Thursday, 31 May 2018

Coronation Street Blog interview: Sue Cleaver and Nicola Thorp


With the firm belief that Phelan’s body is at the bottom of the sea, Eileen and Nicola are ready to start afresh, especially now with the arrival of baby Zack. However, their biggest fears are realised when Phelan arrives on their doorstep brandishing his gun...

Both Eileen and Nicola are starting to settle back into normality, both women blissfully unaware that Pat is in fact back on the street. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve killed him. He’s in the sea in Whitehaven,” said Sue Cleaver (Eileen). “So I think he’s dead, so I’m just trying to get my life back on track and move forward with it.”

“Yes, same with Nicola,” said Nicola Thorp (Nicola). “She’s just had a baby, life’s perfect as far as she’s concerned. She’s asked Eileen to be the Granny to little baby Zack, so yeah, she thinks everything’s going swimmingly after a really traumatic birth. What else could go wrong?”

What else indeed, and the trouble of course does not stop there. Phelan takes on Seb, Nicola, and Eileen to get to baby Zack and will do anything to get to his grandson. When talking about the dramatic scenes, Sue said, “It can be very intense, and it’s very physical as well. Obviously, as an actor, we love doing that.” About relieving the tension after filming such scenes, Nicola said, “It can be quite tense, especially if you’re in one room and there’s that many of you for a long time.”


While Eileen was certain that she had gotten rid of her murderous husband for good, there have been a few moments where Eileen has let her mind wonder whether he would turn up again one day. “A lot of strange things have been happening to her. She even has that phone call where she hears his voice and she wonders if he’s dead. But then the police explain how that could have happened, and she’s reassured by it.”

“Nicola has a couple of moments,” Nicola says. “There are a couple of scenes where we say to each other, ‘they never found the body’, and then we go, ‘no, don’t be ridiculous.’ But when you don’t find the body, there is always that question in the back of their minds of, ‘what if?’ But then when he does arrive, it’s like, ‘oh god, no way.’”

When Eileen comes face to face with Phelan again, he’s not hesitant to let his wife know that he never felt anything real for her. “Phelan loves you until you turn against him, and then that’s it,” Sue told us. “To be honest, I don’t think in that moment, it didn’t register with me what he was saying. I was more concerned about Zack and Nicola."

Nicola said, “I do remember reading it thinking, ‘is that hurting me as a reader more than maybe her as a character?’ As an audience you go, ‘that’s so hurtful.’”

Despite the dark drama that’s taking over the street this week, it’s great to see that the episodes have a surprising amount of humour in them, the balance is perfect. Nicola told us she was surprised by how funny the episodes were, and carried on to say, “I just thought that maybe this week wouldn’t have those elements in it, you know, because of the drama. But what they’ve managed to weave so well together is the comedy. I mean, Gail always has something funny to say after something tragic or dramatic, and I live for those moments.”


Nicola and Sue were absolutely lovely to sit down with and talk about what’s coming up for Eileen and Nicola. Tune in tonight and tomorrow to find out how they deal with the arrival of Phelan!

Sophie Williams

Read some more of my general natterings on Twitter @sophie_jw26




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Why Jenny Bradley-Connor is ten types of terrific


Right I’ll come out and say it – Johnny Connor you don’t deserve Jenny! A controversial view I know as most Corrie viewers enjoy the Connor/Bradley partnership, but I think that Aiden’s suicide has exposed the major flaw in their relationship - that Johnny doesn’t realise how lucky he is.

Obviously we’re now seeing Johnny at his absolute lowest ebb, and that is understandable. His grief at the loss of his beloved son is vicious and all-encompassing and poor Jenny is on the sharp end of it, unable to do or say anything right.

Most of us are at a loss for words when we try to console someone. No doubt Jenny hoped that whatever she said Johnny would understand that it came from a place of love and caring, but he doesn’t. He can’t. When he hears her platitudes: ‘He was a lovely man’; ‘If this can just save one life,', it enrages him. When she tries to talk about her own experience of losing a child he thinks she is invalidating his pain.

