Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Tuesday 31 October 2017

Shayne Ward Interview: Carla's return and Aidan's new feud

Aidan has had a tough time since the fiasco at the wedding, how is he feeling?
He’s lost everything and he’s full of emotion; he’s angry, he’s unhappy, he’s lost the factory and everybody blames him and he has lost the lady who was going to be his wife. He’s really angry with Adam for destroying the factory and he’s devastated that Eva had a hand in it too. He knows what he did was wrong and he’s remorseful for that, yes take his money but don’t destroy the factory and everyone else’s livelihoods, that’s what’s got him the most. 

What are his feelings towards Eva and Adam?
Aidan despises them. Deep down I think part of him does still love Eva but he hates her now for what she’s done and there’s no going back from that. He hates the smugness that Adam has about him now, knowing that he has taken his money and Aidan can’t prove it.

How does Aidan feel when he finds out that the insurance money has come through and Johnny is planning on using it to go and live abroad with Jenny rather than re-building the business?
He’s annoyed that he hears the news from someone else then when he confronts Johnny all excited about getting the factory up and running again and he learns that they’re planning on moving to Spain he’s not happy. Aidan has always believed that Jenny’s a gold digger and he thinks she must be behind the decision. Aidan can’t understand why Johnny doesn’t want to turn the factory around, it’s just another knock for Aidan.

At the same time Aidan gets into a feud with Todd, what’s it all about?
It’s all linked to the fact that Todd works with Adam so Aidan decides Todd must have known about what Adam did to the factory and he wants to expose their dodgy dealings. So a feud begins between Aidan and Todd and Aidan is on the warpath.

Todd isn’t a character to be messed with. Aidan is starting to get his life back on track as he sees a financial advisor about getting investment for the factory but when Todd gets wind of this what does he do?
When Todd gets wind of it, and discovers that Aidan has been sleeping rough in the factory, he tries to use that to jeopardise Aidan’s chances of getting a loan which further ramps up the feud. There’s even more to follow, Todd takes it one step further.

Does Aidan realise he’s playing with fire with Todd?
Aidan’s now starting to see what he’s playing with. Aidan can handle himself and probably thinks he can match Todd.       

Does the fact that Aidan’s been sleeping rough in the factory show us how much that Aidan has lost?
Aidan’s lost everything; he had the flat, the girl, the status, the factory, he was the boss, he had it all. He was living it and up and now he’s sleeping on the factory floor, his dad doesn’t want to know him, everyone from the factory hates him and he’s got nothing.

Do you feel sorry for him?
Yes I do now, I didn’t initially when he was cheating on Eva but my sympathy is with the fact that he is getting blamed for the destruction of the factory which wasn’t down to him. He takes full responsibility for the affair but what’s happened after that was Eva and Adam taking things way too far.

What would you like to see round the corner for Aidan, would you like to see him sort his life out?
He can either pick himself up or he could go to ground. It’s in Aidan to want to better himself and to prove to his dad that he can be a businessman and he can make a success of it. But it’s also in Aidan to fly off the handle and when Todd takes their feud to the next level I don’t know what Aidan will do. He’s volatile and he can be handy with his fists whereas Todd is cunning and will play mind games.

Are you looking forward to Carla’s return at Christmas?
It’s amazing to have her back, we’ve done a few scenes together already and I’m loving it. She left as our step-sister and now she’s back it’s great for the Connors, we’re all buzzing, it’s like she never left.     

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Robert's new silver fox hair - Yay or Nay?

Love it or loathe it, there's one thing you can't do and that's ignore it. I might well be talking about Coronation Street itself this week as it's divided opinion strongly with the Pat Phelan and dark storyline from last Friday night.

But no, it's not Corrie I'm waffling on about now.

It's Robert's hair, of course.

Why did it take Michelle so long to notice he'd gone grey last night in Corrie? The nation were shouting at the screen from their sofas. "What's happened to his hair?"

Clearly, Grecian 2000 (other hairdye products are available) isn't available in the big house.

But what do you make to Robert's new silver fox look? Yay or Nay? 

I think I'd have to channel Les Dennis' Mavis on this one and say ... "I don't really know!"

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A Requiem for Andy Carver

There is much attention on Phelan and his dastardly dealings, at the moment, along with speculation as to who might be his next victim. But, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on the life of Andy Carver.

