Wednesday, 29 November 2017

When Corrie goes 'Colin'


For some people, the appointment of Vic Reeves/Jim Moir to the Corrie cast was seen as a bit of a disaster. The character of Colin Whateverhisnamewas didn't gel. I didn't get what he was supposed to be, why he was there and why he suddenly pounced on Helen from The Archers who should have been fermenting her cheese as opposed to propping up a reception desk. One giant misfire for all concerned. Thankfully, Corrie doesn't often lumber us with such non-events as Colin but when they do, they do it in style. Characters so woeful that they stick in the mind for all the wrong reasons. Who didn't work for you? My personal chamber of horrors is open for viewing . . .

Take Amy Burton. No please, take the memory of her away forever. Amy was some sabre-toothed old woman who arrived on the cobbles in 1987. She was Vera's mother and was presumably drafted in to be the new Street battle-axe. Oh dear. Fanny Carby played her not so much to the back row of the theatre, as to Hadrian's Wall. Screeching and snapping, she sallied forth in some bizarre hat that was part tea cosy, part Admiral Nelson. This detestable old trout had little going for her and after a bout of petty thieving, disappeared forever.

Another source of personal annoyance was Sam Tindall. He spent four years trotting around the Street with a dog-in-a-bag called Dougal. We were meant to believe that Sam had the hots for cafe gorgon Phyllis Pearce, despite his somewhat effete persona. The dreary battle with Percy 'gravy under fire' Sugden (and let's not get started on him!) wore us down for years and Sam's only bright spot was when Alf Roberts' arse landed on Tindall's Christmas pud in 1985. We need more storylines of this ilk nowadays, although had it been in 2017, Sam would have confessed to being Alf's long-lost daughter before hurling him from the viaduct. I don't recall Sam having a departure as such and even the redoubtable Phyllis never mentioned him again.

Casting an actor recognisable from another soap can be a tricky move and so it proved to be in 2000 when Gabrielle Glaister arrived in Weatherfield as Natalie Barnes' sister, Debs Brownlow. Gabrielle had spent many years as posh Patricia Farnham in Brookside and now here she was, dropping her h's all over t'place and popping down to th'hairdressers every five minutes. It was distressing to watch and the only hope was that Max Farnham would jump soaps and jam Debs under a hood dryer until she northernised no more. Eventually, having exhausted her 'eeh bah gum' phrasebook, Debs departed with the Geordie cellar man from the Rovers. Or from t'Rovers as she might have attempted.

I for one was agog at the introduction of the very unlovely Lauren Wilson in 2007. Who? Well, remember morose, miserable Violet? She was the Rovers barmaid who always looked as though she was dishing out smallpox to the regulars. Well, they decided to give her a polar opposite sister and - ta-dah! Here's Lauren! From day one she had all the appeal of nails on a blackboard. Played as some sort of thrusting northern doxy from yesteryear, Lauren made Bet Lynch look like Thora Hird. She was so arch that even Sean couldn't compete and eventually he took her on a holiday to Spain from which she never returned. Lauren's probably some over made-up thirty five year old serving drinks on roller skates in Sitges.

There are many whose dull ghosts remain in the Corrie Cupboard. Let's not raise a toast to Henry Wakefield, Hilda's dreary yet somewhat worrying lodger. Join me in not celebrating Kelly Thompson, the woeful nanny who tended to the young Daniel Osbourne twenty years ago and who may have much to answer for. Cheerfully ignore bore-a-thon Xin Proctor with her Children's BBC presenter persona, her collection of hateful Chinese nodding cats and the alarming manner in which she stripped the hapless Graham of any likability. Well done you!

Now we can add Colin Thingy to the Cobbles Collection. Which characters didn't do it for you? Who would you like to remind us of before the mists once again close in and we forget them?

