris and Mary have had me in stiches over recent weeks. Sometimes blurring the lines between soap and comedy, they end up in situations some might say are well beyond realistic, but I think Corrie can get away with this and it provides us with some much needed giggles. Last week Norris grudgingly agreed to marry his scatterbrained friend so that she could win a couple’s competition and visit her son in South Africa. If the wedding does happen, I’m sure it will provide more comedy gold, and I really hope Mary gets to see Jude.

Honour thy mother and father

Billy and Todd have started on a new adventure in life, with the arrival of Billy’s goddaughter Summer. I like nice Todd, even if there’s still the odd glimmer of evil and mischief in there every now and then. He and Billy actually make a good couple, and it will be good to see them tested as Summer settles into Weatherfield life. From Todd’s initial apprehension at taking on Summer full-time, to his now instinctive protectiveness over her, it’s been a heart-rending storyline that has moved at just the right pace. I also like the fact that religion has come into a lot of conversations recently, especially when it comes to Summer’s rather stern and deeply unpleasant grandmother. As an atheist it’s always interesting to see how religion and religious thought is interpreted in today’s television.
Beverley Callard is blowing me away recently. As the Rovers enters a new era with Peter Barlow at the helm, Liz McDonald has moved on to a job at the Medical Centre, where boss-from-hell Moria is doing everything she can to make Liz’s life a misery. From criticizing her interaction with patients, to mocking her fashion sense, Moira has certainly taken a disliking to Liz, even if she tries to hide her digs as constructive criticism. Trying her best to make positive steps in her new life, Liz struggles to keep up with some of the demands of her new job, and her family life, as ever, makes things even more difficult, but this has given us the viewers some brilliantly funny scenes to enjoy. Friday’s episode saw Liz whack Steve across the head for interfering in her life, after he asked Peter to give her a few shifts behind the bar. Liz’s sharp wit, impatient grimace and at times short temper highlight Bev’s brilliant acting skills, whether she’s playing comedy or drama. I’m really enjoying seeing her in a new environment, even if it still doesn’t seem quite right that she’s no longer amongst the glistening optics of the Rovers Return bar.

Thou shalt not commit adultery

I’m a little bored with the Maria, Aidan, Eva storyline – as with most soap affairs it’s dragging on a bit. The elements I’ve enjoyed have been Eva’s game play, spending all of Aidan’s money and putting him and Maria in some pretty awkward situations. And whilst Adam Barlow’s involvement now means the stakes are much higher, I’m wondering when the cat will be out of the bag and will it be a bit of an anti-climax?

Thou shalt not bear false witness

It has been great seeing Craig given some proper storylines that don’t revolve around his rat. He’s really matured since Bethany’s grooming story was revealed and it has given Colson Smith, who plays Craig, the opportunity to show us that he’s worthy of his place on the Street. Bethany’s closeness to Craig has been really sweet, with some lovely scenes, as has her ever-growing friendship with Mary, who helped Bethany through some of her darkest times. They have both given Bethany the strength to tell the whole truth about Nathan and his pervy mates. Unexpected and surprising friendships often work really well on Corrie - look at Roy and Becky for example, or Tracy and Mary. Speaking of which, I’d love to see more of Dr Gaddas and Liz together. They are complete opposites as people but it would be nice to see them both get into trouble again with Moira and strike up a bit of a friendship.

Forget me not

It has been really nice in the past few weeks to hear references to some old characters, including Bet Lynch and Fred Elliott. It’s nice to know they haven’t been forgotten by characters or producers. The past is very important in Coronation Street, most characters in some way are linked to residents of years gone by. I’m quite excited at the prospect of some old characters coming back to the cobbles too – I can think of a few I’d love to see return, who would you like to see come back?

So that’s me caught up. Welcome to all new Corrie bloggers, I love your work!

Stevie

@StevieDawson





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Spoiler Alert: Bethany's Ordeal Takes a Nasty Twist

Pic: The Sun

Think Bethany Platt's grooming ordeal was over? Think again.

It's rare that I say there are 'shock pictures' in the tabloids, but I can't think of any other phrase to use for what I've seen today. I honestly thought the storyline was going to be finished soon, with Nathan up in court and on his way to jail.

And just when we thought that Bethany was going to start the process of recovery of what she's been through with Nathan and his evil gang, things are going to get worse for her before they get any better.

The Sun have paparazzi pictures today showing Mel dragging her to a railway track after attacking and kidnapping her. The pictures show deranged Mel, distraught at her friends and former abusers being caught, pulling Bethany by the hair out of her car.