The worst thing for Jenny is that she is probably treating Johnny the way she wanted to be treated when she suffered the loss of her own son. Without getting all ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, I imagine that when Jenny lost Tommy she wanted to talk about her pain and be listened to, to feel that she wasn’t alone. Whilst Johnny, an old-school man’s man just hears empty words which don’t fix anything and so takes refuge in anger, a large bottle of scotch and Liz McDonald’s cleavage.

So yes, we could argue that we shouldn’t be judging Johnny by his current actions but I think that even before Aiden’s death he was showing a distinct lack of appreciation for the radiant Ms Bradley-Connor. 

On more than one occasion he’s seemed embarrassed by his wife, telling her off for drinking too much, shushing her when she talks too loudly.  This is quite outstanding behaviour when you consider that Jenny is nearly 20 years younger than him…in the words of Alan Partridge: ‘back of the net!’. Plus, she’s loyal, attentive, wears lovely fitted dresses and has immaculate hair. Really Mr Connor if you think Liz McDonald is going to be a more dignified partner you’re very much mistaken! Have you seen those red spandex leggings?

It’s true that Johnny is a step up from her Jenny’s beau Kevin Webster, but mainly because he can use words of more than one syllable and is able to purchase a different jacket in 30 years, so I don’t think he should go resting on his laurels. 

Maybe Jenny and Johnny can work, I hope so. It would be good if they could come through this and emerge as one of the great Corrie power couples. But I fear that Johnny’s drift towards Liz in his hour of need is a bad sign and that like so many Corrie men, he won’t realise what he had until he loses it.

Still, if the worst comes to the worst I’m going to really enjoy the incomparable Jenny Bradley facial expressions as she takes him for everything he has at the divorce courts!

Kelly Archer
On Twitter @mskelstar 


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Coronation Street episode review, Weds 30 May


This week has been a gripping one so far. And blogging this middle episode is fun, because anyone who has seen the previous two will realise, it's all about to kick off. 

Phelan is tied up, but like a raging dino in Jurassic World or King Kong on Skull Island, the ropes will be flung off at some point. 

We begin with Kevin worried about "Our Jack", who was out playing but has not been since. Yesterday, Michelle was talking about how quiet she had become, as life was not worth it. Tonight? She is kicking off at Steve because he dared to question her intentions. And he tried to drop boring Robert in it. 

Our Jack chats to Phelan and the devious one offers him a tenner. The little lad wants the money first. Nicola is having cosy time with her new baby and granny Eileen. Does this mean the wolf will appear and ruin this tranqulity. 

Sarah Lou admits to Gary who killed Callum in an attempt to stop the fool turning into Jason Bourne or Dirty Gary (a Clint Eastwood spoof, not Fifty Shades of Cobbles!) but I am not convinced it will work.

Gary arrives and sees Jack attempting to set Phelan free. Be and Sarah Lou get Jack to leave and ask him to keep it all a secret. Phelan looks powerful Sat in a chair helpless. He has become Hannibal Lector. 

Shona has been on a one woman mission to get the truth out there. She tells Alya that David was raped and that the perpetrator was Josh. Meanwhile Flora lies to the nursing home and tells them that she is in fact dead. She wants to stay at Daniel's, that's for sure. 

At Chez Connor, the hens are getting ready. And the brothers grimm turn up and start squabbling. MIchelle mentions that this should be the happiest day of her life. Meanwhile her Dullard hubby to be looks really miserable. Don't marry him, Michelle. Call it off! 

Shona speaks to Alya in depth about Josh's despicable actions. Alya cannot believe that her Josh did this. Clearly there are attachment issues here, as she mourned Luke, as if they were married 30 years. Believe it, you barely knew him. 

Phelan winds Gary up and he bites. I am laughing because I like many, have grown to like Phelan. All those who have tried to catch him have been as a dumb as a ditch. 

Talking of daft, Rosie has a genius idea. By your standards, this will not her her on Mastermind. It involves drugs. 

Gary and Sarah Lou watch Phelan as he lay on the floor and Gary gets his carpet tape out. Sarah is probably having flashbacks at this point to the body under the floorboards. 

Rob has a mardy and says he is not getting married. When Daniel asks him why, he says ask Steve. The Scooby doo attempt by Gary back fires and Phelan hits him over the head and escapes. With no groom at the wedding, methinks a different guest might be arriving. 

