Saturday, 21 September 2019

Conversation Street Podcast Episode 382

On our latest podcast, we chat about the episodes of Corrie broadcast in the UK between the 16th and the 20th September.

This week's Street Talk section turns out to be one of our longest yet, and it's not because of the Daniel and Sinead stuff either - although everyone involved in that particular story is still firing on all cylinders, both in front of and behind the camera. What we end up talking the most about this week is actually James' storyline, which not only showed the Bailey family unit off in their best light since coming into the programme, but also led to us doing a bit of research about the taboo surrounding homosexuality in professional football - and we were pretty surprised by some of what we found out! Also this week, we weigh in on how effective Kel is being as the latest Corrie villain, and whether Derek could regret underestimating Gary.

Up next on the podcast, we have a character profile on Kate Connor, in which we desperately try to search for any redeeming features in this particularly spoilt branch of the Connor family tree, before moving onto a quick visit to the Kabin for some news. We finish off the podcast with some feedback, including one listener's review of the recently revived Corrie stage show.

Street Talk - 00:12:59
Character Profile: Kate Connnor - 02:22:48
The Kabin - 02:59:54
Feedback - 03:01:59

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, stream all our old episodes on our own blog here, or click the play button above to give it a listen from the comfort of this very blog!

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Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

The storyliners have gone too far.  Over the decades, the Corrie crew have asked us to swallow many unbelievable developments.  Jack Duckworth in drag.  The ghost of Martha Longhurst.  Absolutely nobody clubbing Ivy Tilsley to death for being a miserable interfering old bat.  But by making James gay, they've finally crossed over into science fiction.  As everyone knows, there's no such thing as a gay footballer.  There are over a hundred professional football teams in England, each with a squad of at least twenty young men, and not one of them is homosexual.  Not one.  That's not me making assumptions - that is an empirical fact.  You might say the odds on there being two thousand human males in a single profession and not one of them being gay is so overwhelmingly unlikely it's patent nonsense and there must be another explanation.  You might say that the overwhelmingly toxic masculinity of the football profession combined with hostile fans and unsupportive management means that gay soccer players are forced to remain in the closet.  This is all nonsense.  The truth is gays just don't know anything about football, as they are too busy flower arranging and listening to Kylie to pay attention to sport; my boyfriend's pronounced guffawing as I type this definitely isn't because Liverpool FC's rivals Everton have lost to Sheffield United, but is probably because he's reading about Tom Allen or something.  By having a gay male footballer, Corrie has breached the boundaries of realism, and James may as well have come out as an alien from the planet Zephulat for all its relevance to the experiences of actual human beings.  (Please note that this only applies to men: it is a well known fact that the opposite is true of women footballers, and even the ones who are married with children are actually lesbians).  Still, it's good to see Corrie maintain a "one in, one out" policy with regards to LGBTQ+ characters, as Kate's departure was immediately followed up by another character jumping out the closet.  I presume when Sophie leaves in a little while they'll keep the quota by having, I don't know, Evelyn reveal she's bi.

Baking isn't for everyone.  Daniel tried to surprise Sinead with home-made croissants this week, which caused me to raise my eyebrows.  I never bake - there is nothing I can make that will possibly be better than Mr Kipling - but even I know croissants are ridiculously difficult to make.  I saw it on Bake Off; it's a lot of folding and rolling and about eight metric tonnes of butter.  In addition, there's a lot of hanging about - one recipe I found suggests at least half an hour proving between each rolling out, plus an overnight chill for the dough.  Daniel must've worked through the night to make those pastries - no wonder he was so exhausted.  In the end they were more like barbecue charcoals than light French breads, reminding us that if you want something done right, go to Roy's, where they're only 70p and you get to have someone else do the hard work.

Unless Mrs Tembe Aggie's on duty, of course.  Her smashed avocado looked like a sneeze gone wrong, her canapĂ©s caused Dev to visibly heave, and her suggestion of "chicken, leek and grapefruit" pies made Roy and Shona recoil in horror.  If Aggie's behind the counter, stick to a cup of tea.  (Does she no longer work at the pharmacy by the way?  Is she doing that as well as the cafe?).

Let it go.  A few days ago, Daniel offered Bethany a few compliments about her writing, and then they stood close to one another for a little bit too long.  They didn't touch, didn't kiss, and the very next day Daniel got married to someone else.  You or I would've taken this as a sign he wasn't interested but not Bethany, who has instead spent all the time since then hovering in his shadow and making puppy dog eyes.  I know literally every man she's ever taken an interest in has turned out to be a bit of a scumbag - with the exception of Craig, and let's be honest, she was never that keen - so I can understand how a man who cares deeply for his dying wife would be a change, but come on girl, have a bit of self-respect.  By the end of Friday's episode she was agreeing to be James's beard and I wanted to give her a shake and tell her to take care of Bethany for once.

