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Friday 30 November 2018

'Curly & Raquel' by the band Martha

Yesterday, ITV3 showed a significant episode of classic Corrie. Originally broadcast on 23 January 1991, it was the first appearance of Raquel Wolstenhulme played by national-treasure-in-waiting Sarah Lancashire. Introduced as “Mardy Raquel from the meat counter”, she had the dubious honour of being Miss Bettabuy 1991. 

They were very different times and Reg Holdsworth instructed his Assistant Manager, Norman Watts to talk Raquel into wearing a swimsuit to read out the winning ticket in Bettabuy's “grand trolley dash”. Her first line was shown today in an episode from 25 January 1991 when she announced it was number 986.

I can’t think of a better symbol for the juxtaposition between the glamorous and the mundane that Raquel would go on to embody with such melancholic beauty.

In celebration of Raquel's arrival on ITV3, I’d like to share an amazing song that I’ve only recently discovered. A mate of mine pointed it out to me after my recent blog on the young Curly Watts (which is still available folks, right here).

The track is  ‘Curly & Raquel’ and it’s by Martha. Not Ken Barlow’s fancy woman on the barge, but a socialist pop-punk band from County Durham.

Not that Martha but this Martha

They’ve released a couple of albums and the second, ‘Blisters in the Pit of My Heart’ - from 2016 - features the aforementioned song. Simply put, it’s marvellous.

The lyrics contain the following nostalgic Corrie references:

“All the stories that we tell,
Roy and Hayley, Curly and Raquel,
Romantic reference,
Come on, tell me what’s your preference?”


“Weatherfield Mademoiselle,
Thinking back to Curly and Raquel,
On your arrival,
I can stick on the subtitles.”

It’s sort of part-homage and part-metaphor. The band gave a nice quote to DIY Mag when they explained:

“It is in essence a song that’s about love, but also being a weirdo – and we kind of looked at Coronation Street and pop culture in general because as we grow up that’s how we develop our conceptions of love… Coronation Street can be the most mundane, everyday s**t, and that’s sometimes really easy to relate to” ... “especially with Curly and Raquel because Curly was always a bit of a nerd and we really relate to that”.

The band even had a comic strip poster designed for sale on their 2015 tour. It was by Jack Fallows and was fantastic:

Without further ado, I implore you all to take four minutes to think back to Curly and Raquel with this gloriously vibrant slice of pop-punk (stream available below):

Another reason why I love this song is that the chorus nods to Billy Bragg - a major influence on the band - by lifting and adapting a couplet from ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’. He’s apparently a fan of the band. Nice!

The rest of Martha’s stuff is also worth checking out, but ‘Curly & Raquel’ will always be my favourite. It is every bit as enthralling as a trolley dash up and down the aisles of Weatherfield's finest supermarket.

By Martin Leay
Twitter @mpleay
Corrie Blogs @

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Coronation Street Episode Review Friday 30 November 8.30pm

We’re back, and at the Bistro, with the future of humanity at stake, Robert has rejected Kate’s stupid baby idea. It does however start him thinking about fatherhood again and he spends the rest of the day trying to bully and cajole Michelle into having a baby.  I don’t usually have a lot of sympathy for the Queen of the Universe but given her very recent history with Ruairi I’d say that Robert is being incredibly insensitive. His constant harping on about what he wants is quite reminiscent of Kate. Who knew selfishness was catching?

Over at No. 9. Fiz is claiming that Hope is troubled and just needs understanding, which is a bit like Mrs Lector saying that Hannibal is basically a good boy, he just has some special dietary requirements. She tells Tyrone that he has to stand up to his Nana and tell her to leave. Stuck in the middle Tyrone goes to find Evelyn in the pub to break the news. Drowning her sorrows with brandy the wonderful battleaxe suggests that maybe Ty should chuck Fiz out instead, and that if ‘Fiona’ wanted to express her personality with the name Fiz she should have called herself ‘Flat’. Brilliant! After guilt-tripping Ty by reminding him that he promised her she wouldn’t be alone, Evelyn does eventually agree to move out. But only after she’s found a place that is ‘dog-friendly’! I’m imagining that may take some time…

Meanwhile Gina is playing a nasty game with Sally and Tim. With Sally devastated that Tim doesn’t want to see her and Tim humiliated at the thought that his wife might have had an affair, Gina manipulates the situation by telling each of them that the other doesn’t want to see them.  I know its panto villain season, but honestly where is your conscience Gina?

Over at the physio Jack is fine after his fall and there is a surprise for him – his prosthetic leg has arrived.  He takes his first tentative steps and Kev and is moved to tears.

With his gaslighting of Michelle having failed, Robert turns up on Kate’s doorstep. After having been dead set against the idea 30 minutes ago he has now decided that he will father Kate’s child. For goodness sake man, this is a baby! You’ve spent longer deciding whether or not to put oregano in the lasagne. Kate agrees equally hurriedly and tells him that they need to keep it secret for now.

And with that the ancient prophecy is fulfilled.  In nine months, the Connor/Preston progeny will be unleashed onto the world. A being of supreme darkness that will bring Hell’s dominion to Earth and consume Weatherfield in a lake of fire. Poor Rana needs to leave immediately before she meets a grizzly end after being stared at by a large Rottweiler.