She will drag Bethany to a railway sidings where Bethany will desperately try to escape. Mel then threatens Bethany with a tyre iron as Mel tries to force Bethany to drop the charges. But in true soap fashion, when Bethany does make a run for it, she ends up running towards an oncoming train with Mel in hot pursuit.

You can view the pictures here.

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Cath Tyldesley opens new baby store

Pic: Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Cath Tyldesley, who plays Eva Price in Coronation Street opened a new baby store in Dewsbury yesterday.

Cath was in the town to open the new Kiddies Kingdom store at Savile Mills in Mill Street East.

In real life Cath has a two-year-old son with her personal trainer husband Tom.

The Kiddies Kingdom store is already big online and the new store will offer a personal service to parents seeking baby and nursery products. A personal shopper consultation will be offered to every shopper.

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Coronation Street Blog Interview: Robin Askwith

 

It's not every day you end up on the phone to Malta for an hour and a half with the actor Robin Askwith. Robin has been in my life for many years, thanks to his incredibly prolific and diverse acting career across film, television and theatre. Robin's career has come to be dominated by the legendary Confessions series of comedy films, however there is an awful lot more to the man than that. 

Always one to speak his mind, something that's really rather refreshing these days, Robin began our chat by discussing the modern trend of social media. Due to the growing popularity of his one man show performances, Robin is tentatively thinking about developing more of a following on Twitter, despite being wary about the internet. I think Twitter would be a much better place for a bit of Askwith so I hope he, for the want of a better expression, follows through. 

I've stitched the interview together from my many pages of notes - as Robin himself admits, he doesn't like formal question and answers, he prefers his answers to drive the questions! Here's how we got on:

One of your earliest film roles was that of Keating in If. It's a really iconic movie – what was it like to be a part of?

If was my first film part. I'd done some bits and pieces before that, like television commercials, but it was the big one. It's actually 50 years next year since we made that film and I'll be celebrating that with a tour I'm doing in 2018. It was an extraordinary film to get as my first role on the big screen. As you know I went to quite a posh public school and I took part in lots of school plays. The director of If, Lindsay Anderson, came to see one of the plays and I had a mishap with the false nose I was wearing. I made a joke of it and was told by the school that they wouldn't have me in another production. Lindsay loved it though and it was that that got me the film. 

 

Originally I was up for the part Richard Warwick played but they changed the ages of the characters and I ended up playing Keating, which was great as I had more time to learn about the process of filming. I remember having many, many auditions with the casting director, a lady called Miriam Brickman. Lindsay Anderson became a good friend though and I worked for him again in the film Britannia Hospital, playing the same character but in a larger role. He had tried to get me to do a couple of parts on stage at the Royal Court but I was too busy filming in the end. Lindsay Anderson was a great director, mainly in the theatre, but he was a guiding force for me in my early career.

In 1972 you appeared with many of the Carry On team in the film version of Bless This House. Was that a fun film to do and did you enjoy working with Sid James?

Bless This House is still such a popular film. Here in Gozo where I live, friends who are parents are always telling their kids that I'm a famous film star and they ask what I've been in - the only film I made that kids can really watch is probably Bless This House and they love it. It's such an English film and I don't know what all these Southern Europeans love about it but they go mad for it. A lot of the fan mail I get these days is about Bless This House and I get sent photos of me from the film. It's incredible, but I guess it's down to the terrific cast in the film and the fun of it all. 


Sid was great to work with, I really respected him and all the work he'd done. He'd made some terrific films, worked on the BBC series Taxi, which I loved and all the radio with Tony Hancock. There was a great deal of respect for Sid and he really was the leading man of the Carry Ons. He spotted me and took to me, he liked what I was doing and it was great to work with him. I did also appear in a one off episode of the series Bless This House, and I was originally considered for the part of Sid's son Mike. It went to Robin Stewart in the end but I think Sid wanted me for the part.  

I loved making the film. There was one sequence in particular, when I'm cooking in the cafe and we did the whole thing in one take - I was just allowed to go for it and it was all really spontaneous. The result was fantastic and Sid James told me it was genuinely the funniest thing he'd seen since the comic Charlie Cairoli. Sadly there was something wrong with the negative from the original take so we had to shoot it again. I was happy with it but it didn't have the edge of the original version. I remember Alan Hume, who was the Director of Photography, being such a giggler. We used to have to go again because he'd broken up laughing at what we were all doing. I think it was that film that made me realise I could do comedy. Until then I had been doing more straight stuff, more realistic. It was Sid's fault really as he kept telling me to go bigger and over react more in performance! And from that film I got Carry On Girls. 