She should have listened to her great-gran, who told her, in not so many words, to stop mooning after blokes and instead go and spread herself about.  Listen to Audrey, Bethany; a bit of casual snogging with some random bloke round the back of the Coliseum nightclub after too many snakebites will pep up your self-esteem no end.  Aud spent most of the 1960s doing the twist in a miniskirt up against a series of besotted gentlemen and she waved every single one of them goodbye without a regret, and look what a legend she grew up to be.

Make savings where you can.  It's expensive making a show like Corrie, with all those actors demanding exorbitant wages and time off and so on, so the producers are forced to cut corners now and then.  The guest list for Aggie's housewarming party, for example, shrunk from "the whole Street" in the planning stages to "Dev, Eileen, Mary, Steve and Cathy" in its final incarnation (plus a load of supporting artists who weren't allowed to talk). The writers were forced to come up with hurried explanations like Brian's "Civil War reenactment" to explain his absence (a hobby I don't think he's ever mentioned before, and probably never will again).  She also held the party in the middle of the day, so they didn't have to pay the actors expensive night rates, and the producers refused to pay for anyone to play a DJ, despite the prop men supplying a sound system that had been liberated from Creamfields and which probably needed a full sound crew to work it.  Let's be honest, Gemma and Bernie would've been straight next door for a rave up, and Sally would've loved the opportunity to pass judgement on Aggie's soft furnishings, but they were nowhere to be seen.

Even more egregiously, they simply paid two extras to sit around in masks pretending to be Beth and Sinead while they dubbed their voices over the top so they could save a few bob on proper actors.  Look at that picture; those two could be anyone.  Later in the scene they peeled the masks off but that was for the emotional funeral conversation, where actual acting was required, so Katie McGlynn and Lisa George were coaxed out of the Green Room for those moments.  They've also saved money by refusing to get any of Sinead's other family back, so we have no idea what her mum and Doreen Corkhill think of her terminal diagnosis.  Mind you, that might be in character, as they only ever seem to visit Sinead when there's a free bar; they might be waiting for the funeral so they can fill their handbags with vol-au-vents and get wasted on Scotch.  (In fact, I'm surprised they haven't done an Ashley/Fred style revelation about Sinead's parentage, but I suppose Emma being Steve's secret daughter has put paid to that).  Watch out for more of this in future, as ITV forces more cost-cutting on the show.  Hallowe'en will see everyone go trick or treating in full masks, even Roy and Ken; a new fashion trend for burkhas will sweep Weatherfield, meaning many conversations in the factory will take place between people with only their eyes showing, while the Christmas special will take place in the Rovers during a power cut and will be a black screen for an hour with a series of voice overs.  There will be a single candle lit after fifteen minutes, but then someone will point out a naked flame is dangerous in a room that contains both Audrey and Claudia's bouffants, and it will be rapidly snuffed out.

Forgive and forget.  "Oh hi Billy, remember when you killed my mum in a car crash after an armed robbery and were never brought to justice?"

"Hahaha, yeah, and remember when you got me addicted to opiates and I was reduced to taking heroin in my church?  That was so funny."

"We can laugh about it now.  Pint?"

"Don't mind if I do, mate!"

The author was shocked to see Jenny Bradley buying a birthday card from the Co-op rather than the Kabin.  Rita will be livid, and will  give her one of her "now look lady" talks when she she finds out, so if you can get me an e-mail address for Reet so I can tell her, please forward it to me via Twitter @merseytart.  I'll bring the popcorn. 

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Corrie Comicals week ending 20 September 2019

Getting this screen grab of the latest marketing exercise at Roy's Rolls took a lot of work.  Can anyone confirm the station and the locomotives please?  And the plate of delight Aggie is delivering to her customers?

I reckon this is all bit modern for Roy's Rolls - smashed avocado!  At least Aggie cannot overcook the avocado, she might have undercooked that egg for some tastes.

Just to ensure you are keeping up.  Peter put a loft room in the Rovers for Simon.  Now apparently there is one at Number 3 where the boys will bunk up whilst Dee Dee comes to visit for the not-a-housewarming-really-its-a-birthday-party party.  Does no-one on the Street need planning permission (which round here takes months to get unless you are building a veranda on the back of your house or an oversized shed (our neighbours) which apparently don't need permission?