I’ve been Kelly and I’ve watched too many horror films.
Hope you enjoyed it. Catch more of my daft mutterings on Twitter @mskelstar

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Coronation Street Episode Review Friday 30 November 7.30pm

Evening Corrie fans, it's Kelly here with the first of your Friday night reviews.

We open with Kate being uncharacteristically unselfish about her and Rana waiting before having a baby. Rana, quite reasonably, wants them to plan their wedding, have a few adventures and not rush into parenthood and asks Kate to be patient. This makes you wonder if she’s ever actually met her fianc√©e as there are three-year-olds who have more patience and self-control than Kate Connor.

And of the subject of bratty little girls, Fiz has arrived back from Bessie Street School having failed to drop off Hope. The little madam apparently threatened to throw up, kick the teachers and run away. Still I’m sure it’s not her fault, it’ll be the teachers who are to blame. If only they’d just stop their whinging and invest in some shin-pads. Evelyn reluctantly agrees to do the babysitting (although only under threat of having to pay rent). Unsurprisingly it doesn’t go well.  Evelyn tries a bit of tough love by giving Ruby praise and treats, and telling Hope she’s a naughty girl who doesn’t deserve treats. Hope retaliates by throwing Evelyn’s jigsaw on the floor and ripping the head off Ruby’s doll. When Fiz and Tyrone arrive back at the house Evelyn is punishing Hope by making her put her face against the wall.  It’s hardly a diet of gruel and the workhouse, but Fiz is still horrified at her little girl being treated so badly!

Over at the Bistro Angie is telling an assembled audience that baby George is keeping her going, and she regrets letting Jude call the shots. This plants an idea in Kate’s self-absorbed head and because she is a spoilt little Princess who no one has ever said no to, she immediately rushes over to Rana at the surgery; crashes into Kirk’s consultation and starts bleating about how she wants to adopt. Rana understandably loses her rag and throws her out.

In a little heart-warming diversion, Jack is organising a one-legged race to raise money for the hospital. It all goes well until he trips and gets a minor cut on his knee causing Kev to shout at everyone, which is what he does best anyway.

Over at the Bistro Kate gets drunk and starts bawling in the kitchen because she can’t have exactly what she wants at exactly the moment she wants it. When Robert tries to comfort her she asks him to be her baby-daddy. For the love of all that is holy Robert, do not say yes! Fathering a child by Kate Connor would be a decision on a par with the person who invented the atomic bomb. No doubt their initial intentions were good, but they unleashed a force upon the world so awesome and dreadful, that it threatened the whole of humanity. For the sake of mankind her ovaries should be sealed for eternity in a concrete bunker…stick to Michelle, she’s a brilliant mothe…oh no wait! ;-)

See you back here at 8.30...

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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Fri 30 Nov


KATE PROPOSITIONS ROBERT Kate stuns Rana by bursting into the medical centre and suggesting they should adopt a baby instead. Angry at being hijacked a work she orders her to leave. As Kate drowns her sorrows she drunkenly suggests to Robert that he could father a baby for her and Rana.
EVELYN PICKS FAVOURITES Evelyn begrudgingly agrees to babysit but calls Hope a naughty girl who doesn’t deserve any treats. When Hope throws Evelyn’s jigsaw on the floor it is the last straw and Evelyn tells Rita that she has no time for Hope and Ruby is her favourite. Fiz and Tyrone are shocked when they return home to find Evelyn threatening Hope.
GINA IS JUGGLING TOO MANY LIES Gina lies to Sally making out Tim doesn’t want to talk to her. When Sophie offers to talk him round, Gina’s quick to stamp on her plan. Sophie finds Tim and Geoff in the cafe. When she tells Tim how desperate Sally is to speak to him, Tim’s confused and admits that Gina told him quite the opposite.
ELSEWHERE Kevin blames Greg when Jack falls and hurts himself during the sponsored one legged race. Rita is glad to be back behind the counter at the Kabin.


AN IDEA IS BORN FOR KATE AND ROBERT Robert tells Kate her idea is crazy and sends her packing. But will he change his mind? 
EVELYN REFUSES TO BE PUT IN THE DOG HOUSE Telling her she’s gone too far this time and he has to put Fiz and the girls first, Tyrone insists that it’s time Evelyn moved out. Evelyn’s stunned. Tyrone returns home with Evelyn in tow and assures Fiz that they’ve agreed she’ll move out. However when Evelyn points out that she’ll have to go somewhere dog friendly, Fiz suspects she’s playing for time.
GINA RINGS THE FINAL BELL FOR TIM AND SALLY Tim decides it is is time to talk to Sally Sally tells Gina she is glad Tim is ready to talk but Gina tells Sally that she shouldn’t meet with him yet as he is still too angry with her. Unaware of Gina’s scheming Tim is upset when Sally cancels their meeting. 
ELSEWHERE Kevin is moved to tears when Jack tries his new prosthetic leg and takes his first tentative steps.

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Coronation Street stars in panto - Nick Cochrane

Coronation Street's Nick Cochrane, who played Andy McDonald, is starring in Panto again this Christmas.

Nick will be starring in Peter Pan at The Cresset Theatre in Peterborough.

Find out which other ex-Corrie stars are in panto this Christmas!

See also: Christmas presents for Coronation Street fans

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