One of your main co-stars in the Bless This House film was Carol Hawkins. I think you went to drama school with her too? What was it like to work with Carol?

I was very friendly with Carol, we got on really well. My agent at the time was a lady called Hazel Malone and her sister ran the Corona Academy, a school which trained young actors, producing the likes of Judy and Sally Geeson, Susan George, Richard O'Sullivan and Dennis Waterman. I had already had quite a serious schooling but I went along to Corona because it was just a great place to be. Also, my school had been a boys' school and Corona had girls! I had already made a few films and done some television at this stage but I got to know Carol before her career got going. We acted together there in a production of Private Lives I remember. 

Carol was responsible for drawing Gerald Thomas' attention towards me when he was casting the film of Bless This House. She had been working on Carry On Abroad with Sally Geeson just before and both Carol and Sally went on to do the Bless This House film straight after. Robin Stewart, who was playing Mike Abbott in the television series, was not going to appear in the film version and Gerald was looking around for a young actor. Carol suggested me. Gerald had no way of seeing what I had done as once one of the films I'd been in had been on in the cinema, it was gone. There were no DVDs in 1972 or even VHS. For instance, just before this I'd done a series for Yorkshire TV called On The House, with Kenneth Connor and Derek Griffiths. Once it was shown it was gone so it didn't really help. So Carol persuaded him to see me. I had Sid, Carol and Sally in my corner and I didn't have to read for the part. I remember as I arrived to meet Gerald, my main rival for the role, Christopher Timothy, was just leaving. He's a great actor but he was ten years older than me and not known for comedy. Gerald was a tremendous man and great to work with. 

 

In 1973 you played June Whitfield's son in Carry On Girls. You shared a memorable scene on Brighton beach with the lovely Maggie Nolan. Do you have fond memories of filming Girls and working with Maggie?

Carry On Girls was great fun. Originally my part of the photographer had been a wordless role but they built it up for me. I remember Barbara Windsor kept saying "'ere, that Askwith, his part's getting bigger and bigger!" (At this point I compliment Robin on his absolutely stunning Dame Barbara impersonation). June Whitfield was fantastic to work with, she called me "her son" off screen as well as on. She was (and is) a lovely lady and really great. We'd done something before Girls came along and many years later I appeared in panto with her. 

I remember at one stage I used to stay in a great hotel down in Wimbledon run by a man called Ray Slade. June and I had neighbouring suites in the hotel and he used to say he'd know what was going on in the June Whitfield suite and he'd always know what was going on in the Robin Askwith suite! At the time I had a girlfriend who kept budgies and once she brought them to the suite. We had a lot of fun joking about how I had three birds in my suite. 

 

I have fond memories of working with Maggie Nolan, she was great. That scene on the beach at Brighton was good to do but I was a total professional. I remember she was very political and at the time I think she was married to Tom Kempinski? She tried to sign me up to the Workers' Revolutionary Party but I declined! (I mention the infamous fight sequence in the film between Nolan and Barbara Windsor and tell Robin that Maggie was actually pregnant at the time). I didn't know she was pregnant but now you mention it I do recall she was a bit reticent about doing that scene. In the end I think they both really went for it though. Gerald Thomas wanted me to do more Carry Ons but of course I ended up going off to do the Confessions films, which in a way saw the eventual decline of the Carry Ons. I don't think he ever forgave me for that, which is sad. I got on very well with Gerald for a long time and used to go and see him at his house in Burnham. 

You have appeared twice in Coronation Street - once in a storyline filmed in Malta and more recently at Granada in Manchester. What was it like to join an established show like the Street?

Oh I loved it. The first part I did in the Street happened by accident. They were filming a storyline out in Malta, where I live. They couldn't find a suitable actor there to play this part of a slightly dodgy rep and the director Duncan Foster met me and said he wanted me for the part. I didn't have a lot to do and I remember they made me read for it before they confirmed I had the part. I do remember having a lot of fun working with Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald). He is a brilliant actor and a lovely bloke too. I remember we were getting ready to film a scene and he told me he was nervous about acting with me and I told him not to be as I had no idea what I was doing! 


And then in 2014 the role of the faded rock star Ritchie De Vries came along. At the time the casting director was Janet Hampson and I refused to come over from Malta to do an audition as I felt they knew what I could do. I did offer to send a tape though and filmed myself over here. I sent the tape over and they came back to say they wanted me to come over to Manchester anyway. They wanted me to do a screen test with Sue Johnston. I had to learn a six page scene for the test and I remember being really nervous when I got to the studios to do it. I hadn't had much sleep, I'd travelled a long way and I had always been such a fan of Sue Johnston's work. There was a lot of competition for the role but when I went in to do the reading, I absolutely nailed it. I have to thank Sue a great deal for that as she was excellent in the read through and really made it work well. Everyone at Granada was really encouraging when I went in that day.