Phelan is now waving a gun and Gary is now the victim, along with Sarah Lou. He asks for Nicola and his grandson.

The wedding stuff was a tad boring tonight, as I have never really bought these two as.a couple. But the Phelan stuff bubbling under, alongside David's plight has been inspired. Connor McIntyre has clearly been having a blast and I'll be sad to see him go. 

Enjoy the rest of the week. Go Phelan!

By Glenn Meads

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9 Coronation Street hidden gems - No. 2


Here we go with the second of nine guest blog posts from David at Corriepedia as their site celebrates 10 years online!

Hello! Flaming Nora has kindly agreed to host a blog post from me relating to the tenth anniversary of Corriepedia, the Coronation Street Wiki. After some thinking, I've decided to expand on something my friend and fellow admin John brought up in his interview with the wonderful Conversation Street podcast last week.  

To help readers understand why these episodes are so special, and why David from Corriepedia rates them as hidden gems, you might want to read his original blog post here which explains all.

Here we go with the second of nine. The remaining seven gems will be blogged every morning for the next eight days.

Jack gets locked out (#125, 21/2/62)

"Dennis Tanner, first thing tomorrow morning I'm gonna see the club man about you, there must be some way of insuring against you!"

The Equity strike of 1961/2 limited Corrie to its fourteen (later thirteen) surviving regulars, resulting in a slower pace, restricted storylines and a smaller Weatherfield (well, Weatherfield hadn't been named yet, but go with me on this). On the positive side, the programme became more experimental and we got some unusual pairings. It was Coronation Street at its most episodic with one only storyline running at a time.

Here, with Annie visiting Joan in Derby, Jack Walker has made the dubious decision to employ Dennis Tanner as a temporary barman. It ends as you'd expect, with Dennis accidentally locking the pair of them out of the Rovers after closing time. The stage is set for a classic farce, as Minnie and Martha overhear Elsie shouting down to Jack from her bedroom to come inside to warm up, Jack falls off Ivan's ladder leading to speculation about him drinking the profits and Annie makes an unexpected return and walks into the Tanners' just in time to hear Elsie complimenting Jack on his legs. Brilliant stuff.

After the ad break we pick up the next day. Where a lesser programme would have a tedious row between the Walkers we instead have Annie believing that nothing went on between Jack and Elsie - but that doesn't mean Jack is off the hook. After getting the last word, Annie declares the subject closed.

The only cutaway from Jack's nocturnal activities comes at the end when Concepta Hewitt announces her pregnancy to Harry, setting up next week's story.

See: Hidden Gem No. 1

Hidden Gem 3 will be blogged tomorrow. And don't forget to check out Corriepedia and follow them on Twitter too.

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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Thurs 31 May

Thursday 31st May
EILEEN FACES HER WORST NIGHTMARE Incandescent with rage, Phelan ties up Gary and Sarah and heads to No.11 brandishing his gun. To Eileen’s horror, Phelan forces his way in. At No.11 a gunshot rings out.
MICHELLE AND ROBERT’S FUTURE HANGS IN THE BALANCE Daniel breaks the news to Michelle that Robert’s on his way to London having seen Steve kiss her. Michelle turns on Steve and blaming him for Robert’s departure, orders him to get him back. But will Robert listen? Will the wedding go ahead?
DAVID PREPARES TO TELL THE FAMILY  The police interview Josh about David’s rape claim. Josh refuses to comment. Gail and Audrey listen in horror as David describes his rape ordeal and how Aidan’s death made him realise he had to face his demons. Gail hugs him emotionally.
ELSEWHERE Gemma explains to Rosie and Olivia her plan to swap the bags of cocaine for icing sugar and then plant the actual cocaine in Antoine’s luggage in the hope he’ll get nicked at the airport.

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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Vote for Soaps Extra of the year - British Soap Awards


Now then, I'm not sure why there's no option to vote for Coronation Street extra Johnny Grimshaw, which seems a tad unfair.  But if you'd like to vote for some of the (many) other fine people who are extras on Coronation Street, then you can now do so.  

The award will be presented on Saturday night at the British Soap Awards. It's being shown live on TV. The award will be presented by Corrie's Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully.

Vote here.