By Clinkers to Riddle, Twitter @BridgLondon





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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dev's uncle Umesh or something begining with a u, he was supposed to be comic relief but could not understand a word out of his mouth. We in Canada struggle with a Manchunian, add a mix of Mumbai to it and we are lost.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Almost all of Lloyd's 'love of my life's, most recently Mandy. She looked so wrong with Lloyd, completely miscast. It was evidently genetic as her daughter, the physio, was instantly forgettable, too. I hesitate to remind people of Mark/Marcia, Audrey's beau, only remembered now as the other son in 'Butterflies'. Were the Corrie costume department on strike that year? Paul the fireman never stood a chance matched with Eileen who seemed to tower over him. There are such couples in real life but when you see them on screen, it's either intentionally funny or, as in Paul's case, a mistake. What happened to him? He might have died, can't remember. That'll do for now.

donna harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
popcorn said...

Xin was so bad she managed to ruin another character who was brilliant until she arrived. She was the kiss of death, for sure.

njblas said...

Excellent post, David! The Colin Callen character was a bizarre misfire, that's for sure. Nothing about the character or his storylines made any sense. Were we supposed to chortle every time he referred to himself in the third person? Pathetic. Lauren, Debs and Xin are high on my list of Corrie's disastrous characters, however, I did like the character of Kelly Thompson. Another complete misfire was a character called Lily Dempsey, who was another battleaxe type, brought in 1996 as a possible replacement for Phyllis Pearce. She supposedly had some sort of long-held grudge against Alf Roberts, but after a couple of months of ineffectual huffing and puffing, she thankfully vanished, never to be mentioned again. Then there was Dev's Auntie Maya, who worked in the corner shop for a few months in 2000 before also vanishing without trace. The actress who played her (she starred in The Kumars at No.42) did in fact return to Corrie in 2010-11 - as one of Sunita's aunts!

Louby said...

I would like to add Ryan Connor to the list, both heads but especially the first one. Plus Alex/Ryan, what a disaster of a storyline that was, and completely erased from Michelle's memory now it would seem.

Scott Willison said...

I will FIGHT YOU for coming for The Lovely Violet, who was Lovely, and didn't deserve the hell of having a baby with Sean. Because she was Lovely.

My favourite character who vanished without trace was Doreen, Rita's showgirl pal, who appeared, moved into Rita's flat, got proposed to by Norris, then just vanished without anyone noticing or caring.

njblas said...

Yes, Doreen just stopped appearing! Years later, Rita mentioned her out of the blue on the night of the Great Tram Disaster:) Another two characters who disappeared without explanation were Ida Clough and bookie Sean Skinner...

Fluttershy said...

I loved Moira! Colin did nothing for me and left me cold, but Moira was hilarious! One of the worst and funniest characters on the Street in many a year! I just loved the way she was oblivious to the fact Liz hated her, and took her efforts to get shot of her as evidence of true friendship. And the double-sided sticky-tape line was comedy gold!

Laura said...

Definitely Paul the fireman and Alex, Michelle's switched at birth son. Also Dan Mason, the guy who owned Peter's Bookie shop for a bit - he had a silly drawn out feud with Steve and a thing about a pair of white heels some woman had left behind - he wanted the women he dated to wear them when he brought them back to his place, or something like that.

And of course the Mortons. The whole family is best forgotten.

njblas said...

The only good Morton was the fabulously ghastly ex-wife Teresa. I loved her!

Martin S said...

I had totally forgotten about the Mortons until the last two posters brought them up. :-(

Celebrities who have other pressing demands on their time rarely get to do long stints on Corrie. As well as Vic Reeves, we've had Joanna Lumley, Honor Blackman, Rula Lenska, Keith Barron, Ian McKellen, Maureen Lipman, Roy Hudd, Derek Griffiths, Tim Healy, Peter Kay, Paddy McGuinness, Andrew Sachs, Prunella Scales, Robert Vaughn, June Whitfield, Stephanie Cole, and even the Duke of Bedford and Prince Charles. Some only made one or two appearances, others lasted longer. Keith Duffy, Craig Charles, Nigel Havers and Les Dennis enjoyed more lengthy storylines. And whatever happened to Iain Rogerson (Harry Flagg)?

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