When Andy was shot dead by Phelan, he was 32 years old. He was in the early summer of his life and if he had been released, his joy and relief would have made him live a good and happy life, his imprisonment having most surely shifted his perspective as to what is important in this life.

To have your freedom snatched away, to live in a filthy damp cellar, in almost solitary confinement, apart from the odd, brief exchanges between him and Phelan, his jailer, not having any idea as to when or indeed if, you will ever be released, must be one of the cruellest punishments.  This, as well as knowing that the world continues to turn without you and that your chances of joining the society you were so cruelly removed from must be diminishing with each passing hour. Deprived of comfort, light, warmth and company, it is a testament to Andy that he survived it all for so long. Phelan did bring him food and medical supplies intermittently, but no promises were made about Andy’s chances of escape.

Andy must have craved contact with the outside world and when a chance appeared, Andy promised that he would say nothing to the police about Phelan and what had happened. A plan was hatched, and Andy would be released. Andy’s mixture of fear and relief was almost tangible. But Phelan, nothing if not cunning, staged an  ‘escape’ and crashed the van, ‘allowing’ Andy to run to freedom. According to Phelan, Andy had failed his ‘test’ and was recaptured. It’s hard to imagine the state of Andy’s emotions as he felt freedom was his, only to find himself recaptured and back in the cellar, chained up. Devastating. 
Andy, I’m sure, will have thought of his beautiful girlfriend Steph, played by the stunning Tisha Merry. The plan was that they would meet at the airport and fly to Portugal. Phelan intercepted the plans and sent a text from Andy’s phone saying that Steph was better off without him. Poor Steph and poor Andy – both ensnared by Phelan and ensuing misery for both.

On his discovery that Nicola was his daughter, it seemed as if a change for the better was imminent in Phelan. Andy suggested the idea of the replacement prisoner, which Phelan thought initially, was ridiculous. He then had a rethink and thought it would be a good idea to capture Vinny, the man who ran off with the money after the flats fraud. Andy must surely now have been thinking that his freedom was but hours away.
Instead, Andy was forced to murder Vinny, and then, after all that time, hopes dashed, then renewed, time and time again, Phelan shot and killed Andy. Andy pleaded for his life, ‘Because underneath it all you’re a good man and no murderer.’ These words rang out hollowly for Phelan.
Phelan would never have taken Andy at his word, so in Phelan’s head, there could only be one solution for Andy. This was heart-breaking – bad enough that he had been held in a cellar for months, but to then be murdered is just too unbearable.
Did we, as viewers, really believe that Phelan would allow Andy to be free? I believe we hoped he would, but in our heart of hearts, we knew that Andy was doomed, once caught in Phelan’s web, the man who watched dispassionately as Michael Rodwell lay in front of him breathing his last and making no effort to help.

So, Andy, really sorry for the lost months there in the cellar - you suffered so horrendously and so sorry too for the years you should have had, growing into middle then old age, possibly with the wonderful Steph. All hope is gone now. Rest in Peace, Andy Carver, and if there is a heaven, I sincerely hope you get there.  

By Ruth Owen, @Ruth1722 

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Patti Clare Interview: Baby George in danger

What is Mary’s motive behind throwing the dinner party with Dev, Jude, Angie, Peter and Toyah?

With the very best of intentions, Mary’s motive is to make Angie aware that she has a problem around alcohol and in Mary’s world, the best way to do that is to have somebody who has openly said he has alcoholic problems share his experience of heavy drinking, which is Peter. But of course, with Mary’s usual missing the mark, it’s all a bit heavy handed and Angie is no more the wiser of why she is there.

Why has Mary convinced herself Angie is an alcoholic - doe she have any evidence?

Mary has found a leaflet that accidentally fell out of Angie’s bag which has advice on heavy drinking and being an alcoholic so she has put two and two together and ended up with seven, thinking this explains Angie’s strange behaviour. Angie can be distant and she can be removed; she seems distracted all the time. So Mary is constantly trying to work out why this is and that's when she comes with the idea that Angie has a drinking problem. Mary pursues this so everytime Angie has a drink, Mary jumps to the conclusion and thinks it's one of many when it is hardly any at all.

How would describe Mary and Angie’s relationship at the moment? 

Its very, very tentative, they are very much on their guard with each other. And of course, there’s jealousy and there’s fighting for the attention of Jude and George. They don’t know each other truly yet.

Jude asks Mary to babysit George but he becomes unwell in Mary’s care - what are Mary’s first thoughts?