Essential training for a new waitress in the #MeToo world is how to behave with customers.  More useful might be training on how to deliver and collect plates, pour drinks, clean and lay tables - but not for Faye - just some useful words from Bethany and by the end of the episode Bethany is fixing dates with Wethy Count's boy wonder and Faye is asking if she is breaking the unwritten rule of not being flirty (don't worry Faye, even if Bethany was being flirty it would have no impact on James Bailey).

Sinead has just woken and is looking around for Bertie and clearly fails to believe Daniel when she is told he is fetching the papers!  Apparently Ken took him out to help walk Eccles.

Finally I was struck between J Lopez and her Versace green dress (left) and Aggie and her very similar green dress (right).  Which dress do you prefer?

And if I missed the lines that you enjoyed I apologise - but the Bailey family seemed to be everywhere this week.

Writers: Steven Fay & Mark Burt (Monday); Julie Jones (Wednesday); Damon Alexis-Rochefort (Friday)
Directors: John Anderson (Monday & Wednesday); Abe Juckes (Friday)


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Coronation Street Episode Review Friday 20 September

Greetings Corrie fans it’s Kelly here with your later than usual Friday night Corrie review.

It’s the day of the Bailey housewarming/surprise birthday party which they’ve inexplicably decided to have in the middle of the afternoon. A sound system has been set up, rum punch has been mixed and Aggie has made some appalling canapes. The only thing missing is the birthday boy who’s refusing to come home until mysterious Bailey child Dee-Dee arrives. When Aggie gets a text saying she’s not coming, Mary resorts to desperate measures by rushing over to the builder’s yard to tell Ed his wife has had a heart-attack!  Given her taste for the dramatic I was quite surprised at how tame this was. I half expected Mary to claim the whole house had been swept away in a freak tornado or that one of the family was being eaten by a shark. 

Meanwhile back out on the (Mean) Street low-budget Robert DeNiro Gary is being ghosted by both Derek and Ryan. He finds out from Nick that Derek has agreed to a 25% rent reduction on the factory without his say so and then to add insult to injury spots him out on a date with Izzy. He gate-crashes their date in Speed Daal (anyone else wonder how Izzy got down the stairs in her chair?) and snarlingly tells Derek to finish with Izzy. When Izzy comes back to the table and sees Derek looking nervous, she encourages him to stand up to Gary saying that Derek is his boss and Gary needs him more. Will the gormless twit start to believe his own invented fantasy-life?

Back at the party Daniel arrives already preloaded on Corner Shop cheap vodka. And Bethany turns up looking like she’s based her look on 80’s Crystal Carrington. Hating the sympathetic looks he is getting from everyone Daniel gets stuck into the rum punch. As he dances badly with Jenny and Steve (who’s far more interested in embarrassing Emma by asking for selfies with Wethie County players), it becomes clear that Daniel’s totally bladdered. When Michael tries to get him to leave, he swings a punch at him, misses, and lands in the sound system. When Adam arrives to take him away Daniel breaks down and tells him he can’t cope.

Out in the Bailey backyard Bethany tries to kiss James and then throws a massive hissy fit when he knocks her back, leading him to blurt out that he’s gay. Taking the news in an extremely sensitive way she strops off back to the flat. Despite having done nothing wrong James goes to see her to explain. She accuses him of using her and pretty much shames him for not coming out. She also claims to have lots of gay friends. Not totally sure where she’s been hiding them for the last four years? I’ve seen her say hello to Billy twice a month, is she counting that? James tells her that he’s already subjected to prejudice from football fans for being black and being openly gay too would be a bridge too far. He’s also not sure how his dad would react.

Back with the uninvited Street residents Don Windass has a visit from Derek who tells him that he’d better be nice to him because he needs him to front the factory deal. Frustrated, Gary smashes a terrible mirror (because he’s dead hard and doesn’t care about seven years bad luck) and then threatens Ryan in full view of Jake. In other news Paul takes his frustration over Kel’s return out on a bemused Chesney. Sinead asks Beth to make her look beautiful in her coffin, reducing her aunt to tears and Shona finds out that Max has been bunking off school. 

Finally, Crystal Carrington Bethany has realised that other people do exist. She returns to the party with reapplied eyeliner and benevolently offers to be James’ beard, because she doesn’t have a love life and there might be some perks to being a footballer’s girlfriend. As this is basically a self-serving act wearing a cloak of altruism, I can only assume that she’s been hanging out with Michelle the Queen of the Universe for far too long. As the two make their pact they are unaware that Michael has overhead them…

How do we see this arrangement working out Corrie fans? Let me know in the comments or catch me on twitter @mskelstar.
See you in two weeks. Byeeeeee

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