From Corrie you can either vote for:

Joel David and Maureen Seaberg - pictured above. They hold the unique record of being the longest serving married couple on the world’s longest running TV soap, Coronation Street. They first stepped foot on the famous cobbles together back in 1973, meanig they’ve been drinking in the Rovers Return and eating a ‘full English’ breakfast in Roy’s Rolls for 41 years.

You can read more on Joel and Maureen here and read an interview with them both.

Or you can vote for Adam "Dirk not Kirk" Blease.  Find out more about him here.



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Coronation Street Blog interview: Ryan Clayton, Jack P Shepherd & Julia Goulding



It’s not only Phelan who’s causing a stir on the cobbles this week, as Josh is still causing turmoil for David. With his rape ordeal continuing, David has been confiding in Shona recently after opening up about everything he’s going through, and this week sees the troubled Platt tell Gail and Audrey about what has happened to him. We sat down with Jack P Shepherd, Julia Goulding, and Ryan Clayton to find out more…

“Wow”, Ryan (Josh) replied after being asked what it is like playing the most loathsome character on TV. “I thought it was a toss-up between me and Connor (Phelan) but apparently I have taken that crown! There has been a fair few reactions but none of its malicious. We’ve come a long way from the days of Johnny Briggs being hit by handbags! People are used to it much more now and can differentiate between the person and the character.”

As with a number of Coronation Street storylines at the moment, there has been a heavy debate about whether topics like this belong in the soap or not. “I had a lot of feedback when the fans first got told about the storyline”, said Jack (David). “People weren’t happy. They were saying ‘it’s ridiculous’, ‘it shouldn’t be on TV.’ ‘It’s a family show. We don’t tune in for this.’ And I think the way that Corrie handled it where, you didn’t see anything – you just saw a bedroom door shut. It was just left to your imagination.”

When asked whether it’s good that Corrie are addressing something so serious, Ryan said “Absolutely. I mean, you see the viewing figures and you see how many people there are. Hollyoaks has explored this in the past but you are looking at a different demographic there. So Corrie can be insightful to an older generation and perhaps even a younger generation coming through.” He continued, “I think it’s important that soaps represent real life. And you can see the statistics of how many people are affected by male rape or, you know, any form of rape and it’s important to tell such stories and represent people like that so that they can open up.”


Since the beginning of this storyline, viewers have seen David deteriorate, pushing his loved ones away and isolating himself. He is almost always perceived as the trouble maker round the corner, however this storyline has allowed the viewers to see a different side to him. When asked about this, Jack said “That’s the good thing about Corrie, that you can explore different sides. You are not always the baddie. You can be a nice guy, you can be a loving guy, you can be funny. And that’s why I enjoy it. And this particular storyline has been very internalised. Usually you see David’s reaction and you know what he is going to do. He’s going to go mental, or whatever, or lash out, but through all this he has just been quiet. It’s been like a change of character.”

During the interview, I brought up the fact that at the beginning of this hard-hitting storyline, Josh believed he hadn’t done anything wrong; I was interested to find out whether this was still the case. “I think somewhere deep inside him knows what he has done isn’t okay but getting him to admit that – as is the case with a lot of rapists – getting him to admit that to himself is difficult. Because as soon as he admits that then you can either go, ‘Okay. I need to apologise and I need to prove myself as being a good human being,’ or it just means that they are a psychopath; that they are going to continue to deny it. So I think his approach is that he is going to keep denying and telling himself that it was okay and that he is not a bad human being.”

The scene where David finally opened up to Shona was so heart-wrenching for so many reasons. When asked if the scenes were emotionally charged to film, Jack said “Yeah”, before looking embarrassed. However, Julia was quick to shower her co-star in praise. “I thought you were brilliant. I really did. I am so proud of you,” she told Jack. “Because we obviously have a laugh on set, and stuff, and we mess around between takes but this was obviously such a different feel, such a different tone. Jack had such a hard place to get to, and we had an amazing crew and it was actually a lovely, still morning and the sun was beaming through.”

Ryan, Jack and Julia have all been fantastic during this storyline, no question. The only thing left to do is to keep on tuning in to this exciting week on the cobbles.

Sophie Williams

Read all my general natterings on Twitter @sophie_jw26



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