Mary’s first thoughts are to find out what’s wrong with the little fellow, she is concerned that they get to the root of his illness. She asks Dev’s advice on what to do and Dev tells her to get Angie. So Mary goes to the bistro and tells Angie exactly what’s happening. Mary knows it’s not a casual thing, he is very, very unwell.

What is Mary’s reaction when Angie says she will drive him to A&E?

Mary is horrified, why would she allow Angie to drive when she has been drinking? Mary thinks Angie is in denial. She absolutely panics and thinks her grandson is in danger because there is a drunk driver setting off… not only drunk but in a high state of anxiety. Mary is very worried and that’s what leads her to call the police. She honestly believes she is doing the right thing.

So when Mary calls the police it comes from a good place?

Mary couldn’t live with herself if anything happened to the little boy, she couldn’t. If she let it lie, if there was a car crash, she couldn’t live with herself.

What has it like being filming with Mary’s extended  family?

It’s wonderful having Mary’s extended family. Romeo who plays George is absolutely gorgeous, we have all fallen in love with him.  Having Paddy who plays Jude back is wonderful and the addition, having Victoria is wonderful so it’s really exciting to have this ready-made family. The interesting thing is, it’s not all happy-endings, it’s a very bumpy ride, people getting to know themselves. That happy ever after often is a fairy-tale, there is a lot more skeletons in the cupboard to be revealed...

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Weatherfield's Heart of Darkness and Light

There have been many occasions in the lifetime of Coronation Street where it has evoked outpourings of emotion on the part of fans. It’s unsurprising, as this is more than just a television programme to us. For many, this weekly commitment has occurred over the course of our lives, and we now invest three hours a week in it, which is not insignificant.

Despite our shared love and collective loyalty, however, we as fans naturally differ in terms of how we want to see certain plots play out, and it could be argued that we can have no expectation, for example, that our favourite characters will get the stories we would want for them. Where our expectations should and do play a part, however, is in what we can envisage as likely to occur in this particular fiction. Like any unique programme or drama, Corrie is its own world built on a combination of principles or values which have sustained life for almost sixty years, including normality, heart, comedy, stoicism, grittiness, earthiness, tragedy, humour and drama. What a viewer needs to see is adherence to the framework that makes it what it is; otherwise, it becomes something else, and no longer Corrie.

On Friday 27 October, we witnessed two of the most viscerally shocking episodes in my memory. There have been angry reactions with some viewers feeling it was a bridge too far, and even vowing never to watch the programme again. For others, it was just the type of edge-of-the-seat drama they wanted on their screens. Such was the reaction, that Coronation Street released a statement which sought to defend the drama and assure us of impending justice.

I needed to process both the episodes and the reaction, and consider both in the context of how Coronation Street has been developing over the past few months before I felt I could write anything. I also watched the episodes in question again, and continued to follow the reactions in their wake. 

The other reason I wanted to take time to write a considered blog is out of thorough respect for what I saw. I thought the performances on the part of Connor McIntyre, Oliver Farnworth, Ian Kelsey and Nicola Thorpe were absolutely outstanding. Together with Owen Lloyd-Fox’s script and Duncan Foster’s direction, I thought it was drama of the highest quality. For me, there was no question of this. Nor is their any question in my mind that Pat Phelan is Corrie’s greatest villain, and of the immense talent of Connor McIntyre who has continued to skilfully unpeel layer upon layer of this complex character in the most compelling of ways.

When dealing with such quality, it felt important to give it the consideration it deserved. Personally speaking, I really did enjoy it, but, having thought about it, this was on its own terms as a piece of drama rather than something that felt a natural part of this particular programme. In thinking about writing this blog, therefore, the most productive response I felt I could offer would be to consider why it evoked certain reactions from viewers, and what needs to happen to restore the balance.

One of Coronation Street’s most wonderful attributes has been the earthiness of its inhabitants and their storylines. The statement Corrie released on foot of the reaction to these episodes noted 'Coronation Street has always been recognised for its mix of drama and comedy, as well as hard hitting storylines.' Sadly, of late, there hasn’t been much comedy, and if Corrie’s magic formula is this mix of both, then an imbalance results in it feeling like a different programme.

For me, the misery being visited upon its residents over the past few months has been relentless, and there isn’t sufficient lightness or comedy to offset it. With an added episode, this is sustained over three hours a week meaning it can be a tough watch for us viewers. This might work for an otherwise serious drama, but not in the case of Coronation Street.