I went back to Malta only to receive a call to say I had got the part and could I fly back the next day! To begin with Ritchie was meant to be a love interest for Sue's character however by that stage she had handed in her notice to go off and do other things, which was a shame, but my contract was only for three months anyway. People like Philip Lowrie (Dennis Tanner) and Barbara Knox (Rita Tanner) were so welcoming and kind and great to be with. I loved working with Philip, such a good actor and really good in the show. I really rated him and he was a lovely man too. Such a shame he's not in the show anymore. Barbara was great to work with and felt able to speak her mind on set! 

 

I did think it was a shame that my role became pretty comedic as originally it was meant to be a bit deeper than that. I think in the end they had me play it a bit like a Confessions actor with lots of humour whereas on my first appearance, when I came through the door the character was much more furtive. Ian Bevitt had me play it like that before turning on the big personality when Ritchie met Dennis. It was much more effective that way. I wish it had developed in more depth but I still loved it. I really got into it and was rewriting storylines in my head while I was there. I got on really well with Kym Marsh and thought it would have been great if Michelle had shown an interest in Ritchie - it would have got right up Steve's nose! People like Kate Ford (Tracy) and Ian Puleston-Davies (Owen) were really friendly and welcoming. Kate kept laughing every time she saw me! She seemed to find me quite funny! 

One of my favourite people was the late Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre. We didn't have any scenes together but she was such a lovely presence in the green room. Every time I went in there she'd throw her arms around me and give me a hug. Such a warm lady. I wish I'd got to work with her. I remember her asking if I was staying on and I said my contract was only for three months. She said "they've got to keep you Robin! It's only ink!" which was a lovely thing to say. 

I understand you recently met up with the lovely Judy Matheson at a Misty Moon event. What was it like to catch up with her again after working on Confessions of a Window Cleaner?

Yes it was great to see Judy again at Elstree. She's quite involved with Misty Moon these days. We had known of each other before we met on the set of Confessions of a Window Cleaner so she knows that I was a serious actor before I got into those films. 

 

Judy often mentions this on Twitter you know...

Does she? I think she was a fan of some of my films before we did the Confessions.

I was in touch with her the other day and she mentioned another of your contemporaries, Richard O'Sullivan...

Oh Richard was a big, big star and a great friend to me. Richard was a good actor and very underrated. At one of the shows I did last year I mentioned him to see what kind of reaction it would get and the audience gave him a round of applause. 

You work regularly with Stuart Morriss from The Misty Moon Film Society. How did that working relationship develop?

I was first approached about doing some kind of stand up show around the time I was tested for Coronation Street but I wasn't keen. I've never enjoyed doing signing sessions or being up there on my own like that so I kept saying no. At an event, Stuart approached me and suggested doing something but I wasn't sure. I was eventually convinced and I did a one off thing at the pub in Ladywell and afterwards my friend Derren Litten (who writes Benidorm) said I should do a one man show. 

 

Stuart then arranged for me to do something similar at the Gatehouse in London as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. It was a huge success and very popular so the whole thing got on a roll from there. I always thought it would be a risk to go out on my own but my confidence has grown, thanks to Stuart and the reaction from the audiences. We've had some great reviews and people are starting to take notice of it all. Without Stuart, none of it would have happened and whatever happens with it, he'll always be a part of it.

At this point Robin plugs the fact that he has a late night gig scheduled for Tuesday 10 October at the Phoenix Artist Club. He adds that as I've never been to one of his gigs, if I don't attend this one, he'll never speak to me again. Should you wish to attend the gig (I'm obviously definitely going now) you can find out more and buy tickets here

And with that, the whirlwind that is Robin Askwith bade me farewell. It was an honour and a privilege to have a personal audience with the great Mr Askwith, who kept me entertained, answered my questions with thought and flair and was extremely open and approachable. After an hour and a half of unpredictable, fairly ribald chat my mother would once have disapproved of, I staggered off for a large gin. Let's just hope Robin follows through on his Twitter promise. I really do think he could break the internet.

Finally, a massive thank you to Stuart at Misty Moon for helping to set up the interview! 
 
The original interview, in two parts, can be found at Carry On Blogging


By Graeme Naylor

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82





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