It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t saying we fans can’t handle shocking scenes. This is a programme which has seen innumerable murders in its time, some of them rather gruesome. But what we do expect to see is a combination of light and shade. Unfortunately it seems the predominance of the latter has some of us fatigued and unreceptive to any more of it.

Indeed, it feels as if comedy has been gradually relegated to subplots and light relief. I’ve argued over the past couple of years for it to have a more central role. Sadly, now it feels we’re lucky to get some via a selection of one-liners, or panto-esque japes, which isn’t enough.

Friday’s episodes saw the murderous scenes take place in an abandoned paper mill, and Nicola learn from Lydia that she was a product of rape, while unwitting street residents made goujons, chatted at Roy’s and threw darts in the Rovers.

Under normal circumstances, joy might be found in those intervening scenes to offset the drama occurring. This is a mechanism which has worked wonderfully in the past. Instead, however, we had Fiz of the hot chocolate and innumerable pints using her child’s former illness to defraud generous souls of thousands, making it impossible to take any enjoyment from her or Tyrone’s presence, Luke attacking Aidan in the Rovers after he tried to kiss Alya, and Aidan finding himself in a sorry state with nowhere to live as a result.

When this comes on the back of Bethany’s dreadful ordeal (which was brilliantly done), Seb’s family crisis, Billy’s violence, Michelle’s kidnap nightmare, Robert's imprisonment, Summer’s drug taking, Chesney’s collapse and Katy’s off-screen death, to name but a few scenarios of late, there is nothing to feel good about or reassure us that the world of Corrie isn’t all bad and the comforting normality at its core will sustain us. We need this if we are to believe in the reality of Coronation Street which should pivot on a grounded axis of heart regardless of the absolutely necessary dramatic diversions it takes along the way.

One of the biggest frustrations about the outcome of this storyline seems to have been why Phelan would keep Andy locked up all that time only to kill him. For me, when Pat learned that Nicola had found out the truth about him from Anna and Lydia, he had absolutely nothing to lose. I felt the reason he couldn’t kill Andy for all those months was because Nicola was a positive light in his life and he wanted to be a better man. With this light extinguished, Phelan made his final transformation into a wholly villainous man; a transition strikingly portrayed by Connor McIntyre. It’s believable to me and works as part of the story arc. But, when it comes to soap, people feel very strongly about justice being served and I can understand viewers' frustration at this. While we're assured justice will be done, I think, had Andy taken Pat down in those moments before his death instead of the other way around, fans would possibly have seen the drama and its conclusion in a more palatable light.

As things stand, Pat lives, and I for one am glad of that as he's been a big highlight of the programme for me and I’m not ready to see him leave just yet. For me, it’s important to recognise that what we saw on Friday was drama of the highest quality. But it’s also completely legitimate for us to feel that the incessant tragedy and misery that we witness on the street needs to be lightened by some normality, and the comedy it is so good at and which we so love. Otherwise, we find ourselves fatigued, and struggling to recognise our favourite programme.

So, where do we go from here? I think the show’s ability to combine the dramatic and the comedic should be fully exploited. Drama should not be considered more important than comedy, but rather, the same. It's not sufficient for mere nods to humour to constitute evidence of the show’s reputation for it. Give comedy a central role. Root it in character so it’s true, earthy and believable; we need look no further than the classic episodes from 1986 currently showing on ITV3 to see how sublime this can be. Acknowledge that it can be as powerful as drama. Allow it to take centre stage via a storyline which goes on for more than a few episodes. And, when it comes to drama, sometimes that which is not screened can have greater power.

Were all this to be considered, perhaps viewers, who have shown themselves to be so passionate about the programme, would feel they were watching the Corrie they know and love. Then the tragedies and dramas which the show does so impeccably well might be received with the full weight of admiration and enjoyment they deserve.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes

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Spoilers for next week's Coronation Street, Nov 6 - 8

Without any piffle, here are the storylines for the week ahead on Coronation Street, all wrapped up nicely in 50 words or less.

Monday 6 November to Wednesday 8 November 2017
Note: No Corrie episodes on Friday 10 November due to football

Mary gets Angie arrested, Adam and Aidan fued in the factory, Johnny shocks Jenny with news of a move to Spain, Chesney shocks Beth and Kirk with news that they need to move out and Rita copes with the news of her diagnosis.

See the full week's preview with lots of pictures at

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